Tuesday, September 26, 2017


They woke up together. The nurse alerting us that He-Beat was awake first, but we could see that She-Beat was waking up as soon as we walked into the recovery room. Immediately Grey and I split up, each of us attending to a kid. Cuddling them as they emerged from the anesthesia, making sure they had access to pain meds and fluids.

This time was completely different from 2 years ago in every way. Instead of awaking crying, they were both quiet, seeming to trust the nurses and all that had happened. But given that the whole day had been different from the beginning, starting with us telling them about the surgery, them being very aware of the vitals that were being taken and, most importantly, going under anesthesia in a calm manner, cooperating with the anesthesiologist by playing breathing games instead of being forced by having the mask held to their faces. The calm beginning and the calm ending.

A fitting ending to a 4 year saga involving ears.

The saga began when the Beats were about 6 months old and caught their first colds. While most parents in the infant room where freaking out with stuffy noses, we found ourselves in the ER due to abnormally high fevers. "Ear infections" was the diagnosis and us being sent home with antibiotics. We were told it would clear up. It wasn't long before the ER visits became a regular thing.

As time went on, a new problem began to emerge with She-Beat not meeting milestones. While her brother was rolling over, crawling and walking, she was seemingly uninterested in doing anything other than sitting up. I remember expressing concern to her physicians and caregivers, all with the assurance that she just needed more tummy time. It wouldn't be long before she fell outside the normal range and we found ourselves in physical therapy. All the while on the back burner was the concern of continual ear infections.

Looking back, the connection is clear. The accumulation of fluid was giving She-Beat vertigo that no amount of tummy time would cure. But we didn't know that during that first ENT appointment at Seattle Children's. All we knew was there were too many ear infections, concern about continuous exposure to antibiotics, that hearing for both Beats was negatively impacted and that as an aside She-Beat had a gross-motor delay.

If I could go back to my younger, substantially stressed and frightened self, I would hug her. I would hug her so tight, wiping away those tears and allowing her to express all the fears and worries that she was holding close to her chest for fear of sounding petty or jealous of those that were not experience any milestone delays. And tell her that not only was it all going to be okay, but that something amazing was going to happen following a seemingly simple procedure. That these simple medical devices were about to change our lives for the better and that the journey we would be taking as a family was going to make all of us stronger.

It was just a matter of surviving the scariness that came with surgery. 7 surgeries total by the time we would be all done.

As I sat in the waiting room, waiting to be called back to the recovery area, I found myself scrolling through old photos from the day of their first surgery. My uncle and aunt had been kind enough to accompany me to the surgery center to help keep the Beats distracted before surgery and then be in the recovery room. There were a series of photos that made my heart skip beats, but there's one of He-Beat with Grandpa T that particularly stuck: A "before" photo that has forever been etched in my brain.

30 mins later, with them sitting side-by-side in a wheelchair to be wheeled out of recovery to the awaiting car, I would capture my "after" photo.

Before and after. And a story in between.


  1. Wow, thank goodness for modern medicine. Poor kids, especially she-beat. And you,living with all that stress. Glad things are better now.

  2. Such a lot they've been through. And such a lot you've been through.

    Big hugs to you all for enduring all that's happened over the last 4 years.

  3. Lovely. So glad that it went well.

  4. Such a sweet photo. :) So glad everything went well!


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