“If I could make a wish, I think I’d pass. Can’t think of anything I need”.
I believe that “The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies is the most perfect pop song every recorded.Those 2 lines penned by Albert Hammond sum up the love I feel for Jo & my family better than any other sentence I am capable of constructing but it is actually the 2nd greatest song that the Hollies ever recorded which now feels the most relevant to me.
“The Road is long, with many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where? Who knows when?”
The sheer strength of Thomas, Mia, Jo and the medical team at Bolton’s Neo Natal unit is staggering. Poor Thomas is having a rotten time and without trying to be too negative has a mighty uphill struggle. We can now tell by the body language of the acute team here whether things are going well or have taken a turn for the worse. There are tubes everywhere, monitors, machines and so many bleeps I occasional drift into thinking I am at an Orbital Concert. Mia is now on air rather than oxygen and things are looking slightly better for her.
“But I’m strong. Strong enough to carry him. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”.
Hopefully Thomas will stabilise and pull through. There is a strong possibility of brain damage in babies born so tragically early. The chances of one or either having special needs is a bridge we may have to cross as we go forward. If this comes to pass, I am mighty lucky to be married to one of the best in the business at looking after fragile infants.
“So on we go. His welfare is of my concern. No burden is he to bear.
We’ll get there. For I know He would not encumber me. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”.
Less than 10 years ago, Jo was at a very different bedside. Her mother, Ann, was in an induced coma suffering from cancer which took her right to the edge. Hope was often lost, dark conversations were had and yet Ann recovered despite the odds being stacked against her to be here today. Now Jo is a mother herself, unable to cuddle or kiss our tiny children and Ann gives us her unflinching support, endless cuddles and helps to look after Lilly. This experience is something we cling to as our little babies fight for their lives. There is a vein of stubborn scouse stock running though our children’s blood. They have found little Tommy almost impossible to tranquillize, tough little bugger!
“If I’m Laden at all, I’m laden with sadness that everyone’s heart
isn’t filled with the gladness of love for one another”.
I am a social network whore and to be quite frank its kept me sane over the past few days. The sheer outpouring of support from you all on Facebook and Twitter is simply staggering. I can’t even begin to convey how much is has meant to us. I have acquired many new friends and my phone battery struggles to keep up with it all. The blog I wrote was just intended to just get the record of the day out of my head, your reactions to it and have made us cry and cry.
“It’s a long, long road. From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there why not share?”
We pass through constant waves of hope and fear and there are a lot of tears. I don’t think me and Jo have ever spent this much time in each others arms, just holding each other. Taking it in turns to be strong whilst the other has a moment and occasionally faltering together. Our families, as always, have delivered in droves. The pain of a distant divorce has given us an extra pair of shoulders to cry on. As Lilly always says “Aren’t I lucky to have 3 Grandmas and Grandads”? A special thanks to step Mother (in law) Vinessa & step Father (in law) Dave (with the fishes) for just being there.
The texts and phone calls from friends have also helped immensely. The kids have been amazing. James arrived today with 2 small teddies. This selfless act reduced us all, James included, to blubbering wrecks. Lilly just loves the twins unconditionally, 4 year olds see straight past tubes and machines it would appear.
“Why not share. And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”
Prepare for a rollercoaster, said the specialists, the next 48 – 72 hours are critical.
I have prepared for a rollercoaster all my life through following BWFC. From the 1995 play-off final when we 2-0 down facing certain defeat, before keith Branagan saved a penalty and Fabien de Freitas clinched a glorious brace to win 4-3, through to relegation from the premier league on the final day of last season. I have been used to riding the tidal wave of hope, elation, despair and crushing reality. It turns out that wasn’t enough experience for the situation we now find ourselves in. I keep finding myself crying at the drop of a hat and Jo is even worse. The doctors tell us everything which is both informative and crushing.
“He’s my brother. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother…”
You would think that seeing the other parents on NNICU would somehow be a comfort. It isn’t. I just think “Poor bastards” they are suffering like us. I want to throw my arms around them but we are strangers all wrapped in our little babies plight. If hope was enough, all the tiny babies down there would have nothing to worry about.
And so finally I return to my all time favourite song
“Peace came upon me and it breathes in me
Don’t sleep silent angel don’t you sleep”.
This is our new routine. Sleep, visit very poorly babies, manage visitors, eat, visit poorly babies, sleep, visit poorly babies. Every time we leave the NNICU we just hope they won’t have deteriorated in our absence. We hope to return to find them slightly further down the road to recovery than we left them but unfortunately with Thomas we seem to find him suffering knock-backs and problems. Jo is giving them small quantities of milk and helping the nurses change their nappies. Today she was able to hold Thomas for the first time but we are not really parents in any understandable way. We often feel like spare parts as doctors administer antibiotics, various life saving drugs and take x-rays, ultrasounds and reading after reading. They are keeping Thomas and Mia alive and we are staggering grateful.
“Sometimes all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you
just to have you now”.
So that is a little insight into our world as it stands. If both babies stabilise it will continue into the New Year. If things take a turn for the worst? Well we simply cannot think like that at the moment. The only outcome we can conceive is getting them both home healthy and well next year.
“All I need is the air that I breathe yes to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe you’re all I want”.
** Message from Albert Hammond **
Thank you very much for your beautiful words about “The Air That I Breathe”.
I’m thinking of you guys. I wish you the best for those beautiful babies, I’m sure they will have the chance to live a
wonderful life. Be strong and remain faithful.
All the best, Albert xxx