Harriet is the daughter of my friend Jayne. Now Jayne is most definitely my oldest friend, we go waaaaaay back! All the way back to when I was born for Jayne and her family have been a part of my life since I was in the womb.
I’ve lived in Ibiza with her. She was my Mum’s chief bridesmaid. I have flown across the other side of the world to see her… twice! (She lived in Australia for a few years). I’ve worked for her in the most fun job I ever did – working in Stanley’s Cafe in Preston, I even sang at her wedding. She has always been a big part of my life, as you can see from our little picture montage that resides in my kitchen:
The day she told me she was pregnant with her son Hugo I cried tears of joy and then finding out we were both pregnant at the same time in 2010 was just fantastic! Doing the old wive’s tales of rings over our bumps to guess the sex of our babies whilst a 3 year old Hugo ran round my house starkers was one particular memory for me that stands out.
Our pregnancies flew by, Blake arrived and the date Harriet would be making an appearance in the world was set and Jayne was booked in for a caesarian on 16th December 2010. Having given birth to Blake 3 weeks earlier, I was very excited about the new impending Croft arrival. Jayne was living down south at the time so I knew it would be a while before we got to meet Harriet but I was excited about seeing a photo of her and chatting to Jayne about Motherhood second time around. I’ve always looked up to Jayne and am constantly in awe of how she fantastic she is as a parent and how easy it all seems to come to her so it was reassuring to know she was there, experiencing it too and able to be on hand for advice and a listening ear.
The 16th of December 2010 came and went. With no text message to announce the birth I did the Facebook stalky thing and went online to see if any photos had been posted or details of weight, time born etc on Jayne, her husband Andy or Mum Sam’s Facebook profiles. Nothing. Now, having just had a baby myself I knew how much of a whirlwind it was and just presumed we might have been accidentally missed off the round robin message to announce Harriet’s birth. I sent Jayne messages to say I hoped she was OK and wasn’t too tired from sleepless nights. I phoned my sister and my Mum to see if they had heard anything but nobody had. That’s when the worry started to set in. The worry that was confirmed on the 19th of December in text from Andy to say that Jayne had had complications after the birth and had been in intensive care. The phone call we eventually had with one another is all a bit of a blur and I couldn’t tell you whether it was a few days, or a few weeks later but I just remember Jayne’s voice being hoarse from the tubes that were down her throat and an emotional struggle to tell her story. I will never forget her saying “I nearly died. I nearly left my children without a Mummy” and the tears that followed from us both.
So, Harriet’s birthday, whilst a joyous occasion, will ultimately always carry a hint of sadness, relief and gratitude for the day Jayne nearly wasn’t here and flashbacks for Andy and her Mum Sam who had the daunting task of caring for Harriet during those first few anxious days of her life.
On Harriet’s birthday this year, Blake and I were invited to sleepover the night before which was brilliant as it meant we were there when Harriet awoke and opened her presents. I know Jayne has enjoyed the videos I did for my niece Sophia and Blake’s birthday so I offered to bring my camera and capture this special day. I also wanted to do it so that Jayne’s Mum and Dad, Sam and John, could experience it too. They live in Australia and I know they miss their grandchildren very much. It was great to have them there on Skype in the morning though – how wonderful is modern technology???
So, Jayne, Andy, Sam and John this is for you. Get your tissues at the ready, Happy 2nd Birthday Harriet.