Mum’s the Word

Sarah Kay by Sarah Kay Additional Needs

Sarah Kay

Sarah Kay

An honest (and hopefully positive!) chat through the rollercoaster journey we have found ourselves on; hopefully to raise awareness of HIE and supp...

Nothing too unusual there I guess, having a baby is a pretty big deal.

I’d prepared as much as I could - read all the books, been to the antenatal classes, given some plinky-plonky yoga a go ( - totally out of my comfort zone!).

I’d even thought about how I was going to break the news to my mum once baby arrived.

I was a first-time mum, she was a first-time grandma.

This was going to be the best phone-call ever!

Only it wasn’t – it was the hardest I have had to make.

Trying to stop my voice from shaking as I explained that we had had a little girl (at 11pm on Mothers’ Day!), we called her Heidi, that she was now a grandma, but that our precious arrival had been whisked to NICU for cooling treatment and that basically I didn’t have a clue what was going on.

(Later diagnosed with HIE, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy – a lack of oxygen to the brain).

Heidi wasn’t with me which was hard, but I think for my mum it was even harder.

I may be a grown up but I’m still her little girl and she knew I was broken.

Left completely helpless at the end of the phone must have been so awful.

It’s only when I look back now that I fully appreciate just how tough those early days and weeks must have been for her.

I was in the thick of it (with hubby Steve), and we knew minute by minute what was going on.

We were talking to doctors, learning from nurses, and getting our heads round the situation.

My Mum (as well as my Dad, Step-Dad and Steve’s Mum and Dad) were outside of the bubble.

We tried to keep them up to date but sometimes the hours disappeared and you realised that instead of texting or phoning them, you had been watching the monitors as the numbers went up and down, keeping everything crossed that the alarms didn’t go off.

Just like I wanted to help Heidi in any way I could, my mum wanted to help me.

To begin with that was by giving big hugs and crying with me.

As we moved to the Children’s Ward as Heidi stabilised, it was sitting with me and bringing in sandwiches.

When we came home (after 8 weeks in hospital) it was joining me in a celebratory glass of bubbly (badly timed as it was when the Health Visitor called round, oops!), and helping with the ironing.

As the time has gone on it’s by being gastrostomy and trachi trained so that she can look after Heidi when I have to work.

The biggest help is that she has laughed with me.

Sometimes at the most inappropriate times, sharing a funny moment that only the two of us would get, but we have laughed so hard that tears stream down our faces and our sides hurt.

I love that.

I love that despite the tricky journey we have found ourselves on, we can still find joy in things.

I love how she is Grandma Glitter to Heidi (a nickname that stuck after her slightly sparkly bronzing powder left its mark).

I love my mum.

Being a Grandma may not be as she imagined, but it’s a role that she has embraced and is great at.

I still think that life, the situation, is easier for me that it is for her.

I know that I’m ok if that makes sense, but I guess it’s always a Mum’s job to worry.

Wishing all the mums and mums’ mums a very happy Mothers’ Day – wherever your journey may take you, I hope you get through it together.


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