Today is a somewhat hard day for me. Lots of hard memories are flashing back from a year ago.
Ethan, our youngest son, was born with craniosynostosis, a premature closing of the sutures in the head. On October 8, 2012 he underwent head surgery to correct this problem. (I will be sharing our story of this journey with you next week.)
The surgery was a success and our little man has developed and grown perfectly during the last 11 months!
Right now, I am writing you from the radiology waiting room at Comer’s Children’s Hospital downtown Chicago (where he had his surgery) waiting for my little man to come out of his CT scan. He has been through a couple routine post-op check-ups in which the plastic surgeon has assured us his head looks beautiful and is developing just as it should be. This one-year post-op scan is also routine.
It is funny how the sounds and smells of a place can bring back so many memories.
We tried for doing the CT scan with no sedation. However, Mr. Wiggles just wanted to cuddle and was having nothing to do with getting cozy in that sheet-covered bed of plastic. So we had to go with the backup plan… sedating him.
I held his little body against me as they stuck on the EKG stickers, wrapped his leg in the baby blood pressure cuff, and pierced his tiny little arm with the IV needle. He was so brave. No screaming. No struggle to get away. No cries even. He just laid back against my chest and watched as the pediatric unit’s family assistant blew bubbles at him and held up an iPad playing cartoons in hopes of distracting him.
Then, as we were waiting for his sedative to be administered, the nurses went into full-speed ahead mode as a child in the next room’s little body started rejecting his sedative. More nurses were called in. The doctor was called in. We could hear that they were needing to insert a breathing tube. I started to tense as I recalled the night in the PICU that Ethan had breathing problems. I blinked back tears of the memories of seeing my precious baby lying in misery in that hospital bed and I hugged my healthy little guy tighter against me.
When it was finally Ethan’s turn, I got to stay in the hospital bed next to him and whispered “I love you” as he drifted off to sleep.
Within 30 minutes, I was sitting next to his bedside again waiting for sleeping beauty to wake up. I breathed a little sigh of relief as he opened his eyes, sat up, and stretched out his hand toward the shortbread cookies the nurse was offering.
Some things we will never forget and often it’s the hard times that make us stronger. But today, as we are ready to walk out the door of the hospital, I just want to remind you to never take a minute with your kids for granted.