Blue drapes and a gas mask

The next day Hope and I were up early headed to The hospital for children in Denver. Hope was cranky because she was hungry and couldn’t have anything to eat or drink. It was surgery day! The nurse explained that at their hospital they allowed the parent to go all the way to the operating room for the child’s comfort. I walked beside the nurse with Hope in my arms toward the operating room. As we walked down the long hallway the nurse told me not to touch anything that was covered in blue when we entered the room. She said once Hope fell asleep they would have me leave the room. We walked through a set of double doors. The room was freezing cold. There was so much covered in blue. Blue drapes laid over tables and equipment I couldn’t see. I was instructed to lay Hope down on the narrow bed in the center of the room. I stood by her side holding her and telling her everything was going to be okay. The nurse showed Hope a gas mask and let her touch and play with it briefly. The nurse turned on the gas. As the nurse brought the mask closer to Hope’s face she began to get upset. Then the nurse pressed the gas mask gently against Hope’s nose and mouth. Hope completely flipped out. She was scared. She was screaming, tears rolling down her cheeks. She jerked her head back and forth trying to get away from the mask. All at once the room grew silent, she quit crying. She quit moving. I looked at her. Her blue eyes and her mouth were wide open. She was motionless, she was absent of life. That moment is when I learned what Hope would look like dead. She was not dead, but she looked it. That was traumatic for me to see her that way. A nurse said “Mom it’s time to go..” I exited the operating room. I was alone. I resented Mitchell. I felt that even though we weren’t together, he should have been there. I didn’t have this child by myself. I felt like he should’ve been there for me to lean on, to know what it felt like in those moments as her parent, he should’ve been there by her side too. He wasn’t. I felt so let down by him. I walked down the hallway in the direction of the parking garage. I sat down in the driver’s seat of my car. As I dialed Deedee’s phone number, I lit a cigarette. I was crying before she answered the phone. Through tears I described the way Hope looked before I left the operating room. She looked dead. I said I couldn’t do this. She reminded me that I am doing it, had been doing it, and everything would be okay. She reassured me that Hope was in good hands. Surgery lasted three hours. Surgery went just as well as the doctor expected. No more urine leaking onto her clothes. For the first time since she was a week old she was peeing the normal, natural way. Everything was going well. The next day the nurse told me we could be discharged that day or she could try to get Hope another day because of the weather. I preferred another day. The snow was 18 inches deep. We stayed a second night in the hospital.

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