Suzanne was beautiful. She snuggled into me when I held her and even though I couldn’t breast feed her, I made sure we had skin on skin contact. In those days you stayed in hospital for two weeks. I was moved to the end of the ward. Suzanne was with me all the time now except at night when all the babies were put in the nursery. One day when I was changing her I noticed her spine flutter. I said nothing, I knew if they saw her doing that, they would take her away again.
Gay went at to our GP about something and asked about Suzanne, He said Suzanne was blind. She rang my father and told him. I don’t think I have seen my father so angry in my life. He rang the GP and told him that he had breached my privacy by talking about Suzanne, particularly as no one had told me anything.
One of the nurses noticed Suzanne’s spine flutter and as expected she went back to the special nursery again. I remember spending a lot of time in the shower. It was the one place I could cry without people knowing. I just wanted to take my baby and go. I don’t remember anyone sitting down and telling me what was happening. It was almost as though it was on a need to know basis and I didn’t need to know.
After two weeks the doctor did come to see me, He said I could go home. What about Suzanne, I asked, No he said she needs to stay a little longer. I had another long shower.
Dad and Margaret took me back to their place. I talked to my mother on the phone for ages. Even though Dad got his toll calls free he complained about it. It is setting a bad example he said,. It was hard coming home with out her. I did go up to the hospital a couple of times a day to feed her.
After a week, they said I could take her home. I still had no idea what was wrong with her but I didn’t care. She was my baby and she was with me. What else really mattered. Before I left the hospital, I asked the doctor how old babies were when they could fly. He smiled and said, babies never learn to fly. I said I meant in a plane and he laughed.
It was a Friday night when Suzanne her first bottle. After an hour the level of milk still hadn’t gone down. She was sucking away but nothing was coming out. I looked at the teat and it had small holes. Dad knew the local chemist who went and opened his shop up so Dad could get teats with bigger holes. It still didn’t work so we poked more holes in the teat. I had no idea why she was having so much trouble. The nurses hadn’t said anything about it.
After a week we flew back to Wellington. Mum picked us up at the airport. I was going to stay with her and Ivan until I found something more permanent.
Suzanne and I were back home
© Barbara Hart