On my first Mother’s Day I was carrying a photo with me of Sebastian in an incubator, connected to machines, as I was waiting for the second bus that would take us to the hospital to see him. We ran into one of Ali’s previous work colleagues and despite a photo in which my baby was connected to tubes, I proudly showed him off. He looked shocked and asked if Sebastian was ‘poorly’. I always remember that interaction as clearly as the bright red double decker buses whizzing by on that spring morning in East London.
Sebastian had been born on the Tuesday morning before Mother’s Day. After 41 weeks of an uneventful pregnancy, and a 36 hour labour, he was born grey and not breathing. The team at the hospital hadn’t been monitoring him properly and he had almost died. Instead he spent the next 16 days in the NICU and then came home with a feeding tube and on medications for severe reflux. He didn’t cry for the first week and a half of his life because he was too drugged from the medications they put him on to stop the seizures from the brain injury during his birth.
No one tells you that things can go wrong during labour. No one tells you that your baby could be born not breathing and that you won’t even be told the sex of your baby as they whisk him to a resuscitation table surrounded by a half dozen doctors that have just filled the room. No one tells you that your baby won’t be laid on your chest to try and nurse minutes after being born.
My first Mother’s Day could have gone so differently had Sebastian not been resuscitated. That was 9 years ago. 9! And I have a very strong and brave boy with me now. The past 8 weeks have included surgery, rehab, and recovery; we are now able to enjoy walks in our neighbourhood in the after-dinner-sunshine and dance parties to our favourite tunes in our dining room. We are laughing with a sister that gave me a very different birth story. One that did involve lying on my chest and nursing immediately. Not everyone gets that second story. I’m so thankful I did. ❤️