Pre-Op Routine

It’s time for another ROUTINE post!

Over the last few months, I’ve been posting our family’s different ROUTINES.  First, I shared with you our MORNING ROUTINE and then, I shared with you our BEDTIME ROUTINE, and then our THERAPY ROUTINE and today, our Pre-Op ROUTINE.

Now, I’m really hoping that in today’s post some of you can also share your tips, tricks and secrets to your pre-surgery routines because I know that so many of you also have to make frequent trips there for surgeries, testing, scans, procedures and whatnot for your kiddos.  I don’t even know if this is going to be a “routine” post as much as it will be a “this is what I bring” post.  We’ll see…

Out of my four kiddos, three of them have had some sort of surgery that has required us to pack a little pre-op bag and head to the hospital…

…in July 2016, Smith had his tonsils and adenoids removed (he was six years old).

In October 2016, just six days after her second birthday, Miss Madeley had a growth removed from the outside of her ear.

And this little bundle of joy right here has had 19 surgeries total and put under general anesthesia 3 other times for scans…so, we’ve gotten our act together and created a pretty tight pre-op routine.

So…over the years, we’ve developed a routine (and for the remainder of this post, I’m going to just refer to Ashby and not “all the kids” just to keep things simpler and let’s be honest, it’s she and I who have perfected this routine).

For us, the routine starts the night before.  Anytime our kiddos are going under, we always let them pick our dinner the night before as we all know that the next morning, they have to fast, so we try and make it a fun/big deal.  Sometimes, Ashby wants me to make certain things, sometimes, she wants us to go somewhere…but it’s always her call.  I will say that these procedures are getting harder for Ashby (physically and emotionally), but the fasting part is getting easier (silver lining, I guess).  Now, she’s old enough to understand and fully grasp that she can’t eat or drink when she wakes up because she doesn’t want to get sick later on.  She doesn’t love being hungry…but she doesn’t cry/fuss/complain about it like she did when she was little and didn’t understand.  So, we kick off our routine with a fun dinner celebrating the meal of her choice.  It’s a little thing, but it makes Ashby happy, so I highly recommend it.

From what I hear, typically surgeries are scheduled in the morning with the youngest kiddos going first and then so on (so the older the kid, the later in the day the surgery).  Ashby is still young enough (at seven) that she almost always still gets the first surgery of the day with her surgeon which means we typically leave our house at 5:30 in the morning.  (Here she is pictured here about to leave bright and early…or should I say really dark and early?)

If I’m being honest, Andrew and I are always looking for ways to make this day not just completely suck. So, another thing we do (part of our routine!) is let Ashby (and only Ashby!) sleep in our bed the night before.  I say “only Ashby” because it makes her feel so special to get to cuddle up between us, watch a little TV in bed with us (her choice) and sleep in our room.  The next morning, Andrew and I are up super early getting ready, but we let her sleep as long as possible.  When it is time to wake her up, she’s not happy about it, but we always have her bag packed (see below), her cozy blanket for the car, her iPad charged and let her be the DJ on the way to the hospital.

All checked in and ready to go at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

We’ve learned over the years that Ashby likes the predictably of the same routine as we do this each time. She is really quiet in the car on the way there (at that time of day, it takes about 30 minutes get there).  Sometimes, she likes to ask me who is praying for her that day, sometimes, she wants me to pray for her, sometimes, she wants to listen to certain songs, and sometimes, she wants quiet.  When we get to the hospital, we have to check in at three places (get our visitor badges, check in with admissions and then check in at pre-op). We always take a picture at some point during this process (like above), and as we’re walking from A to B to C, we chat about where she wants to take it (I’m just trying to distract her).  (Another side note, we also always make fun of my visitor badge because it’s just my driver’s license photo in which I’m 7 months pregnant with Smith AND have a full set of braces…it’s comical.)

After we get all checked in and wait for her to be called back to her room, she likes to watch her iPad and doesn’t like to talk.  Ashby is SUPER chatty.  Like, SUPER, SUPER chatty, so it’s during these really quiet moments that we know she’s really getting in the zone.

After we get to her room, she gets changed, vitals taken, etc, and then she pulls out her backpack.

Here are the things she likes to include in her hospital bag:
1: iPad (make sure you bring your charger!)
2: Stickers
3: Coloring book with markers
4: Her favorite blanket
5: One or two stuffed animals

Ashby gets settled and then the buzz starts, doctors are in, forms are signed, markings are drawn on her arm, IVs are inserted, “silly juice” taken…all of that stuff happens.

