To my beautiful, crazy middle child,
People talk about “middle child syndrome”. They say the youngest and the oldest get all the attention, and the middle just plods along. At best, just quietly going about their business. At worst, ignored and not thought about.
You, my darling middle child, are no different. I’m not proud of it. I try my best to make it not so. But you are quiet, polite, hard working and eager to please. Your elder sister and brother, and your younger sister and brother, are hard work. They command attention, for various reasons. They are beautiful too, inside and out. But because of being a teenager/toddler, or because of having their own (suspected but undiagnosed) issues, they take more effort. You are none of those things. You’re just you.
You were never supposed to be the middle child. You were meant to be the youngest. We were stopping at three. But you made your presence well and truly felt, before you were even born.
27 weeks – kidney stones. I thought I was in early labour. Then the real pain hit, and I thought I was dying. Even morphine didn’t touch it. I’ve never known pain like it. Even giving birth didn’t come close. The relief when I passed those two little bits of gravel was immense. But I was left with a dilated kidney, and was on strong painkillers for the rest of my pregnancy.
33 weeks – Severe vomiting, resulting in dehydration and hospital admission. They sorted me out, were ready to let me go. But then they noticed my eyes were jaundiced.
34 weeks – My fears were confirmed, Obstetric cholestasis. My wonderful planned homebirth, gone. Induction and resulting c-section at 37 weeks.
Then at 6 weeks we could have lost you. Bronchilitis meant you spent 4 days, the scariest 4 days of my life, in high dependency.
Your pregnancy and birth haunted me. It wasn’t supposed to be like that. My last experience of pregnancy couldn’t be my body failing me, failing you. I couldn’t get over it. So we decided to have your sister. Then your brother surprised us all, almost 5 years later. So here you are, the middle child.
But I want to reassure you my darling, you are not forgotten. You are not any less loved, or any less appreciated. We adore your quirky ways, the way your eyes twinkle when you laugh. Your odd sense of humour and those expressions you pull when you’re telling a story or having a rant.
We see you. You are part of us, our family. And we wouldn’t change you for anything.
All my love,