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After collecting myself, I walked back to the paediatric ward. I gathered some of Oli’s things and then went back out to the parking lot where my mom and Daniel were. 

As I came out into the dark parking lot, Tamara, our audiologist had just arrived. She gave me a big hug, prayed with me and then went on her way to join Oli in theatre. I kept walking back to our car where Daniel was on the phone with my dad in the States. I couldn’t talk to my dad now, I would just cry too much. I got into the backseat of the car and we drove back to the apartment. 

Leaving Oli at the hospital was gut wrenching, it went against everything in me, to leave him alone at the hospital while he was in surgery. However, Daniel and I weren’t able to be together in the hospital and the apartment was literally 5 minutes down the road. Tamara, had said she would keep us updated throughout the whole surgery and let us know when to come back. 

Being without Oli was a strange feeling. In the 6 months since his birth, he had been with me every hour, except for 8 hours when I was in surgery. I didn’t really know what to do with myself.  We tried to watch a series; I tried to read a book; We tried to chat as though our son wasn’t lying unconscious on the operating table just down the road but nothing was working to help take our minds off it.

Four hours into the surgery, Tamara let us know that the right ear was done and looks good. What she meant by looks good is that she was able to get a response from all the electrodes in the theatre. Now onto the next ear. Another two hours passed and I just couldn’t anymore. Daniel and I drove back to the hospital and waited in the car in the parking lot. Another lovely family, whose daughter was implanted a year earlier, contacted me to see how we were doing and then asked if they could quickly stop by. They came and met us in the parking lot, masks on, socially distant hugging and brought us a whole bag full of sweets, chips, cool drinks, water and magazines. They knew what it felt like. 

Just short of 8 hours after the operation started, Tamara and the anaesthetist let me know that they were done with the left ear and were now busy doing some testing. They sent a photo of his X-ray to show us the placements of the cochlear implants. I went back into the hospital into the paediatric ward to wait for Oli. As I sat down in his room, a nurse came in and said “let’s go get your little man!!” As we walked through the doors, I first saw the surgeon, she looked tired. I hugged her and thanked her for everything. She was being called into an emergency in the ER and would check in with us later. Then they rolled Oli up in one of the those crib cage things. His little face was so swollen with the bandage around it. He was already awake and was just watching us. 

We went back to the paediatric ward, where he woke up a bit more and I was able to breast feed him. Within in an hour he had had a wet nappy and so we were sent home, back to the apartment. This was Saturday evening.  Our next appointment with the surgeon was Monday morning, to remove the compression bandage.