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When Moms and Dads Feel Helpless at the Hospital

Unless you’ve sung your child to sleep in an operating room, kissed his or her sweet cheek and been led away by a nurse, you have no idea the depth of the helplessness a momma can feel.

Unless you’ve lied awake all night begging God-Fate-Karma to let you keep your child, you don’t know what wanting something more than anything feels like.

Unless you’ve experienced having your baby back in your arms in recovery, you don’t know the sensation of feeling overwhelming gratefulness that lets your body breath once again.

Unless you’ve been there, you really don’t know how hard it can be.

And today for some reason, it was one of the hardest. My daughter Pip had a routine eye and ear surgery, which was obviously nowhere near as complicated as others, like her heart surgery. But today those feelings of helplessness took over.

This time I laid awake thinking how complete Pip makes our little family, how we wouldn’t be us without her.

This time holding her hand walking towards the surgery wing at 6 a.m. choked me up. She kept looking up at me so trusting, and it almost felt like I’ve never loved her more.


This time Pip worked the waiting room, making people laugh, fall in love with her, caught under her spell before they themselves went under.


This time Pip knew more than ever that something was going on and clung her little hands around my neck, not letting me put her down for even a second.


This time when my twonk-of-a-husband forgot to pick up my “lucky surgery charm” (a.k.a. Snickers) and a kind, thoughtful hospital receptionist delivered some to me, I started to cry.

This time Pip forcefully and loudly made it clear she didn’t want her oxygen levels checked or an IV in. Her “no, no, no” over and over made me want to stop the whole thing.


This time when the anesthesiologist went over the routine risks, I tuned her out and just took in the moment of having Pip’s cheek against mind as I rocked her.


This time I didn’t care how loudly I sang “Row Row Row Your Boat” in the operating room as Pip drifted off to sleep while holding my hand.

This time I actually felt bad for the awkward male nurse who didn’t know what to do with the over-emotional-bawling-pregnant-with-her-third momma as he led me to the waiting room.

This time when two men who smelled of cigarettes and were talking cars in the waiting room bugged me, I simply got up and moved to the other room.

This time I only ate two snickers, one Toblerone and two donuts… I dare ya to seriously try to judge.

This time I profusely thanked the two doctors who needed to share operating time to perform on both Pip’s eyes and ears so she didn’t need two separate surgeries.

This time I smiled as the recovery nurses joked about us being frequent flyers.

This time I didn’t rush Pip but simply held her and breathed with her as she woke up.


This time I spent the rest of the day pretty much glued to her.

This time, I know, won’t be the last, but she — we — survived together.

Follow this journey on the Happy Soul Project.