January 4, 2014
With the three oldest kids off to the in-laws and the three youngest loaded up into the car, we drove the three hours to Salt Lake.
Alayna only asked if "we were there yet" about every six minutes of the whole trip.
Oh, and she threw up on the way.
It was strange, I had been fretting and worrying about Jackson's surgery for weeks. And yet, from the time I woke up that Thursday morning, I felt such a sense a peace. I felt calm the whole day, as though the very prayers people were generously offering in our behalf were sustaining me.
It was so very humbling.
We dropped the girls off with my sweet sister-in-law, then proceeded to Jackson's appointment with the people who will make his helmet.
The man who scanned his little head showed us several before and after images of other children who have had this surgery and worn the helmets.
I'm not going to lie, the differences were astounding.
He also said that since they've started doing this method of surgery to fix craniosynostosis roughly seven years ago, he has easily seen over 200 children.
After that we drove to Primary Children's where we registered and they drew his blood in case a transfusion would be needed.
He took the blood draw like a champ.
I soon received a phone call to inform us that his estimated surgery start time would be at 9:00am the next morning.
Later that evening, I received another call to inform us that Dr. Siddiqi needed to rearrange his surgery schedule so ours was moved to 10:15am.
I didn't sleep well that night, between a restless Claira, a tossing Alayna, a hungry Jackson, and Hubby shifting on the other side of the air mattress, morning came far too soon.
After hubby and I rather groggily got ready for the day and were almost ready to leave, I received yet another phone call informing us that Jackson's surgery needed to pushed back again, to 11:45am.
Not fun at all.
But when the chief pediatric plastic surgeon at a major children's hospital is doing your surgery, there are bound to be serious cases that require his immediate attention.
I only hope whomever needed his attention right away is okay.
But as it was bound to, the time came to leave and go to the hospital.
You know, men don't often express or show emotion as much or as strongly as women. But I caught Hubby's misty eyes on Jackson on more than one occasion. I know this was really hard for him too.
Jackson was so good, even though he did get a bit fussy and let us know he was hungry.
I held up okay, until that horrible moment when I handed little Jackson over to the anesthesiologist.
I could only turn into Hubby's chest and cry.
We were told it would take about two and a half hours from the time they put him under to the time they woke him up.
Not bad considering we had to wait over five hours with Alayna's procedure.
About two hours later, Dr. Siddiqi (pediatric plastic surgeon) and Dr. Riva-Cambren (neuro-surgeon) walked into the waiting room and told us that Jackson's surgery went perfectly and no blood transfusion was needed.
I started crying all over again.
Hubby asked why I was crying? Things had gone so well! But that was exactly it. I just felt so much relief and gratitude.
About half an hour later, the call came that "one parent of Jackson" could go see him in recovery.
In truth, if I had known what I would find, I may have sent Hubby.
I suppose I expected to see something like what Alayna looked like. Still pretty sedated, doped up on pain killer, laying there all wrapped up in clean, white bandages.
Instead, I could hear him screaming from down the hall. I found him crying and crying, being held by a nurse who was trying to console him with a bottle of water, the bed and blankets he was wrapped in was smeared with the orangey-red iodine they had used on his head. It looked so much like blood.
They handed him off to me, hoping I could calm him down and possibly make him eat.
But all he did was scream and scream, and all I could do was sit there and cry while feeling to utterly helpless.
I hated it. So much.
They gave him a couple doses of pain meds but it didn't seem to make a dent.
After what felt like an eternity, they told me they were going to move him up to his room. I set him back in the bed and we walked out to the hallway where we met up with Hubby and a dear childhood friend of mine, Seth, who had stopped by.
Even though it was obvious, all I seemed capable of doing was to stand there and repeat over and over that Jackson wouldn't stop crying. I couldn't do anything to help him, he just wouldn't stop.
He screamed all the way to the room where I once again held him, trying to calm him as they gave him some oxycodone.
When they fed him the oxycodone, he seemed to realize he was hungry and I was able to feed him while the drug took effect and he finally, blessedly, calmed down.
He continued to whimper or burst out into sudden fits of pain or discomfort. It was always bad when they had to draw blood or check vitals.
Hubby and I took turns holding him for hours at a time, not wanting to put him down.
At some point in the early morning hours, he was calm and comfortable enough to lay in his bed so all three of us could get a couple hours of sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED...