Finding out your child needs surgery can be hard. Super hard. Especially when your child is a toddler and doesn’t understand what is going on or why she will be in pain. I am no expert in child surgery. I am just a mom that recently went through this and wanted to share my story. In part of trying to prepare myself I tried to look up blog posts online from other parents that went through something similar, and couldn’t find much. So incase someone else travels down this path, I wanted to share.
Before surgery prepare yourself and your child. Have all your questions written down and make an appointment with your doctor just to ask questions if you need to. Talk with your child about it. The talking is as much for your as it is for them. Talk about having to go to the hospital, staying some place new for a few days. Keep it simple depending on your child’s age.
Depending on your child’s age show them the hospital before hand if you think that will help.
Make a list ( I love lists) of everything you will need, especially if you will be spending the night (or 2, or more).
Pack the night before. Have clothes laid out the night before, especially if your child’s surgery is first thing in the morning.
Buy your favourite snacks and/or candy. Pick up some new books or magazines. Depending on what surgery your child will have see if you can bring some of their favourite snacks for after surgery. Have their favourite foods at home waiting, or special foods like ice cream.
Do a deep clean of the house, depending on recovery you will not have much time for anything else other than your child after surgery.
Have some meals prepped and in the freezer for after.
Decide ahead of time if and when you will have visitors. We personally decided against visitors because it would upset our daughter when they had to leave and the crying and freaking out would hurt her throat even more.
There isn’t much to do while your child is in surgery besides sit there and go crazy. Depending on your hospitals layout chances are the operating room may be on a different floor than where you may be staying, either way you will not want to carry a lot of stuff around with you. So pack your purse or bag wisely.
Speaking of your bag/purse, pack distractions for yourself in there. Pack some candy or snacks, magazines, books, new apps / games on your phone. Pack some of your favourite items, lip gloss, chapstick, jewelry. I have a piece of Sea Glass on a Necklace that I tend to play with and rub when stressed and worrying.
While your child is in surgery make sure you go to the bathroom! Seriously. Once your child comes out they will only want you. My daughter didn’t let go of me for hours, she slept, she cried, and she held on tight. I couldn’t get up for hours, and I never thought to use the bathroom before she finished surgery.
Breathe. Deep, slow, breaths. Focus. Chances your child will be a little out of sorts, your child will be in pain, your child will be confused, and your heart will just break.
Prepare for cuddles. Lots of cuddles.
And don’t forget to breathe.