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Friday, December 28, 2012

My Brother Has a Booboo



Before my son was born, my husband and I tried to let our daughter know what to expect.  We told her that Mommy had a baby in her belly, and that the baby would be her little brother.  We told her that he'd be born with a booboo, but that the doctors would be able to fix that booboo when he got a bit older.

When she first met him, we could see that she was checking him out, and she lingered at his lip.  We reminded her about the fact that we knew he would have a booboo when he was born, and that the doctors were going to fix it when he was a little bigger.  After a little while getting used to it, she didn't seem to care.

Prior to his first surgery, every once in a while she'd make mention of her brother's booboo, but it really didn't seem to matter to her.  She was obsessed with him, so much so that we often had to remind her to back up from him, or not to squeeze him so tightly when she hugged him.  He's been the first thing she asks about when she wakes in the morning pretty much since day one.

After he had his first surgery, she came to visit him in the hospital regularly.  At first she seemed concerned about the tubes hooked to his body and the scary, loud machines.  We explained them to her as best we could, and told her he'd be home in a few days, and the tubes and machines would not accompany him.  She asked if his booboo hurt, and we told her that it did, but that the doctors and nurses were taking good care of him to make him feel better.

The story was the same with the second surgery, only this one she couldn't see.  She was older for his second surgery, and more aware of what was happening.  She seemed less scared this time, but even more concerned for his comfort and when he'd be coming home.

Truth be told, I've been concerned that some day he will resent her.  I have worried that some day he will notice that she does not have the same "flaws" he does, and that things seem to come easily for her.   But I have to believe that we'll be able to foster their relationship, allow them to continue to grow close to one another.  More importantly, I hope we are able to instill in him how wonderfully perfect he is, struggles or not.

I do believe that she will be one of his biggest advocates and allies as he grows.  She is so loving toward him, and though I expect normal sibling rivalry and fights over toys, TV shows and other nonsense, I really hope they will remain as close as they are now.

I also believe that having a baby brother born with a booboo on his face has helped her to realize at a young age that people have differences, and that is completely normal.  She seems more accepting of people (though I think some of that is just a natural innocence with children).  One of her classmates in daycare has Down's Syndrome.  Her teachers have repeatedly told me how great she is with this little girl.  This child's mother seems to be regularly picking her up around the time that I am also there.  On more than one occasion, my daughter has exclaimed, "That's Dori!  She's my friend!"  She recognizes their differences, and helps her friend when she can, but those differences just don't seem to matter to her.

It all gives me even more hope for the person she is becoming, and solidifies the belief that she will do wonderful things in this world.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Little Man Turned One!


We celebrated my son's first birthday last weekend, and again on Christmas Eve (his actual birthday).  As I rocked him to sleep on the night he turned one, as I did on my daughter's first birthday, I cried.

I distinctly remember the feelings I had, the hospital room we were in on Christmas last year, and the first time I held his slimy little body in my arms.  As his birthday approached, I found myself dreaming of labor and delivery.

It is so fun to watch my children grow and learn, but I am melancholy for the newborn days of snuggling and middle-of-the-night feedings.  As my son becomes more independent, he's less likely to cuddle with me as he falls asleep, and more likely to fight to get into his crib, roll over and pass out.  As his world expands, I take up less room in it.

These are good things.  As his mother, I want him to grow up to be a strong, independent human being.  It is my job to see that it happens.  However, I really wish I had a way to slow the moments down.

I know those were not the last tears I'll shed for him, or for the passage of time.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Heartbroken

Everywhere I turn I am hearing about or seeing images of the shooting that happened in CT on Friday. This is not the first time a mass-shooting has occurred.  It's not even the first time one has occurred since I became a mother, sadly.  However, I find myself crying over this particular tragedy over and over again.

I had to leave work early Friday afternoon and get my kids.  All I was doing was sitting at my desk crying anyway.  Poor things probably thought I'd gone crazy when I picked them up, I squeezed them so tightly.  I am unsure of how the parents of those innocent children whose lives were stolen are even breathing.  I am unsure of how the parents of those children who lived, but who have had their innocence stolen are getting them to sleep at night.  I am unsure of what would become of me if something like that happened to my children.

