Ivy and Noah


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The Infusion Lounge.

The lounge is busy today.

Standing room only,

when we arrive.

For an hour we stand by the kitchenette


Our favourite nurse walks by;

“It’ll be a long wait today” she sighs

and her eyes flick to the two little people with me.

One is here

because he has no other choice


I guess

the little girl is too.

My head is throbbing with stress by the time a recliner becomes available.

Noah clearly thinks that being in the small feeder ward

is not part of his grand plan today

and he has been lying spread eagle on the floor

driving his train engines on imaginary tracks.

No matter how many times I’ve begged him to use his inside voice

his seems to be the loudest here.

It probably isn’t


we are the only young family

in a sea of empty nesters, the elderly, the frail.

One woman sleeps, one is reading but most of them are looking

straight at us.

Two hours in and I have fed the little birds

all of my resources.

They look to me with open squarking beaks.

I have nothing left

I was expecting to be almost home by now.

The air is heavy as I try to bargain with the boy who is sick of sitting still

and only wants to be outside.

Beads of sweat form above my lip

as he asks me for the fifteenth time in ten minutes if Ivy has finished

and if he can pleeeeeeeease go outside

to chase the pigeons.

I shush him, stroke his hair.

He does not have the patience of his twin.

She is still,

has barely moved,

her legs curled underneath

two dolls share her space

and her conversation.

I think that they might be having a tea party

and how much I would like to join them

when a nurse appears and says it is our turn.

Noah climbs into the chair and places his hospital approved goggles on his face.

“I’m a doctor too,” he proclaims.

“See, I have the gorgels, my gorgels, just like you.”

The nurse chuckles as she cleans the numbing cream from Ivy’s chest.

The site looks sore and angry

and she seethes and shakes with each swipe of the clorhexidine.

“Is it sore?” I ask

and she looks at me, her eyes tight.

“Remember your breathing” I say

and she takes a huge cleansing breath

in through her nose

and pushes the pain out into the world

just like we have practiced.

I see her shoulders relax a little

and so we do it again and again

until the swabbing is finished.

I stroke her hand.

I croon to her.

It’s all I can do, now that we are in the sterile field.

I tell Noah;

“you need to keep still”

and so he jiggles in his seat and bashes his train onto the arm rest.

I sigh.

This is hard for him too.

I pick him up and put him onto a saddle stool,

tell him not to spin

but within moments he has done at least ten circuits and I don’t know where to look.

I try to be everywhere but Ivy needs me to soothe

and Noah needs my guidance.

Suddenly the gripper needle is there and the nurse palpates the port

obviously nervous.

She is not our usual nurse but she is nice

and has a kind face.

Ivy grabs my hand.

I put a couple of Rescue Remedy jubes in her mouth

and begin the routine of talking her through.

She is so good

and without any trouble at all the needle pierces her skin

and finds it’s way into the membrane of the catheter.

I exhale.

I know that I hold my breath.

It’s all I can do to stop myself from grabbing the needle and throwing it as far as I can.

The nurse pulls back on the syringe

but instead of blood

comes nothing.

She tries again

and again


we both know she has missed.

She slumps down,

almost into Ivy’s lap.

“I missed” she whispers.

Ivy already knows and when I tell her that we will have to go again

she places her palm to the sky and waits for me to give her more of the rescue lollies.

She looks straight ahead and I wonder if I should try to do anything,

say anything

or if it is all pointless.

The nurse repeats the steps and when she pulls on the syringe

it seems as though the whole of the lounge is holding it’s collective breath this time

but no blood flashes back.

“Oh no.” says a man who  has been trying to teach Noah how to wink.

“Oh no”. says the nurse with the kind face.

She looks like she is going to throw up.

A position change and another attempt yield nothing except for a look of terror from

my girl.

I can see she is starting to panic.

It’s not so much the needle as the anticipation


she knows.

They are going to have to try again.

“I can’t do this to her again” the nurses cries, “I won’t”

and she peels away her gloves.

I need to turn away.

My legs are shaking and my throat has closed in on itself.

