I’m sitting by this big blue and green cot watching our boy sleep. He’s hungry, so he’s not sleeping soundly, but he’s sleeping, so that’s something. Trying to recover some energy so that he may be able to feed again soon.
He has his owl and his mouse on his bed, and his black and white pictures for his homework. He likes to stare at the orange cap on the oxygen flow meter that’s attached to the back wall. He loves his arms up by his head but I’ve wrapped them down by his chin so he won’t wake himself up with them.
He’s snoring slightly because he’s a snuffly little piggy and his nose is free of tubes because he pulled his NG tube out a few hours ago, and I’m leaving it out until we need it tonight.
It’s such a joy to see his face.
Last night I was doing the same thing, and I left him to sleep while I braved something that most parents are excited and keen to do. I went to the Farmer’s 50% off nursery sale.
I made ONE purchase before the boys were born and that was to buy 2 cots.
We will keep them both, for when friends may stay with babies, because I can’t bear to get rid of the second one.
I dreaded the shopping, buying one of everything when I wanted to buy two. It gave me a physical pain in my gut.
I made a list, as that’s helpful, practical, and who doesn’t love lists??
I went to Farmer’s, I bought everything on my list and then I went home.
We have what we need now. We can take Oliver home and know that he has the material things he needs to live outside of the hospital.
But while I was there, at the store, I watched the other shoppers. The pregnant couples, the mums, dads and kids, madly buying everything they needed. And I realised that although I felt like I wanted to curl into a ball and cry, I probably looked like them.
Holding the grief in.
I looked excited, choosing the right pram, mattress, and bottles.
It made me realise that although we are almost at the end, Oliver is working hard to feed and we can see the light at the end of this tunnel, we are constantly fighting the flood of grief that could overrun us at any moment.
It’s been 19 weeks and you have been on this journey with us to an extent, but some of you haven’t seen us, and even if you have, there is a part of this that you won’t ever know how to support us with. You didn’t see our little alien babies in the flesh, you didn’t meet Charlie David, you didn’t hold us when we totally fell apart.
Not because you didn’t want to, we know you would have if we had let you.
But because it was the only way we knew how to survive this ourselves.
So although it has been 19 weeks, we are raw, and every step towards home we take, the more we start to crumble a little.
We are happy, truly happy that we had to buy a pram and a mattress and bottles. We are so happy we will get to take Oliver home soon. We are breathtakingly happy that we will get to spend time, as a family, in the sunshine on our newly polished wood floors.
But it is hard. (Here’s another word that doesn’t do the feeling justice).
It is HARD.
So please don’t be mad or sad or surprised when we don’t sound excited, when we don’t list all the positive things, when we don’t look on the bright side. We are taking the moment as it is, and holding the grief in.
Today Oliver is three weeks old.
And we may, MAY, may have only a couple of weeks left.