It’s really hard these days for Ashby to go back.  Even with the “silly juice” which is supposed to help calm her, it doesn’t.  She’s older, she’s wiser, she knows the drill too well…those moments leading up to them taking her away each time guts me.

I don’t eat or drink coffee that morning until they take her back, so after she’s gone (and then I don’t see her again for about 3 to 4 hours), I visit the cafeteria.  I always pick a table by the window, put my earbuds in, drink coffee, nibble on something and wait it out.  I’ll try and read a book, do a little work on my computer, but I am looking at the clock and counting down the whole time.

Over the years, I feel like I’ve perfected my bag for our pre-op routine.  I’ve edited it from time to time, but now, I think it’s perfect for us.

I always pack my bag too for this day, and here is what I make sure I bring:
1: Something to keep me warm!  I don’t care if it’s 100 degrees outside, it’s always freezing in the hospital, so I wear jeans and then bring a sweater/blardigan with me.
2: Chargers!  I bring one for my phone and my MacBook!  You can’t be without chargers.
3: My MacBook.
4: My Kindle
5: I always make sure I have something mindless to read, so I’ll bring a magazine too.
6: I think it’s also important to bring something for your kid’s bladder.  They pump kiddos full of fluids and then after, if the kiddo can’t wake up fully, it’s very easy for a very potty trained kid to have an accident in their sleep.
7: We’ve learned this the hard way over the years, but we also make sure to pack things for the ride home incase of vomiting.  We always bring a large towel (like a beach towel), several trash bags and wet wipes.
8: I always pack some sort of snack.  If I don’t eat much, I can get nauseous pretty quickly (it comes on fast), so I put a granola bar, almonds, etc in my bag in case I need to eat something while I wait before/after/on the way home.
9: I pack Ashby’s clothes to wear home.  Make sure you keep in mind what kind of procedure they’re having because for instance, Ashby can’t be pulling something over her arm post-op, so I have to be mindful about what I bring for her to wear home.  I also bring socks instead of shoes for her to wear home because she doesn’t walk out of the hospital, so she doesn’t need shoes, but she likes cozy socks on her feet.

Other random things: Ashby loves wearing her jewelry and watch…even to the hospital, so I always make sure I have a secure spot for all of that stuff while she’s under.  Ashby also loves to wear her glasses until the last minute, and I find that the nurses are so sweet and allow her to, so make sure you ask!

Whew!  I think that’s about it!  I know that sometimes, you don’t know when your kiddo is going to be having surgery, but many times, you do (tubes in the ear, tonsillectomy, etc. are so common these days), so I hope my little list helps a bit.  If you have other ideas about what we could do to make our routine better or other things we could bring to the hospital, please comment and let me know!! We would always love other ideas!

One last note, thank you all so much for your love and support yesterday.  I’m not going to lie…it was tough.  It was the hardest one yet.  The whole morning was hard and then it was still hard after we got home. Thank you for praying.  We felt them even in the storm.

That’s it for this week.  I hope you all have a great weekend!  xo

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog July 26, 2019 at 4:53 am

    Your family is built on routine!! Loved this!! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • Reba July 26, 2019 at 7:44 am

      This post is so helpful! Praying for sweet Ashby!

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams July 26, 2019 at 5:10 am

    Always keeping Ashby in my prayers Shay! I like how you let Ashby sleep with you and Andrew the night before, that probably comforts her so much! She has such strength to go through all this!! Hope she and the whole family has the best weekend!
    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

    • Diane July 26, 2019 at 8:20 am

      Reading this just breaks my heart.
      I dont really understand her condition but I have gotten where I am praying God will deliver a miracle for that sweet little girl. She is a trooper and so are you. God bless you all

  • Lauren July 26, 2019 at 5:16 am

    Such a strong girl you have!

    This isn’t for kids but for me personally. As the patient, I bring my own hospital socks (a friend gifted me a pack of yoga socks and I use those), and my own slippers. I also, no matter how early I have to leave, shower and wash my hair because you never know how long it will be before you get either!

    I also bring my own pillow from home, and then I try to pick a few movies or a TV show I have been excited to see and get myself psyched out to watch that afterwards (something to look forward to).

