This time last year, I barely slept.
This time last year, I woke up on a tiny hospital bed, staring at your little foot poking through the cot rails.
This time last year, I dressed you quickly. But not in clothes. In a beautiful hospital gown I’d had made just for you (thank you Caroline)
This time last year, I rocked you in my arms as you cried and a mask was placed over your mouth.
This time last year you were taken from my rocking arms and placed on a trolley ready for the scariest surgery I could have ever imagined.
This time last year I left you on that trolley. I walked back to the ward we had stayed over night on and collected our things.
I smelt your vest like a crazy woman then wandered in a daze out of the hospital to meet daddy L.
We really tried to pass the time. Anyone who’s had to sit and wait through your child’s surgery know that every minute feels like an hour.
We walked around town. We went into shops aimlessly. I had a need to buy you things but couldn’t think straight.
We tried to eat. To drink. To not talk about what was actually happening. But it was impossible.
We kept busy by organising a parents room for me to stay whilst you recovered on PICU and HDU.
We walked around the German Christmas market and bought you a little glass angel.
And finally we walked back to the hospital reception for more waiting.
Over five hours later and my phone finally rang and I couldn’t answer it. I froze.
Daddy L answered. It was the surgeon to say the operation was a success. He broke down as soon as he hung up.
I was still numb.
We had to wait a further hour before we could see you. They had to set you up in PICU first. That was the hardest hour. We ended up just waiting outside the ward.
Eventually it was time for us to be reunited. I wasn’t prepared at all to see you like that.
So tiny. Too many tubes. You had hiccups so your body would just shake every so often. You had bloody mucas drooling out of your mouth. You were still unconscious and on a ventilator.
Daddy L broke down again but somehow I didn’t. Numb still.
We sat with you. Held your hand. Looked around this room with its noisy bleeping machines and unfamiliar smells. With its walls lined with cots with other poorly children.
Over the next couple of hours you started to open your eyes and cry. It was a silent cry because the ventilator was still down your throat and it broke my heart. I wanted to scoop you up but I couldn’t. We took turns stroking your head and holding your hand.
The more you woke, the more distressed you became so eventually it was time for you to come off the ventilator. I couldn’t watch them do it, I couldn’t bear seeing you more uncomfortable. But it only took minutes and before long I was holding your hand and stroking your head again.
Daddy L struggled. I sent him home in the end because he was so tired and emotional. I was still numb.
You slept a lot, but would wake from time to time and cry for me. I stayed with you into the night but as the only parent left, I decided you would sleep better if I left you to rest too.
With a heavy heart I walked out. I continued through the hospital till I got to the room I’d been provided with. I climbed into the strange bed, in the strange room and tried to process the day.
That hospital stay was harder than any other. I felt lonelier than I’d ever felt. It was hard seeing you in so much pain and it was sad being away from the family at a time that would normally be filled with Christmas excitement.
But we got through it kiddo. And you were a superstar who kicked butt.
Happy first heart anniversary. Here’s to so many more 💗💗