I don't suppose yesterday was ever going to be easy... but in the busyness of half term chaos, and the energy we put in to preparing Heidi for her CT scan, I totally neglected to prepare myself.
I write this with tear-stained cheeks and an emotionally battered heart.
Today was not an easy day in the school of motherhood.
Somewhere in the midst of today, all the old memories came flooding back. As we approached the Ward, I realised we hadn't been back to this part of the hospital since Heidi's traumatic illness back in 2013. Outpatients has been the place of hope, of good news, of progress. The inpatient Ward was the place of devastation, of heartbreak... of the news that turned our world upside down. We wandered up the corridors, Heidi oblivious to the long forgotten memories that came racing back to us... and we pointed out the sights; the chapel I had gone to pray in, the bay where we received the news, the cot that was her bed for that dark, dark week.
This was a place of so much heartache... And yet here was the place I had known the sweet presence of Christ unlike anywhere else. To be back was a flood of mixed up emotions.
Because this time there was a difference. We *are* in a very different place now... Heidi's arteries are in recovery, we are off medication, and day to day life, for the most part, has, in time, stepped out of the shadow of Kawasaki disease.
It was a simple cannula... yet I, of all people know, how agonisingly painful a badly positioned cannula can be. We had prepped Heidi as best we could and she was ready. She took that first cannula entry like a trooper. I could feel her little warm body tensing against mine as she read the story with the play specialist, but she stayed strong... and brave. But then her vein popped.
Round two. Fail. Round three. Fail. Round four. Fail.
There is nothing so horrendous as having your child beg you to make them stop, and not be able to.
I felt like my heart was ripped to shreds watching those pleading eyes and listening to those sobs.
We took a break. We were offered the option of coming back another day, but there was no way I was going to put my little girl through this again... I knew it'd be a miracle if we even got her to the hospital! So we went to the play room. I queued for her lunch, she sat in the sensory room looking white as a sheet, her eyes downcast, clutching a sensory light cable with her sore little hand. It nearly broke my heart. She was trying to be so strong. So brave. Such a trooper. And everything in me just wanted to whip her up, whisk her home and tell her I'd never let anyone hurt her again.
We wandered back to our ward with chicken nuggets and chips in hand, and had a leisurely lunch. The whole time we held a warm glove to her hand, seeking every means possible to dilate those teeny little veins of hers. We popped to the toilets and she looked at me knowingly...
'They want to do it again, don't they mama?"
I nodded, saying I was sorry and we prayed aloud, and together we asked the Lord to let this next one be a success. It felt like a risky prayer, my little girl putting her young faith on the line... but we thanked Jesus for being with us and asked him for this next cannula...
He never fails. Ever. And she was incredible. She breathed deep and nestled her body deep into mine as the cries intensified.
But there was victory. It was in. We breathed deep on relief... and thanked the Lord!
There was a little waiting before the CT itself... we took Heidi's class bear everywhere with us, and he was scanned, prodded and poked before Heidi every time. The scan was quick and Heidi was well prepared. She knew exactly what she was doing!
The flush was uncomfortable, but Heidi never flinched. She lay there so patiently. I couldn't have been more proud.
We wait now for results. For Heidi the ordeal is already over, she rocked into bed with the biggest smile on her face and after all the treats and bribery (!!) from today, went to bed a very happy little girl.
Once she went to bed, the emotions of the day hit me. Hard.
I always get hit when I least expect it. Today was a reminder that though Kawasaki is a thing of the past, it's shadow ever lingers. Five years in, this year, I still get hit by the anxieties of every mother who has a sick child.
But amidst all the heartache and the anxieties, and the constantly repeating need to cast all my cares upon the Lord because he cares for me, there are always some glimmers of hope or happiness in the hard bits. As we left the Brompton yesterdayafternoon, with huge relief, Heidi announced confidently...
'I like CT scans... can we do it again??'
As Dave and I tried to pick our jaws up off the ground, Heidi piped up again...
"Except not the cannula, and not the tunnel"
It seems Heidi had a grand day waiting for procedures... playing with the toys on her hospital bed, and would quite like to repeat the experience tomorrow please!
It's alright Heidi. I'm not sure your Mamas heart would hack it!
Thank you so much for all your prayers and messages. Our Heidi was incredible...
And the Lord, ever faithful... In the hardest moments and in the victories.
Please continue to remember us in your prayers. X