Time seemed to fly by and drag at the same time while we waited for the surgery date to arrive.
I did what I could on my end to be prepared. I called the Ronald McDonald House that was located across the street from the hospital to see, if we could stay there when Scooter had her surgery. They said they wouldn't know until the night before. Talk about nerve-wracking. So I called the hotel we typically stayed at that was on the bay's edge made reservations. I explained that the Ronald McDonald House may be available to us, but that we wouldn't know until the last minute. Thankfully, they said we could cancel the hotel reservations, if the RMH came through, so at least we had a back up plan.
I've always had to expect the worst and pray for the best in situations like this. That way, I would be prepared for anything in between. But sometimes, it's easier said than done, and my mind would get caught in a pattern of just imagining the worst. Considering I was still experiencing the imbalance of hormones that results from giving birth, I was a mess. I was just plain scared. No amount of planning could actually prepare me for what I felt.
I was in a fog. I dared not give into the helplessness I was feeling. I had The Hubster, Bugster, Hopper and Scooter relying on me being able to stay strong. Before we knew it, the time for the fretting and worrying and running worst case scenarios through our heads was coming to an end.
When we got to Norfolk, we drove immediately to the Ronald McDonald House to see, if we could stay there. Thankfully, a room had opened up when another family left that morning. I called the hotel and canceled, and we got settled in the RMH.
We were briefed on the rules. We had to make our beds daily and wash our bedding before we checked out. We could eat anything in the kitchen area, but if we cooked anything, we were expected to clean up after ourselves by doing our dishes and putting them away and wiping down the counter. The girls could not be left alone at anytime. And only one parent could sleep at the RMH each night. They expected the other parent to be sleeping the night at the hospital with the child who was ill. It was all very reasonable, and it worked out perfectly, since the doctor wanted Scooter admitted the night before her surgery, so she would be ready to go first thing in the morning.
After checking in, we headed over to the hospital to Scooter's pre-op appointment, got the necessities out of the way and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to keep our minds off things and keep Hopper and Bugster happy and occupied. Before we knew it, it was time to check Scooter in for the evening, so we walked over to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters as a family, and Hubster walked back to RMH with the older girls to get them settled for the night.
At the hospital, I tried finding something on TV that would take my mind off things, but I couldn't even concentrate enough to pay attention to what was on. So I held little Scooter in the rocking chair and attempted to sing to her. I tried remembering the words to songs I'd sung to Bugster and Hopper, but I couldn't think straight, so I did what any mom would do. I followed my own mom's example and made up nonsensical little songs about what was happening.
At some point, some of the words stuck, and I came up with a little song that we've sung many times over the years with no regard to how corny it sounded to others.
Mama's little girl
Has a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
Scooter O'Shea* is her little name
And bein' Mama's baby
Is her little game
It calmed her to hear my voice, and it calmed me to know she was finding comfort considering I can't carry a tune in a bucket with the lid taped shut. Plus it gave me something to do to keep my occupied with things other than imagining the worst.
Imagining the worst was easy for me when I first saw her after her surgery. The nurses brought me back before they cleaned the dried blood off her little face, and I thought I was going to faint when I saw her. I was terrified that the dried blood meant things didn't go well. Logically, I knew it didn't mean that at all, but when you're only 6 weeks past a major surgery yourself and dealing with hormones and the stress of your baby just having undergone a fairly intense surgery, you're not thinking logically.
I asked the nurses, if I could wash her face off, or if it would hurt her, because her mouth would be sore. They said it would be fine and brought me a couple of washcloths and a small basin of water. And even though the nurses assured me that I wouldn't hurt Scooter, if I washed the dried blood from her face, I was even more gentle than normal. I couldn't stand the thought of seeing her with the blood on her face anymore, and I couldn't handle the thought of causing her anymore discomfort.
I don't recall how many days Scooter was hospitalized after she had her surgery, but she did very well, and we couldn't wait to go home. We were all more than ready to live together as a family again, even though we only lived a football field or so apart when she was in the hospital.
We had realized a long time ago that we drew strength from one another, and we needed to recharge.
*Of course her real name isn't Scooter O'Shea!
Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.
You can read the start of my journey here.