There is a lot of talk - on Facebook, the media and overheard conversations about gun control, right to bear arms, mental health awareness and parenting.  It seems everyone has a solution, and if we'd only listen, this problem would be no more.  I was shocked to log on to Facebook Friday evening and see posts of people literally begging, "please don't take my guns away".  My opinion on guns and gun control aside, I found it tasteless to be begging to keep guns, when the parents in CT are begging to have one more moment with their children.

Truth be told, I don't have a solution.  I haven't the first idea how we go about saving our children from this type of home-grown terrorism.  I do know, though, that nothing is going to change while our country remains so adversarial and polarized.  I know that we will get nowhere if people are unwilling to budge from their opinion, or in many cases, even completely unwilling to listen to an opposing one.

Our goal is the same (I hope).  We do not want any more children (or anyone else) to die in this senseless manner.  I truly hope that we can begin to speak to one another in a civil manner, begin to bring real ideas for solutions to the table, and that we can begin to change the way things are going in this country.  We need to demand that our government and law enforcement pay attention to the growing crisis, and focus on finding a way in which we can stop it.

I feel helpless.  I cannot (nor do I want to) put my children in a bubble and keep them with me every moment of every day for the rest of their lives.  I have to trust the people who care for them to do their very best to keep them safe.  However, the truth is that my very best and their very best may not be good enough.  I am desperate to find a solution - a way in which we can make our country, towns, schools and homes safer places.

Until that solution is found, I intend to savor the moments I do have with my beautiful children...every smile, hug, giggle, question, juice spill and late night awakening; and pray with everything that I have that I am continued to be blessed with more of them.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Mother's Fear


When I first found out that my son would be born with a "defect" (how I hate that term), one word kept swirling around my brain: bullies.

It seems you cannot turn the television on these days without hearing a tragic story of a young life ended, or severely altered because of that one word.  Growing up I never really dealt with bullying, though someone I love very much did, and never spoke of it.  I know bullying has been around for a long time, but it seems to have gotten worse in recent years, due in part to the internet.  It's gotten so bad that young kids are taking their own lives because they have been made to feel worthless for one reason or another - over and over again.

That scares the shit out of me.

My son will look, and likely sound different from his peers.  Through no fault of his own, and not because of his actions, intelligence or what is in his heart, there is a good chance he will be teased, mocked, and worse.  As his mother I am at a loss as to how to prepare him for this, and feel helpless to stop it.

It is my hope that his father and I will be able to instill in him a sense of self worth and good humor.  It is my hope that these things will carry him through the difficult times.  It is my hope that his sister will be there for him.  She has known and loved him since he was born - with a "boo-boo" and all.  It is my hope that the children of our friends, with whom he will grow up, will stand up for him.  It is my hope that his surgeries and therapies now will lessen the differences from his peers later.  It is my hope that this world becomes a more accepting and tolerant place before he even reaches the stage where bullying is able to touch him.

Most of all it is my hope that he NEVER feel so hopeless and unloved that he feels that ceasing to exist is the best option, or even an option at all.  It is my JOB to make sure he never does.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sometimes the Kid Knows Best


Bedtime has become a battle with our oldest.  She's three.  She craves her independence and the ability to be in control of her own world.  However, we're still responsible for making sure that world is safe, secure, and conducive to her development.

She used to be the easiest child ever to put to bed.  Each night we'd go through the same routine.  We would give her a bath, get her in jammies, allow her to watch one show (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is a favorite), take her into her room and read one story. Then we'd kiss and hug her, tell her we love her and close the door.

Then....one night (I honestly can't remember when it started), she asked if we'd lay with her.  When an adorable little girl asks you to lay with her "two minutes" it's really difficult to resist!  So, we started laying with her for "two minutes."  Then it stretched to three, four, and at last count she was asking for five.  We'd lay with her for whatever amount of time she asked, then tell her it was time we left, and she needed to go to sleep.

