Once I had got over the initial shock of giving birth in such a dramatic way, and once the milk had 'come in', I quickly settled into having a new baby at home. The first 6 or 7 weeks were dreamy, and I remember feeling elated, full of joy and purpose, and soooo in love with my Thomas!
He was the cuddliest baby, and he spent hours 'snuggled' into me, his little floppy body tucked into a ball fitting neatly onto my tummy. It was like being pregnant, except it was much, much nicer...!!
He fed well although he did tend to choke very easily, and used to come up for air quite a lot more than Sam had. He was a 'well baby', according to the health visitor. He slept all the time, and I remember thinking what a good baby he was. At night time however, he 'squeaked' in his sleep and so he ended up on the landing just outside our bedroom door so that we could get some sleep!
Little did I know that we could have lost him at any time. The squeaking wasn't just a 'quirk'; it was because he was struggling to breathe. The reason he slept pretty much 22 hours out of 24 was that he was exhausted from the breathing and the feeding. Little did I know that in those weeks, he was in heart failure much of the time... I didn't know because no-one told me there was anything different about this baby!
After delivery, the useless midwife which had been 'supporting' me in labour washed him and put him on me to feed, roughly forcing my nipple into his mouth. She had obviously missed out on the part of her training which taught her to look out for any unusual features in a newborn... Because she was just desperate to get home, and so really didn't take a second glance at my baby. Never mind the slightly upwards-slanting eyes, the small, lower-set ears; the flat nasal bridge, the curved little fingers, the sandal-gap between his first 2 toes... Never mind his tiny little mouth, cute button nose, yellow tint and general floppiness.
But it wasn't just that one midwife. Oh no it didn't stop there! Absolutely no-one saw it; from junior health-care assistants to consultant paediatricians, whoever routinely happened to come into contact with Thomas didn't stop and look a little more closely.
Can you tell I am still reeling? Still angry?! Still bemused by the fact we were so let down by the maternity department after Tom's birth.
Don't they say 'ignorance is bliss'?? And those first weeks were just that: bliss. It felt like we were a proper family, and that our second son was going to be a piece of cake!
Little did I know that things were about to change... And that our entire world was about to get turned upside down.