Once again, I am celebrating Halloween and the fact that my little Batman turns four today! At 3:00 am on October 31, 2008, two weeks overdue and with both grandmothers waiting impatiently at home, I arrived at the IWK Health Centre for what would be a roller coaster ride!
I know it is the same for all parents to think their kids are the best. However, I know mine really are super cool. I never thought that I would luck out to have two cool kids and am so thankful that I did.
My daughter is a beautiful teenager who loves to draw and drink tea. Since an early age, she was a bright and creative child. And my little man Breton can command a room like no other. On any given day, you can find him going to daycare wearing anything from a Spiderman mask, to goggles with a red clown nose or a holiday hat. He makes an entrance wherever he goes, usually because he is wearing his Batman costume or running into a room with a big Ta-Da!
Unfortunately, my first moments with Breton after his birth were not what a mother wants to experience. It is a bit of a nightmare memory. After a long wait to get the call to be induced, the unmentionable labour parts and the ‘push and breathe’ session my doctor, a quiet serene lady, suddenly started telling me I had to push harder and faster. Strangers started coming into the room to watch the monitors. Unbeknownst to me, a red light had started flashing above my hospital room and doctors were called for a possible emergency. The doctor was urging me to push out the baby and once he came out, there was no big lusty cry. The doctor took him over to a table and numerous other people who I knew were IWK Hospital experts began checking him out. Breton’s Dad rushed over to watch their progress.
I can remember lying in the bed as the doctor stitched me up, unable to process the fact that not all was 100% well. After what felt like an hour, they brought him over for a quick hug and swept him up to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU. Thankfully, my mother-in-law waited for news in a nearby lobby and was able to come in and keep me company.
The feeling of helplessness, to be lying in a hospital bed while your newborn is taken away, cannot be described. Thankfully, my nurse was wonderful; she cared for me as if I was her sister. I knew, without a doubt that if anything was wrong, that we were at the very best place on earth for my baby.
Fortunately, nothing was seriously wrong. Breton needed a little extra care for his first 24 hours of life, which meant I went up to the baby floor without a baby. I can remember watching the new mother cuddle her baby in the bed across from me while I waited for them to clear Breton. They were so kind to me that I could not complain. After all, these experts wanted me to go home with a healthy baby. I would have done anything they asked. While visiting him the following morning, I was in awe of the nurses caring for the other NICU babies. These babies were sick. My little 7-pounder was a giant among babies born too soon or with serious illnesses. I cannot stress how grateful in those moments that Breton was going to be OK.
You would never know today that anything terrible had happened, but I can tell you, I will never forget the people who helped Breton into this world. The doctors and nurses who made it possible for us to have our little Batman! They will never know the glow I get when I see the IWK Health Centre logo, see an ad, or hear about their latest campaign. I am struck with gratitude and respect for the people who work there. So we try as much as possible to donate money to this wonderful hospital that helped us through Breton’s first 24 hours.
It is because of them that I spend my Halloween as Batman’s mom. They may not know it but each day I give a silent thank-you to the folks at the IWK Health Centre that he is with us and not a day has gone by since Breton was born that I did not look at him in wonder and love him more for being with us.