2.20.2013

post-op

Today we are 5 days post surgery.  
Today we are tired.
Tired, but thankful.


Waiting to be taken to the operating room (6:30 am)
Aiden's surgery went well.  It took about 3 hours and Dr. Staffenberg was very pleased with the outcome.  When Aiden awoke from the anesthesia, he was not a happy camper.  And that is putting it lightly.  Some things I did not realize and/or expect:  

1.  He is older than when he had his last surgery almost a year ago and therefore more aware of how is feeling.  He always handled anesthesia fairly well in the past and just needed some pedialyte and a good nap to get back to feeling normal.  This time he didn't follow suit. 

2.  He would need to re-learn how to breathe once they closed up his cleft.  He is used to having all this empty space between his palate and nose, and when they closed everything I'm sure it felt like he couldn't breathe.

So, when Aiden woke up he was struggling to breathe which we were assured was normal.  He had a lot of mucousy blood in his mouth and his lungs that seeped down during surgery.  He was too weak to cough everything up so we was wheezing and required some albuterol.  They also gave him around 5 doses to fentanyl to calm him down.  Every time he awoke he was screaming, crying and thrashing around.  He wasn't giving his body a chance to recover.  The problem was that the fentanyl wore off within like 10 minutes.  So after around 4 hours his doctors decided to put him on a continuous, but mild, sedative so that he could sleep and get the rest he needs. 

Aiden's tongue stitch (used to keep his tongue away from his palate for the first day post-surgery, pulse-oximeter used to measure the level of oxygen in his blood, and IV delivering fluids and medicine to his blood stream. 
After four hours in recovery, we were moved up to the PICU (since he was having a hard time recovering from anesthesia) and the sedative was hooked up.  He remained sedated for around 12 hours.  When I say sedated, I don't mean he was out of it.  He would wake every once in a while, but he was calm, cool and collected.  And most importantly his body was resting.  Once they discontinued the sedative, he was much happier.  Still very tired and clearly in pain, but not as angry at the world.

Resting
We spent the night in the hospital and waited for discharge the next day.  We had a sweet nurse for both of the day shifts who really went above and beyond her call of duty to make our stay a bit more bearable.  It was a bit of a struggle to get Aiden to drink fluids, since he was not allowed to have his bottle, but we squeezed some into him.  Finally, after what seemed like forever, we were given the ok to go home.  This news couldn't have come at a better time because Aiden was beginning to get a little stir crazy.  He is very mobile, and since he was hooked up to an IV, he wasn't allowed to leave the area near his hospital crib.  Needless to day, Aiden was very delighted to learn that we'd be going home.  

Yay!  We're going home!
His recovery hasn't been as rough as I imagined, but it's not a cake walk either.  Aiden has gone on a drinking strike because he can't have his bottle.  At this point, we are a little concerned about dehydration.  We've been pushing a lot of apple sauce and baby purees which have a high water content.  We've also been feeding him liquids using a syringe.  Actually, we've been sneaking liquids into his mouth when he's not looking.  He seems in good spirits most of the time and he is pretty energetic so we seem to be doing ok.  He's still not allowed eat his regular diet and he has to wear arm restraints so that he doesn't chew on his fingers and/or toys.  Overall, he's only really cranky when it's time to eat or sleep.  Eat, because he can't have his normal foods and he's not really allowed to feed himself.  And sleep because he can't get comfortable with the arm restraints.  

Aiden came home to a sweet bear from some dear friends of ours; playing with a ball; trying to sit on daddy's guitar; sleeping on his boppy pillow (the only way he can get comfy)
We've had a couple of bad nights in a row with little to no sleep, so last night my wonderful and selfless husband took over and let me sleep.  I slept a glorious 10 hours, and for the most part so did Aiden.  So we're feeling pretty good.  I can't really say the same for the other half of my house.  The hubs is running on empty and Ryan seems to be having some sympathy pains for his brother - going on a little bit of an eating strike himself.  

Tomorrow is our first post-op appointment with Dr. Staffenberg, so we're hoping for some good news and maybe some restrictions lifted.  The most important thing, though, is that the incision is healing properly and that no stitches have popped.  I think we should get a good report because Aiden hasn't had any fevers or bleeding from his mouth.  Fingers crossed.  

Something exciting that I want to mention:  the point of this surgery was to close Aiden's cleft in order to allow for normal speech development.  At 17 months old, Aiden's speech is probably at about a 9 month level.  He doesn't have many words or consonants for that matter, but he is vocal.  His cleft team once explained to me that because of the structure of his palate, he simply isn't able to produce any consonants besides "m", "n", "h" and "w".  As a result, when he tries to say the word banana, it comes out as "manana".

I'm proud to announce, that the other day when we were practicing our bananas, Aiden produced the "b" sound.  While he has a lot of speech therapy ahead of him, we are definitely headed in the right direction.  He's such a smart boy.  And my mama heart melts every time he tries to speak. 

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words as we prepared for and dealt with this surgery.  They worked.  



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