no time travel required
It’s quiet, early morning as I write this. I didn’t write at all yesterday. Yep, broke my own promise. But fuck it. Rules were made to be broken.
Everyone else is still asleep. I’m sitting on the back verandah, with the sound of birds and the stillness of trees for company.
Yesterday was Che’s 10th birthday.
In some ways I’m surprised it’s only 10 years, because I can’t really imagine life without him. Has it only been 10?
But in so many others, it’s gone in half the blink of an eye.
Time is a funny thing isn’t it? Clocks tell us it’s linear, fixed, set. But the experience of time is so much different. Pain and boredom stretch time to eternity. But happy, loving times seem to exist off the clock face.
I was looking through some photos of Che through the years and it felt like a dagger had been plunged straight into my heart, then wrenched down to my stomach.
All those little moments that I was barely aware of, and now they’re gone and I wish I could jump back in time and submerge myself in them.
The baby, toddler, boy I see in the pictures is a blue eyed, beautiful creature with such a look of loving light shining from his eyes – with equal measures of cheekiness and determination – the recipe that makes Che, Che.
But when I think back on those times, I remember them being hard and heavy - treading water and sometimes almost drowning.
Che’s pregnancy was stressful. At the 20-week scan they picked up some abnormalities with the development of his internal organs. I’d gone in expecting it to be a happy routine scan, and then all of a sudden, without being told what was going on, the room was full of medical staff staring at the screen and discussing with each other, and completely ignoring the body attached to the uterus.
I still feel angry about that.
From that day, the rest of his pregnancy was filled with stress and fear of the unknown. We weren’t sure exactly what it meant, as it was difficult for them to get an accurate picture of what was going on in his little body, inside my body.
Once he was born he had scans and tests. A few days after he was born he had one test that involved him being laid out like a skun rabbit on an x-ray bed and having a small tube inserted into his penis, and his bladder filled with a solution that shows up on x-ray.
Che was howling, and I was biting my tongue hard.
Che’s left renal system hadn’t developed properly. Bits were either non functioning or in the wrong place
They said we’d have to be on the alert for urinary tract infections and that he would eventually require surgery to remove his non-functioning left renal system.
When they were done I wrapped him up in my arms and worried.
I worried for 11 months. He had regular check-ups with a nephrologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital, and each time I went, the doctor told me Che should have the surgery. He said it would be much easier and less invasive to get it done while his body was little. But I kept avoiding it, hoping it wouldn’t be necessary.
Eventually he did have the surgery. It was horrible watching him first sedated with pre-meds, and then put to sleep.
But in the end it all went well and he was completely fine.
…There had been hugely stressful times with Indi too – febrile convulsions – an apparently not uncommon response to fever - kind of like a brain reboot… But it’s awful to watch.
The first time it happened, he was in my arms whimpering and then started convulsing, his eyes rolled backwards in his head, he stopped breathing and went blue.
I thought he was dying. I felt frantic and frozen at the same time.
Then after what felt like a lifetime, he started breathing again.
We called an ambulance, and that’s when I found out - some kids just get them.
Thinking your baby is dying in your arms isn’t a picture that leaves easily though.
All in all, when look back on the early months and years of motherhood, what I remember most is a haze of anxiety.
So that is why looking back on pictures of them gives me that dagger feeling.
And makes me wish so hard that I could travel back in time to those precious moments, with the knowledge that everything’s going to be fine.
I don’t know how to time travel - but at least I can stay put in a moment now, and appreciate these days and moments with the boys.
No time travel required.
This is part of my Little Nothing Moments daily writing series.
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Incase you missed it:
LNM #1: Did you Ever Notice
LNM #2: I Can Still Do A Handstand
LNM #3: I Whispered a Different Mantra
LNM #4: Adventures with Salty Water
LNM #5: I Flat out Lied to my Kids Again
LNM #6: My Name Was Gabriella
LNM #7: Looking at Him Looking up at Me
LNM #8: There’s Always Puppy Therapy