Diagnosis

And so I am still reeling. And I am still looking to Meisha for a sign. My son is fading away. And there is no doubt that he is taking his last breaths. I have to cling on for some hope. I am close to vomiting now. Every time I try and think of telling Tracy what I know my stomach is sent into a violent spin. I want to hold on to her, cling to her. I am worried she will never, ever rise again once I tell her, once she knows. I know how much she loves her son. It is the most plain and pure thing I’ve ever witnessed. And quite the most powerful.

We’re rushed into an underground car park and hurried from the ambulance and into this giant hospital. We talk a lot as we go. We’ve made a point of doing this the whole time. I haven’t stepped more than five yards from George as I know, as I’ve known since the day he was born, that he can hear me. I tell him that he’s alright. I tell him a lot. And it’s so hard not to burst into tears each time I do. We follow the trolley through hallways and into lifts and suddenly it feels as if we’ve been here before. We have of course, just watching in cinemas and on our TV screens.

We’re quickly inside the intensive care unit. They’ve been expecting us. As George is transported onto a bed nurses and doctors seem to seep through the walls and encircle us. Tracy tells me later that this terrifies her but I feel a sense of reassurance. This sense recedes when I see the urgency of every moment. They need to get a fresh line into George. It’s explained how difficult this has been. They look at George’s thigh but there is already bruising and a cannula in one leg. The other leg will not offer a vein. George’s arms are full of holes already from where they’ve tried to go in. A decision is made to go into his neck. This is very, very hard to watch. They hold his head and a large line begins to work its way into his neck. He’s now covered in wires, the slow moan is weaker. He now can’t move to flinch when the needles go in. I am holding Tracy. I am still thinking about what to say. And how to say it.

A nurse can see that Tracy is breathless, intermittently sobbing and her body is visibly going through an immense trauma. He’s had well over 100 pricks and jabs and needles and drills now. Each one has given my body a convulsion, they look like giant bullets raining down on my wife. The nurse tells us that what is going to happen will be very hard to watch. She recommends that we go and grab a drink and come back in a short while. They’re going to try and go in through a vein in George’s head. Another nurse comes to me and tells me they are going to shave part of his head in order to get the line in. I think she’s asking my permission but I understand already that they must do all they can. I watch them take a razor to his temple and begin to shave. The nurse collects the hair and places it in a small plastic tube, which she hands to me.

‘I don’t suppose you’ve cut his hair yet. I thought you might want to keep it’

I take the hair from her. Looking at my son I believe that his hair is going to be a macabre memento. I don’t know what to do with this now, except to hide it away from my wife. So I slip in into my pocket.

The nurse then returns to tell us that we may not want to watch what is about to happen. I still desperately want George to hear my voice. If he can handle this onslaught then the very least we must do is be there and watch the horror of it all. I want him to know. Now and forever that I will never, ever leave him.

‘I will tear down the walls for you boy’

I will. I think he knows I will. But right now I can do absolutely nothing. The pain of that is indescribable. Utterly belittling. Crippling. The nurse now tries to usher us away from the bed. Meisha intervenes. She holds Tracy by both arms.

‘You don’t have to leave. If you want to stay, then you stay. If you want to be with him then you can be right with him. You do whatever it is that you want to do. You’re his Mum. Do you want to stay?’

Tracy nods, through a lot of tears.

‘Right. Then we will clear some room. You want to be near his head. You want him to hear you?’

Tracy nods. Meisha usher several people aside and Tracy is now by his head. She can see a slightly desperate look on my face but I really do not want to obstruct the doctors and nurses, there are so many people here now. Meisha pulls me by the arm.

‘You get close to him too’

I smile. I’m so pleased that I can touch him. And talk. A lot.

The needle goes into George’s temple. They can’t get any blood. He’s held up by his ankles now to try and get the blood into the area. They try. And try. And try. And it doesn’t work. Each time they try for a new line it feels as if we’re holding our breath and then the panic merely cranks up a notch each time it fails. Less noise from George now. The voices around us are softer, they come from the belly. The communication is constant between the doctors and nurses. They return to put a line in his leg.

At this point we are shown round the room of intensive care. It’s very well done by a nurse who recognises that they need total access to George and now we really are in the way. We are shown things like a water cooler and where the toilets are but I cannot tell you a single thing that was said. All I wanted to do was return to him.

