Her: "Is he sick Mommy?"
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.