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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.