    As far as being “the family in the waiting room” I personally worked my way through – I went to the cafe, found a table near an outlet, plugged in and worked for hours. Then I pulled out my iPad and watched Hulu. Found that when I tried to read I wasn’t comprehending.

    When I have surgery, my family gets notified via phone with updates so they can wander if they want to. Sometimes they will all go have lunch across the street to pass the time (but this is only because the updates come via phone).

  • Anna July 26, 2019 at 5:29 am

    Hi, Shay! I hope Ashby’s procedure went well yesterday. I wanted to share something that might be helpful; have you ever heard of EMDR? It’s a therapy modality that decreases distress from past, present, or future events (yes, you can target something in the future!) I am a therapist (in Minnesota) and use EMDR with children often; to say it can be life-changing is an understatement and Ashby might be a good candidate for it. The children I see or have seen experience long-term relief from trauma, worry, anticipatory anxiety, etc. you can really target just about anything with EMDR and have results. Not every mental health professional is trained to use it, as it takes specialized training, and even fewer use it with children, but I bet you could find someone in your area.

    • Madi July 26, 2019 at 7:17 am

      Hi! I’m a Social worker and definitely agree some sort of therapy would be great for Ashby! I love the idea of EMDR because it will help her reframe her thoughts and help with her past trauma.

    • Sara July 29, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      My daughter had really great results from her EMDR therapy. Her therapist was just amazing!

  • Angela Ellingson July 26, 2019 at 6:05 am

    Continued prayers for you sweet, beautiful girl. Hugs mama.

  • Beth Knecht July 26, 2019 at 6:07 am

    Still thinking of sweet Ashby! What a warrior! Take care!

  • Paula July 26, 2019 at 6:10 am

    I am so sorry it is getting harder. Breaks my heart. I can’t imagine as her Momma. I pray your sweet brave one recovers quickly and can enjoy the rest of summer before school begins.

    • Megan July 26, 2019 at 6:44 am

      Sending lots of prayers for your sweet girl!

      • Jenny July 26, 2019 at 10:53 am

        Argh I feel for you guys, that is SO hard. I’m sure your routine helps in so many ways!! Praying for Ashby! She’s in the perfect family to be going through this with!

  • Erika Slaughter July 26, 2019 at 6:10 am

    What a great post!! Her sweet brave smile on these hard mornings is absolutely precious.

  • Narci July 26, 2019 at 6:10 am

    I know this list will be such a blessing to others, friend. Love you guys! ❤️

  • Lisa July 26, 2019 at 6:14 am

    Praying for ALL of you! My daughter had to be put under at 6 months old for MRI and scans (that was nerve racking given her age) and had eye surgery at 18 months, what I thought was scary and rough then, I can’t imagine taking her back now at 4 years old. The fact they now know what is going on is heartbreaking! Hopes and prayers for speedy recovery for her and a solution where no more surgeries are needed! Wish I had something to share but our situation was so different!

  • Cortny July 26, 2019 at 6:18 am

    Such a brave little girl and just such a travesty that she even has to have a “pre-op routine”. Thank you for sharing your story and encouraging others by giving glory to God despite the circumstances!

  • Jennifer Baker July 26, 2019 at 6:23 am

    Hi Shay, thank you so much for this post. My daughter Sloane has had three procedures on her hand now and I agree with you it does not get easier. I will always remember when I reached out to you about what to bring to the hospital and you immediately emailed me back! It meant a lot to me and my warm socks & suckers for Sloane were the best idea. I know this post will bless others as you have blessed me! Continuing to pray for sweet Ashby and her recovery.

  • Sarah J July 26, 2019 at 6:34 am

    I hate that Ashby has this pre-op routine- it breaks my heart to read. Praying for her as she recovers.

  • Sheaffer Sims July 26, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Her pictures at the hospital get me every time. Such a brave little girl with such a big heart!

  • Kelly July 26, 2019 at 7:02 am

    I have tears in my eyes and am praying for Ash y right now. Sweet girl. And it is SO hard to be the Momma and keep smiling for them ❤️
    I write out scriptures and have them on a binder ring … and flip through them and declare them , while I wait. Scriptures that are specific promises that bring me the assurance that God is with them and holds them , heals them , and brings us peace. Whatever blesses and speaks to you in that moment. They have been my greatest peace and comfort when my mind just can’t be still .

