Harry had his 4 monthly consultant’s appointment on Wednesday, which went… well, OK, I suppose. I told him my worries about Harry’s short height and stalled weight gain, and he tish-toshed. I told him that the health visitor had said that his leg creases were uneven, and he pished. I bleated plaintively about H’s perpetual 39 degree fever spikes, and he obediently handed over some urine sample bottles for UTI tests. He listened to H’s chest, and couldn’t hear his VSD heart murmur this time around. So far, so good. 

Then I told him that the seizure-type episodes from Harry’s first 24 hours of life were bothering me still. (He had several occurrences of violent arching accompanied by massive desaturations in the NICU; his lumbar puncture came back negative for infection, which did leave a rather obvious possibility at the time. When a consultant neonatologist gently tells you that he fears your child may have been brain damaged in utero, it does tend to get your absolute and undivided attention.) Harry’s brain scan showed no bleeds, and no-one has mentioned these fits since he was 5 days old; yet they have nagged at me. So I asked hopefully: could it have been the chemical cosh he was given in order to stop him fighting his ventilator that caused them? And Dr said No, not really. And proceeded to be all non-committal about them. He obviously remembered Harry having them, as at no point did he delve back into the notes.

So we still don’t know what these wretched episodes were, or quite what to think about them. I do have some dark suspicions; but Harry does seem to be progressing. Born 3rd August instead of mid late September, he is pincer-gripping, finger-feeding, crawling at high speed, sitting himself up straight and pulling up to a stand on everything he can grasp.

However, although clearly a hearing baby, he is a little behind with his talking – he will croon die dada die (A threat? A warning?!) and such like to himself but will not respond vocally to conversation or join in with singing. He is an extremely, comically wobbly baby, and is horribly prone to bashing into things with his poor head that he must realise are there. He stands on his toes quite often instead of flat on his feet. His head lag took a hell of a long time to sort itself out.

On the days when he is clumsier than usual, in fact, I am not able to stop myself googling cerebral palsy.

I told the consultant about none of this. Nor any of my IRL friends and family. It is all within the spectrum of normal baby behaviour, and I have no wish to sound as paranoid as I am, if you understand me. It’s early days yet, and if there does turn out to be a problem later with Harry’s development, A) it is obviously not detectable to Consultant yet or he would have told us and B) there’s nothing we can do at present except watch and wait. And for me to worry my tits off. 

What I wanted him to tell us was not to worry. To reassure me that Harry is absolutely sound in wind and limb, and his wonderful progress so far eclipses any possibility of things going agley further down the line. A robust ‘Of course your son isn’t damaged in any way, Mrs Hairy Farmer’ would have been just lovely. The combined guilt of faulty uterine housing (two of ’em, both work, but only sort of) and an early end to Harry’s tenancy agreement, coupled with my appalling and iniquitous failure to sit out Harry’s most dangerous hours of life alongside him (hence I actually saw none of these seizures for myself), is a burden I find staggering already. (It gets worse as we move further from the events themselves. It’s almost as if I felt that the closer I was in time to the things that went wrong, the easier it would be to reach back and put them all right. I’m such a dipshit.) Having my suspicions solidify into bad news after all of this would be very hard.

I already feel that I let Harry down enough in the beginning (yes yes yes, I know I didn’t stress him out in utero and then evict him deliberately, but cognitivity’s fuck-all use sometimes) but had thought that he was now free of any lingering issues from the useless half-arsed start in life that his Mummy gave him. I may have been wrong. I hope not. Watch this space.

I was going to save the next bit of news for another post, but I’ve managed to properly upset myself typing all this now, so I’ll get the doom and gloom over with all together: RIP Colonel Mustard II. God knows what Mrs Brahma’s doing to them; that’s the second husband she’s seen into the grave (Actually, the metal dead-bin at the farm. Less dignified but also less digging.) in 4 months. Admittedly these Brahmas are probably on the older side of middle age, but he was in great condition when he arrived a month ago. She could hardly be taking out life insurance policies on these chaps. 

Perhaps she shagged him to deat… no, no, couldn’t have.

Forget I mentioned it.


5 Responses

  1. That’s a big list of Harry things for you to worry about and carry all on your own. I’m not a consultant but I’ve been a parent and a teacher and those gorgeos photos of Harry aren’t ringing any of my normally reliable warning bells. He is gorgeous and happy and taking his own sweet time to get on top of some things. Could be something, could be nothing. Worry won’t change the outcome so continue to spend your time giving him as many new experiences and as much love as he can handle.

    Feel free to ignore the assvice essay of you think I’m telling you to just relax! Or send me a load of sheep droppings.

  2. First, big hug. And then another big hug. And then a cup of tea.

    Second, Harry is beautiful.

    Third, after a start like that, it’s no wonder you can’t NOT worry. Even though perfectly normal healthy babies are slow at talking (I was slow at talking, and I can yak for Britain now), are clumsy (my cousin spent MONTHS crawling into furniture and falling off, out of, onto and over every single thing and his mother was worried sick and he’s fine. He’s four and he plays football), don’t grow much (my niece is minute. The doctor made a lot of fuss about her growth and actually she’s beautifully healthy, very bright, and strong as an ox. And now she’s nearly five, growing like a weed). Did I mention my now-over-six-foot, college-attending very premature cousin? He couldn’t hold his head up until he was 18 months old. Babies are astonishingly resiliant. And the widdling NEXT to the water-proof mat episode looks spot-on, developmentally, hee hee.

    Fourth, not that any of this helps you in the trenches. I am so very sorry you have all this worry and sadness going on. Have some more tea. And another hug. And I wish I had a magic pill to make the self-blame go away. It’s utterly unwarranted, but the heart will simply not listen to the clever old head, will it?

  3. Oh Harry. Poor baby. I hope you guys find out what the feck is going on and get it solved. I’m sure you are not at fault. It sounds like your doc is a yes man and not a very good one.

    Sounds like you have a black widow on your hands with Mrs Brahma. It would be neat to..oh wait, maybe it wouldn’t be..have a night cam set up in her coop to see what the hell is going on in there. If nothing else, you could sell chicken snuff films for extra cash?

    I’ll be watching this space for more news on Harry. He is quite the beautiful boy.

  4. So glad to meet another woman with two wombs!!!

    I know all about the body guilt that goes along with a premature birth and though it does get better with time I just fill my guilt bucket with other shit. Part of parenting and worse for those of us with NICU beginnings.

    As the mama of a boy with CP I’ve learned its just a label and not at all what makes Elias who he is–yes, it sucks sometimes but its also so magical to watch a boy with extra challenges grow.

    My hope is Harry is running and talking laps around you soon, and forever seizure and label free, and I second the hugs and cups of tea…from someone who’s been there.

  5. It does sound all reassuringly normal, only of course not if you’re his mummy. You know, he might have CP. He might. If he does, it’s very mild and there will be a lot they can do for him. If it was severe he would not be crawling or pincer-gripping, for example (pob was born end sept at 39 weeks and is only just crawling, for example). So the chances are he’s fine, and if he’s not, it will be something you can do something about.

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