Our day began pretty early yesterday. We were instructed to arrive at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital in downtown Cleveland at 5:30am for admissions testing and pre-op. That meant waking up at 4:30am to get ready, wake up a very sleepy Jillian, and head downtown. She was so tired and had no idea what lay in front of her. I wanted to make sure that she was happy and comfortable throughout the day so I packed up as many toys, blankets, and snacks that I could. And of course, her Snoozer bear! I also made sure to have bottles and formula on hand since she couldn't eat before her surgery.
We arrived downtown which pretty much felt to me like it was in the middle of the night. Everything was dark and eerie. You didn't hear any of the loud noises or have to deal with the bad traffic that you normally would expect being downtown. Finding a parking spot was also breeze! We arrived at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital surgery center at 5:30am, filled out some admissions paper work, and was shown to our pre-op room. The pre-op room itself looked so scary and real to me.
A nurse came into the room shortly after we arrived and asked us several questions about why we were there and how Jillian was feeling that day. She then handed us a little hospital gown and told us to sit patiently and wait for the Anesthesiologist to speak to us. The Anesthesiologist came in shortly afterwards and thoroughly explained to us their process on how they put the babies under using anesthesia. This was probably the scariest part of the procedure for Jeff and I. We hated knowing that they were going to intentionally put our little girl to sleep, however small the risk, it's always a risk you hate to take. He assured us that Jillian was in good hands and that she was only going to be under for only 25 minutes. Our ENT doctor arrived shortly afterwards to check on Jillian and to let us know that the room was almost prepped for her surgery. As we waited, several doctors and nurses kept popping into our room to explain their role in the process and how everything was going to be fine. A very routine procedure with nothing for us to worry about. Even though the procedure itself is considered to be routine, the number of doctor and nurses involved in the whole process is mind boggling! So many people to take care of our precious baby!! I was growing more nervous by the moment knowing that Jillian was going to be summons at anytime to be taken down to the surgical room. The last nurse to visit us explained that only one parent could walk Jillian down to the surgical room and was only able to stay with her until she fell asleep. We decided that it would be best if Jeff took her since she might cry if I handed her over to a stranger. We didn't want to do anything at that point to upset her since she was being such a great sport about everything. She just sat the whole time in her little bed, playing with her toys.
Finally the moment had come for Jeff to walk Jillian down for her surgery. My little patient and hubby looked so cute, hopefully we will look back on this moment as the last time that she would experience any discomfort or pain because of her ears.
Jeff returned with a sad look on his face, however, reassured me that she did very well. He said it took her a few moment for her to fall asleep but looked happy and comfortable. She had cried a little when they tried to lay her down but that was probably because her ears were bothering her. He also told me how amazed he was at how large the room was and how many doctors and nurses were in there just for her. I really wish I could have been there to see everything, but it was reassuring to know that Jeff left her in good hands. We are so lucky to live in an area to have such a first class hospital system as the Cleveland Clinic, I honestly don't think I could have taken her anywhere else.
Jeff grabbed us some Starbucks from the children's hospital cafeteria as we waited to hear from Jillian's ENT. I barely had time to log on to my netbook to catch up on a few blogs before our name was called. Our ENT came into the waiting room and told us that everything had gone very smoothly and that Jillian was already awake. She told us that she was so surprised that Jillian was such a happy baby because the amount of fluid that she had pulled out of her ears even surprised her. She explained that the fluid trapped behind the eardrum is normally a clear liquid, however in Jillian's case, it was very milky and glue like. She had to use several different tools on her just to get it all out. No wonder our poor girl couldn't get rid of these ear infections and couldn't sleep at night!!!! The doctor also explained that Jillian had been hearing everything as if it were coming from a tin can. She should now be able hear more clearly and may even be able to start saying a few words. Jeff and I were so relieved to hear that Jillian's surgery was a success and couldn't wait to go see her. We followed the doctor back into one of pre-op rooms and found Jillian crying hysterically and being comforted by three nurses. We were warned that the babies cry a lot when they come out of the anesthesia. The poor thing was probably so confused since we weren't there when she woke up. I quickly walked over to her and she reached out her arms to me. I quickly calmed her down and gave her a bottle of pedialyte that one of the nurses had handed to me. The nurses taking care of Jillian kept commenting how pretty she was and what an easy patient she had been for them. They also were laughing hysterically that all of the babies are normally laying down when they are wheeled out of surgery, however, our Jillian had her legs straight in the air and was showing everyone her diaper. So typical of my baby girl, trying to make the best of every situation!!!
I sat in a rocking chair with Jillian and tried to comfort her as much as possible. As I sat with her, I was amazed by all of the babies that I kept seeing being wheeled past us who were also coming out of their surgeries. So sad to see so many innocent little babies having to go through such a traumatic event at such an early age. My heart went out to them and their parents.
Jillian quickly recovered from the anesthesia and the nurses finally removed her IV. Her second IV of the week!!! We were discharged only an hour after her surgery and were back on the road by 9:30am that morning. The whole process had been so quick and easy. Jillian was recovering nicely and quickly fell asleep before we even got back on the highway to head home.
I want to thank everyone for all of the positive comments and prayers that we have received these past few months as we tried to work through the challenges of having a baby suffering from chronic ear infections. It has been such a trying few months for us and I am so happy that we can finally move forward. Jillian should no longer feel anymore discomfort or pain from all of the trapped fluid in her ears and from the infections. We are really looking forward to happier times as we approach the holidays.