Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We are home!

Well, we survived our first night and thankfully Molly hasnt been on anything stronger than Motrin. We really didnt want to have to give her the stronger stuff because it makes her really nauseous and the name of the game right now is to get her to eat!  She did finally start eating last night....of course, it was her favorite Ramen. Thank goodness it is so cheap...at 17 cents a bag, she can have all the ramen she would like.

The entire surgical process could not have gone any better. Of course, with the struggles to get to the actual surgery, Rob and I were really anxious and told each other that we were not going to take anything for granted that day if the surgery was cancelled or if she only got one implant.  We were ready for anything....anything but what we got. A seamless surgery and an incredible stay at this hospital with the best nursing staff I have ever run across ( and with four knee surgeries, and two babies I have spent my fair share of time in a hospital).

We arrived at the hospital at 9am as we were told to and sat in the waiting room for close to an hour before they called us back. They did the preliminaries with Molly...height, weight...blood pressure, etc. The entire time she was so happy...unaware of what she was about to go through. They brought us back to a room and had her change into a gown. Still clueless, Molly was jumping around on the bed and posing for photos with her daddy.







This next part is my favorite part of the story! Rob and I were so nervous about this surgery...as most parents would be and a lot of it had to do with anesthesia. Sure, people go under all the time. But we know nothing of Mollys history prior to eight months ago and had no way of knowing how she would react to the anesthesia! Without a birth history on her the idea of them putting her to sleep made us a little crazy. Sure wish we would have had a friend in the operating room. Well, a few weeks prior our friend and pastors wife told of us a very dear friend of hers who was actually named after her very own mother who also happened to be an anesthesiologist at this hospital. What are the odds that our doctor was going to be this same woman? Not good...but in walked Dr. B and I asked her if she knew my friend and she did. It was her. Rob and I had a mutual friend, not only in the operating room, but the woman who would be responsible for putting her out! Obviously, Dr. B would have done a tremendous job regardless of whether or not we knew her friend or not, but I am not going to lie and tell you that we didnt both breathe a lot easier knowing she was there in the room for us. ( no pun intended)

Fast forward from the best part to my least favorite part. They wheeled Molly on a gurney down the hall to the a small read tile section and the orderly told us that we couldn't go any further. Okay...so here we go. Rob leans over and gives her a kiss and I do the same and then I sign to her, Mommy and Daddy Later and she gives me the most confused look I have ever seen. Normally this means that a sitter is coming and mommy and daddy are off to play hockey. But wait! This is different? What do you mean Mommy and Daddy later? We then watched her disappear around the corner and both our hearts sank into our stomachs. I couldn't move my legs for a minute. It was the most terrible feeling.

We headed out of the waiting room and the nurses handed us a pager. It was the kind of pager that lights up like you get at a restaurant when your table is ready. We sulked off to get lunch and spent the entire time trying to guess how Molly was doing, what she was doing, was she scared, was she asleep yet? More than anything we wanted to imagine that she was asleep so that any fears she had were over and they had started. I remember asking Rob at 11:26 if he thought she was asleep yet and he had guessed yes. ( of course, that was just to make me feel better and to keep me from eating my way through the hospital cafeteria,,,they had great food by the way).

We made our way back up to the waiting area and plugged my PC into the wall. Rob, who is not a fan of anything facebook discovered a whole new world and we passed our time trying to concentrate on movie quizzes and updating friends about her surgical status. I dont know how much they appreciated the play by play status updates, but I found it very cathartic to be able to update my facebook everytime we got a call from the operating room.

The first call came about 12:15 where they told us that they had just started. Molly, they said, played quietly while they got everything ready...drew a little and didn't freak out at all. Regardless of whether or not this was the case, I appreciate them saying this anyway. The last thing you want to hear is that your three year old freaked out and clawed out the eyes of the surgeon 10 minutes before they operate. The next few hours our beeper would go off and we would run to the phone and get updates like they were Christmas presents. I actually let Rob take one phone call...but I sure didn't like it! The next update was "We just finished drilling the first hole and are starting on the second one" Okay then... if there was a thing as too much information..this update was it! No one wants to hear that their daughter has someone drilling into their head! This was definitely the longest part of the surgery. It seemed like once this part was done, the implant part went quickly. It took about five hours from once they had her back there. Around 5pm we got the call that we could go see her in recovery.

This is what we found:


Such a stark contrast to how she was a a few hours before with a look on her face like " What in the world did you guys do to me?"  We waited in recovery for about 45 minutes to an hour before we were taken to our room where we would remain until early the next day. This was her expression for the rest of the day and night. She was very quiet ( very unlike the Molly we know at home) and slept most of the time. I slept next to her in a pull out chair and Rob in a pull out sofa clearly intended for a much smaller person! 

The next day she was still drinking/sipping but had no interest in food other than the fruit chews ( a treat at home) that we gave her the night before that she was holding on to like some kind of security blanket.  Her personality resembled the Molly we met in China for the first time - Not the little girl she had become over the past eight months! It was heartbreaking to see this side of her personality..quiet...not a lot of eye contact...no smiles at all.  The next day, however, all of that changed. She began playing with some of the toys I brought, was very excited when I painted her nails and added decals. ( ugh..she is a girly girl..dont know what I will do with that?) and began moving around the room again. She even started smiling and talking again. Our girl was back.








We had an easy morning...for the most part...one throwing up episode...a bloody nose that we were told was quite normal after this surgery and her balance was off because she had just had her ears messed with....all things that would work themselves out.  We were home later that day.  Our friend Vickie who had unselfishly agreed to stay with the boys did a phenomenal job and Rob and I came home to a clean house and a home cooked meal!  We were in constant contact with our friends this entire time and truly believe we have the best friends in the worlds. We are so lucky.

Molly tried to sleep on the way home and got a small nap...but was really cranky once we got home. I dont know why but the first hour home was the hardest on her. I dont know if the pain got to her, or what she was expecting...but once she settled down, she started eating again and a few hours later was running around on a big wheel like a few days before.  I was able to get her in the bathtub but had to be very careful not to get the incisions wet.  It will be this way for the next few weeks.  

We head back to the hospital next week for a follow up with the surgeon and then the big day...the implant activation on July 30 and August 1.  I plan on bringing at least one video camera and hope to post this event on my blog.  If you have ever witnessed a cochlear implant activation video, you know they are amazing.  We were told to have high hopes and low expectations...and so we do. We dont expect for Molly to walk out of there saying "Wow..thanks so much for that..It is nice to be able to talk finally".  Molly has a chronological age and a hearing age. Her chronological age is three but her hearing age will start over on July 30 at zero. She will have to go through the same speech and hearing process as  an infant...in addition it will take some time for her brain to realize what is happening and relearn all the sounds she thought she knew prior to surgery.  We will be going to a lot of speech therapy  appointments and working a lot at home.   We are all very excited to watch Molly transform over the next year or so.  What an amazing journey this has been!

2 comments:

The Gang's Momma said...

Welcome home again! And so glad that the adjustment has started and she's doing well. Will be anxious to follow along for the coming weeks to see what comes :) Get some rest, you deserve it!

Tricia said...

Debbie,
I am so glad everything went so well. I was thinking about you! Our internet was down for the past three days so I just got to read all of your updates!!! I can't wait to see our everything turns out on July 30th and August 1st!!
Tricia