Cranial Vault Reconstruction – The journey to the Otherside

Only a few days to go

The night before surgery I was tucked up in a hospital bed only a few metres away from Boston and yet I missed him. Eight months of waiting had passed in what seemed a blink of the eye, here we were, was I ready to let it happen? An uneventful day left me feeling relaxed and with little trepidation, it seemed Boston felt the same because it was bath time and off to bed at 5pm just like every other night. The sun rose on surgery day with me catching a mere 3 hours sleep, jumped the gun with my routine confidence, apparently getting through sleep cycles with lights flashing, machines beeping and babies crying isn’t such an easy task for young Boz.

Surgery day felt like a blur. Through tired eyes we both struggled without the comfort of a bottle (Boston had to fast and it seemed wrong for me to steal his milk). The lights, beeps and cries continued to prove too much stimulus and as the day wore on Boston approached cracking point. Super team Steve and my mum were standing by with entertainment and cuddles, no doubt the day would have been ten times more stressful without their constant dedication. My nerves were beginning to mount, surgery was so close we could touch it and I struggled to shut down my brain as much as possible, trying not to get too emotionally drained. When the nurses said it was time to go my stomach did a flip, my heart began to race and instead of wanting to run away I really just wanted to have it all over NOW!
last weekend exploring with daddy and lovely flowers from Shelly and Stu

As we entered the waiting room Boston reached over tiredness meltdown, so as I answered the same questions over and over (full name, date of birth, what surgery is he having, allergies, is this your signature signing your son away???) I rocked back and forth and bounced my little man, so before his baby sized sleep mask was over his eyes…Boston was asleep. The whole time my blood was pumping and my head was swimming…what was I thinking? nothing… everything I could have thought about I didn’t want to. It was actually nice to feel his body completely relax in my arms before I handed him to the team. Then we just had to walk away.

Feeling over tired, overwhelmed and pretty sick in my stomach we walked out into the humid air of Brisbane in search of food and a source of distraction. The wait felt quite numb. I didn’t want to let all the what if’s keep running through my head (though some did manage to bowl their way through) so we ate, I took lots of deep breaths and turned to a calming tea to sooth my nerves. Every few minutes I would send Boston some love, which seemed to make everything feel better. I even saw the irony in the tea shop giving us a mini hourglass to time the steeping tea (like sand through the hour glass these are the moments we just need to pass).
Three hours later we made our way back to the hospital in pouring rain and $3 ponchos. We sat in the waiting room with all the other anxious family members, crossing fingers our little cherubs were safe. Then Dr Theile popped his scrubs up’ed self around the corner and called Boston’s name. His relaxed body language and light tone told me what I needed to hear, but the words “everything went great” were truly music to my ears.
Our adorable mushroom baby 1 day post operation
Even though we still had a long few weeks ahead of us so many fears evaporated in those moments. I could have jumped for joy and the grin spread across my face told the story. It was over an hour before we got to see our little guy with his head all wrapped up so beautifully. Some of the tears I kept letting escape greeted him in his ICU bed. It was the first time I had seen him look “sick”, bandaged with tubes coming in and out from almost every limb available. But it wasn’t a sad moment…just overwhelming, there was a lot of joy in just being able to touch him and hear him.
There was something else happening that night, a family lost their son in a room only ten meters from Boston. Of all the things that had happened that day hearing his dad’s voice made me lose it. I realised their reality was the worst case scenario I had played in my head for that same day. My heart ached for them. It was an accident, not a planned surgery and it made me realise that we all share a risk of having to say goodbye to our children, a reminder to live in the moment with joy and love.
Ahhhhhh my hair is freeeeeeee

Ahhhhhh my hair is freeeeeeeeThe next few days blurred together. A mix of medical observations, blood pressure, heartrate, temperature, fluids. Different experts stopped by each day; neurologists, plastic surgeons, pain management, paediatricians. A few days in and you look forward to the familiar faces, especially when they give you good news “looking great” “on track recovery” “you’ll be home soon”. Day and night don’t have the wonderful divisions they do in the outside world. Night has lights, voices, cries, checks and all the monitoring that envelopes each day.

As the days passed the amount of tubes and machines attached to Boston started to go down along with my nerves. His drowsy self became more alive and even with eyes swollen shut for 48 hours he managed to smile and play. KIDS ARE AMAZING, when they are sick and in pain they let you know but as soon as they are well there is no feeling sorry for themselves, they get right on with the most important things in life. When we hit day 5 post op and Boston starting pulling his IV cords, I crossed my fingers we would be home sooner rather then later.

Horses, balloons and getting packed to head home
Easter weekend with a new look and a sweet scar

Each day brought a wave of relief, we were one step closer to being home and having our super special little guy back to perfect health. Seeing your baby go through any medical experience breaks your heart, from stomach bugs to major surgery, you deal with that feeling of helplessness. But here we are on the OTHER SIDE and it feels AMAZING!!! Every day Boston is getting back to his old self (even his crazy sleep patterns are settling with a little help from homeopathy and bodytalk). I have to keep reminding myself that everything is okay, (OH MY GOSH IT TRULY IS OKAY) then I smile and feel the joy in my belly, our little man is home safe…

Cheeky Gow Cousins

p.s A big massive huge THANK YOU to our wonderful friends and family who have sent Boston so much love and been amazing support through a BIG challenge in a little mans life, you are irreplaceable and loved very much xoxox

p.p.s To the team at The Mater, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You made us feel safe and at home through our most difficult challenge yet. The plastic and neuro teams are brilliant, and to the wonderful nurses in ward 7 south…Boston won’t miss the needles but he will definitely miss your smiling wonderful faces.

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