Vicki’s son, Elijah, was diagnosed with a serious heart condition (Tetralogy of the Fallot) when he was born and had open heart surgery at 6 months old. Here, she has written an honest and powerful letter to her son.
To my son, my baby boy, my booboo, my sausage, my Damien, my little ratbag, my heart warrior;
You really do not know how strong you are, how special you are and what you have achieved in your short life.
My baby boy I loved you from the first moment I saw your flickering heartbeat on the screen, even before then when I got those two lines on a stick.
You were wanted so wanted, and we could not wait to meet you.
We spent hours picking out everything, to make it all just so for you.
I am so thankful little one, we had a great pregnancy you and I, we were a team, and between us both we had a good labour.
But sausage, this is where our story changes, and it became less like a fairy tale and more of a nightmare.
When they put you in my arms you were perfect, so chubby and new. I loved you more than I had ever loved anything. You were my child.
You were taken away, and I am sorry I didn’t know what was happening until the next morning. I was so tired; so ill I didn’t realise how bad it was. I left you alone.
They told me something was wrong with your heart. Something seriously wrong. It had to be fixed with surgery.
I am sorry I did not accept what they were telling us. I am sorry I didn’t believe them, and I tried kiddo I really tried to be a good mother when we got home. I really did.
Those 6 months we were waiting for your surgery date, they were hard for me and you.
You didn’t know what was happening and you were so good when we had check-ups and appointments.
I know I could have been a better mother, that I could have made the effort and see people, that I could have taken you out more. I was so worried Elijah, so worried I would lose you.
We went through the normal things colic, teething, post partem illness and depression.
I am sorry when I wished we didn’t have to go through this, that I may have made a mistake. When I told your Dad I couldn’t cope with you anymore.
I looked at you every day, and all I could think about was not being able to look at you ever again.
Then that day came, you were so good. Watching Mike the Knight as you lay on the hospital bed in your gown. You didn’t even move when they drew a line down your chest. When the surgeons came to brief us.
Baby boy it was me that signed the consent forms.
You thought Mummy was just giving you a cuddle, but I was holding the gas to your face to put you to sleep.
It was me that handed you to the Doctors when you were asleep, me that gave them you so they could open you up and operate on you and repair your heart.
I am sorry, I couldn’t kiss you. I couldn’t face saying goodbye to you hunny. In case I never would see you again my little baby. My first born. My blood.
You do not know what you went through in those 4 hours, more than some do in a lifetime.
I do not know anyone that is a strong as you as you do not even know it.
I mean who the hell goes into have open heart surgery and comes home in 5 days? 5 days!? You do my baby.
It was a long recovery process, more appointments, awkward cuddles and I know I was protective of you.
However, as time ticked on, well look at what you achieved it truly was amazing.
At times, I know I wasn’t a fun mummy, when I was sad, or angry or when me and Daddy didn’t talk to one another. When mummy had to go and get some help.
It was hard going through this with you chicken, it took its toll on me. I struggled; it may be something you can begin to understand when you have children. (Which by the way Mr I expect as I want some grandbabies!)
I want you to know that I love you, I am the proudest mother in the world of what you have been through and what you have endured.
You make having a heart condition, a NICU stay, and open heart surgery look easy.
I am in awe of how strong and brave you are. You changed me as a person and inspire me every day.
You truly are a heart warrior and I am proud to be your mum.
After what you went through at just 6 months old, you can achieve anything and you will be boy. You will. How do I know that?
Because I am your mum and you are my son.
I have seen what you can do.
And it will be amazing, I promise you that my heart warrior.
Love Mum x