There are days when someone will say laughingly to you ‘being a mum is the hardest job in the world’ and you laugh along because it is true, but you love what you do. And other days when it truly is the hardest job and is heartbreaking. So much so you physically feel the pain.
Last year my youngest had grommets put in for severe glue ear at just over the age of two. I almost looked forward to the surgery because I wanted my baby to be able to hear. I knew from 15 months that something wasn’t quite right, when I could barely get him to say Mumma and he flatly refused to repeat anything that you said. Everyone, including doctors told me he was stubborn. They were wrong. Alarm bells started ringing when he began grunting at me.
For anyone, your child having surgery is a hard thing to comprehend. But after the year we had just had, with a critically ill husband and very ill daughter plus having my own surgery for endometriosis, it was a bit of the icing on the cake. He recovered brilliantly but after six months of no improvement in his speech we began the long journey of speech therapy. He has a number of speech difficulties, ones that will over time and very hard work be fixed. His speech therapist is wonderful and such an incredible support to me. She is the one that buoys me up when I mention that people ask have I had him tested for other problems, when people in shops give me looks because he doesn’t answer them and when other children get frustrated with him. She reassures me that everything is going to be ok.
About six months ago I noticed that he started snoring, a lot. He was also showing signs of sleep apnea by holding his breath. He comes in and sleeps with me most nights and I remember lying awake and gently shaking him to get him to take a breath. Deep down I knew what this meant and wanted to do the right thing by my child, so I went back to the ENT. After a few weeks he stopped snoring and I took some recordings back into the doctor. I went by myself because I thought it would be fine. It wasn’t. I was told that he needed adenoids and tonsils removed and potentially new grommets. I wasn’t prepared at all. After everything we had been through I thought that 2015 would be a year of no hospitals.
And so I began to talk myself out of the surgery. Every day, and I mean every day, I would check his breathing at night and tell myself it was better. I couldn’t face another surgery. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t put my child through that. I couldn’t put me through that. I became a mess. It got to the stage that whenever I went to talk about it with a family member or a friend I would tear up.
As a mother you have to make such hard decisions and ones that go against every fibre of your being. You have to put the wellbeing of your child at the forefront of everything and sometimes that means choosing the hard option. The one you wish didn’t exist. I called the ENT surgery and asked if the surgeon could call me because I was freaking out. Yesterday, he asked my husband and I to come in and chat it through. But he told me that my beautiful boy was virtually deaf again because the glue ear had returned. He even said to stop doing his speech as he won’t be able to hear the sounds properly. I was devastated.
Today, I fully understood why he needs the surgery. I feel I made peace with him having surgery because I understand it better.
When you hold that newborn baby in your arms you are filled with such an immense love. A love that would have you do anything to protect your child. I am learning that protecting them also means making those decisions that any parents hates to make when faced with medical problems. Deep down I always remember that there are people much better off than us and those that are much worse off. Whilst every member of my family is on some sort of medication they are here with me. And every day in every way I am grateful for that. Tonight I will shed the tears for my little boy and tomorrow we will start afresh.