One year ago today

Facebook has a lovely memory function where it pulls something, a photo, or a post from your past and chooses to remind you about them a year on, or five years on.

Today, a photo of me holding Eva in Starship hospital popped up. “See your memories,” Facebook prompted me.

The photo was showing one of the first times I got to hold Eva after she had been flown up to Auckland and intubated. When this photo was taken she was on CPAP and after days on intubation, she was finally starting to breath by herself. I looked at the posts from around this time and there was an update where I said she was still being sedated as doctors had called her a “wild child” when she was fully awake. They needed her to be slightly sedated so she could rest and continue to get better.

Of course, it’s not just Starship that happened a year ago. This photo commemorates a year since I took Eva back out of foster care. I went to bed the night before I was due to take her home and was woken by a phone call from her foster mother telling me they had rushed Eva to the emergency department.

I spent my first two weeks with Eva at her bedside in hospital. It was a rough start, for both of us. But it also meant I was never far from her side and got to step up and be the mother she deserved right from the start.

Now, a year later, that hospital stay feels so fresh and recent. I remember the panic as I drove to the hospital at one in the morning. Concentrating so I didn’t crash the car while my heart raced. Stroking Eva’s face while she gasped for breath and cried for hours. Falling asleep listening to the sound of the CPAP machine bubbling when they finally got her breathing under control. Crying on the leer jet which flew us from Lower Hutt to Starship in Auckland. Going to sleep that night in Ronald McDonald House lying on Eva’s sheepskin. Watching the other babies in Eva’s room with a combination of jealously when they got better and moved up to the ward, and happiness that they weren’t sick enough for the PICU anymore. Sharing knowing smiles with other parents who were exhausted and worried, just like I was. Endless coffees and having to make do with face strokes and kisses with Eva instead of cuddles. Until that photo.

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It seems fitting, too, a year later, to reflect on where Eva has taken me. I have recorded the first episode of the podcast, an introductory episode featuring Eva and my story, and within a matter of days I will launch it. This weekend I will be talking to my first guest, and the podcast will be a reality. The One in a Million Baby is ready for take off.

The woman clutching her daughter and wondering where life was taking her did not see any of this coming.

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