We were booked in on Christmas Eve for a Caesarean. My parents came down a couple of days beforehand because they were babysitting Sparrow for us.
Emma was told that she wasn’t allowed to eat anything after 10pm the night before
We were still hoping that things would happen earlier, even as Emma was eating her last meal. But nothing happened. So, we got ourselves ready and arrived in the maternity ward before 7:30 on Christmas Eve morning. Then the waiting started.
There were four people booked in for sections that day. Whenever we asked we were told that the order of the operations hadn’t been finalised. It became apparent - when everyone else went in – that that was just because no one wanted to tell us we were last.
I had to get dressed in Surgical Scrubs. The blue pants were very comfortable. And I had a hair net to wear. Which stuck like Velcro to the stubble on the small area of my head where hair grows.
A lot of emergencies came in too, so they had to go before us. By 1pm Emma was very hungry. And impatient. Whenever we’re waiting for food to arrive I find that if I go to the toilet the waitress will arrive at the table with my burger while I’m gone. I decided it was worth trying this trick in hospital. And while I was in the toilet the nurse arrived to say they were ready for us. But then they obviously had to wait for me.
I had to wait outside the theatre while the anaesthetic was administered. This brought back painful memories of the panic and distress last time I was waiting in that room. The resuscitation machine was equally intimidating, and the plastic chair equally uncomfortable. But there was laughing and joking coming from inside the theatre this time, which there wasn’t last time.
The local anaesthetic worked this time, meaning that there was no need for general anaesthetic and I could stay in the room.
The baby was healthy and was allowed to stay with us – which meant no traipsing up to the neo-natal ward where the sick babies are kept.
They dressed her in a red and white woolly hat because it was Christmas.
As it was a section Emma had to stay in hospital for a couple of days. That meant that we couldn’t give Sparrow the Christmas that we would have liked to. But she woke up just after 5 on Christmas morning so there was plenty of time for me to open most of her presents with her before I went to the hospital.
Emma had a Christmas dinner (without sprouts) at the hospital. I had turkey sandwiches (well, it was Bernard Matthews meat, but it said "turkey" on the packet).
Emma was in a lot of pain on Christmas night, but she and Seahorse were allowed home on Boxing Day. Sparrow was very excited to see her new sister. She came running into the hallway when we arrived home and then called for her Grandad to come and look at her sister. She’s taken to the changes really well. If anything she’s been a little over-enthusiastic: poking her sister a little too hard and running towards the Moses basket too quickly.
I’d forgotten how small a newborn baby is. And how delicate they feel next to a toddler.
And I’d forgotten how hard the sleepless nights are.
There's a poem about the whole thing here