And the fight would ensue.  We'd be begged for two more minutes, or told she just wasn't tired, wanted to read more stories, had to use the bathroom, was dying of thirst, missing a beloved stuffed animal, or any other of a hundred stall tactics.

I actually began dreading bedtime.  What had formerly been a sweet and loving exchange, leaving all of us feeling better, had become a struggle, often ending in tears (sometimes hers and mine).

My husband works on Sundays, so it was just the kids and me yesterday.  We had a wonderful day.  She was more than cooperative all day, and was her usual jovial, sweet, funny self.  We did our bath time, pajama routine, and she watched her show while I put my son to bed.  When I came out of his room, she sweetly requested a second show, and asked me to lay with her while she watched.  I turned the television off and asked her to look at me while we talked.  I told her she could watch one more show, if she promised me no fighting, yelling, arguing or crying when it came time to go to bed.  She assured me she was on board.

We laid in my bed together, her on my lap, and watched Team Umizoomi.  What she doesn't understand is that I often don't want to give up that time either, and would love to cuddle with her like that for hours.  However, that's not what is in her best interest.

We headed to her room when the show ended, and the battle began.  She started crying, telling me she wasn't tired and didn't want to lay down to go to sleep.  Then it hit me....why am I fighting this?  If I give a little here, she might cooperate a bit more there.  I told her she didn't have to lay down, and gave her a few books to look at.  I told her she had to stay in her bed, and that I didn't want to hear any yelling or crying.  She has a little light/music/fishy machine attached to her bed, which is enough light to be able to flip through her books, but not so much that she can't fall asleep to it.

I told her I love her, gave her a big hug and kiss, and reminded her that she needed to stay in bed and stay (relatively) quiet.  Lo and behold.....I went downstairs and worked on cleaning the kitchen while listening to her softly talking through the monitor (yes we still have a monitor in our three-year-old's room....and probably will until she leaves home).  After about a half hour all I heard was the music from her little ladybug, but no more talking.  When that music ended I poked my head in to find her peacefully sleeping, books next to her in bed.

She knew best last night.  All I needed to do was listen to her when she told me she didn't want to lay down and wasn't ready to go to sleep yet.  She's ready for a bit more autonomy, but still needs some boundaries.

Lesson learned.  Here's hoping it continues to work.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Little Man's Progress


Now that my son's two major surgeries are complete, we embark upon the longer journey full of specialists and therapies.  I took him to a Speech and Language Pathologist on Tuesday.  SLPs handle feeding issues in children also.  She observed him eating - from a spoon, his fingers and a bottle.

Her analysis was over-all a good one.  We have things to work on, but given the fact that he had his palate repaired a month ago, and his steady progress, she thinks he'll catch up in no time.

We talked a little bit about speech and the things we need to watch for and encourage in him.  Though he babbles a lot, he's not making some of the sounds they'd like to hear from him.  So we'll keep working on it and re-visit in the coming months.

Everything with my daughter came so easily, and right on schedule, if not ahead of it.  I worry that some day he'll be hurt and discouraged by the fact that she hasn't had these struggles, and he has, and does.

There is so much more that goes in to something like a cleft lip and palate than just the visual repairs.  We are beginning to learn what all of those things are.  I continue to pray that we can support him through all of it, so he has the best life possible.  Through it all, he continues to be a smiling little charmer, and quite the trooper!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm in charge




My husband and I were talking the other night, and I mentioned to him that I am sometimes amazed that someone put me in charge of two human lives.  Not in the sense that I think I am a poor mother, or that they are in any danger being with me, but I just wonder what vetting process was used to determine I get to be their mom.

My husband works on Sundays, so for much of the day it's Mommy and the kids.  I often try to get them out of the house, for sanity's sake for all of us.  Regardless of what we do, I am in charge of these two little human beings, their welfare and development.  That's a big deal.

Some days I'm unsure about what I'm doing as a mom.  I worry that I don't do enough, or well enough, or...  but at the end of the day, I do know that I am trying my hardest to be the best I can for them.


