Lots of the things I used to think have changed massively since becoming a mum. For example I used to think that there was no need to get a pram because I’d be driving everywhere and I was also duped into getting a nappy bin which I was convinced I would use and never did because it is a pointless product! One thing that has not changed is my view holidaying with a little one. I thought it would be stressful. It was. To the point where I swore I will never go on holiday again! First comes the packing – enough clothes to last the week, taking into account multiple changes throughout the day due to food spillages, nappy accidents, unpredictable British weather etc. Then everything we have at home basically has to come with us, toys, bottles, steriliser, food, books, pram…the list is endless. So the car is packed to bursting and we haven’t even packed our things yet… You may have guessed by now that we were holidaying in England – the mere thought of taking my little lady abroad fills me with dread. So, the car is packed and we are ready to go. They say you get motherly instincts when you become a mum and this is an instance when I certainly should have acted on mine.
A few days earlier my little lady had her induction into nursery and afterwards she started with a bit of a snuffle (or the beginning of the apocalypse as I refer to it now). She didn’t seem to be shaking it off and by the time we were due to go she had a full blown cold. I knew that she wasn’t quite right and I thought the best thing to do would be to stay at home but the place was booked, and my in-laws were already there, eagerly awaiting our arrival and I knew my husband would not want to disappoint them so off we went. If nothing else was gained from this holiday (or ‘HELLiday’ as I call it, owing to the fact that it was sheer hell, literally ever day) at least I can say that I would not hesitate in acting on my own instincts in the future.
Shortly after arriving at our countryside retreat, hungry and tired from the journey and a lovely lunch awaiting us, our little lady is sick everywhere and the crying starts. This is no normal crying, this is wailing, shrieking even. This continued through the afternoon and evening and we were up all night. Now I know that people with babies say ‘oh I’ve been up all night’ in fact I use the term now if I’ve had to get up a couple of times. This is different, I feel that I had really earned the entitlement to use this phrase. We were literally up for the entire night, our little lady passing between us in bed. The next morning there was no improvement so we contacted the local Doctor and got an emergency appointment. It turned out she had a bad viral infection and we were given antibiotics. A ray of hope that it would all be ok now, we had medicine and it would start working.
There would be small pockets of time when she would seem to improve and give us a smile but the most part she was showing no signs of improvement. I had already been quite anxious about taking her away and I had researched all the local hospitals just in case, a task deemed entirely unnecessary by my husband. The second night I literally cried to my husband with sheer exhaustion and worry. I am a worrier, in fact to call myself a worrier is probably an understatement – more like extreme worrier! Through all of this we were trying to make sure that the in-laws had a half decent holiday, encouraging them to go out and not feel like they had to stay with us all the time. With no sign of improvement we went back to the doctors and this time we were referred straight to the paediatric unit at the nearest large hospital which I already knew, due to my extensive and ‘unnecessary’ research, was in Scarborough. So after another crying fit, only this time from me, we make a quick pit stop at the cottage to pick up some clothes and other bits before going to the hospital as we were advised we may have to stay overnight. My mother in law had packed us enough food to see us through a week and later on at the hospital when I looked in the bag I realised that she had packed a fresh pie that I know my father in law was really looking forward to!
We arrive at this unfamiliar hospital in darkness and make our way to the paediatric ward where we are admitted right away and our little lady is placed on a monitoring machine to check her blood pressure. After a while she is transferred to a bed and stripped off to keep her cool. She has bright red cheeks and looks so sad and desperate. We eventually get her off to sleep and wait for the Doctor to arrive. We sit in the uncomfortable chairs and watch our little lady sleep, neither of us daring to fall asleep ourselves. Some time and a large bag of quavers later the Doctor arrives and tells us that we can take our little lady home and that after running further tests it is just a very bad viral infection. We pack up and wake our beautiful girl up and take her back to what we call home in the countryside. I don’t actually know what happened but a sense of calm took over me and even my husband said he was surprised at how calm I was. I think I must have inherently realised that I needed to be strong for her and just focused on that. We still didn’t come home early and when I look back I wonder why on earth we didn’t? I think we both thought that nothing would be different at home and we didn’t want her to suffer on the long journey back. She improved slightly by the end of the week, at least enough for us to spend a blissful couple of hours in the garden on an uncharacteristically sunny day.
We travelled home and it took another full week for her to recover by which time I was sick after contracting her germs! All in all it was a terrible experience and not something I ever want to repeat. I am assured by my husband that it was just bad timing and I shouldn’t let it put me off going on holiday but for now I am happy to be a home bird.