Over the course of her first year, our daughter Julia had just about every illness, rash, or symptom around. From dozens of ear infections, HFMD, Strep Throat, to Influenza, this poor child was running the gamut of childhood sickness. Countless doctor visits, numerous days taken off work, and caring for a child who’s constantly sick is exhausting. After her seventh ear infection and fluid that would not drain, we opted to see the specialist who determined tubes were necessary; to her, normal conversation sounded as if she were under water. After she turned one, she had her tubes put in.
I try not to compare myself to other parents and the struggles they endure, because I believe it’s ok for me to be scared. I was. I was terrified of her being put under (even the light amount of anesthesia they use made me nervous; after all, she’s only one!). She is my firstborn and the thought of her having surgery is a big deal. My husband and I were both there for her and the process was so fast and easy. Our E.N.T.was awesome.
Fast forward now and we’re pregnant with our second child-– due December 21. Our daughter continues to have issues with her ears so we return to the specialist. He uses a procedure to go in and unclog her tubes. They literally strap her down in what can only be described as a straightjacket and use a probe while I push down her head so she can’t move. I am fighting back tears because she is screaming in absolute terror. It is over in less than two minutes. I remind myself how strong I need to be as a Mama andhow resilient our children are. She gets a sucker for being brave! And Me? I get the horror of pinning her down haunting my dreams 😉.
This saves us enough time to make it to November, where it is determined that she needs another set of tubes and an adenoidectomy because the current tubes had already pushed themselves out. We are close to hitting our deductible this year (woohoo!), and with our impending labor and delivery costs, we opt to have her surgery before the end of the year. The doctor is available on December 28! But now, what if I have the baby on that day?
Our son arrives on Christmas , and we are home by Wednesday. Julia’s surgery is on Thursday morning. Looking back, I think someone should have checked on me mentally, because I don’t know what we (by we I mean I, because my husband is so easy going and effortlessly chill in these situations!) were thinking. Our in-laws come with us so they can take care of our newborn, Brooks so Ross and I can care for Julia. This surgery requires full anesthesia, which, in reality, is already scary. Now throw in 48-hour postpartum hormones and you have a giant puddle of Mama tears! I had a cracked nipple from a bad latch, I was so tired, and I was really unsure how to “Be”.
As we sat on the hospital bed while they prepped her for surgery, I looked at my beautiful daughter and held her tight. Again, I was scared. I had a brand new child in the other room, and I had my first child here, awaiting her second surgery of the year. The nurses came in with big smiles on their faces and let us know it’s time. As they reached for her, I lost it. We are talking full on, ugly sobbing. The nurse said, “It’s ok honey, we’re going to take good care of her!” to which my reply was, “I just had a baby on Mondayyyyy and now you’re taking my other baby awayyyyy…” [I have no other choice but to use several of the letter Y to demonstrate my complete and utter inability to speak as a human being in this hospital room]. The nurse hugged me and replied, “Oh my gosh you poor thing! No wonder you’re a wreck!” My husband ushers me along and tells them, “It’s OK, I’ve got it,” and they take her away. He is my calm when I’m amidst a Mama storm.
Within an hour, she is awake and coming out of her sleep. The doctor informs us that her ears were very sick; in fact, he says he didn’t know how sick and has rarely seen anything like it. He opted to use a new, high powered gel during surgery, called Otipiro which is a concentrated gel to help clear severe infections in the middle ear. She was his first patient to use it, so he asks if we would share our experience with other parents. We are thrilled to share this new medication which ultimately helped heal her ears. We have been infection, fluid, and free from ear pain for 6 months!
She’s a rockstar! And through this rollercoaster of emotions, challenges, appointments, and surgeries, she continues to demonstrate her childhood resilience as a two-year-old with two sets of tubes. Thank you Lord for kind, warm, intelligent nurses and doctors to help take care of our sick children so we Mamas can squeeze them tight as they heal!
And a special note to any of you Mamas out there with kids who are sick, disabled, in the hospital for any reason whatsoever, I would love to be able to send as many hugs and love as possible. You are amazing, and your strength is unmatched <3
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