It was a completely normal day. Tigs, aged two, had been to nursery, whilst I was having my day at home with Baby-G, a tiny 3 months old.
My Mum had nipped over for a cuppa early that evening, when Tigs started complaining of a tummy ache. I didn’t think much of it, as she seemed quite full of beans, however my Mum, who always seems so in tune with our eldest daughter, assured me as she left, to keep a close eye on her as she could tell she wasn’t right.
Sure enough, by bedtime, she was teary and still complaining of belly ache. We tried to settle her to bed, but it wasn’t working it’s usual ease and magic, and within an hour she was in full throttle screams of agony.
Unsure what the hell was happening, we decided to call 111 for advice. They ran through a series of questions eliminating some obvious conditions and made the call that we needed to take her to the local hospital for an out of hours doctor check up.
Feeling unsure whether this could be a full on emergency, or cause more distress than needed; dragging her out in her PJs into the cold dark night, we took heed and Mr G snuggled her up in a blanket, off to the local hospital, leaving me at home with the sleeping baby.
I made a quick call to my Mum to let her know there was a tiny chance we may need an emergency babysitter, but without any real intent as we were pretty sure this was going to be a storm in a teacup.
I did have the foresight to quickly wash up a pack of brand new bottles, run them through the steriliser and set out some ready made formula…just in case.
A long 45 minutes later, I had the update from the hubster. She wasn’t screaming any more. They’d been seen, and they were waiting for a second opinion to rule out appendicitis. They weren’t confident enough that it definitely WASN’T, even though they didn’t think it was…
He didn’t sound too worried – and it didn’t seem like the first doctor was either. Going through protocol…they’d be home soon for sure, and we’d all be catching zeds within the hour.
The phone rang again, 10 minutes or so later. In somewhat more of a panicked tone of voice, Mr G told me to grab our things, we needed to take Tigs to hospital. Now. The emergency baby care protocol needed to be executed (i.e. ring Mum) and we had to drive Tigs to hospital for a specialist to assess whether it was in fact appendicitis, which would require emergency surgery. Mr G was told if she worsened in the car to dial 999.
Our local major hospital, which serves most of the towns in and around our corner of Kent is 10 minutes by car. We however, were advised to head the Evelina childrens hospital, in St Thomas’ hospital, Westminster. Central London. At eleven o’clock at night. With our three year old. Apparently the local hospital doesn’t cater for these kind of emergencies in young children out of hours, and it didn’t warrant an ambulance (quite rightly).
Now, I have cursed how I miss spontaneity since becoming a parent, but with a small baby at home, and a poorly child, this kind of spontaneous night out up Town isn’t quite what I was after…
Throwing her comforter (Harry), clean clothes and a few bits in a bag, Mum arrived and so did the patient. We made the call to leave baby G at home, as she was sound asleep and not expected to wake for a good few hours.
As I jumped in the back of the car, adrenaline pumping. I was surprised to see Tigs wide awake, smilimg, looking generally excited about the late night trip out in the car with Daddy. “Hello Mummy!”.
MMT: “She doesn’t exactly look sick?”
Mr G: “Well, this is the thing, as I was putting her in the car, she let out a massive…Fart?”
MMT: “And since then?”
Mr G: “She seems okay?”
After a quick discussion over what the hell we were doing…about to set off on the journey from Kent to central London, in the middle of the night, Tigs made a few more whimpers and cries. We made the call to go ahead with the advice. After all, what if it all started up again? What if it was appendicitis?
But what if it was just a (now dispersed) bit of trapped wind?
We arrived home full of coffee, a lengthy four hours later, having been wowed by the professionalism of the staff at the Evelina. The way they interacted with her, building up a relationship which allowed Tigs to trust them enough to do what they needed was a magical thing to watch. Tigs had a full check, with the best doctors I have ever had to put my faith into. She charmed them all with her one direction pyjamas and bespectacled adorable face. Wide awake, being polite and talkative, lapping up all the attention from the staff.
We saw London by night, in all it’s beauty and glory; Tigs believed she was really in ‘Mary Poppins’.
We have an amazing photo of us, in front of Big Ben and the River Thames, at three a.m. I’m almost tempted to share it with you. Almost.
It will certainly be one of the memories of our childrens young years we’ll always laugh back at (Thankfully). It’ll also (hopefully) go down in history as the only time we have ever driven into the city, from our well connected suburbia.
The doctors put it down to a viral spasm in the stomach. My parenting intuition tells me it was something even less sinister than that. Like a kid, that went trump in the night.