The Hands I Hold

I walked in Dexter’s room to check on him and pull the covers up.
He was laying on his back, with his palm on his pillow, facing to the ceiling.
So open and vulnerable. As if asking the world to take his hand.

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I looked closer at that hand – it is so much like mine. I have “Little old lady hands” – tonnes of wrinkles and lines that I like to think tell a story.

Dexter, his hands tell a story.
He has so many little lines on those tiny hands.
I gently stroked his hand and I wondered about all the things those hands would do.
The stories they’d write.
The foods they’d cook.
The presents they’d wrap.
The hands they’d hold.
The children they’d cradle.

I held his hand as he slept and it hit me with such intensity I was almost crying – the world literally is at his fingertips.
The things he’ll see and do and touch, I can hardly imagine the extent of what he’ll do.
I can’t begin to dream the possibilities that await him.
I felt so privileged to sit there and hold those hands. To have that moment in time all to my self.

To have the memory, so when he is older and he has done great things, I can think back to the  time when it was me who held his hands and him who offers them up so freely and with so much trust.

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Dexter 23 Months

I can’t believe that when I write your next letter, you will be two. It seems not too long a go I was bringing you home from hospital wondering what the hell I was meant to do with you.

You are amaing. Beautiful. Mesmerising. Sometimes you bring tears to my eyes. Sometimes I think I must be dreaming. Someone so perfect cannot belong to me. But you do.

Tonight I went and held your chubby little hand as you slept. You murmured “Love you Mummy.” and you brought tears to my eyes again.

Tomorrow you will wake up and prattle on about Grandad. And grandad’s Tractor. And Grandad going to work in the car, in the bowling car. And having weetbix for breakfast. And all the other things you fill my day with. I’ll listen to it all and store it away somewhere special, because it won’t be long now at all that you’ll be all grown up. The last 23 months has flown by.

You make me so proud sweetheart.

I didn’t know love until I had you.

Lola – 3 months

You are three months today.

I hope I am always honest with you. So, I will be honest with you now, too. I took you to the hospital the other day. I said to the Doctor “I just can’t take it anymore.” I feel like a bad mum in saying that, but I know I’m a good mum because I have the courage to admit that. I had to get out of the house with you that night. I needed someone else to see how you scream. How in pain you are. I can’t take it anymore because you are hurting and I can’t fix it.

We’ve been to the doctor for you twice now. Your GP hasn’t done a thing to help. Actually, I lie. He printed out an information sheet on reflux in bottle fed babies for you.

Just because you scream and cry all the time doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I do. When you are not screaming you have a smile like the sunrise. It is breathtaking. You have started burbling and I think you have been trying to giggle. You talk to yourself mostly in a mirror. You love watching your big brother and playing Fallout with your daddy.

I love you baby. I’m sorry I haven’t gotten you all fixed up yet, but I’m working on it.

Love Mummy.

Your Scar Story

 

You were a great baby. You fed, you slept, you poo’d. You were gorgeous (still are). You were tiny.

Around the two week mark, you started looking like pooing was painful. Mum told me it wasn’t normal and I should ask at your two week check up. I asked and they said it was fine, you were probably just working on strengthening your muscles.

Then you started vomiting. ALL THE TIME. At first, I thought maybe you’d caught a bug and felt guilty because I’d taken you out too early. Then it got worse. I thought it might have been reflux, or colic. You were vomiting after every meal. We ended up sleeping you on your stomach from about 3 weeks, because of how much you’d throw up.

You didn’t just spew, you projectile vomited. You started weeing pink on Monday21st September, the day before you were 5 weeks old. That night you screamed. For an hour straight. A painful scream that broke my heart. I called mum and she heard you and said go straight to the hospital.

When we got there, the triage nurse treated your dad and I like we were idiots. Like we were just stupid, young parents. You were arching your back in pain and she told us we were holding you properly. She told us you were screaming because you needed a singlet. She asked how you seemed to us and when we told her “he’s just not himself” she replied with “they change, you know.” She told us that babies weeing pink happens sometimes.

We sat there for 4 hours waiting to see a doctor. By that time, you had screamed yourself to sleep. The doctor told me you looked fine. He said that we could admit you then and you wouldn’t be seen until morning, or we could go home and if we were still concerned, we could ring up and book an ultrasound in the morning.

You slept between us that night. For fourteen hours. A five week old baby, sleeping for 14 hours. Something was definitely wrong. You even projectile vomited in the middle of the night and didn’t wake up.

