When Bliss was born I had my parenting books at the ready and of course, every second person came armed with advice too! I’ve probably only touched the surface of the books that have been written and while some of them have been great it has often made me wonder if that’s where our confidence is meant to come from? It often feels like there’s just too much information out there for parents and most of the time the ‘experts’ contradict each other!
There was one mum I was friends with who became my “go to” person. She had 4 kids and I liked them, and her, and the way there were with each other. I figured that was a good place to start. I think I chose well because every time I would ring with a question she’d ask me what I thought. She was happy to tell me what it had been like for her and how she’d approach certain things with her own kids but she always empowered me to work out what I thought by reminding me that no one knew Bliss the way I did. She was the only person who did this; mostly people just want to tell you what they did and why you should do it to.
Now that I’ve had three children myself I’ve realised that just because something worlds for one child doesn’t mean it will work for another and so her advice has stood me in really good stead. You can read as many books as you like but at the end of the day no one knows your child as well as you do and you’ve got to trust your own instincts.
But something’s changed.
A few months ago Bluey got sick and I missed it. Badly. We’d had a virus going through the family and when he got it I didn’t think much of it. One night he got quite worked up and The Architect and I considered taking him to hospital. Once we got some panadol into him and he settled in to sleep in my arms, I lay awake in bed for a while wondering if I should be waking him up and taking him in but ultimately I didn’t want to overreact and so let him sleep. I got him to our local doctor early the next day and he did a few obs and then told me we needed to go to the hospital. I casually replied, no worries – I’ll swing by home and grab a few things and then we’ll head in. That wasn’t quite what the doctor had in mind though; a few minutes later he had an ambulance and a fire engine en route to us – whoever got to us first would be taking us in. We spent the next six days in RCH with a few of those nights spent in ICU. Bluey’s oxygen levels had been down in the 60s and his breath/min rate was up in the 80s. If you’ve never had a child with bronchial issues these numbers will mean nothing to you. If you have then you’ll understand why he was where he was. (Oxygen should be 100 and breaths/min should be between 20-40, more than 60 and you’re in trouble).
I didn’t post about it at the time because, well, I was a bit distracted and even now some of the photos feel too personal to share. They probably don’t look like much but they fill me with emotion…
I was pretty calm that week; level headed enough to realise how lucky we were that it wasn’t more serious, to know that we were in an amazing hospital and that we would be going home soon enough.
But it’s really shaken my confidence.
I don’t trust my intuition anymore. I second guess myself and regularly unsure about whether I’m ‘missing’ things/signs/symptoms.
With three kids to look after a bit of extra caution doesn’t go astray but I don’t like how this feels.
We were back at RCH at the weekend and I ran into one of the nurses who had looked after us when Bluey was admitted. Amazingly she remembered me and we had a lovely chat (gosh the staff there are incredible!) As I walked away I heart her talking talking to another nurse about how calm I had been when a Bluey was in and they had called the MET to have him transferred to ICU. (MET stands for ‘medical emergency team.’ This is when they press a button and at least 15 medical staff come running – literally running – with carts, trolleys and machines to assess the child. Personally, I think the reason I didn’t panic was because the RCH staff had done such a great job at preparing us for it and we knew it was going to be the best thing for Blue). It was delivered as a compliment and I appreciated it – I like that I’m not an overly anxious person in these circumstances – but now I find myself constantly second guessing this trait, and I really don’t like it.
It seems I’ve lost my “they’ll be right” parenting mojo and I’m not really sure how to get it back.