It happened exactly eleven years ago today. And I remember it as if it were yesterday. The birth of my eldest daughter……..Jaina!
A few days overdue, and my wife’s waters having broken many hours earlier, we awoke in the middle of the night, sometime just after 3am, the contractions just starting. We phoned the hospital, and they told us to make our way there (well, not really me….but my wife and bump).
Arriving just after 3.30am, we made our way to the maternity entrance, and were escorted to a lovely room by one of the fantastic staff there. Almost immediately a doctor and some midwives arrived to check my wife over. Nothing amazing was happening, and they were all very happy about how things were going (contractions quite a long time apart). Having been checked over the previous day by a midwife, they informed us that they needed to do a few routine checks, but that they were happy to wait a few hours for us to get settled in, or could do them straight away. Things were all going swimmingly, and I think everybody thought that waiting for a few hours was a good idea, particularly in light of the checks early on in the day…everybody except me. Normally I wouldn’t say boo to a goose, but I immediately asked them to do the checks straight away, before my wife could even open her mouth. (I might have got a ‘LOOK’…I’m not really sure.) Anyway, the wonderful staff went and got their equipment, returned straight away and started carrying out the examinations. It wasn’t long before it became quite obvious that something wasn’t quite right. The hushed tones being used, more people being sent for, and then arriving to have a look and give a second opinion. At this point I must add that all the check ups throughout the pregnancy had been fine, and the baby (my daughter) had been perfectly positioned to execute a high flying, head first dive out of my wife’s body. But that had all changed, supposedly in the course of a matter of hours, and tiny, weeny Jaina was now upside down, her feet where her head should have been. This was explained to us by the very professional staff, at the same time they were all kicking into action. Phone calls to the operating theatre were made, more staff arrived, culminating within an hour, with a massive rush from the ward to the theatre, which was in a totally different part of the building. I can remember vividly running across the adjoining covered bridge that connected the old and the new hospital (the maternity unit was in the old hospital, theatre in the new), trying frantically to keep up with my wife on the wheeled bed in front of me.
On arriving at the theatre, one of the nurses stopped me, while my wife was wheeled through a set of double doors. My heart fell, and my pulse raced. But do you know what……….not at any point did I worry. I had total and utter confidence in all of the staff there. They were on that night, the same as always……….consummate professionals. As my wife disappeared before my eyes, one of the nurses guided me into a little changing room, handed me a gown and a hat, before telling me to keep hold of all my valuables, and when ready, to take a seat back out in the corridor. I did exactly that, full of excitement, with just a pinch of nervousness. Once back in the corridor, I tried to sit down, but I was just too excited. I paced up and down the corridor, having a magnificent view of the sun rising over the hospital. I looked at my watch. It was 7am.
And then it happened. I was rushed into the theatre. Taking a seat next to my wife, who by then was full of drugs, I held her hand and waited for the magic. I didn’t have long to wait. I’d been there less than a minute, when out popped the most beautiful and gorgeous thing in the world…………..Jaina!
Now although my wife was on a whole host of drugs, she was aware that the gorgeous little bundle of life that had been extracted from her hadn’t made a sound, and from her prone position, clearly struggled to see what was going on, which in turn made her understandably concerned. Me however, not so much. While I sat and watched these gowned magicians…..for that’s what they might as well be, I got the sense from them, that this was perfectly normal, even though it might well not have been. They were calm, collected……..and of course professional as they carried the little red bundle across the room, and gave it some oxygen. Admittedly it seemed like hours, but after a matter of thirty seconds or so, my gorgeous daughter’s screaming voice echoed around the room, much to her mother’s delight and relief. I think I’d just been grinning from ear to ear all the time. Anyhow, seconds latter, I was handed that amazing bundle of joy, and my life changed for the better beyond reason. It was one of the three best days of my life (the others being the birth of my youngest daughter, and my wedding day…..in no particular order).
Eleven years to the day later, and I’m still so amazingly happy, and my daughter still has that ability (along with her mother and sister) to put that big ear to ear grin across my face. But here’s the thing, with the good times come the bad. If you’ve read my post from five and a half weeks ago……….’The Worst Day Of My Life’ found under the life category of this blog, then you’ll know that she’s been struggling of late. She’s been unbelievably unwell, with her having to endure all sorts of tests, MRI, CT, eye test, etc. Last week she had to have a lumbar puncture, so that they could test the fluid around her brain, with the same scheduled in again for this week, as well as having been rushed into hospital for a 48 hour stay at the weekend. Brave doesn’t begin to cover how she’s been during all of that time, unlike her dad who feels like he’s living in a perpetual nightmare, with somebody ripping his life apart.
But once again I take comfort from the fact that she’s being treated where she is. That’s no disrespect to all the other hospitals, but I have total faith and belief in the staff at our hospital. They are so kind, warm and generous, with nothing being too much trouble. The quality of the care the give is truly amazing….and that’s everyone. As for the doctors, it’s hard to put into words just how fantastic they are. They’ve all been great, but two of them, the woman who we saw at A&E on that fateful day when it all happened, who was there at the weekend and yesterday, and the doctor who’s care she’s been put into, who after seeing her on Thursday afternoon, performed a ‘lumbar puncture’ on her on Friday afternoon, was there on the ward when I had to take her in to the on Saturday evening because she was really ill. They both deserve medals as far as I’m concerned, and if I had the ability to do so, would double their pay immediately. For what they do, the don’t get paid enough…the doctors, nurses, all of the staff there.
So there it is, my gorgeous bright red, screaming bundle of joy is eleven years old today, and all I really wanted to say was that it’s been the best eleven years of my life and it’s been my privilege to look after her and her sister……………long may it continue.