"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life."- Richard David Bach
Saturday, October 13, 2012
The Tooth Fairy has been eying our house very closely these days.
As far back as Lauren's first dental visit to Dr. Cheryl, around the age of two, we've known Lauren has had an extra special tooth up in her mouth. This particular tooth was blocking the eruption of her two permanent teeth from ever making their debut.
Dr. Cheryl advised me years ago that we could wait on the procedure until she's ready to lose some of her teeth. Why extract her two front baby teeth when she's only two, just to have her toothless for the next four to five years? Great point. So we waited. We waited and waited. Every six months, Dr. Cheryl reminded us of her special tooth and every visit we put it off until she was a bit older.
The kids went and had their dental checkup this last summer. And yet again, Dr. Cheryl mentioned Lauren's special tooth.
"I think it would be advisable for you to go talk to an oral surgeon at this point. I think she's ready." Stated Dr. Cheryl.
Okay, that's all I needed to hear. I called the Dr.'s office that following week and scheduled Lauren's consultation.
After the consult and her appointment was scheduled to remove that extra tooth, reality set in. Reality that my baby girl was actually going to lose her first two teeth! She's the only one in her first grade class that has yet to lose a tooth. And the mere thought of being toothless excited her!
During the several weeks in between her consult and actual surgery date, not once was Lauren nervous. Not once did she begrudge having the surgery take place. She was excited. She was thrilled the Tooth Fairy would be visiting her house.
Come the morning of surgery, we awoke before the sun. We applied her numbing cream to both her arms (so she wouldn't feel the sting of the I.V. start) and her and I loaded up in the car.
It was a quiet ride. She half asleep, me contemplating what she's going to look like afterwards. Will she cry and the surgery won't take place, will she be safe, and even, will she be mad at me for putting her through this pain?
Lauren was all smiles in the waiting room...oh good I thought!
Once back, the assistants got her hooked up to the heart monitors, got her comfy with a blanket, and proceeded to answer any and all questions she had...which there were many of.
The Dr. came in and started her I.V. First he placed the tourniquet around her tiny arm. Immediately tears started to fall from her little eyes. She said it was too tight and it was hurting her arm. I was assuming it was the sight of the 6'5" Dr. hovering over her in his sterile white jacket. Or the sight of a small, too sterile room filled with too many strangers. No, it was simply the tightness of the blue rubber band around her petite arm. I quickly consoled her telling her how brave she was being. I kissed her an abundance of times, wiped away her tears, and was dying inside myself. I knew I couldn't show any form of negative emotion at this point or it would be all over. She'd sense my apprehension and lose it. I remained solid as a rock as she started to drift off into sleepy land.
I was then escorted out to the waiting room for what seemed like eternity.
After only fifteen minutes, an assistant asked if I would come back to talk to the Dr. for a minute.
When I walked in and saw Lauren in the condition she was in, I wanted to fall to the ground.
Mind you, I worked in dentistry for over 12 years. I assisted Dr. Cheryl in dental procedures that required the child to be under general anesthesia. I watched as the anesthesiologist started airways on these children. I watched extractions, blood, smoke from the Dr.'s drill, and smelled things that would put most people in the ground. I have seen pretty bad and gross things in that O.R., but I wasn't prepared when I saw my own child laying in the chair, eyes half opened but asleep, bloody gauze hanging from her mouth, and her at the mercy of a Dr. I wanted to cry. I wanted to grab her up and hold her. I even wanted to close my eyes and not have to see her in this condition.
The Dr. informed me that he only needed to remove one baby tooth to get to the impacted tooth. And that she was doing well and would be finished up here in no time.
I smiled as I was escorted back to the waiting room.
It must be my hormones right now. It must be. What other parent reacts the way I did? What other parent felt the emotions I did at that very moment? Maybe tens of thousands, maybe none. But it's okay. I knew then and there that I felt the way I did because I love her. I realized how much I loved her at that very moment. How within an instant, she could be taken from me.
I took a moment in the waiting room to thank God for the blessing he has given me with Lauren. And I thanked him for allowing the procedure to go as well as it did.
After the procedure was complete, I was asked to come back and visit with her while she recovered.
She was rather groggy, but doing well.
After we arrived home, she slept for a bit, but within hours, was back to her old self again!
She's loving the new toothless grin she has. I'll add by saying so am I. I told her she definitely looks like a first grader now.
As the day wrapped up, we prepared for the Tooth Fairy's visit.
We wrote her a nice long letter stating to please leave a prize for her teeth, but don't take them. She wanted to share her gems at show-and-tell on Friday.
As I tucked her in that night, I again thanked God for such an amazing blessing. For allowing me as her one and only momma, to be the light in her life. Tears started to well up, I kissed her forehead and headed downstairs. I had some Tooth Fairy work to do.
The Tooth Fairy left Lauren a sweet note, a dollar under her pillow, a Tinker Bell doll, and a kit to decorate a pumpkin like a kitty.
When Lauren awoke, she was thrilled at what she discovered. I was thrilled to see the look upon her now toothless grin.