It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I had to place my precious 9 month old daughter in the arms of the nurse and watch her walk into the operating room. I just wanted to run after the nurse, knowing MaryAnne would probably be scared. No, she would definitely be scared – she doesn’t even like to go to her grandparents that she sees once a week. I needed to be there to comfort her, to let her know it was going to be okay. But I couldn’t. And my heart nearly broke imagining her fear.
All I could do was pray and wait.
MaryAnne was taken into the OR at 7:45am that morning. We spent the two previous hours getting paperwork done, meeting with various medical personnel, and entertaining MaryAnne. The great thing about the surgery being performed at a Children’s hospital, is they accommodate well to little ones. MaryAnne had great fun being pulled around in the little hippo-wagon.
9:30am rolled around and our neurosurgeon came to find us, since I hadn’t noticed our vibrating beeper had gone off. He told us that the surgery couldn’t be going better, MaryAnne was stable, currently getting a blood transfusion, and his part of the surgery was over. The plastic surgeon was now doing her part. At 10:30 the plastic surgeon let us know that MaryAnne was now in the recovery room. Now we wait some more. We were told that if they didn’t call us back into the recovery room, it meant MaryAnne hadn’t woken up yet.
At this point, I felt such relief. It was over. MaryAnne had done great and we could move forward. And now I sensed my exhaustion creeping in. I felt such peace. Even knowing that the next days could be anything but peaceful. Two hours later, at 12:30pm I was finally allowed to see MaryAnne and a half an hour later she was ready to be transferred to a regular room!
The next several days were a blur. I was so busy trying to keep MaryAnne from tugging on all her cords – she had a drain coming out of the right side of her head, three leads on her chest, catheter, oxygen monitor on her big toe and an IV in each foot. The day after surgery MaryAnne was trying to crawl and stand already and it was a full time job trying to keep cords from tangling and keeping her occupied in the small area that her cords allowed.
Gradually the various cords were removed and MaryAnne loved being able to get out of her room and take a stroll around the hospital floor. Her eyes did swell shut, but she was amazingly cheerful. Four days after surgery MaryAnne was ready to go home.
The transition to post-surgery has been difficult. Before the surgery things that would have not been an issue, now are a concern. MaryAnne’s head is extremely sensitive and the smallest pressure to her head causes tears. So tables, chairs, doorways, all those normal things that she could bump into while crawling around become dangers to her head. MaryAnne also wants my constant attention and I end up carrying her around for a large portion the day. And sleeping has been rough. Really rough. We’re talking about waking up every hour and hard to console. But healing is taking place and our post-op appointments with both physicians has been very encouraging.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 was one passage that came to mind during these difficult days:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When I am tired, exhausted, beaten down, who do I run to but the one, true and holy God. He who can carry all my burdens and be my strength when I have none. So I continue to thank and praise God even in my hardship.
And I sing:
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art –
thou my best thought, by day or by night;
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.”