  • Kristen July 26, 2019 at 7:16 am

    My daughter always gets nauseated on the way home too – no matter how great things seemed to be at the hospital. As of recently, she also sometimes gets carsick in general. So on hospital procedures/surgery days, I pack extra but also always have some gallon ziplock bags (the heavy duty ones with the zipper) that I just leave in the glove compartment. Bless her, she’ll throw up in there, zip it up, and then I can easily toss it in the outside trash as we pull up at home. A lot less mess than even those disposable ones they’ll give you at the hospital. Praying for your sweet girl! What a hero! 💗

  • Katherine Darlington July 26, 2019 at 7:23 am

    What about a little kid’s journal? I’ve kept a journal everyday of my life since my 11th birthday! that 44 years! It helps everything and I think it’s helped my memory of things too.

  • Danielle July 26, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Prayers and blessings for your entire family. God gave you her for a reason. You are so strong and that is now reflecting on her. Or maybe she has taught you that. There are reason everyone comes into our lives. He has a plan. I pray that one day their will be no more surgeries for her. She is one strong, brave girl. She is going to move mountains!!!

  • Caitlyn Keller July 26, 2019 at 7:26 am

    Ashby was on my heart and in my prayers all day yesterday. Praying her recovery day goes well today! My youngest son (3) requires chronic blood transfusions every 5 weeks and your routine looks very similar to ours. We bring a prize, like a small toy, for him to get after he gets his IV in and always try to make a quick trip to see the trains at Childrens as a treat too. His blood transfusions last over 4 hours and so we are there most of the day. I always bring a bag of toys and plenty of snacks. Child life always does a great job at helping me keep him busy too! Last time he didn’t cry or fight the nurses as they put his IV in and I was such a bag of emotions as a result. On one hand I was so very thankful that he wasn’t as stressed and more comfortable, and on the other hand I was so sad that my 3 year old thought that was normal and didn’t fight us.

  • Kelly July 26, 2019 at 7:28 am

    Hi Shay! A friend from Pennsylvania praying for Ashby and your family! It’s so obvious that sweet Ashby has a whole team of prayer warriors, and I think there would be many of us who would love to help support her! Maybe you could get a PO Box and we could send Ashby some cards and well wishes! You could bring a handful of them with you to the hospital each time for another bright spot in her morning!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 26, 2019 at 8:50 am

      What a sweet idea, Kelly!!!

    • Amanda Wilson July 26, 2019 at 10:10 am

      I love this!!! I would absolutely love to do this for Ashby!! Perhaps even postcards so she knows all over the world people are praying for her!!

      • Sheri July 28, 2019 at 9:05 am

        I love this idea of a postcard from where you’re from!!

  • Deejay July 26, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Your trash bags in the car brought to mind… General tip: Little kids can vomit with little to no heads up. Especially tough when they feel sick in the car. I always had everyone take their motion sickness bag from their airplane seat on flights we took. I still have a couple in each glove box of our cars. My kids are older now, so not much of a problem anymore, but those bags sure did come in handy during those toddler/younger kids years. Ashby is a phenomenal warrior. Praying for her, Andrew and you as you all navigate her surgeries.

    • Kami July 26, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      I’m a firm believer that kids handle things by watching how their parents handle it, she’s a lucky little girl. You’re such a good mama! 💞

  • Laura July 26, 2019 at 7:35 am

    My 10 year old son is having oral surgery today, so I have my blardigan and iPad. He actually brought up Ashby this morning… we decided that it’s normal to be nervous but he can do this! 💕💕

  • Jenn July 26, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Love to you all! 💜

  • Melissa Terry July 26, 2019 at 7:43 am

    So sorry it was a rough day for y’all…praying she gets some rest and relief today!

  • Becky July 26, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Our hospital is freezing too! My husband has ALS and we were there for 5 days this past week. Blardigan first on the list. Our bags look pretty similar! I thought of your sweet Ashby dealing with procedure 19 and prayed for her throughout the day.

    • Mix and Match Mama July 26, 2019 at 8:49 am

      Stopping to pray for your family right now, Becky! xo

  • Megan July 26, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Ashby is such a sweet, brave girl! She truly amazes me. If she’s alert enough on the drive home, you can order disposable emesis bags on Amazon to keep in the car. It’s an easy way to help prevent the mess and “secure” it after. I know it’s not always that easy and predictable, but thought it was worth a mention.

