Monday, October 5, 2009

The Sweetest Sound.

Today my precious little girl is 13 months old and we are now 4 weeks into this hospital admission with no end in sight.

Any parent who has been in the position we find ourselves in every day knows the pain and frustration of having a child in hospital. The pain and frustration of being in such an alien environment… and I think that being a mother makes the frustration about a hundred fold worse.

From conception, as her mother, it is my job to care for her… to nurture and nourish her… to care for her and to love her… and when that role is taken away from you, there is such a sense of loss. All of a sudden, a role that is as natural to us as it is primal and instinctive becomes ambiguous.

Things that were once so natural, are now a charted and documented process and gone is the freedom of being able to make decisions that you feel best meet her needs… and the care of someone so innocent and precious is being entrusted into the hands of a stranger, who changes every 12th hour.

This admission has been even more of a rollercoaster for us than most. There have been so many things that have gone wrong in the past 4 weeks, with straight forward surgery going horribly wrong. In the past 4 weeks, she has been into theatre 6 times, had two collapsed lungs, spent 16 days ventilated, 1 day on BiPAP, 3 days on CPAP, 8 days on supplemental oxygen, 2 blood transfusions, staph, strep, entracoccus, and pneumonia.

With everything that Nicola has been through in her short little life, I have never in my life been more afraid that I was going to lose her as I have been through the early weeks of this admission. Seeing her wheeled back from theatre with her little body painted in orange and her eyes taped closed, ventilated and bagged, with so many machines connected is a sight that will haunt me for many years to come.

Even now, I still wake in the middle of the night with the alarm of the ventilator sounding with an apnoea alert or a frequency alarm and the sight of the x-rays showing her lungs collapsed and her little chest full of infectious gunk is still something that I can clearly visualise, and probably always will.

But, as with everything else, she has pulled through.

Every step of the way she has proved again and again that she is stronger than they realise. Every time I fight for her to be given a chance, she proves to the doctors that she is capable of miracles. She has smiled through immeasurable pain, and tolerated indignities that no little baby should ever have to endure. She has been suctioned and sutured and swabbed… poked and prodded and pricked… and generally just tormented to tears on a daily basis.

But today… today she has proved yet again just how truly amazing she really is.

This afternoon she suffered through the indignity of a sponge bath on her bed, when all she really wanted was a shower. I dressed her in her little jammies, when all she really wanted was to stay nuddie. I rubbed moisturiser into her arms and legs and gave her a bit of a massage, which, come to think of it, she really didn’t complain about much at all… then, after all of that, I leaned in and smothered her with kisses…

And that’s when it happened…

I heard it…

The sweetest sound ever to be heard by anyone anywhere…

Despite all her pain and suffering…

In the face of so much adversity and against all the odds…

My precious little girl laughed, for the very first time.

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