Tuesday, 21 February 2012

My Little Survivor - #dosomethingyummy

It's the final week of the #dosomethingyummy link up, raising awareness for the children's cancer charity CLICSargent. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed this link up, and a huge thank you to Nickie at Typecast for all her efforts. I hope these link ups have inspired you to #dosomethingyummy. I hope to do something yummy from 10th - 18th March. If you blog, please link up this week. You don't have to write an epic. Just write from the heart, even if its just a paragraph or two. Lets make this last week a big one.

The prompts are great ones again, unfortunately vlogging is not my strong point and I am not sure Joseph is quite up to it yet anyway, so I have chosen the first prompt. Tell us your story of survival. What did you overcome? For regular readers you may know this story already, but my heart felt it needed retelling. 

My teddy bear 40 years old this year - a symbol of survival

My baby was born 5 days ago. My milk has come in. My boobs are in agony. My head is all over the place. I feel elated, depressed, excited, fearful, alone, overwhelmed, I just can't find any space to think and clear my head. I haven't been outside since I entered the hospital in the wee small hours of Thursday morning. It's now Tuesday.


I walk into the neonatal unit to take yet another pot of milk my baby can't drink. I put it in the freezer. A doctor comes. I can't really hear what he's saying, but it isn't good. Yesterday Joseph was fine, today he is critical. So fast. So unexpected. And I can't see him. Another x-ray. The NICU is in lockdown and will be for a good hour or so. I go up to my room and try to read, but its useless, the words aren't making sense. I turn on the television. It's all garbage about corrupt politicians and duck houses. Nothing is making sense.

I go back to the unit. Another doctor comes to me. I am still not understanding it all, but it definitely isn't good. I hear the words "suspected NEC". From my brief knowledge of premature baby complications I know this is really not good. I hang on to "suspected". Suspected means it might not be, doesn't it? I go and see my baby. He looks sick. He has no energy. He's not kicking. His tummy is distended. His skin around his umbilicus is black. I pray. I go back to my room. I cry. My husband comes in, finally. I find it barbaric he is restricted to visiting hours when we are in bits and could lose our baby.

We go down to the unit. Corey looks scared.  We have decided the best approach is to be positive. I am serene, like the proverbial swan paddling like mad under the surface. I sing to my baby, I talk to him. Worry will get us nowhere, I decide. I don't want Joseph to feel any anxiety. I want what little energy he has to be diverted to getting well. To living.

My husband decides we should go to the cafeteria, get some fresh air and try and eat. As I enter outside my head spins, the air hits my nostrils. I feel a little cold, even though its a warm May day. My skin has not been in contact with fresh air for 6 days and it feels very strange. We sit in the cafeteria and chat, having a drink my tea tastes like metal. It's horrible. I eat some chocolate, having been told by one of the consultants that it is good for milk production. I can't taste it, and its texture is like chalk. I feel numb. I can't seem to process anything around me properly.

In the afternoon the important consultant who has been brought in to see Joseph comes to see me. He puts his hand on mine. He tells me I am too calm, that I don't understand. He tells me my baby is dying.

He's just told me my baby is dying.

How do I process this? What do I say? I stare at him. "My baby is a survivor, he is a fighter. I have done my job, I have brought him here safely. Now you do yours and don't you dare give up on him because I haven't". I leave. They are working on him. 4 big pairs of hands around his teeny bird like body.

I feel sick. Did I just say that? Should I have said that? Should I have left? What if he's right? What if I am losing my baby? Oh God Oh God, please please please give me strength to get through this. Please give Joseph strength to get through this. I can't lose him, not now. I slowly walk up the stairs and go back into my room.

What happens next is a blur. My room has been ransacked. Joseph's teddy bear has been stolen. I lose it. Big time. I can't stop crying. I am frantic. I furtively check through my drawers. Everything is still there, money, iPod, phone, camera. God, the camera, thank God they didn't steal it. Midwives come and see me, hold me, cuddle me. They realise this isn't about a lost bear. This is about a baby. A baby I could lose. My notes are read. Everyone is worried. That I am officially, clinically losing the plot. It is decided that I need a psychiatric evaluation. I agree to this. But I am confused. I have no idea how someone in my position is supposed to act. But it appears I am getting it wrong. I want my mum. She is in Australia. I want this to stop. I just want to hold my baby. I want my baby.

At midnight the doctor comes to evaluate me. She wants to alter my blood pressure medication. I refuse, I explain to her this one was chosen as the other can aggravate asthma. I explain my mental health history and what is happening today and why I am so up and down. She smiles. She says I am not mentally ill and she doesn't know how I am meant to process all this either, and to try and sleep. She tells me she is sorry. She has tears. I put my head down and sleep, amazingly, comes.

Later, much later, I go down to the unit. As I walk down the corridor the automatic lights start coming on.  It's dark and quiet. It feels like the light is anticipating my movement, like the ward knows I am coming. I ring the bell and am let in. It's the wee small hours. The machines that were going mad earlier beep reassuringly. Regular, monitoring beeps. Not scary beeps.  Blood tests are back. Joseph is rallying. His infection markers have improved. He looks a little better. The night registrars come to me and tell me that there is a long way to go. A very long way, but things are looking better and he is stable.

