As her eyes roll back and her skin drains of colour my husband and I look at each other. Something’s wrong. “She’s not right, what’s happening to her, is she having a stroke,” I speak quietly, panic in my voice.
“I don’t know,” he replies, fear in his eyes.
Our little girl, Miss 4, is vacant. Her body limp, her eyes staring. She is in a vegetative state. My baby isn’t there. I can’t see her spark. I struggle to breathe. I can see my husband’s hands shaking. I start to cry – silently.
Grabbing my mobile, I dial the numbers no parent wants to call – 000. I’ve never called these numbers before. Surrealism envelopes our house. While my husband cradles our daughter, she is motionless. Her eyes staring. Instructions are given, and I hurriedly relay them to an ashen-faced Twiggy: “Put her on a couch. Take off her pajamas. Lay her on her side.”
She starts gagging, vomit spewing from her mouth. It is red. “It’s red, it’s red,” I scream into the phone.
“What has she eaten today?” replies a calm voice, snapping me out of my hysteria.
It’s not blood. It isn’t blood. This is not happening. “Please tell me they are coming,” I plead with the operator. “Please tell me they will be here soon.” Ten minutes feels like a lifetime.
“They’re coming, lights and sirens.”
Lights and sirens. For my baby. An ambulance with lights and sirens.
I will them to come quicker. I will them to be in our house fixing our child. I will them to be telling us all is ok.
And then I realise our middle child, Miss 3, is awake, standing quietly beside me. Luckily, her youngest sister is sleeping through the moment. I give her sweet biscuits. I hold her hand. I try not to cry, I can’t. I take her with me to the front door to keep watch for the ambulance, away from her sister. She’s already seen too much fear.
“Come and see an ambulance,” I tell her.
“I have three children,” I tell the operator.
He tells me I will soon see the ambulance coming down the street. He is right. I thank him. He tells me everything will be ok. I breathe.
Within minutes she’s leaving me in an ambulance. Her little sister cries as they drive away. I do too.
She spends the night being obvserved. She spends the night being woken and held down by her Mum, Dad, nurses and Doctors while blood is taken from her tiny body, heart monitors hooked to her chest, oxygen given. Our little baby. She has already seen too much of hospitals, she doesn’t deserve to be there. No-one ever does.
Miss 4 is now in her hospital bed with her Dad by her side. She is happy and unaware of how scared we were. Are. We wait for tests. Everyone tells us a different theory. We hope it’s is a one-off. We hope words like epilepsy are not bandied about again. We hope she comes home and this becomes but a memory. She is doing craft. She is sneakily stashing craft supplies in her bag. Her spark is back. Her essence.
I don’t know how people cope with having a seriously ill child. I don’t know if I’d be strong enough. Today, I think of how blessed we are. How lucky we’ve been. I think of other’s who have not. It fills me with grief. Last night was our moment. I don’t want to have any more of them.
Thank you all for your amazing messages of support. And to my Mum, I love you xx