It’s ok to be scared

winter walkMiss 2.5 is indestructible. From as early as I can remember, whenever she’s hurt herself I’ve said “It’s ok sweet, dust yourself off” and she does. I’ve had strangers in parks comment on her robustness as she dongs her head on metal bars or falls from ladders. Sometimes there’s no tears at all, just hands dusting bark and leaves from clothes and she’s off again.

For a dad this is great. I never “had” to have a boy but always thought if I did, I’d have one that would love the rough and tumble. I’d have one that would follow me around the house on weekends when Daddy is fixing stuff, love a trip to the local hardware store and be able to kick a ball around. I got all of this in a bullet proof package and more. I get to have wrestles on the front lawn that turn into kiss fights where we both try to land as many on the other person as possible. I get “daddy’s home” cuddles and bedtime snuggles. For me my little girl is the perfect ratio of ingredients.

Which is going to make this week hard. This week I’m moderately shitting myself because Miss 2.5 is going to have an MRI. I’m ok with the MRI and fine with the fact that she will need a general anaesthetic to have it. The thing I’m becoming more concerned about as Wednesday draws closer is that I’m going to have to go into a white room with her, dressed in a gown, surrounded by people with face-masks and hold her steady while they put a gas mask on her face. And she’s going to look at me and be scared and I am going to have to look straight back at her and say “it’s ok sweety”.

It’s been easy to put thinking about this off with the impending birth, nesting, sorting and finishing the house but as the day approaches, I need to borrow my usually happy posting space for some emotional preparation. The preparation involves me writing down what will probably happen. By putting it down in words I can prepare my brain for the experience ahead;

  • She’s going to be scared.
  • She’s probably going to put a fight.
  • They need the mask to stay on for about 40 seconds for the gas to work during which time her eyes are going to roll back in her head.
  • She may start to shake/convulse
  • She may make a snoring noise.
  • She may wake up sick
  • She may wake up very upset
  • She may wake up scared

These are all very normal reactions – well normal for a little girl being put to sleep.

In the grand scheme of things I know am over-reacting. There are plenty of parents out there that deal with worse. That don’t get the chance to let their kids be indestructible. On a rational level I know this but this week I’m feeling a bit irrational. This week I am scared that I’m not going to be able to help miss 2.5 as much as she needs.

Have you had to go through a procedure with your little one? How did you cope? Did you cope? What when through your mind? Do I need a cup of concrete? And for the parents that deal with this and worse please don’t think I am in any way comparing my life to yours – I know how lucky I am.

Sharing with jess as essentiallyjess.com because she’s got a cracking little link up going on.

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46 Responses to It’s ok to be scared

  1. Poppy says:

    Oh, I know it is very scary, but it is going to be ok. My son had bubonocele since he was a newborn, unfortunately it is very common among boys. He had to be operated just a few weeks before his first birthday. I went through exactly the same as you describe it above. We dressed up with hairnet and mask and everything, went into the white room, and a gas mask was put on his face. It was a terrible experience for me as a Mum, seeing him being so scared and not being able to help him or comfort him. But the people in the (Danish) hospital were just simply so nice! First of all, a big, fluffy teddy bear was waiting for him on the bed in the operation room. And while he had his mask on, all the doctors and nurses were petting him from all the directions, and kept saying: “Such a good boy! You are doing so great! And Mummy is doing so great too!” But to be honest, Mummy was not doing great at all, because as he started to fall asleep crying and hiccuping, eyes rolling back in his head, I started to cry too. But the nurses and doctors started to pet my shoulders too, and the nurse who followed me out of the room afterwards even gave me a hug. The waiting time was also very hard, I crawled up on his little hospital bed and ate a whole pack of chocolate-caramell biscuits, I’m afraid I am a stress-eater – you might need that cup of concrete after all…:) But everything went fine with him. And yes, I kept saying to myself, that I am lucky, because it is not a big operation, and otherwise he is healthy, and others unfortunately have it much worse. Still, I think it is ok to be scared, as parents there is only one thing we are allowed to be scared and worried for, and that’s our children. There are some situations that cannot be coped with, and that’s ok too. You are going to be there for her, and that is the most important thing.

    • Kevin says:

      Thanks so much for the response – sounds like you had the experience that i am expecting. Hope the little man is doing ok now.

      • Poppy says:

        Thank you, he was doing fine literally half an hour after the operation. He was happy, he was hungry, and we could even go home the very same day. It’s been a year now and he’s had no problem whatsoever since. I’ll send my thoughts out for you guys tmw.

  2. Danya Banya says:

    Big hugs Kev

  3. Lydia C. Lee says:

    It’s ok to be scared (as the parent). But you need to be what she needs.
    Good luck

  4. Sheila says:

    I spent yesterday in A&E having a cut above the little fella’s eye glued. I had to help hold him still whilst they did the gluing – horrid. The thought of what you have to go through nearly has me in tears (pregnancy hormones aren’t helping!). Will be thinking of all three of you this week. Very best of luck.

