A letter to my firstborn 

To my Precious Prince, 11 years ago you came into our lives and changed them forever. Daddy and I were scared, we were so young and didn’t really have a clue how to raise a child. We were busy being children ourselves. But from the second I saw that little bouncing bean on the ultrasound I was in love and just knew everything would turn out ok. December 5th 2005 at 9.07pm you arrived, 9lb 2oz – a big pink chunk with a mop of dark hair. You had poorly lungs and we knew you’d eventually need surgery to fix them but for now you’d made it, screaming and wriggling ready to take on the world. As you grew up, I grew with you. I was learning as I went along, sometimes I made mistakes but you never judged and you always made things better without even trying. Daddy and I worked hard to give you everything you needed and more, we were so lucky to have our family around. They supported us in every meaning of the word. Mummy went back to work when you were still so young, younger than your sister is now. Your wonderful nursery nurtured you and taught you things as you grew. You even took your first steps there. Mummy felt sad that she had missed this but knew there were so many more precious moments to come. Of course you’d never be cross or upset with mummy for going to work but some days it was a personal battle with my own guilt. You started school and with that came a whole new set of challenges for both of us. Mummy felt different from the other mums, sometimes I felt jealous of them. They seemed to have it all worked out, they had mortgages and professional jobs with husbands. I remember one day you said to me how lucky you were to have a young mum because I would definately  win the mummies race at sports day. And there it was, your innocence and pure undiluted love without judgement was all I needed to shake any feelings of doubt I had, because when all was said and done you were all that mattered (and yep, I won that race).

I want you to know that just because Daddy and I aren’t married it doesn’t mean we love each other any less, you know that even marriage doesn’t always mean forever as you’ve seen some  of your friends with parents who separate or divorce. You being born made us even stronger, we knew that whatever obstacles we faced we’d face them together. Every decision we made was made with you in mind. We were a team and we were going for gold! 

Do you remember when we told you you were going to be a big brother? You cried, Mummy cried. I know you didn’t cry because you were sad but it was a big surprise you never expected! Ten years is a long time to be on your own, no brothers or sisters.  If you ever thought that it meant Mummy would love you any less or I’d have less time to do things with you then that’s ok. I had those thoughts too. Sometimes change can be scary but sometimes it shows you something you were missing without even realising. When your sister was born you really came into your own. Any feelings of jealousy that you may have thought you’d have disappeared. It became clear to me that she was the final piece to our puzzle. You are a natural protecter, teacher and of course a professional hugger. The way you scoop her up and kiss her gently makes my heart burst. You suddenly seem so grown up but please remember you will always be my baby boy. When I watch you with your sister I realise how lucky she is to have you in her life. She has no idea exactly how super cool and funny you are yet. Her first best friend.

Honestly my darling boy, you are the most kind hearted and caring boy I’ve ever known. You amaze me every day and everyone will agree you are truly special. You’ve already had to overcome so much, with many challenges testing you over the years but you’ve done it all with courage and positivity that any grown up would be proud of. You are brave and forgiving, bright and hard working. I know it annoys you but I will keep telling you I’m proud of you every night before bed and I will keep listing the reasons as long as you let me. If I can ask you one favour, it’s that you please don’t ever stop calling me Mummy. I know you are 11 now but you’re still my baby and Mum simply won’t cut it!

Thank you for being you, for teaching me how to be a mother. You are the only you, unique and special to me. 

Love you to the moon and back, your biggest fan,

Mummy X 

Pink Pear Bear
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The first smile, take two 

Since the day my little lady was born people have commented on how chilled she is, she’s a calm contented little thing who smiles at strangers. She’s a dream. Ok I will stop bragging before you stop reading! 

I remember the day she flashed her first smile at me, well it technically wasn’t at me it was at her big brother! But I was lucky enough to catch it on camera. She was 6 weeks old.

I know it’s a cliché but my heart literally skipped a beat. It gave me all kinds of happy feels and I will never forget it. But this is not the milestone I want to share with you, for my darling baby girl fought a battle at a mere 4 months old that temporarily washed her gorgeous smile away. So this is about her first smile, take two. 

After a 10 day stint of suspected bronchiolitis my little girl was showing no signs if improvement, she was refusing feeds, sleeping lots then not sleeping at all, she was just downright miserable. We were admitted into hospital so she could be tube fed whilst they did further investigations. Whilst in hospital (the amazing St. Georges, Tooting) she developed a terrible stridor, the sound of her hoarse, dry and raspy voice with every breath haunts me to this day. The amount of energy it must’ve taken her tiny little body to just breathe in and out breaks my heart. Steroids and nebulisers eased the discomfort but the doctors just couldn’t piece together this puzzle. It wasn’t  until we saw an ENT consultant (my hero) that we knew what was really wrong. I was alone when I found out, the other half was on the school run with our son. It didn’t occur to me I might need him there, that was until the sting of hot tears on my cheeks and sheer panic took over. My little girl, a tiny 4 months had a mass in her airways. It was seriously compromising her breathing and they were rushing her straight to emergency theatre. What? How? Hold on, this can’t be happening! Dressing her in a hospital gown that drowned her tiny body, surrounded by wires and plastic.

 Panic, fear,despair, the feeling of its not fair, why us.

 After the longest 2 hours of my life we were taken to recovery to see our little bean. The surgeon explained that the mass was a parapharangeal abscess, an infection in the deep nodes of her neck. They had drained almost 40ml of pus from it. It was a very rare condition, especially in babies her age. They wanted to do further investigation once she was well to see why she could not fight this infection and why it developed into something so serious. She spent 4 days intubated in intensive care whilst her airways recovered. This was the hardest part for me, I felt so helpless. I couldn’t feed my baby, change her nappy or even cuddle her. She didn’t look like my baby, a tiny little face distorted by tubes and plasters. Once woken up her strength and determination amazed me, my darling girl came on in leaps and bounds and we were transferred from PICU to the high-dependency ward. 

I wasn’t allowed to sleep at the bedside but was free to visit at all hours. The first morning after being transferred I rushed to see her, she was coming off a cocktail of drugs so I had been warned she’d be slightly out of sorts. But when I got to the cot and peered over the bars I was met with the widest, cheesiest grin, it was almost a smile of relief. My baby girl knew it was all over. Metaphorical sunbeams filled the room. There was my girl, that smile that I’d missed for far too long. She’d made it.

My baby girl made a full recovery, has been happy and healthy since and her 1st birthday is now a matter of weeks away! What a journey. I’m eternally grateful to all the amazing nurses, healthcare assistants, consultants, doctors and surgeons from our wonderful NHS that looked after us. 

So here’s to my special baby milestone, the first smile- take two. This post was written as an entry into the Tots100/Water Wipes competition. 

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