How can I let them keep doing this?

Time and time again,

jab after jab after jab.

I stand there.

I comfort Ivy.

I tell Noah for the thirtieth time that it’s not over and the pigeons have gone to lunch.

I soothe the nurse.

I don’t do any of the things I would like to do.


Fall in a heap.

Grab the pair and run.





The trolley is swiftly cleaned and set up again.

A new sterile field created.

A new nurse.

One we have not met before but she too is gentle.

They all are.

She talks her way through the procedure.

It is both comforting and disconcerting all at once.

Finally the gripper needle comes forward and punctures her skin, a small tear drop of blood leaks from the site.

Ivy gasps, the sting, the pressure, the pain is starting to get too much.

Behind me I hear Noah suck in his breath in a twin commiseration

the nurse,

the man

and I

all wait

as the syringe is pulled back.


There is blood!

I have never been so happy to see it.

The whole room smiles

and I hear a gentle conversation begin amongst the patrons.

I feel as though I can breathe again.

One nurse jokes that I need to go and lie down, that I look like death warmed up today.


The kind faced nurse apologises and thanks the successor.

I thank them both (how odd it is to thank someone for inflicting pain, I think).

We all smile

and I tell Noah

it’s time to go.

Ivy looks up at me and I see she is okay

and  once the sterile field is broken I scoop her up and tell her how proud of her I am

how brave she is

and we walk into the afternoon

with another week to recover.

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40 Responses to “The Infusion Lounge.”

  • trish (587 comments.):

    hugs & tears, I can’t imagine you having to watch her go through this.She is so brave. Poor Noah too.

  • rachel (1 comments.):

    oh my god, i was on the edge of my seat with fingers and toes clenched and tears brimming for you all. i hate the pain she has to go through…but i have to tell you that your writing here is beautiful. really one of the most touching and vivid things i have read in ages.

  • Missy Boo (67 comments.):

    I forgot to breathe a few times reading your post. Then I got angry that the beautiful Ivy, the adorable Noah and lovely you had to go through that xoxox

  • Bri (53 comments.):

    Ivy is so brave and strong.
    YOU are so brave and strong.

    And Noah is Noah, and I am thankful for him too.


  • Flicka (11 comments.):

    I was weeping for all of you as I read this. It’s not fair…I can’t imagine the scars your mother-heart must bear. *hugs*

  • alisa:

    hi , just read your blog ,thinking of you all . we send our love and best wishes to you .

    hope ivy is feeling ok tonight . xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Veronica (102 comments.):

    Wow. You write it so well. xx

  • Ali (45 comments.):

    Am blown away by your writing and by the day that you’ve had in equal measure. Hugs for you and those gorgeous twins. x

  • Miss Ash (89 comments.):

    Oh. My. God. Tiff, I think this is the first time you’ve described this so thoroughly. I am mortified.
    Humbly, I lift you and your family up in my thoughts and prayers.
    And help send you all the love you need in this lifetime. Such a strong little girl. Such a strong Noah & Mommy, too.

  • Marylin (26 comments.):

    Oh god Tiff, I can’t imagine how hard that must’ve been for you. Ivy is such a strong lil girl. You are such a wonderful mummy to her. You know, I bet it helped her having Noah there.
    Lots of love to you all. xxx

  • Tricia (169 comments.):

    Tiff, I felt the emotions you were describing so acutely that I found myslef holding my breath and when I let the breath out, tears began streaming down my face. I am so sorry you and your little ones have to go through this so often. I will keep praying for a cure. I imagine all eyes were on your little ones not because they were too loud, but because they served as a welcome distraction from the reason for being there today. May God abundantly bless you and yours.

  • heidi (11 comments.):

    God, you are something, Tiff. And so is your girl.
    I smiled at Noah wanting to see the pigeons and not being able to use his inside voice. Ben can’t either and he is obsesses with chasing pigeons.

    You are a beautiful soul, Tiff.

