Thursday, June 12, 2014

Parents Wait and Wait During a Pediatric Endoscopy

This blog post is the second in a series concerning our personal experiences with a medical procedure, called a pediatric endoscopy. Please note:  I am not a medical professional. I am the parent of a micro-preemie who has experienced an endoscopy and I am sharing this story for informational purposes only. Please contact your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your child's health or nutrition. 

I didn't sleep well on the night of Emily's endoscopy. I tossed and turned all night -- and covered and uncovered myself with the sheet and comforter as if I were the swinging arm of a windshield wiper on a rainy day. I finally gave up on the idea of sleep at 4 a.m.

Emily woke up around 5:45 a.m. Although we typically feed Emily as soon as she wakes up, this was not a typical day.

We were not allowed to feed Emily anything two hours prior to her scheduled arrival time at the surgery center, which was set for 7:45 a.m. Formula, solids, and water were not allowed.

I rocked and held Emily in her nursery until Craig told me that I needed to get dressed so that we could get on the road.

We arrived at the surgery center way too early -- around 7:15 a.m. So, we sat in the waiting room for what seemed like an eternity and people watched. 

Our names were called to handle administrative issues. We paid our health insurance copayment, as well as a facility fee, and signed a ton of paperwork. Then, we waited some more.

We played with Emily in the waiting room and held her close. Finally, her name was called and we were shuffled into the pre op area.

We were escorted down a long hallway until we finally got to Emily's room -- which was decorated like a farm.

We removed Emily's pajamas and dressed her in an oversized child's hospital gown featuring Looney Tunes characters.

Then, we waited some more.

Emily's procedure time, which was scheduled for 8:45 a.m., came and went.

At about 9:15 a.m., a nurse came to the room and introduced herself. The anesthesiologist and pediatric gastroenterologist also stopped by.

We re-weighed Emily and were surprised that the surgery center didn't have a scale for babies. Craig had to stand on an adult scale, weigh himself without Emily, and then weigh himself with Emily. Then, the nurse did the math to determine Emily's weight. This process made me wonder how many babies, toddlers, and infants are actually taken to this particular surgery center. It also made me a bit nervous about Emily and the amount of anesthesia that would be provided.

I laid Emily's blanket on her hospital bed and tucked-in her a Eebee doll. Then, we continued to wait.

At 9:30 a.m., the anesthesiologist returned and told us that it was time.

Craig and I followed the anesthesiologist and nurses who were pushing Emily's hospital bed down the hall. I was carrying Emily and was surprised when the anesthesiologist turned around and said, "I'll take her now."

I hesitantly handed Emily over. She wrapped her arms around the anesthesiologist while Craig and I stood at the entryway of the operating room corridor. I stood there almost paralyzed for a minute or two. At one point, the anesthesiologist turned around; motioned for us to leave; and exclaimed, "She's fine."

As Emily was whisked away, I could tell that she was curious and taking in all of the sights and sounds. I didn't handle things with such curiosity. The tears streamed as we weaved our way back to the waiting room.

We waited and then waited some more.

I was antsy the entire time. I simply couldn't sit still. I entertained myself by marching back and forth to the free coffee machine. After inhaling two or three cups of coffee on an empty stomach, I found myself in constant need of the restroom.

After about an hour, I finally saw Emily's doctor enter the waiting room. I waived at him. When the doctor approached us, he suggested that we should go to the conference room to talk.

All of the other doctors talked with families in the waiting room. Did our pediatric gastroenterologist want privacy to share good or bad news?

Luckily, the doctor had good news to share. He said that Emily's esophagus, stomach, and other parts looked completely normal. The doctor shared pictures with us -- and had even taken a picture of Eebee in the operating room. 

He suggested that the typical gastroenterologist probably would have questioned the need for having an endoscopy. However, he further explained that reflux damage is not always visible to the eye when it comes to children. That is why he took about a dozen biopsies and sent them to pathology.

The doctor took us to Emily's post op recovery room. Emily was sleeping and had three or four nurses hovering over her. We were shooed away and sent back to the waiting room. The nurses suggested that we could see her in ten more minutes.

Ten minutes came and went. After twenty minutes. I asked the front desk for a status report. Emily was still sleeping.

After about 45 minutes, the hospital staff finally allowed us into Emily's recovery room. Emily had fallen asleep between the time they called for us and the time we entered her room. I rocked her and noticed that her breathing sounded very congested. Her nose was running and her eyes were watering. The nurse explained that anesthesia can dry you out and that may be the reason for the congestion. 

The nurses wouldn't let us leave until Emily woke up.  So we rocked her for quite some time. 

At some point, Emily woke up. The nurse gave her a small teddy bear for being such a good patient, provided us with discharge instructions, and escorted us out.

Emily wasn't thrilled about being placed in her car seat. After experiencing a lengthy and comprehensive endoscopy, she wanted to continue to be held by her mommy and daddy.

We drove home. 

Emily spent the rest of the day crying intermittently.  

It was a long day. I'm glad that the endoscopy is over and that the procedure is providing us with some answers to our many questions. 

If you would like to continue reading about Emily's endoscopy and learn about her pathology results, please subscribe to Preemie Blessings by e-mail or check back next week for a new blog post at:


  1. It does sound like it was a LONG day and emotional. HUGS! I am glad that you received good news. That makes the long day a little more worth it.

  2. Oh Michelle! I'm so glad the images turned out normal, and hoping all the biopsies prove to be the same. We've been through this same scenario. I remember the tears as the anesthesiologist took our little girl into the procedure room. And yes, I paced back and forth from the coffee area too. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us.

  3. That must have been such a difficult day for you and your husband. I can't imagine being in your position. I have a hard enough time with the vaccinations. I hope she's recovering well. Blessings to you three~