Sorry for the pessimistic title, but it really does. Surgery is the worst! While we successfully made it through Will's surgery last week, it hasn't changed my outlook on surgery as a whole.
Ella's surgery is Thursday morning. Due to her cleft lip & palate, she'll have lip & nose revision, palate fistula repair, dental work and ear tubes. Her surgeon estimates she'll be under anesthesia for around 5 hours and recovery could take up to 2 weeks! We'll get the call tomorrow night to inform us of what time we need to report to the hospital and when she needs to stop eating/drinking. It's been such a long time since she's undergone a major surgery, that I'm out of practice.
The bigger issue is that she's now big enough to be aware of what's going on, which means she asks a ton of questions. We are extremely open and honest with her so when she asks things like, "will they cut my face?" the answers become very challenging. I'm happy she's talking about it and I think Will's surgery has helped her to be better prepared, but it breaks my heart to know she's so little and has to face surgeries like this for a large portion of her life.
When we went through her lip repair at 4 months we worried, but at that time she hadn't had the opportunity to fully showcase her enormous personality and we were lucky that she bounced back quickly. By the time she was 10 months and undergoing her palate repair, we really worried that the surgery might change her personality. We worried that it might change who she was, it might dim her light. For a week after the surgery, she didn't smile, she didn't giggle and she was a defeated little girl.
I do not want to go through that ever again. That was the worst feeling in the world. Luckily her bright, shining star returned, but the thought of losing a piece of the child we love so much is terrifying. The risk of surgery is a very dangerous thing, but as a mother, watching your little one in pain during recovery is the most helpless feeling. If only we could trade places!