Sunday, September 25

A Year

What a funny old day. After a fairly standard Sunday morning at home, a game of Peekaboo got rather out of control resulting in Wriggles having a coughing fit following manic laughter which resulted in vomiting blood. Oh dear. And so off to a&e we trundled on the advice of NHS Direct. I was all for sitting it out but apparently these things can be serious....spoilsport.

It was bizarre walking into the emergency department. It is one I am unfortunately on good terms with, having made numerous trips over the last ten months with a sick baby (this makes her sound like an invalid It isn't true; she may require frequent prodding by the paediatric team but she is far from an ailing waif. It takes all my drama skills to convince people I am not fibbing when they ask what we did at the weekend and my reply is going to hospital). It is also where I was deposited shortly after I had given birth, although I had never given this a second thought on previous visits. It must be the recent anniversary, by which I mean first birthday, that made this connection. 
This time we had a relatively quick whizz through. By the time we saw a doctor, I had possibly the world's cheeriest baby happily trying to take home the stethoscope and eat a cardboard bedpan. Although in two minds, we have been released home, on the condition I watch her like a hawk even more than usual. Forget eyes in the back of my head, I need them side, centre and up my legs! It is most likely a burst blood vessel in the oesophegus probably connected to reflux episodes. Phew.

The most annoying thing was when you have to go through all the medical history and recount the birth story. At just over twelve months, apart from being 12 weeks premature, how she was born seems far less relevant. I don't discount her NICU experience will more than likely influence doctors concern or lack of, but her first minutes? More than anything it is a raw nerve as her birth ellicits a mix of emotions for me. Lashings of regret for her prematurity and having to fight when she should have been cosy, remorse over the mess I created for my precious first born, sorrow for what she (and I) went through and a very, very deep shame and humiliation for the circumstances of being the One Who Didn't Know. I am all too aware I was hospital gossip for a while-on one of Wriggles' chesty admissions I met a nurse who excitably exclaimed when taking notes "It's you!!!!". No, not a long lost friend-it turned out her friend, who's housemate's cousin or suchlike was working on one the wards I passed through on the birth night, had been intruiged by the drama of the story and it had been the staffroom tale of the month for weeks. So much for laying low and coming to terms with it!

It is hard to believe it is now over a year-something that I will probably return to again and again. As I watched Wriggles charm the pants off the medical team, I thought again how incredibly lucky we are. Recounting all the gruesome details of birth-PICU reminded me that my poor baby has had to work much harder than the average baby. Not that she looks like a 'poor baby'; the invalid was happily trying to pull out the consultant's arm hair.....