Allison's Wonderland

Allison's Wonderland

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Surgery and Recovery

 I'm missing Wednesday night church right now because I'm at home with Samuel. So I thought I would write a little blog post while the house is quiet.

Samuel's cleft lip and soft palate surgery was on January 18 and I want to be sure to write about it while all the feelings are still fresh. It still seems surreal that we are on the other side of surgery. That was probably the longest...yet at the same time the quickest 4 months of my life.

 I can never get tired of saying how much God has provided for us and given strength to sustain us through this process.

It was an early Monday morning. Michael, my parents and I prayed together then left our house at 4 am to be in Dallas by 6 am for the pre-op. Surgery was to begin at 7. One of my favorite moments of the morning was the time spent with Samuel before surgery. He had already had 2 previous surgeries before this one- umbilical hernia and ear tubes. Both of the previous surgeries were hard in the moments leading up to surgery as he couldn't eat for several hours before making him almost inconsolable. And it didn't help that the surgeries weren't on time. It was no fun. This time was different. Samuel was calm and relaxed. He didn't cry once while he waited for surgery to begin. Michael and I just got to enjoy him. It was such a blessing.

The surgical team is on time. Another blessing. They took Samuel right at 7 and sent us back to wait. We were told it would be a 2-3 hour procedure. So we wait. And pray. And eat breakfast (Michael found an awesome bacon, egg and cheese biscuit that was the size of my head!). And drink coffee- white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. And watch the screen in the waiting room that gives us updates on where they are in the procedure.

The nurse comes to tell us they are finished around 9:45 and surgery went great. We would be going back to see our baby soon.

 In the recovery room, I think Michael and I experienced a range of emotions. We were of course overjoyed that surgery was successful. But we both were also overwhelmed with the change in his appearance. He just didn't look like the Samuel we knew. It hurts your heart to see your baby in pain as well.

We were placed in a room after about an hour or so in recovery. My parents were able to meet us in there and see Samuel. He was coming off his anesthesia and it would cause fits of crying for 5 minutes. Then sleeping for 10 minutes. It was hard to watch.

The nurses showed me how to feed him with a syringe, which would be our method of feeding for the next 10 days. They also talked about wound care, which meant cleaning the area with hydrogen peroxide and water. Then applying a bacitracin ointment. I would do this twice a day until the stitches come out.  He also has to keep these arm restraints on to keep him from touching his face. I am able to take them off and give him a break from them, but he wears them most of the day.

I was somewhat overwhelmed. And tired. But at the same time I was ready. God had made me ready.
 But Michael and I still had our moments of being stressed and just to show how Satan likes to sneak in and attack, he tried to get Michael and me into an argument about having to share a tiny couch that night in the hospital. Our son just had major surgery, was doing great, yet we were fussing about a couch. Foolishness.  Samuel slept great, though.

The next morning the discharge papers are ready to go and we are heading out the door around 9:30. I couldn't believe they had us out so quickly.

So we head home to begin this new phase. About an hour after we get home, my daughter's school calls and says she has a fever and I have to come get her. I wasn't thrilled about that, but so goes life.

That first day (and the whole week even) it was almost like bringing home a newborn baby for the 2nd time. We would get excited when he would eat an ounce.

And sleep was less frequent as he could only take small amounts of formula at a time making him hungry more often.

The first couple days were hard. Giving him pain meds and antibiotics, the feedings, cleaning, the crying. It was just hard.

My older sister and her family came to visit on Thursday and stayed until Saturday. That really helped the week to go by quickly being able to spend time with them.

The stitches were to come out on Tuesday of the following week. It was a surprisingly fast 8 days. And overall Samuel did great during the recovery time. He did get frustrated at times with the syringe feedings. But who wouldn't?

Giving big smiles the day before getting stitches out

More smiles

Time for stitches to come out. My good friend is driving us to Dallas. We are super excited to see how things are gonna look now. Taking the stitches out took maybe 5 minutes.
It was absolutely amazing to see what a great job the surgeon did with Samuel. He, of course, has a scar that we will do some scar therapy for, but we certainly aren't worried about that. The syringe feedings are to continue for 2 more days. We can make it 2 more days.
Just after stitches came out

Here are a few thoughts now that we have walked through this small step with Samuel- I know we still have some more surgeries and possible speech therapy and orthodontics to deal with down the road. But for now, here are just some things I would like to share with you if you may be dealing with something that seems bigger than you. And even if you aren't right now. You could be tomorrow.

  1. God is bigger than your circumstances. He planned, He ordained whatever it is you're facing and He will sustain you.
  2. Submerge yourself in truth. God's Word. Do it now. Don't wait for the crisis. You'll need the truths of God's Word to be your foundation before entering the trial.
  3. Surround yourself with godly friends who will speak truth to and encourage you and pray for you.
  4. Your circumstances are not eternal. They will pass. But praise God through them and for them. We are guaranteed suffering on this side of heaven. Let your suffering draw you closer to God. Thank him for revealing Himself to you through the suffering.

Thank you for letting me share Samuel's journey with you. I hope that it brings encouragement to someone who may need it. I want to end this post with some Scripture that I read this week in my study of Isaiah:

"But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, 'Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.' " Isaiah 43:1-2


Flyinseamnky said...

Thank you for sharing your story, and for giving God the glory.
I thank God for protecting little Samuel and your family through it all.
I also thank God for bringing our families together.

- James Brohard

Allison Pettiette said...

Thank you!!

Shannon said...

What a blessing your family has become to mine. It's so wonderful to see Samuel's life always pointing back to our amazing and awesome God. I love how you live life to the fullest and walk boldly before the Throne! God is using your family to impact those around you for His Kingdom. Thanks for sharing Samuel's story and for challenging each of us to be intentional in all we do!

Allison Pettiette said...

Thanks Shannon! We love you guys!!