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Snapshot, the beautiful chaos of life.

Updated: May 8

Today we had an appointment at Cardiffs children’s hospital, Noah’s Ark. I felt nostalgic so went back and forth to my phone to write some blog notes like I used to do while pregnant with Lunar to help process the tricky pregnancy, this entry fluctuates between first and third person. (I think, I’m not educated enough to know)

I keep looking back at Lunar, sleeping in her car seat, completely unaware and peaceful. It almost feels like we are driving into memories. Some good, some bad, some pushed back to the darkness corners of my mind.

The sun is almost blinding, and I can feel its warmth on my face as we drive closer. No satnav is needed as we know where we are going. This journey was once a part of our regular routine for almost a year.

Parking is as bad as ever. I hate this car park. It just brings back memories of the awful day when I had to get Deryn back in the car to go home, leaving me in Cardiff with Lunar. Me trying to get Deryn back in the car as we were both in tears was one of the worst moments. "But mummy, I want to be with you." Thankfully that situation is over and now, at night, I cuddle and kiss both my children good night, also they are usually both in my bed! Every time I'm in this car park, I always wonder why they make them all so high. Hospitals are often the source of bad news and stress. Surely, a car park so high up is dangerous, or perhaps my thought process isn't normal. Dark.

Walking to the appointment is weird, but I have Lunar in my arms. She's snuggled in, and my heart is full of love. My jeans feel very tight though. Luckily, there are cuts in the knees, or I might not be able to walk or sit. It's the first time since before my pregnancy that I'm wearing these extra skinny jeans, so it's a small win. There was also a £10 in the pocket, so another win! Perhaps these are my lucky jeans!

We made a quick visit to the Ronald McDonald charity house that we stayed in while Lunar was in NICU. We always try to donate anytime we can, usually online, so it was nice to do it in person this time. Being back in the house we stayed in was weird. It's friendly, warm, and triggering. They are as lovely as ever and gifted Lunar with a teddy bear. It was nice to see them, but it was nice to leave.

Next up, Noah's Ark, the children's hospital. It was like a different place there today. The chairs are different, for a start, and the Covid structure of everything spread out has disappeared. There are children playing and parents chatting. A large rabbit (not real) welcomed us and gave Lunar an Easter egg. She was NOT impressed and pushed her head as tight into my shoulder as possible. But she will definitely appreciate it later, I'm sure. I'm not sure how I feel. The atmosphere here is bubbly and positive, not what I'm used to. But here I am again, in this chair, perhaps even the same exact chair I sat in before, now in a different order. Who knows. For a few minutes, it's almost possible to forget that this is a children's hospital, almost. However, there are clearly some very unwell children and worried parents here, with Easter eggs gifted by the large white rabbit so many are smiling.

One thing will never change here, I guess. Our appointment is running late. However, I feel that's allowed in a children's hospital like this.

I'm grateful for the hard work that's put into curating this atmosphere, the positive vibes, and the brightness. The walls are colorful, and there are lovely paintings all around the building. It's beautiful, but also heartbreaking to think of some of the children and what they face in these walls. Do the large windows generous with light and tall ceilings become almost prison-like? Or does it just become almost like a second home?

I always find myself people-watching and wondering about different situations. There are so many unwell children, and then I tell myself off for making assumptions. But I can't help my curiosity. I wonder if others are having the same thoughts as me. If they are curious about why Lunar is here, I would probably share that she was born with gastroschisis, a condition where a baby is born with their intestines or other abdominal organs outside their body. It occurs when the muscles in the baby's abdominal wall do not form properly during fetal development. It is a rare birth defect that requires immediate medical attention and surgery, which Lunar had. It's still all so mind-blowing to me!

We had our appointment, with the surgeon who performed Lunar's life-saving operation is amazing. Of course, Lunar has no idea who she is or why we like her so much. My admiration and gratitude can't be expressed. How do you articulate into words how grateful you are that you have a happy and healthy child as a result of someone's ability to perform an operation? You can't. She's incredible, and so is Lunar, and I'm in awe of both of them.

The appointment was successful, and Lunar is doing great! She has a slight slow bowel, which is apparently part of the condition, so she will need a high-fiber diet and some medicine to help, but she's happy and healthy. Our next appointment will be in six months, and if all is well, they will see her once a year until she's signed off, which they are hoping will be by the time she's 6. So our trips to Cardiff will continue for some while yet, but get more spread out.

It's been a positive day, but I still find the trips mentally draining and emotionally hard.