We had an incident recently I wanted to share. I want to tell you just what an impact child loss can not only have on our emotional well being but also how it can change our behaviours. I’ve always been pretty protective of my son Beau. I don’t really allow him to eat sugar, I am planning on home schooling as I don’t feel schools are necessarily safe or healthy environments for children to truly reach their potential and I always worry about silly little things. For the longest time I kept panicking when he first learnt to walk as he was very Bambi legged and tended to fall a lot so I would have sleepless nights panicking of him falling and breaking his teeth. I don’t ever want him to be in unnecessary pain and at times I wish I could wrap him up in bubble wrap. In some ways I do think I have improved slightly, I’m protective but I also don’t want to be restrictive on him actually living and having fun.
The only difference is recently I feel my world views have changed since Silver. The pain I feel every day I don’t ever want to feel with him too. I don’t really worry about his teeth anymore, nope, I do sometimes worry he’s going to be kidnapped now though… Okay, okay, I need to stop reading real life tales of kidnap victims and need to stop watching the crime channels on tv! I also worry about health. You could say I’m a bit of a hypochondriac really. Not that I waste doctors time but I am very impatient if I do get symptoms myself and tend to think worst case scenario so I usually end up seeing a doctor as an emergency appointment just so I don’t end up having a mental breakdown too. There’s a big difference however in worrying about yourself and worrying about your child. I would do anything if it meant my children never got ill, I’d happily sacrifice myself for their health if I could. There are just some things you can’t protect them from though which I’ve unfortunately learnt.
Let me tell you exactly what happened. This last Monday morning (bank holiday), Fabian had been doing an overnight pet sit so I got up to Beau around 7. He seemed pretty sleepy still so I brought him back into our bed as I was tired too. Normally he never stays still for very long when we do this, he is soon up, sliding off the bed and running to the bathroom or spare room to get into mischief. Fabian got home quite soon after 7 and found Beau and me still in bed cuddling. Like I say this wasn’t like Beau but I put it down to our room having blackout curtains and maybe the sun had woke him in his room so it was easier to fall back asleep in ours. Fabian had had a long night and was pretty tired and jumped into bed with us. We all fell asleep until around 9am where I woke to Beau climbing over my legs and sliding off the bed. So I told Fabian to take him downstairs while I had a lie in.
I woke around 11am and thought it was strange how quiet the house. Normally Beau spends every morning screaming the house down and instead of me ever getting a lie in I spend several hours tossing and turning listening to tantrums and hyper moments from downstairs. Unfortunately our new home is pretty open plan so there is no such thing as sleep when Beau is awake. This Monday morning though it was so deadly silent I even opened the curtains to check if the car was in the drive thinking Fab had taken Beau out somewhere. Nope, our big black beast was still parked in the drive. I decided to come downstairs only to find both boys asleep in the snuggle chair. Knowing how long Beau had already slept this then concerned me a little, it was very out of character.
Once Fabian came around he then told me how Beau had gone to get a book earlier and had flopped at his feet and instead of flicking through the pages as he usually does he just stared at one page before falling asleep in his daddy’s arms. I then sat with Beau and had a cuddle to find him barely responsive and pretty floppy whilst also falling back asleep. We panicked not knowing what was happening and phoned the none-emergency NHS number to find out if it was something to be concerned about. I don’t know why but I started panicking thinking it was sepsis which is vitally important to get urgent treatment. The NHS told us that we could wait and see a doctor the next day or take him to hospital but it wasn’t anything concerning.
Beau’s behaviour through the call had me getting more and more worried. I had never seen him like this before. We decided it would be best to get him checked and got ready to take him to hospital. I was concerned it had something to do with this lump on his neck which had been checked a few weeks ago by a nurse who said it was a swollen gland and he was fighting an infection so would disappear – only it hadn’t. You know Beau isn’t well when he actually willing goes into his car seat without screaming… not only this but my parents were generally coming to cut our grass (we don’t have a shed at our new house) and he didn’t even get excited seeing Nana and Grandad – that is not like him at all!
We’ve been to A & E a few times in the past for various reasons so we expected to be called in for an assessment, sent back to the waiting room and then a few hours later get called by a doctor. The worrying thing is when that doesn’t happen. Beau had perked up a little and did walk around the assessment room and all visual observations were fine but then she checked his blood sugar by pricking his heel. Of course he didn’t like that but things were about to get worse. It was very low, 2.8. I didn’t know what it was meant to be but you know it’s serious when she tells you we are going through to the emergency department and not back to the waiting room. Now I started to panic thinking it was Beau developing a kidney problem, just like Silver only later in life and I started worrying we were carriers of a kidney disease and how ti would affect Beau and future pregnancies!
Beau was not very happy when the nurse insisted he had a big tube full of a glucose solution and we had to fight tooth and nail to get it into him. We even had to try putting it in a calpol syringe in the hopes it would trick him. Many tears later we managed to get most of it in and were now all covered in a sticky mess. We were took into one room where there was several beds and we fed Beau two bananas we had and some pringles which he we a lot happier to take. I did ask a woman about the kidney issue but she didn’t know what Beau was in for so couldn’t actually help. Unfortunately Beau had to have another blood prick test and his levels had risen slightly, to 3.4 but not quite as high as they would have liked.
So we then got took into a cubicle where Beau enjoyed his pringles until the doctor came to do a full check-up. Well he screamed and screamed and screamed. He did not want anything checking and let’s just say it was a very stressful struggle! Thankfully the doctor was quite happy it was nothing sinister and after I explained the situation with Silver he conferred with the paediatric doctors who said they were happy for Beau to not need monitoring and felt Beau would have shown kidney issues sooner if he did have any. So thankfully our minds were put to rest, Beau was feeling a lot better and we were able to be discharged. They never really told us what was wrong with him, whether it was sunstroke or he hadn’t eaten enough or something else. All I can say is I really hope it doesn’t happen again!
Moving forward from this experience I am very glad we trusted our instincts and obviously since Silver we are more protective, wouldn’t you be? I learnt the hard way with my first ever cat when I knew something wasn’t right with her and I was told to wait and see if it improved, only it turned out to be a fatal incurable disease and we lost her at 6 months old. Since that moment I have never hesitated with mine, my pets or my children’s health to seek attention as soon as I feel something is not right. It has cost me a lot of money with taking the pets to the vets for small issues which some pet owners perhaps would have waited but through the 24 years I’ve been on this earth I’ve learnt the value of live and love and how that will always outweigh the value of money and possessions. So maybe I am overprotective, but my instincts were right and I’m so glad we got him checked. I think parents have a deep meaningful connection with their children which allows them to have a parental protective instinct and we should trust it. It’s a completely natural part of who we are and it is built within us to help us and our young survive.
I do feel each parent needs to find their own perfect balance of what they feel is reasonable protection and safety for their child whilst also allowing them to still have fun and perhaps on occasions weigh up the risks and potential benefits. I don’t want to live my life in fear since Silver but it has given me a greater appreciation and different perspective on what I feel comfortable with. I am sure through the years this may change and evolve as we all do and so do our habits and behaviours. My next challenge I will have to face is the day we expect our rainbow baby and the anxieties which come with going through another pregnancy. That is something I am eager to document once it does happen and share with you guys exactly what pregnancy after loss feels like.
I hope this blog comforts all the other parents out there who have also lost a child and feel the anxiety of trying to protect their other children. I promise you it is completely normal! Don’t hesitate to seek help if it does start to interfere with your enjoyment of life, I find hypnotherapy works a treat for me!
Until next time