It all rushed back to me
Today I was reminded of a feeling.
A feeling so intense I felt it would burn a hole straight through me...
I remember the day my daughter arrived like it was yesterday. I am still completely amazed that she has just turned four.
I had a very difficult labour and both my daughter and I were lucky to come out the other side in one piece so to speak.
I remember lying on the operating table with my head turned to the left as I convulsed because of a reaction to the anaesthetic.
I remember the panic as I heard nurses frantically grabbing for sheets and anything else they could get their hands on to throw on the floor, until that point even through all the noise I was aware of a very distinct splashing sound as the countless people in the room tried to walk through the blood.
I remember the look of fear on my husband's face as he tried to mumble comforting things.
I remember the surgeon's chin on my chest (very surreal).
I remember the midwife who stayed with my long after her shift ended, crying quietly at the side of the bed as she tried to hold me down.
But clearest in my mind and more important that anything else I remember my little girl, manhandled, thrown around, slapped and finally placed in a little plastic box across the room from me.
I remember her eyes, wide open and as dark as night.
Her little mouth pursed with just the faintest hint of a tongue poking from between them.
I remember calm.
My little girl was ok, so was my husband and that was all that mattered.
Two blood transfusions and a hell of a lot of witchery stitchery later and I could go and find my daughter.
She was beautiful.
She took every ounce of love I had to give and somehow managed to pull just a little bit more from me.
I was breathless.
The worst was over and now I could enjoy my daughter and above all else love and protect her.
That was to be my job.
I was so proud of her. She slept like an angel and ate like a champion for three full days.
Then they came to tell me they were concerned her blood sugar was low and they would have to test it before and after every feed (which were every couple of hours) so basically she would be tested every hour on the hour.
Well, simple little me had no idea of the concept of this "testing".
I had no idea whatsoever.
Until they started to come and take her away.
Every hour on the hour.
And I lay in my room feeling helpless, all the while listening to my baby scream in pain somewhere in the distance.
At some point that helpless feeling changed. It grew and mutated and became something else entirely. I'm still not sure if it was the protective mother in me rearing its head, anger, fury or disgust at myself for allowing it to continue.
I should have been disgusted. I allowed it to continue for two days all the time believing it was in my daughter's best interest.
Then my daughter refused a feed. And the next feed and the next.
My clever little girl had figured out that if she didn't eat, it wasn't worth testing her.
But still the tests continued and the feeling grew.
I snapped at 3am, grabbing a nurse and throwing her out of the room before pushing the bed in front of the door, stitches or no stitches.
It was 10.00am when my mum arrived at the hospital before I would open the door. I had spent the entire night awake, protecting my perfect little daughter and stroking the multitude of scars and puncture marks or her perfect little feet. I promised her that never again would I sit back and watch as someone inflicted pain on her.
I knew then that I would do anything and everything for her. I had already accepted three days before that my life bore no importance when compared to her, but now I understood that no life did.
She was here and I was charged to protect her. To be her guardian through all that life may throw at her.
I spent a further three days in the hospital with her. No further tests were carried out and somehow I had earned a strange kind of respect from the nurses. Its obvious to me now that they were only carrying out the instructions of some faceless consultant.
Still my mind remained slightly warped by the whole incident. Weeks passed before I could stop lying at the side of her crib at night, holding my own breath, waiting for hers.
Months passed before I could allow anyone to bear the title of The Protector, whilst I got some much needed rest..
I have slowly got past our time in hospital. Toots frequently spends the night at my mum's house. She climbs rocks and trees and jumps off things much to high to jump off and I don't immediately run to stop her. Admittedly it helps to know that my mum is as protective, if not more so than me.
Today though it all rushed back to me.
I had to take Toots to get her preschool booster shots (something which my husband has thus far not allowed me to do). For some reason the two boosters are now administered in the same day, one in each leg.
I held her straddled across my knee as the nurse administered first one then a second shot and I held her tight to stop her from moving as I heard her scream in pain and then felt the wetness of her tears on my chest. She lifted her head and looked at me with confused eyes. I could hear it, although she never spoke a word "How could you? You promised".
And I felt my chest and throat grow tight. I felt the heat rising from deep in my belly and couldn't catch a breath.
I wanted her to believe in me. I wanted her to know that I could and would protect her but that this was different.
I dressed her quickly, snatched the "I'm as a brave as a lion" sticker and ran from the office, afraid of what I was capable of.
We both cried the whole way home and I apologised again and again for allowing someone to hurt her. She refused to speak to me until just before bed time. She lifted her head from her dad's chest and quietly said "I love you very much mummy" and again I foolishly made a promise I'll never know if I can keep.
But so help I'll try. When called for I will do anything and everything to keep her safe because I am her protector. Her Mother.
I guess those old ghosts will always haunt me.
And I quietly pray that nobody ever dares test me. I'm afraid of what I might be capable of.