A few weeks ago I knew something was wrong. There was that cry. I knew that cry. I’d heard it before. The high pitch, the panic, the desperation. My body immediately reacted – searching, calculating, trying to find the source of the problem. I furiously went through a list in my head, and marked off all the possibilities. Teeth. Temperature. Ears. A little pinch somewhere. But nothing made sense. What was I missing? Everything seemed fine.
Then I saw it. Swollen and blue.
And so began the calls, the conversations. Both doctor grandfathers agreed. An appointment with the pediatrician confirmed. There was no way around it, surgery was a must.
I tried not to worry. My brain knew the truth, everything would be fine, there was nothing to worry about. It would be simple. Routine. Easy. But my heart ached and my nerves fired and panic rose from deep within me. He’s only 7 months old. He’s too little. Too helpless. He can’t tell them what’s wrong, or what hurts, or that he needs his Mommy.
There was an appointment with the surgeon. She explained the surgery in great detail: where the incision would be, where the scope would go, how the stitches would repair. It would all go down on Wednesday. This Wednesday. Just two days away.
At 5:30 am the day of, my alarm blared. I was already awake. Anxious. After waiting as long as I could, I delicately pulled him from his crib, and his peaceful slumber. “Shhh…. Mommy’s here.” He looked at me and smiled. My heart melted.
Half an hour later, we were at Children’s Hospital.
And now, one day after a successful surgery, I have 1,000 thank yous to share.
Thank you to the scheduler who gave us the first appointment of the day so our sweet little boy didn’t have to stay hungry for longer than necessary. Thank you to the nurse who brought us his hospital gown and told us over and over again just how cute he really is. Thank you to the anesthesiologist fellow who explained how the drugs would be administered, and what a caudal is, and why he would react a certain way and that it was all perfectly normal. Thank you to every nurse and aid who came by and took his vitals. Thank for explaining everything in detail and always asking if we had any questions.
Thank you to Dr. Eaton for listening to my concerns, for allowing me to carry him to the operating room and stay with him until he was asleep. Thank you for letting me be there to hold his hand and rub his head and assure him that it was going to be just fine. Thank you for letting me give him one last kiss as he drifted off to sleep. Thank you also for this super awesome outfit.
Thank you to the aid in the waiting room who showed me where to pump. Thank you to the hospital for planning for the needs of nursing mothers. Thank you to the third floor cafeteria for a much needed coffee boost.
Thank you to Dr. Gaines for your kindness and skills. Thank you for fixing my baby and returning him to me, albeit with many more stitches but with one less hole. Thank you for coming straight to the waiting room and telling us it all went well. Thank you for explaining the procedure and the aftermath with so much clarity and empathy.
Thank you to the recovery nurse for holding my sweet boy while he woke and for calling us back immediately. Thank you for wrapping him in a warm blanket and placing pillows under my arm while I held him. Thank you for your kindness, your compassion and your sweet words.
Thank you to the recovery phase II nurse who brought me water and sent pink and orange Band-aids and Doc McStuffins stickers home for Big Sister. Thank you for making sure he was nursing well and keeping liquids down. Thank you for checking on him and on us over and over again.
Thank you to the nurse who called today to check in.
Thank you to every person we encountered that day. Thank you for your understanding, your transparency, your gentle touches, your smiles. Thank you for answering a million questions, for easing our worries. You all held my heart that day. You had it wide open on an operating table. Ours probably seemed like a minor, even mundane, event to you – and, in comparison to the procedures and illness facing some of the other families that morning, it likely was. But to us, to our family, to our world, it was everything. Thank you for recognizing that, and making it, and us so important. Thank you for taking a minor surgery and treating it like it was major.
Thank you to Opa for sitting with us and answering our questions. Thank you to Nana for taking such wonderful care of Lyla. Thank you to all of our family and friends for your prayers and encouragement. And to one very good friend who had been there and done that and validated all my feelings.
Thank you to my husband for letting me cry when I needed to and for holding my hand as we waited. Thank you for being my rock when I was unsure.
And thank you most of all to my sweet little boy for being so brave and so wonderful, and returning to me all better.
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, I pray I never have to see you again, but if I do, at least I know we’ll be in the very best of hands.