So here we are, where it all started…
You’ve been doing so well recently that I dared to dream that the worry was over. You look like a full term baby (albeit a newborn) and your brain development is so impressive that you pass for your corrected age with ease, you’re even excelling in places. I’ve felt so proud of you and how far you’ve come but now I feel like we’re back at square one.
When you were only 23 hours old, you suffered a severe pneumothorax (a word I’d never heard of until it was thrust into our lives). Your lungs were just too undeveloped and premature to cope with life. You tried and tried but eventually, you needed a rest. You rested for 5 days, let the ventilator completely work for you for 2 but once you were stronger, you fought and you fought hard.
Since that 23rd hour, I’ve worried about your lungs. They say that every superhero has a weakness, an Achilles heel, a chink in their armour. Yours is your lung. As a result of the severity of your lung collapse, you’re always at risk of another one developing. The doctor talks in metaphors and similes as he tries to explain the situation ‘Siena’s lung is like a flat tyre’ he states. ‘You can perform a puncture repair and the tyre may never suffer from the same incident again…or…the tyre can deflate due to the damage previously caused’. I sit and try to get my head around it, the doctor obviously doesn’t understand women, his euphemism is built on a concept I barely understand. Yet still, I know what he’s telling me. He’s telling me that there’s every possibility this common cold has resulted in another pneumothorax.
You’re taken down for a chest X-ray. I hold your tiny body still as you try to wriggle free, not understanding that the metal plate you’re resting on is very important. To you, it’s just cold and uncomfortable.
I hold my breath as we wait for the results and then there it is, a line on the X-ray which shouldn’t be there. The doctors worry too now, they think it’s happened again.
As we make our way upstairs to the ward, I silently pray that they’ve got it wrong. They’re not 100% sure, say that they’ll only know by your oxygen levels. They expect it though, I see the way they watch you breathe and I know they expect you’ll end up on oxygen tonight.
How did I not spot this earlier? I nearly brought you to hospital last week but then convinced myself that I was overreacting. What if you’ve been in agony all this time? What if it could have been prevented, if only I hadn’t been too blasé? I feel sick, the guilt I’m experiencing now is similar to the guilt I felt when you were 1st born.
It was my job to protect you. My womb should have been accommodating enough to keep you safe and warm until you were ready. It’s still my job to protect you now. I should have cared for you better. I shouldn’t have taken you to Edinburgh Zoo. That day in the sunshine, I should have made sure you still wore your tights. I should have wrapped you up in cotton wool and cradled you like the precious jewel you really are.
You’re hooked up to the monitor again. The familiar bandage and beeps are almost comforting. I cry inside with joy, your sats are 94 and your heart rate is within reason. I start to relax and so does the doctor. ‘We’ll monitor her over night, make sure her situation doesn’t change’ he says. I can see it though, he’s no longer worried and neither should I be.
I wonder why I ever doubted you, you’re by far the strongest person I’ve ever known. You’re so young and yet your determination and persistence is just so noticeable. A common cold take you under? No, not you! After all, you are a superhero. You may have a weakness, every hero does but you also have super powers and super strength. Your special gift? You fight infection and hardship with ease. You’ve got your 1st bout of Bronchiolitis and other Preemie Mammies would worry (I, myself, should worry) but I can’t. If anyone can overcome this then it’s you. You’ll annihilate anything that threatens you. My warrior Princess, my hero!