When we do return George has stopped moaning. His eyes flutter a little but I check that his chest is still rising. It is. Just. A doctor called Victoria explains that they have a temporary line into George’s leg. She tells us that George is in a bad way but is in the best place he can possibly be. They hope that they have managed to get the line in quick enough. She tells us that George has fought. And fought very, very well. And continues to fight. The nurses and doctors start to decrease in numbers. There is little they can do now. So we wait. Tracy and I are given chairs next to his bedside. We sit and watch. We hold his hand. We hold his arm. It’s very difficult to find a part of him that isn’t bruised or that doesn’t have wire protruding from it. Victoria looks me dead in the eye.

‘He’s going to be alright. We are going to make him better’

She says it with such confidence. The others look at her a little as she says this. I wonder if she’s said the right thing but she does not flicker.

‘We are going to make him better’

I want to hug this woman I have never met. My God I needed to hear that. So badly.

So now we sit. And we wait. A nurse finds us two chairs and we pull them close to George’s bedside. He is still full of wires and holes and bandages and lines. And it’s so hard to know which part of him to hold. The idea of even tweaking a line, the idea of causing him even a fraction more pain, is plain horrific.

So we sit. And we wait. And we hold one another by the hand. And she goes to say something that I know will result in one of us crying a lot. So I tell her not to. I say to Tracy that we must toughen up. I say that George responds to the tiniest hint of worry in our voices and that he see straight through every expression of our eyes. I tell her that we must be positive, that we can do the crying and fretting when we are alone, or when we are together. But never in front of him. I have fixed my mind on mending again for now. And I know how hard it is, because I got to say something silly to the lifeless George, and my voice cracks, my lips start to shudder and my eyes begin to fill. And so I walk away from the bed. Talk to myself for a minute and come back again. This time I’m full of beans, this time I will sing to him a little. This time I tell him how proud I am of him and how tough he is. While George is sleeping, we must make sure we do some fighting for him.

Tracy is exhausted. Her eyes are permanently soaked. They are black underneath and her face is as white as I’ve ever seen it. Her cheeks has an odd sallow look about them which means I don’t quite recognise her as my wife. She looks as if she has been through some extreme torture technique, which of course, she has. A nurse has come over to us at several intervals and told us that we must sleep. It’s 3am now and George has been asleep for nearly two hours. She reminds us that we will have to be very strong over the coming days and we must get some rest. She tells us that there is a room for us upstairs in the hospital. It has a phone. They will ring if there is the tiniest change in George’s condition. There won’t be she says. He’s stable now. He will sleep. I don’t want to go. I cannot leave my boy. We talk about going off to sleep in shifts but I do not want to leave Tracy as she is, either down by his side or upstairs in a bed. She needs me to talk to her. George is not conscious for this part of the nightmare but I know that Tracy is deep within it.

So after much talking with Tracy we can resolve to do nothing but to sit by his side. But it eats at me what the nurse is saying. When George is awake he will need us more than ever. He’ll need us strong, alert and resolute. We are about to be taught about having a diabetic child. All of the doctors and nurses already tell us we will be in for quite a ride. I ignore it mostly, I just want my boy to open his eyes. So I decide to tell Tracy that we must sleep. I tell her we will go up and that George will not wake. We will set an alarm and come back in a few hours and he will still be as he is. She agrees eventually. And we go upstairs. And within ten paces of leaving the intensive care unit I want to run back inside and look at my boy. My boy. My boy…We go upstairs. We can only agree to sleep for two hours and no more. We both say we will not sleep. But within minutes my wife has slipped into a coma all of her own. And within forty minutes of staring at the wall, I too am asleep.

When the alarm goes we both jump up and scramble to put on our clothes without saying a word. Well, not a word since the ‘Oh my God’ from Tracy as the alarm goes and the sharp intake of breath that follows. We bolt out of the door and walk. Quicker. And quicker. Scared at what we will find when we return. ‘They haven’t rung’ I say, in a bid to reassure Trace. She lets out a low moan of agony as we get closer and the panic rises to her throat. We race towards his bed. His face is half covered by a sheet. I feel sick. Panic rises, Tracy looks to me and I am incapable of hiding the fear. I look around the room. A nurse called, I will later know as Radi, smiles at me.

‘He sleeping.’ He says.

‘It help him sleep’

I am still frightened by it. Radi looks up to the lights in the room.

