Confession time. This last 10 days I have been a wreck. Our laser surgery experience was so bad that I have not wanted to think about it, talk about it, or even come close to blogging about it. I have been so busy dealing with fall out, disappointment, questioning God, and fear for our next steps that I have had no problem ignoring everyone who asks how it went.
I did an incredible amount of research on tongue and lip tie. One of the newest doctors on our rock star list is actually a dentist. Dr. Kotlow is the leading tongue and lip tie specialist in the world, and maintains a very busy dental practice in Albany, N.Y. Unfortunately there are only a handful of dentists in the country that can perform the minimally invasive and extremely fast laser surgeries that he does to correct tongue and lip ties.
We are limited on money. If I had the money I would have loaded up the girls and flew them to N.Y. for a fast procedure that would have changed their lives. Within 24 hours they would have gone from limitations to freedom, but there was no way I could see that as a financial reality. Air plane tickets, place to stay, rental car, figuring out Ellie's food for travel, and the cost of the procedure (because we all know how great dental insurance is) were all expenses that made me have small panic attacks. So I spent months searching for a doctor within driving distance.
There is one doctor recommended by Dr. Kotlow on the west coast. He is in the L.A. area and known for being an excellent pediatric dentist, as well as having the ability to perform the procedures that Dr. Kotlow does. I called their office and spoke to their receptionist at least half a dozen times. Each time she sweetly reassured me that Dr. James Jesse could do the procedure, and that the girls would not need sedation. What! This was my major hang up. In their office they have the parent hold the child and help restrain for the procedure. No matter how fast the procedure was, I could not imagine subjecting Ellie to that. Her years of poking and prodding have caused her to ask 'doctor hurt me?' before we enter any appointment of any kind. I did not want her associating me holding her down with the procedure, and felt that if she was awake she would most likely never open her mouth for a spoon again. I prayed and prayed and prayed, and every time I thought of taking them to L.A. and holding her down, or expecting big sister to sit still, I wanted to vomit. The cost of travel down seemed out of reach as well, and at the time we did not have a reliable vehicle that we could risk driving that far. It all seemed like the wrong choice.
I kept calling until I happened to find a doctor that was closer and within a 2 hours drive. He is not pediatric dentist, but is known for being a most excellent laser dentist, which I confirmed with Dr. Kotlow by email. This doctor is familiar with Dr. Kotlow and his procedures, and I was told by the receptionist that he had attended Dr. Kotlow's training. They don't typically do children between the ages of 2 and 6 because they do not sedate them and they do not have restraints; they, too, expect the parent to hold the child. However, they heard our need, and wanted to help. They researched sedatives and those that Dr. Kotlow uses, and they worked with us, as I had multiple emails back and forth regarding compounded solutions for Ellie. I insisted we find something, because I really wanted the girls to be relaxed and as 'out of it' as possible. The receptionist continued to remind me that the "goal is not to knock them out completely - just relax them enough so that they don't fret/get too anxious/be very wiggly during their appointment". They scheduled both girls on the same day, half an hour apart. Daddy took the day off and it all seemed stressful but like it had worked out. The procedure is 10-15 minutes from start to finish, so we should be on the road and headed home within an hour.
The week prior to the appointment there was complication after complication regarding the sedatives. The first one didn't work at all, the second on was out of production, and the third one we were unable to do a trial run prior to the appointment. The girls' previous pediatrician expressed his concern about the procedure and was not on board. But this was the only dentist we could get to, who knew of all three mouth ties, and we are running out of time for big sis. I prayed non-stop for months and saw this as the only option, and the best option. In spite of my anxiety, I was excited - excited for what this would mean for both girls.
That day did not go as we had hoped.
That morning we got up extremely early, loaded up the girls, packed our lunch and all of Ellie's food, and headed to the dentist office. We planned to arrive in town early to administer the sedatives because we did not want to do that in the car on the way there and then watch for symptoms, etc. We left early enough to avoid Ellie falling asleep in the car, in hopes it would help with the procedure. We were well planned out.
We got stuck in traffic and were 30 minutes late arriving to a local park where we fed them a small lunch and gave them their sedative (Valium - the easiest to compound, and best suggested sedative by our respected doctors). They did not have enough time for it to entirely kick in and were only groggy and goofy, but that was ok because we (they) only wanted them relaxed, so I had to let that go. Off to the appointments we went.