Because they deserve it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Just Right Kisses



I got to attend my daughter's Thanksgiving Feast (though she calls it a "beast") at her school last week.  We sat in a room full of 3 and 4 year olds, enjoying their meal and the controlled chaos around them.  It was nice to get a glimpse of her in her daily element.

Driving back to work after I left her, I started thinking about all I love about that little girl.

She is so quick with her incredibly infectious smile.  I hope as she gets older and experiences more of the world, she is able to continue to lead with her smile.

She has a belly laugh like no other.  Obviously she will have sad times in her life, but I hope she never loses it.  Laughter really does make a day brighter, and a life better.

She is hysterical.  For a three year-old, she has a wonderful sense of timing and humor (though sometimes I don't think she quite "gets" why it's funny).  If you've ever met her father, you know she's got a good shot at maintaining this sense of humor.

At any random moment, she might approach me and say, "Mommy, I want to give you a big hug and a kiss".  I was a teenager once.  I'm sincerely shocked my mother let me live to adulthood.  I know that this warmth toward me won't always be there.

Her inquisitive little mind is a sponge.  She asks questions I'd expect from a much older child, and she's able to put entire concepts together.  It is up to us to make sure she remains stimulated and continually learning.  An intelligent but idle mind (especially during teenage years) is dangerous.

She has a huge, loving heart.  She is very in tune with people's emotions.  She seems to instinctively get when a mood is serious, or someone is sad.  When her brother was in the hospital she worried for him and couldn't wait until he was better.  I wasn't feeling well over the weekend and she offered to come snuggle with me to "make you feel better Mommy".

Over the weekend she and my husband were in her room, and I could hear their conversation over the monitor.  They were giving each other eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses, until she stopped and said, "No Daddy, I want just right kisses."

That little girl is just right for my heart, and no matter where she goes or what she does, she always will be.


Time spent


Last night my incredibly helpful husband was cleaning the kitchen and washing baby dishes when I got home with our kids.  He continued doing that while I held the baby and we talked about a few household items.  When he finished he asked me what I wanted him to do next.  I told him I'd love it if he'd come in the living room and we could all just hang out together.  We really don't get a lot of time to do that, and we had a great evening.  We talked and played and giggled on the floor together as a family, then headed upstairs for baths and more play time.

We both work full-time, and my husband travels quite frequently.  Especially when I'm home alone with the kids, it's far too often easier to turn the TV on for them while I cook, or clean, or get things ready for the next day, or.....(you get the picture).  However, it's the evenings we leave the TV off and just spend time together that go so much more smoothly.  Our daughter listens better, there's a lot of laughter, and I feel like I actually had a chance to see my children that day.


I certainly don't think that we are bad parents for over-utilizing the television.  Nor do I think that we love our children any less than parents who allow less TV time.  I think we are just human parents, who have recognized an area in which we could do better - so we will.

There is no manual for parenting.  There are a lot of books, articles, experts and people who claim to be experts, where you can find information and opinions.  Those things certainly have their place.  However, there is no replacement for common sense, parental instinct, love and trial and error.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Savoring it

It's been a rough few weeks for us.  We've had our share of "stuff" to deal with: sleepless nights, pain, tears, worry and stress.  When we were at the hospital with my son, a nurse walked in to his room at a particularly vulnerable moment on my part.  I was upset and crying, and my husband was holding me, doing his best to make me feel better about my poor baby in pain.


Little sickie on our way to the Pediatrician
I thought about that moment the other day, and wondered what that nurse must have thought.  I wonder if she kind of side-eyed us.  His condition is not life-threatening, his surgeries are not hours upon hours, and his hospital stays are limited to days, not weeks or months.  I know the nurses at All Children's see MUCH worse than what we have endured, but to us it's not nothing.

