"Every surgery is different", said the recovery room nurse as we walked Anna Faith with her IV tubes and other taped on probes to her holding room. I had to agree. Our experience with surgery this time was quite different from the first. Some things were better, some things were worse. Here's how our trip to Nashville for round #2 went:
Since Kris' mom had recently had knee replacement surgery, we were concerned no one would be able to watch our three boys. Thankfully, a friend at church who stays at home and does some babysitting was willing to take them despite being over 30 weeks pregnant and having 3 other small children in her house at the time. We don't know what we would have done without her! We took the boys to her house and they each said their goodbye's to Anna Faith. It was so sweet how they loved on her and two of them cried as they said they'd be praying for her. We began our 3 hour trek to Nashville. She happily played in the back seat with some of her toys. We stopped for dinner at a southern buffet restaurant off I-40 and she ate her fill of barbecue and mashed potatoes. At 8:00 we arrived at the hotel and settled in. Little Lady was not ready to calm down. She was not fearful like our first trip to the hospital, but full of energy. I gave her a bath and she acted like she was swimming the English Channel. Thinking it would wear her out I let her play for a long time in the tub, but when I got her out she was still a rubber band, jumping on us and having the time of her life. It took until after 10:00 to get her to sleep. Kris was already so worn out from the trip and work earlier in the day that he fell asleep while she was still tossing and talking to herself in the other bed.
|She wouldn't calm down in the hotel!|
At 6:00 we got up, and she woke up happy, but soon after started to get anxious. She must have had a deja vu experience, and was clingy and not happy to be leaving the hotel. This time we knew where we were going, so easily got parked and to the right building to check in. There was much less stress because of it. Anna Faith didn't seem to recognize anything, which was good. We got her in a room after going through several departments to check in and she sat with us on her hospital bed. She wasn't crazy about taking her clothes off and getting into a gown though. When she saw the gown, she grabbed her blanket and it went in her mouth for an hour and never came out. Blankets are her pacifier. We know she's either nervous or sleepy when they go in her mouth. She was still smiling and very compliant with the nursing and anesthesia staff who came in and out to talk with us, fill out forms, and take her vital signs. They gave her Versed again this time, which makes her forget everything and get kind of relaxed and loopy. Dr. Chester came in and decided she would go for the cheek nevus and begin on the front of her neck as well. We were pleased and told her to do however much she wanted this time. When the nurse came to take her out, Kris and I didn't have a chance to get emotional. She cried for a just a second until the nurse showed her a phone and she didn't care anymore. That's the power of Versed!
|Getting ready for surgery- in went the blanket!|
|She still didn't want her scrub top on- not pretty enough, perhaps?|
We didn't get updates on the phone in the room this time. We waited over an hour before we heard anything. A nurse came in to tell us Dr. Chester was still working on her but she was doing fine. Finally we knew what was going on! I updated everyone on Facebook and worked on reading and journaling. Another hour went by and we had no word. I realized she had been in surgery longer this time than the first and was starting to get antsy. Kris reassured me that if she's in there longer, that means she's getting more taken off this time, and that's good. I just wanted to hear something! Finally, 2 1/2 hours after surgery began, Dr. Chester appeared. She told us that she had to work very slowly because of the nerves on Anna Faith's face being at risk of damage. She was not able to remove the entire cheek nevus, but will be able to easily take the rest of it off in 6 months. She took a large portion of the front of her neck nevus off as well, and it will be able to be finished in 6 months too! We clarified with her that she now only has 2 surgeries left! One will be in February to finish her scalp and do the back of her neck, and the other, in May, will finish what was started today. We were so glad to hear the news. We are HALF WAY! Woo Hoo!!!
We had to wait a while to get instructions to go to the recovery room. This time we could both go back, I guess because we were in a bigger space in the room where there was a chair and some standing room by the bed. I still picked Anna Faith up because she wanted me first (doesn't every baby want their mama when they don't feel good?). She had bruising and swelling on her cheek. It looked like she had just had a bunch of dental work done. Her neck and cheek were bandaged where we couldn't see much yet. We had to wait until morning to take it off. We were told she woke up in surgery just after they finished and was very upset, so they put her back to sleep to wake up in recovery. When she woke up this time, she wasn't upset, but very drugged looking. Her head bobbed around and she could barely keep her eyes open. She tried to talk to me, but it came out slurred. When the nurse took her vital signs, she said "thank you" so sweetly we all wanted to cry. I gave her a tiny sip of water, and she was very eager to get it. She occasionally coughed to clear her throat where the tube was in surgery.
We went back to her room after about 20 minutes and she was still very tired. She was starting to cry though, so this time Kris took her and laid in the bed with her to sleep. It was the sweetest thing to watch. Eventually he got out the bed and went to call our parents outside where we had phone reception and get us some lunch. By the time he got back, about an hour later, she had just woken up and was willing to drink some more. The nurse told us we were cleared to go home when we were ready! She had not thrown up at all and was becoming alert and had soaked her diaper. The nurse removed the IV (Anna Faith was very happy about that), the probes on her leg and toe, and she was a happier girl. They wheeled me and her out together to the car and we were on our way home!
|Sipping water, and no throwing up!|
Unfortunately just down the road she threw up :-( She didn't even cry,but went to sleep right after I cleaned her up and slept until the last hour of our drive home. She wasn't happy for that hour though. I could tell she didn't feel well. She had soaked her diaper again (I didn't realize until we got home) and was probably in some pain. I put her in front of cartoons and gave her some power-aide and unpacked while Kris went to get the boys from our friend's house half an hour away. Then the crying began. She was not happy at all. She thrashed and refused to be held. I gave her Motrin to add to the Tylenol she had already gotten and prayed it would kick in soon. I hate seeing my girl in pain. She finally let me hold her and pace the house, then we sat down and played a game together on the iPad. The laundry and unpacking would have to wait. When Kris got home with the boys and take out dinner, we sat down and she ate some rice. Then she cried again. A lot. She was tired and still uncomfortable, touching her neck and screaming. We held her off until 8:30 and noticed she was falling asleep in Kris' lap while I read books to the boys, so we put her to bed. She woke up only once in the night for more pain medicine and went back to sleep. We were thankful.
This morning the pain returned. She didn't want us to touch her face. I took the bandages off to apply ointment as instructed and took pictures. The tears flew. Poor Little Lady. The swelling has gone down and only a little bruising is obvious. Her skin isn't as tight as I thought it would be. It's amazing what Dr. Chester can do with tissue rearrangement to keep the skin looking normal when it's pulled together. In six days I take out some of her stitches and the others will come out in a couple weeks. We'll see Dr. Chester in Nashville for a follow up on December 9th and try to schedule her next surgery for February while we're there.
We have such a brave little girl. God has once again answered prayers, and we thank all of you who have supported us, encouraged us, said kind words, and most of all, who have lifted us up to our Heavenly Father. As we go into Thanksgiving celebrations in one week, we have so much to be thankful for. WE ARE HALF WAY!