  • Chelsea July 26, 2019 at 8:27 am

    It sounds silly, but for me as an adult – I always wear comfy stretchy pants with flip flops. Depending on your surgery, the pants are easy to get on usually. And the flip flops make it a breeze to slip on and walk out. And I do my hair in two braided pigtails. Makes it easier to get the scrub cap over and ensures that I look halfway decent getting up and going home, versus bedhead!

  • Julie Jones July 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

    So sweet of you to be thinking of others and sharing this pre-op routines.

  • Andrea Wiseley July 26, 2019 at 8:31 am

    You need to get some Emesis bags from Amazon for the vomiting. They work so much better than anything else. It is a lot easier to aim into that bag and they easily close up, which helps with the smell of the vomit. I have kids that get car sick so these are a life saver. They are even helpful around the house when someone gets a stomach bug.

    Praying for your sweet angel.

    • Adri July 27, 2019 at 11:21 am

      yes- i was going to recommend these as well. Easy for little hands to hold, aim and close up!

  • Rachel July 26, 2019 at 8:34 am

    I always say until you have to pack a bag for your child to have surgery , you just don’t know…but, you have perfected the list. We do many of the same things you do for our daughter, especially an extra outfit and a sick bag for the way home, because you never know. We let her choose the meal the night before and then after the surgery when she’s able to eat again (whether it’s later that day or many days later) we let her choose the meal again. Continued prayers for Ashby and your family!

  • Christine Munoz July 26, 2019 at 8:35 am

    My oldest son has had multiple hospital admissions (expected and unexpected) and I agree with your lists!! He is a heart patient (open heart surgery at 2 1/2) and during his 8 hour surgery mindless things kept us distracted – magazines. Games on our phones. One thing I will add is please keep company to a minimum. You have no idea what other people in the waiting room are going through and big loud crowds are so distracting. We had to leave the waiting room multiple times due to a large loud family that were joking and downright rude while waiting for our son. The family next to us was just as annoyed – their daughter had been in surgery going on 12 hours at that point. Just remember to be kind to others in the waiting area! Continued prayers for sweet Ashby!!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 26, 2019 at 8:48 am

      Such great information! Thank you so much for sharing, Christine!!

  • Ahna @ Hammers N Hugs July 26, 2019 at 8:44 am

    ♥️ Sending a hug to all of you mamas who have these routines and praying a deep breath of encouragement today for each of you ♥️

  • Kari Norman July 26, 2019 at 8:47 am

    I thought about you and Ashby all day. Wish I could have been there through it! That sweet girl holds a special place in my heart

    • Vicki July 26, 2019 at 1:04 pm

      No matter their age, it is gut-wrenching for your child to go back to surgery. My adult daughter had major surgery for cancer a few years ago. Deuteronomy 31:8 helped give me peace. “ The Lord is the one who will go before you, He will be with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” I would visualize that Jesus went before us, checking everything out and making sure all was in order, and then He came back to walk with us through it all. Praying for sweet Ashby and you all. The waiting room is very hard for a mama.

  • Julie July 26, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Sending you all and especially Ashby lots of love and prayers! This was a wonderful post. Hoping today is better and her recovery is swift! ❤️

  • Amy J July 26, 2019 at 9:04 am

    I bring the things you listed, but I go ahead and put a pull up on her (5 years old). Because like you said she has peed on me before because she is so unaware in recovery. Also, I do not allow the silly juice. It doesn’t really do anything for her and it makes her very angry (common with kids) coming out of the anesthesia (i.e. pulling IV out, screaming, crying, kicking). It’s hard sending her back scared, but it’s better for recovery. Also, we request them not put in the IV until she is actually under. Then she doesn’t recall the pain. I always pack apple juice and bring goldfish for her on the way home. I request an ice pack from the hospital for the drive home since it seems to help with her nausea if I place on her neck. I bring gallon ziplock bags for vomiting since it makes easier clean up. I can just zip them up and throw in trash. Praying for you guys! It’s so hard to see your baby go through surgery.

  • Kayla A Bruce July 26, 2019 at 9:14 am

    This post broke my heart a little. Totally get the routine helping, but it’s so tough that it’s needed. My cousins made this reusable puke bucket (available on Amazon) that could be really nice to have at home to help make things a little easier! Praying for you all.

