Trying to explain the concept of the changing of the year to my three-year-old around the dinner table, I rhetorically asked him what his favorite moment of 2010 was. He’s not typically big on the “what was your favorite part of the day?” routine, so I wasn’t really expecting an answer.
But a response to my own question immediately jumped into my head, and I could tell Greg felt an impulse to share his highlight moment, too.
For both of us, the singular sensational part of the year happened the night we brought Raphael home from surgery in July.
And the moment was pure nothing.
Raphael was dreaming peacefully in his crib a few feet from our bed in simple silence. Not one sound – except the silky cadence of baby’s breath on a warm summer night.
Ah, the quiet! The ease of inhalation… exhalation. We’d never heard anything so beautiful from him (except perhaps the first time I had heard his tiniest voice in the quickest of cries about a year prior on the seventh day of his life, which was the day I first held him in my arms).
Raphael’s surgeon certainly wins person of the year for our family. Dr. Allen said our kiddo’s adenoids had been huge before he cauterized them into oblivion. We asked if he meant huge for such a small baby. “No,” he replied, “huge for anyone.”
We don’t know how our little guy previously pulled breath through his nose. He used to snort so loudly by day, people were constantly asking me about my child’s “cold” with that look of disapproval on their faces over my allowing the spread of germs. At night, I felt trapped by the raucous rumbling of my son snoring like an old man on my left and Greg sawing logs on my right. Raphael used to bend his neck back frighteningly beyond the point one would think a neck could go to make room for airflow as he slept. He couldn’t maintain high enough numbers on the pulse ox, a device that meters the percent of oxygen in one’s blood, and he kept getting terribly sick. His sleep study last spring told us his obstructive sleep apnea was so bad that he’d been having 20 “events” an hour. (Basically, an event means not breathing.)
Certainly Raphael’s over-reactive lungs coupled with an airway that is 30 percent smaller than it should be (I have endoscopic pictures to prove it) along with an oversized tongue had complicated matters for him. We know we’re not yet entirely out of the woods on the breathing front, but yanking those ’noids led to the most blissful sleep for my baby.
And to a house full of people breathing easier ever since.