My daughter was born with an extremely rare craniofacial cleft. We were fortunate in that we found her cleft in utero and other than needing a few cosmetic surgeries, she has no side-effects from the cleft.
When we first found out about her cleft, I was 20 weeks pregnant and needed to have an extensive amount of testing done to determine exactly what she had. From the research we have done, it appears that there are less than 100 cases of her rare cleft ever recorded. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time at the hospital running tests. However, the tests our doctors ran on me were nothing compared to the tests my daughter needed once she was born.
One of the best diagnostic tools for our daughter’s condition is an MRI. Her doctors needed to determine that her brain was developing normally. Fortunately, it is. However, the process of sedating a child to undergo an MRI never is easy. That said, her are some things to consider and what to expect when your child needs an MRI.
When sedation is a must, consider an oral sedative.
Our daughter underwent two MRIs before she was 15 months old. The first was done at three months and the second at 14 months. Both times she needed to be sedated with a gas mask so she would not move around when her doctor took these delicate images. However, the second time, we had a much better anesthesiologist when recommended an oral sedative before she was given the full sedation through the mask. My husband and I debated this, as we usually are against medication unless it absolutely is necessary, but at the recommendation of the doctor, we agreed. It was the best decision we made that day. The first time she was sedated, she was afraid as the doctors held her down to push the mask on her face. The second time so was so calm and relaxed; she never once cried, despite the fact that she was older and had a better understanding of the scary things that were going on around her. When we have to do this again, we definitely will use the oral sedative.
Tell the doctors everything, even if you don’t think it will matter.
When a child is sedated, the doctors always will start an IV in the rare event that something goes wrong and they need to get your child medicine fast. However, for a three-month-old with rolling veins, my daughter was poked 12 times before the doctor finally decided to give up and just ran the MRI without an IV. Come round two, we told the doctors about the problems our daughter had with the IV the first time and begged them not to poke her more than a few times. We also requested their most experienced phlebotomist and told him that she has rolling veins. Fortunately, the second time around, she only was poked twice. NOTE: your child should be sedated before they start sticking them with the IV. Be sure to ask if this is your hospital’s policy and if not, consider finding a doctor who will sedate them first.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
The first time our daughter woke up from her MRI, we were not allowed in the room. The nurse waited almost 15 minutes before she called us, all the while our daughter was screaming in a strangers arms. This time, we demanded that we be in the room when our daughter woke up.. The second time around, our daughter woke up to her mom and dad, and didn’t cry at all. Overall, it was a much better experience, and our albeit slightly demanding ways helped our daughter have a more relaxing experience.