The Day I Met Aaron  

Friday, 5 December 2008

As its Aaron’s birthday today, I thought it would be fitting to share the opening passage in his book with you.

The day I met Aaron!

It’s 3.17 am on Thursday the 5th December 1991 In Greenwich District hospital, London. After Twenty three and a half hours of labour, lots of kicking and screaming (me, not Aaron) the midwife finally bundled a tiny baby on my chest and I felt a rush of love like I never knew existed, fireworks went off in my chest, I’d just discovered the meaning of life. My son was here!

I knew something wasn’t right straight away, Aaron was very grey and he hadn’t cried yet, just as soon as I’d got my hands on him it seemed, the nurses whisked him back off me. There were people everywhere, doctors and nurses coming in and out of the room, lots of shouting, alarms going off. Not to mention the man at the end of the bed giving me so many stitches that I thought he was knitting a jumper. I thought he’d at least emerge with a pair of booties for the baby...nothing.

This isn’t what was supposed to be happening, we should all be crying with joy now, going all googly eyed over the top of our new babies head, meeting our new baby boy and counting his fingers and toes. Not hearing doctors saying that they couldn’t get him breathing, and asking each other how long he’d been down.

We waited for the longest seventeen minutes of our lives, Dave looked so scared, and I think I held my breath for the whole time, then; at last we heard a cry, it was the determined cry of the fighter my baby was about to have to become; and I just knew in my heart that everything was going to be o.k.

SCBU Special Care Baby Unit

The next couple of days were a blur of Special Care, wires, tubes and alarms. We were young, first time parents and completely bewildered by all the equipment, bleeps, and nurses. There were blood tests and brain scans and we couldn’t do a single thing. We used to sit there holding Aaron’s hands through the incubator doors, telling him how much we loved him, telling him how special he was, and willing him to be strong. He wasn’t a premature baby, like all the tiny ones in the other incubators, he was 9lb 1oz, he looked so healthy and chubby, so why was he here? What was going on?

Aaron had drips going into both his little arms, a tube going down his nose, a tube coming from his umbilical cord; he had a plastic box over his head with oxygen pumping into it, there were pads on his chest and probes of some sort on his finger and his toe. I had never even seen a baby in an incubator before, except on television. I didn’t really even know what all the wires and monitors were for, I just new my little boy was in there, in this plastic box, having things done to him that must have been hurting him. I was his Mum, he was mine, but I was powerless to stop it all. He must have been desperate for a cuddle, I know I was.

The doctors came round four or five times a day, whispering amongst themselves about our baby and the treatment he needed, us in our naivety not really realising we had the right to ask them exactly what they were saying, what they were going to do to make our baby well. Then they’d turn to us and tell us that he’d had a rough start and they would wait for him to improve, then they would all scuttle off again, move on to the next incubator, whisper about the next baby. We just thought that’s how it was.

My First Cuddle

I first held Aaron when he was two days old. A nurse had to take him out of the incubator and pass him to me, and we had to be careful of all the tubes and wires attached to him, I couldn’t quite believe that someone else had held my baby before I had, but as soon as he was in my arms, it didn’t matter. That was the most intense moment of my life, I fell in love with Aaron before he was even born, but this was the moment he tried to open his eyes and look at me, I made him a promise then and there that I would love him forever and keep him safe.

Before long I understood what all the monitors were for, the nurses were so lovely and explained everything as they were doing it. After the first couple of days, I was changing Aaron’s nappy and washing him, brushing his hair, none of it an easy task through the two small incubator doors! I got to cuddle him two or three times a day, we bonded just like any other mother and her first baby. It wasn’t quite how I imagined it, but things never always are.

I guess life never really turns out how you think it will. I never imagined when I had Aaron that he wouldn’t be here with me on all his birthdays, we just don’t expect to outlive our children do we…it’s not the natural order of things.

But here I am on his seventeenth birthday, missing him more than ever.

Take care

Sal xxx

Happy Birthday Aaron xxxxxx

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