But, really, the day of Mary-Kate's surgery was way more traumatic than humorous, for us just as much as her. A few days of healing have allowed us a lighter perspective and even a few jokes. That Tuesday, though, we were anything but laughing. Jon and I both felt an inexplicable angst watching Mary-Kate struggle through that day. Maybe it's because we couldn't explain the why to her. Maybe it's because we knew the bigger surgery was just a few short weeks away. Maybe it's because she's just a baby, and it's hard to think about this happening to her on top of everything else she's been through. Maybe it's just because she's OUR baby, and it's a miserable feeling to watch your baby go through a day like this.
Following our dental consult on January 12th and the news that Mary-Kate's heart surgery would have to be postponed, our baby girl was swiftly worked into the surgery schedule, and we found ourselves on our way to Riley on the 20th at the unmerciful hour of 5:00 am.
We checked in, weighed in and waited.
We almost found ourselves rescheduled for this surgery when they found out she was being treated for an ear infection. The anesthesiologist was hesitant to put a heart baby under if there was any chance at all she would have any respiratory issues. At our insistence, he looked her over and determined that it wasn't worth postponing yet another surgery.
One of the hardest parts of any surgical procedure with a little one is keeping them from eating and drinking. I haven't shared much about this, but nights can be pretty rough with MK. She hasn't "slept through the night" once since we've had her. And we're over the 90-day mark. We've had some exceptionally good sleepers in our family, and this baby has put our parental mettle to the test, for sure. I'll share more later, but suffice it to say that every night she wakes up several times a night. While we've had numerous night terrors, most of those times are comforted with an ounce or two from her bottle. Whether it's a security or attachment issue or whether it's because she's a heart baby and never takes more than two or three ounces at a time anyway or whether it's a little bit of both, we give her what she needs. It's something we're just working through one night at a time.
See where I'm going with this? By the time we got to the hospital, she'd abandoned words and was just looking at us and pointing to her mouth. By the time we'd done all of our pre-op procedures, she was clearly convinced we'd lost our minds. We were more than grateful when they finally brought her dose of Versed around 7:30 am and carried her back to surgery twenty minutes later. We stumbled down the long hallway to the surgery waiting room where both the grandmas were waiting for us. I could not compose a thought or even force a conversation. Beyond my tired, I was just a mess, frustrated with myself because I was struggling to interact with the company for which I was so infinitely grateful. I finally dozed off in my chair about an hour later, and shortly after the 90-minute mark, the nurse who makes the surgical update rounds informed us that Mary-Kate was in recovery and that the surgeon was ready to speak to us. The outcome was more harsh than expected. Our sweet baby girl lost a total of 10 of her 16 teeth, including all of her front teeth, top and bottom. I couldn't help it. The tears just overflowed. It was hard.
x-rays taken during surgery
healthy teeth are solid white
Our very kind doctor explained to us that every one of those extracted teeth was soft all the way through the gum. There was no way to save them. We were very fortunate that her permanent teeth are now, at this point, protected from further decay. But still. My poor baby will have no front teeth until she's six or seven years old. There is the possibility that they will be able to mount a pediatric partial once her two-year molars have come in. If not, she will definitely struggle with speech. Wrap your mind around what all this baby has endured even before her two-year molars.