It's coming up, the day I've been preparing for and dreading for over a year. Tomorrow we will go to the hospital in Oslo, and on Wednesday it's time for Ulv's palate surgery. I remember thinking about it instantly after we found out he had a cleft palate - that we would face surgery one day, that I had to let that happen. And we are here now, and it's not a distant idea anymore, it's a reality coming up very soon.
I'm scared. Scared of him having the anaesthesia, of feeling him fall into artificial sleep in my arms, of giving him to strangers who are going to cut and sow in him, scared of waiting for him to wake up, of that stillness in between. I'm scared of him feeling pain and feeling disoriented, of all the medicine he will have in his body. I'm scared of letting go.
But I know, my rational brain knows, that we have to do this. That it's for the better for my wolf cub. And when we're out on the other side, we'll have faced another challenge together, it will be behind us, and I'm looking forward to walking away from it, to close that chapter.
I hear myself saying I love you to him more than usual, I hug him tighter, I cry more, I sense him stronger. I remind myself that the truly brave are soft at heart, and try to let these emotions in. I am opening the door, and there's a wind coming in, and it doesn't feel good, but I'm letting it in. We're doing it.
Please send love and light and strength to us on Wednesday morning. Thank you.
Wolfie was born with a rare condition called Pierre Robin sequence (PRS). It's not a syndrome, but a chain of events (a sequence) that happens in the womb. The lower jaw is not allowed to develop properly (for reasons unknown), and that presses the tongue up into the palate, thus preventing it from closing up. The babies with PRS are born with very small lower jaws and open palates, and this creates trouble in breathing and feeding. The upper airways are usually smaller than normal, and the tongue does not get enough space in the jaw, so it falls back and obstructs the air flow. In Norway this is often corrected with a nasal tube, which Ulv had for almost four months. His jaw had then grown sufficiently so that he could breathe fine without obstruction. The open palate means that the PRS babies cannot breastfeed (they can't create suction/vacuum), so Ulv was bottle fed with a special needs bottle and I pumped for him for the first six months. He eats solids like a normal child. The open palate is usually closed in surgery when the child is a year old. You can read more about Wolfie and his first months on the Zoo Payne section, here.