Just When You Think It Is Over... - The Emotional Rollercoaster of Children's Surgery
My boy Christopher had surgery on the 28 August. A Bilateral Femoral Osteotomy. He was gone for 6 long hours before I could kiss him again.
I spent those 6 hours not drinking my coffee, talking to family but not really listening, and pacing the corridor outside recovery, jumping every time the phone rang, the door opened or a nurse appeared. I was a mama bear, whose cub had been taken and I would have done anything to ensure he came back to me safe.
When we saw him next, he was in a Hip-Spica Cast - a plaster cast that went from his chest to his ankles, holding him in a deep squat position - so his legs and hips could heal. He was groggy, confused, in pain and scared. He didn’t understand why I couldn’t pick him up or just get into bed with him. Nor did he understand why he was suddenly unable to curl up into his favourite position.
Seven long days later, we were finally able to go home. Once home we had 6 weeks ahead of us caring for Christopher in the hip-spica. Ensuring he was comfortable and well supported, turning him every 2-4 hours to reduce the risk of pressure sores, and trying our best to keep him clean and as nice smelling as possible given the circumstances.
All of this we had been prepared for. We had talked about how to look after him and what to do during this time. It was hard, but expected. What we weren’t prepared for was what came next.
On the 12th of October, we were back to the hospital to have the cast removed. We talked to him, stroking his hair and holding his hands, to try and soothe him while the physio’s worked to cut the cast with a saw. When he was finally free, they lifted him up into his daddy’s arms, and I sat down and cried. Partially relief, but mostly because no-one had prepared me for what I saw. Red, angry pressure sores across his lower back; broken skin from where the bandages had been covering the wounds under the cast, and the scars. Violent and bright against his pale white skin, they run from his bottom down two-thirds of his legs, a stark reminder of the trauma his body endured. Unnatural on anyone, let alone someone so young and innocent. And he cried with me. It hurt and he had no idea why.
I had placed so much emphasis and hope on this day. Christopher would be happier, Tom and I would relax and start to reconnect, I could find the Pam I like again - work on being the mother my children deserve, rather than just going through the motions to keep them clean, dressed appropriately and fed. But I was so wrong. It just got worse. Christopher didn’t sleep for longer than 1.5-2hours at a time for 2.5weeks following the cast coming off. And he cried for 85% of the time. The hardest part was there was absolutely nothing else we could do to help him. We just had to watch our baby boy struggle - with pain and confusion.
The sleep deprivation and tension started to take its toll. We spent our days in therapy, trying to help our boy move his legs - or at the very least attempt to straighten them. But how do you explain to him that movement will help him feel better, when every time he moves it hurts? We spent our nights trying to comfort him as best as possible, stealing as much sleep as we could, when we could.
Gradually, we started to see glimpses of our boy. He stopped flinching when we touched him. He had moments where he forgot that it hurt and relaxed into his new legs. He smiled when he heard my voice when I arrived to pick him up from school. And finally, he fell asleep snuggled up in my arms.
This challenge has been the hardest we have faced yet. It has taken its toll on our entire family, but given our time again we would choose the same path. Quality of life has always been at the forefront of our decisions for Christopher, and long term it is the right decision. In the meantime we will continue to weather this storm, being kind to ourselves and each other, and surrounding our boy with the love he deserves 💕
- Pam xx
This is a guest blog from Mumma Pam Rogers, mother-of-3 from Canberra, Australia. She is a part of the baby luno Mum Diaries team and will be blogging regularly as she continues on her motherhood journey and we can't wait to follow.
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