After the colostomy surgery, Dr. B came down to give his what to expect probabilities and possibilities speech. As Baby had been under general anesthesia, he was also "intubated" - he was helped to breathe. The tube would stay in until Baby was breathing on his own. Being the big fighter that he is (an important thing when you are child number six in a family of boys!) Baby was preparing to do so as we spoke. If we didn't rush to meet Baby in the NICU, we would miss the chance to see him with the ventilator. We risked that, and when I next saw baby he was only hooked up to the same mass of wiring he'd had before the surgery.
I noticed that the IV fluid was a different color, and asked our nurse what that meant. She told me that with an open exit route, Baby was now ready for "food" and was receiving it via the IV. We were waiting to see what output there would be before the go-ahead to feed him by bottle would come. Once we established the ins and outs were consistent and healthy, I would be able to sit and feed Baby. The doctors were set to determine a go home day based on Baby's performance. Come on Baby, I cheered, you can do it!
The next morning, which was a Friday, Dr.B left word with our nurse (they keep changing on me - I rarely see the same face twice) that as far as healing from surgery went, Baby could be discharged on Monday. Yippee! Don't get me wrong - everyone worked to make our stay in hospital as nice as possible. It's just not possible to feel at home in that environment is all.
Daddy and I discussed the pros and cons of having our troop of big ones visit with Baby. We decided to follow their lead: we would tell them the basics of what was going on, packaged in child friendly language, and gauge their reaction. If they were OK with waiting to meet their newest brother, as we hoped they would be, we would skip visiting the NICU. Otherwise, we would contact Dr.K's office to get their immunization records and take them up one at time following NICU rules. We further decided to tell all the kids at once, face-to-face when they came to visit me on Friday afternoon.
Ms. H, our social worker, set up a team meeting for us, which would take place in my room while Daddy and the kids were visiting. This way, Daddy and I could hear everything straight from the horses mouth, and could air our questions and concerns about caring for Baby's ostomy.
Daddy brought the crew and a picnic lunch for them, which was serendipitous, as my hospital lunch tray arrived just as they did. Suffice it to say my stuff was more interesting than sandwiches and cookies, so I shared. Once lunch was finished and cleaned up, I vacated my bed and the kids got comfy. As we live in an ancient civilization, we have no TV at home. So it has become a new baby ritual in our family to be treated to a show in Mommy's hospital room. Once the kids were ensconced on the bed and were done riding it up and down, I picked a kid friendly channel and watched their eyes glaze over.
We had our meeting with Ms. H and the Drs and Nurses with not a peep from the five kids in the room.