‘Lights too bright. It help him for sleeping’

Radi has an accent. I can’t place it but English is a little broken by his exotic accent. His gestures are grand and very camp and he has a gorgeous smile. I feel relieved when I realise that George’s face is only covered to help him sleep better. I lean over to kiss my boy when I see an electronic device next to his head. Next to his brain specifically. And again, I can feel my heart fall. In my nightmarish two hours I have several visions of my son’s broken brain. I assume the device is to confirm my horrific apparitions. I look over to Radi, probably with a face flushed with panic but he smiles and walks towards me.

‘What’s that?’ I ask.

‘It for hartoon’ he says.

I haven’t a clue what he’s saying but he’s still smiling that smile. This man couldn’t look less flustered if he tried.

‘For cartoon. He like the cartoon’

I open this small metal device next to my son’s face and the Peppa Pig theme tune begins to play. My son’s head turns in the direction of the DVD. His eyes open a little. He appears to be looking at us both. I smile at Radi and thank him. Again, probably a little too profusely but I think they are getting used to me now. The nurse on our station, Paula, comes back to the end of George’s cot. She tells us that George stirred a little so they covered his eyes with a sheet and Radi put the cartoons on for him. She said that Radi had been singing to him too. I realise that they aren’t just looking after George. They are caring for him too. It swells my heart like a balloon. I hold Tracy and for the first time in this nightmare, there appears to be a tiny bit of relief, or comfort. George has some incredible people trying to help him, that much is very, very clear already.

We talk to Paula for a while. She is lovely. Kind and open and incredibly understanding. And she realises there is a need for us to talk. We talk a little about her too. My sister is with us now. Sitting by George’s bed. She is not so good at the face of calm. I know that she is in agony seeing George with all of these wires hanging out of him. With his skin and odd yellow colour and his eyes shut. He doesn’t look alive. Susie is doing her ‘being strong’ and she’s doing it really well. She asks Paula why she chose to work on the kid’s intensive care unit. Paula says she had a go at a few different areas but none of them grabbed her. She likes kids. She tells us about herself and her career with a startling humility. We’re all in awe with how she takes such an extreme job in her stride. She is great company. So calming. She has the ability to let you forget where you are for a moment which is invaluable. Paula says that George is doing really well and that the consultant will be round to speak to us in a few hours. She tells us how beautiful George is. I don’t question this at the time as it’s very difficult to question whether or not anyone is questioning your child’s beauty. As a parent you just feel that very vapid glow of happiness and pride at your beautiful creation. You don’t question it! But on reflection, George was really not beautiful. He was a little baby who had been through the most unimaginable pain these past thirty or so hours. But we like Paula all the more for it. We will like her more and more and more as the days pass.

It’s 5am now and he will start coming round at 8. It’s been a very tough few days. George threw up the night before and was up for hours, the night before that he was unwell and the night before that. With what we were certain was a chest infection. At this stage I’m still not buying the bit about diabetes. I still believe they will find some rare viral infection has nearly killed our boy. Tracy shares this belief. Paula asks about how we got here. About George’s past few days. She’s got a wonderful manner when she speaks to my wife. I can see she’s putting Trace at ease with what she says. With everything she says. Tracy’s line of thought will always go back to questioning her own role in George’s last few days. Paula intercepts these thoughts in the most polite manner and boots them out of the hospital window without us really noticing what she’s doing. I look around the ward from our seat, to the other nurses, each one stationed with a different child, or baby in most cases. I can’t help but wonder what has happened to all the babies. It’s awful to even think about as they can only be in there for the most serious of conditions. Part of me is desperate to know but another part of me is disgusted by my morbid curiosity. I don’t share this thought, nor would I dare dream of asking Paula. I do wonder where all the Mum’s and Dads are though. 

The next conversation we have is with John. He speaks to us before he goes home that morning at eight in the morning. I’m struck by just how much has passed over his one twelve hour shift. It has easily been the most traumatic and horrific twelve hours of my life thus far. And he has braced all our terror and panic and our sweat and our tears. He has done some sweating too. And yet I wonder, does he do this every shift? I’m glad he comes to speak to us now. He tells us that George is in a serious condition but the fluids will be helping him. George has suffered a good deal of inflammation to his brain, such was the extent of his dehydration. It is unclear at the moment just to what extent the damage will be. The consultant will speak to us today and they hope to know a little more. He speaks with great clarity. He asks us if we have any more questions for him but we are both barely capable of speaking. I watch him leave and wonder what he is going home to. I do manage to say thank you, a lot. He apologises for not being able to get the line in sooner but it was quite apparent just how hard that was. I couldn’t see a single vein on George’s entire body, let alone one that might offer him any blood. I watch John leave. I wonder if he’s going to go back to bed. Or see his wife. Or maybe even his child. I wonder if he’ll just collapse in a heap and go to sleep. I wonder if he does this every day.

