I wasn’t there… I missed it !

Silver lining, Oxford. Feb 2011.

         I’ve always loved having little ones around. I still say that if I could pick my babies up off the supermarket shelf then I would have at least six of them but pregnancy and me don’t do very well together so the doctor suggested that after three beautiful daughters I called it a day.

          Twenty-five years ago this year, I had one of the best excuses ever to explain away the extra weight I’d gained over Christmas.  My nice round belly had a life of it’s own, Youngest Daughter was resident inside, we’d already been formerly introduced and so she had her name and very active personality all in place to step into as she entered the big world.  We were all excited, Eldest and Middle Daughters included, and ready for the newest bundle to arrive.

         Blood pressure was an issue as in previous pregnancies but was closely monitored, as were water samples with the protein levels etc.  Everything was going as close to plan as I ever go until at a late pregnancy check-up it was decided the placenta was too low.  I won’t go into detail here, but the top and tail of it meant that the way out was blocked.

          I wasn’t too worried, Eldest Daughter had arrived via the trap door and Middle Daughter had made it out with “a little help from some friends”,  I wasn’t the worrying type so I just went with the flow as always.  On my final check-up I was prepped for the opp, wired for sound as it were and taken into theatre for an investigation.  Hubby sat outside with the tiniest disposable nappy you can imagine and waited for a decision.


          It was very much an anticlimax, no trap-door arrival, no tiny little feet, no expanding of tiny little lungs, we were sent home and Youngest was to make her own way into the world.  However, life is never that simple and this is where things began to get really complicated.

        I believe this final check-up had happened on a Friday, that would tie in with my memories of going to bed on Saturday night with a toothache – yes, even then I was having tooth problems – toothache,  headache,  armache,  legache,  backache…  You get the picture.  I didn’t have a very good night sleep,  I was up and down all night with just a couple of little round paracetamol to keep me company, and this is where my memory ends.

          Actually, this is literally where my memory ended, I didn’t see any more of Saturday night, or Sunday, or the next few days come to think of it, I, like you, have been told the next part of my story.

         I’ve always wanted to have a ride in an ambulance, a ride with a flashing light and the siren blaring.  On that Saturday night I did…

          And I missed it.

          Have you heard of pre-eclampsia?   Well never mind the “pre”, I always say if you’re going to make a mess, make a good one and I did, I went all the way into full blown eclampsia.

          Apparently Hubby had to choose with perfect timing when to leave Eldest and Middle Daughters in one bedroom and me (in between fits) in another bedroom and for him to run two streets away to the public phone box. Thank goodness it hadn’t be vandalised that week.

          SCARY TIMES…  But not for me – I wasn’t there, I missed it.

          Youngest Daughter was unceremoniously pulled out through the trap door and sent for tests and examinations galore as I’d cut off her oxygen supply.  There was a lot of rushing around – I caused more than a few problems for the medical staff that evening.  Lots of grey hairs and and the odd extra worry line for the people in my life can be attributed to the next few days, but not for me, I really wasn’t there.

          I don’t know where I was, I didn’t go anywhere, no out of body experience or bright light in the distance, just a feeling of peace, a sort of slow relaxed existence where nothing mattered… Of course I was drugged up to the eyeballs to allow my body to regain some control of itself so that probably had a lot to do with the relaxed feeling.

          Apparently I had visitors, my Mum said she had visited me, she had seen this gaunt, pale little creature in a bed who had tubes and pipes eating and breathing for her and was hardly recognisable as me.  I had a mass of auburn hair, very long, and very thick, which had been plaited into one large plait on the pillow.  She said she talked to the plait because it was the only part of me that she recognised.

          Hubby was there throughout, the hospital gave him a room on the maternity ward, a little side room next to the nurses station.  He stayed there with Youngest Daughter and shared his time between Youngest on the maternity ward and me on another ward in whichever part of the hospital they put you when you’ve just done what I did and don’t know who you are.

          I don’t know when exactly I realised Hubby was there, but I knew he was supposed to be there.  Its difficult to remember something which is normal. He kept bringing this baby to see me though which I did find strange, why would he be pushing the baby around in its little hospital trolley, as far as I was concerned we didn’t have a baby, Youngest was still tucked away inside me where she should be.

          I believe it was Wednesday evening that I can remember a visit from… a nice lady, she stayed and chatted for a while and brought me a little gift, a little pink ceramic boot with some little flowers and ribbons in it. A strange gift, but it was nice of her to visit and bring it all the same.  I mentioned the visit to Hubby later and it would appear my visitor had been Big Sister and I hadn’t recognised her.

