(Written April 2012)
I wake her up at 4:30 am, gently shaking her awake & explaining
that she needs to eat. She nods her head; a groggy "Yes, Mommy" escapes
her lips. I carry her to the dining room and offer her choice of cereal.
"Mommy cereal," she says. Frosted Mini Wheats it is. As I pour her
cereal, I decide to pour some for myself while I wait.
eats and says, "I'm done, Mommy. I'm ready for bed again." I leave the
dishes in the sink, too tired to bother rinsing. We stumble back to bed
and I am surprised by how quickly she falls asleep again. I silently
praise the Lord and drift to sleep.
I wake again. I don't
want to get up, but I need to make sure Amber can still have her sippy
cup of water. I fumble for the Droid phone that we got for free from a
friend of Cam's. I check the time: 7:30 am. In one hour, Amber can't
have any water until after she wakes up from the MRI. The MRI should
take 1 1/2 hours and it starts at 2, so it'll be at least 3:30 pm before
she gets some more water. I try to fall asleep, but the anticipation
(and dread) of the day ahead make it difficult.
We wake up
at about 8 am, and Amber wants "pony shows". At 8:30, Cousin Joey comes
over and plays with her, helping get her mind off of her hunger. At
8:40 am, I pick the nearly-untouched sippy cup off the table and put it
in the kitchen, silently chiding myself for not reminding her to take
several good swigs of it before it was too late.
In a few
moments, Amber reminds me that she's thirsty and hungry. I groan
inwardly for her, and remind her that I can't give her anything because
it's MRI day. She whimpers a bit, and I feebly offer my apologies to
I have to eat today, to be able to feed Evie, so I
guiltily slink back to Granny's room with cereal when I need to. Cam and
I keep a cup of water on the kitchen counters, inaccessible to Amber
because of the baby gates. I try to keep the lights off in the kitchen,
hoping the darkness will conceal the water cup and refrigerator. Cam and
Joey also "disappear" for moments at a time in order to eat, then
return to her later.
Hours pass. and it's time to leave.
Amber's been waiting for this, because Daddy promised she could eat
after the MRI, and pick any place she wanted. She remembers that we're
going to the hospital with the "toy room". I remind her that she's also
going to get an "owie princess glove" (IV) and have to drink the "yucky
drink" (sedation), not wanting her hopes about the day too high. She
insists on asking, "but it's the one with the toy room?" "Yes," I say,
and leave it alone. I'm decide I'm OK with her being positive about
We arrive and take much effort getting our stroller
out (by we, I mean Cam). It's a child-proof, adult-proof, fold-up Graco
model, and it finally opens due to Cam's sheer determination. I throw
our two bags and lunchbox (for while Amber's sleeping) underneath,
grateful not to have to carry all the extra weight.
register @ the front desk and look at some fish in the aquarium. I
notice one is blue and green and I call it an NF fish. I ask Amber what
we should name it, and she says, "Enna" (Emma with two "n"s.) We dub the
fish "Enna" as our pager goes off. We breeze through check-in,
registration, MRI waiting room, receiving and offering the proper
paperwork. As I wash Amber's hands in the restroom, she reminds me about
the "toy room", so I promise to ask when we return to the MRI waiting
room. We reach the receptionist's window in the room and Amber starts,
"Mommy, you promised..."
"I know," I interrupt. I'd sort
of hoped she'd forget about it so I wouldn't have to ask such a forward
question. I ask anyway, and they graciously open the door to the "toy
room". Amber sets about her business immediately, asking for toys while
Evie alternates between happiness, contentment, and fussiness. Nurse
Mary comes in and takes us to the prep room - Amber protests that she
still wants to play. I tell her she'll be back. The doctor explains
their MRI procedure, constantly reiterating that we already "know the
drill", but going over all of it anyway because she has to.
sign some papers and they start preparing for my least favorite parts
of the day: IV and sedation. I lay her on a stretcher and they tightly
wrap her in a blanket, swaddle-style, leaving one arm free. I am told to
stay at her head, and I stroke her hair and try to comfort her with
songs. Amber's not very pleased with me at the moment, and I suspect
that she secretly hoped she'd be able to skip this part.
insert the IV; Amber screams. Tears well up in her eyes and start to
roll down the sides of her cheeks. "Shh..." I whisper in her ear,
"Mommy's here." They tape up her IV with at least 5 pieces of medical
tape and a sticky Ace bandage, then give her the "yucky drink". I've
tried it and I know it's no picnic, having to drink the stuff. The nurse
has her down the entire syringe, promising a surprise if she does.
That's all the motivation she needs, and she swallows all off it and is
rewarded with a princess dress-up set (crown, clip-on earrings and
necklace). Amber asks about the toy room again and they allow her to go
back and play for a bit.
The medicine takes effect
quickly, but she fights tooth and nail to continue playing. She
stubbornly flops around in my arms, using all the strong will her
three-year-old body can muster. She throws a fit as I hold her,
frustrated that I won't let her walk around on her own. Her head swings
around and I constantly reposition myself to ensure her safety.
