Monday, February 27, 2006

Oliver's Life: A story in pictures

Two more months to go. Final belly shot before I go to the hospital. I really meant to take them weekly, but you know how it goes.
Nine months? Are you sure your dates are correct? Your belly seems too small. Yes, yes, forty weeks plus 5 days. Overdue. 9 months. I'm ready. Epidural then baby out please.
Welcome to our world little Oliver Harry. We were all shocked that you weighed so much. We had to have them convert the grams to pounds so your weight could mean something to us. You were a giant. How did you fit in my belly? That's what all the midwives wanted to know. Um, me too.

Mother meets baby. This was precisely why I never wanted a c-section (aside from the whole "too posh to push" stereotype) - you can't just hold your baby and nuzzle him and get that great skin-to-skin bonding thing going. Someone just holds the little bundle close to your head and you just kind of caress his cheek to the best of your ability and hope that they finish stapling you back together in a hurry so you can hold your little guy for real.

Our first family portrait. Steve gave me permission to put his picture on the blog. He knows about it now and read and cried about the previous post. He is just happy that we have a medium through which to share our son and his brief existence on a much wider scale, because at the end of the day, Oliver's world was just his mom and dad. Gotta love the blue head nets.
First time nursing little Oliver. I had such a hard time with Audrey. Neither of us could really get the hang of it for the first couple of days. But Oliver was very much a boobman, no troubles here.
This is the second of our two family pictures. Oliver is just a couple of hours old, and Steve and I swear there is just a touch of a smile on his face. I wish the hair and makeup people had made an appearance, because I look as you would fresh from a c-section, I couldn't even move my legs yet, bloody epidural. We're in the recovery ward. I had a lovely view of Harrow on the hill. It was a lovely sunny day, and everything just seemed rosy and perfect.

Home from the hospital, I can't resist taking a few pics of my little man, one in his moses basket and the other on my bed. He was a little jaundiced after a couple days, but it went away just as quickly.

Getting our little guy dressed and ready for his first big day out in London. The outfit is curtesy of his Uncle Jamie. The hat we adore. He wore it home from the hospital, out and around London, as well as to his last trip to the hospital. It had the tendency to cover his eyes, but he didn't mind, for he was sleeping anyway. He always looked like such a little ball in his carseat. My little guy.

We took our little guy to Hyde Park, which we'd been dreaming of doing since we found out we were pregnant. A passing American gentleman offered to take a picture of the three of us. Foolishly I turned him down because I wanted a special picture of father and son - now, how I wish I'd taken him up on it, because then we would have three family pictures.
It's my favorite picture of my little guy. The little expression on his face always cracked us up. This was after our big day out around London. My back was killing me, so I hopped straight into bed. Steve propped little Oliver next to me while I caught some shut eye and snapped this photo - our last one of our little guy while he was well.

It's a sight I wish fewer new parents had to see. These shots were taken on the second morning. With his kidneys failing and no urine being produced, his little body became bloated so that the only things that looked like our Oliver were his tiny ears and button nose. Still, I just wanted to rip it all away and take him home with me.

One of the hardest moments of our lives, well the hardest moment of our lives - holding our dying son after disconnecting him from life support. If it hadn't been for the doctor coming back in to tell us that they would have to begin the postmortem tests, Steve and I never would have been able to leave the room.

He was our light, our joy, however briefly he joined us. The ache is sometimes too much to bear, and I keep thinking of him lying in that cold mortuary and long to go and get him and bring him home, as if everything can go back to normal if I can just get him. I hate this all. I hate it. I want it all to go away and rewind time and do something, everything differently. I want it to be my fault, I want it to be noone's fault. I just want it undone.
* * *

In coming posts, I will write more about his birth and then the events that led us to bring him to the hospital as well as an update on the Sam stuff. This post I needed to do because the more people that I show my son and, in a way, share my pain with, the more strength I garner. This all helps me in a strange way. So thank you all for indulging me as I share these pictures of my son and my experience saying goodbye.