Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Syringes and sirens (1)

Not too long ago, I wrote about a horrible choking incident that resulted in Sofia going to hospital in an ambulance. It took me back to another time we had the emergency services. The time the fire brigade came to the house...



Esme had been in our lives for about a month. And it has to be said, screaming for most of it. She was having Baby Gaviscon for the silent reflux that plagued her, and prior to each feed, I would have to express a little bit of milk into an egg cup, mix it with the infant powder, and give it to her through a syringe. What a faff that was! (And the bloody stuff never worked - for her at least).

After each feed I would boil everything up on the stove top so that it was sterilised and ready for use the next time. It was something that became so ingrained in my routine, I could do it with my eyes shut. Which was just as well, for like any new mum, I was pretty tired. Although I can't blame tiredness for what ensued. 

Esme's screaming had twisted up a notch as it always did after a feed. She screamed because she was hungry, then she screamed because she was fed. I recall now that I often  phoned my mum and cried silent tears down the phone, just so that someone else was there to hear and share the pain Esme was in. There wasn't much let up. 

As usual, I found it difficult to tolerate. Holding Esme any which way didn't ease her pain, and she refused to take a dummy. Indeed, rather cruelly, I was unable to comfort her. Nothing helped. I always found myself racing to get out to walk with her. And really that was for me, so that I could calm down, far more than it ever was for her.

This day was no different. Except that this day, I had put the egg cup and syringe in the pan and on to boil, and then put my screaming baby in her pram. God that screaming was unbearable. And so I rushed, flushed. And I think we all know that hurried and harassed is not good.

I walked fast. Not sure where I would end up. Rather depressingly (but not surprisingly) I found myself in the supermarket. The one place in town where I could observe other mothers in a similar stressed state, you know with that look. The haunted look of a new parent with a baby that overwhelms them completely.  

Mid aisle dash, somewhere between the tampons and the teabags, (yes, she was only six weeks old, yes, I was breastfeeding, and yes, I'd already had a sodding period), I suddenly became aware that Esme was sleeping. 

For the first time that hour, I breathed knowingly, and instructed myself to slow down. I even managed to buy a few bits. Oh smug me, so pleased with myself for achieving that... my baby was not only sleeping, but the fridge was going to have something in it. 

I made my way home far less stressed than when I left. 

That was short lived.

As I walked up the path to my front door, I became aware that the alarm I could hear from the curb side, was actually an alarm coming from inside my home. The self same home, that it would appear was now on fire.