We arrived at St George’s in the afternoon. I remember the taxi journey seeming surreal. The driver (poor bugger), jovially asked..”is the baby coming?” I just cried and stared out the window, so in true male fashion, he changed the subject and talked at Matt about football. As he helped me out of the taxi, the driver squeezed my hand and whispered- “I’ll pray”.
We were sent straight to the Foetal Medicine Unit where we waited, for what seemed like forever, for yet another scan. The sonographer chatted to us as if nothing had happened, then cheerfully announced that she could see the issue. We then waited again.
Thankfully after what seemed like another eternity a wonderful Consultant came along. He sat us down and said that ‘the baby’ had what looks like an Arachnoid Cyst. We had never even heard of such a thing. He told us that the outlook ‘could’ be good, albeit we wouldn’t really know until after the baby was delivered. It was at that point that Matt cried- I had yet to stop! He told us that the baby was highly likely to go into special care and that we should prepare for a very long-stay away from home.
He then showed a level of kindness and compassion, that only those who work in this field can. It was well past the end of his shift by this point, but he said “so do you know what you are having?” We shook our heads and he said, well if you want to we can find out. He then took us back for another scan and said “let’s enjoy this one”. Two minutes later he said ” and there are the crown jewels” and that that moment our baby became a real little boy.
They then told us that if we could, we should, wait another couple of weeks before delivery – ” to give the baby the best chance” they said. I really can’t begin to describe to anyone what those two weeks were like. During that time we learnt who was with us and who wasn’t. Mums at the school gate shared truly personal experiences – their way I guess of providing hope, strength and insight. I will be forever grateful and will take what I was told in confidence to the grave. It was during this time that we chose his name. Whatever the future, was to hold- the baby had become, Harry.
To say these two weeks were stressful was untrue, every pain felt like the end and the emotional toll of counting movements was a nightmare. Not to mention the consultants appointments, hospital visits, medical jargon to learn in an instant (it has taken me almost a year to learn how to spell hydrocephalus!) and as trite as it sounds, the logistics. We have three other children, there were school trips, a theatre play and brownies to contend with- my life was falling apart but the school still wanted cakes for some event or other and Bradley still forget to do this ruddy homework.
Just two days before the planned C-section the older kids did their play- our life may have gone into freefall but their show must go on! Drama Mums out there will know how ridiculously difficult it is to get little thespians ready to perform, dressed, organised and at the bloody right place, with the right costume at the right time and in make-up (which apparently makes Ellie itch)
We went to watch the play in Camberely Theatre- I cried (again!). I was so proud of Brad’s one-liner that I thought I would burst. I will however, feel forever guilty to the poor women who asked me when the baby was coming…. “Monday” was my sharp reply, but we’re not sure what will happen. She looked like she was going to faint!
Harry was born by C-section on the Monday- walking down to the operating theatre felt, like I imagine, the condemned felt when walking to the gallows. We just didn’t know what would happen. We were told that they choose Monday for high risk cases because if the baby becomes critically-ill then there is more likelihood of senior consultants being around to help. Note to self: For the love of God, don’t get sick on a Friday! The room had a team of 25 and an adjoining theatre free and ready to resuscitate the baby.
But Harry, as Harry always does, did things his way. He came out pink and screaming and in that moment, we thought that everything was going to be OK.