Friday, March 27, 2015

Goodbye tonsils

Wednesday AJ had his tonsils out. We were all nervous, although I'm sure I was probably more than AJ. We arrived at the surgery center and AJ was excited to show Nick the small table and chairs that are tucked in a corner of the waiting room. He remembered them from the tour on Monday.

Before we knew it his name was called and we were heading back into pre-op. They did all of AJ's vitals and then brought us back to our curtain area to change into his gown and wait for his turn. When we took the tour the nurse showed us all of the curtain areas for kids. They have four of them. One had trains, one had trucks, one had animals and one had ladybugs. AJ was excited going from room to room deciding which one he'd hope to have.

We were escorted to this room:
Talk about a sign -- I asked and we got it. This is the only ladybug room in the pre-op area.

I had asked for a sign and boy did I get it. I smiled and looked at Nick and was able to feel a bit more at ease.

We were in that area for about an hour. The anesthesiologist came in, the nurse anesthetist, AJ's doc and a few other nurses all introducing themselves and going over the procedure. 
All ready to go!
AJ was dressed and ready to go. Didn't he look cute! We did have some down time to go for a ride while we waited and in between visitors. 
Playing a little while we waited to see the Doctors

Around 9:50 it was time to go. AJ was wheeled to the OR (like he was driving a race car!) and we had to go wait in the waiting room. I was able to hold it together until he was out of sight and then the tears came. What a helpless feeling. I knew he was in good hands but it was hard to watch him go.

About an hour later the doctor came out and told us he did great. Everything went as planned and we could see him in recovery.

All done, giving us a thumbs up.
When we got there he was starting to wake up and was very agitated. Once he calmed down he was able to sleep for a bit. He woke up much happier and was able to relax and watch a movie and have a popsicle. We had to stay in recovery for three hours (standard for tonsil removal).

Everyone at the surgery center was wonderful. They really made it a good experience not only for AJ but for us as well.

We're all glad it's done. Recovery has been a little tough -- nights especially, but he's getting there. Hopefully by next week he'll be back to his old self. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

An emotionally heavy day

Today was jam packed. We were up and going early. On the agenda was kindergarten registration for AJ.
I needed to bring his birth certificate with me so I went and grabbbed it from the lock box where we keep all of our most important things. It was right under Ryan's memory box. I took a quick peek at Ryan's picture. It feels strange to me to go in that box and not look at something of his.
Registration was surreal. It was the first time I was in the school. It was lunch time and the halls were filled with children's happy voices. I tried to picture AJ eating his lunch in the cafeteria with new friends. I can't believe my baby, the one who first made me a mom, is old enough to go to school.
Later on in the day we went for a tour of the surgery center where AJ will have his tonsils out on Wednesday. He did great. He was chatting up the nurse. We got to see all of the places we'll be and that was reassuring. I'm not gonna lie, I can feel my anxiety building the closer we get to Wednesday. I know he'll be fine but the thought of having to let him go, even for just the little while, sends me close to a panic.
All of the emotions today on top of the busy schedule has left me exhausted. My mind has been on Ryan a lot. I realized that kindergarten was another milestone that he wasn't going to have. He's not going to make new friends, ride the bus or trade snacks. What I wouldn't give for him to have that.
Missing you sweet boy. We could use a little reassurance on Wednesday - a little sign would mean the world.
I love you so, so much. Forever and a day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Conversations with AJ

I've mentioned before how most of AJ's questions about Ryan come up while we're driving in the car. I guess my mind isn't the only one that wanders at that time. Now that he's older he understands more and seems to connect the dots more. They learned all about heart health in school. He told me one day that Ryan died because his heart stopped beating.

The other day in the car he brought that up again. He told me about how Nick went and cleared the snow from Ryan's stone. (I should really say he dug out because there was more than a foot of snow covering everything) AJ told me that Nick also cleared some other stones. He didn't know their names. I told him that was Hayden and Ethan.

Me: Do you know who Hayden's mom is?
AJ: No.
Me: It's Stephanie. And do you know who Ethan's mom is?
AJ: No.
Me: It's JennRose. That's how we met and why we're friends.
AJ: Did their hearts stop too?
Me: Yes they did. They were born too early just like Ryan. (I can almost see the wheels turning and him processing the information. I figured this was a good time to explain what my meetings were.)
Me: My meetings are for other mommies and daddies whose babies have died too. We try to help them.
AJ: and grandma and grandpa's too?
Me: Yes, we've had some grandma and grandpa's come too.
AJ: And kids?
Me: No, there are other groups for kids. We usually only have grown-ups.
AJ: Do you think we can bring the cozy coupe down tomorrow?

And just like that he got the info he needed and moved on. The questions usually come out of the blue right after talking about something completely unrelated and as you can see, end the same way.

Some days it almost feels like an ambush. It's not always easy to talk about when you're not prepared. Nick is much better at talking about it and being honest with AJ but still in a way that's very easy for him to understand. Me -- I'm working on it.

I'm glad that AJ feels comfortable enough to ask questions and talk about his brother. He thinks about him quite a bit and really, that's all I can ask for. I was always so afraid he wouldn't talk about him or include him.

I'm so lucky to have such great kids.