Welcome, Mamma Crew!  Today is Kiddos Tuesdays when I discuss issues related to the kids.

So, boys bring with them a host of surprises, don’t they? Holy guacamole! When Bug first came to live with us, I knew from his biological mother that one of his testicles hadn’t descended. Now to be honest with you, I didn’t pay that much attention to it because she told me at the time that he had had surgery, the problem was repaired and it was over and done with.

So I was like, “Okay. Good! We’re good, right, and not something I need to worry about?” I can move on and worry about the other bazillion things that are on my plate.

And of course, I kept up with his child well-visits and vaccinations and everything that he needed, but never really gave it any thought besides initially telling the pediatrician that one of his testicles had originally not descended and that he had had surgery before it.

Until… Surprise! Bath time comes along and I realize, we don’t look very asymmetrical. Something’s wrong. So of course, the first thing that I do is yell for my husband (poor guy!). But I did! I mean, he has a set of testicles — he should know, right? — whether it looks right or wrong and he should be able to guide me through this. But of course, my husband was kind of at a loss too because well, we’re used to having girls. And he’s used to me dealing with the girls’ issues.

But now, here we are, with a boy, having boys issues, and he’s a little startled by these turn of events. And I think it also dawned on him that this is just the beginning of the boys’ issues that he’s gonna have to deal with. But in any case, we were both quite shocked, so after he examined Bug, we decided we needed to take him back to the pediatrician. 

And guess what?! The little sucker had gone back up! Yep. It was hiding again! So was this a problem? Well, I gotta be honest with you — I didn’t know whether it was just an aesthetic thing or if it was a problem. But I soon found out from the doctor that an undescended testicle is generally rare in a full-term baby. And Bug was a full-term baby. And it’s not common for a testicle that has been repaired and moved to its correct place to decide to go back up and hide again. 

But unfortunately, an undescended testicle can lead to dangerous complications because if it doesn’t descend, it’s temperature can

rise high enough to cause low sperm count, poor sperm quality, and worst of worst, testicular cancer. Now there’s a very small probability that would happen (I think it’s around one percent), but it could happen! So this was something that we definitely needed to take care of. 

Now surgery — we’ve been through a couple of things with the kids, with the girls: dental surgery; we’ve been through some stitches… but that that’s it! Oh, because the girls were born prematurely, Andy and Emmy, so they have GERD (basically acid reflux) and some gastritis. But all we had to go through, thank you so much, heavenly Father! And Dora is incredibly strong and healthy. She’s never really had any kind of issues. 

But here we are with Bug, a four-year-old, and we’re talking about surgery. Now the surgery, we know, is gonna be done laparoscopically, but I’ve had laparoscopic surgeries (I think the first one, I was about 39) and while it was a quick recovery, it was not a painless recovery. And we are talking about a very active little boy. At the time, he was still four. So I wasn’t exactly thrilled about putting him through this. My husband was, of course, making that face — oh my God! Surgery?! Near the genitals?! Ugh!

And we were concerned for him, we were concerned about his safety and were also concerned about his biological mother. 

How is she going to feel that he was going to have this surgery away from her? Was she going to feel comfortable enough? Was she going to trust the fact that we’re going to be making the right decisions, and taking care of him as he should be taken care of? I mean, it is very important to me that she always feels good and confident. 

But I also know that there are times when nothing makes up for you being there. You know — MOM being there. Now in the case of Bug, he’s blessed because he has two moms and we both want to be there for him. But in this case, only I could be there for him.

So of course, I called her and I told her what the pediatrician had said and we agreed — surgery was absolutely necessary and it was best for the surgery to be done with us and, of course, that meant that she couldn’t be there. Now we were on the phone throughout the whole procedure and that was very challenging because I wanted to be there for Bug one hundred percent. To assure him that he was going to be okay. That everything was going to be alright.

And believe it or not, the fact that he had gone through the surgery once before made it a lot easier for him. He didn’t feel insecure, he didn’t have a lot of questions (although he did give them hell when they had to do the blood work prior to the surgery — but you know that’s typical. No kid likes shots!). So that was okay. 

