It feels surreal now…to eventually write this. It’s a moment I wasn’t sure would ever come (one I both prayed for but wished away in such a range of conflicting emotions). Finally, I can tell you baby that your heart is mended.
From the first day you were born, there’s not a person I know who hasn’t marvelled at your strength – It’s exuberant, boundless and completely astounding. Being premature, you had a battle on your hands from your first breath, even the first intake of oxygen was an arduous task.
Most babies enter the world and immediately fall into that blissful newborn period of restful dreams and milky euphoria. Your story wasn’t so easy – your first five weeks were cluttered with conquers (some minute, some scary, all absolutely triumphant). Whereas most babies only have to prove their desire to feed…you proved your strength on a daily (even sometimes hourly) basis. You soon earned the title of our Warrior Princess – something you still earn even today…Mostly today.
I think it’s only fair to say that your fighting spirit has served you incredibly well. Over the course of the past three years, you’ve faced more testing moments than most people may face in a lifetime. From pneumonia, asthma, possible chronic lung disease, cerebral palsy and hip dysplasia…you’ve tackled each ailment with tenacity and a persistence I never knew was possible. The bravery and courage you display most days leaves me in absolute awe.
Most children your age may not have faced the inside of a hospital from the day they were discharged after birth…and if they have, it would mostly be a trip to the A&E department following bumps and scrapes achieved through many adventures (I say this as I picture the time we brought Tristan following a bang to his head whilst playing too energetically with his friends). You, oh the other hand, are well acquainted with the accustomed beeps and drones of a hospital ward.
I once wrote that I was ready for you to let me forget the familiar surroundings of the hospital but it appears, you just haven’t been ready.
Today, we find ourselves here again. Although today, you fight your greatest battle…
At 9am this morning, myself and your Daddy accompanied you to theatre. You laid heavy on my chest, dazed from the pre-meds you’d been administered moments before. I held you close and sang to you as the anaesthetist gave you the routine dosage needed for open heart surgery. Once you were soundly asleep, I placed your tiny frame on the operating bed and bade you sweet dreams. I kissed your head, cried as I left you in the trustful hands of your surgeon.
Walking away from you, right there in that moment, was single-handedly the hardest moment in my life. I’ve never felt so terrified, so vulnerable, so lacking in control.
I pictured you lying there, oblivious to the miracle being performed on you. So small, so precious, so exposed. We all knew that your ASD would need closure but it felt as though we’d talked about it for so long that it would always just be there, that the waiting would never end.
Now, I lie beside you in PICU marvelling once again at the strength you display. You’re tired, still sleepy from the anaesthetic. Your body looks frail, open to suffering. You need me more right now that I think you may have ever needed me.
A few hours ago, your nurse ordered that I left. She told me that I’d be no good to you tomorrow if my own exhaustion was unbearable. I listened to her advice, thought she must know best. Leaving you sleeping felt just as painful as it did this morning. In my mind, I knew you’d want me, knew you’d need to sense my presence. When you were in intensive care after birth, the nurses swore you could feel my presence. Apparently, your saturation levels were always highest when I sat by your side. I had this in mind as I walked nervously away from you…
It came as no surprise as the sound of the phone echoed through our silent bedroom. As quickly as I heard it, I knew what the voice would say – you were awake and crying out for me, you didn’t understand why I wasn’t there…after all, every time you’re in Hospital – I never leave your side. I came as quickly as I could baby girl and now I’m here, I’m certainly not leaving again!
As I sit beside you, I don’t just marvel at your strength but at how beautiful you look in this instance. You are, without doubt, incredible!
And I’m so relieved that I can now tell you that your heart is mended. I once promised you I’d fix it and I stayed true to that promise…your heart is broken no more.
Love you so much
Your Mamma xxx