So it’s been three months and I feel like we need to try and put into words why we have locked ourselves away for this long.
On that terrifying Friday we requested no phone calls, no visits. Please.
We would get in touch when we were ready.
And for a lot of people this has continued, even to this day.
And we know for a lot of you this has been really hard.
It’s not because we don’t like you, or need you, or want you. Trust me on this. We need you all, we love you all.
During the first day, the first week, the first month, the first three months, it’s hard to say this is why it was then, and this is why it is now.
All I can do is try to explain.
When you’re a kid and you fall over, it hurts, but sometimes you can get up and keep playing and it doesn’t feel too bad. Then later in the day you see your mum or your dad and you can’t stop crying about it. I’m sure you can all remember a time like this.
It’s similar with loss (although who decided ‘loss’ should be the word for something so massive??? Honestly).
It hurts. You cry. And some days, or even minutes you can feel okay, you can function and smile (even if it’s not real). But then you see your mum, or your best friend, or anyone really, and you collapse into a million pieces on the floor in front of them.
Texting, emailing. This is easy, we can choose when to respond, we can choose not to if its too hard, or we can express everything if that’s the state we are in at the time. As soon as the phone rings we panic. Hearing your voices, the concern, sadness, heartache. We can’t speak.
This is magnified tenfold when we see you in person. Being hugged and held. Looking into your eyes and seeing our own tired, sad face reflected back.
So we hide away a lot. Staying in our little family where we can just hunker down and get through.
There are less days like this now, but we face a different challenge. We are exhausted. Physically, from pumping, driving, sitting, staring, working, sleeping. This routine is so tiring, the days are long, and when we get home from the hospital we have enough energy to eat and sleep, before we do it all again tomorrow. Psychologically, from fighting tears, fears, anger, fighting that feeling that makes you want to throw your hands up and say ‘I give up, I’m not doing this anymore’.
Before you have kids (whether they are a preemie or not) it doesn’t take much energy to see your friends and family, to talk and share, over good food or fun activities. But most parents will tell you it takes a lot more energy, and a lot more will to do these things once you’ve got a little miracle to care for. Which is why it’s easier and more appealing to sit down, in the few hours you have away from the hospital, with your husband, and maybe your mum or sibling and not speak, just sit.
We have many friends and family who I know would be happy to sit with us and not speak, but it isn’t the same, you all know the feeling of being with your person.
We are truly sorry that we haven’t seen you all, and that sometimes when we do see you we are quiet, or we leave early, there’s only so much energy and 99.9% is being used to just get us through the day. But we are also not sorry, because we need to do what is best for us, what will help us in this moment, and if seeing you won’t help us in this moment then we will save it for a moment when it will help.
Running alongside this was Charlie and now, Oliver. We want him to meet you all. We want him to know all of the amazing people who have sent him love, thoughts, strength and magic. But we have spent so long unable to touch him, unable to be his parents in the way we should. And so we grab every second of opportunity and we don’t want to share this yet.
We also know that he isn’t a ‘normal’ baby. He’s incredibly premature, regardless of the fact that he’s almost 37 weeks now. He can’t cope with stimulation, with being held, kissed and touched in the way that term babies can. He will be sensitive to the world for a long time, and we will need to protect him and nurture him.
So when we eventually do get to take him home, please be patient while we slowly introduce him to the world.
I don’t know if any of this makes a great deal of sense, but we wanted you to know that we are not shutting you out, we are just slowly letting you in.
I promise you, the wait will be worth it. This kid will move mountains.