Today has been long, long day.
After I logged off last night I couldn’t sleep – even though my eyes were burning with exhaustion. I was too scared I would miss Violet’s last feed at 4.45am, that I would sleep through my alarm. Violet slept fitfully too. Strange bed, strange noises and a little boy in the cubicle opposite who cried every 20 minutes or so on rotation with his mums mobile going off.
At about 2am I gave up trying to settle Violet in the cot and brought her in bed with me for cuddles. That did the trick and she slept well for a couple of hours… Me on the other hand, I was sporadically sweating in the plastic bed and managed to somehow get myself all entangled in the sheets. I was so uncomfortable but didn’t dare move for fear of waking Violet up.
At 4am I inched out of the bed to use the loo and when I got back my 7.5 month old baby had somehow sprawled herself across the bed in such a way I couldn’t get back in… I waited until her feed time, fed her and settled her back easily – in the same position, in my bed, all sprawled out. I did momentarily consider getting in her cot, but thought better of it. I sat on the chair watching her sleeping, waiting for the lights to go on in the corridor.
Violet woke before 7am and was hungrily looking around for food. She usually has a huge bowl of porridge at around 7am, so I knew she was hungry. To take her mind off it, I put her in the pushchair with a bottle of water and walked the corridors of GOSH for well over an hour… round and round and round… it was mostly peaceful so I got to chat to Violet about life.
Matt arrived at about 9am and Violet was getting cross. She was having little 2 minute screaming fits, just to let us know she was hungry and a bit p*ssed off. She nodded off for a bit though which took the pressure off. After 9am she wasn’t even allowed water.
11am neared and it was time for her surgery, but we were delayed because a “quick” drop in patient had arrived and queue jumped us. I was really annoyed until Matt talked sense in to me. So I put Violet’s gown on and carried her, walking laps around the ward. I walked with her in my arms for 1 hour and 20 minutes, but loving a cuddle, Violet nodded off, holding tight on to my top. We eventually took her down to theatre where she became really wide eyed and frightened. She was so brave though – I talked to her and sang to her while they put the gas mask over her face and I guess she trusted me enough not to put up a fight. She listened to my voice and it felt like an age before she drifted off. We gave her a final kiss and left her tiny little sleeping body on a regular size stretcher. She looked so small.
4 hours felt like such a long time to wait… we pottered about and tried to rest in the room. We were surprised when they came to get us only 3 hours after we had left her – but they hadn’t intended to come so soon for us… Violet had become very distressed as she was coming out of the anesthetic so they thought she would benefit with having us there.
My poor, poor baby… and so began the most gruelling 4+ hours of my life. The good news first though – the operation was a success “textbook” in fact and the surgeon was delighted with how it all went.
Violet on the other hand… her face and eyes were swollen and bright red. She had a mark on her forehead and a welt across her cheek… the mark on her forehead was from where she had been dangled virtually upside down and had been resting on it for 3 hours. Her face and eyes were swollen from the same thing – being suspended over a “hump” so they could access the part of her back they needed. She had a canula in her hand and one in her foot. She also had an arterial line in her wrist which was failing. She was groggy and upset and completely out of it – as you would expect.
When we eventually got her back to her room her head, arms and shoulders were burning hot and livid red – she was having an allergic reaction to something and they didn’t know what – so they pushed a full dose of piriton into the canula in her foot – she was so distressed and it transpired that the canula had slipped, so the medication hadn’t gone into her vein, it had been pushed into her soft tissue. Her foot and leg were so swollen that the skins looked fit to burst… the doctor decided to call the plastic surgeon to assess the tissue damage. Thankfully he doesn’t think it will need intervention from the plastics team. Her ankle, foot and calf are still swollen and will have to be elevated until the fluid has drained.
While all this is going on, Violet is distressed… really distressed and clearly in pain. She has to spend the next 48 hours on her back which means that I can’t lift her, cuddle her, comfort her or even give her her bottles on my knee. She has to be fed lying flat which means that after every feed she will cry because she has trapped wind.
A couple of hours after the surgery the pain was getting worse and worse but the morphine etc they were giving her just wasn’t doing enough. She wouldn’t let me out of her sight and she was so frightened. Finally a “pain nurse” was called for and she has been pumped full of every pain medication she can have, at full dose. At 7.50pm she finally fell asleep. I feel utterly drained. Emotionally and physically. I wasn’t expecting the recovery part to be this hard – all I was focusing on was the surgery and that went swimmingly. The next 2 days are going to be like hell on earth as Violet is kept on her back and her pain is managed.
The staff have all been wonderful of course, but I can’t tell you how much I want this to be over.