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Recovery Room Thread

A Cleft-Talker writes:

Patrick was born with a cleft of the soft palate. He will be having surgery soon. I feel very lucky to have found you all, because I could really use some advice for getting though this. We have been told we are not allowed in the recovery room. They say that he will not remember this because he is only 6 months old. This upsets me. I would like to be in the recovery room with him. Any suggestions?

Responses from other parents:

I have been allowed in the recovery room, and I have been kept out of the recovery room. My preference is, of course, to be with my child. I am mother of three cleft-affected children, and we have been through more than a dozen surgeries together.

I think it is absolutely no question that the presence of a calm parent in recovery is good for the baby. I know that it made a difference for Jacob at 5 months. And when I was kept out last summer after his bone graft, at 9 years, it also made a difference. (I was told I could go in, but they had a patient in crisis so they would not let me in -- I was pretty upset, and Jacob ended up confused.)

If the recovery room is not set up to allow for parents, then it will not be in the baby's best interest to be in there. There will not be room for you. I suggest you write to the administration of the hospital, site the benefits to little ones of having parents there to hold and comfort them, and remind them that it is a practice that is done successfully in many hospitals all over.

Many times hospital staff seem to think we parents will be hysterical. Some maybe are, but in my opinion, most are not. Most of us just want what is best for our babies. A parent can help to free up recovery room staff by helping the baby to rest more peacefully. Go to cleft-links and get the article, "A Wildcat in Recovery" It's a true story - it is my daughter. Share that story with the doctor if you like and ask him again.

In the end, if they stick to their guns and tell you you cannot go into recovery, it will be better for your baby if you accept the decision calmly. He will pick up on your anger and your anxiety and it will be harder on him. Recovery is only about an hour (yes - a very important hour) and much of that time he is totally out of it or being tended to by a team of people. Once he is back in your arms again, he will most likely relax. On the occasions that I was kept out of recovery, to be honest now - in retrospect - it may have been harder on me than on them.

I understand your frustration and hope I can help you in some way. I think a letter to the hospital administration, CC to your doctor, might be your best bet at this point.


Hi all -

I just wanted to add another perspective on the "being in the recovery room" thread.

I agree with Joanne that having a calm parent in recovery can be a great help - though we never did this (wasn't offered to us, we never thought about it).

However - while I'm not a medical professional, I do spend an awful lot of time in and around the hospital. (I am an Episcopal priest.)

When I go into Knoxville to visit the hospital, while I can usually get into the pre-op area and ICU at any time, I am not usually allowed in recovery, and I have to ask about the others & get permission.

On the other hand, at our small rural hospital I have the free run of the place & can go anywhere. The difference is simple, here they all know me, they know I don't go off the handle in difficult situations, and that I will respect & not interfere with the medical care they are offering.

Please understand what hospital personnel go through. They deal with people who, when they see a person they love with tubes or hooked up to machines, go off the wall and are likely to do ANYTHING, including pulling out tubes, yelling, thrashing around, trying to pick up their child & run out of the hospital - yes all these things really do happen.

What I'm saying is, 99 parents out of 100 would probably be just fine in recovery, even a great help. The 1 in 100 could do more than enough damage to their own child & others in recovery to make up for the 99. And the recovery room people simply have NO WAY to know which is which. Which means that if you are in recovery, and they do NOT know you well, some of their energy will be expended in watching you instead of their patients.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to get into recovery. But please understand, if the hospital balks, what they are dealing with. And the best way to obtain permission is to get to know the people who will be caring for your child and build up trust with them.

Hope this helps - it's a difficult issue, but I thought maybe we needed to understand that there are other perspectives that need to be considered.

I was allowed in the recovery after my daughter's cleft palate repair surgery, and I believe that it was a good thing that I was there. My daughter was hysterical at 1-1/2 yrs. It took almost three nurses to hold her down when she woke up. For some odd reason they didn't have her arm restraints on yet so she managed to get a hand out, she tried ripping out her tongue stitch! And if it hadn't been for me grabbing her arm she would have. When one of the nurses realized what happened she just looked at me. When we were leaving for her room she said she was happy that I talked the Dr. into letting me come in. For any of the parents still waiting for her/his child's surgery, don't get upset by this I'm sure the staff was quite capable, but I do firmly believe all parents should be let in the recovery room especially when a young child is involved any parent knows that the only people in the universe to a child is there parents and who does the child want the most when they have a boo-boo their mommy (or daddy).


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