The surgery itself didn’t take very long. But it was the longest forty minutes of my life! I felt like I was holding my breath the entire time. It didn’t matter that we were in one of the best hospitals in the United States; it didn’t matter that this was a pediatric surgeon — none of it mattered! All that mattered was that my little boy was undergoing surgery. And all I could think was of the very minor possibility that something could go wrong.

Yes, I prayed and my logic told me it wasn’t going to happen. There was no reason for it to happen. We have a perfectly healthy, very active little boy. Everything was going to be fine. I knew that. I

accepted that. But my mother’s heart couldn’t. That mother’s heart was worried and frantic and paranoid.

The interesting thing was that as soon as he was in recovery and we were able to sit with him, I felt a hundred percent better. I felt as though I had a little bit of control because I could call his biological mother and say he’s out of surgery. He’s doing great. Everything’s taken care of. He’s gonna be alright. And I could see for myself that he was out of the surgery! And I could hear from the doctor that everything was going to be alright. It was completely unreasonable!

It reminded me so much of the fact that I’m terrified of flying, yet there’s a higher probability that I’m going to be in a car accident (where I feel far more comfortable and confident) than I will have an accident when I’m in an airplane (where I’m completely nervous and uncomfortable)! It felt the same way! The whole time he was in surgery, I was terrified! Absolutely terrified and paranoid and as soon as I could see him, everything felt so much better. It’s so crazy and unreasonable, isn’t it?

And the thing, too, is kids are so resilient! Oh my gosh, I forget how different it is when you’re young! To recover from surgery, to recover from a fall, to recover from anything! He was bouncing off the walls! One day. One day! That’s all it took! I mean, it was hard enough to keep in one day because he had to have cold compresses, and we had to make sure that the swelling was under control, and of course, we had to make sure that he didn’t damage the repairs so we had to limit his activities. And that was absolute insanity! The kid wanted up! He wanted to keep going, he wanted to rear up! It didn’t make any difference! Now I had him at home and now I was worried. Worried! Was he going to be okay? Was he going to recover okay?

And then I thought to myself what a wonderful privilege it is — I get to worry about a child. I get to worry about a little boy. I get to love this little boy. And it took me back to the days when I thought I would never be a mother, I would never have the opportunity to love a child. Little did I know that loving a child is a terrifying, terrifying proposition, as much as you love them and enjoy them! It is equally terrifying!  You are so terrified for them! You are so happy for them! And it’s such a wonderful privilege, isn’t it? 

So there I was, feeling weird that I was handling a little boy’s testicles. They needed to be iced, they needed to be checked, they needed to have medication put on them. And he acted just like the girls did — there was nothing out of the ordinary. Mom was just doing her job! And after a day, that’s exactly what it became. I no longer felt weird. It no longer mattered that I wasn’t dealing with female genitalia to which I was accustomed to. Now I was dealing with male genitalia and now I’m accustomed to that, too.

It’s so funny. I feel so stupid and silly. I mean, it’s just nothing more than a matter of I hadn’t had a boy up until now. A crazy little boy who likes to scooter, who’s learning to ride a bike, and who’s teaching me a whole different set of lessons just by being my wonderful little boy. 

So the surgery was a success. Several checkups later, the testicle has not gone back up, it’s where it’s supposed to be in the scrotum, perfectly symmetrical. Everything looks good. We’re good to go, no damage. And one day, this crazy little boy that put me to this little roller coaster ride, our worry, and concern is gonna be making me a grandma. And that will be such an incredible privilege!

I have four children. Four children that are going to make me a grandma one day. How could I possibly be any more blessed? So in this imperfect journey, in which I don’t understand what I’m doing and I’m always trying to do my best, I can only say it’s the best journey I’ve ever taken. It’s the greatest joy of my life.

I do wonder, though, what this little boy is going to teach me next. How it’s gonna be different, this specific journey, compared to the girls. And I’m so excited and eager for this different aspect of parenting. I hope I’m able to do justice to him because he deserves the best mother that I can possibly be. He is a wonderful little boy.

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