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Published on July 6, 2021

New Mommy Diaries

Surgery gave us back our happy baby

By Stephanie Johnson / The Bulletin

We were at the pediatrician again; everyone there knew us by name at this point. The doctor looked into my one-year-old’s ears, and sure enough, it was another ear infection.

This marked four ear infections over four months. We were then referred to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor) and were told the baby would more than likely need ear tube surgery; pumping him with antibiotics was getting old - and not working.

Luckily, we were able to get an appointment quickly and ended up going to the medical center in Houston, which was an adventure. They called us into a room to do a hearing test. They put a headphone gadget in his ear and told us that the screen measuring his hearing should look like a drawing of mounThere were no mountains - it was a flat line.

As terrifying as this sounds, the doctor told us that this sometimes happens when there’s a lot of fluid in the ear, so it was more than likely temporary hearing loss, but he also couldn’t make any promises, so it was terrifying enough for us.

It was time to set up the surgery - this had gone on for too long. We were able to get it scheduled for the same week.
The night before surgery, our young one couldn’t eat anything or have any liquids, because for this surgery he would undergo anesthesia. This was pretty difficult since he is only one-year-old, and when he gets hungry, he throws a fit.

I didn’t sleep. I was too nervous, Googling and Youtubing ear-tube surgeries, which made things worse but also better, because I knew exactly what he would be going through.

I learned online that ear tubes are tiny tubes made of metal or plastic. During ear tube surgery, a small hole is made in the eardrums, and the tubes are inserted. The opening to the middle ear lets air flow in and out, which keeps air pressure even between the middle ear and the outside and helps to drain fluid that builds up behind the eardrum. Then I watched a bunch of videos on it, all seemed very easy and quick.

We arrived at the clinic on the day of his surgery, and only one parent was allowed in the waiting room, thanks to Covid, but the other parent could wait in the lobby. It didn’t help to ease our nerves to learn that somehow our insurance was never contacted about the surgery. That set us back about an hour.

Once that was fixed, it was finally time to go into the surgery area. They gave us a baby hospital gown and yellow socks, in which he somehow managed to look adorable. I could tell he was nervous, but he played it pretty cool, even though he was starving. Once he was dressed in his gown and socks, it was “go” time.

Mom wasn’t ready to let her baby go to the back room with strangers, but it was what was best for him, and they seemed very trustworthy and knowledgeable. They put on his favorite show, “Cocomelon,” which anyone who has a baby or toddler knows, and off he went, happily watching his show.

I was told to go wait in the lobby with my husband, and they would call me in about 10 to 15 minutes. I walked out and cried on my husband’s shoulder. It was the longest 10 minutes of our lives so far. As soon as they called his name, I popped up faster than a Bingo winner, and I hastily ran into the room to get my baby.

The doctor had just finished the surgery, and everything went great. He was still sleeping with the mask on, and they were just waiting for him to wake up. Seeing him on the operating bed with a little mask and knocked out, was almost heart-breaking. I was hoping that this surgery was worth it.

Doc told us that there was so much fluid buildup in his ears that there was no way he could hear anything we were saying, but he should be able to hear us now. I thanked him and waited about five minutes or so until my baby woke up.

I had heard this was the worst part of the surgery, waking up from anesthesia, because they have no clue what happened or where they are, and it’s true. It was not a fun experience, but about three juice boxes, one apple sauce and 10 minutes later, I had a happy baby again.

We went on our way back home, ordered some food, and ate together as a family. He ate all his food for the first time in a long time, and he magically started walking everywhere, sometimes even running.

He was smiling and laughing and dancing to music. I thought he would want to take a nap after the day he had, but he stayed up and played until he couldn’t play anymore.

Instantly, we felt like a weight was lifted off our shoulders and that we had made the right decision about the surgery. There is nothing quite better than a happy, healthy baby. We could tell that the procedure instantly made a difference, and now, two weeks later, he is still this new, happy baby.

(You can reach Stephanie at stephanie.bulletin@gmail.com. Or by writing to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)