Then there were three

So Christmas wasn't anything like the one we imagined we'd have when we found out that Martha was on her way.

It wasn't anything like what I'd planned when Martha's operation was scheduled for the 14th November; when I had naïvely presumed we'd be home and dry with plenty of time to spare before the big day.

Christmas Day 2013 is one that I would be happy to forget. Martha was on a ventilator in Hospital, we were with her while Osh and Isabella were miles away with our relatives.

I'd saved all through the year so I could really splurge and spoil the kids.  The money is still sitting in a
savings account waiting to be spent.

I woke up on Christmas morning in our gorgeous Hotel room and found a gift on my pillow. We had both said that we wouldn't be swapping gifts this Christmas day because neither of us had the time to go out in search for a gift; also - neither of us had any inclination what we wanted for Christmas anyway. But somehow my amazing husband had managed to surprise me - he'd gotten me a Tablet for Christmas.

This was one of the best gifts he could have gotten me. We don't know how long we have left here and I am missing Osh and Isabella terribly - I will now be able to speak to them over Skype. It also means I can get a headstart on some Christmas shopping online. It also will go a long way in killing some hours sat by Martha's bedside while she sleeps.

We made our way over to the hospital to see our little princess, she was wide awake. As I started to talk to her and open some of her Christmas presents. I talked to her in my silly Mammi voice - and she smiled back at me. A proper happy little baby smile. Which was far better than any present I could have asked for.

The rest of Christmas Day passed by uneventfully. She smiled every time we spoke to her and her blood gasses were perfect with her ventilator being set to minimal support settings.

When we arrived on the Ward on Boxing Day morning we found that Martha had been fasting since 6am; they were aiming to extubate her in the afternoon. In the pit of my stomach I had this awful feeling that she wasn't ready and things were about to go from bad to worse.

At 3pm the Doctor arrived to assess Martha, with her being on minimal support there was very little reason to keep her ventilated if she didn't need it. We left the Hospital to go back to the Hotel for a panad. I can't cope with being there just in case it doesn't go to plan. Seeing your child being resuscitated is a traumatic experience - I've already been witness to it twice.

We felt brave enough to come back just after 4pm. As we entered her bed space we could hear the whoosh of her Fabian (Cpap) but the nearer we got to Martha it was obvious she was struggling. Her chest was recessing quite significantly. I begged the Consultant to re-intubate her. The drugs were all drawn up ready to go if they needed to - but they wanted to give her time.

They gave her half an hour to calm down - otherwise she was back on the vent. They sedated her to calm her down and she started to get sleepy. A blood gas was done and it showed an improvement from the previous one. The Consultant came back in, was happy that she had started to settle and gave her another half an hour. Then she was given another half an hour and another.

The night shift began at 8:15pm and Mark was desperate to go out for something to eat, but I didn't want to leave. Petra did a blood gas and I promised Mark that if the results were OK then I'd be willing to leave the hospital for an hour or so.

"Impressive" I could hear Petra say to herself. They really were. Lactate had come right down, as had her glucose. The CO2 and PO2 were also almost perfect. This was amazing - in four hours she had really turned herself around. She wasn't completely out of the woods but she was on the right path. They were happy to leave her off the ventilator.

When we finally left for the night at midnight we told Petra to do whatever she had to do, if Martha needed re-intubation she should just do it.

We were both terrified of coming back Friday morning, not knowing what we would have to face when we got there. We rounded the corner in to her bed space and we could hear the whoosh from the Fabian clear as day. She had lasted the night. But as each Consultant keeps reminding us - Martha is fragile and will not be rushed.

My Mother brought Osh, Isabella and my Brother for a visit on Friday - I prayed Martha would behave all day, if anything, so that Osh wouldn't have to witness anything awful happening. Thankfully all three of my Children were as good as gold all day. Osh had brought along his PSVita to show me - it was lovely seeing him playing happily with a gift I'd spent weeks imagining his face opening on Christmas Morning; although I was upset at not being with him to play Santa at Christmas, I knew that I had done the right thing when he didn't put the thing down all day.

Mark has been here since Monday 23rd, tonight he went home ready for work in the morning. This week has been the longest we've spent together since November. I'll only see him one day a week now (Saturday's) until Martha is ready to go home. For tonight there was just me, Nan and Grandad. Tomorrow we have Osh, Isabella, Mam, Rie, Nine and Louis visiting for the day.

As we approach the final few days of 2013 I can only hope that we can finish the year on some kind of high!


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