Sunday 18th January
Wow, who would have thought? Thirty years ago today our son was born into this world at the RD&E in Exeter. He was five weeks premature, had a cleft palate, under developed lower jaw, breathing problems, tongue tie, wouldn’t feed; resulting in four days in intensive care in an incubator. As I had had pre-eclampsia, I wasn’t allowed to see him straightaway, but the nurses did bring a photograph of him to me. Eventually I was taken in a wheelchair to see our son. I couldn’t touch or hold him as he was hooked up to tubes and monitors. We both stayed in the SCBU for almost a month, until he was strong enough to take home. A diagnosis of Pierre Robin Syndrome was given then, and a number of years later Asperger Syndrome, Dyspraxia and learning difficulties.
And here we are, thirty years later. On the chemotherapy ward.
We had always promised to take him for afternoon tea at the Ritz in London, to be “posh and sophisticated” as he put it, eating cucumber sandwiches and delicate little cakes. He had been looking forward to this for a long time. Alas it was not meant to be at this moment in time.
What we did have though, was all the family packed into his hospital room for a birthday party of sorts! Mum and dad, brother and girlfriend, auntie, uncle and cousin, and grandmother. Even a Skype call from uncle in Chicago. There were many cards, presents, and of course a big chocolate birthday cake, of which he managed a fairly generous slice! He even had a card and gifts from the nurses, cleaner and kitchen staff; a really lovely gesture.
By the end of the afternoon he was quite tired and weak. I think he had been thinking about this birthday for a long time, and the fact that he couldn’t celebrate it properly. He wanted it to be super special, a real landmark event. Thirty. Years. Old.
But we have promised that when all the treatment is over, we will have a thirtieth birthday party at the Ritz Hotel, and it will be every bit as special as he wants it to be.