I’m still in hospital for a few days after William is born so I can go down and see him (almost) whenever I want.
I’ve been down a couple of times when they’re doing handover and no one is normally allowed in then, but they’ve let me in on the quiet because I’m in the corner of a large room and not in anyones way. So in NeoNatal there are a number of rooms, 5 is the room for the babies that need the most care and 1 is for the babies that are almost ready to be discharged. William started in room 3 and wasn’t in there long, a few days after he was moved to room 2.
At night I’m being woken up to express (advice given by the nurses is that that’s the best time to do it). So when I wake I need to get an express machine, I do leave it by my bed every night but when I wake someone has taken it so I normally have to go looking for one (there’s not enough to go round). I walk around like a zombie half asleep, collect a machine and take it back to my bed and then when I’m done I go to clean the equipment.
As I sterile my equipment in the room they call the nursery and in the corridor that is called flower hall I smile at the irony (only Friends fans would understand that). A young girl of about 19 walks in covered in tattoos and wearing a dressing gown pushing her pink baby in a cot reluctantly says hello, after previously talking to her I discovered that she lives with her boyfriend and three other children in a council house (I only assume from what she had said about her situation of not working, boyfriend not working and having her rent paid for.) She takes out equipment from the cupboard to assist her third night of breast feeding. I wonder to myself watching her body language if these girls are just taking for granted that they can have healthy babies that comes along when due, at the right time in her life when she feels she is mature enough to share the love between all her children and (perhaps) juggle a job and be able to afford to run a household of 5 or 6 hungry mouths, have the latest mobile phone, television packages and run a car big enough to take them away from it all on the occasional holiday?
Or have these young women been brought up to believe that this is a way of life, that all they ever knew was that their life as a child was the same, only she never had any of those things that she has now? That now all she really wants to believe is that her mother who is currently sleeping at home with a man who isn’t even her father because he has now moved in with the neighbour half his age. Was she now wishing she’d not jumped into bed with that older man when she left school. These girls are quite within their rights to take care of themselves, any of them could easily have a career; study at University or become the next Delia Smith. Perhaps the older generation have influenced their way of thinking that money is more important than principles and that its more important to have the latest gadget and foreign holiday than have some pride.
My mind is working overtime, I now climb into bed after leaving the equipment out on my table to rest ready for my next shift in 4 hours, I set my alarm on my mobile phone. I curl up and my last 2 thoughts are with my little boy two floors down laying in that incubator who at 3 days old born at 28 weeks who has no idea how much I love and adore him. With my husband who for the first time since we’ve been together will wake up alone on his birthday will go to work in his job in an office when all he wants to do is come in and spend time with his newly made family which he waited so many years for, because life played him that card that he had to pay for IVF. But he knows that when he closes his eyes and thinks of his wife and son that work is just that little bit of life that pays the bills.
So I send him a text for when his alarm goes off for work the first thing he reads is;
Happy birthday daddy,
me and mummy think the world of you.