Just in case you were morbidly curious, here is a picture of Jo's eye the day of the surgery.
His godfather says Jo should say, "You should see the other baby!"
We have no pix of the cyst itself, though the doctor did show it to us, and if I had a camera phone, I would not have been above snapping a shot. The resident said it was the largest dermoid cyst he'd ever seen. That's my boy!
The whole experience of surrendering our baby for surgery was, of course, terrifying. My mom told Co on the phone that she'd "never" be able to let someone whisk her kid off to be operated on. But I think you just don't know what you can do until you have to do it. We wanted to be in the room while they put him under, but the nurses said no, so what else was there to do?
Perhaps the worst part was denying him food and drink. It wasn't as bad as we'd anticipated, because the instructions for babies his age are that they can have breastmilk up to six hours before surgery, and then water or juice three hours before. So we woke him and "dreamfed" at about 1:30 so he could get some final ba-ba (that's his new word for nursing!!), and then I got up at 4:30 to give him some apple juice (his first time). He was cranky while we waited for surgery -- started at 8:30 -- but it would have been a lot worse without our planning, I think. It was really hard for both Jo and Co, though, because he REALLY wanted to nurse and she REALLY wanted to oblige.
We weren't thrilled with this hospital when Co gave birth there, but were assured by our trusty pediatrician that they have excellent pediatric opthalmological care. And indeed, we were pleased. Our boy was attended by a senior pediatric anesthesiologist (head of the department) along with two residents, and operated on by the doctor we met in his office to receive the diagnosis, along with an experienced resident. The nurses were attentive and lovely.
The surgery itself only took about an hour, just as predicted, so we really didn't have time to worry too much. The hospital didn't seem to have wireless (it really isn't the best place, ugh) so I actually got some productive work done. Before we knew it, we were being called to come hold our boy as he came out of the the anesthesia.
I'll admit now that it was a little scary to see him, face-down and wailing hoarsely, in his lemon yellow hospital gown and blue shower-cap head cover. He continued to wail and wail even as we held him. He's super-strong (other parents comment on it) and in just a few seconds he had yanked off the cardiac monitors and was working on the IV in his foot. The nurse said it had to stay, and it was seriously difficult to keep our angry little guy from tearing it out.
My hippie-crunchy-mama moment: as Jo raged on, I asked when we could feed him. The nurse replied, when he calms down. Um. It seemed pretty clear to me (and to Co) that only ba-ba was going to calm our boy down. After a few more minutes of carrying on, the nurse asked what we planned to feed him. Co said "breastmilk," and the nurse replied, "Oh, that's fine." Jo latched greedily and calmed immediately. I suspect we could and should have done that as soon as we had him in our arms. We're both too quick to listen to authority figures (but I had reached a point where I was going to tell Co to stick the boob in his mouth, against medical advice if I had to!).
Once he'd nursed, he fell asleep, and was transferred to the other recovery room, where we waited about another hour while he nursed and slept on and off and was finally cleared to go at about noon.
The whole experience, as I hope this post conveys, had some frightening moments, and some confusion and insecurity, but was for the most part as routine as the doctor assured us it would be. However, I feel like I had a brief, brief insight -- a veil was lifted ever so slightly -- into the life of a parent who must wrangle more frequently and intensely with the medical establishment. I had the thought: I can do this. I don't want to, and I hope to God I don't have to, but I could do what I had to do.
Thank God our Jo is on the mend.