I saw them yesterday at the children's hospital.
First of all, JJ is doing well, or not good, depending on who you talk to. I was met with a warm hug from his Mum who is doing pretty well, although not getting enough rest.
The staff, some of whom I know, are quite pessimistic about his prognosis. He has had renal failure and has had some really major brain bleeds. That never bodes well. However when I saw him yesterday his urinary catheter had been removed and they were watching for a natural urine output. He was breathing independently but shuddering and jerking a lot. And his broken legs (both of them) were still splinted and causing him some pain when he moves (he reportedly cries), although he was being carefully monitored for pain on an hourly basis.
His parents declare that he is doing great and they look forward to taking home home in about 3 weeks. His room has been painted and recarpeted and his parents are looking like doting parents totally in love with their son and encouraged by his every breath. He is theirs come what may, and they will face the brain injury/ walking /talking stuff when they have to.
Good for them.
To me, JJ looked heaps better than when I last saw him. The bruising has gone down significantly although there is still a lot of moulding evident, but that could be due to brain swelling. He is much better hydrated and his skin is pink and clear and he no longer looks like a small dessicated lizard with crumbling dried out vernix.
I don't know what to hope for for them all. They are so new to all this, and adjusting so well really. Once again I was quite specific about acknowledging their new role as parents of a really special baby, and how brave they were. They truly do look OK with things. I hope they get to keep him. They are already talking about having a brother or sister for him, after a while when they have a better idea of what he will be like. At least she is sure she will recognise the symptoms of pregnancy for herself this time, and not rely on the GP!!!
I left them with a small gift of a blanket, and a card containing wishes for a peaceful and joyous life together, what ever that journey may entail. It had been a privilege to be their midwife on that eventful night and I will never forget them.
As I was about to leave another woman approached me with recognition. I had been their midwife too, for their birth 3 or 4 weeks ago when I was practically railroaded into a room by their private obstetrician. The woman was labouring fast, prematurely and had been transferred to our hospital from a private hospital due to threatened pre-term labour. She was 'settled down' for a few days while some steroids were got into her, but then labour started again at 33-ish weeks, irrevocably and it was all systems go for an epidural (but she was coping so well!) and then an ugly intrumental birth (!) with an episiotomy which was not pretty. Oh my. So their sweet little girl Sophie was born quite violently and went down to SCN as a premmie. She had been transferred to the children's hospital as a penultimate step before going back to a private hospital to finish cooking. They were pleased to see me, and I them, and as they were in the room next to JJ the 2 sets of parents were quite incredulous that they had each managed to see me again within the one visit! Its a small world!
Being back in the neonatal unit brought back many memories for me as we spent 39 days there, Stephanie and I, in early 1989. I lived in with her, expressing full-time and adjusting to the idea of who this special child would be. Nineteen and a half years later I know, quite clearly, who she is. She is herself. Just, and uniquely, herself. Special indeed. Still challenging, still her Mum and Dad's girl. She has brought me many things that I cherish in this life. Many things.
I know JJ and Sophie will do the same for their parents.