In February, he got one on his right toe and it stuck around for a while. We put neosporin on it, watched it, and made sure to soak it in his baths, but nothing seemed to help. He even started to walk on his tiptoes on that one foot to relieve pressure (I'm assuming). My aunt came to visit for a while, and she noticed it. She used to be a nurse, so she asked us about it. I told her it had been around for a while, and she really felt like it needed to be looked at. We gave it a few more days, and it still looked bad, so Matt called our pediatrician. They said that they wanted to see it, so Matt took him in on March 6. They said it looked pretty bad and gave us both an oral and topical antibiotic and said they would refer us to a podiatrist just to get it check out.
The appointment for the podiatrist was the next week (March 12), so Matt and I both made sure that we were able to go. It was actually pretty funny to take Cooper in there. We were in the front waiting room for about 45 minutes (!!) and all of the patients were Cooper and a bunch of old people - from one extreme to the other. Once we got back to the back room, the doctor came in pretty quickly. He took a look at it and said that we had a few options. Option one - just let him fix this one problem and go on our way. It would be something that he could do in office, it would take away this ingrown nail that was causing problems, and we'd be done. The down side is that it would not be a permanent fix, and there was a very high chance that we'd be back pretty soon with the same problem (either on the same toe, or his other big toe). He said that, especially because of Matt's history, this was very possible. Option two - let him do a procedure that would cut all four corners of his big toes (two toes, four sides), kill the nail bed, and prevent his from happening any more. This would be a permanent fix. Even though the other sides of his big toes aren't currently bothering him, they have before, and he doesn't want to do this to Cooper three additional times. The down side is that it would have to be an outpatient procedure and they would have to put Cooper under anesthesia. Usually, he can do this procedure in his office. With babies, doing it in office actually is way more traumatic for him. You have to hold him down, give him shots in his foot, cut on him, etc. He said that it traumatizes them and that everyone needs heavy medication afterwards - haha. With doing it as an outpatient procedure, Cooper wouldn't really eve know that anything had happened, and we wouldn't have to worry about holding him down, keeping his toes and legs still, etc. And we could just get all 4 done at once and call it a day. Needless to say, we went with option number two. While the idea of anesthesia made me a nervous wreck, I knew this was the best option for him in the long run. It's not fair for Cooper to constantly have to deal with the pain of ingrown toenails, the infection that comes along with it, being on antibiotics, etc. It was just the better option. We left the office with them saying they would call us back with dates for surgery. The nurse actually called me back about three hours later to say that surgery had been schedule for Friday, March 21. Right at about a week and a half away.
Waiting at the podiatrist. He's got snacks and a car - what more could a boy want?
He put himself in time out - ha. Just kidding. Playing peek-a-boo while we wait!
To tell you that I worried myself sick for the next week and a half is an understatement. I was a mess. I wasn't concerned too much with the actual procedure; I was so super scared for Cooper to be put under. For the rest of my life, I will never take a parent having to put their child under anesthesia lightly - no matter what the procedure. Cooper went back to the pediatrician on Tuesday, March 18 for a physical. The podiatrist wanted that done and sent to them prior to the surgery.
Ready to get his physical!
Then, we had his pre-op appointment at the hospital on Wednesday, March 19. This was a Mommy fail moment for sure. The appointment was schedule for 11:00. I took off of work at 9:30 and figured that I would go, get him dropped back off, and be back at work by 1:30. Wrong. We didn't even get back to see the nurse and anesthesiologist until almost 1:00. And I had not packed a lunch for him at all. Fail. Thankfully, I had packed a lot of snacks and water, so that really helped hold him over. We met with the nurse and anesthesiologist, answered a ton of questions about Cooper, asked a few of our own, and then we were done. Here are the major things we were worried about: his surgery wasn't scheduled until 12:30 pm on Friday. He wasn't allowed to eat after midnight the night before. That means he was going to have to miss breakfast, snack, and lunch before his surgery. Have you see this child? He does not miss a meal! Thankfully, the anesthesiologist said that he could have clear liquids until 10:00 am that morning. Not great, but better than nothing!
Playing in the pediatric waiting room.
We waited so long that we finally resorted to Baby Einstein videos on YouTube.
Friday morning Matt and I had a good plan. Thursday night we let LL spend the night with Grammy. This reason was two fold: one, if Cooper couldn't eat, we didn't want anyone eating in front of him. That's just not fair. And there's no way we could keep LL from eating, too. Second, Matt's grandmother from Louisiana was in town, so this also gave LL more time to spend with her. I got up and headed off to work like normal. I was on the brink of an emotional breakdown anyway (I'm telling you - I have super high anxiety anyway. So the thought of him being put under almost sent me into a panic attack. No joke.), and I knew that having to spend the morning just waiting around and watching him fuss for food might make me completely lose it. Matt said he could handle it just fine, so this was the best plan for us. In the end, Cooper actually ended up doing great. He didn't even complain about food much at all (which is totally only God answering a prayer - this is not normal for Cooper), and Matt was able to keep him pretty distracted until it was time to leave.