So I turn to Tracy and we talk a little. A hushed talk as I don’t want George to hear. We wonder if George will wake up again. Ever. We wonder if he will be able to focus his eyes. We wonder if he will be able to recognise us. We wonder if our boy will ever be able to speak. To walk. To talk. He looks awful. Covered in bits of dried blood, wires out of all parts of his tiny body and huge black circles under his eye. His head is part shaved on the temple. There is something Frankenstinian about it all. Except that he is a tiny child. How has he endured even this much? We are given a tiny cup of water. George is not allowed to drink as it could seriously harm him but he is still so dehydrated. He is pumped full of saline and insulin and anything he receives externally will cause him to throw up and send us back to the even darker beginning.

The most we can do is wet our finger in the water and place it on his lips. Each time we do this his head creeps towards our finger. His dry lips desperately try and suck more liquid into his mouth. He lurches, with all his strength towards the finger. Here is his Mother, who has given him every last morsel of her being to raise him thus far, and she has the chance to ease his dreadful suffering, but she knows that she could harm him dreadfully long term. This is horrendous to witness. I have to tell Tracy to stop giving him the water. Her instinct to help her son is overpowering but she stops. She has to turn away for a moment as George writhes on the bed with his eyes shut, desperately gasping for more water.

And so Tracy and I are by George’s bed. And we are waiting. Tracy’s parents have driven through the night and are here now. They wait by George’s bed for a little while. He doesn’t wake. It’s so hard for them to realise the severity of what has happened. But they understand as soon as they see us. I watch Tracy’s Mum when she hugs her daughter and you can see the pain that she suffers seeing her daughter so vulnerable. Because she isn’t vulnerable. Not really. There is so much strength in Tracy. She never, ever retreats into a place of self-pity. No matter what is happening to her, she stands up, and she fights back. She’s lived in London since she was eighteen and fought entirely for herself. She earns every last penny, never accepting anything from anyone else and she forged a career as a professional dancer. And then when that all stopped she formed a career as a sports therapist. And now she has her own clinic and a thriving business. And she did that all on her own. There are very few people who can claim to have done this. She won’t tell many people about the cleaning jobs. In fact the huge number of fairly awful jobs from chicken factories to mouse infested kitchens that she undertook. All to make sure that she never took from anyone and she did it all on her own. Her strength is staggering. But she has been torn to pieces.

The consultant comes to see us. I watch him do his rounds, followed by a group of young doctors who appear to hang on his every word. He dresses down from the others. No uniform. And he has a presence. They all do, the consultants. It’s terrible for me to say but I don’t like them to begin with. I don’t like any of them as I watch them walk the rooms. Perhaps I’ve watched too many terribly clichéd films with the arrogant and powerful consultants but my instinct is to root with the nurses and the doctors. Particularly given that I’ve witnessed them work so astonishingly hard.

Shane is our consultant. He is a Kiwi. He speaks very directly and doesn’t beat around the bush. He tells us that George has diabetes. Of that there is no question. He tells us that he is stable. But that his blood had turned to acid as the ketones generated in his body. At the moment we are in a process of waiting to see whether or not his brain has been impacted by all the fluid. He reiterates that George is stable but the next twenty four hours are vital for him. He says that we will talk more then. And that diabetes is incredibly tough to manage in young children. But first we must get through the next twenty four hours. He also reminds us that George is in very safe hands. And I feel a bit of dick for my pre-judgments of the consultant type people. He clearly scares the hell out of some of the younger doctors. But they all seem to want his praise and do well for him. When John returns from his next shift, he comes to our bed with the team who tell him that he has got a ‘well done from Shane’. ‘Wow’ says John. ‘A well done from Shane!?’ He says this without irony. And though he will get much more than a ‘well done’ from Tracy and me, and just about everyone who’s ever cared for us, he looks genuinely delighted with his well done. I quickly think to all the reality music shows that Trace and I guiltily gobble up on a Saturday night as we lay on the floor with our take away. A seventeen year old from Bolton only has to hit about four notes in Whitney Huston’s ‘I Have Nothing’ to be showered with the most extraordinary praise. The singer will be told how proud their parents must be, how they are ‘special’, how they moved us all, how they are a ‘star’ and how they are about to take over the world. John has been an enormous part in saving my son’s life. It’s quite unequivocal. He didn’t just to that, he was caring and thoughtful towards George’s parents on top of this staggering professionalism. And John is delighted with a ‘well done’. It takes the breath.

