So, there goes 2012. To be honest, I’m not overly sure how I feel about it. The beginning was fairly normal, the middle hell and the end bliss. Here is why…….
By January 2012, we’d known for about a month that Rach was pregnant, something that didn’t really hold any fears for me, been there, done that, produced the sodding T shirt. Rach was a little more cautious, but excited. As the pregnancy progressed, Rach seemed to become more and more ill with it, not just the normal sickness.
As it happens, that T shirt I’d produced didn’t fit anymore. A day before my birthday (19th May 2012), Emmett Loki Patrick Gresham was born. He was a poorly boy, 2lbs and three months early. I have had some very difficult nights in my lifetime, this night ranked up there amongst them. In the space of six hours, we went from knowing Rach was poorly, to Emm being born, and every emotion along the way. Rach had an emergency C-section. The word emergency conjures up any amount of thoughts, but when you are sat in a side ward, with a nurse observing your wife constantly and a Doctor explaining that Rach had Pre-eclampsia and would be in surgery within 2 hours, “emergency” suddenly takes on a new, scary meaning.
Rach couldn’t be knocked out for the procedure, her blood pressure was critical, put simply, it would kill her. When you find yourself in a position like this, you like to know why this has happened, was it something we’d done, something a midwife missed, something a Doctor missed? The fact is that Pre-eclampsia is one of those things that very little is known about, if caught early enough it can be “maintained”, if not it often results in emergency C-sections. Anyway, as Rach couldn’t be knocked out for the C-section I was in the lucky position where I could be in theatre, sat with her. I have been through some pain in my life, but watching the Docs cut through the seven layers of your wife’s abdomen, makes you wonder if there could possibly be a pain that compares to that. By 10.05, our baby boy was delivered, although very small, he still whimpered, which gave me some hope. Emmett was rushed up to Neo-natal, but because he was less than 30 weeks old, Lincoln could stabilise him, but not care for him, so by 7am he was on his way to Nottingham City.
The next two days were hell, Rach was recovering from some major surgery, desperately wanting to be with her son, but unable to be transported. I wanted to be with them both, but Rach was in Lincoln, Emm in Nottingham, I can’t drive! I made the decision that Rach needed me more right then than Emmett did, he was blissfully unaware, and Rach needed the reassurance and love to get her through, she was still critical after all. Emmett on the other hand was having the best care there was and wouldn’t have any idea whether I was there or not.
By the Tuesday, Rach was transferred to Nottingham City Hospital and we were all together again, I had a fold up bed in Rach’s room, but it meant we could go down and visit Emmett at any time day, or night. This was the beginning of three months of splitting our life between Nottingham and Sleaford. Luckily, Emmett made good progress, with a few hitches along the way, they describe it as a rollercoaster ride, but nothing quite prepares you for the emotions that you go through, from joy for the smallest improvement, to despair and dread when you think that you may lose your son. Emmett had to go to Queens Medical Centre to have a Broviac Line put in at one point, he was retaining water badly and was quite ill, but the ability to get antibiotics straight into his blood stream made his recovery quite swift. After three months at Nottingham City Hospital, Emmett was transferred back to Lincoln Neonatal Unit. This was a difficult time, we had grown used to the nurses, doctors and specialists at Nottingham, indeed, they had grown used to Emmett. As it happened, the transition wasn’t painless, Emmett became quite ill again and had to be back in an incubator, something Nottingham had just got him out of, it felt like a massive step backwards.
The nurses, doctors and specialists at Lincoln were great, after consulting with Nottingham City, they formed a plan of action and Emmett resumed his recovery. Emmett, although doing well, had a few issues, not least Chronic Lung Disease and Premature Brittle Bone. Both of these things sound far worse than they are, but are still things that need dealing with. Emmett was also on a fairly rare cocktail of drugs to control his fluid retention, his reflux issues and other things. The Chronic Lung Disease is something that is ongoing, but basically means that, until his lungs have repaired, he will be on oxygen. The Brittle Bone will hopefully disappear as he grows.
Fast forward to September 19th, four months to the day of his birth, an Emmett is given the all clear to come home, albeit on oxygen and with a shopping trolley full of drugs. This was a terrifying time, all of a sudden, we were going to manage his meds on our own, contend with his oxygen and do all the things a term baby would do. A midwife visits, as do Community Nurses, but still, you feel a lot like you are alone.
One of the biggest fears at this time of year is that your baby will end up back in hospital, there are any number of reasons why they could, we were warned that this is likely to happen and we are given 24/7 access to the children’s ward. So far, we have not need to call on them, but the winter is far from over. We rarely take him far, as crowded places breed germs and his immune system can not cope with it. We’ve missed weddings and various other functions as we daren’t risk it.
Emmett is now seven months old, and he amazes me, he’s alert, holding his head up and chattering away. These are all things that most people take for granted, but they are special moments in Emmett’s life.
This rollercoaster has been a long ride, but we haven’t taken it alone, we have had a lot of support from people, whether it was over Facebook, through these pages (before the Great Hack of 2012) or by visiting, thank you to one and all, it means so much to know that you are there for us. We don’t know how long this ride is, we are still on it, but it’s all going in the right direction, so I am not complaining.
Before I leave you with the tradition felicitations, I feel I need to thank the Doctor’s, Nurses and Specialists of the three Neo-natal units that made this Christmas and New Year so great for us. We owe you so much and will never be able to repay it.
Anyway, a Happy New Year to you all, may 2013 bring you everything you deserve.