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Children and Surgery

Updated on July 18, 2013

The Patient

The first time baby was sick.
The first time baby was sick.

You Mean, My Son Wasn't Perfect?

I have done a previous hub explaining my son needs surgery for a birth defect called "hypospadias" with a side defect known as a "chordee". ( When I wrote that, we were a few months out. I was hopeful that the information I gave there was helpful to someone who may have also found themselves in that position. Now, I sit here 5 days until my son's surgery and I couldn't be more nervous.

When your child is born, you never want to hear that anything is wrong with them. You want them to be perfect, you desperately do. While they will always be perfect to you, no matter the "defects", that isn't reality. The reality is that sometimes things do go wrong. The first pediatrician I saw at my normal doctor's office for my son's first week visit, explained it to me in the best and more calming way: "when you think about how much growth they do in such a short period in such a small area, it's amazing that nothing goes wrong. But sometimes it does." It's reasonable when you consider that, sometimes things happen when development occurs so rapidly. But it doesn't ever take the sting out of hearing "your child needs surgery".

When they told me that one of us will accompany our baby into the OR while they administer the anesthesia, I knew instantly that as strong as I am, this would have to be my husband. I know my limits, and my limits are seeing my child attached to tubes and machines while being put to sleep. This was affirmed when his surgeon told us that when babies go under, their eyes stay open. I knew I couldn't do it, and I knew my husband was going to have to step up his game. He's normally very squeamish about these things, and he always get sad when the baby does. We were both going to be tested by this.

I can't help but to count down these last few days. Tomorrow, we see the surgeon for his pre-op appointment. My nails are getting shorter and bloodier as I'm constantly biting them nervously. I'm guilty of spoiling my baby right now, because I want him to enjoy himself and know how loved he is so when the surgery happens maybe he feels a little better knowing how loved he is. I'm scared because I know that anything can go wrong. It makes me sad knowing that for a week, he'll have stitches and a catheter and all these meds and aside from loving him, there's not a thing I can do to make it better or fix it. I can only love him and cuddle him every second he wants to be cuddled. I know I can pray and hope to keep my sanity while the surgery happens and he recovers from it. I know that I have a family around us rooting for us and supporting us through this time. I know that, up until this point, this will be the most difficult thing my husband and I will go through and I hope we make it out alive. Nothing tests a marriage more than children except something happening with your children. I hope we all make it out alive and stronger than ever.

When Your Child Needs Surgery

I wanted to be prepared for my son's surgery. I studied the ins and outs of it. I read so much information that my eyes are scarred from graphic images and my head is swirling with information. I worried about my son's mentality more than anything else. My baby is only 9 months, he won't remember the surgery or anything about it. Heck, he could practically go his whole life until adolescence hits and we have to see the surgeon again to make sure everything is "working properly". That is a little comforting, except he's a 9-month-old that knows nothing about what's going to happen to him or what's currently happening to him or why. All he knows is he's in a place he doesn't recognize with people he doesn't know with needles and tubes and everything. He'll know nothing afterwards except that he's in pain and scared. And this is what makes me nervous most of all.

They say that preparing yourself for the surgery is the most important way to prepare your child. Here is a list of things you can do to prepare your child for his day in the OR. This list was compiled from Baystate Children's Hospital in Springfield, MA and the Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, MA. (This information is for all ages. In the links provided, you can see the information that applies to you.

  • Keeping calm is the second most important thing you can do. Your child will feed of your nervousness and anxiety. They need you to be strong for them.
  • Bring an item that comforts them. They'll need it when they can't have you.
  • If your child is old enough to understand even the most basic explanation, explain it to them in terms that they can understand. Don't just appear at the hospital and try and explain after. They'll feel better if they know what to expect.
  • Love them and comfort them whenever they need it. This should be self-explanatory, but I figured I'd say it anyway.
  • Don't forget about the siblings. They need to understand what's happening to their brother or sister too. If they're calm, they can help comfort their sibling and help out.
  • You need to be informed. The more informed you are, the calmer you'll be and the better you will be to your child. Show your fear and nerves when you're away from your child.
  • Accept help. Your family is there to surround you with love and support and let them help you anyway they can. You will be physically and mentally exhausted taking care of your child.


Has your child ever needed surgery? (Simple question, I know. But we'll find it's common.)

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    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 4 years ago from India

      Useful article on child health. Voted up.