My kid had emergency surgery on Memorial Day weekend.
I would like to give a gigantic shout out to modern medicine, morphine, and her appendix that decided to NOT rupture.
As parents, we are (how shall I say?) more tightly wound with the first offspring than we are with the last. Expectations are low, and standards are even lower. As you are transported on this parental roller coaster of emotions from one bumpy turn to the next, you realize there is only one thing that matters: a qualified therapist to fix all of the things you have done to/for/with your kids.
So imagine my surprise (or lack thereof), when Cosette was sort of hunched over complaining about cramps on Sunday. Granted, she was on her cycle and this was common. It’s par for the course in our home full of 6 ovulating women to hear hollers from down the hall, “I STARTED!” It’s a battle cry that simply states, “You are next. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” You may be in menopause, and chances are pretty solid you will start up your cycle again in our home.
I threw some Motrin at her like a game of Skee Ball at Chuck E Cheese while Emma suggested she take a bath to help her relax.
Time passed. Tom was gone attending an all day training. I meandered out back and let the glorious anti gravity chair do its job: reading for approximately 62 seconds before promptly drifting off to sleep.
Until suddenly, I was rudely jolted awake as Cosette thrust the phone at me, explaining through clenched teeth she had the advice nurse from Kaiser on the line, before collapsing on the flagstone, wrapped in a bath towel.
She took a bath, I noted. Doesn’t seem to be helping.
As I rubbed my eyes willing them to wake, the nurse explained, “I am concerned about the constant pain on her right side. Let’s schedule an appointment first thing tomorrow, but if she starts to vomit or run a fever, take her to the ER immediately.”
Within 20 minutes, she was throwing up. In 30 minutes, Tom was home and headed to the ER. In 45 minutes, Charlie and I took Bo on a walk to Booksin. Although I felt oddly calm, I needed a distraction. Charlie did cartwheels in the cool grass. I silently prayed. She hung upside down on the monkey bars. I prayed some more.
I must have called Tom a dozen times, and by 10 pm it was decided Cosette would indeed need surgery. Her cramps were legit! (this time). Tom and I realized together through conversation that he would stay and I would sleep at home. We knew there was no need to have two parents wiped out. This decision would ensure that I would be rested and ready to care for Cosette upon her return home.
That decision was a HUGE surrender. Moms, you feel me. Trusting your husband to ask the right questions, to help your baby in and out of recovery which would assuredly be filled with many tears and confusion. Trusting, trusting, trusting.
Side note: I wonder, did Tom ever feel like he had to trust me fumble my way through nursing our 5 babies 3 times a night? No: he slept soundly. It was time. He can do this, I told myself.
And he did a beautiful job. Keeping her comfortable, gently rubbing her head, assuring her she was taken care of, and explaining that yes, he also saw the morphine grasshopper on his shirt.
The moral of the story is this: my kid was way more in tune with her own body than me. She knew something was not right and advocated for herself. Kids know shit.
We should probably trust them.
If you have ever dismissed your child's needs, I see you.