Now that Natalie is starting to get older and notice her body parts in more detail now (she notices her new 3 freckles now) she also is starting to notice more of her scars.
I gotta tell ya, this is one of the things that I've been, not dreading, but not really looking forward to talking to her about, because I have to face it- it's not easy. But at the same time, I look forward to telling her how tough she is. These are her "battle scars" from a surgery that saved her life. And every time I talk about it with her it's getting harder to not get a bit sad because we know that around the corner at some point within the next few years (at latest) she will have to endure more scars.
I try not to tell her too much..just that she's our tough girl with beautiful scars..and a hero. A hero.. she doesn't even realize how much of a hero she is and what a hero even means. Those things, I look forward to explaining more about with her as each year goes by.
Until she understands, she will glance at her wrist (where the huge IV was in during her heart surgery and recovery) and say "car!". She also says "bipe" for "bite" and that gives me a giggle too. But, with this scar I've noticed how much it's changed... in shape and color..and how even the placement of it has gone from being wedged in her chubby infant wrist to now sitting above the wrist line. She's getting so big..a true example of how quickly she's growing. And her chest scar.. it's gotten smaller and the color is so light. Honestly..whenever we put a shirt or a dress on her where you can see it?.. I feel so proud of her. I hope when she's older she feels okay to show it off. But, she'll be a teenager at some point so who knows how she'll feel about it. Her neck scar where she had her central IV line is so tiny now! That IV was alot bigger than the one in her wrist which leads us to believe her tiny wrist tissue must have tore a bit with the IV in it... we don't know if it was on purpose or by accident. And lastly, her catheterization scars, two tiny scars in her inner thighs are just that..tiny. And so far, she hasn't noticed those. She has a good eye so I wonder how long it'll be.
We try not to focus on how sad we are about the future of her next surger(ies) ..we know she'll need another cath..and that means even more scars. But, everday we remind her of how much more special and beautiful that makes her. We haven't said anything to her about future surgery because she's 2 and well.. she doesn't understand yet. I'm kind of looking out for some books or articles ..anything that helps a 3 to 5 year old work out their feelings about fear or anything like that when it comes to surgery. Until then.. she has us to keep her happy and calm. And when she doesn't notice, we can freak out about it calmly on our own.