On Thursday we were back at Great Ormond Street for Imogen’s bilateral brow suspension surgery, in laymans terms – her operation to lift her eye lids. Typically Imogen developed a cold tbe week before which put the operation in jepordy but luckily she recovered enough for it to go ahead.
The night before we stayed in the Great Ormond Street Hotel and it all started to sink in when we got the phone call to confirm we were first on the list and needed to arrive at the hospital at 7am the next morning and to start fasting Imogen at 2.30am. After a night of fitful sleep we were up bright and early and got over to the hospital where we met the anesthetist and assistant surgeon before going down to theatre at 8.40am.
I held her in my arms and sang to her as they gave her the gas to put her to sleep, and she was so good, and didn’t really fight the mask at all and fell asleep gently. The hardest thing in the world was laying her on the operating table, giving her a kiss and leaving the room so the anesthetist could get to work intubating her and putting in the cannula ready for the surgery to start, it broke my heart and goes against every instinct in your body as a parent to leave your baby like that.
A tense hour and a half was filled with a trip to the canteen for a coffee and some breakfast that true to hospital food standards was cold, and a trip to the gift shop to buy Immy the cutest little GOSH hoodie that is going to still be huge on her and a jingly elf, and Felix some new Peter Pan pajamas and a book. We like to make sure we come back from hospital trips with presents for him so he associates them as a positive and doesn’t feel left out.
after the hour and a half past, our buzzer went to tell us that Imogen was waking up in recovery and we rushed through the hospital to get to her. As soon as we entered the theatre reception we could hear her cry, I was desperate to hold her but we had to wait for a nurse to fetch us. As we were shown to her bay, a lovely nurse was giving her a cuddle and he handed her over to me to comfort. He told us she had been given morphine for the pain as well, and she was well and truly out of it. She would cry for a second or two and promptly fall back to sleep. They let us go back to the ward and it was another hour or so before I got her to take some milk.
All of Thursday she was pretty out of it, grumpy and in pain when she was awake. She fed and slept and did little else and her face looked like she had done 10 rounds in the boxing ring. It was truly heart breaking and I definitely had a wobble that we had done the wrong thing in letting her have the operation. We joked that we would know she was feeling better when her feet started to spin again, a cute habit of hers is to dance her feet in circles almost permanently when shes awake and happy. Luckily about 9pm that night she woke up happier and we were treated to her dancing feet. Our little girl was back in the room!
Matt had to leave the ward around 9.30pm and me and Immy had a busy sleepless night (for me at least) with the nurses coming in and out of my room every hour or two to give her eye drops and check her obs I was glad to see Matt arrive back at 8am the next morning with a much needed large coffee for me.
We had to wait to be discharged that morning which finally happened around lunch time, and we were so glad to be heading home on time! With these babies often a short stay can become a long one, so we were pleased that this trip had gone smoothly.
Since coming home we’ve had to carry on the 2 hourly eye drops which is tiring to say the least but we are so pleased to be home and that Immy is recovering well, albeit that the bruising has turned pretty multi coloured in the past few days! We feel like she is already coming on a little with her vision but time will tell the extent of that. The surgeons have reassured us that from looking at her eyes while she was asleep there doesn’t seem to be anything that should prevent her vision from progressing, and they also confirmed her glasses prescription is correct at +5 so we will get her glasses back on her as soon as her eyes have healed enough.
Overall we are thrilled with the results and just pray that we can keep her from developing any infections in the incision site and we can keep her eyes from getting too dry.
A stay in hospital was a sobering reminder of just how many parents go through the unimaginable heart break of being admitted to hospital for months on end. 2 days was more then enough for me and the sound of crying children through the night having obs taken, medicines given and examinations done while parents have to assist the nurses will stay with me. While GOSH is one of the best children’s hospitals in the world, Its a place no parent wants to have to be, and it certainly takes parenting to a whole new level.