Worst fears lived…

It’s a warm and clear Friday evening. You are in the beautiful country of Cuba and have been enjoying it for almost a week. It’s after dinner and you have hired a baby sitter from the resort so that you and your spouse can hit the dance floor and enjoy some adult time.

As you are changing your 2 year old baby girl, you notice something… something abnormal and alarming; a lump has formed on her groin with minor discolouration!! You tell for your husband to come quickly as you begin to stress and worry about what could have happened. 

This is the real life story we just lived out on Friday, January 13, 2017! It was surreal, terrifying and the beginning of the most stressful 72 hours of our lives as parents.

After Tara found the lump on Callie, we agreed that I would head to the lobby (as the sitter hadn’t shown up which later we would find out was due to mis-communication) to try to connect to wifi (something you pray on any given day will work lol let alone in a somewhat critical time) and alert family and friends as well as attempt to contact our peditrician (a family friend).

When I arrived in the lobby, the sitter approached me and after a short conversation in Spanish she went to our room to relieve Tara so that she could come and help me connect to everyone back in Canada. 

Our peditrician stated that obviously without seeing her it was hard to tell but that he was thinking it was either enlarged lymph nodes or a Hematoma

The next morning, we made our way to the International Clinic in Cayo Santa Maria, where a local doctor checked her out and thought similar. Both medical professionals wondered if she’d fell or suffered a traumatic blow to the area. No one could confirm this (Ethan, ourselves or the kids club workers). 

Due to the fact that we were flying out of Santa Clara that evening, we decided to not transfer to their hospital and seeing that Callie was not fevered we decided to get home as soon as we could. 

Early Sunday morning, we arrived around 2am and headed to our hotel for a quick sleep and then had an early breakfast and as per popular vote, headed to the Western children’s hospital in London for care. 

After checking in, having them look at Callie, they decided after a couple hours that an ultrasound was warranted. They also completed some blood work to rule out whatever they could. 

Unfortunately, both came back either inconclusive or fine. So at about 8/8:30pm (just when my mother in law was arriving to take Ethan back to Sarnia) we found out that they were going to do a surgery. At first we thought we’d be booking this, until the doc looked at us and said, “oh no, we are going in about an hour and a half…” 

Both Tara and I began to stress, worry and I could tell my poor wife was on the verge of breaking so I did all I could to stay strong for her, Callie and Ethan. By now, we realized this was not going to be a simple thing so we settled in. 

At about 9pm they wheeled us up to the OR waiting area and it was here that I had to hear exactly what they were thinking/doing (I’d left for a few to get food). 

They began talking about ‘loop of bowel’, ovary removal and best case scenario, Hematoma. As parents you only hear the worst. I was mortified and as they wheeled our baby girl away, seconds later my poor wife is in a mess of tears! 

As we walked the nurse encouraged us and said we were being super strong as that although he didn’t know the situation he was sure our baby girl would pull through fine. 

It was quickly over as about 50 minutes later the doc came put from surgery and told us everything had gone smoothly. They ruled out both worst case scenarios and it had indeed been a hematoma. 

They’d confirmed this via her belly button with a camera and once completed they then went right to surgery #2. Here they made a small incision into the large lump and drained out the blood, fluids and cleaned it up and then stitched it back up. 

At about 11:45pm we were able to see our precious baby girl. She was unconscious from the anesthesia so was laying there so peacefully. As she began to stir, she was a little disoriented, however after a minute, she embraced both of us and was herself. 

This little fighter had had an iv, blood work and double surgery and not ONCE did she cry, flinch or squirm! It was actually unreal. So much so the nurses and docs were all quite amazed!

Here’s a look at what it ended up looking like after surgery.

We finally settled down in our semi-private hotel room and woke in the am when they came in to check on her and complete some vitals. 

A few hours later we were discharged and on our way home… 

this was hands down, probably one of the worst things you’d have to handle as a family while travelling in a foreign country!

We can say with certainty that our resort staff were amazing, the clinic was superb and the western children’s hospital in London was hands down the best ever! 

Here’s a pic the staff from Melia Las Dunas sent when they heard about Callie’s condition!! 

Now life is back to usual – well, except that Ethan now has the flu….. lol the life of a modern day travelling family! 

Safe Travels,

The Antle Family


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