Last month, my 17 month old son had to stay overnight for an operation. It was a routine procedure, but I was still wracked with worry. It broke my heart when he cried for food the morning of the operation and I couldn’t give him anything. As we waited in the hospital for his surgery to begin, the nurses started bringing around breakfast and he’d point and sign ‘eat’, crying because he didn’t understand why we weren’t complying. I cried as he went in to surgery and again, with relief, when he came out safe. As we met him in recovery, he was wearing a sleepsack that was tied down to the mattress of a crib. It wasn’t completely unexpected, as I’d seen other children on his floor restrained in this way while he was in surgery, but it still took me aback.
When he woke, he was disoriented and became distraught fighting the restraints. I tried my best to calm him and after asking the nurses, I breastfed him, leaning awkwardly over the side of his crib to do so. He fell asleep and the surgeons came in to speak to us. I told them that our son wasn’t used to a crib and it wasn’t easy to breastfeed him the way he was placed. They didn’t really say much back, I’m not sure they really knew what to do, but the nurse with them did.
Our room was equipped with a small, narrow cot for one parent to spend the night on, but soon the nurse rolled a regular size hospital bed into the room, she removed the restraints, and once he woke again, I carried Oliver to the bed. We were now able to cosleep and nurse.
That night, I could hear the faint sound of babies and toddlers in other rooms crying and complaining, but Oliver didn’t let out a peep. He woke the next morning, groggy, but cheerful, and happy to play with some of the toys we brought along. As soon as the doctor came by, we were released, less than 24 hours after surgery. We spent the next day in bed, but the day after, Oliver couldn’t be stopped. He was up and about and quickly back to his old self, perhaps a little too soon for my taste, as we had instructions to keep him from being very active for the next two weeks, and if you’ve ever had a toddler in your life, you know how easy that is! But in all seriousness, I’m thankful that he made such a quick recovery and I’ m thankful to the hospital staff for being supportive of our desires, as I know that it’s especially important in times like these.
Have you had any experience with AP in a medical setting?