  • Christina Wooley July 26, 2019 at 9:22 am

    First let me say that I feel like I am part of your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. I have never commented before but I felt led to comment today. My daughter (15 now) was born 4 months premature, weighing a whopping 1 pound and 13 ounces. She has spent many a night in the intensive care unit. So many of those times we didn’t even know she would survive. My saving grace has been , besides the Lord, is my coloring books, colored pencils and pencil sharpener. They allow me to escape reality for just a tine bit. Again thank you for being you. Love your blog.

  • Kristin Lester July 26, 2019 at 9:35 am

    I love the P.O. Box idea! My kids would love to send her a card 🙂 l thought about you and Ashby yesterday and prayed. Hugs mama!!

  • Alexis deZayas July 26, 2019 at 9:38 am

    You are such a good mama, Shay! Praying for a speedy recovery this weekend!

  • Julie July 26, 2019 at 9:42 am

    It breaks my heart what Ashby has gone through. She is a warrior! Yesterday, I had some low level work stress and I checked instagram and saw the picture of Ashby at the hospital. It changed my entire day…she is such an inspiration. I thought, look at what this amazing girl is handling today, how can I worry about small work troubles? So please tell her that she is an inspiration to so many people and that we are all pulling for her. I don’t have any advice on routines but I want to say that you are an amazing mother. You have thoughtfully planned every step of her hospital experiences and it was so “meant to be” that she came to you so you could give her this incredible love and support! I hope you all have a relaxing recovery weekend. Sending positive thoughts to Ashby!

  • Lindsay D July 26, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Ashby is such a bright light!! An angel on earth!! 🙏🏻

  • Mary Barabas July 26, 2019 at 9:45 am

    How do you deal with the IV’s? As an adult, I hate them and usually get teary eyed. Do they have the spray that numbs the area, I know that they do at some hospitals. I’m praying for sweet Ashby. She is a tough cookie. I love the idea about cards/small gifts to send. Please consider that, I think it would be great for all of us to encourage her. 🙂

    • Mix and Match Mama July 27, 2019 at 6:34 am

      Because she’s a vascular patient, they have to deal with IVs differently than other patients. It’s really hard. She just has to hold really still and let them do it.

  • Julie July 26, 2019 at 9:50 am

    My daughter had multiple surgeries when she was young and the doctors prescribed a numbing patch to put on the areas where the IV would be inserted. We needed to put them on at least an hour before our scheduled time to be at the hospital. They worked like a charm. Hugs to Ashby.

  • Patty Anderson July 26, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Ashby is such a warrior! On a much lesser scale, we had to patch our daughter’s eye for several hours every day for a few years which she just hated. We put a tiny round band-aid on the eye of her favorite doll, and that always made her smile a little. Perhaps you could use coban to wrap the arm/hand of a favorite stuffed animal or doll for Ashby. (Our daughter is now 28 and still has that doll with an eye patch tucked away in a treasure box 🙂

    I also love the idea of being able to send Ashby a card. I know you don’t want to publicly give out contact info, but perhaps you have a PO box which could be used? I’m sure many of us would be happy to send cards/notes.

  • Corbie Baugh July 26, 2019 at 10:03 am

    I LOVE the card idea! Yes, we should all send cards before or after. Then she could “see” how many people are praying for her. I’m so sorry this one was so tough, my heart sunk when I read that. Hugs.

  • Amanda wilson July 26, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Shay….I just am so blown away by Ashby’s courage. I pray for her often. I pray for you Mama to. I am bawling here thinking of your wait. My kids have had surgeries and that is the WORST part for any parent. Does time go any slower then waiting for the kid to come out???? My heart breaks for Ashby can you tell her that people are praying for her in Canada!!!!

  • Jamie Christian July 26, 2019 at 10:12 am

    This just breaks my heart for Ashby, I’ve followed her journey for so long. I’m in nursing school and I start my peds rotation in the fall at Children’s and I’m just not sure I’m ready for any of it. The emotions of the children, the parents, everyone. I’m not a super sappy person, but the babies and kids just get me right in the feels. If by chance I see you there and you see this crazy lady running at you to give you a big ole’ hug… that’s me 🙂

