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Flashback: February 2020

I remember waking up on the morning of 20th of February 2020 thinking that everything was perfectly normal and, as it was my 30th birthday pretty damn awesome!

Chloe and I were pregnant, I had presents to open and later that night we were going for a family meal to celebrate me officially getting old.

Me on the morning of my 30th birthday.

The day seemed to be zooming along in the blink of an eye but in and out of the usual excitement that surrounds birthdays I could tell that something wasn’t right with my wife.

If there is one thing to know about Chloe, it’s that she is hard as nails. That is not an understatement, the woman has the pain tolerance of a wild boar. I could have skewered her with a spear and she would still have charged down and killed Robert Baratheon.

It turns out that her pain tolerance was the only reason she made it to my birthday meal, most normal people would have been in hospital at least the day before, but she was determined to make it to my party.

To be completely honest I don’t remember much of the party after we arrived, everything happened rather quickly.

Chloe almost passed out on the way in to the venue and as we sat together in one of the side rooms her situation deteriorated very quickly, but being the amazing woman that she is she asked her mam to give her a lift home so she could rest and she asked me to stay and enjoy the party.

The problem being I couldn’t enjoy it without her.

Fast forward one hour and after blankly shovelling down my pizza, receiving my presents and then getting the phone call from Chloe’s mam that she had gotten worse, I was in the back of an ambulance being blue lighted to Durham Hospital.

Chloe getting some rest in the small periods that her pain meds were at their peak.

The next few hours were some of the worst I have ever experienced, there is no way to describe the feeling of complete helplessness I had while I watched the most important person in my life in constant agonising pain.

We waited hours, being moved from room to room until eventually Chloe was given a shot of morphine and wheeled into a private little cave at the end of the worlds longest corridor.

Watching her finally get some rest was bliss, the last time I stayed awake all night just staring at my wife was the first time we went to Amsterdam. Chloe had a nasty flu on the DFDS seaways voyage across the ocean and in her fevered state she asked me to stay awake and make sure she didn’t die. So I did.

I did the same thing again, only this time she hadn’t asked. She didn’t need to.

Me, alone in the cave. My phone was dwindling to around 10% at this point.

I stayed with her all through the next day, not that anyone could have stopped me. It was then that we learned that it was suspected pancreatitis and that she was so ill that she might not survive it.

I felt like my whole world was crumbling around me, people offered help where they could but I chose a different coping mechanism.

I slept on the couch for the first few days, the dog didn’t leave my side.

I was at the hospital every minute that I was allowed, the first few days were bad, Chloe couldn’t really talk and needed her pain meds constantly 24/7. Even that didn’t take away the pain. She was water only for ten days.

I can’t imaging being water only for ten minutes.

The house was eerily quiet, I tried to keep busy when I wasn’t at the hospital by keeping up with work. Stupid fucking idea. I couldn’t think about anything but Chloe so in the end I gave up even trying to keep up, they would survive just fine without me.

I had a takeaway pretty much every night, more out of laziness and feeling sorry for myself than anything else (sorry Jo).

You could be forgiven for forgetting that throughout all of this Chloe was indeed still pregnant with Arthur, for some reason I never had even the slightest fear that he wouldn’t be perfectly fine.

I know Chloe better than anyone on Earth and I knew that she would get better and that the little man would be fine, safe inside of her.

One of the 300 scan photos that the lovely sonographer in the hospital let us take away with us.

That was confirmed when Chloe was finally well enough to have a scan while she was still in hospital, little man was perfectly fine just as I knew he would be.

But he was quiet. In all of our other scans he had been wild, a little like he is now. I could tell that Chloe was disheartened but seeing that little heartbeat still flickering away. In that moment, it was enough to keep us going. The sonographer was very reassuring and all we could do was trust her.

Chloe was in hospital for a few days after the scan was taken, but she was in much better spirits once she had seen the scan and, as the pancreatitis had started to subside her pain was becoming far more manageable.

Once Chloe was allowed to eat again, the gourmet cooking began.

Before I knew it the day had come when I was awaiting the phone call that would announce Chloe could be collected, it came. I was at the ward within the blink of an eye and after a lot of waiting around, she finally got discharged.

I would like to say that as we walked to the corridor that led to freedom from the hospital there was a fanfare of trumpets and dancing. There wasn’t. Just me with my arm around my wife, and it was perfect.

Believe it or not, I have finally finished the tale of the last two weeks of February 2020. The worst two weeks of my life.

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Where do I start?

To say that the almost two years since I last wrote on my blog have been crazy would be a wild understatement!

Yet here I am, coming to you live from a house filled with Christmas cheer and the smiles of a little boy that brings me happiness I cannot even comprehend.

Over the course of the next bunch of posts I will be mixing stories from the moment, with the odd historic tale about the time I have been away from the blog.

And so, without further gilding the lily,. And with no more ado,. I give to you Arthur Roman, the cutest, happiest little guy I have ever known.

Arthur and my beautiful wife.

The lead up to Christmas has always excited me, from getting the decorations out of the loft to blasting Last Christmas out of the car windows while the icy morning air freezes my ears.

This year however, was different. It was more exciting than it has ever been in my entire life, more exciting than the christmases I would be bouncing off the walls for as a child.

The reason for that, is Arthur. His little face takes the excitement, throws it into a blender and whacks it up to max power with the lid off. And I love it!

COVID has been hard for everyone, but Arthur is one of the true COVID babies, he was born right at the end of lockdown one.

No family and no friends. Just me and my wife, and we smashed it! I couldn’t imagine how well we would handle such a crazy situation, but we didn’t just make it through, we bonded with each other and with Arthur on a level that amazed even ourselves.

But I digress, the run up to Christmas was a strange affair. Borris sent us able to work from home folk that had just started to settle in to hybrid working back to our dining room tables. And in the process sent Christmas plans in to uproar.

Omicron started spreading like a wild fire and in the last week before Christmas we were left trying to figure out how best to navigate family visits leading up to the big event and also what to do on the day itself.

My wife and I are both triple vaccinated but we like to be as careful as possible when it comes to Arthur, the fact is that if he caught the virus he would probably be perfectly fine, but why take the risk?

So we were extra careful, we did our tests as did the family that we saw leading up to Christmas, we wore our masks everywhere we went (which wasn’t much further than the living room), we kept washing our hands and we kept our fingers crossed.

Thankfully we all arrived at Arthur’s Grandmas house (sorry Jo) on Christmas Day COVID free and ready to enjoy our Christmas dinner.

Sorry for pulling you away from desert son.

I even managed to find the energy to perform at little puppet show with some of Arthur’s new toys, thank god he can’t feel embarrassment watching me yet. At least I hope he can’t.

After stumbling into the house at the end of Christmas Day to full to do virtually anything besides the most basic parenting the little man went to bed after the first Christmas that it felt like he knew something (whatever that may be) was different, and he was a little angel.