A Mother’s Unexpected Ordeal

Having a baby is a lifelong responsibility. We never stop worrying about our baby from the day we know we are pregnant till probably the day we passed on when he/she is already an adult with children. When I had my first child, it was quite a breeze except during the pregnancy part which was a bit unstable. Other than that, taking care of him was relatively easy. I could bring him out anywhere as I could breastfeed him anytime when he is tired. He would fall asleep after latching no matter how noisy the place was, even at midnight movies. As long as I am there with him, he will be comforted.

However, my second child’s character and behaviour is totally different from his older brother, even if they resemble each other. My elder child is generally quiet and more introvert like the daddy while my younger child is more expressive and extrovert like me. He is always cheerful and smiley except during feeding and sleeping times due to his enlarged adenoids.

He was born normal but diagnosed with reflux when he was 2 months old and subsequently received treatment for 3 months. However, he still constantly has blocked nose and cannot feed and sleep well. I had to literally carry him to sleep at night. His situation did not improve and was referred to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist who did a scope on him and discovered his adenoids were so enlarged that he hardly has any space to breath in his nose. He is basically breathing through his mouth and if he feeds though his mouth, he cannot breathe. All these affect his weight and make him especially fussy though he naturally has a happy character.

His situation worsened as months went by and the ENT specialist advised that he should go for a sleep study test and operation to remove his enlarged adenoids. There were some nights when he could not sleep and kept crying badly. I was so drained that I even asked him to not to torture me. But I know he is feeling more torturous than any of us. He is suffering and he is basically trying to cope with the little oxygen that he is breathing in. Although we know that the operation will improve his situation, we were hesitant on sending him for the operation due to his age. He is not even 1 year old.

We went through the sleep study test that was advised by the specialist and results showed that he has severe sleep apnea, largely contributed by his enlarged adenoids and his face features as expected by the specialist. We managed to delay the operation just a few days after his 1st birthday.

People around me told me it was going to be a minor operation and that I did not have to worry at all. No matter how much I told myself not to worry, negative thoughts still filled my mind and I kept having nightmares.

On the day of the operation, I was allowed to carry my baby into the operation theatre. He seemed to know that he was going for operation and started crying the moment he left the ward. He was struggling when the nurses put the gas mask on him to sedate him and had to quicken the sedation because he was struggling badly.

After he was sedated, I was asked to leave the theatre. The time spent waiting at the waiting area seemed like forever. After 45 minutes, I checked with the nurse and was told they were just starting the operation. I overheard that they had to change the operation theatre and I started feeling things were not right. Another 30 minutes passed and I received a phone call from the nurse.

I was sitting in a room with the anaesthetist and surgeon where they informed me that my baby’s lungs stopped one after another. They had to move him into intensive care unit (ICU) to monitor his lungs before they could decide if they could do the operation the next day. I was so devastated that I broke down and cried. I was so afraid of losing my baby. When I saw him in ICU, he was sedated with tubes into his nose and throat, which continued till the next morning when they would decide if he could go undergo the mandatory operation. During this period, they had to keep extracting mucus from the tube in his throat.

It was so torturous to see him going through all these when he is just a one-year-old kid. My hubby insisted I go home and rest while he stayed in the ICU to watch over our baby as he knew that I will not be able to withstand the sight of my baby having to go through all these. Even we adults cannot withstand a tube inserted in our throat, let alone an infant. The look on his face when he cried and no voice came out because of the tube is deeply imprinted in my memory. Fortunately, the x-ray done the next morning showed that his lungs were clear and the anaesthetist and surgeon advised that we should proceed with the operation.

So he had the operation and was wheeled back to ICU for observation. His condition was stable and he was transferred to a normal ward in the afternoon after the operation. When the sedation wore off, he kept crying badly due to the pain in his throat and nose. He had phobia whenever a nurse came into the room, not knowing if they will insert another tube or injection on him. He has turned from a cheerful and happy baby to a baby who is apprehensive of people around him now. It’s really heart breaking to see the little one go through all these. I wish I am the one suffering all these instead of my baby.

After this ordeal, I tell myself that I have to spend more time with my children. I have to love them even more and have more patience with them. We never know what unexpected things will happen to our children or ourselves. A lot of us are busy spending time catching up on earning money and neglecting our children. To them, they are happier when we spend more time with them than buying more things for them.

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