Mary comes in to ask if we'd like to try rocking her. "Yes," is my
frazzled reply. Cam and Evie leave the room as Amber and I get settled
in the prep room. We get into the rocking chair and Amber begins to
relax. Mary lays a warm blanket (sleepy GOLD) on her and she quickly
Now, the frustration is over. I'm alone with
my beautiful firstborn; she's cradled in my arms and resting
peacefully. "There's my angel," I think to myself, and I can't resist
showering her with kisses. My kiss lingers on her forehead, and I close
my eyes to prevent myself from crying. It doesn't do much good - my eyes
are full of tears as I hand her over to Mary. They wheel her out on the
stretcher and ask us to wait in the waiting room, or go get something
to eat. I haven't allowed myself to cry yet, but it's coming.
in the waiting room, the tears fall silently and unabated. I don't have
to be strong anymore. Cam gently asks why I'm crying and I can't answer
him. I don't really know why I do it, but I do it every time. Cam
volunteers to bring us some lunch, and I nod approvingly.
my hero comes back with our lunch, I munch it down and we share some
laughs about how loudly I eat. I try to eat quietly, but I can't: Cam
and I agree that it's not possible for me. It just sounds "loud and
slow". I also wolf down our peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some
awesome Cheetos. I decide I should write to pass the time, so I ask the
man at the reception desk for a clipboard and paper.
is wheeled out while I'm in the restroom. "I had a feeling that'd
happen," I mumble as I get our stuff together. I walk the stroller right
next to the stretcher as Cam follows, carrying a sleeping Evie. We get
into the elevator to get to the recovery room. On our way in, Mary
tells us that Evie can't be in with us, so Cam stays outside while I
accompany Amber. I panic for a second, wondering how Cam will get a hold
of me if she needs to eat, but they show me the door to the waiting
room in case I need to get to him. I promise myself that I'll check in
on them from time to time.
I talk with the nurses as I
watch my sleeping girl. I'd wanted to continue writing about today, but
the recovery nurses look busy and I'm out of paper to write on. I don't
want to bother them for another piece. I turn classical music on and spy
a Magna-Doodle. I figure I can draw while I wait... so I start trying
to draw Amber. I can't quite get it right... her arms are too short and
it doesn't do her justice. Oh well. I want a picture of it anyway... as
bad as it is, it's probably the best drawing I've done of her. I grow
restless as I notice a machine that monitors how much saline solution
they put into her IV. It says there are still 13 minutes left. I check
on Cam twice, and the second time, Evie's awake. I have him "trade" with
me and lead him to the door of the Recovery room.
restless, and any attempts to feed her are met with her frustrated cry.
She wants to look around, and not only that - she wants to be walked. I
walk her around as I converse with some nice folks about her. I promise
to pray for her 13-year old nephew who had heart surgery. Cam meets me
on my way to the restroom (gimme a break - it's a long day! LOL) and
tells me that they want my help waking Amber up. We "trade" again and
I'm back in the room with Amber. Nino asks for one of my hairs. "You
wanna test it for DNA to make sure I'm her mother?" I think to myself. I
give it to him but say nothing about my curiosity. I wait for him,
half-nervous about what he's going to do with it. He holds it and
inserts it into her nose, moving it around in order to tickle her. He
catches me off guard, and the unexpected nature of his use for my hair
causes me to chuckle more than a few times. "She's still pretty knocked
out," he determines after a few tries. "That's very ticklish, what's I'm
He adds more saline to the IV to help flush out the
sedation, and continues about his business. I wait for it to finish, and
when it does, I try the nose-tickle technique. She responds more to it
now than she did the first time, and I keep doing it, saying,
"Aaammmbbbeeeerrrr," as I go. Finally she opens her eyes. I beam with
pride and ask if she wants some juice. I hold her up and give her apple
juice through a straw. She wants to chug it down, but I take breaks
in-between to keep her from being too gung-ho about it. I show her my
drawing and she asks to draw on the Magna-Doodle.
detatches her IV and all the other monitors, and after I lift her into
the stroller (gotta bring one of those more often!) she draws on the
Magna-Doodle. She doesn't want to give it up, so Nino says, "I think I
have something" and disappears for a few moments. He returns with a cat
beanie baby, and I take the Magna-Doodle away as I show her the kitty.
She giggles and takes it, and we stroll out to meet Daddy.
of the first things Daddy asks is where she wants to eat (he's
starving). We left our house at 11:30 am and it's 6:30 pm when we leave
the hospital: we're both tired and hungry. Amber cheers,
"Cheeseburgers!" at Daddy's suggestion, and we look forward to Baker's
when we get home. It seems like it takes forever for us to get the food,
and we drive home with it. "No fair," I tell Camron as he eats fries on
the way home. "I can't reach the fries!"
When we get
home, Daddy treats her like royalty, setting a TV tray up for her. We
settle in for the night, watching "Muppets Treasure Island" and making
sure she she doesn't try to walk anywhere.
The day is over; now all we have to do is wait until mid-May for the results.