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A palindrome

September 19, 2012

Today is quite an incredible day … a bit of a palindrome infact.

Today, my daughter is 36 weeks and 6 days old … she has been present in my life for exactly the same amount of time as my precious companion The Spaniard was. I was thinking that she had been out of me for the same time as The Spaniard was in me but that’s not strictly true as the little embryo was implanted when it was 5 days ‘old’ … so better to say that both have existed for exactly the same amount of time in my life.

I’ll never ever forget the moment, standing in amongst the roots of a huge enormous tree in a square in Alicante when I had the phone call to say that ‘fertilization’ had occurred, cells were dividing and embryos were forming. Then a few days later I went to the clinic and a very precious A grade embryo was implanted into me, my little Spaniard (so called because it was formed in a Spanish test tube in the Spanish clinic, made in Spain so to speak, where we went for our IVF treatment). I spent the next 36 weeks and 1 day in a state of shock, excitement, disbelief and relief and every other emotion in between … IVF doesn’t often work first time, for us it had and despite odds being heavily stacked against us, The Spaniard, my cherished and loved little buddy grew and thrived inside me. A few ups and downs and scares along the way and a tremendously difficult tim before Christmas when it stopped its normally very active moving inside me and became totally still. I worried, we worried, the doctors worried, the consultants worried but The Spaniard’s heart kept on beating and then after almost a fortnight (we still don’t know what happened) it suddenly moved again … and 10 days later after my heart had started to beat erratically the decision was made to unzip me and bring The Spaniard into the world early.

Hope was born blue and with breathing issues and as I was poorly when she was born we were put into separate areas to be cared for, it was a hard, extraordinarily hard and surreal 48 hours before we were properly united, she was wheeled around the corner of my blue curtained cubicle in her little plastic fish tank wrapped tightly in a purple blanket her eyes tight shut and a tiny tuft of hair sticking proudly up. We both cried when we saw each other, and then settled into trying to get the whole breastfeeding thing sorted out … we got there in the end. Poor tiny Hope was also fed through a nose tube for the first month, then had a brush with meningitis and then managed to donk her father on the head after he changed her once and end up in hospital being checked for concussion (I think he had it not her she was absolutely fine). She was a placid but a very feisty baby and has turned into a delightfully strong minded beautiful little girl with a cheeky grin, a mischievous sense of humour and an utter fascination in her new world.

We still walk most days, along the river, up on Cambridge’s one hill, around the block, wherever we are. The Spaniard and I walked for up to 2 hours every day of my pregnancy (when I wasn’t in hospital) and I’m sure that set us both in good stead. Hope loves being carried in the front carrying pouch her arms outstretched waving at the world, just before she goes to sleep she holds onto my fingers and turns her head and then drifts off safe and warm against my chest and tummy … maybe dreaming of doing the flamenco inside me and remembering the rhythmic feel of my walking.

So … hurrah … (no that is not a palindrome … )

Hurrah for Hope who has many many more weeks, days, months and years to grow and thrive … and Hurrrah for The Spaniard who grew and who thrived and who became a huge part of Hope after 36 weeks and 6 days. That may sound, but talking to some other mothers it seems I’m not entirely mad and other people ‘miss’ their ‘unborn babies’ and the close and extremely personal time they had together before the babies are born. Put simply and it is a huge over simplification, Hope is her own person but The Spaniard was mine, a part of me and signified the beginning and also the culmination of all my hopes and dreams.

Right then, work to do then off for a walk to ponder a palindrome with my girl.

The Spaniard at 5 days, the beginning of Hope

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