Since we found out Georgie was ill we received a lot of support and practical help, for which we are enormously grateful.
One of the other things we found really helpful was talking to people who have been through the same experience or similar.
So here are pieces of advice we found precious and have been clinging on:
1. Don’t blame yourself!
I have wracked my brain trying to figure out if I did something that might have caused the onset of Georgie’s leukemia. Was it that McDonald’s meal? The stress I had during pregnancy? Taking him to have his vaccines? The “what ifs” are torturous but the reality is that we have done nothing to have caused his illness.
It just happened.
To an apparently healthy baby.
And there was nothing we could have done to prevent it.
2. Don’t ask “Why?”
A father whose baby went through a similar experience told us something that left us breathless. He had prayed a lot about his baby’s illness and God asked him: “Why not?”
We are not guaranteed a trouble-free life when we are born into this world. Bad things happen. Even to sweet, innocent babies.
3. Trust the medical expertise
We have a handful of wonderful doctors and loads of nurses looking after Georgie. And we believe they are doing their very best to help. They are knowledgeable and have experience far above our own knowledge and experience. Ad we feel they are fighting this fight alongside us. It would be foolish not trusting them and being on two different sides!
4. Keep positive
Parents whose babies/small children survived cancer told us that during their ordeal they kept 100% positive and never even contemplated the other option. Babies and small children are very sensitive to our tone of voice and can easily “read” our emotions so by staying positive and trusting God you are setting an example. The opposite is also true.
5. Buy gear that makes life easier for you and baby during treatment
Georgie has a central line that needs accessed several times a day. A mummy who has been through the very same experience advices me to buy baby vests that open at the front so that Georgie doesn’t get upset when his central line is used. Valuable advice!
6. Take one day at the time!
Some days are tough, with fever running high and emotions running low. Take them as they come, give your burdens to God and wait for the following day. It is generally not as bad as the one you are living.
7. Accept help
Our church has been wonderful organising a meal rota for us. We felt humbled by their offer but came soon to appreciate the help. Yes, I am in the house every so often but my mind in not in cooking or cleaning the house. I use the precious time I have to create memories for Emma, to shop for things we have run out of and sometimes, to just crush in bed.
8. Enjoy your child
Yes, Georgie has tubes sticking out and sometimes it is hard to hold him but I always try to give him plenty of cuddles when we are together. I am his mummy and this is my main role: to love, comfort and encourage my baby to live, thrive and enjoy his life!
If you have been through a similar experience, please do share your advice! We find it truly useful!