I am so tired. Also, be forewarned: poop.
Last night I was a tangled mess of nerves, anxiety, and restlessness. My heart was heavy knowing Little Man was going to have to be under anesthesia, and I wouldn't be able to be by his side. I bathed him, fed him (an entire feast of milk, as he downed more than he has ever consumed at one time before), and gave him extra long snuggles and cuddles. He was completely indifferent, passed out asleep in my arms. I didn't get to bed until way later than I intended, and had an alarm set for 1:30 a.m. Little Man wasn't allowed to eat after 2:00, so I wanted to make sure he had something before the cut-off. My alarm went off after I had been sleeping for about an hour and 45 minutes. I got up, started the dishwasher (whoops, forgot to do that before bed), and fed and changed Little Man. He slept through the entire thing, but he ate, and I was grateful. He spit the bottle out of his mouth, full and satisfied, at 1:59 a.m. How's that for obedient? I crawled back to bed and was wide awake. Wide. Awake. At 2:00 in the morning. All I wanted was sleep, and it seemed to be avoiding me. Finally after 3:00, sleep came. My alarm sounded again at 5:00 a.m. I pushed the snooze once, but needed to get up and get going.
Aside from having little to no sleep, I haven't been feeling the greatest. This morning I felt even worse than I've felt previously. I'm not sure if it's an ear infection (wouldn't that be something) or a sinus infection, but I'm positive I have crud in my head that does not belong in my head. And no, I'm not being metaphorical. This time.
When I had everything we would need gathered together, I went in to Little Man's room to change his diaper and get him in his car seat. He woke up when I picked him up from his crib and was giving me the biggest good-morning-mama! grin imaginable. I smiled back and thanked God for some already answered prayers. I prayed he wouldn't be hungry after 2:00 a.m. and would sleep soundly until it was time to go. Those had been answered. We got to the hospital just after 6:00, and I had to wait at the desk to check him in for his surgery. Once checked in, it was almost no time at all before we were called back. Little Man was smiling at the nurses, gnawing on his fingers, and drooling (*shudder*) on my arm. We received lots of comments on how adorable he is (duh...) and settled in to a pre/post-op room while we waited. Right at 6:45 he realized he had been up for well over an hour, and maybe it should be time to eat. I couldn't feed him, and had to let him cry. I did my best to soothe him with rocking and his pacifier. All things considered, he was a total rock star about it. Almost 30 minutes later, they were finally ready to take him back to put tubes in his ears. I kissed him goodbye, sat down in the chair, and tried to stay positive. I thought I would take a snooze, knowing that after he had tubes put in his ears, he would immediately undergo an ABR hearing test, and therefore would be a long while before I would see him again. A snooze never came, as there were several young patients who were very vocal about their unhappiness being in the hospital.
Eventually, the doctor came in (who, by the way, goes to church with us - thank you, Jesus!) and told me the tube procedure went very well. Then, he told me, "But your son has significant hearing loss." My heart sank. Little Man had fluid in his ears, which apparently is pretty common of preemies. We were hoping his failing the hearing tests was because of that. Once the fluid was removed, however, his hearing did not improve. It's like having cotton in your ears. You think you'll just take the cotton out and the problem will be fixed. When that's not what results, however, you realize the cotton was never the issue. In Little Man's case, the fluid was not the issue with his hearing. The next step in his journey will be getting fitted for hearing aids.
It wasn't until the doctor started talking about Little Man being accommodated in school that the reaches of this issue really began to sink in with me. I was thinking of the immediate effects, and he was educating me on the long-term plans. Soon enough, the audiologist came in to explain a little more. The doctor excused himself to follow up with other patients, and that's when the tears came. (Surprise, Liz, I cried...) Is this the end of the world? Absolutely not. It just weighs heavy on this mama's heart when I can't fix everything for my children. I've spoken openly about my own hearing loss, and while we didn't think it was a genetic issue, it may very well be. I know the struggles of not being able to hear clearly and the challenges it presents. That said, however, if a "significant hearing loss" is the worst thing I have to deal with for Little Man - then thank you, Jesus.
As she was still speaking, I could hear Little Man screaming from the next room. A nurse peeked in and said, "Do you have his bottle ready?" I did. They brought him to me, and I was able to get him fed, though it was a bit of a challenge as he was trying to figure out what was going on around him. We stayed in that room until he was fed and calmed down, and got our discharge papers. As we walked out to the van I had this all too familiar feeling of weight and worry. It's a feeling that has been creeping over me recently, and today it clung to my shoulders like an old friend. I settled in behind the steering wheel, blew my nose, and started for home. Little Man didn't make a single protest, and was the perfect passenger the entire ride. Once home, I was able to feed him some more, and we both took a long nap.
Little Miss had stayed the night at Granny's and was dropped off right at her usual nap time. After I got her settled in upstairs in her bed, I went back to tend to Little Man. Then this happened:
I warned you.
I got him cleaned up, changed, and settled in for another nap. Brent came home long enough to change clothes and have a horrible experience picking up Little Man's ear drops from the pharmacy. He then left to ref a football game in Timbuktu.
Home with two tired kiddos, feeling like doo, I was trying to make plans for dinner when I realized there would be no cooking. Not by me, anyway. I just couldn't make it happen. Little Miss came downstairs from her short nap and informed me her nose was sniffly. Poor thing. I snuggled her some and asked her if she could entertain herself while I took a quick shower. My shower was after 4:30 in the afternoon, and it was the best-feeling shower I have ever taken. I threw on some clean sweats and pulled my hair back. I wasn't pretty, but I was clean.
Shoving a few tissue up my nose, I ransacked our grocery cash envelope and ordered delivery for dinner. Everything about that decision was bad. Lesson learned. We ate, we bonded over some Veggie Tales, and we settled in for bed. I'm going to go to bed early tonight, and I'm going to pray sleep comes easier than it did last night.
As I tucked Little Miss in to bed and felt the weight of worry still on my shoulders from this morning, I stood tall and took a deep breath. Then I started coughing. Dangit. After the coughing subsided, I closed my eyes, lifted my hands, and reclaimed my heart and hope for the Lord. I have no need to let worry rest on my shoulders. I have no idea what the future holds, what the implications are for Little Man or his hearing issues, but I do have an idea of who will take care of us every step of the way. The worry lifted, and my heart was flooded with peace and determination.
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." ~Psalm 119:105
I don't know where our next steps will take us, but He does. His Word will light our path and as I lay my congestion-filled-head on my pillow tonight, I will meditate once again on His promises.