After everything that’s gone on in the last seven months, I never thought I would be writing a post like this any time soon. I daren’t have even dreamt of it. Once, in hospital, I looked up how much travel insurance would be for a week’s holiday with a four year old who had Clara’s medical conditions. I was just dreaming, of course, keeping my spirits up that one day we might make it on a family trip somewhere sunny. I parked my thoughts and focused all my attention on getting my little girl home.
But, we’ve made it, already. At 7 months old, Clara traveled to Italy.
You might argue we’re slightly mad, or totally mad. We’d only been home just over a month, and not even a month off TPN. But if there’s one thing Clara’s life has taught us is that life is for living – it’s valuable. It’s about laughter, experiences, memories, family. It’s about enjoying the now. And that we did.
We spent a week in Northern Italy, walking the ‘Tappeinerweg’ (a mountain path with stunning views over the Alpine town of Merano), exploring the northern shore of Lake Garda in Riva del Garda, splashing about in the base of the Parcines waterfall in the soaring heat, standing under Juliet’s balcony in Verona, and spending some incredible time with family.
Clara went in a swimming pool for the first time in her life and loved it! We’ll definitely be signing her up to baby swim classes now we’re home.
With 20 family members together, celebrating my grandparents 55th wedding anniversary, the trip was too wonderful an opportunity to miss. It was the one thought which painfully stayed with me back when April turned to May, and May turned to June, when we were working towards home but with years of TPN ahead of us. It wasn’t the travel I was sad to think we’d miss – it was the family being together. It was the missed photographs of Clara with her great grandparents, and great-great aunt and uncle. I am now beyond happy to know we’ve captured those moments, we’ll treasure them always.
I still can’t believe we made it. Every day we said to ourselves, “how are we here?!”
The Italian air clearly did Clara wonders – by the second day she was sitting up on her own without support, desperate to stand up all the time – she just seemed to grow overnight. She was eating loads! Admittedly I found it hard not to worry about how much milk she was having – I didn’t want her to get dehydrated in the hot temperatures. I probably overfed her as we did have more leaky nappies than normal, I hadn’t quite nailed down our formula routine by then either. (I’ll do a separate blog post on travelling with a seven month old.)
Clara’s come on so far in the two months we’ve now been home – this trip was the break we needed to split this year in half. To start the rest of my maternity leave as we mean to go on. It’s the start of many an adventure for you my little lady.