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Holly: Hernia Surgery

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Holly: Hernia Surgery

Has your child been put under anesthesia before? It is a nerve-wracking experience for the parents and a scary one for the toddler.  Brett had her inguinal hernia surgery yesterday and it couldn’t have gone any better. Here’s a bit about the experience.

We received paperwork in the mail a couple weeks before the surgery with details on what to do before and after the procedure. The thing that stood out the most to us was that we couldn’t give Brett any food, water or milk after midnight the night prior to the surgery. So that means that her dinner and her ba-ba at bed would have to last her until her surgery the next morning at 8:45am! This really made us nervous. For two reasons: First, Brett wakes up about one night a week in the middle of the night for a ba-ba.; Second, when Brett wakes up in the morning she gets her morning ba-ba (one of three bottles she gets a day) and then I usually feed her breakfast an hour or so later. We couldn’t imagine having to deprive Brett of food or milk if she wanted it!

The night before she didn’t go to bed at her normal time of 7pm. Instead she was up until 8:30pm which we knew meant that she was going to wake up earlier (sleep begets sleep for little ones and the later she goes to be the earlier she gets up). I didn’t sleep at all that night. I heard every move she made through the monitor. Every time I heard her I would just repeat ‘don’t wake up, don’t wake up.’ Surprisingly, she slept through!

She woke up at 6:30. My husband played with her and read to her. We kept her busy so she wouldn’t think of her ba-ba. We also avoided the kitchen so she wouldn’t see her bottle. When it was time to go at 7am we took her to the car and put in her favorite Sesame Street video. I thought she would ask for a bottle, but she didn’t. So far, so good!

We drove to the surgery center, which was about 30 miles away (45 minutes in traffic). I cried almost the entire way there. I was so nervous about her going under anesthesia. I could tell my husband was uptight, too.

When we got there everyone was SO nice. We were taken back relatively quickly to the prep area. We had to put Brett in a little gown.  We answered some questions, signed some paperwork and waited a bit. The surgeon called to say that he was running late, but he still arrived prior to the scheduled time (surgery was scheduled for 8:45am). However, the surgery room that we were scheduled for  was still in use. I watched the clock nervously because every minute that passed was another minute Brett hadn’t eaten or drank anything.

This delay ended up being awesome though because our surgeon sat and talked to us the entire time! We learned that he has a 3-month-old and a 3-year-old. He was very taken in with Brett. She is quite social and was pointing to things and calling out the words (like clock!). They nurses let her take things out of drawers and put them back in. It was very relaxed. In fact, I felt so much better about the entire situation.

At 9am we got word that they were ready for Brett to go back. The surgeon picked her up and she gave my and my husband kisses good-bye. This was tough but it was so cool that she was letting him hold her. And, it was cool that the surgeon held her! My husband said that he most likely held her while they put the little mask over her face to put her to sleep.

My husband ran to get us coffee and bagels. I was sitting in the waiting room when at 9:30 on the nose the surgeon came back out- he was done! He fixed the hernia on the left side. He explored the right side and said there was no hernia there.

At 9:45 the anesthesiologist came out to say that Brett was doing well but was still waking up. We had to wait to go back until they came to get us.

At 9:50 they said that we could come back. They said that she was upset and suddenly I could hear Bret crying! When I went through the doors I saw a male nurse holding Brett. She was bundled up in blanket, with a little sock cap on her head. She saw me and wanted me to hold her immediately. I sat on a chair and rocked her until she calmed down. The nurse said that she was actually quite calm when she woke up but that when he took off the stickers that were attached to her chest (used to monitor her heart rate) she became quite upset.

She cried off and on and we signed more paperwork. We made her a bottle. The surgeon said that she could eat and drink normally. However, she didn’t want her bottle. She was too upset.  The nurse showed us her incisions and that there was blood there but not to worry about it.

We got Brett dressed back in her pajamas, packed up and headed out. We were in and out in 2 ½ hours! Once at the car Brett was happy to get in her car seat and watch her video. She drank her bottle on the way home.

Since we’ve been home there has been almost no sign that she had surgery. We’ve been giving her Tylenol (generic since actual Tylenol is off the shelves still) and she is very happy. She seems to be a bit careful when bending but this is barely noticeable.  She is a happy girl.  My husband and I were exhausted mentally and physically the rest of the day. In fact, I didn’t realize how worried my husband was until after we got home. It was then that I saw him relax and nearly collapse onto the bed. Men handle things so differently, don’t they?

I couldn’t be happier with how things went.   This was a scary experience going in but one that couldn’t have had better results.

If you are in the Southern California area and ever need a pediatric surgeon I am including the links to Dr. Lam and his practice called Pediatric Surgical Associates as well as the link to La Veta Surgery Center in Orange.

Everyone we dealt with at each location were class-acts. They were awesome with Brett and with my husband and I. I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Lam. His bedside manner was gentle and calming and he was thorough and patient in his explanations and answering of questions.

–this picture is of Brett in her surgical gown prior to surgery. She is giving us her camera-ready smile!–


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  1. Wow, I was getting nervous just reading that, but I’m glad that everything turned out ok. It’s always so nice when the doctors and nurses are so at ease!

  2. cjncollins says:

    Great photo!! So pleased it all went well for you all.

  3. YAY!!! I was thinking about you guys all day! I’m so glad it’s over for you guys- lol!

    Great job Brett!!!

  4. Yeah, So glad to hear that the surgery went well…I was thinking about you guys. Made me cry just reading your story! Hope to see you guys sometime! Katie

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