28th December 2023
This time fifteen years ago was the night before we met the result of our 5-year journey through the peaks and troughs of IVF.
Both excited and terrified, I zipped up my suitcase ready for the crack of dawn departure to the hospital. I couldn’t believe that at the grand age of 54 I was about to give birth to my miracle baby Dominic.
It is all documented in my memoir, and I thought I would share a few lines from this chapter from The Future is Rosie.
On the morning of 29th December, David put my bag in the boot. It was 5.30am. Taking a final look at the house and noting that on our return I would be carrying an added appendage we headed up the M40, arriving early at the Portland hospital. I was a bag of nerves as we entered the reception. We were shown to our room. I had received a list of items to pack which I took out of my holdall, placing a photo of Rosie by my bed. All my checks were carried out before I changed into a surgical gown and long green hospital socks. My nerves were getting the better of me with my” nil by mouth” stomach churning I struggled to sit still or even breathe.
At 7.30am the porter escorted us in the lift down to the operating theatre. My legs shook and my hands were freezing as we walked to the door of the theatre. What a theatrical production this was going to be!
The operating theatre felt as chilly white and clinical as I did. There was a clock on the wall which would log the time of the birth. The bed stood in the centre and various nurses were moving about talking quietly to each other, donning gloves, masks and checking equipment.
I was relieved to see Nick who greeted us warmly. He was in his scrubs and a mask, and his demeanour was a little more serious than usual.
David was fine until I was told to sit on the operating table, legs over the side and the anaesthetist prepared the long needle for the epidural which was about to be inserted into my lower back. I closed my eyes tight and waited for the jab. The next thing I heard was Nick in a jovial tone
“David you are looking like a nervous wreck. You look as though you are about to faint. Can I suggest you come into the next room with me, and we can talk about football?”
David followed on his heels like an obedient puppy, and I was left with the nurses and the anaesthetist.
“You must keep perfectly still while we insert the needle. Soon you will be all numb. “A nurse in scrubs was holding my shoulder and I felt the jab and tried not to wince and shake. It was a strange sensation, and I no longer had any feeling. I lay on the bed as the numbness spread through my body. I prayed I wouldn’t feel any pain. The nurses prepared me for the caesarean section.
Nick reappeared with David who clearly petrified was instructed to stand at the top of the bed while a large screen like curtain was erected across my stomach so I couldn’t see what was happening. Nick was asking if I could feel anything. He was tapping my leg, but I didn’t experience much physical sensation.
“You will be aware of a lot of activity and pulling and pushing but no pain. I will see you shortly” he said as he disappeared behind the curtain. The nurse was holding my hand and I couldn’t see David which was probably just as well since he had turned white as the walls. I could hear metal instruments, nurses and the anaesthetist responding to Nick’s instructions, the nurse was talking to me although I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying. It felt as though someone was rummaging around deep inside me, but it didn’t hurt. It seemed like an eternity until Nick said, “It won’t be long now”.
And then he was here! I saw our baby being lifted out of me and into the world. His first cry was strong and gutsy, and Nick looked over the curtain holding up the baby and said “Here he is. Here is your little boy”. I looked at the clock and it was 8.55am. The baby was weighed, measured, and swaddled securely in a white hospital blanket.
Rosie’s gift was placed on me with his head in the crook of my arm. Our new baby boy was here. With tears streaming down my face, I acknowledged that these were tears of relief and joy not of grief and pain. “We’ve done it David. He’s really here” I was crying and sobbing and laughing. Our eight-pound ten-ounce bundle of promise for the future opened his eyes wide and looked at me and from that moment on he had my heart. Here was the result of five years of determination and refusal to give up on living. Here lay the proof that all things were possible. Here I was at the grand old age of fifty-four a proud mother of a new-born healthy baby son.
I held him as they sewed me up and wheeled me out into recovery whilst David went off to make phone calls to Ellie, Sam, Mum, and his brothers. I am not sure how much time passed but when I was ready, I was wheeled back up to our room where the baby was placed in a crib by my bed. With an identity label edged in blue with his arrival date, family name and gender stuck to the side.
Ellie Mum and Sam visited us at the hospital. It was pure magic watching Ellie peeping into his crib for the very first time and holding her brother Dominic’s tiny hand in wonder.
The nurses at the Portland looked after me and Dominic for five days, showed me how to bath him, and took him into the maternity wing nursery at night so I could recover and sleep. Nick was happy with my progress and proud that he had safely delivered the baby achieving a successful outcome in unusual circumstances. Dominic and I welcomed in the new year.
December 28th 2023
Fifteen years later I have grown this wonderful, capable independent and kind young man who is now 6 feet tall and I need a ladder to reach him to give him a hug [not that he lets me much anymore!]
I am proud for proving to myself and the rest of the world that one can achieve the impossible if you just believe.
So, my friends, please know when you hit the darkest point in your life and think you can’t go on, there is always that light at the end of the tunnel.
Dom, I have never regretted a second of you.
Happy 15th birthday for tomorrow.