It was about 3:00am on Sunday 16th November 2014 when i got the news, our son would be born in hours, not months like we had always expected. We were informed of the situation, that our son, our first child and first grandchild on both sides, had a 60% chance of surviving. Of that he had an 80% chance of having a disability (blindness, brain damage, CB… the list went on) and we were told that we would have some very hard months to face ahead, and they were not wrong.
Ethan was born at 6:50am on that rainy Sunday morning by emergency C-section, he was 25 weeks gestation and weighed 660g. It was a few hours before I even woke up after the surgery and the first thing I can remember asking the nurse was “is it a boy?”. I did already know i was having a boy as we had found out 5 weeks earlier, but I just wanted to be sure. A boy, my little Ethan James, was brought into the world and I didn’t know him, I knew his name, and that was it. I didn’t know what he looked like, I didn’t know if he had all 10 fingers and 10 toes, I didn’t know what he sounded like when crying. I didn’t know if he was born with hair or if his head was all squished, I didn’t know if he had my nose (or unluckily my brother Troy’s) or Jamie’s eyes, I didn’t know if did he have my bone structure or Jamie’s, I didn’t even know what he felt like, I had never felt him kick inside me, the doctors said he was too small so I wouldn’t feel him. Little Man was a complete stranger to me, but I loved him, from the moment I woke up I could tell that I loved this little man that I didn’t know.
After being taken back to my room 3 hours after my son’s birth, I had my family there, my partner Jamie, my mum and dad and my mother-in-law, Sue – but not my Little Man. He was already tucked into his incubator in the NICU, his home for the next 5 months of our lives. Ethan was in a bag that looked like it was meant to be cooking a chicken with lots of wires, monitors, tubes, tape and other equipment I couldn’t even name. It was all doing its a job, the only job – keeping Ethan alive; keeping him with me. They had all had a chance to go up and see him. Everyone had seen my Little Man except me.
Everyone had had a chance to know him except me. I had already felt robbed of my wonderful pregnancy; I wouldn’t carry my son past 25 weeks; I wouldn’t get the big belly that everyone wanted to touch; I wouldn’t get to feel my son alive and moving inside me; I wouldn’t be big and pregnant at my baby shower. I lost all of that on that day, but I also lost the chance to meet my Little Man first; to know him first; to love him first. Isn’t that a mother’s right…? Jamie and everyone had taken LOTS of photos and videos, but Ethan was so covered, I couldn’t tell what he looked like and I don’t even really remember seeing them at all.
In one way it seemed an eternity but in reality it was a short wait for me to go and see him – mostly because the pain meds kept knocking me out. But finialy it was time. About 4:00pm on that Sunday they were preparing to wheel my bed up to meet my son, and I was scared. Scared of what he would look like, scared if he would even know me, scared that I wouldn’t even know him, scared that I wouldn’t feel a connection with him, scared for him, scared of all his equipment (a doctor had for-warned me that it would be a lot to take in) scared of his journey ahead and scared that he wouldn’t make it. Buts that’s all I remember, I can visualise sitting on the bed looking into his new home. I know that Jamie was with me and that I was crying, but I don’t remember my son. I have 100’s of photos and videos from that first day (and millions from the days to come) and that is how I try and remember him, but I don’t remember seeing him on that day, with my own eyes.. but it doesn’t matter, I remember I loved him from the very moment I knew about him. I saw him the next day and I remember that moment, I remember the way his skin looked and his eyes would flutter, I remember his little hands and feet and the little tuft of blonde hair he had on his hair and the fine blonde hair he had all over his body. I remember the equipment and monitors but from that first day all I took away from our first ever meeting is love. I loved my son, and he was perfect in my eyes, and I did know him, how could I not know him, he was a part of me, and apart of Jamie, and I loved him like I never thought I could love another person. And I knew then that I would love him forever. That he was my Little Man.