I am alone with Tracy and see that she has fallen into little pieces next to me. I hold on to her and hope that I can hold every last bit of her in place. I smile. And I tell her how tough he is. And that he will be alright. And that we must not be upset anywhere him. He can hear us remember. And I tell her that I know that he will be alright. He is tough. So tough. And Tracy allows herself to cry for a while. And the sound of this belly sobs rips my innards to smithereens. I wipe her face with my hands and tell her again that it will all be alright. And so now I go back out to the waiting room. Where it feels as if my parents have been forever. And my sister stays with Tracy as her parents have gone back up north as they have to work. And I have to tell my parents what’s going on. They have their ‘strong’ faces on but I can’t remember ever seeing fear in my Mother’s eyes. Right at this moment she looks terrified. I knew they would not have slept. And I know how tortured she would have been waiting for me to call. And I didn’t manage this until a text when George had gone to sleep.

So I tell them where we are up to in a hushed voice as there is a woman in the waiting room. A parent listening to what I am saying and I don’t want them to. My Dad asks if I’m alright and I nod. And then I tell them what I knew when we were about to get into the ambulance. And this time I can’t stop myself from crying despite every attempt not to. I drop my head to hide my face and my body judders over and over again, so much that it hurts. And I see my Dad’s hand reach out towards me. He doesn’t know what to do. We are not the hugging type of family and rarely do any form of contact but he looks a bit panicked. I stop the juddering. And I lift my head. And I’m not crying anymore. I smile at my Mum and Dad and tell them that I’m alright. The other parent in the room is smiling at me. It’s a gentle smile and an understanding one. And I smile back at her and go back to Trace. It is a lovely gesture. And feels a little like someone reaching out to me. The kindness of strangers is always incredibly affecting. My parents tell me they are not moving. They ask us what we would like to eat. They offer to sit with George while we step out. I tell them there is no chance of that. But I also know they need to sit with him. And so I go and get Tracy and try and persuade her to step away for just a moment. I need her to breathe some air. And I know if I can talk to her I can change the way she is thinking. Right now she expects the worst. And we must hope for better. We have to be as tough as George.

It’s interesting to watch my parents. To watch them, watch me, become a parent. They must feel like dispensing much more advice than they do but they are very good at biting their tongues. They give off the air of parents who have long forgotten how to do any part of it. It’s as if the sheer volume of middle class literature on how to raise your child has rendered all of their infinite knowledge useless. I am amazed at the restraint they show. If it is in a book then apparently even forty years of knowledge is entirely gazumped if someone has read it in a book. Anything from milk temperatures to baby sleeping positions to crying techniques or even how you position a child to breast feeding. I can’t imagine being as well behaved as my parents when the time comes. For now, there really is nothing they can do. The little that they can, fetching drinks, sandwiches, sitting with a sleeping grandchild, they do. And they do it to the max. They are unbelievably supportive. But there is something odd about them seeing us at our most raw. It occurs to me that they haven’t seen me cry in over twenty years, probably excluding a couple of speeches at weddings and my gran’s funeral. They are being put through the ringer too. And it’s all double fold for them. I think back to my Dad standing with me as Tracy felt her first contractions. All the while doing his best to pretend that everything was normal.

The day passes. And passes so slowly. There is very little that we can do. As Tracy starts to fall into a shallow sleep in the most uncomfortable chair in the world I try and do the same. But I am long and lanky and incapable of contorting my body into any kind of half sleep position. So my mind is left to wonder. And it wanders to some very dark places indeed. The idea of him waking when we are not there is horrific. He must know that we are there for him. That we will always be there for him. And the idea that he would wake up weak and vulnerable and confused and we would not be there. We can’t allow that to happen. And so we wait. And we wait. And off my mind goes to some very dark places…

I feel a sense of agony that I will never be able to celebrate his first birthday party. I have visualised it since he was born. I saw him and his cousins and cake and games. And all of us there together as he opened his presents and that grin lighting up his face. I will not kick a ball with him. Something I dreamt of long before Tracy was ever pregnant. And I will not hear his first word. I wanted so much to hear him say ‘Mummy’ and to watch what would happen to her when those words fell from his mouth. I’ve never even dreamed of hearing him say Daddy and now I can’t even begin. I wanted to see him walk. And run. And ride a bike. And go to school. And achieve things. And be the boy I know he can be. He doesn’t look alive now. I’m sure that he is stable. But stable how? And stable where? I look at him for a very long time. At the shaven part of his temple and the needle hole. And the plasters and the cannula’s and the bruising on his thigh where the cannula’s refused to go. The dried blood on his pillow and the yellowing around his eyes. His hair sticks up defiantly. It’s the only part of George that looks alive. I realise that I haven’t shut my eyes now for several minutes. I haven’t even blinked. So I close them now. And I try to will that it is me on the bed. I think of how much I would give for it to be me. I would to suck up every last pain he has suffered and eat it whole. I kiss him on the cheek and I begin to sing to him quietly.

