I cannot believe that Freya is turning five this week! What a long short five years it has been!
Freya had a rocky start to life with plenty of shocks and bad news shadowing the first months of her life. Quite frankly a lot of it looks blurry when I look back, but one day remains crystal clear in my mind: the second of October, 2015 – the day Freya had her tracheostomy.
She was early on the surgery list and I remember rushing to the hospital, finding the anesthetist sitting by Freya’s bedside, looking at her notes. I knew this operation was not a small thing, but I was still not prepared for his words. “You know Freya is a very ill baby. We will do our best, but I have to warn you there is a 30% chance she won’t survive this operation”. My brain struggled to process this information. I had a hard time just to breathe.
The morning did not get much better. There were so many professionals who needed to see Freya before the operation. I had to sign consents and, as a part, be explained the risks and the poor odds over and over again. I could not but wonder: How had we got here? Where had our lives taken such a drastic wrong turn that we ended up here? I was supposed to be at home complaining about sleep deprivation, not talking to doctors about what are the odds of my child living!
The operation was long and difficult. Although surgery days – of which we have now had so many I cannot but guestimate a figure of around 30 – are always hard, this one was the very hardest. But Freya, being the little champ that she is – pulled through and came out all snoozly and cranky.
Shortly after, the surgeon came to talk to us. He was explaining why a standard operation had taken hours to complete: “I am sorry” he said. “Freya’s airway is so complex that I cannot see her getting this tracheostomy out for a considerable time. Maybe when she is five.”
Both my partner and I recall having the same thought. “Five! He said five!”. We had been so beaten down with bad news followed by even worse ones that neither one of us had even dared to hope Freya would be around for so long. Five years seemed an eternity in life we were living day-to-day.
And as it happens both the surgeon and we were wrong. There is no indication that the trachy is coming out any time soon – but Freya is very much with us – and approaching the big 5 bursting with enthusiasm, curiosity for life.
When I look back, I feel bruised and battered (it has been a bumpy ride!), but first and foremost grateful. Never in a million years would I have thought this is how my life would have turned out. Freya’s health and future both remain precarious, but she has truly taught me more about life than anything else and for that I am blessed. It has been a long short five years and all we can hope for is many more. Happy birthday darling, mummy and daddy love you so much.