A mum’s story (part 3): Tuffel and the joys of motherhood

We all know that mothers and multi-tasking are almost synonymous. You have your baby in one arm and the washing basket under the other and try to put on your slippers whilst thinking about dinner. Hospital life was easier in the sense that the emergency situation relieves you of the house duties at least temporarily whilst you are inside the ward. There is no washing to be done, that’s piling up at home. There are no dishes to be done. They are also piling up at home. There is no ironing to be done. Who needs ironing? There is dinner to be thought of, you should eat well but I certainly couldn’t have cared less. Thank God for online shopping, family and friends.
Clapham family 30.01.13

Prioritizing is crucial for any mum and a hospital mum too has to think: sterilizing bottles before bedtime, expressing milk, getting milk stains out of the only comfortable skirt I have. All that comes way before returning emails or answering phone calls.

Once I learned about my son’s crazy and unique cares, I was holding a gastric tube in his stomach like bowel entry in one hand, a stomach juice filled enteral bag in the other and trying to open a syringe pack with my teeth. I think that comes close to the “normal” multitasking mum’s day planner. Ah yes and I might have been expressing at the same time. Hospital expressing machines stick to breasts in a “look mummy, no hands!” sort of way. Once you’re through the pain, it’s a cool feature.

I still found that I liked growing into my role of mother even though it was so perverted through my hospital experience. I had less decision making power over what was going to happen and how my son was treated by people, I couldn’t say “ It’s quiet time now, we are resting”. When the nurse comes or the doctor or whoever really, they need to do their job. And there is often someone there. Not many Off-times. It’s not my choice when I can take my son out of his crib. I could take him when there wasn’t anything medical to do. And that meant I could be waiting for hours on end. When there were ward rounds I even had to wait in the corridor to see him. Up to 1.5 hours. I could hear him crying through the door and wasn’t allowed in. It drove me nuts. That was painful.

guest blogger post Evelyne Brink - Book Cover

So here are some of the perks of hospital life: I delegated changing sheets and even the odd nappies to nurses. Because a neo natal unit is on average 26Degrees warm and skin to skin is a great way of bonding, I often had my top off. That saved on a lot of washing. Leaking breasts could be dried up with NHS sponsored gauze. Sorry taxpayers. But thank you.

You can read more of my adventures in and out of the madness of my record-holding miracle boy in my new book: It takes Guts. A story of love, hope and a missing bowel.

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