Sunday, 27 January 2013

Happy Birthday Harry.

After a particularly traumatic time with my eldest son four years earlier I was extremely apprehensive at the thought of going through a similar thirty+ hour labour. Given the inescapable fact that I was hurtling past full term carrying what the scans testified was a baby with a large bowling ball for a head I wasn’t desperately encouraged that the obstetrician's view that “second time was usually easier” could possibly be true. 

The irony was that as a mum with a virtually inactive thyroid I was required to have frequent "growth scans" to check my new addition was growing appropriately. What the scans highlighted, but no one seemed interested in, was that my baby was growing exponentially... Forget centiles, this boy had a whole graph of his own when it came to head size and his femur wasn't so small either! Natural Labour wasn't on the cards either as allegedly thyroid disease usually puts paid to this, and certainly after 42 weeks my sense of humour was suffering a severe and potentially terminal failure. We had sold our house and finally found another (on my due date) and had approximately six weeks before relocation. Having a little time to settle in with my new son was definitely the preferred option, before packing and putting everything into storage and moving in with my parents. (Yes, we really have done that twice.)

In a last twist of fate the hospital couldn't locate my delivery notes from my first child as I had since married and changed name, and of course there was no such thing as a NoSQL database at that point to associate the data which DID match. (Clearly my husband should have got this IT project out a few years earlier...) So, the jovial Obstetric Registrar assured me a bed would "come up soon" and there was nothing to worry about and he was certain as it was a second baby all would be fine.
Someone once said to me that "God never gives you more than you can cope with". I think I laughed at that point.....

It wasn’t. Nearly three weeks overdue I was induced and my baby became very, very stuck. Like so many mothers of children with disabilities I frequently find myself wondering what, if anything might have “caused” his difficulties? What could I, should I have done differently? Because nearly losing your baby before he even makes it into the world is not a good start. Not emotionally, not physically...... For either of you. We came closer than I usually choose to remember to losing our little boy, who then valiantly recovered leaving me going through an extremely unpleasant post-heamhorragic episode. Nothing about Harry's birth was easy, or straightforward, but then I often ponder on the appropriateness of this arrival since he's not one for making a quiet entrance even now!

Despite such a dramatic entry into the world, Harry was by no means a sickly child. Note the “l” in that word. Very important that.... Because just like his siblings before and after he was a very *sicky* child. (No “l”). All my children have reflux, mine were the babies everyone admired from a distance, those babies that other people declined to cuddle or hold close “just in case”. Fair enough really, an effortless deluge of second hand milk is not a good look - I’ve worn it many a time and I assure you the reaction from others isn’t a good one. Sympathy, surprise, even horror sometimes because we really are not talking about possetting here. Not small amounts of baby spit, but most of the feed from a good hour before. Nonetheless I felt fairly unperturbed dealing with this, after all I had gained the proverbial T shirt over the past four years, I was an expert with experience and knowledge to boot. If only that were the only challenge my new addition was going to throw at me!

Many years on, with a collection of "diagnoses" to confound any medical student my wonderful, unique, gifted, outrageous, witty, impossible, intuitive son turns eleven tomorrow. Such an incredible journey I feel privileged to have shared. It's been a journey of such highs and lows a Hollywood blockbuster could not emulate, a journey of true discovery and education. 

Today however I know what she meant. But what she should have said is - "God never gives you more than you are capable of learning". After eleven years I am still travelling, still learning. And what an amazing journey it is.
Happy 11th Birthday Harry. xx
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