He walked into the surgical suite hand-in-hand with the anesthesiologist.
Lifted onto the table, he was wrapped up warmly in a blanket.
I stood by him so I could look into his beautiful eyes and soothe him. I held his hand and told him he was going to be ok.
The lights, so bright, they bothered both of our eyes. I told him to close his.
I know how hard that is, to close your eyes, because then you can no longer see what’s happening, you hate to give up what little control you have left.
I smelled the anesthesia. I hate that smell.
It’s one of those scents you can’t describe until it’s there and then you know exactly what it is.
Like chemical bubble gum in a plastic air mask.
I was worried that if I leaned in too close to him, I might breathe it in too and pass out right there on the floor.
Just the thought of that disoriented me for a second, because my mind immediately sprung into panic mode, thinking about what might happen if I couldn’t be there for him.
He tried to fight it. He wriggled and wrestled to get away from it. I tried even harder to keep his eyes trained on me, to stay in his sight so I would be the last person he saw.
I always think about that when I go under.
It’s the nurse who holds my hand or rubs my arm or looks into my eyes to assure me I’ll be ok, that she’ll be there when I wake up.
That’s the last thing I see and the first thing I remember when I come to.
It’s comforting. It’s better than the bright lights.
“You’re going to be ok,” I whisper into his ear.
“Mommy loves you.”
Kiss on the forehead.
I walk away on rubbery legs.
Then wait in anguished anticipation.
And pray that my baby will be ok.