"One step at a time, one foot in front of the other" as Neal told me (a fellow cranio parent). That has become my mantra through this.
I will start from the end and go to the beginning of surgery...
Today Hudson is doing great! They had warned me "today will be HELL". But finally we got some good fortune and since Hudson has been happy as long as he is being cuddled. Not too surprising really. His eyes are swollen shut and he is past the point of recognition. But all in all he is doing so great and I am so relieved. Looking back from yesterday this is such huge progress. We are out of the pediatric intensive care unit, Hudson's numbers look great, and he isn't plugged up to machines. At last some peace.
Yesterday ... well it was hell. I'm not going to sugar coat it. It was actually worse than I could have ever imagined on many levels.
As we came to the hospital at 5:30 am, I was of course a nervous wreck but holding it together for Hudson. I had been awake since 3 am just holding him and watching him sleep. While at the hospital and going through all the different holding rooms, checking vitals for 3 hours ... I was fighting back the tears. I knew his eyes would swell shut and didn't want the last thing for him to see was me crying. It wasn't until we were getting ready to meet Dr. Fearon and Sacco that the nurse looked at me touched my arm and said don't worry these are great doctors he is going to be okay. I think it was just that touch of the arm that I LOST it. I was crying so hard I couldn't see. Normally they give the kids anxiety meds before we release him but he was so happy with flirting and clearing winning over the pretty nurses that they said he didn't need it. They were fighting over who got to take him back by the time Hudson was done with them.
As I handed him over was the moment I learned true surrender. I had chose the best team and had to trust in them and God. For a moment it felt freeing. Finally I didn't have to anticipate surgery. We ate breakfast and then I just shut down. I found a couch curled up in a ball and didn't move except when Matt would talk to the nurse about how Hudson was doing.
When they said we were ready to meet Dr. Fearon and surgery was a success I sobbed with relief. We met Dr. Fearon and shortly after saw Hudson. The first time was a mix of emotions. He didn't look as bad as I planned but still you can't plan for that. Overall though we were happy we were "on the other side" finally.
We were in the PICU. They went over the risks, rules... One of the risks, blood transfusion. But she said I can't remember the last time we did one. Don't worry. We did 7 craniofacial surgeries today. A couple hours later his hemoglobin # was down to a 7. She said at 6 its considered life threatening. A woman came in and said we would need a blood transfusion. We were a bit upset b/c we have done months of shots, blood draws and iron supplements hoping to avoid it. But accepting it was best for the baby. I expected to get the transfusion within the hour. But there were disagreements between the doctors on doing it or not. I expressed my fears with waiting. Hudson started to go very pale. The nurse assured me he was fine. I pushed the nurse button several times expressing my concern. She checked it again and said it was a 6.3. I got more and more upset about what we were waiting for. There was a moment she raised her voice and told me I needed to trust in God and and the medical team. Well the medical team had lost all my trust at that point. I didn't care what they thought. It wasn't until I started sobbing hysterically b/c Hudson had lost all his color, was motionless, he was shaking and hardly breathing that they took me seriously. I really felt I was losing him. I was so scared he would stop breathing at any moment and felt so helpless and terrified... not the right word. There is no word. That moment will forever be stuck with me. The lowest moment of my life. Hudson was at a 6.
Within 30 minutes of getting the blood transfusion color started returning to his lips. I knew then my baby would be okay. I am still pretty shaken up by that and am constantly wanting his vitals checked with any suspicions I have. I have no problems harassing anyone anymore. The BIGGEST lesson learned with that experience is no one knows your baby like you do. They may be the professionals and I respect that but this is MY baby. I won't let anything happen to him and if you stand in the way you are getting momma bear.