It’s a simple procedure that hundreds if not thousands of young ones go through. The doctor assured me that PE Tubes and adenoid removal was a procedure he has done thousands of times. Maybe this should reassure me, but it doesn’t. I know it is a small outpatient procedure, often with little complications. I know this. Though the minute I found out my 15-month old needed this procedure, I haven’t let my mind rest. Her tiny body would be forced to sleep, then tubes shoved into her ear canal, and finally her adenoids would be scooped and scraped out of her nasal passage. Her skinny arm would have been poked and an IV taped to her arm with yards of unnecessary tape, her eyes also taped shut during the operation. This is all I could think about.
The day finally came, my mom and I marched her into the operating room, and we watched her try to cry as they held a mask over her face. Her eyes unsure where to focus and her cries getting softer, until they were no more. Her little hand I had been holding goes to sleep with the rest of her, and my eyes prick with tears. I kiss her warm hand and forehead, then I float out of the room with the echo of prayers slamming in my head.
I’m going to say it. We all think it but we don’t say it. I was scared she wouldn’t wake up. These horrible things do happen, am I right? My anxious mind races around with horrible “what if” scenarios. I let them play out in my head, out of my control. In the waiting room my mom and I talk about books and gardening, something that always bonds us Peterson girls together. Something to make my mind pause from torment.
Abruptly the door opens and our doctor walks in with a smile on his face. I think we had been in the waiting room for twenty minutes or less. “Everything went fine,” he says with a warm smile. He goes over when he wants to see us next and what to expect when she wakes up. Relief should have found me, maybe, but not yet, I need to lay eyes on her.
A few more minutes pass and we are called into the recovery room; I am almost at a jog as I go through the doors. An older nurse with heavy makeup and thin wrinkled limbs, is holding her. My babies face is blotchy from crying, she is still hooked up to an IV and other monitors. I just want her in my lap and start to reach for her. Twisting and turning to avoid the cords, we get her in my arms. I sing “Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree” to her and we rock together, her sobs are shallow, like she’s given up. I kiss her head several times and take notice that she doesn’t smell like she normally does.
I have friends whose children have been through far worse and I recognize this. Today my baby giggled at me while I put on my scrubs and a silly hair net. In my anxious mind, I prayed it wouldn’t be the last time I heard this giggle. A simple procedure. An outpatient, simple procedure. We love our babies fiercely.
She’s home, she’s already eating and playing. She’s fine.
I am Mom.