I’m sitting here in pre-op.

Chaim Boruch is by my side as we sit snuggled up together on the hospital bed.

I try to forget

I wonder how he became so small and fragile when only hours ago in the warmth of our home, he seemed so incredibly big and strong.

I try not think back to almost a year ago, when we swam through the ocean of surgery for his feeding-tube placement.

I try not recall feelings and emotions I’d rather forget.

I try.

But I can’t.

It’s all too present and alive within me and I wonder if there will ever be a day I can’t remember images that filter into my nightmares as I sleep and on the rare occasions, the daydreams I dream.

We are here for dental cleaning.

Just another “side affect” of having a tube-fed child is the tooth decay that occurs from a lack of eating by mouth.

I sign a consent form that allows the dentist to do more than just a cleaning once they have put
Chaim Boruch to sleep and have taken adequate X-rays.

My hand maneuvers my signature while my heart tries to pull me away.

I am nervous and worried because in truth, I have a feeling that there is more to be done other than just a “standard cleaning.”

I look at Chaim Boruch, and he looks scared and nostalgic of the last time we were here.

I ask him if he is nervous.

He doesn’t nod or move, but his eyes tell me more than words ever could.

I tell him that he will be OK, and we will get through this together.

It’s now two hours since we have arrived and 16 hours since he last ate.

We have just been told that there are delays, and our turn will be in about another hour.

My husband and I juggle our 8-month-old, who thankfully is playing in the portable crib we brought.

I beg my little one not to toss too many toys onto the floor and then think how many hours my children will be in therapy for their germ freak of a mother.

I sigh.

Chaim Boruch is now pulling the hospital bracelets off his wrist and grabbing his bag of clothes that have been replaced with a sterile, green hospital gown, which hangs off his little shoulders.

He is done and wants to go home.

My nerves are already spent, and I am now using every ounce of energy and strength to calm, soothe and distract a very determined 10-year-old.

The next hour is not fun as we pretend we have it all together in Room 19 in pre-op.

“Having it all together” . . . I briefly think about this idea and wonder if indeed it exists and what does it actually look like in real life.

With not too much time to indulge in a thought, we are finally met with the anesthesiologist team.

“We are ready for Chaim!” they pronounce, and at this point, Chaim Boruch is having a full-blown meltdown on the floor of Room 19.

So much for germs. And so much for having it together.

Well, I am the one who does the “anesthetic shift” to take Chaim Boruch into the operating room and hold him while he is put to sleep.

However, there is no way I can even get him off the floor, never mind down a long hallway.

I try pull him up but am quickly reminded of my weak ankle from a bad break only one year ago.

So, it’ll be the two of us.

My husband and myself who will bring Chaim into the operating room.

A sweet nurse appears, almost angelic at this point, who offers to hold my baby while we don the hospital hats and gowns that make us look like oversized bunnies with light-blue berets.

I see the look on my baby’s face and am grateful that he finds us amusing, and not petrifying.

My husband picks up Chaim Boruch, and I whisper to G‑d a prayer of thanks for his strength as I dodge his flying hands and kicking legs.

I hold his hand, and we are finally seated near way too many machines and medical paraphernalia.

I cradle his head while he sits on my husband’s lap and tell him I love him with huge big tears in my eyes.

He does not like the gas mask over his nose and mouth, and at this point, I think my heart will actually break.

“I can’t do this,” I whisper to myself.

But I do.

And with that, we leave our little one.

We toss our hospital gowns into the garbage and head to the waiting room.

Both of us silent, flooded with thoughts and emotion.

How incredible it is, the love parents have for a child.

So incredible and overwhelming that as we meet Chaim in the recovery room, my jaw feels sore and swollen.

Too much is happening while he wakes up from his anesthetic.

He is confused and in pain, and what I had feared is projected on the beeping of the monitors he is attached to.

His oxygen stats are going down, and he cannot clear the secretions from his lungs.

The atmosphere is heightened while I lean over him, and beg him to be OK and take a breath.

By now, the color in his face propels meI don't want to do this again to increase the volume in my voice while I tell the nurses to suction him and get oxygen to him quick.

Why is everyone moving so slowly, I wonder?

I see their response to my knowledge of what needed to be done.

I’ve done this before.

And I don’t want to do this again.

It’s a flurry of action, while I step back and dissolve into tears.

I look at my husband and nod my head no . . . “I can’t do this . . . ”

But I do.

Because it is G‑d’s will.

I surrender and pray with all my heart.

And Chaim Boruch’s oxygen levels increase.

Yet I myself can’t breathe.

And I thank G‑d for his kindness, his mercy and his miraculous hand holding mine tight.

Every day.

Every night.