    • Kevin says:

      Hey Sheila, I saw the update about the eye – good to see he’s getting scars early – chicks dig them (hope he’s ok). Pregnancy hormones are kicking in here a bit as well – not sure what my excuse is.

  5. iSophie says:

    I have been through a few traumatic hospital experiences, and it sucks. I always suck it up and put on my bravest face and cry later in the dark, alone. On my blog, Our Darkest Days, tells one of our stories.

    Just recently our 6 year old had an adenotonsilectomy and I was with him when they put him under. I again, put on my brave face so he could see it was ok.

    It sucks Kev, but you’ll be right, you have to be for your little girl.

  6. Jodi says:

    I haven’t had anything like this to go through with Miss Z (who is 2.5 years too) *touch wood*, but I feel for you, it must be scary! I have nothing to offer but a virtual hug! :) x

  7. All the best for tomorrow lovely. I am sure you will both be fine, your feelings are totally justified. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses

  8. Zanni Arnot says:

    My daughter had to go under anaesthetic when she was about 20 months. I was terrified. But she was amazing. The anaesthetist sung her a little song, and put the mask on. She looked into his eyes, and fell asleep. She needed the minimal dose because she was so cooperative. I left the room in tears – my sweet innocent girl so trusting. It broke me. But she woke super happy and excited, not scared at all. She was great.
    I really hope it goes OK tomorrow…Best of luck. Zanni @Heart Mama x

  9. What a confronting Wednesday this will be! You sound well prepared: a good ratio of duty, concern and optimism.

  10. Fortunately, my boys have always been healthy- and have not required significant medical intervention. But I can imagine it is terrifying- I struggle with holding them for their vaccinations. I wish you all the best tomorrow x

  11. No you don’t need a cup of concrete. There’s probably not much more nerve-wracking than having to let your kid be put under a GA. I’ve had to go under twice myself, and I hated that, I would never want my son to be in that situation. But sometimes we have to do these things and we have to put on brave faces for our kids. Of course she’ll be fine, and it will be scary for both of you. I hope everything goes great and the MRI is all clear. -Aroha #teamIBOT

  12. Kelly HTandT says:

    Oh god Kev, my heart breaks for you. I don’t know if I’d have the strength to keep it together. I haven’t had to go through ANY procedures with my kids yet (touch wood). I’m just not good with that stuff, the empathy, you know? Knowing how scary it must be for them is just too much. Hang in there buddy, hope she’s ok x

  13. Mia is the same indestructible. Dave loves it! I can not imagine having to have Mia go under a general anesthetic though, I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to handle the look of fear in her eyes! And I think Dave would handle it even worse, he almost cried when she had to have blood taken at 6 days old. I hope it all goes well, and I hope she’s not too scared and that you both get through it with flying colours. Its not something that any parent should have to deal with, their kids and medical procedures.

    • Kevin says:

      Cheers Kylez – I’m just telling myself that tomorrow afternoon we can go down to the park and smash it up together – get indestructible again

  14. That would be so scary! My 4 year old is indestructable as well, I don’t know how I would be in your situation. Fingers crossed everything goes well.

  15. blundermum says:

    When this happens I am going to be all stoic and tough, until she closes her eyes. Then I’m going to crumple into a sniveling heap.

  16. Neither of my kids have been under general anaesthetic so I can’t speak from a place of experience about this. I’ll think of you all tomorrow.
    Best of luck, Amanda
    PS. If the nerves really get the best of you, Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now is available as an audiobook and when I get overwhelmed I pop him on and let him remind me that I only need face one moment at a time. x

  17. Mrs D says:

    Neither of my boys have had anaesthetics but my oldest was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 & now (& until forever) has to inject himself with insulin to stay alive. The first time was the worst, but now nearly 4 years on it has become part of our new normal.
    Nerves are completely normal for both her & you. Good luck for Wednesday. xx

  18. My older two both had to go under and have a few different procedures. It’s bloody tough even for the toughest of us. Having to hold them down as they gas them and then seeing them ‘lifeless’ on the table – I get goosebumps thinking of it. My advice and please take it – make sure you are there the SECOND she wakes up – wait outside recovery, have your phone on and tell nurse to call you before she wakes, so as soon as her eyes flutter open daddy is there to soothe her, bring her blankie or whatever and just cuddle her. I’ll be thinking of you – it’s not easy but from the sounds of it necessary. HUGS x

  19. Belinda says:

    My 8 year old had to have a small procedure done last year. On adults, they would normally have this procedure done just with a local anaesthetic but they gave him a general so that he would n’t move during it. The hardest thing I have ever had to do was to walk out of that roomafter helping the anaethetist hold the mask to his face because he was fighting him so much. But I did, and he came through just fine. And as hard as it is for you, you and your daughter are going to do it so well, that afterwards, like me, you’ll look back and think that was no big deal. Good luck with it.