Morning of surgery!
Daddy kept him busy! Wagon rides….
I left work at 9:30 and headed to meet Matt and Cooper at the hospital. His surgery was schedule for 12:30, but we had to be there two hours early. We got there at 10:30 and they were able to get us back to his room almost immediately. We got him changed into his gown (seriously the cutest and saddest thing all at the same time), and then we went into "occupy Cooper" mode. I mean, let's be real. I have a one year old boy. He is non-stop. Having to occupy him in a confined space is no easy task! Thankfully, we brought tons of toys, and they had a fun wagon for him to ride around in.
His little hospital gown was both the cutest and saddest thing ever.
We took LOTS of wagon rides!
We cubed him in and had video time.
This little smushed profile is quite possibly the cutest thing ever.
About 12:15 the nurse that would actually be in surgery with him came in to talk to us. She was seriously the nicest person ever and made me feel so much more at ease. Especially because she was going to be with Cooper the entire time. Another blessing was that a few days before, Grammy found out that the husband of the preschool director for LL's school is an anesthesiologist for the outpatient center. Grammy and Pop are members of the church connected to LL's school, and he will try to be there for surgery for church members. So Grammy talked to Mrs. Mandy one day when picking LL up, and her husband agreed to go up there for Cooper's surgery. I had no idea about any of this until he came to introduce himself to us about 20 minutes for surgery. Another blessing because he also made me feel so much better. They gave Cooper some loopy drugs, and we just had to wait for the doctor to get there. We ended up waiting about 30 minutes, and it took about 12 for the drugs to kick in. Cooper got suuuuuuper silly. It was almost sad to me to see him so out of it, but Daddy did a great job of making him laugh and making it funny. They came to take him back about 12:50. This is truly the time that I almost completely lost it. Just seeing them take him around the corner made me almost lose it. I went back to the room and just started texting close friends and family to let them know that he was going back. Doing that really helped me to focus and not think about him going.
This boy was LOOPY!
They moved us to his recovery room and we just had to wait. By 1:30, the doctor came to tell us that it was all over and that Cooper did great. We just had to wait a little longer for him to come back from anesthesia. About 15 minutes later, we knew he was coming because we could hear him crying from around the corner. While it was sad to hear him cry, it was also so comforting because I knew he was okay. If you're crying, you're awake! My friend Meghan had warned me that coming out of anesthesia made her son super angry, and the same was true for Cooper. I don't know if it was a side effect of the medicine, or if he was just crazy hungry (it was almost 2:00 and he hadn't eaten since 7:00 the night before), or if it was a combination of the two, but he was mad! We had to wait for him to drink some fluids before they could take the IV out, but they let us go ahead and feed him. What scared me the most I think was hearing how hoarse he was. They didn't put any tubes in his mouth/throat, so I didn't anticipate him being hoarse at all. When he was crying/coughing, it sounded exactly like it does when he has coup. It scared me so bad because croup is one of the scariest things that we have ever been through with him! The nurse said it was from the pure oxygen that he got through a mask, and that it just makes the air ways a little inflamed. The more cold stuff he had to drink, the faster it would go away. I kid you not when I say that he drank four whole sippies full of cold gatoraid! He also ate about half of a peanut butter sandwich and some goldfish. He was still super angry through all of this, but the food and drink helped distract him some.
Bubbles make everything better!
We finally got discharged (and all of his hoarseness went away by the time we got home!), and headed home. Our instructions were to leave the bandages on until the next morning (ha!), and then we had to soak them, put drops on them, and keep them clean and covered with bandaids until his appointment in a week. We also needed to keep him as calm and still as possible for the rest of the day. The good this is, the doctor was very realistic that we had a one year old boy. We got home a little after two and both bandages were off by 5:30. And keeping him still was a joke. He was just as wild and crazy as usual.
Headed home and happy!
He propped his feet up on his own before going to sleep. :)
Overall, the experience was wonderful. Cooper never has complained about his toes, and we're two weeks out. They're still healing; we had a little bit of a set back about 5 days after surgery. When he was getting out of the bathtub one night, Cooper kicked the side of the tub as hard as he could (not on purpose - just being a rambunctious kid) with his left toe, and it opened up all of the wounds again. I was actually worried that he had broken it because he hit is so hard. We took him to the doctor two days later for his post-op, and he gave Cooper some antibiotics just in case it had some infection. It was very red, very weepy, very swollen, and just overall looked terrible. For almost the next week, this kept up. Then, overnight, it started looking so much better. He's almost done with his antibiotics, and both of his toes look better and better by the day.
A few days post surgery.
Needless to say, I'm very glad that this is behind us. Hopefully Cooper will never have to worry about this for the rest of his life!