  • Dustin July 26, 2019 at 10:36 am

    You all are amazing and Ashby’s strength lifts us all! I have had almost as many surgeries as Ashby and have had a lot of the same struggles. The first few times, I was so scared of being wheeled back to the OR. You fear you will never see your loved ones again, because you fear you won’t wake up. After I vocalized that fear, they gave me some meds that were supposed to feel like “a couple of drinks,” but they don’t. I now try to tell myself that I’m going to have the best nap of my life, although that may not be as appealing to a child. 😉 Another thing I have used is the Calm app. They have sleep stories, including ones specifically for kids, that are so soothing. This is a great feature on it:
    I’ve also become quite proficient at dealing with nausea and vomiting. My hospital carries these emesis bags and I’ve also bought some for home/car. They are compact and really easy to hold onto if you are nauseous. Best of all, cleanup is a cinch!
    I would never wish poor health on anyone, but Ashby will be well-equipped to deal with any other challenges that may come her way. Get that girl a cape, because she is a super hero!!

  • Stefani July 26, 2019 at 10:56 am

    We use these puke bags anytime we get sick. One of the last timew we got the stomach flu I said enough with washing bowls and hanging onto the toilet(yuck). These are life changing. I keep them in the kids night stands our night stands and the car. They have saved me a few times and I will never go back to anything else! I am praying for Ashby and your family! She is such a sweet girl and we are rooting for her!

  • Sally Keagle July 26, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Well, this really got my mama heart. Please always tell Ashby that all your friends on your blog are praying for her. Extra prayers for you both today, too ❤️

  • janie Reinert July 26, 2019 at 11:32 am

    I’m thrilled God brought Ashby to your family ! Breaks my heart what Ashby has to endure. Tell her I’m praying & sending big hugs her way !!

  • Amy Baker July 26, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Praying for Ashby! She truly is such a warrior and what a blessing that you and Andrew are her parents! I LOVE Kelly’s (from Pennsylvania – I am too!) idea about sending Ashby cards – I would totally love to do that and I know my daughter would as well. Please consider it. You are so open to sharing a lot of your life – I feel like I know you personally and would love to do something of support during these tough times. 🙂 Praying for you all!

  • Angela July 26, 2019 at 11:53 am

    I have a kiddo that used to get sick In the car a lot- I learned the hospital vomit bags are so much easier to deal with….and they can be purchased on Amazon!
    Anytime a kid get sick now, car or home, I have those bags handy!

  • Allie July 26, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Instead of garbage bags, we use emesis bags. They’re specifically for when you get sick and hold up better/can be closed properly. They’re available on Amazon! We keep them stashed in the car for emergencies. Lots of prayers to sweet Ashby!

  • Lisa Murphy July 26, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    “Sometimes, she likes to ask me who is praying for her that day,,,” Shay! This line just broke me! Will you please tell sweet little Ashby that Lisa Murphy from San Antonio, Texas is absolutely praying for her today and will continue to pray for her and your beautiful family every single day from now on! My Mom has been in the hospital there in McKinney for the last 8 months – every organ in her tiny body had shut down and we all were ready to say goodbye, but God had other plans! Last week she was finally discharged and is now back in her own home for the first time since October 2018! Miracle! While she was in the hospital I would drive up to McKinney every week to help spell my sister and sometimes we would head to your town square for a meal. I got such grief when I would mention that “my friend Shay” and her family like to eat here or get ice cream there. You’ve been such a profound inspiration to me personally and to countless others I know. Please give Ashby, Kensington, Smith and Madeley a tight hug from me and all of the other internet “aunts”!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 27, 2019 at 6:31 am

      God bless YOU, Lisa. Thank you for your prayers. xo

  • Shevonne July 26, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    I’m so sorry that sweet ashny has to endure so many of these “routine” mornings
    Praying always for a Miracle for this sweet Gir and for you all as it surely must break your Mama heart ♥️ hoping the new day has brought with much less pain & nausea and they You all can have a happy relaxed weekend ahead with
    Sweet Ashby getting to pick just what makes her feel best 🌸♥️🌸

  • Liz Thorson July 26, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Shay, this post breaks my heart for your sweet Ashby and for you, her mama. It must be so difficult to know that she comprehends what will occur once she gets settled in her room at the hospital and thinks about the pain and discomfort to follow. All of her silences on the way to the hospital, wanting her glasses on until the last minute…heartbreaking, brave, courageous, strong. I am so glad Ashby is your daughter. She is an incredible girl and you are an exceptional mother.❤️ Here’s to a quiet, recovery weekend,

  • Jenna Campbell July 26, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    I’m so sorry this continues to get harder and harder…my heart was just so heavy thinking about that strong girl going through all of this again, and there not being an end in sight. Just so thankful she has you to help her through everything. Your routine was full of so much love for her.