‘This night you’re mine. It’s only you and I. Tomorrow is a long time away, this night can last forever’

I think it is around the middle of the day when George first opens his eyes. I leap up from my chair and lean over him so he can see my face. I grab Tracy’s hand and haul her up from a half sleep. We are capable of saying little other than ‘hello, my boy, hello’ ‘It’s Mummy. It’s Daddy’. The thrill that he has opened his eyes is diluted by seeing that his eyes are almost entirely red. The blue has been drained into red wires of blood. His sparkling, ocean blue eyes have gone. And there is no look of recognition. No glint or sparkle. He looks as if he has nothing left. But it’s still wonderful. To see his eyes open again. I see Tracy’s horror at the red and the blurry fading blue and I jolt her. And I smile and I tell her to smile and talk to him. And she does. She tells him again that we are here. ‘Mummy and Daddy are here’. I see something in the back of his eye which I manage to tell myself is a tiny spark of recognition but I know I am probably kidding myself. It’s not long before he is asleep again. And we go back to waiting.

Meisha explained to us that we would have the bed at the hospital for two nights but then they would have to make it available again. They aren’t kicking us out and we are never told to leave intensive care but it makes things a little complicated. It feels as if it will be longer before we get more concrete news from George. They haven’t talked much beyond these twenty four hours which are now almost up. And we are approaching midnight again and the hospital is oddly quiet. My Mum and Dad and brother and sister have all been with us at different times today. And we garner so much strength from their presence. Family give off the illusion that everything will be alright, even when it seems quite the opposite. It’s not an illusion though, as with that kind of love behind you there will always be a chance. A chance of survival. A chance of recovery. And a chance to endure. I have always been aware of my frailty, my fallibility and all round bloody uselessness but my family have been like a tidal wave of love and support through all my fuckwittery.

That night I think we leave George for even less than two hours. I talk to Tracy about staying with him while she goes to sleep for a couple of hours but she doesn’t want to do it. And I don’t want to leave her alone. Don’t misunderstand that. She does not ‘need’ me, in spite of what she may say. But sometimes I know that my presence can embolden her. We have had conversations where she will tell me that she would not be able to take another step without me. She seriously underestimates herself. She’ll always get there in the end. The most I will say is that I might get her there a fraction quicker but she’s such a brave soul that I think she could charge into the wind all on her own. I can definitely distract Tracy and change her train of thought. And that will be a valuable skill. I need to be with her as much as I need to be with George now. And I could tell you at this point what I would be without Tracy but I think you’ve already gathered that the answer to that is very, very little.

So we have a sleep of possibly all of an hour. A nurse called Jenny is with George when we return. She tells us that we need to sleep more and that George will not really be conscious for much of the next few hours. I lie and tell her that we’re well slept and feel great. It’s an enormous lie but Jenny smiles and sees straight through and lets us off. The tiredness has started to creep in through the waiting. For the first day and half the fear and adrenaline had kept any thoughts of sleep at bay. Now it’s just fear keeping us from resting our eyes but I am starting to feel the effects. We have had sandwiches from the small parade at the base of the hospital. My parents constantly remind us that we need to eat. But I feel faint all the time. My balance is off as we walk around the bed and I have constant pins and needles all over my body. And nausea. I always feel nausea when fatigue becomes extreme. Which it did when he was born but this is quite a different extreme. There must be a tiny part of me that is beginning to relax a little as I can really feel the after effects of horrific adrenaline kicking in. I tell myself to push on and stop being so soft. It’s so important to be there for our boy. Tracy lulls into a sleep by the bed. The nurses have been kind enough to find her a softer sort of arm chair with bleached wood arms and an orange leather upholstery. She sinks into the chair. I cover her in a blanket. And promise to wake her if he should stir. I’m so pleased when she sleeps. If only so that I know that she is not suffering for a short time. With her eyes shut it looks like she has some peace. She is heavily asleep within seconds.