          I think it was on Thursday that I finally realised who I was, and that the baby Hubby had been pushing around was infact Youngest Daughter.  The little pink boot present made more sense then too.  I was moved onto the maternity ward with Youngest which allowed Hubby, instead of living at the hospital and visiting Eldest and Middle Daughters at whichever family members house they were “holidaying” at, to go home and visit me and Youngest in hospital instead.

          My stay in hospital lasted about three weeks, by the end of this I must have been feeling better as I remember being bored, even if I’d felt the inclination to read, I couldn’t see the words and the doctors wouldn’t let me go home until the two TVs I was watching gradually melded back into one box.

          Finally, when I was able to go home, my house, although familiar, seemed sort of strange.  I didn’t recognise my pretty homemade blinds on the kitchen window, the ones which I had carefully put hours into making, and I was sure the dark wood kitchen table didn’t belong with the rest of the kitchen.

          I was soon to find out that not recognising my Kitchen was the least of my problems, I had a few forms to fill out, letters to sort which had arrived in my absence,  but as I put pen to paper… I couldn’t remember how to spell my name.

          Now it was my turn to be scared, the dream I had been living in for the past three weeks had suddenly become very real and this time I was there, I was living this reality too.

          Little by little I learned to be a new me, I learned to compensate for bits of my personality which had either changed, or disappeared completely,  I learned to control and use bits of my new personality to fill in the gaps. Sometimes I struggle to be the new person I am, but most of the time I don’t remember who I was before.

          I have less patience than I did, I’m more scatty, and miles more forgetful.  My confidence in what I am capable of holds me back in so many different ways, but I am a lot more stubborn than I was, and if I really want something, no matter what it is, if I really want something I absolutely will not give up until I’ve achieved it.


17 thoughts on “I wasn’t there… I missed it !

    • Sometimes when life gets me down a bit I have to remind myself that I am quite capable of doing pretty much anything I want to… I’ve just got to want it enough.
      But then again, don’t we all need reminding now and again. 😊
      Have a great new year Eliza… Enjoy. 😊

  1. Great story Sallyann. We’re all very glad you survived and wasn it youngest daughter who was just married? Hope 2017 is kind to you and your family. Judith

    • Thanks Judith, both Youngest and Eldest married towards the end of 2016, and Middle in 2015. 😊 All three Daughters happily married.
      Here’s hoping 2017 is going to be fun all round, for me, you, and everyone. 😊

    • Thanks, it was a scary time for everyone, and the other me just disappeared over night. Apparently, my brain isn’t average! (I can’t imagine what gave them that idea) the ventilator gives your body the “average” amount of air and it’s the change to the amount of air going to your brain which changes the personality. Strange isn’t it. Hubby was told this might happen, they said it happens to patients who go in for heart surgery too, or any other “ventilated” surgery. 😊

  2. What a story to tell, I’m sure your nearest and dearest all aged a bit coping with that experience. 42 or 43 years ago it would have been me on the other side of the bed as Junior Hospital Doctor in Anaesthetics, then Paediatrics and finally Obstetrics in that order on my way to becoming a GP. Anaesthetics was the scariest job. On my first day on the Paediatric ward I was called urgently to Labour Ward. Very prem twins were on their way, neither was breathing at birth but with my experience as a ‘Gas Man’ (slang for Anaesthetics) I was able to get an endotracheal tube inserted into both of them at the first try and they went to SCBU where I was working, and against all the odds they survived. About two years later I was walking round the shops and a woman stopped me pushing a double buggy. ‘Do your remember these little ones?’ She said. I recognized Mum who we got to know so well during her weeks of visiting SCBU. We chatted, she thanked me again (not for the first time). Memories like that remain – of the crises that we resolve – or in your case, the crisis you endured and survived, albeit largely unconsciously.
    I’m sure youngest daughter is very precious to you and always will be. Thanks for sharing. And a very Happy New Year to you Sallyann

    • Thanks for adding your story too. 🙂
      I remember the SCBU (scubba as we came to call it) well from my experience with Eldest Daughter, after a long labour without much result at all she came out the “trap door” and was taken straight to scubba. I woke up to a little Polaroid photo standing up in my hairbrush and went to scubba until she was well enough to join me in the ward.
      Happy New Year and many thanks to you and the many others who do what you do too. 😄

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