29 September 2011

365 days without you...

A year ago today I flew back to be with you after spending about two nights at home. I had been flying back and forth and trying to find a balance between helping nurse you and still keep my job - and I was six months pregnant.

I made sure that I flew in in the morning because I knew that that afternoon we were moving you. We knew the time to say goodbye forever was drawing nearer and we took a decision to move you to the beautiful Hospice we had chosen. The one with the bedroom with doors that opened up onto the most beautiful garden, filled with flowers...

I arrived at the house just in time. The moving process had started and the ambulance that was coming to transfer you was on its way. You had been in and out quite a bit lately, but on this day you seemed quite alert and full of smiles. I remember standing at the end of the bed and you mouthed something to me. I didn't understand and asked you to repeat it. You mouthed, a little more forcefully this time, I Love You. I said "I love you too my mommy." That was my last 'I love you' from you.

You weren't happy about being moved - with two broken legs any movement was extremely painful. But we had arranged for one of the ambulance drivers that you had grown close to over the past few months to come and oversee the process - even though it was her day off. She was more than happy to oblige.

I said I would drive in the ambulance with you. They wouldn't let me sit at the back with you - there wasn't space - so I climbed in the front next to the driver. You were scared. I spoke to you the entire way there. I kept telling you over and over that I was there with you, even though you couldn't see me.

We arrived and settled you into your room. The gardens really were beautiful and we opened the doors so you could face outwards and see the flowers. You were in a joking mood and even said you wanted to go the casino...we fed you ice lollies. When you fell asleep we didn't know it would be the last time we would hear you talk.

Leaving you behind was harder than any of had expected it would be. We just couldn't seem to make ourselves go - but eventually we had to. We took turns kissing you goodbye. You were asleep.

The next day we spent most of the day in and around your room. You were very asleep the whole time and very peaceful. We wandered around the gardens and went for lunch at a nearby restaurant. We went home for a few hours in the late afternoon.

That evening T, N and I drove back together, just the three of us. We spoke and sang the whole way. When we arrived dad and Pa were with you. We all sat together for a while and then dad and Pa left the three of us with you. We spoke, about things we would only have discussed with you. We remembered special times and, when we each took turns saying goodbye, it was without tears. T kissed you goodbye last and the last thing she said to you was "Don't worry mom, we are all going to be okay."

An hour after we arrived home the phone rang. They told us to come. When we got there they told us you were gone. We were devastated that we hadn't been with you, but one of the nurses told us that in her experience mothers hardly ever pass on with their children in the room...you waited for us to go.

They made us tea that we didn't drink. They gave us scissors and told us to go into the garden and cut any flowers we wanted. They let us light a candle for you. When we went in to see you we each placed our flowers on your chest. We cried. I kissed your hands, your cheeks and your forehead. And then, after looking at your beautiful face one last time, we left. When we got home we lit a candle at the front door and made sure it stayed lit, day and night for a week.

I don't know how I've survived an entire year without you. You've missed so much. But somehow I know you have been with me throughout this year - you've seen and enjoyed all the very special moments and you've gently guided us through the toughest times.

I know this, but I still miss you so very much. I dread facing tomorrow - and all the tomorrows for the rest of my life - without you.

I love you my little mommy...to the undiscovered universes and beyond.

26 September 2011

And we're off...

He did it. He crawled. It was such a special moment and I couldn't have asked for it to happen any differently...

It was our turn to have the girls for the weekend and when they arrived on Friday afternoon and were playing with N on his playmat I said to him, "Are you going to start crawling this weekend, while your sisters are here so they can see..?"

Low and behold...Saturday morning we all got up (nice and early as is the norm these days) and we were all sitting in the lounge. We are hardly ever all sitting together in the lounge these days. Either DH or I are busy doing something in the house/kitchen or one of the girls is up in their room, or N is asleep...But there we were just sitting around chatting and he got up onto his hands and knees and rocked (like he's been doing for about two weeks) and then just took off crawling across the floor - as if he'd been doing it forever! We were all in a little shock initially! And then we had loads of fun playing 'fetch' with him and clicking away, taking photographs and video-taping the moment. It was really special and I'm so glad the girls got to share such a big milestone with him and us.

What's the big deal? This crawling thing is so easy.
I couldn't be prouder of my big boy!

14 September 2011

Am I doing this right?

I have asked myself this question every single day since he was born. And I can't help but wonder when I will stop questioning myself. When will I just believe that I know what I'm doing, and that I know how to be a good mom? I doubt ever.

Being a mother is, without a doubt, the scariest, most demanding yet incredibly amazing and rewarding thing I've ever done. Let me tell you, it's exhausting being filled with such instense, conflicting emotions every day. There are so many things that I question: Am I feeding him the right foods, enough food? Is he sleeping enough, or too much? Should I worry more about the hemangioma on his side? Is he a happy baby? Is he developing at the right rate? Do I stimulate him enough? Or too much? It. Is. Exhausting.

Of course there are people I could (and do) ask. There are books and websites that I could (and do) read. But no matter what they say, I wish I could just feel, in my gut, that I'm doing the right things. I want to know, beyond all doubt, that I making the right decisions for him. They say that when you become a mother your 'maternal instinct' kicks in immediately and you know what's right for your child. I say "what crap!"

Something definitely does kick in when you become a mom. For me it was an insanely overwhelming instinct to protect my child from any and everything. But that doesn't mean you immediately know how to breastfeed...or whether you're dressing your child warm enough or too warmly...or why your baby is crying at 3am when you know they aren't in pain, hungry, too hot or too cold!

This is the most important job I've ever done and I have no way of knowing if I'm doing it correctly. I know I'm trying my best. I know I lie awake every night and question whether I've done the absolute best I could do for him that day...