JUMBO UPDATE 6 September 2013


Our little Jumbo baby Catherine had her first birthday this week and it really brought back memories of the day that we brought the tiny little preemie baby home and the events leading up to this.

On the morning of the 3rd September Louise had come across at 5am to join Moses and I for our morning cup of coffee as she had done for the past 6 months. Well Louise and I had coffee and Moses tried to put his trunk into the handles of the coffee mugs. Louise looked very strange as she had an extremely swollen face to the extent that I could hardly see her eyes, her fingers were swollen to the extent that she could not close her hands and in fact her entire body was double its normal size. My first reaction was that she must have an allergic reaction to something and we looked around for some ant-histamine tabs but the only ones I had in stock had expired and so ( once it was a little later and the rest of the world had woken up) we went next door to see if Colleen had any anti-histamine, she took one look at Lou and said that she strongly recommended that we went straight to the hospital as she thought it was something rather more serious than an allergic reaction which we did – thank goodness. The Doc took one look at Lou and diagnosed pre-eclampsia which he then confirmed after doing a few tests and announced that the baby would be born that day. Louise elected to have an induction rather than a Caesar and she was immediately checked into hospital and put onto a drip to induce labour whilst I went home to inform her partner and get some clothes for her.  Louise was in labour all day, all night and most of the next day and eventually at 5 in the evening of the 4th the Doc announced that she was exhausted and in a critical condition and the baby was distressed and so he was performing a Caesar immediately and by 5.30 we met little Catherine for the first time.


It was an extremely emotional time for me on the one hand I was thrilled and excited to meet my little granddaughter but on the other hand I was very worried as she was not breathing on her own and required an oxygen machine and Louise was extremely pale with blue lips and sunken eyes and the doc was very worried about her. I was torn between needing to be with Moses as it was getting close to bedtime and we had slept together every night for the past 6 months and needing to be with my daughter at the hospital. Eventually I agreed to ask Matimat to please sleep with Moses and decided to spend the night at the hospital. I knew that Moses loved Matimat and was secure with him and was pretty sure that he would be tired enough to lie down next to him on the mattress that night as after all he did spend half of every day with Matimat when I was at work. Thank goodness I did make that decision as a bit later on that night the nurses informed us that they worked day shift at another hospital and so they would be going to sleep and that I needed to make sure that I brought Catherine to Louise to feed as Louise must not under any circumstances lift her head up at all. About an hour after the nurses had gone we experienced a power cut, the hospital was in total darkness and the oxygen machine went off. I grabbed my phone which has a torch so that we could see what we were doing and shouted for the nurses as I knew that the tubes in Catherine’s nose completely blocked her nostrils and if she was not getting oxygen from the machine it would be impossible for her to breathe at all with the tubes still inserted.  No response from anybody and so I took the decision to remove the tubes and see if Catherine would breathe or if I would have to give her CPR. Luckily she yelled and started breathing on her own and we could relax until the nurses eventually woke up to find that there was no power about a n hour later and came running in to remove the tubes. Drama over we settled in for a long night with me dozing in a chair. At 5am when the day shift of nurses came in I couldn’t wait any longer without checking on Moses and so rushed home to see how his night had been. Moses and Matimat were still sleeping when I arrived (how come he woke up and started his day 2 hours earlier when I was sleeping with him!!!!) and they got up as I came into the room. Matimat said that Moses had taken a little longer than normal to go to bed but that by 6.30 he was asleep and that after his initial searching for me he settled into the routine of sleeping for 2 hours, having his bottle and then going back to sleep which was a huge relief. Moses on the other hand was decidedly grumpy with me and would not come to say hello instead he stood with his head in a corner and totally ignored me. I sat down nearby and just waited for a while drinking a cup of coffee and waiting for him to stop sulking It was rather funny as he would keep turning his head to look at me and then when I looked back at him he would pointedly turn back into the corner as if to really show me that I was NOT POPULAR but after 10 mins or so he got tired of being a sulky little elephant and came across to put his trunk around my neck and give me a cuddle.


By mid-morning the Doc had completed his rounds ad checked Louise and Catherine and so we decided to check them out and bring them home. In that way I could have everybody in one place and so would not have to choose where to be and it would actually be much easier at home where we have a generator I case of power cuts etc etc.  and so began Catherine’s life with a rather mixed up assorted family of people, dogs, cats, horses, an elephant and other assorted animals. She arrived home to a huge noisy welcome from the dogs who all wanted to sniff the tiny little thing in her car seat and of course little Moses was not to be left out of this. He was ever so gentle with his explorations of her feet, hands and head with his trunk and from the moment he met her he appointed himself as her guardian.


Our routine resumed as per normal with Louise coming over at 5am but she now had Catherine in her pram as well and every morning Moses would greet her by touching her feet softly with the tips of his trunk. If he ever heard her crying it would get rather upset and come running to find her and comfort her with his trunk. He did think about sharing her bottle on a few occasions but as soon as he saw his own big bottle would abandon the silly little one quickly. He was really funny at bath time as he would put his trunk into the water each time almost as if he was testing the temperature of the water before we put the baby in ( although in actual fact I think he just enjoyed playing with the warm water. Our evening walks consisted of the dogs running in front of us, Moses walking just behind the pram with Catherine in it, Louise and I, 2 or sometimes 3 cats behind us and the donkey bringing up the rear.

Although Catherine will probably never remember the 3 glorious months she had with an elephant as he protector she has already developed a huge affinity to animals. Her first word was “titty” as she tried to say kitty who are her favourite animals of all. Every time she sees a cat she say titty titty then tries to call them saying psss psss and as soon as they get close enough she rests her head on them and strokes them. She loves the dogs and makes kissing sounds to call them – feeding her is a bit of a nightmare at time as it is one bite for Catherine and one bite for the dogs who are very gentle and take food very carefully from her hands. Visiting the horses is cause for great excitement and she clicks her tongue to call them them and chuckles when they come galloping up. She loves Mistletoe the zebra but as she does tend to bite on occasion has not been allowed to touch her and she adored Poley the little duiker who was with us for a few weeks and she even got involved with feeding Poley her bottle ( although it was a few sips for Poley and then a sip for Catherine unless Granny stopped the sips for Catherine). Lucky little girl has a huge family of animals and as one of our friends said “animal planet on TV is like a reality show for Catherine