We have past yet another milestone. This one won't be on your growth charts. And, really, it shouldn't be called a milestone but a mile marker.
We have just finished surgery #4 on our little Snugglebug. This particular surgery wasn't anything serious. It was just tubes in the ears and adenoids out. I say "just" but no surgery is "just" a surgery. Every surgery is a big deal as it requires IV's and anesthesia and knives and exposure to dozens of different types of 'cocuses. Surgery is a scary thing for anyone of any age. For a mommy to send her little one away with a bunch of strangers to be cut on and exposed to 'cocuses this is no easy thing. Stress abounds!
But, this surgery was a milestone in that after four surgeries you know pretty well what to expect, how to handle it, and how to deal with the stress. The stress is still there but you learn how to handle it.
Snugglebug's first surgery was at seven months of age. He had to have surgery on a lazy eye. His lid was literally sown open so he could see. The procedure is way more complicated than that. It's called Ptosis. You can google it if you are really interested, but I won't bore you with the details. I was a nervous wreck the day of the surgery. I had no idea what to bring to the hospital and even though I was told it would take less than half an hour, I packed to stay at the hospital for days.
The worst part of that first surgery was afterwards. Not knowing what was happening or why he was feeling so out-of-it, Snugglebug cried inconsolably for well over an hour. We were at a loss as to how to help him.
Surgery #4 was different than the first in so many ways. We've come a long way in three years! I was calm as could be. I prepared Snugglebug the night before by telling him he had an early morning doctor's appointment and that we would leave before he could eat breakfast. I left out the part about the hospital. Once we were at the hospital, he knew exactly what he was there for and wasn't happy about it at all. I wasn't worried at all about this. Even at three, he has a right to express his opinion on the subject.
After the surgery, my little man seemed to know exactly what he was feeling and why. The anesthetic was wearing off and he was waking up. He cried and fussed but not much. He was woozy but seemed to be focusing internally to gather his wits about him. Knowing my child as I do, I just stayed close to his bed. (My child doesn't like to be held when he is sick. That's a whole other post.) As he became more aware of his surroundings, he finally decided he wanted his Daddy. Once he was in his daddy's arms, he relaxed and drifted in and out of sleep.
There was no inconsolable crying. Snugglebug has traveled this road as well. Despite his young age, he has learned so much about surgeries and how to handle them. It is at times like this that I wish I could crawl into his brain and hear his thoughts. I would like to know what he has learned.
I could go on and on about what I have learned about surgeries, hospitals, the bills that go along with both, and so on. Surgery #4 is a milestone because we have learned that for us this is part of life. We have learned how to handle the stress, the frustration, and the bills. And that's not just my husband and I, that goes for Snugglebug as well. He has learned so much!
By evening, my child was back to normal. You would never know he had had surgery eight hours earlier. He was running and playing like always.
I am so full of emotion that I can't even begin to put it into words. We have past such an incredible mile marker. It is not one that I would hope everyone would achieve, but for us it registers a long list of invaluable lessons that we have collected over the course of four surgeries. Words don't convey how proud I am of Snugglebug who has learned all this on his own. Words don't convey how proud I am of my husband and myself for learning how to lean on one another and work as a team in times like this. Words do not convey the lessons we have learned and will rely on even when we are not walking into a surgery.
It is odd that at the end of the day, as I reflect, I consider this to be normal for us. It is not a big deal, and it is just another surgery. The milestone we have crossed is called acceptance. Acceptance is a huge milestone for special needs parents.
We've come a long way, and it has only been three years! What could possibly be waiting for us over the next fifteen!