“Mommy!” I woke up to my heart beating loud and realized my child was yelling for me. It was 3 am when I ran into his room. “What buddy?” “I puked.” Zayne sat in his bed crying. This was the first of many times I would run in there and clean him up. I finally started laying towels down. I figured they were easier to replace then sheets. At 7 am I just got up, made a pot of coffee and got Ayden up for school. Thankfully my mom was staying with us and she took him to his last day of school so I could take care of Zayne. It was bittersweet. I had attended Ayden’s school the day before to see him get an award and look at this portfolio but Zayne had kept me from really being able to be there for Ayden. I made it a point to put Z in front of TV when we got home so I could spend as much time as I wanted looking at Ayden’s book with him. He was so proud!! Such a sweet moment.
It was 10 am when I took Zaynes temp and realized it was climbing. Shoot. Why now? Why this week? We were supposed to be heading to chemo that day but because of all the puking we cancelled and rescheduled for the day after. Within an hour Z’s temp had gone from 100.3 to 102.7. Time to go. I thought as I packed his bag. I ran through the mental list. Numbing cream…bandaids…blanket. I folded the handmade blanket that was embroided with scriptures, pictures and even the super Z symbol. It had become his favorite and mine also. He was growing like a weed and it actually covered both of us. My mom called me and insisted on coming knowing I was up the night before. I struggled knowing she was planning to leave for Chicago with my aunt in the morning however she was already on her way to my house. There was no talking her out of coming. I had to laugh at how our family protects each other. Thankfully my sister had Ayden and all I had to do was load my sick baby and get on the road. I called my husband to let him know what was going on. He was staying in Detroit for the week with a project he had been working on for quiet some time. I then called Gina for the pep talk. I was struggling with this one. Zayne’s face was pretty swollen and he was slightly lethargic. Gina re-assured me that the prayer chain had been called and I would be ok. We got to the half way point and I pulled over to apply his cream. He wasn’t happy about putting it on his port but he REALLY wasn’t happy I had to put it on his arm. He fought me so bad I finally grabbed his arm and used my weight to steady his kicking body. I slapped that cream on his arm with the satisfaction of knowing he wouldn’t feel the extra poke he had to get. It was worth the fight. As we neared the hospital my stomach rolled. You are good…you are good. You got this. God help me relax. Help me be strong for my boy. We are ok. We are safe. We are strong. You made me strong. Zaynes protest turned from angry protest to emotional cries. That’s when I begin losing it. “I don’t want this doctor mom…the poke hurts me…I don’t like it. Let’s go somewhere else. Let’s just leave.” My heart ached for my baby. “Zayne this is our hospital…just a different room. Mom is right here for you! You are so big! This is how we stay healthy…they are gonna make you feel better sweetie. You’re ok…Moms got you.” I repeated this I don’t know how many times. We were escorted into a room without even waiting. All the nurses scurried around trying to ask me questions while Zayne demanded we leave. He was so loud and so scared. “Buddy this is what we do. We are gonna get a little poke and then we get to snuggle!! You are ok. Let me talk to the doctor ok?” “NO…I DON’T WANNA GET A POKE…IT HURTS. LET’S LEAVE MOM…I WANT THE ONE WITH THE WINDOWS.” Tears were free falling down his face. I held him on my lap on the gurney. Everything was happening so fast. I finally said “WAIT. He has a system if you just give me a second.” All the commotion stopped. The main nurse said “Of course…we want him to be comfortable! We just want it to be fast.” She said with a sympathetic smile. I turned to Zayne who was completely overwhelmed. “Baby listen to me…I want you to remember how big you are when Miss Annie does your poke. Do you remember?” “Yeah…I like Miss Annie…where is Miss Annie?” He said crying and holding his shirt down. “She is helping other kids like you. We get to come meet new friends this time. Listen I know you don’t like to be held down but if you don’t let us take off your shirt and put your tube in we are going to have to.” “NO.” He yelled looking up at me with red streaked eyes. Tears threatened my strong demeanor. “I am right here beside you! You can squeeze my hand!! And then it’s almost over.” I slowly pulled his shirt off. I put his little hand in mine and began talking in his ear as the nurses prepped for the poke. “You are doing great Baby!! So big! So strong! It’s almost done! What do you want to do when we get home? Did you tell the nurses what we have in our backyard?” Anything to take his mind off of it, all the while he just screamed in protest and I could do nothing. I looked up at the nurse and said “We don’t count, we don’t breathe…just get it done.” She nodded and as soon as the alcohol dried she hovered for a split second over the port with the needle to hit the right spot. In that split second when Z saw the needle he screamed “NO”. And it was over. “We are done Baby!! We are done! Good Job!!” I took a deep breath and held him close. He was so hot. His fever still registering at 102.8. “Hi I’m Sarah, I’ll be drawing his blood.” Shit. I forgot about the second poke. I felt the all too familiar weight. I started my mantra. You are good. You got this. Deep breath. We are safe. “Right.” I said trying to be polite. Then I decided I didn’t have to be polite. “Tell me you are good.” I said with a look of desperation. “I’m very good.” She said with a confidence I believed. It was just as much of a struggle to keep Zayne still but one poke and she was in. Once it was done, the nurses left as fast as they had come. The hard part was over. I laid my head back and simply ran my fingers through his hair. His beautiful curls. I started to thank God for everything. Zayne was ok. The headaches are gone. The tumor is shrinking. He is SO STRONG. We put the movie frozen on and laughed at the funny snowman and then listened to the song I have heard so many times before. “Let it Go.” We were here in this hospital, getting the treatment we needed. They ended up giving him some Tylenol after the meds. His fever dropped and he drifted off. Quiet moments like that, I try to reflect on how thankful I am. My mom in the chair next to the bed, my sister taking care of my other boy. I reflected on the conversation I had with my dad on the way into the ER. “I’m not cut out for this dad…I am not the mom who takes her kids to the ER. I’m the mom who fills up the swimming pool in the backyard. I hate this.” I said as the tears ran down my cheeks. So soft and supportive he said “You are Jessie. You’re ok. You are right where you are supposed to be. And we are all behind you.” And they were. I had texted a couple people and before I knew it I had encouraging texts piling up on my phone. We got home that night and I watched Zayne get into his little car and ride around the driveway. Jamie showed up with Ayden and I almost cried as I hugged him. These boys are my world. I remember hearing my dad say “You girls will never know how much I love you and what I would do for you until you have your own.” And now I know. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for these little beings God gave me.