Joseph is looking better. I don't give up praying. I keep singing. I keep as serene as I can.

I believe. I believe in my team, in my baby and in God.

And my faith is rewarded.

Joseph is a survivor.

And, so am I. 


32 comments:

  1. You are both survivors. That makes my heart go,remembering all those feelings. I always tried not to be upset or negative beside the incubator so gemma didn't get vibes other than positive. Didn't always manage it...

    What a well written,emotive post as always

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  2. You are both survivors. That makes my heart go,remembering all those feelings. I always tried not to be upset or negative beside the incubator so gemma didn't get vibes other than positive. Didn't always manage it...

    What a well written,emotive post as always

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  3. My post is on it's way on Thursday :) x

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  4. Kylie, you are such a strong and inspirational woman. No wonder Joesph is such a survivor! Xx

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  5. lovely post, ive had 4 premmie babies (not that you would tell now though) and its a horrible thing to have to go through.....im so glad everything turned out happy for you

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  6. Beautifully written post Kylie. I can't begin to imagine what you, and Joseph, went through but you brought tears to my eyes with this piece. xxx

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  7. You just made me cry :( You both amaze me so much x

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  8. I'm so happy for the last line in this post. Amazing story, beautifully told. You are so brave, as is your son. x

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  9. Joseph is definitely a fighter and am very happy for you. I am due in less than 3 weeks, and cannot even imagine whta you must have been through...@Kahanka

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  10. Oh my what a post.

    As a mother your experience has to be one of the worst possible things that one could go through.

    Reading this I've gone through an array of emotions - sadness, anger and finally joy.

    Hooray for Joseph and hooray for you my dear xx

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  11. The rollercoaster of emotions when you have a premature baby struggling for life is unbelievable, I felt it all return when I read this, am glad you had a happy ending xx

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  12. What a terrible thing to have to go through. There is just no way to process information like that about your child. I'm so glad you have a survivor...

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  13. How awful for you, I feel for what you went through and am just overjoyed that there was a very important happy ending! I was on tender hooks reading... I have been in hospital with my youngest waiting for results back praying myself luckily he was fine too, it is hell to go through! x

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  14. Thank you for reading, it was a really weird time, almost like being in a movie, watching it from the outside. We are so grateful to have Joseph with us, well and happy.

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  15. Thank you so much for reading. It was really tough, especially to be criticised for how I was feeling, when really, there is no right or wrong way, you've just got to get through it.

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  16. Thank you so much, it's just so hard isn't it, and I am so grateful that there are people like you understand. And its why I keep blogging because you never know who is reading and who might need to hear a story of hope.

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  17. Thank you so much Mammasaurus. It was really hard, and I am so grateful we got our happy ending.

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  18. Thank you so much for reading! 3 weeks! Woo!

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  19. Thank you so much. Joseph is definitely a brave brave boy! I think I faked it!

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  20. Thank you Stacey! I'm always making you cry!

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  21. Aw hunny life can be pretty messed up at times and we have no idea how strong we have to be till we are faced with it x Well done you x

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  22. The swan analogy is one I use a lot. It's such a perfect description. But I want to know if you ever got the teddy back? Was it really stolen :(

    Also, thanks for joining in with all the #dosomethingyummy prompts and for helping out with the social media shout out. You've been an absolute star and it's been amazing reading your's and Joseph's story xx

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  23. Nickie, it's been an absolute pleasure, it's such an important charity and it's been great to join in..

    The teddy was really stolen. I was on the ante natal unit rather than post natal, as that's where they try to accommodate those whose babies are not with them.

    The bear was stolen by a dad, the mum was in for observation as she was addicted to crack cocaine. A nurse located the bear and I advised her to leave it. They were clearly short of money, and took the bear in desperation. If I robbed that baby of the only bear he might get, I would have felt worse. What was really sweet was that Joseph got a teddy from the nurses on maternity, the brothers of his first room mate gave him a bear from their collection, and one of the neonatal nurses gave him a Burnley FC bear!

    I was just so grateful, in the cold light of day, that all they took was a bear. I had so much stuff in that room that they could have stolen, especially the camera.

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  24. Thanks for commenting and joining in Emma!

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  25. Thank you for reading, great to meet you the other week. Yes it was a really horrendous time in lots of ways, and I am so glad its well behind us! You would never know to look at him would you?

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  26. See - that's how amazing you are - even in a really dark time you find the heart to help someone else out xx

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  27. It was lovely to meet you guys too. I really enjoyed our chat, especially as it allowed me to discover your blog :-) You really would never know what a struggle Joseph had to survive. I was telling my OH about it and explaining 'which one' (men!) Joseph was when we met you. He was very shocked by your story! You have a beautiful boy.

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  28. Thankyou so much for sharing every single week of the #dosomethingyummy campaign. You've had my in tears every week!

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  29. Only a few months separated us being in the,same place. If only I'd known you then I would have held your hand xx

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  30. Kylie, you always make me cry, you are such a strong and inspirational person. Joseph is so lucky to have you for his mummy. X

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