Tim gathered up a very sleepy 22-month-old at 5:00 this morning and bundled him and his favorite "Winnie-the-Poo-Pooh" blankie into the car and drove them down to the Children's Hospital in Denver.
Nathanael's front teeth came in with flawed or missing enamel, so the teeth were decaying before they even all the way in. The dentist looked and said they were decayed all the way around, so she couldn't save them, and we couldn't just leave them in because at some point they would cause him pain and probably get broken off, which would require emergency extraction in the office (not fun for mom or baby). And they weren't even completely formed, so she couldn't do a baby root canal and crown them. This wasn't a complete surprise to me--I knew at least one of the kids would have this happen because it runs in my family, and my brothers and sisters' kids have had teeth come in flawed like that.
So we scheduled dental surgery for him, and today was the day.
I am glad Tim did that for me. It's not easy to see the kids nervous, or drugged, or waking up unhappy. I don't so much mind the blood they always have dried on their faces when they're done. I don't even really mind rocking them every time the tylenol wears off for a couple of days, and I've gotten used to how my kids look with their front teeth out because this is kid number 3 to go around missing front teeth.
The doctor was great, and she managed to save most of his teeth. Most of his molars have fillings now, and all four front top teeth are gone, but he still has most of his teeth in there (what a relief!). He will be toothless front and center for the next 6-7 years.
Tim brought him home, groggy but fine, at 2:30 pm (long LONG day for Tim!). I wanted to hug and cuddle him to reassure myself that he was fine, but he wasn't interested. He drank some juice from his new sippy cup they gave him, and then he jumped right back in to fighting with Benji (his latest hobby) and playing with his little matchbox cars (he is very orderly--LOVES to line them up in perfect little lines on the table). He was fine. He was even fine when his tylenol wore off--until it had been gone for 3 hours, and then he woke up from a nap hurting, but tylenol solved that quickly.
So we survived another difficult day.
Nathanael didn't even realize anything had happened, as far as I could tell, until we found those little "snaps" still stuck to his chest and side from the monitors they used. That distressed him quite a lot, and he insisted they hurt (when he hadn't noticed them a minute before) and needed hugs until I got them off.
Even then, he didn't realize his teeth were missing until he took my apple and tried to take a bite. And tried again. And tried again. Then he handed the apple back to me and said, "It's not working." Like it was the apple's problem. So I cut it up into little bites for him, and he said, "Oh. Eat it this way. Okay." And he enjoyed his apple.
Now we'll see who has to go down next. I suspect Benji will at some point, but he still won't let the dentist even look in his mouth. I'm thinking Anda might. She thought just getting sealants on was torturous, and she has multiple fillings she needs in every quarter of her mouth. So the dentist has left Children's Hospital open as an option for her--we do the first fillings next week and see how much trauma it causes, and then we decide. That would be all five kids.
I had hoped they would inherit Tim's teeth and my mouth chemistry (Tim's whole family is prone to mouth sores, and mine is not). Instead, they all have my family's teeth (so soft you can practically brush cavities into them) and Tim's mouth chemistry (long-lasting canker sores appear when they're under stress, eat chocolate or too much sugar, don't get enough B-vitamins, or just randomly). Too bad for the kids!