Monday, 3 September 2012

birthday girl

I can remember it like yesterday. Where I was stood, the time, who I was with. 5am she'd been born and although we weren't expecting it we were so excited.

We knew that Mummy was very poorly and we weren't allowed to see her. Daddy said she looked very sick and had lots of wires and machines around her. It was a week before me and my little brother got to see her again and then she came home without our little sister. It was really odd. At 7 years old I was very aware that Mummy's and Babies are supposed to come home at the same time.

Grandma told us as we swung on the banister, hovering by the phone. It's a girl, you've got a sister!

Daddy explained she'd been born 6 weeks early and wasn't able to breathe by herself so we had to pray for her to get better.

After 3 days we were allowed to go and visit her. I can still recall how to get to SCBU in Poole. Through the main doors, turn left passed the shop, up the stairs, through the double doors across the corridor and through into SCBU where my little sister lay in an incubator- the last one on the back left row. It was a big, spacious, nursery with lots of incubators and cots in. Every time we went in, we had to wash our hands with bright red soap and then we could touch her.

She had a knitted hat on and there were lots of machines and wires. I don't remember being scared. I don't remember thinking she wasn't going to make it. I know some days the nurses and doctors thought she was more sick than others. I know we were excited when she came off the ventilator and had her head in an oxygen bowl. I remember the smell of dalavit so clearly that when Skittle had it I immediately recalled my parents pinning her down attempting to syringe it in her mouth as she got older and wiser and stronger.

Me and my brother holding our little sissy
Because of this early experience, when it came to Skittle's early arrival, I knew what to expect. I knew we wouldn't bring him home straight away. I knew what an incubator and a ventilator looked like. I knew it was going to be hard.

18 years ago things were very different. In 1994 my sister didn't have CPAP. She didn't come home with an NG tube. She was in a really big SCBU where there were enough nurses.

But yesterday my sister celebrated her 18th birthday. She flew back from South Africa and had a family dinner. She just completed her AS Levels and she's an amazing dnacer. On a 1st birthday she was still pretty small but by her 2nd birthday she was fully caught up with all her milestones.

I'm looking forward to Skittle's 18th birthday and seeing all that he has accomplished despite prematurity.

1 comment:

  1. What a brilliant cake! That must have been very difficult in NICU with Skittle after having seen in at all before in a different sitaution with different medical care. A very poignant and beautiful post.xx