Friday, December 23, 2011

NICU at Christmas

Well I, for one, hope that the hospital cleaners have done a good job on the hallways in the run up to Christmas this year, as never are the skirting boards more closely examined than through out the festive period.

In fact, One of the first things that struck me when entering the hospital on Christmas day last year, was the sheer number of people with their heads held low. I wouldn't actually be surprised if there was an increase in A&E admissions on account of it. You can imagine it now, cant you?

'I'm afraid it's another admission from area D, she collided with an inpatient from geriatrics.'

Not that the corridors were that busy. I mean, who wants to go to hospital on Christmas day when you can be at home, stuffing your face, watching Phil Mitchell burn down the queen vic?

For us, Christmas last year wasn't so straight forward, because we had to pretend you know, to be Oh so festive.

Inside though, our hearts were just breaking because our 1lb 7oz baby was now a 1lb 3oz baby and back on antibiotics whilst doctors were investigating.

On Christmas morning we sat around and watched Mister G open up his presents. One- day -Hubby was making all the right 'yay' and 'wow' noises. At the same time he was throwing me meaningful glances, indicating that I too should join in with the enthusiasm.

'Yay.. Wow..' went my mouth.

Can we hurry up and get to the hospital? Went my mind.

Smidge was just over two weeks old at this point. I was still physically recovering from the even-worse-than-usual c-section op, that the doctors had to perform to get Smidge out.

Because she was so such a tiny scrap of a thing and in the wrong position entirely, they had to perform the old fashioned type of c-section that makes a long ways incision too. The procedure is, in effect, not dissimilar to what you do to a jacket potato just before baking.

Anyway, I hobbled down the hospital corridor, doing my routine analysis of doctors facial expressions, searching for signs that they were about to impart with some tragic news.. take me to a side room even...

It all looked good.

I even got the occasional 'Merry Christmas' uttered to me, in an appropriately sombre and whispery voice.

I pushed open the door marked ICU. The atmosphere was, as always clinical.

Housing so many extremely low birth weight babies meant that the monitor bleeps were constant. The cool blue shades of the walls, although calming, did add to the serious and icy tone of the place.

As there was a strict rule that only two people were allowed at any one cot at a time, Mr G and Stephen were sat in the waiting room.

I wondered over to Smidge.

'Hi' I mumbled through the port holes.

'Merry Christmas' I said, as the tears rolled freely down my cheeks.

I placed my hands in the incubator, My two hands laid across her tiny body and I sat, not for the first time feeling completely overwhelmed.

But this time it was just too much. I couldn’t hold it together a second longer and I just broke down crying because it was Christmas day and she should have been with me, in my womb safe and growing.

How the hell could I care about tinsel and Turkey?

In the end a nurse came and she said 'Go home. You've come in today, and you've done all you can, now go home and be with the rest of your family.'

So I did.

I went home....well, to our temporary home. I poured myself a large glass of white wine and I watched George play X-box games through a blurry haze, all the while my mind drifting back to the intensive care unit.

And that was Christmas day last year. 

There is however, one memory that I shall treasure, and luckily we  managed to capture it on camera.

                                      Now that's what I call shopping in style.

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