I found out late last year that I needed surgery to correct a ruptured breast implant. Fast forward (very slowly) through 2020 and I have had my surgery canceled twice (due to lockdowns) and have had to live in pain through an already challenging 2020. Finally, on the other side, I can say that the surgery was a success and I am recovering very well. So how exactly do you prepare for surgery with a toddler at home?
When I first found out I needed to have the surgery I was wondering how I was going to manage with a toddler. I had to really prepare for the aftermath of the surgery. Here’s how I prepared for surgery with a toddler at home.
It didn’t help that he came down with a fever the night before my procedure which only added to my #mumxiety and #mumguilt
At least I had planned and prepped as much as I could have, making the whole experience much easier.
Meal Prepping Ahead of Time
I don’t have the most kitchen-friendly husband. And that’s ok, but I didn’t want to have our family living off UberEats for 2 weeks so I made sure to prep some pasta sauce and curries to pop in the freezer.
Remembering what I was like after my initial surgery I didn’t know if I would be capable of much, tanked up on heavy painkillers.
Turns out day 6 I was able to slowly get back into the kitchen and make a healthy meal, but the knowledge that I have a few go to meals in the freezer if I’m having an off day is good to know.
Catching Up on House Maintenance
This time of year is when everything is in bloom. Flowers, trees and the bloody weeds are back! I couldn’t stand to sit around for 6 weeks not being able to pull out a weed so I made sure to lay weed mats and mulch before I went into hospital.
This being said, I did make sure to get this done early and leave myself a few days of relaxing before the big day.
While I know that this is probably not top priority on someone else’s list, I am the kind of person who would probably have started pulling the weeds out a week after my surgery, against doctor’s advice so getting rid of the temptation was a huge deal for me.
I also made sure to do the things in the house that the rest of the family take for granted. I re-laid the kitty litter, changed the bed sheets and scrubbed the toilets and showers and vacuumed under the couch cushions.
Knowing that all these things were done fresh before I went into hospital put my mind at ease that I would be coming home to a semi-clean house.
Organising Help Before Your Procedure
I’m really fortunate to have a club of babysitters (#babysittersclub) who at the drop of a hat will come to my aid and watch Jax when needed.
I ended up having to draw out shifts so each person got a turn!
Jaxon’s Aunty S was in charge of daycare drop off/pick up while I isolated before the surgery and in the week after Alan went back to work (with uncle’s help of course). While I could drive fairly soon after the procedure, I cant lift Jax in and out of the carseat and he hasn’t learned how to climb in himself just yet.
My MIL was called upon when Jax had a fever 2 days after my surgery but Alan couldn’t get to the chemist to get his meds. She ended up going to 3 different chemists just to get the right antibiotics #lifesaver
Mum was around cooking me lunch on the weekend while Alan caught up on much needed sleep (turns out this week is the week Jax has decided to have a regression in sleep – sorry hubby)
And Aunty K will be round at the end of the week to babysit while I go to my post-op appointment.
Basically, if I am alone with Jax I need assistance. My surgery has meant that I cannot lift his cute little 14kg self. I can’t lift him into his crib to sleep (or out when he wakes up). I can’t lift him into his highchair or onto the change table to change his nappy. Actions taken for granted until really thinking about the limitations I would be presented with.
And yes at 21 months we are still using a change table – see how HERE
Mental Health Pre-Procedure
I talk about managing expectations a lot. I think it is absolutely the most important thing when entering into any new venture.
If your expectations are too high, you only stand to be disappointed. If you are realistic and decide that you are ok if things do not work out, when they DO work out you will be so amazed and so grateful for the experience.
So, take the time to let go of controlling the entire scenario, stress is not good for recovery and you need to focus on that right now.
For myself I was riddled with anxiety, I stopped sleeping and was having nightmares about everything that could go wrong with my opertion. After all, I have a lot more to live for this time around.
I made sure to talk to my husband about these fears and anxieties and he was able to put my mind more at ease. You might find that you have people within your support network that you can call on to discuss these apprehensions, or you may look into talking to a professional like your GP or otherwise. It’s super important to not only prepare your body and home when going into something like this, but to prepare your mind as well. Less stress = better health = better/faster recovery.
Preparing as if I was going on #mumcation helped to channel my anxiety and fears into productive activities. And meant that I was able to have a solid week of double naps (2 naps a day on top of my 8 hours – I haven’t done that since my party days!) and not feel bad about it.
7 days post op and I am off the pain meds and feeling really great about the whole experience. I have to put it down to ensuring I had planned ahead and that I had lots of help.
If I hadn’t had food in the freezer or the house was a complete mess, I would have been feeling hectic #mumguilt for needing to sit still and not being able to fulfil my #mumduties 100%
Manging my expectations of others ability and experience in caring for Jax, making sure I let go of the little things (why are Jaxon’s pants on backwards?) made sure I was able to focus my energy on recovery.
I hope I have helped some mama out there prepare for their own surgery or procedure who may be wondering how they are going to get through the experience with a toddler at home.