I have always loved children.  If you ask my mother she'll tell you I was born to be a mommy.  I wasn't always sure I wanted some of my own, but I thought if I did, I knew how much I would love them.  Truth?  I had NO idea.  Until I had my daughter, I really had no idea how much it is possible to love another human being.  The best way to describe it is to imagine your heart running around outside your body.  You want to protect it from everything, and you feel as though you would die if something happened to it.

When my kids hurt, I hurt.

So it was a relief to have them both seem like they were feeling better this weekend.  I had the opportunity to take them to the park and "ice cream store" on Sunday afternoon, and it was just plain fun.




Really, it is because of the rough patches that I am able to wholeheartedly appreciate the relaxed, good times.  It is because of those rough patches that I get off my lazy behind, get everything packed up, and take them to the park and out for ice cream.  It is because of those rough patches that I savor the snuggles, giggles and games when they are happening.  And that reminder can apply to every aspect of life.  When you struggle, you appreciate success.  When you are lonely, you appreciate friendship.  When you miss someone, you hold on to every detail of your time together.

This too shall pass....the good and the bad.  So this mama is going to hold on to the good for as long as possible, and learn from but let go of the bad.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

That Holiday Time of Year

It's finally starting to get chilly here (well, chilly for Floridians!).  The past couple of days there has been a little nip in the air, though the sky has been clear and sunny.  I love it!

The little marketplace area near where we live always puts its Holiday decorations up the weekend after Halloween, which coincided with the time change this year (no idea if it has every year though).  So, when we drive home from "school" every day, it's starting to get dark and we are able to see the decorations festively lit.  This combined with the chillier weather is starting to get me in a little bit of a Holiday spirit!

I get a feeling of peace, and an anticipation of time spent with family and friends, fun gatherings, good food, mouthwatering scents, hot cocoa and Baileys, and warm, rich red wines.  My daughter is getting old enough to start really "getting it" this year.  My son was born on Christmas Eve last year, so this is his first real go at it.  I am excited about their reactions and experiences, and building new memories and traditions as a family.

I have warm, wonderful memories of the Holiday Season from my childhood, and it all revolves around family.  I want to create that feeling and warmth for my children.  I want to give them a foundation from which to grow when they are older and have families of their own.  I want them to be able to close their eyes and be able to remember - to feel, smell and taste the Holidays any time of year.



These last two months of the year are such a treat.  Everyone seems just a little nicer, more generous, and slightly more relaxed.  So in their honor, I think I'll go home tonight, throw on some warm clothes, light my pumpkin candles, have a glass of red wine, and sit on the floor playing with my kids.  Sounds like a nice way to kindle my budding Holiday Spirit.




Cheers!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Follow up appointment

We saw our Dr. Gallant and Cricket today, for a check-up from little man's surgery.  It was all good news.  Doc is really happy with the way the repair looks.  We can leave the arm restraints off all the time now, which makes everyone's life easier, and his a lot happier.  

Playing "peek" with me in the car after our appointment
Our next procedure will be outpatient, and will work to reshape his nose.  When he was born, one nostril was pulled completely flat.  During the first surgery, our doctor worked on it quite a bit.  It already looks much better than it did, but he's a perfectionist (thank God!), and wants to work on it again.  Since it's outpatient, the recovery won't be as long or as difficult.  After that procedure, we'll be able to take a break until he's 6 or 7 years old.  Phew!!!

My husband and I both went to the appointment, and ended up taking our daughter too, more due to lack of time to drop her off elsewhere than anything.  She loves the All Children's facilities - plenty of games, toys and activities to keep her entertained.  She finally got to meet the doctor and nurse who fixed her brother's "boo-boos".  An interesting way to spend a morning together as a family, but it was together nonetheless.

My husband and I sincerely thank every one of our friends, family, acquaintances and strangers who prayed, thought about, sent gifts, visited, called, texted, etc.  We have really felt as though there are an amazing number of people pulling for our little man (and us), and that is overwhelming.

We are looking forward to regaining some normalcy in our lives (and maybe getting a little sleep!).  

So much love to so many!!!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Going Through Something


I'm always kind of shocked when someone tells me they've read my blog.  To me, this is a diary of sorts - one I don't mind sharing (obviously) - but a diary nonetheless.  It's just a place for my random thoughts, and if someone finds it interesting, great.

