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Powerless parent in hands of professionals

Caring for our baby: our columnist is full of praise for the maternity ward nurses and doctors at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital

So let me start with a joke. What do you call a group of parents? A worry (cue rimshot). That might only be funny to me, but maybe it’s best to be lighthearted during times like this! If I can’t be happy now, when can I be happy? There is a peculiar feeling that arises when you have to leave your newborn children to go home at night.

Even more peculiar when you can see your children, but sometimes you can’t hold them, or even touch them; a powerlessness which is different from helplessness or hopelessness.

These past few weeks I haven’t felt helpless, and my wife and I have always had hope. Having to rely on a team of doctors and nurses, with all their equipment, does give rise to a sense of powerlessness I’ve never felt before.

It’s all in their hands. We’re brand new to this. This feeling of powerlessness offers opportunity, and perspective. I don’t think it’s a negative state of being. Just one you have to get used to. Powerlessness focuses energy on the things you can control.

It’s not lost on me how fortunate we have been these past few weeks. Had my children been born in another country, at a different time, they might not have received the care and treatment they needed to survive. And we’re not out of the woods yet. But things are looking up!

Incubators are a marvel and a test. My dad was doing a bit of reading about their history and apparently one of the inventors of the incubator kept premature children in an incubator for public viewing in fairs, shows and exhibits in New York in the early 1900s in order to build interest in their use. How far we’ve come!

What am I learning? Everything, all over again. All those books I wrote about needing to read before? They feel very helpful and very useless all at once, but they were never meant to be an exact guide I suppose. I’ve never witnessed so much fragility and strength rolled into one (two!) package(s).

I’d like to thank the maternity ward nurses and doctors for all the care and diligence they have given to my children. It’s also Nurses Month at the King Edward maternity ward, I encourage you to thank a nurse when you can too. They are tireless, patient, resourceful and kind.

Back to being a full-fledged dad. People have told me that it’s possible to be more tired than how I feel right now — I’m just not ready to believe it. But it’s awesome. A sense of duty pulls the sleep out of you. It could also be adrenalin or endorphins, but either way, I wouldn’t trade the feeling for the world. It’s amazing watching these girls grow and seeing them strive to reach the next stage in their development — I can’t wait for what comes next.