My sweet child made it through surgery and they called her textbook. Very good. It was a very weird thing, holding your baby with the gas mask, watching her drift to sleep in your arms, and handing her over to a bunch of strangers to cut part of her throat out. I know, that’s dramatic. But that’s how you feel in that moment. She came out of it and breastfed very soon after. Predictably groggy and irritable and in pain, and they gave her some additional morphine to help with the pain so she could go back to normal sleep.
Just a handful of hours later, my girl bounced back like a champ. Not about to be tied down to the room, and fully understanding of what a door is and that something is on the other side, she had to get out. Thankfully, we were at a Children’s hospital – let me tell you what a wonderful place that was. And all the nurses were delighted to see her running, skipping, and dancing down the hall to go get her Popsicle. Yes, dancing. Naming off every color she saw (with the walls and floor patterned in different colored shapes for the kids), she delighted the nurses on the floor. Coloring on their dry erase board, calling out shapes and letters. Happily chatting away. Merrily eating pudding, ice cream, Popsicle, and jello.
A very cool feature about this children’s hospital is their area for kids to play. They are very much about therapy through play, they explained, and so pre-op, they have a room with shelves and shelves of toys, wagons, power wheels, books, movies and more. After surgery, and up on the children’s floor, they have an atrium that has several awesome stations for different types of play. They had painting, a sand table, a pretend grocery store with groceries, a register, and shopping cart, a pretend medical office with pretend MRI machine. They had air hockey, foos ball, pool table, video games, music station for both young kids and teens, an infant area, books and books and books, and an enormous place with barns and animals, super heroes, hot wheel cars, princess castle, toy car garage, and a bunch of other busy-on-the-floor toys. It was pretty amazing. Our girl played twice there for an hour each time.
After a dinner consisting of half a bite of mashed potatoes and a popsicle, followed by a bath with bubbles, my sweetie was ready for sleep. But sleep wasn’t coming to her. Poor kiddo. She just wanted to curl up in the bed and drift off, and there were other kids in the surrounding rooms, some of whom were sick, and crying loudly. The staff walking up and down the halls, talking loudly, the technician coming in to take her vitals and flush her IV. Everything was really starting to set her off to becoming overtired with no sleep relief.
So I pulled the Mom Card. It is the policy and protocol of the hospital to keep all children under three overnight in the hospital for observation, to make sure their oxygen is good, their fluid output is good, and generally recovering well. My girl was very obviously doing fine, and even the nurses agreed that an early discharge might be possible. The doctors were saying no. But you know, I respect the policy, and the reasons for it. Having said that, my girl can’t recover well if she can’t sleep.
Explaining to the doctor that we live right next to an Emergency room, and are a 15 minute drive back to the hospital if we needed to, it really was in her best interest to be allowed to go home and sleep in her own bed. I sleep with her, and I can monitor and will know if something happens – which it won’t. She was very obviously doing remarkably well. They had to agree with me, albeit reluctantly, because honestly, my girl wasn’t sick, and was miserable and crying trying to sleep and unable to. The poor sick kid next door was keeping her awake. It is not a quiet and restful place, and they know that.
It made me feel awesome after the doctor spoke to a couple others, and they all agreed and submitted. Dr. Mom’s opinion is the best one. Let the child go home and be nursed by her mother, where it’s quiet and familiar. She will be just fine. If she wasn’t dancing down the hallway, I would have stayed. I have video of her running, looking for the nurse she liked to play with. Being able to stand up to the doctor, respectfully of course, and tell them that their policy shouldn’t apply to my kid, and let me do what I know to be the right thing, was pretty empowering. I do know my child, and I do know how to care for her – not saying I know everything, but you know, in this case, I did know better. And that’s okay. It’s nice to be able to be confident in my decisions about her and tell a professional that I’m going to go against the grain here.
Today, my angel ate some nice sweet rice cereal and is happy and content and recovering well. And not crying because she wants to go home. Thank goodness it all went smoothly, and honestly, that hospital was freaking amazing.