Updated: Apr 18, 2021
I took my youngest to her bi-annual audiology and ENT appointment and was overcome with emotion as I watched her raise her hand with zest and zeal to indicate she could hear the sounds. At that moment, I flashed back to 6 years ago when the life I knew was in rubble, and I was trying to make it through. I was sad, exhausted, and angry at life, God, and the Universe. I didn't trust myself or the world.
After six ear infections in six months, we decided that the best course of action was to put tubes in her ears. I vividly remember holding my 11-month-old daughter tight in the hospital room, where she sat dressed in her gown, sucking on her pacifier. I felt so alone and scared. I was too angry at God to pray, and I didn't know what else to do in place of that action. After she went back for her procedure, I sat paralyzed, afraid, and with my eyes glued to the large board for notification, she was out of her surgery. I was grateful that all went well, and the tubes were the solution to her ear problems until they came out, and one of her eardrums didn't heal. Again, my trust that everything would be okay shattered.
Her hearing was impaired due to the hole in her eardrum, and I hoped to hear that her eardrum would miraculously heal at every follow-up appointment. My hopes were not realized, and three years after the first visit to the hospital, I found myself sitting again with my sweet girl in her hospital gown. However, this time, she was much more aware of what was going on, and she was afraid. She was given a relaxant, but she fought it with all of her might. Nothing could ease her terror. One of the most excruciating experiences that I have had thus far as a parent was carrying her down the hospital's halls to the operating room. As calmly as I could, I said that she was safe, all was okay, and I loved her, but, all the while, she screamed, cried, pushed me, and yelled "no!" She was terrified, and I had to hold her on the operating table while they put the mask on her to put her to sleep for the procedure. I swallowed my tears and tried to remain calm, and as soon as her eyes closed, I broke down. I sobbed, the tears flowing and my body trembling. The Doctor assured me she would be fine. I kissed her forehead and exited the room; emotionally raw. Again, I found myself glued to the operating board, willing her number to move to "recovery." Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, it happened, and I exhaled.
Trying to mask my anxiety as I took her to her follow-up visit, I held my breath as I waited for the audiologist to complete the visit and for the Doctor to examine her ear. My heart broke as I heard the words and saw the pictures. My fear that the surgery wouldn't be successful came to fruition. She couldn't go through another surgery. I couldn't go through another surgery. I was overwhelmed and pissed that my sweet little girl was in this position. At each follow-up visit, I learned that her hearing decreased, and we began having conversations about hearing aids. I felt helpless, lost and my trust that life would work out for the best was nonexistent.
I have found that sometimes miracles happen, just not always the way I want them to. As I prepared my youngest for her second eardrum surgery, and an idea came to me. One of her best friends had hernia surgery months earlier, and it hit me that this might be the avenue to help her feel safe and know that her body would heal. I told her the story of her friend and how he told his mom, "I'm safe, and I will be okay," just before he was taken back for his surgery. She looked at me in amazement as I told her about her friend, and then she told me she knew she was safe and that her surgery was going to work. Each time we talked about her surgery, she would recount the story about her friend and let me know she knew she was safe and okay.
On the day of her surgery, she was calm. She sat with me in the room as she waited to go down to the operating room. We snuggled and talked. When I carried her this time, she wrapped her arms around me and whispered, "I am safe, and I am going to be okay." This time as I walked into the operating room, she laid herself on the table. No one needed to hold her down; she didn't fight; she knew, deep in her soul, that she was safe and was going to be okay. This time, the surgery worked.
While her ear didn't miraculously heal, a miracle did occur. I do believe the idea that came to me was divine intervention. It was the thing that connected her, that spoke to her soul, and left her with a deep knowing that she was safe. This was a miracle. I often have preconceived notions of the outcomes I desire and exactly how I want them to happen. I am disappointed and feel abandoned by God and the universe when I set up these rigid expectations. I miss the miraculous events that transpire every day in my life. I am learning slowly but surely, that things work out, and I am exactly where I am supposed to be in life. It has been a journey, but I am grateful that I am remembering how to trust.