Day 18: “brave like my mama” by Zo, age 5.


My precious five year old daughter, Zo, born by emergency c-section at 35 weeks due to bleeding placenta previa, who was a fighter and a miracle and a dream come true from the moment of her unlikely conception, who has had near constant strep since March and can barely eat due to the probably pus-filled, infection laden planet shoving her uvula out of its bossy way, is finally having a tonsillectomy tomorrow morning at 7:30 am.

I am fucking terrified.

I know that for ENT specialists, this surgery is so routine it is like tying their shoes. I know millions of them are performed; my own tonsils were removed about ten years ago, my brother’s when he was little, my mom’s when she was little. It is outpatient, and will be completed probably before X even wakes up in the morning, this dear big sister who was sobbing hysterically in my arms a few hours ago out of fear. I said all the right things, but I know how she feels. Tied in with the trauma of Zo’s birth, when she was cut out of my uterus blue and silent and whisked away, revived mere moments later out of my sight and without neo-natal intensive care, the Fear Devil is whispering, what if she doesn’t revive this time? What if she’s used up her miracle? What if something about her premature birth makes her more vulnerable under general anesthesia? What if, like the terrible case in Oakland, she suddenly gushes blood and lapses back into unconsciousness, never to open her huge hazel eyes again?

All three of us suffered some PTSD from the terror of nearly losing Zo before she took her first breath. We just want this to be over. We want those gross blobs lazered out of her throat, her eyelids fluttering open, feeling sore and scared, but fully and completely alive. I am envisioning it. I am projecting it. I am creating a positive outcome with the sheer force of my mama bear will.

But oh, my god, in whom I don’t believe but am praying to now with everything I have, I am so terrified. I don’t feel brave. Even though Zo, when invited by J to sketch a page of our graphic novel 365 Days of Migraine, drew herself on the table heading into surgery and said, “I am going to be brave like my mama.”

If only, baby girl. If only I could be brave like you.


Text of Page:
09.05.14 |Day 18: “brave like my mama” (by Zo, age 5)|Migraine365|
“I’m going to walk down the hall and I’m going to walk right behind the doctor.” |”I think the doctor looks like a nice doctor.” | “I’m going to lay on the bed… and be as brave as my mama.”| “This is my family. Mama looks like she is dancing, but she is just walking.” |”And then I’m going to walk back to the car with my mama. After they take my tonsils out.”|

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