Posted by: Louise | May 31, 2010

the radar of chance – continues

….I can pretend, but not for long. The little girl in the cot beside me doesn’t even make it into my dreams. In the early days she did. The hospital had lost her and she was found. She was there in a sling nestled against my belly all along. I just hadn’t looked down. It was another baby who had a hole in its heart. All a big mistake. But these days it is just words and memories of futures too painful to hold on to. The truth?

With his new found time K rang the doctor who does the OP. Long threatened, my 40th birthday was fast approaching and K decided it was time for the snip. One more month of russian roulette, he announced one day. It was too late, but we didn’t know that then. Laura was already on her way.

K’s mum was sick, had been for a number of years, getting steadily weaker. K was planning a birthday party for me, all his own work. I am the organiser. Two days before the party, he got the call to his Mum’s bedside, over the Irish sea to England. It was the way things were. We were stuck in that radar of chance. Plan a vasectomy – discover a baby is on the way. Plan a big party – get called to your Mum’s death bed.

But a baby was on the way. There was life growing in me. We had conceived a child naturally, surprisingly – our other three were clomid babies. We were the urban myth, the surprise child when the op has been booked. In between the miserable sickness, I was loving it. Forget every other achievement in my life. This was it – the ultimate – accidental pregnancy – the one thing I had never ever believed possible. This baby was meant to be.

Everybody said it. She’s meant to be. This is your gift after all the other stuff. Then K’s Mum died and we buried her and the very next day, two days before Christmas, we went for our twelve week scan. This was the bit where everything righted itself (wasn’t it?), Christmas, announcing a new baby on the way immediately after burying your mother/mother-in-law. This was where we turned the corner………

There is increased fluid in your baby’s nuchal fold………

And it just went on. The 5% risk became a strong possibility. The no physical complications became a heart defect and duodenal atresia. A late amniocentesis was scheduled.

My MA was continuing. At what point do you acknowledge crisis and call a halt to your life? We were living in hope. Our baby would need surgery, but then she would be with us. I still needed to complete the MA. I deferred my thesis and set about completing my last assignments. The amnio was scheduled for the day after my last submission and then I was sitting down with my feet up. I had earned it.

We joked about that stupid holiday in Florida. If we could just give it back. It was costing us way too much. That was the beginning of everything. But whether you believe in chance or not our lives were stuck in something. I finished my last assignment and thought, as I descended the stairs to celebrate with K, all I need now is to feel the baby kick. Had I noticed she wasn’t kicking? Twelve hours later the floor was slipping from under us as the registrar on duty turned off all the machines and shook his head. Everything up to this point was as nothing now.

And so on the day I was to submit my last assignment, I delivered my beautiful, darling daughter, Laura, silently into this world. It was the day before her scheduled amnio, a procedure I had avoided since the twelve week scan because of the harm it might do her. A few weeks later my sister-in-law, who had also been pregnant, went into labour (four weeks early) and gave birth to a child only minutes away from Laura’s due date.

So there I was in the hospital holding a new born in my arms on the very day I should have been – screaming inside, howling at the moon, aching and yearning and longing and numb. And life keeps racing on. He’s nearly walking now, that baby. He is robust and growing. The ever benevolent (it’s not about me) Astro Boy said one day – It’s not fair because we get a new baby cousin and our cousins don’t. My heart broke all over again.

But Little Boy Racer is heading for five and all the talk is Disney. He may have been one when the words were spoken, but the promise is part of his heritage, part of the kids certainty of what is to come. K and I have been dreading it. It was never a real promise. Didn’t you get that?

Last Christmas I was listening to the radio, T****** FM. They were doing a big Christmas thank you. Write in and say thank you to someone you love. And I did. Written and posted before I realised what I’d done. Some craziness overtook me and I’d written the year – radio highlights – sickness and tragedy and K’s strength and love through it all. They rang. They wanted to read it. They wanted to give us a Christmas present. I mentioned the trip to Florida and how we kind of blamed them for it all!

Tomorrow we are off to Disney – Paris this time. I’m afraid to think. Afraid to hope. Afraid to breathe. How will we know if we have ever stopped being the people things happen to?

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