Dear Ripley

This post has been coming for a long time, but as the days pass and his second birthday gets closer, I find myself reliving those early days of his life and feeling many emotions. It’s very personal but it encapsulates how hard it is for parents who are separated from their new babies in hospital.

Dear Ripley,

I’m sorry that you had to go through so much as a new baby. You should have been in my arms, being surrounded by love, breastfeeding and being shown off to everyone we love. I’m sorry that you were separated from me when you were just 45 mins old. It’s not fair. People tell me that you don’t know, that you won’t remember and that I will someday forget. But we both know the impact it has had on us and your daddy too.

I’m sorry I didn’t come to the second hospital straight away. I will never forgive myself for that.

I’m sorry we didn’t name you for 48 hours, we were so overwhelmed by everything and couldn’t really say we knew you enough to name you.

I’m sorry if the nurses at the new hospital thought you were abandoned or unloved; you were and are so very loved.

I’m sorry that you had to have so many medications pumped through your tiny body to kill an unknown infection which turned out to be a lifesaving step by the paediatrician.

I’m sorry that you had to wear the ill-fitting CPAP on your face for two days, screaming and writhing to get out from it, until you were so tired and so distressed that the doctors had no choice but to intubate you, putting you into a coma. I didn’t even realise what it meant at the time. You were so peaceful and I was so happy to see your tiny face.

I’m sorry that you had to go in the specialist ambulance twice, and both times I was not there with you. I took the advice of the doctors around me, but I made so many mistakes.

I’m sorry that the demands of our families stressed out us and made us so very tired. I wish I had been stronger and told them to leave us be.

I’m so proud of you for fighting your breathing difficulties and for fighting to have the precious breast milk I was pumping every 2 hours for you.

I’m sorry that the hospital threw out the colostrum. That was unforgivable and to think you missed out on the liquid gold breaks my heart given how many digestive problems and immune problems you have now.

I’m sorry that we gave you formula top-ups, not knowing you would have cow’s milk protein allergy, and that I could have gotten donor milk. I’m so mad that the hospital never suggested it, and how much they pressured me to just let go of worrying about the use of formula.

I’m sorry that you didn’t get to come home and be with us until you were 26 days old.

I’m so proud of everything that you are, your laughter and cheekiness, and your curious nature. You love the same things we do, and we know that no matter how hard the start was, no matter how disconnected it made us all feel, you are our son. You are my beautiful son and I will love you forever.



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