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DAY 18 – 9 November:

Michelle: Conor lay in his new isolation room, in bed 13, motionless. Eyes hardly opening due to the sedation. No change, no improvement. Hours of agonising, waiting in the hallway for the CTICU doors to open for visiting hours, exchanging looks and stories with other parents who were also waiting.

The faces of the other parents had started to become familiar and there was a silent, unspoken atmosphere of support for each other, which gave some measure of comfort in a time when we felt very alone. The three times a day trek to the hospital and back, often in horrific peak hour traffic was fraying my nerves, even though Mike did all the driving.

The intensity of anxious, fearful emotions, the daily rollercoaster of racing heartbeats each morning when I checked my phone, the way I would nearly jump out my skin every time it rang was all becoming almost too much.

Every morning driving to the hospital we would wonder how thing were going today, and the doctor’s updates each day were something were something we both clung to for reassurance, dissecting each little thing they said every time we left the hospital.

Michael: What day is it? Does it even matter? Groundhog day,a robotic slog, no emotion involved. You do what you can to get through.

Rachel is still full of smiles and energy, a welcome break. You try and let that joy in. It is hard as it fights the underlying sadness. You think you are two separate people; the parent that is fighting for a child through hope and love alone, and on the other side, a parent that protects a child through love and attention. Love, there it is, the common denominator of the two people you think you’ve become. So you are actually still the same, but from very different sides, doing what you can for the children.

Love, the only ingredient you need for parenting.

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