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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Day 14 - Return of the Zac

Today was all about getting Zac home.

Driving to the hospital I had my iPod synced up and on shuffle. I love it when the music matches up with real life and when 'Come Home Baby' by The Charlatans came on at the lights I had tell myself to keep it together. (I remember once listening to the Star Wars soundtrack while doing the big shop in Aldi - the bit that plays when Luke Skywalker returns to his home to find it's been set on fire with his family killed was the exact bit playing as I found there were no sausages left.)

It was a nightmare trying to park at Alder Hey but I didn’t get stressed like the other drivers. We all did circuits up and down the car park like a giant game of Pacman, and as they gurned and grimaced I grinned like a Cheshire cat that’s just become CEO of Elmlea. This was as happy as I’d felt since holding both lads in my arms for the first time.

My legs felt lighter walking from the unit door to his room this time, like I’d taken off a pair of heavy boots. He was asleep as I got to his cot so I whispered to him that he was coming home and he started crying which was unfortunate. I told myself he must have grown fond of the surroundings and the succession of utterly amazing people who'd taken care of him.

The nurses gave me some vitamins for him and told me where he was up to with his feeds. Then they asked me what clothes I was taking him home in and I realized I hadn’t brought any for him. What a dickhead. I think I’ll wait till 2016 to put my Dad of The Year nomination in the post.

Then there was a delay as the wrong paperwork arrived and I started to wonder if all these factors would conspire to keep him there another night. Thankfully the paperwork turned up and they found some donated clothes to put him in.

I’ve always been certain that when I had kids I wouldn’t mollycoddle them but as I carried Zac out of the unit I looked at all the other incubators and poorly babies and I remembered what he’d been through. At this point it seems implausible that I won’t wrap him in cotton wool until he’s at least in his mid-thirties.

The last person I saw as I left the ward was the young mother I'd spoken to on my first visit. We didn't know each other's names but the context of our conversations meant I felt like I knew her quite well. She saw I was leaving with Zac and couldn't contain her happiness for us, rubbing him on the head and wishing us the best of luck. I’d love to think I’d be as magnanimous if the roles had been reversed but I’m not sure that’d be the case. I hope they get home soon.

The sun was shining as we set off for home so I opened Zac’s window slightly, recalling those public service announcements about the dangers of hot cars. Then I remembered they were about dogs so I shut the window again. It then seemed sweltering again so I opened the window a bit. In the end I put my foot down and made a mental note to buy some car blinds sharpish.

And then we were home. All of us.

I carried him through the front door in his car seat as a forgotten feeling of calmness washed over me – so this is what it feels like to be relaxed? Over the last fortnight especially, and pretty much since we’d had the 24 week scan and found out about Zac's operation we’d both spent all of our time worrying and sleeping worse than a sciatic pensioner on a Travelodge mattress.

It's strange how you adapt to whatever life throws at you because I had no idea just how wholly dreadful I felt until I stopped feeling it. And now I was completely at peace, tranquility covering me head to toe like I'd had my Ready Brek.

When I got Zac inside my wife had put Ben on the playmat in our lounge and I got the camera ready to capture their first meeting (on the outside anyway). We put him and his brother together as I got ready for some YouTube click-bait style moment.


And guess what happened? Absolutely nothing. Naff all. They just lay there in silence until Ben noisily soiled himself, probably with all the emotion. And it was brilliant. It was easily the happiest I’ve ever felt after hearing a bottom burp.

Let the fun and games commence.

Back tomorrow.

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1 comment:

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