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Friday, 24 April 2015

Day 4 - Progress?

I woke up extra early this morning as I wanted to get myself and the breast milk shipment across to Alder Hey before rush hour. You don’t want to be stuck in a slow commute with a tube full of colostrum in your pocket. And after Zac's operation and subsequent first feed we were desperate for him to make some sort of progress. The operation was to remove a blockage between his stomach and bowel so there was only going to be one way of finding out if it had been a success – a good old fashioned poo.

I’d visited him twice yesterday, ending the evening standing over his incubator talking to him with a lump in my throat. It’s amazing how much you can find to say to a 4 day old boy who’s not listening. I told myself it was good for him to hear my voice but in reality it was more for my benefit - I needed to feel like I was helping in some way.

The machines he was hooked up to beeped at reassuringly regular intervals until now and then one would go freestyle and start bashing out some kind of jazz riff. This made me panic every time, dashing out to one of the nurses to ask them what it meant. I've watched too many TV shows where the wrong kind of beeping means something catastrophic. Each time they put my mind at rest until I became quite familiar with which noise was what. 

This morning I arrived at Alder Hey filled with hope and dread in equal measure. There’d been no movement yesterday so we were desperate for progress. I carried the milk and a bag packed with nappies and baby clothes as other parents shot me the traditional closed-mouth-with-no-teeth sympathetic smile. Still trying to get to grips with fatherhood added to the fact both my lads were in hospital, I felt like I was living someone else's life.

The lift seemed to take an age to arrive and I got needlessly angry when the doors opened and there was a family inside who didn't know what floor they were going to. Just pick a floor and go there you dopes. 

I buzzed the door of the Neonatal Surgery Unit and tried to read clues about my son's condition from the voice intonation of the guy who answered. The automatic doors swung open, I hung my coat up and squirted enough sanitiser into my hand to cleanse a skunk.

It wasn't a long walk from the Unit's front entrance to Zac's room but I might as well have been walking uphill into a wind tunnel on a down escalator wearing roller skates, the walk took me ages. The nurse was inside his room so I took a deep breath, knocked and opened the door.

She looked at me. Silence.

Then her mouth slowly formed a smile.

'He's had three poos! Massive ones too, huge!'

A confetti cannon went off in my head and the room span. There's been several bowel movements in life that have made my eyes water but never in this way before. I phoned my wife and shouted, 'HE'S HAD THREE POOS!' down the phone. Perhaps I should have done this before I got to the packed car park but the only thing that mattered was that the operation had been a success.

Back tomorrow.

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