In the Middle of the Night

Every so often you look after a baby that you can’t just leave on the unit.

Usually at the end of my day at work I wish the night staff a calm and peaceful night and I say goodbye to any parents still around. I drive home with the radio on and the volume up, partly to stay awake and partly because although my ears are already buggered I have to protect Squidge’s delicate little ears.

When I get in I have a read of the day sheet that Squidge brings home from nursery and go up to his bedroom to gaze at him contented and sleeping.

I snuggle on the sofa with my husband and we tell each other about our day and anything that bothered us or that we found difficult. That is where work ends.

Most of the time.

But sometimes I just can’t switch off, can’t let go of the day.

My thoughts stay on the unit and I need go know what’s happening. I text the nurse on the night shift that I handed over to for an update. The reply is not good news.

I get up and go into Squidge’s room, to look at my healthy sleeping baby just to reassure myself that he is my healthy sleeping baby. I stand next to his cot and just breathe him in, trying to distance myself from work.

There is nothing I can do for that baby

Nothing to be gained from thinking and worrying.

Nothing to be gained from imagining what the parents are going through.

From wondering what it would be like if it were me.

For that is something that you just can’t help, torturous as it is. You put yourself in the shoes of the parents and you wonder what you would do.

How you would cope.

I know I need to switch off, to distract myself, to sleep. I can’t go to work and then live at work when I’m at home.

This job is too emotionally draining for that.

But sometimes you can’t stop yourself.

Some babies, some parents just stay with you and you can’t let go.

I have a charm bracelet that reminds me of four babies.

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I remember their names and I remember them.

They come to mind at quiet times. I think about how old they would be now, how they would look, would they be walking or talking?

I wonder how their parents are coping, how they’re managing with daily life after such a huge loss.

I carry them with me and I remember.

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