  20. Oh Kev, it will be hard, but you’ll be there for her, and she won’t even know how scared you are. Thank goodness for Daddy waiting when it’s all over. I know how hard it is to tell them that it’ll be fine, when inside your guts are swirling, we’re parents, not robots. Big virtual hugs to your family, I think you’ll have lots of positive energy coming your way :)

  21. Kev you’re making it impossible for me to keep to my spreadsheet and only visit once a fortnight! Every time I pop in here, I have to comment!!
    I know exactly how you feel. My second one has been under a GA quite a few times for surgeries on her ears, and it doesn’t matter how often it happens, it’s still scary. You are literally leaving them vulnerable and alone in the care of strangers, and that’s never fun, and goes against every instinct as a parent.
    My advice is this. (i.e. this is what I do). Cause she has to fast, so you won’t be able to eat anything around her cause if you do you will feel like a meany, when they take her in, and send you out, cahnge out of your scrubs, go to the cafeteria and buy something really indulgent and filling. (Because after she is out she may be drowsy and you will be pinned under her for hours) Also something with lots of sugar, and kind of treat like to congratulate yourself on getting that bit done.
    Then return to the waiting room and pace nervously until they call you. :)
    The last part is not a requisite but it makes you feel better. Unless of course there are other parents there, then you pull out your book and just sit down like you are cool calm and collected and they will all be wishing they were as awesome as you.
    Seriously though, I’m sure she will be fine. Some kids react not great, but alot wake up like they have just had a great nap.
    And you’ll be fine too xxx

  22. It is totally normally to be scared. And kids need to know this too. The hardest is trying to explain it to them, I went through this last year. Distraction is great, for maybe 5 minutes x

  23. We had to take Grace for a brain scan (I’ve had a G&T and can’t remember what it was called) after she had convulsions aged 14months. She was awake, but still frightening for her. I think all you can do is try and keep smiling and reassure them its ok. Not easy stuff though. Good luck.

  24. mogletho says:

    My 12 year old just had 3 surgeries towards the end of last year and even though he is big and cool …it was still pretty hard seeing him go under. The snoring/snorting noises as he was going under were really confronting and surprised me a bit…even though we’d been warned. There is nothing like going and seeing them after and holding their hands in recovery. Especially seeing as 12 year old boys don’t often let their mums hold their hands!

  25. kirstyrussell75 says:

    I don’t think you are overreacting at all. It’s hard to stay calm for your child when you are not sure exactly what will happen yourself. My middle daughter had to go under to have grommets inserted in her ears a few years back and I’ll never forget how I felt as I encouraged her to “blow up the bubble” to go to sleep. Unfortunately that wasn’t quite as bad as the waking up part – she was completely disoriented and unwell after the anaesthetic so make sure you are prepared for that. Staying positive and calm and giving her lots of cuddles will definitely help her afterwards. Good luck with it Kevin!

  26. babblingbandit says:

    Ned had to go under when he was 10mths old. I was so terrified but he was amazing. My mum came with me to the hospital and we were both so worried. Neddy just played on despite being Nil By Mouth and missing his morning bottle.

    Holding him down in the theatre was hard but he was out to it in seconds. The wait for news was horrendous. It was only a 20 minute procedure but I kept thinking of those little eyes looking up at me as the black mask went over his mouth.

    When the nurse finally came to tell us he was just fine and in recovery, all was good again. He coped with it all much better than me and mum I think.

    Later that day, 22 October 2009, he started crawling! Everything that had gone on in the morning was forgotten.

    Good luck today for all of you.

    V.

  27. Rita Azar says:

    I’m sending you virtual positive thoughts today Kevin…

  28. Mixed Gems says:

    I hope it went well today. I have not had to experience this but I can totally imagine how I’d feel if it were my little ones. I don’t like forcing them to do anything that scares them. It would feel like a broken circle of trust. But I’d like to think they know and sense the strength of our love for them despite it all.

  29. Talia says:

    Oh I hope everything with your daughter is okay. xo

    You sound like you’re doing the right thing- preparing yourself as much as possible so that you can be the support she needs there!

    Thinking & praying for you guys!

  30. itsacircusinhere says:

    It is completely okay to be scared,for her and for what you can not do,which is stop her from being afraid.We as parents feel we must always be the protector.Kids always come off better then us adults.I have yet to go through this with any of my 4,but the pain of parenting is in many forms and feeling like you can not help your child is a rough one,heartbreaking and love in its most pure and raw form.I am so happy she came out of it well,and I hope tonight you are resting after the week your family has had.
    Jess x

  31. Pingback: It's ok to be scared - Aussie Daddy Bloggers

  32. memoirsofthemind says:

    Nothing irrational about it! Every parent would agree and no one begrudges you the emotion of protecting for your daughter. Great post.

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