We’re finally home! I never thought I’d be so excited to see our little farmhouse with all its flaws and eccentricities. But the sight of it on Friday afternoon was a highlight of 2017. There’s no way around it, the past year and a bit since Hattie was born has been hard. The year culminated in another 10-week stint at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, where our beautiful daughter Hattie had life-saving heart surgery. No child should ever have to go through what she has. On her first birthday our sassy, cheeky and strong-willed daughter was lying lifeless in PICU, intubated, sedated and awaiting heart surgery. I don’t want to sound too dramatic but things were grim, surgery was not an option, it was a necessity as she simply could no longer breath on her own and her heart was failing. We met with Hattie’s surgeon the night before the big day and he basically explained he would decide what to do once he had put her heart on bypass and could see how things were. It was complex, she was younger than they would of hoped for and her combination of conditions meant the surgery wasn’t routine. I dutifully assessed the sturdiness of his hands while he talked about things I couldn’t and didn’t want to understand. Sometimes in hospital it’s hard to take in all the information, but it’s the smaller things that you notice. Like if the cardiologist wants to talk to you – you’re interesting and that’s a bad thing. Or the night Hattie’s nurse shed tears. I couldn’t understand the medical side of things, but when a cardiology nurse is crying, as a mother you know things are not good. Hattie was having CPR within two hours of the tears. But after all the drama and the heartache, in the end we got the best result – the cardiologists have said things have gone better than they had hoped for. We couldn’t be more grateful and relieved. Once the surgery was complete it was a slower than normal wake up. And when Hattie finally did start to wake up, she then had to go through weeks of withdrawals from all the drugs she had been given in PICU. Think of a drug addict writhing on the floor in pain, sweating, screaming, vomiting from the pain and demanding their next hit. That was our princess, still suffering after all she had been through. Hands down it was worse than surgery, your baby screaming, no sound coming out as her vocal chords were still recovering from intubation, and there’s really nothing you can do but sing to her and have an occasional cuddle when allowed around all her pacing wires, drains, catheter, monitors etc. Through it all Hattie pined for the farm. Once we could get her out and about, she would cry when we took her back into the ward and loved spending time out in the park. You can take the girl out of the country … We finally returned home two nights ago and feel blessed to be back on our farm and planning the years ahead with our little farmher by our side. We have some big plans for 2018 in the pipeline – progress may have been stalled in recent months but we are still on target to launch two new enterprises this year. Stay tuned for more details. And through it all we were supported by some dedicated family and friends. My mother was in Melbourne for the duration, doing whatever needed to be done, including a lot of washing and cooking dinners. Special friends who have previous hospital experience were also invaluable in keeping me together – thank you! Our community also stepped in to help on the farm, which we are ever so grateful for. Rural communities are full of little treasures who will lend a hand at the drop of a hat and we are truly grateful for all your assistance. So, on reflection, 2017 was tough but we still have so much to be thankful for. There will still be challenges ahead in 2018. Whether they be health related or waiting for that ever important autumn break, we choose to have a positive outlook and we can’t wait to see what our family’s hard work achieves this year.
HAPPY TO BE HOME: Natasha, Harriet, 1, and Dean Lobban, at home at Kilmuir Farm, on New Year's Eve 2017.
OH BABY: Hattie was happy to be home on her farm. She is enjoying lots of pram walks to reacquaint herself with all "her" animals.
FAMILY TIME: The Lobbans back in February 2017, with Hattie enjoying her first ATV ride.
KILMUIR FAMILY: A little Hattie with her "brother" Norbett. He's pretty happy we're home too.