When Mommy Has Surgery

You know that old saying, “When Mommy gets sick, the whole ship can sink?” Or something like that. Close enough. Well. I don’t know if I have that much confidence in my mothering abilities to keep us all afloat, but there is some truth to the strain it can place on the household. Six weeks ago I underwent a fairly major operation – one that kept me under for a good 3-4 hours, as well as earned myself 2 days and a night in the hospital. Fun, fun.

Since the babies were born almost four years ago, I’ve probably undergone as many surgeries. And it doesn’t get any easier. Before kids, naturally I was a little nervous but more about post-operative pain and making sure I got my good drugs on time. I figured if something happened to me, my young handsome hubby would be pretty sad, but would eventually be fine without me. Ha.

However, now that I am a mom, I see surgery in a whole new light. I had a full-blown panic attack the first surgery. The twins were just 6 months old, and all I could imagine was leaving Matt behind with our two little miracle infants.  I would never have an opportunity to see them walk, talk, go to preschool, have their first date, or get married. Oh yeah, my mind was a hot mess. But hey, they gave me the happy drugs early, so THUMBS UP.

Thankfully for this surgery, I had some time to prepare and get things in line for being out of commission. Emotionally I don’t know if you are ever ready to face a surgery but at least I knew I had done my best to keep the household running somewhat smoothly – and thanks to an amazing husband, supportive family, and wonderful friends, we survived.

Here are a few tips that helped us get through a pretty rough time and survive surgery as a MOM like a BOSS.

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Plan, Plan, Plan ::

Because I knew this surgery was coming down the pike for well over a year {oh, I put it off and off, and then off some more}, we were able to schedule on our terms. That meant the best time would be Spring Break – when Matt’s office would be a bit slower and the kids could go to Ma’s for a few days and not have to see me at my worst. Four weeks out, I started lining things up. Making schedules. Arranging childcare. Cooking and freezing meals. Packing anything and everything for the kid’s “vacation” in Austin. Working ahead for my part-time job and turning down other commitments that I knew I couldn’t swing. Paying bills a month in advance. My Type A personality must have sent about 100 emails to make sure everything was lined up to a T. I’m sure that wasn’t annoying to anyone.

Spend Quality Time ::

My biggest goal was spending lots of one-on-one time with the kiddos. Not easy since I was also in “plan” mode, but I was determined to soak in every moment and create some awesome memories. You know, just in case I didn’t make it. {By the way, don’t follow my advice on anything mortality thinking-related. It’s not healthy. You should try living in my brain. Cray Cray with a capital C.} We spent hours at the park. Read a million books. Colored in every single coloring book. Instagrammed {is that even a verb?} a hundred pictures. Y’all. I even broke out the Play Doh AND cookie cutters. That’s about as Pinterest as I get around here and since Play Doh makes my skin crawl, I’d say it was a true act of love. Oh, and I didn’t leave out the hubby either. We had a couple of date nights, and of course, there was sushi involved – which is just our love language.

Prepare the Kiddos ::

My kids are almost 4, so this was a delicate balance. I wanted to give them enough information so that they would have an idea of what was going on, but not too much that I would scare them. I talked a lot about how fun it was going to be to spend time with their “Ma” and cousins in Austin, and then when they came home, GiGi would be here to hang out with them too. Of course, they were naturally curious why they would go to Austin without either Matt or I {that was their first solo trip and a whole ‘nother blog post}. I explained that Mommy was going to see a doctor and that my tummy would have some small “boo boos” when they got home. {They are SO into “boo boos” these days that I even let them see my little scars when they returned home. However, use your discretion – if you think it may scare your children, then keep the wound reveals at a minimum.} We also told them how they would be such BIG BOYS AND GIRLS – getting into their car seats by themselves, walking up and down the stairs because I couldn’t carry them, and helping Daddy with little chores around the house. The chore thing really helped – we’ve always made them help around the house, but now they had a personal responsibility to help feed the dog, put their dishes away, etc.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders ::

Let’s face it. We are MOMS. We are used to putting everything and everyone in front of our own needs. Listen. Surgery is not a time for martyrdom. If you want to recuperate as quickly as possible, then quell those motherly instincts and take the time you need to recover. If they say take your pain medicines on a certain schedule, well, by all means, take them {assuming you aren’t driving or alone with your children because hello, side effects}. If they say no lifting for 4-6 weeks, pout about it if you must, but DO NOT LIFT. No working for 6 weeks? Don’t work. Get my drift? My family would attest that I may be the most stubborn human being to walk the planet. I ignored a few of these rules. Or at least didn’t follow them completely. {I may have even checked my work email from my hospital bed while still attached to a pain pump. Not advisable.} And guess what happened? My recovery has been more difficult because I didn’t follow the rules. About 3 weeks post-op and after I had already sorta been “back at work” for a good 2 weeks, I had to call my boss in tears and tell him that I overdid it and needed more time. I spent precious hours getting checked and re-checked at the doctor’s office. No fun. Take a lesson from me and be a good patient. And have patience.

Accept the Help ::

Besides the whole “listen to the professionals” thing, accepting  help when offered is SO difficult for me. And I think it is for a lot of mommies too. We are used to multi-tasking like a CEO and most of it, on our own. {Not leaving the hubbies out of this though – I couldn’t survive without Matt graciously removing so many burdens off my shoulders.} I knew that I would need help during this recovery, but instinctively I just wanted to shout “NO! I can do this!”. However, I knew my family needed the help and I didn’t want them to suffer one iota. So when my church offered to put together a care meal schedule for me, I swallowed my pride and accepted them with a grateful heart. I called my mom and my mother-in-law and asked for their assistance in caring for the kids. I said “yes, please, and thank you” when my BFF told me she was bringing a full meal for us. I let Matt take care of the household stuff that I would normally do. And I’m so glad that I did. People truly wanted to help us, and we truly needed it. {Huge thanks from the bottom of my heart to everyone who delivered meals, gave gift cards, offered assistance, watched my precious cargo, and sent get well wishes. My cup runneth over.}

So we made it. We’re about 7 weeks removed and almost all is back to normal – except the lifting thing, and man, I miss just those morning snuggles when I carry two sleepyheads downstairs. But soon enough. Take care of yourselves, Mommas. Your family needs you.

We’d love to hear about your post-mom surgeries – not the gory details of course –  but what helped you get through it? How did you prepare? What were some roadblocks? Leave your comments below so we can help fellow moms facing this same “mom challenge”!

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Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!

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