I've seen some wonderful things since I started this a few weeks ago.  People have reached out with encouragement, kindness and stories of their own.  Good friends have offered help, spent time with us, even brought us food!  It's been a great experience for me.

I've been pretty open and honest about my feelings: things I probably wouldn't just tell someone in conversation.  However, because I have this outlet, people know more about me, and have shown me more compassion and empathy.

Everyone is going through something.  It's easy to become adversarial these days, especially with a heated election looming.  It's easy to focus on the things we disagree with or dislike about someone.  It's easy to forget that there is a person behind it all, with feelings, problems, and issues of their own.

The day I found out about my son's cleft via ultrasound, a co-worker was particularly nasty to me.  She actually brought me to tears in the middle of our office.  I wasn't yet ready to discuss what I had learned, and under normal circumstances I would easily have brushed or laughed the encounter off.

So I've been trying to remember that everyone is dealing with something, and trying to be a bit kinder and more patient with people I encounter.  Hopefully by sharing my experiences, I'll help other people realize that the person on the other end of the phone, in the car next to you, or taking too long in line might just be going through something of their own.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Healing


I was rocking and feeding my son today, and in a soft afternoon light I noticed he is healing.  The bruises from failed IV attempts are yellowing at the edges and fading.  Enough baths at home have nearly erased the tape marks from his arms and feet.  The abrasions and bruising around his mouth from instruments to hold it open during an over two-hour surgery have disappeared, and the swelling in his face has gone down.  His smiles and giggles have returned, and are almost more present than tears.  He is quite literally more whole than he was before his surgery.

I had hoped that with his healing would come some of my own; but my sadness, fears, tears and guilt linger.  See, it was my body that made this happen.  My body failed him.  My body created the "imperfection" that has caused him pain, and the potential for heartache.  The intellectual side of me understands that I shouldn't feel this way.  I have heard more times than I can count that this guilt does no one any good, and that I did everything I was supposed to do while pregnant with him.  Yet I can't help but wonder if something I did or didn't do could have prevented him having to go through all of this.

This has all caused quite a bit of guilt over my daughter too.  My son has needed more of my time and energy lately, which has left less for her.  I've not been as available for nighttime snuggles, stories and puzzles.  Though she's never out of my mind, I've had to be physically absent more than I'd like.  I know she is young, and will likely not remember this time either, but I will.

So I just have to hope that as he heals, I will begin to do so also.  I have to hope that the strength I see in him will give me the push I need to heal myself.  I have to pray that he doesn't blame me one day, as I blame myself, and that he will understand I would have done anything to change this for him.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Two Steps Forward...

This post was originally written on Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning.  I wrote it, but had to quickly set my computer down when little man started crying.  I put my phone down on top of it - directly on the backspace key.  I deleted the entire post without even knowing it.  When I sat back down on the couch and saw it gone, I just threw in the towel and closed the computer.  Being totally new to this blog thing, I didn't realize until today that it had been saved!  So here it is....several days later.

Shortly after waking yesterday, my hopes were high.  Little man seemed to have turned a corner.  He was in a wonderful mood.  The day before we had lost the IV (little Houdini actually worked it out of his arm) and the pulseox monitor from his toe.  He was FREE!  So yesterday morning we were able to roam the halls of the hospital together, play on the couch, and I even heard giggles out of him!  Mid-morning he willingly drank 2 oz of formula from a bottle, it really seemed we would be on our way home if he continued progressing at that rate.  We even got a visit from Ronald McDonald!

I got him down for a nap, knowing he'd get some pain meds at 1:00, and we'd work on drinking 3 oz 30 minutes after that.  3 oz is our magic number.  He's got to drink that amount in one sitting for a few feeds before it's safe for us to go home.  Unfortunately, a 10 month-old does not have the language comprehension to understand that benchmark (believe me, I tried many times yesterday to explain it to him!). 