  • Karen July 26, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you for this post. My youngest is having spinal fusion surgery next week and we will be using your tips. Continued prayers for your brave little pumpkin!

  • Jennifer July 26, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Praying for your sweet girl, that she has little pain, can rest easily and well, and that the procedure will help and not need to be repeated.

  • Annika July 26, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve been thinking of sweet Ashby. It breaks my heart to read this. I love the P.O Box idea. Sending love and prayers.

  • Christie July 26, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve packed many of the same things for my son’s hospital visits/surgeries! The only other thing I could suggest is maybe accompanying her back to the OR until she’s asleep. I did that with my son – put on the “bunny suit” and walked back, sang to him and held his hand and that seemed to help (he’s adopted from China too!). Your Ashby has been through this a lot more than my little guy, so you know her needs best and whether it would help or not. But this did seem to diminish the separation anxiety for my kiddo. You guys are amazing and have helped so much in my own adoption journey – it’s been a blessing to follow your blog. Prayers for you and Ashby as she recovers.

  • Melissa D. July 26, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    Great ideas for both the child and the parent. We had an unexpected surgery which turned out to be a two week hospital stay (ruptured appendix gone very wrong) and having the items that you listed were life savers! One thing that we noted was to be sure we didn’t have any strong smelling food, perfumes or other scents. When my kiddo was coming out of his surgeries and throughout his stay, the scent of certain things really irritated him. Many prayers for you and your sweet girl!

  • Dollie July 26, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Love your list of things to bring, Shay! Was praying for Ashby throughout my day on Thursday! Was so fun running into you on Tuesday!
    My son had surgery at 3months and 9months with an over night stay. First surgery was very hard, I was clueless what to bring, so i made a list of things I thought I would have liked to have for the next surgery, I knew was coming!
    *I had a few friends recommend getting a hotel near the hospital so my husband and I could take turns going there to sleep 4-5hours and coming back to trade off. We booked it, but I really didn’t think I’d want to leave the hospital.
    *The beds at hospital are awful, so this time I brought our zero gravity foldable chair with a warm blanket from home. (Our hospital allowed them)
    *Stroller. Ours liked to be rocked in the stroller for comfort of feeling like going for a ride in the car.
    .* I made frozen popsicles with the food that our son ate. And kept them in a cooler.
    Hope these tips are helpful for others

  • Leigh July 26, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Praying for all the mamas and children who need a routine like this. Ever since I actually heard her sweet voice on one of your videos I can get that picture in my mind to pray. Hope she’s feeling back to herself quickly.

  • Sara S. July 27, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Something to add to the routine: once you’re at the hospital, have her pick a room number, and let her say a prayer for the little boy or girl who is in that room, maybe that’ll make her feel even more brave?! And maybe that’ll let her know that some boy or girl is also doing the same, for her. Xo

  • Kelly July 27, 2019 at 9:53 am

    My 15 month old is having open heart surgery in September 😥 so this was super helpful! Thank you! ❤️

  • Kim M. July 27, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    That is precious that she asks who is praying for her! I love that she knows the power of prayer at such a young age! Please tell her that the Moss family in SC is praying for her every day!

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick July 28, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    These posts break my heart every single time. I’m so sorry this one was so rough. Praying for her and y’all!

  • Erica G July 29, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Shay, I’m just bawling reading this post and the comments. In the midst of such difficulty, the Lord is so kind to give us people to carry it with us. In Angie Smith’s devotional “Mended” (which I totally recommend, SO GOOD), she talks about friends praying for her that the Lord would keep them up at night, allow them to carry her burden, and that she actually would not even feel the pain/grief/anxiety because God was spreading it out among her community…. I pray you & Ashby and your family experience that kind of peace and grace as you continue this path with those that love you. He goes before you and He holds all things together. You’re incredibly amazing! Sending love!

  • Diana July 30, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    What a very brave and strong little girl! I don’t know if you’ve wrote about it before, but what kind of surgery does she have? Just trying to understand her condition more, if it’s too personal you don’t have to respond. Sending prayers!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 30, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      They go in and shrink her veins and then remove any clots or aneurysms that they see. Thank you for your prayers!!