Ten Things I Hate About You

Before we were introduced, I hadn’t really had any real drama in my life. The biggest thing I had to worry about was what we were going to have for tea, or whether I’d overindulged too much to fit into that dress at the weekend. And then you came along, and everything changed. Everything. And even when we met, i didn’t appreciate the impact you would have on my life, and everyone in it. Because what at first seemed like something that would have an effect on just one of my family, very soon demonstrated that it’s effects were more far-reaching than the immediate victim. Your tentacles reached across to touch all of my dear little family, and slithered into every part of my life. And whilst I try hard not to forget the good that came from meeting you, I refuse to accept that you gave those gifts to me. You did not effect those positive changes – those changes came from the strength that I managed to produce in spite of you, not because of you. And so let me tell you, Kawasaki Disease, all the things I hate about you.

I hate that you stole perfect from me. Because that is what you did. You stole the most perfect joy I had ever felt in my life up to the point that my daughter was born. When I look back now to those blissful weeks with my newborn baby, they are over-shadowed by the unseen threat of you. When I look at the few photographs I have of those precious weeks, I can recall the pure contentment that I felt whilst I drank in every inch of my perfect little girl. But there’s something else now when I look back as I find myself searching for signs of your appearance; how long had you been lurking, waiting to make your presence felt? Days? Weeks? Not months, as you made your entrance when Freya was just 7 weeks old, and took my perfect from me before I had even had the chance to accept that this was my life. I hate you for that.

I hate you for the damage that you caused, to my little girls heart and my own. Your physical attack on my daughters body caused damage that has since repaired to spite you, though we will never know what lies around the corner as you sneer at us from afar. The effects of the emotional and psychological onslaught that you raged upon me went far deeper than any physical impact you created. Far deeper and perhaps more permanent still. Anxiety is one of the gifts you bestowed upon me, and sadly you declined to accept returns.

I hate that you took me away from my family, particularly my son. I hate that your presence resulted in my absence and caused a fissure in relationships that, theee years on, we are still fighting to mend. I hate that you created mistrust in me, from those who trusted me the most, because my attempts to protect them from what you were doing to our little Freya were seen as dishonest and insincere. Because of you my children learned that sometimes parents lie. And you can sugar coat it as a white lie if you want to, but to a boy of 5 who is just adjusting to not being the most important one any more, a lie is a lie. You have no idea how much damage that has done to a vulnerable little boy who trusted his mother the most in the whole wide world. For that, I will always hate you.

I hate that you made me afraid. Afraid of life, afraid of death. Your ego will tell you that you taught me not to take life for granted, and maybe there is some merit in that. But you took away my innocent enjoyment of a life and replaced it with a life where I am constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering when time may run out for me or any member of my family. You can tell yourself that the fear of losing them has made me love them more, and that might be a little true, but mostly that fear has made me edgy and anxious and sad, and those feelings threaten any chance I had at savouring every uncertain second that we have on this Earth. I hate that you gave me that.

I hate that you show up, mess up and leave. The lucky ones manage to avoid any long term damage you try to cause, but there are still so many who are permanently impacted by your arrival. Less lucky ones might face an uncertain future with broken hearts, but at least they get a life.

But worse than that, you are too often allowed to take a life too young to be taken, and for that I hate you. I hate that we don’t know who you are, what you are, where you come from, or how to get rid of you. You are not welcome, and yet you show up anyway. The lives that you rudely interrupt are forever changed by you, but you don’t change. You just move onto your next victim, sending another family into turmoil and uncertainty and fear. I hate that we haven’t stopped you yet.

Getting Closer

In 4 days I will be going into hospital to give birth to my baby girl. I can’t believe it is nearly here! Last night I realised how many questions I have for the medical professionals but fear I may have left it too late to ask them now! Let’s hope I make it to my antenatal appointment on Tuesday and can ask the midwife (who I can bet you won’t know the answers!).  I’m a bit apprehensive about being induced when I have Group B Strep. Need to ask about the order in which they do things so I can be clear about when to expect the antibiotics etc.  I’ve had a couple of nightmares over the last few nights, and I think they are driving the anxiety. 

In my first dream, I found myself at the hospital just after having given birth to a healthy baby girl. My best friend was packing up my stuff for us to leave (she’s a strong believer in getting home ASAP whereas is stay in forever if it meant getting looked after!) and then I realised I hadn’t told the midwife about the GBS! No precautions had been taken to protect the baby from infection, and after a few grave looks from the midwife my baby was whipped away to SCBU. That’s when I woke up so I don’t know what happened next. I don’t think it has helped that although my maternity notes are plastered with GBS warning stickers, the consultant at the hospital has never quite understood that I have tested positive in THIS pregnancy, not any other!! Doesn’t fill you with much confidence does it!! 

The next night I dreamt that my waters broke at home and I was alone so had to get myself to the hospital quick so I could get the much needed IV antibiotics. Suddenly some kind of drone-robot thing was flying at me shooting, preventing my exit.  I had to get passed it and get myself to hospital but everywhere I turned there it was.  Some time passed whilst I battled with the thing, and I finally made it to the hospital.  This time I made it really clear that I had GBS and needed antibiotics.  The midwives acknowledged me and off they went to get what I needed, except they never came back. They were busy running around doing their job, but never returned to me to give me the vital medication. Again, I woke up so I have no idea how this ended.  I have a vague recollection of searching hospital cupboards for the medication so I could self-administer, but can’t tell you how that worked out!

I knows these are normal worries.  Every expectant mum will experience some level of anxiety as they approach  D-day.  It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been there, labour is unpredictable, and giving birth to a healthy baby is a miracle! And if you have any risks or complications, those worries are clearly going to be amplified as the date draws nearer. 

I did some research on GBS last night. More research! And I know that the Internet can be dangerous when you are already worried about things, but this was really useful. Firstly the article shared the odds of a baby becoming infected with GBS.  Without diagnosis, and therefore the necessary antibiotics, the odds were in the low 100’s.  With a diagnosis and antibiotics, those odds dropped dramatically to around 1:6000.  So I’m in a good place, because we know I have tested positive, and (as long as neither of my dreams come true and the hospital is switched on) I will get what I need to give my baby the best chance.  

What will be will be, I have no control over it. Today I am more excited than scared.  Oh, and want to hear something funny? My blood group is B Positive! I had to smile at the irony of that yesterday!!