He was awoken around 12:45 to have vital signs taken (they never let a person just rest in the hospital!), and he was PISSED OFF about it.  I may be responsible for that trait, just ask my husband how pleasant I am if he wakes me before my alarm goes off.  So, despite my best efforts to calm him enough to feed him, he clearly just wanted to go back to bed.  We gave him the meds and waited the half hour, while I held, bounced and rocked him.  Then I tried to get him to eat.  No such luck...gagging, choking, pushing at his bottle - as though I were trying to feed him poison.  So I bargained with him.  I told him he could go back to sleep for a bit, if only he'd agree to eat a lot when he woke up. 

He took a brief nap, but woke up still crabby, and still unwilling to eat.  Bad sign.  We were told we wouldn't be going home, and worse yet, they needed to put an IV back in to prevent dehydration and give him a little more time to heal.

Now, I consider myself a fairly strong person.  I've been through quite a bit in my life, and I've come out the other side.  However, yesterday I lost it.  I cried.  A lot.  I am positive exhaustion and stress played a major role, but I just couldn't take it anymore.  I couldn't watch him continue to suffer in pain, frustration and exhaustion.  Thankfully my mom donated her afternoon to relieve me for a bit so I could get out of the hospital.

I returned still tired but slightly refreshed, my dad brought my daughter, and my husband drove back up after a full day at work.  My family was together, albeit briefly, and that's what matters.

Here's to a better day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Little Man's Big Day

I laid with my daughter last night before bed, and explained to her that when she woke up this morning my mom would be at the house because Mommy and Daddy had to take her baby brother to the hospital to get another boo-boo fixed. 
Her: "Is he sick Mommy?"
Me: "No baby, but he has another owie inside his mouth, and the doctors need to fix it so he can eat and talk like you do."
Her: "He's going to cry."

And cry he has.  Today has been long and rough.  We woke up before 4:00 am.  My husband and I got ourselves and both kids packed, since our daughter is staying with my parents while we are in the hospital with our son.  Just before we left we woke, changed, and put him in his car seat for our 40 minute drive to the hospital.  He was in great spirits, "talking" to us all the way here.  Our moods, however, were a little less cheerful.

As we drove I started to think about how different our son is this time.  He was only 3 months old for his first surgery.  He didn't do much more than eat, sleep and dirty diapers.  He had begun to smile and interact by then, but he still slept through most of his days.  His personality had just begin to surface.  Today (7 months later) he is a tiny little person with a big personality.  He has moods (95% of the time it's some variation of happy), clear likes and dislikes, and has firmly rooted himself in my heart.  So much so that my arms actually feel empty when he's not in them. 

We got checked in and taken to pre-op to answer the same questions 10 different times.  The Anesthesiologist and Surgeon came into the room to explain how the morning would progress.  Our surgeon made a point to let me know that he was well-rested and had a good breakfast: something I sincerely appreciated.

Only parents who have experienced this before will understand how difficult the hand-off at the OR door is.   You are literally trusting a stranger with the life of your child, and it is heart-wrenching.  I stood in the hall crying, while my husband hugged and attempted to comfort me.  We were given a pager and a pitying look, and sent on our way to the cafeteria to try to eat something.  We hunkered down for the longest three hours of our lives. 

Of course it's been considerably longer for him.  We had a difficult time getting him comfortable after surgery.  He was in a great deal of pain, and obviously annoyed by the gadgets, tubes and needles attached to him.  There is a delicate balance when dealing with a baby.  It is important to manage their pain, in order to allow rest and healing.  However, too much medication has the potential to halt breathing.  I held and rocked him as we tried to get him comfortable.  Several times his eyes met mine, pleading for me to make it all better.  At those moments I would have given just about anything to be able to take it for him.


We are now sitting in a dark hospital room, watching mindless television and listening to our baby softly snore.  We are breathing much easier, counting our blessings, and the hours until we see him smile again.

We are overwhelmed by the support and prayers, and have no doubt they have helped get us to this point.  I am humbled by the strength of my son and the love I feel from so many.