We went in to the hospital before the sun even thought about coming up this morning to admit Penelope. She had to get tubes in both of her ears. I know this is a common procedure and it’s not anything evasive or crazy, however as a mama, you still don’t want to have your child go through this! &&& It can still be nerve wrecking if you have no idea what all it entails!! I’m going to share our experience to help you prepare yourself!! Before P’s surgery I had no idea what to expect, no idea how to prepare, what our day of would be like! (Keep reading to the bottom for After Tubes Care too!)
Penelope’s pediatrician has commented her whole life about the constant fluid in her middle ear, more than what should be there. She got her first ear infection at about 4 months old and has had one about every 2 months since then! She is constantly rubbing her ears and bothered by them! We were referred to an ENT who did a few tests on her. One of those included a Tympanometry test and it is represented on a graph called a Tympanogram. “A tympanogram is a graphic representation of the relationship between the air pressure in the ear canal and the movement of the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, and the tiny bones in the air-filled middle ear space.” (HealthyHearing)
Here were her results. At this visit, the ENT did a visual test before and said she just had a tiny bit of fluid in her ears. After this test he said if he hadn’t seen her ears before, he would’ve believed they were FULL of fluid because of the amount of pressure she is experiencing. This is when we found out she needed tubes to relieve that pressure and help her ears drain the fluid.
Fast forward about a month! We have her surgery scheduled and we came in for her Pre-Op appointment! Double checked that she hasn’t been sick in the past month, hasn’t been running a fever, and that she didn’t have an access amount of fluid in her ears. She did have a little bit, but they said they could drain that during the procedure. They have you sign a bunch of precautionary papers. Yes, this is a common procedure, but just in case anything comes up that wasn’t expected, you have to give permission for the Dr to take care of it!
Then you have to go preregister at the hospital! I thought this would be a 10 minute experience, nope, 2 hours later….You will go over family medical history, fill out a lot of papers about your child, and take care of the financials. Such as if you haven’t met your deductible and your portion of the procedure! Prepare to have a full afternoon to get everything taken care of!
Baby can’t eat or drink anything after midnight and no medications after midnight! Pack your bag with your normal outing items, diapers, toys, anything that helps comfort your child! Their favorite stuffed animal, their favorite blanket, their paci! We took P in her PJs so that she’d be comfortable before and after! We also filled a thermos with Milk to pour into her sippy cup after so she had something to fill her tummy and comfort her after since she hasn’t had anything since the night before. Make sure to get sleep the night before too!
We checked in at the hospital. Had mom and baby put hospital bracelets on and then took us back to a patient room. Here was P right before they took her back! Thankfully, my mom was able to come with me!! Again, we had no idea what to expect still!! Everyone, including the Dr’s said the tubes won’t cause her any pain! The anesthesia might make her groggy but that’s all we should worry about for the day! Lots of cuddles to come and some extra naps, by the next day she will be back to her spunky self!
She kept looking under the curtain to try to see the other kids in the room across from us. lol! The Dr. said they try to go by age, youngest to oldest for surgery order! The Dr and the anesthetist came by to say hello and see if we had any questions. The procedure is so quick, they just use a little gas mask to put them to sleep. They don’t do needles, iv’s, breathing tubes or anything crazy. They did a few vitals, we played the waiting game and then they took her back to the operating room. She cried for like 2 seconds, we could hear them walking her back. They had us go to a consultation room to wait for the Dr after he was done. My mom went to get us a cup of coffee from the cafeteria and about 1 minute after she got back the Dr came in. It really went that quick! Everything went great he said!
This is where the shock came in! A nurse grabbed us as soon as the Dr was done explaining how everything went and took us to the recovery room. A nurse was carrying P out as we walked up and she was inconsolably crying. I sat down with her and they checked her vitals and she would not stop crying. no. matter. what. I. did. She wouldn’t let anyone near her but me. We gave her her milk and she’d stop enough to take a few sips but then just keep crying. She was running a fever and she was like a little bobble head, couldn’t keep her head up. The nurse said that some babies don’t react well to the anesthesia and P was NOT!! They went ahead and gave her some Children’s Tylenol. We were able to go home shortly after that!!
I set up her DockATot on her little couch in the living room, put on her favorite movie, and I fed her a little bit of food, she finally gave me a smile! She was a little wobbly and would just randomly burst out in tears! Shortly after, she crashed out for a 3 hour nap!!!! Woke up, ate lunch and was ready to play like normal! A few hours later she took another nap! After that initial nap it was like I had my normal baby back, just wobbly still!! Just be patient and quiet today! You survived!! You both did!
P’s Godparents stopped by last night to bring her a movie for her to watch today!! It was so sweetttt!!!
Here is some After Tubes Care!!
- The Dr. will explain this more, but the tubes only last around 6-18 months! Hopefully you don’t need to get them again!
- Now that there is a direct line into their middle and inner ear, you have to be very cautious about water getting in their ears! We were recommended to get ear plugs (over the counter) for her to wear during baths, even if she plays in the sprinkler outside, the beach, pool, and all! We were told they would prefer us not going to the pool or beach for at least a few months in general! If she gets water in her ear, it’ll just sit there, grow bacteria and cause more ear infections!
- We were told that the kids cannot reach or hurt their tubes. Kids mess with everything so if they stick their fingers in their ears, they won’t be able to pull them out or anything.
- Everything is going to be louder for them now. Especially at first, watch out for loud tv, radio, dogs barking, door bells, etc. It may alarm and scare them!
- You may see some drainage, this is normal! Unless it’s yellow, green or has a foul smell to it! Then you need to call your Dr.
- Your little one may have a headache day of surgery. Now that fluids can move easier in their heads, it may be draining and cause like a sinus headache that we as adults get! This is another factor in them being wobbly after!
- You will have a Post-Op follow up appointment about 2-3 weeks later and then again every 3-4 months until the tubes fall out themselves!
Now I’m going to go cuddle my baby for the rest of the day!! Finished this up during her nap!! I hope you feel a little better, knowing what to expect for your little one!! Ya’ll got this mama!!