Here we go again. Another visit to Children’s Hospital. Another moment with my child in a hospital gown preparing for minor surgery. Nothing too serious. Nothing too worrisome. Yet, anxiety about putting my sweet, almost two years old, son to sleep again instantaneously turns my blood cold. Brrrr. I’ve been here before. I know the routine. I remember his first surgery like it was yesterday. It was less than a year ago. The memory is still so vivid. The memory is emotional. I brace myself for another go. Strong? Yes, I am. Do I really want to watch my son struggle as he inhales the anesthesia? No. Mask on face. I am strong; he is stronger than I remember. Heart pounding. Holding him tight. I wait for his stillness. I know it is coming.
My husband offered, both surgeries, to be with our son in the operating room. Both times, I declined his offer. I needed to be with my little guy. I know Rick would have been fine, more than fine with him; however, I could, would not, stand aside. I could not leave him. I could not let him go in there without me, without his mama. Unfair to my husband? Maybe. He understood, and that’s one of the many reasons I love and respect him so. He understood my reasoning. He understood my conflict. He allowed me to be with our son even though it would be hard on me, even though I would have to dig deep for strength, for courage. Both times, I cried. Both times, my strength was unrecognizable.
This time was different. I knew what to expect; however, I was not prepared for the raw, untamed strength of my 22 month old son. I was not prepared for his thrashing. His screams. His powerful mobility. What seemed like only a few seconds before slumber previously felt like an eternity this time. Maybe it was less than a minute but it felt long, very, very long. Last time, I was quickly shuffled out the operating room doors into the hallway barely seeing my son on the operating table. This time, I was graciously offered a moment to kiss my son’s lifeless little face before I exited. Heartbreaking. Engulfed by my own tears. Momentary, I know. I kissed him, touched his beautiful face, and slowly moved towards the door. Before exiting, I turned one more time, to see him, to confirm he was surrounded by loving caretakers. It was hard. It was so damn hard to see my usually vibrant little boy, pale, still, and on the table. He seemed so teeny-tiny on that large, white table. Deep breath.
Welcomed by my husband, we embrace. Silence. I am comforted by his arms, by his strength, by his calm. We talked about the experience, what I saw, how he did, how was it different. Each, tiny, detail – remembered. Comparisons were made. Hand-in-hand, we leisurely walk down the hallway to the waiting area. The surgery was quick this time. We waited only about 15 minutes. Greeted by our doctor, we were surprised. Done? Problems? Nervous. Did something happen? No. We were calmly told our little Sweet Pea did really, really well. The surgery was over; it was a success. Relieved, we waited to be called back to the Recovery Room. Wringing my hands, I desperately want to see my son. We both did. My only goal, my only purpose in this moment is to have Sweet Pea in my arms. Wishful to be reunited. When? We wait.
Entering the Recovery Room, my eyes quickly focus on my little guy, head on a nurse’s shoulder, still, groggy. He sees us; we see him. Tiny smile. He reaches for us. All is good in the world. On my shoulder, he feels warm. Body heavy. I embrace him, and Rick embraces us both. Our love is quiet and shared. Swaying, we listen to our instructions. We know what to expect. Home is our only destination. Another thing checked off our list. We breathe easily, again.
This DAYS WITH US post was linked up with I THOUGHT I KNEW MAMA through her Tuesday Baby Link Up – Week 18. Check out her blog as well as many of the incredible posts included in the link up. Thank you.