The next morning, you had started throwing up yellow. I called and booked you an ultrasound, because I was convinced something wasn’t right. That ended up in a lot of running around as the doctor didn’t give me any forms to get you xrayed, which made me feel like he too thought we were just being pedantic parents. The whole day I tossed up between taking you back to the hospital. You started being limp and unresponsive, so we went in to emergency and I said to the triage “we were here last night and you have to see him, now.”

She took us straight through. The doctor saw us straight away as well. Told me he had a suspicion of what you had. At 12pm they made me feed you. At 2pm you had your ultrasound that I had already booked, which showed your stomach was still full. You were admitted, put on a drip to hydrate you, and a tube down your nose in hopes of draining your stomach so you weren’t constantly throwing up.

We got told we would be flying out the next day to Newcastle (Royal Prince Albert Hospital). But that day, we had a massive dust storm. The hospital told us they wouldn’t be able to fly, we’d have to go by road in an ambulance, then they told us they were going to wait and see if the air cleared a little more so we could fly – which it didn’t. At 5pm just as we were finally getting into an ambulance to drive down, I received a phone call from the head of surgery asking how far away we were as they were reading to operate. They had been told we had left at 12pm.

We were in RPA until Friday before you were operated on. They had a lot of emergencies that came in and to them, you weren’t an emergency (which I totally understand, you were stable and at no risk of dying).

The wait while you had your operation was terrible. The time dragged on. I tried to go and get something to eat but couldn’t. I spent a little time in the Ronald Macdonald room, and I’ll never forget how wonderful those ladies were too me. Mostly, my time was spent sitting outside the doors, pretending to read a book, waiting until I could be called to come and hold you again.

Finally the surgeon came out and told me you were in recovery. He told me that your blockage was so significant your stomach was closed over. He said it’s one of the worst he’s ever operated on and you’re lucky to have still been so healthy considering. He also told me that if we have more children, their chance of this happening isn’t increased, but if you have children, theirs are

We took you home the next day. You had stopped throwing up blood and were keeping food down. Your stomach muscles had been weakened from throwing up so much, so it was easier for things to come up than stay down.

At 5 weeks of age, you were back to your birth weight. A tiny 2.8kg. I’m so glad that your Daddy and I listened to our instincts, because you could have ended up a whole lot worse. And as for that nurse? Well, I’ve never actually complained about her. I’m still very tempted to though…

 

Letter to Dexter

Dexter,

You are almost 18 months old. I can’t believe that I have had you for nearly a year and a half now. It seems like such a short time for someone to have become my entire life.

I can’t imagine not having you. When I had you, and they first plopped you onto my chest, still mucky, all I could do was stare at you. Watch you curl your finger around my hand as if you knew who I was. You looked at me and it was as if you looked straight into my soul. I was completely amazing that I could have created something so perfect.

There was no other word for you. There still isn’t. There are other words to describe your personality, but you? You are perfect. You light up my life. Your smile is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, the way it lights up your entire face. Your laugh is infectious and can chase the worst thoughts from my mind and the tears from my eyes. Your cries break my heart. I hate to hear them, but at the same time, I love knowing you are crying for me, because you want me.

You are such a clever little boy. You say so many words. We have just gotten a cat and you are convinced it’s a Gog (dog). Everything with four legs is a “gog”. You love them. You pat them, give them kisses and get so excited when you see any sort of animal. You also love “Ball”. You get so excited when we go and see Nanna and Grandad at the bowling alley. You clap your little hands and climb up all the stairs by yourself.

You are so independent that sometimes it scares me. We have just turned your cot into a toddler bed and the other night when I checked on you in your sleep, you were laying on your stomach, sprawled across the bed, your head on the pillow, one arm under the pillow and the other hanging off the side of the bed. It was so easy to imagine you exactly like that in 15 years that it brought tears to my eyes.

You are going to have a little sister soon. You love babies as well. You have my old cabbage patch dolls and you pick them up and kiss them and make me kiss them too. You like to try and feed them Lego. You rub my tummy and say “Baby” in such an affectionate, gorgeous way. I know you are going to be a great big brother.

Things will change when your little sister comes along. But I want you to know, you will always be my baby boy. You will always be the one that started it all. Made me, me. Gave me a purpose, gave me someone to be. I love you with all my heart and I couldn’t imagine my life without you.

I love you, a thousand times, I love you.

Mummy