So. The big trip up north to parade Nancy around the relatives. The actual journey wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I think I was more panicky about food than Nancy, so we had to stop 10 miles out of Brighton to buy 2 packet sandwiches, a twirl, 2 packets of crisps, a family size bag of maltesters, a big bottle of coke, and whatever Ben wanted.
First stop was Ben’s parents for the night, where Ben’s Nana was introduced to her great grand child, having only been told that morning that she existed. I don’t think she really knew what to make of Nancy, and asked several times who the little boy was, but thanks to a big print out of her face which Ben had written her name on, she had a reference point when she looked at her. On the return journey via Ben’s folks, I introduced Nancy to Nana again, to which she said ‘oh no not Nancy, I like Elizabeth but not Nancy.’ And when Ben introduced her again an hour later she exclaimed ‘no he’s not’ so it might take a little while.
Next was the trip to Newcastle, were Nancy met her other Great Grandma and a great auntie and uncle. Grandma put on a massive spread of sandwiches, baps, chips, pease pudding, roast potatoes, crisps and éclairs for the four of us (Grandma had eaten before we’d arrived.) We then took Nancy for a walk in her pram down to the cliff edge to see the boats, where she had her first blast of North Sea air. From there we went to Ben and B’s house, where Alex and Eloise were introduced to their cousin for the first time and both showered her in snotty kisses. Aged 2 they were intrigued and in love with Nancy, it was also an insight into toddlers for Ben and me.
We then drove down to Lincolnshire to stay firstly at dads, and then mum’s house. Their friends came round to have a squeeze with their grandchild and the look on both mum and dad’s face when they held Nancy made the journey more than worthwhile. It was while in Lincolnshire though that Nancy started to get off colour. It started with not being able to go for a poo, and then it was projectile vomit in the morning. When you picked her up she screamed, and it was a new scream, one that sounded filled with pain and discomfort, and when she fed, she pulled off wincing. On top of this she had a cold, and kept sneezing. Looking at a little person whose feeling unwell but can’t tell you what’s wrong is heart breaking. As well as makes you feel like a rubbish mum. I was told how breastfed babies don’t get poorly, which didn’t help matters as she’s breastfed and clearly ill. By Friday night, when back at Ben’s parents house, I was getting really worried. She didn’t seem to be getting any better, and was looking pale. As we drove back to Brighton on Saturday, Nancy woke from a fitful sleep screaming, and as we pulled off the motorway and took her out her car seat, she was drenched in sweat and bright red in the face from crying. We spoke to NHS direct who advised us to take her to the hospital, and a sense of relief washed over me. At last someone else can share the responsibility, and tell me what’s wrong with her instead of me making half arsed guesses.
The moment we walked into the children’s ward, Nancy calmed down and started smiling and gurgling at the nurses and doctors. As we explained how upset she had been, Nancy kicked her arms and legs playfully, and as we explained about her hard stomach and constipation, Nancy did the mother of all poos. Ben and my explanation of her condition was followed up with, ‘I know it doesn’t look like it now.’ The doctor was lovely though, and tested her for all manner of things, then Nancy and I stayed in the hospital for the night. The following day a new doctor started his shift, and looking at her blood tests, it showed she had a slight virus which would explain her discomfort and stomach ache. At last there was a reason. And although I hated seeing Nancy ill, it was such a relief to know that something was wrong, that it wasn’t life threatening, that she’d get better soon, and that we weren’t doing anything wrong. At last, after a bloody long week, we could go home again.