Lil G doesn’t realise just how much it means and how much it makes me smile when I hear him say these words. It’s our thing you see. Our little phrase which we whisper to each other. It’s no ordinary cuddle you see, it’s the combination of a kiss and a huge squeeze, a snuggle.
As adorable as it is, it also breaks a little piece of my heart at the same time. I never had that first hold of our baby. It’s something I think about each day. That first skin to skin. That first kiss, touch and smell of our baby. It didn’t happen for us.
What’s even more sad is that Lil G’s first experience of this big world we live in was of sheer panic. No cuddles, no tears of joy, no kisses. Just panic.
Lil G arrived prematurely at 33 weeks. This was me the day before…
As I made my way through town the day before a bunch of boys ran in the back of me by accident. I fell to the floor. I didn’t really hurt myself but within 24-hours a child was born. At 33-weeks pregnant there were complications with his breathing, his lungs, his temperature, his weight and the fact he was severely jaundice. He looked like he’d spent the previous 7-months in Marbella rather than in my belly. Well actually 1 of those months was in Thailand (I’ll explain later!).
No sooner had he birthed, he was whipped away as he wasn’t breathing. It was all a bit of a whirlwind. He was taken to ICU where Tubes, cpap and intravenous breast milk were the way forward for our little boy. We didn’t get a glimpse of our miracle baby until 10.30am the next morning. A whole 11.5 hours after he arrived into the world. We were so desperate to meet him, to hold him, to protect him and tell him that his mummy and daddy loved him so very much.
Sadly that didn’t happen for another 5-hours. Oh the agony. I remember slumping into my seat thinking why, why had this happened to me? Tired, post labour, emotions running high meant one very weepy new mummy.
I’d had a fabulous pregnancy. No morning sickness, nothing. We didn’t find out until we were 15-weeks which meant we were 8-weeks pregnant on our wedding day! So based on not finding out until the 2nd trimester I was actually only knowingly pregnant for 3-months. Fastest pregnancy ever. What a super announcement that would have made! However it may have meant that we wouldn’t have travelled around Thailand on our honeymoon. Thank The Lord I didn’t do that para-sailing! Eek.
A kiss and a cuddle is a snuggle …
These are the words which I have repeated to Lil G since the first time I held him. Some 16-hours after child-birth. Meeting your baby and then touching your baby for the first time through an incubator wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I signed on the dotted line of motherhood.
When you fall pregnant you sign up to a whole list of ooh’ s and aww moments. The sleepless nights, the worry, the sick, the growing pains. You think about that first hold, the first time your baby says mummy or takes their first step. What I didn’t sign up for was to have a premature baby. No I did not.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful that he survived. today he is healthy, today as I look at him sleeping you would never know the battle he had to suffer for those first 15-months. The severe gastric reflux, the colic, the weight loss, the struggle to put weight on, how every cold grabbed him so hard that he lost all the weight he’d put on in a nanosecond, the twisted neck syndrome, the flathead syndrome, the 3-types of medicine 3-times a day for 12 months. I was a walking chemist. The fact that he will always be tiny little (his words) and sadly some evil child on the playground might just pick on him because he is so much smaller than the rest of his friends. (That’s another post)
As I write this you’ll be pleased to know that Lil G who is now 3-years old is having the biggest growth spurt EVER. He is now in age 2 clothes, yay, and his feet are huge (he’ll be happy about that, I will worry about that!).
To all those mummy’s which long for their pregnancy to end and their baby to come early, you don’t mean that do you? Now I know that you’re probably just saying it because you’re getting uncomfortable and as Lil G made his appearance at 33-weeks, I honestly don’t know how bad it gets. It makes me sad when you say it. To think that another mummy may not get that first hold of their baby.
What follows premature birth stays with you for a long time. 3-years in and I still think about those first few hours, unsure if our baby was going to survive. most days it creeps upon me. Wondering what tubes are being prodded into him today. What tests are being taken today. Has he put on weight? Has he lost weight? Is he rejecting the medicine? Will he be ok? Does he need his mummy? What does he think about all the Drs which crowd his incubator hourly.
Giving birth only for your baby to be whipped away was torture.
Mr H and I had to leave our beautiful boy in hospital for the first 3-weeks of his life. This was and still is the hardest part of being an adult I have yet to experience. I think I coped quite well. Actually I didn’t. I just didn’t show it. I cried a lot. Each night in fact as we drove away from the hospital. Mr H was a super star. My rock. I couldn’t have done it without him. Waking up with me every 3-hours so that I could express enough milk to keep Lil G going as he was fed via a tube.
The routine we found ourselves in led to us waking at 7am each morning knowing that we were about to spend the whole day with our baby, albeit sat next to his incubator. What wasn’t easy was leaving him at night. I remember so vividly a nurse asking me once if it was ok if she cuddled Lil G when he woke crying during the night. It broke my heart. I wanted to be there for him. I wanted to be the one to console him. The truth is we couldn’t be. Although we had 24-hour access we couldn’t sleep due to the ‘family rooms being reserved for critical babies. Thankfully Lil G only fell into this bracket for the first 12-hours.
A special mention needs to go to the most amazing Drs and Nurses you will ever come across. Neonatal is a very special place. The nurses care for your baby like they are their own. Although it is hard to handle at the time they really are the best people to be with your baby in your absence.