As mentioned in my previous post, in the years that I’ve been away from blogging, I got married and had a child. Alongside my full time job of teaching primary, baking wedding cakes part time, I was a mother to the most amazing little girl (I know we all say that but it’s true) she made me so happy in every way and she was breastfed so we had a very tight and close relationship. She was skeptical of new people, just like her mama. Being my first child, I wasn’t one of those worry wart mamas because I had plenty of experience with my many nieces and nephews. Motherhood came easily to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d share news of her first tooth, second, third, fourth and so on, when she crawled, learnt to walk and just about everything on facebook. I felt gutted when she was teething one time and I didn’t notice. My poor baby was playing up and I couldn’t figure out why. We were extremely close, went to the park, crawled through our first tunnel together and went down slides (well she did, I watched and cheered her on). Mama got very tired lifting her up because she could only crawl up steps at that point and park steps were not brilliant. Mama was hoping she would be multilingual so she was learning Arabic. At age 15 months, that’s when my madam’s life changed. Her mama put her into bed and then suddenly she was gone. Madam woke up confused and silent in my sister’s bed the following morning. They were both awake and the feeling of trepidition hung over them. Someone had to stay with my baby girl whilst my parents were with me in hospital as well as some of my siblings, their husbands and the older children. At this point I had a head drain and was on life support due to not being able to breathe on my own and having a partially collapsed lung. My family are simply the best, someone was by my side consistently for the entire four and a half months and in the early days, overnight too, calling whilst I was in critical care, taking it in turns to pray over me, play Qur’aanic recitation and play audios of my daughter. It’s true what they say, people in comas can hear so talk to them and make it count.
There were times when I was highly sedated and agitated, failing to calm me down, the doctors and nurses let my sisters into calm me down and only these audios and sounds would help me. I distinctly remember hearing Qur’aan and my sister say “Focus on the words” whilst the other played audios of my daughter. This resulted in a strange dream where my entire family were there and it focused on my sisters’ and mine role as a mother to our daughters and everyone in the dream being worried about my daughter because she was the youngest of the granddaughters. It makes sense to me now but even at the time it was an extremely emotional and touching dream (it was a you-had-to-be-there kinda thing).
As I previously mentioned, my daughter was the last thing I was thinking about and when I woke up properly, my first memory was the two lovely, chirpy and giggly physiotherapists asking me to sit on the edge of my bed. I didn’t know at the time but as soon as I had woken up I was able to communicate by writing to my family. I was telling them everything and asking questions. Apparently one of the first things I did when I came to, post coma was ask for my daughter. My signal was doing to pigtails on my head with my hands and somewhere along the lines, in my dreams(?) I remember saying “Bring (daughter) to me she can make me better.”, the spookiest thing about that is my sister quoted those exact same words to me. So did I dream them, write them or say them?? Either way, you get the point. That girl means the world to me and she was always in my thoughts.
I have been shown sheets of paper with my scribblings on them, me asking for my daughter and underlining her name thrice (indicates importance to me). Anyway, after leaving ITU, I was on the neurophysio ward and maybe a week later… I felt ready, I wanted to see my baby girl, to hold her, hug her and kiss her despite being bed ridden and really only being able to use my right arm and hand to write. I was in bed, had a catheter, cannulas, a nasogastic (NG) tube feeding me via my nose and going directly to my stomach, I had a tube coming out of my neck from the tracheostomy hooking me up to oxygen and about half my head was shaved in a couple of places. I was in a gown and in an unfamiliar place whilst looking extremely unfamiliar. The day had arrived, in walked my baby girl holding my eldest sister’s hand with back up in the form of my eldest nephew to help keep my daughter calm, hot on her heels. My sister picked up my daughter and showed her mama. She said it, she called me mama, she knew who I was, this was easy! But oh no, it was far from easy…
My daughter was clinging for dear life on to my sister screaming her head off like she was pleading not to go to this strange being in bed who she knew she recognised clearly. I kissed my hand and placed it on her cheek, that was the closest to a kiss I got. It hurt. It hurt so bad. I cared about her whilst I was in pain and agony and having a stroke, I dreamt of her in my coma and when sedated. I cared for her and loved her so much and that was the affection I got in return. I was already hurting physically, coughing up secretions hurt my head and being suctioned directly from my neck by nurses made me turn beetroot red as my family described and it felt as if someoene was tearing my soul from me but my body was physically fighting to stay on the bed. Twice I wrote “Please don’t let me die”, once i was through the worst of it. On top of all that physical pain, I was struck with this emotional grief. My daughter didn’t like me anymore. Forget loving me, she didn’t even like me. But I had to muster the strength, courage and bravery from somewhere. After surgery I had a smile plastered to my face and I maintained this smile. I had to be strong for her, I had to be normal for her. I put my feelings aside and just played the typical Mama role, I asked if she was brushing her teeth yet, she was 16 months old by this time. I pretended to not be affected by her reaction, put it aside and did what I knew best; be a pestering mother!
Seriously, the doctors who saved my life and the nurses and therapists who looked after me whilst I was at The Royal London hospital have mine and my family’s eternal gratitude. I can’t wait to go back and visit them. Despite the threat to their lives I was a top patient (their words, not mine!)