The Good, The Bad, and The Baby

Just Another Surgery – But Something Is Different

Jen and Victoria one hour oldI’m not ashamed to say I’m scared. We found out a few months back that Victoria will need a revision surgery on her cleft lip repair. I was crushed. I also wasn’t surprised.

Every time someone said ‘oh wow, you can barely tell!’ Or some other such comment meant to be reassuring I knew. I knew it hadn’t healed well. I knew her surgeon would want to repair it. He’s amazing and he’s a perfectionist. He wants Victoria to look just like everybody else. And so do we.

Victoria’s healing was always a little behind when we went in for her check ups. Her scar was thick and high. We had to massage for longer than usual because of it.

We also found out at that last meeting with her surgeon that he changed his ‘rules’ for parents because of how Victoria healed. He always said how it looks on the table is how it will heal, and hers was perfect. But it didn’t heal like that. He uses her as an example to his students. We did everything we could and it still didn’t heal properly. It happens. But it sucks.

It’s kind of funny. I have this very strong memory from when her doctor told us we’d need the revision. I was numb. But I was also still smiling. One of his students had come in with him and had been excited to meet Victoria because Dr Bezhuly used her in his case studies. I remember thinking ‘it might be super cool and interesting to meet her but it’s not really for us’.

The difference now?

She’s older… She speaks… Her emotions are more real to me now than when she was just happy baby, mad baby and sad baby. I can’t just snuggle her better or toss a boob in her face.

She expresses herself now. She kisses her monkey good night. She gives Andrew hugs when he leaves for work. She is a little human.

Why does that matter? Why should this make any difference?

Because she can tell me how much it hurts. Because she can ask me to kiss it better.

It won’t hurt any more than when she was a baby but she can tell me how much it hurts. When she was a baby I knew it had to be done and she wouldn’t remember it. She couldn’t express herself the same way she can now. She’d cry, she’d be grumpy, she’d pass out in relief when the medication kicked in and she wasn’t in pain anymore.

But now? Now I will hear her pain explained. I will listen and my heart will bleed every time she asks me to make her pain go away. I will hurt inside knowing there is nothing I can do to make her better. My mom kisses can’t help like they do with her skinned knees and bruised legs.

I’m certainly not scared for her during the surgery. I know she is in great hands at a fantastic hospital. The IWK has already done so much for us. I’m not scared anything will go wrong. I’m not scared for her to be put under again. None of that scares me. I am scared for purely selfish reasons. My heart breaks for selfish reasons. But I need you to know that because I don’t need to hear ‘she’ll be fine, the surgery will go well’. I know that. I know she’s at an awesome hospital. I know her surgeon’s credentials. I know he wants her to be perfect. I know he’s great at what he does and loves helping kids. I know.

That’s not what I’m afraid of. I’m afraid my mom powers won’t work. I’m afraid I won’t be able to do anything. I’m afraid to be powerless.

How can I stand by and not be able to help my baby girl? How can I explain that she needs to go through this pain?



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Jennifer • 1 November 2016

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