  • Jennette:

    Oh my god, I don’t know how you managed it Tiff. Nor Noah, and certainly not sweet Ivy.
    Me, just a blog-friend has a breaking heart reading this. You sure know how to write, to put us there with you. I wish we could really have been there with you giving real support….but then again, what I really wish is that you didn’t need to be there at all.

  • peskypixies (99 comments.):

    oh hon,
    your writing is brilliant!!!

    I was there……right there…..with you………living every moment with you.

    hugs to you all.

  • Hyphen Mama (316 comments.):

    Oh wow. I can hardly type through the tears. That poor sweet Ivy. What a trooper. And OHMYGOD to be the mummy who can do nothing to stop the pain. I just want to take you both into my arms and hug you tight.

  • Mum:

    What a time you all had of it! What a shame that so much pain needs to be inflicted for treatment to continue…..it just all seems so wrong. I guess the positive side (if there is one) is that this procedure is still a better option than the same number of attempts at cannulation and an extended time in hospital. At this rate it wouldn’t surprise if there isn’t a callous developing around the site to de-sensitise the skin a little, or maybe some scar tissue. I had to smile a little, though, when you had to tell Noah that the pigeons had gone to lunch. Beautiful, heartfelt insight into what has become a weekly sojourn for my girl, her girl and her boy. xoxo

  • Kristine Brite (3 comments.):

    I love your writing. Love everything you write. So beautiful. When you tell Ivy to take a cleansing breath, I realized I was holding my breath and took a cleansing breath with her. You are all such a brave family. Lots of love.

  • Jeanette (275 comments.):

    I don’t know how you do it, I really don’t. I’m in tears just reading that.
    Ivy has to be the bravest child I know of.

  • Sally-Jane (1 comments.):

    no mother should ever have to go through that!
    I hope that being able to write the words down helps you to process the pain
    Strength to you all

  • PlanningQueen (63 comments.):

    I am not sure if it is just because I am incredibly tired Tiff, but that made me cry. It must be agonising to have to go through that for both you and Ivy… and little Noah too.

  • [...] You wouldn't know to look at her but yesterday was not a great day at the Infusion Lounge. [...]

  • Oh honey, I cannot believe all that Ivy (and you) have had to endure.

    I’m sorry I’ve totally sucked being a bloggy friend and haven’t stopped by for a while. But I am still here thinking of you and sending lots of prayers to Ivy.

  • Kelley @ Magnetoboldtoo (274 comments.):

    oh babe. I was right there with you.

    Kiss ALL those kids for me.

  • HappyCampers (48 comments.):

    I can’t fathom what you are going through…but I do remember vividly the 13 sticks it took to find a blood vein after they had almost all collapsed in my 3 year old son…and my heart aches for you and having to sit and feel helpless. Be strong and know that I am praying for you…strength for the Mama can move mountains.


  • Tara R. (19 comments.):

    Your words and writing are incredible, and how brave your daughter is. I was holding my breath the whole while reading.

  • Barbara (114 comments.):

    Oh my. I don’t know what to say. Just (((hugs))).

  • Kat (90 comments.):

    Crying all the way over here in Los Angeles.
    Beautifully written.
    You are extraordinary – and so is Ivy – and so is Noah – but this is ordinary life for you. I hate that you have to go through it – Ivy herself, and all of you, the suffering you go through because you love her and her pain hurts you, too. I wish I could take it away.

  • Janice (5minutesformom) (4 comments.):

    Holding my breath too as I read!!! I am sooooo sorry you all have to endure this! Little Ivy is soooo brave!!!!! She is incredible and so r u!

  • Deeanne:

    Oh Tiff, I have tears in my eyes and my toes are clenched reading this, your al so, so brave, hugs to you all xx

  • Zoey @ Good Goog (54 comments.):

    There’s nothing you can really say – such a brave little girl. Makes me want to bake you lasagna or a comfort food of your choice.

  • Kristin (Wanderlust) (23 comments.):

    Wow. Just wow. My heart was in my throat as I read this. Bless her heart. Bless all of you. xx

  • Brenda (33 comments.):

    You and your kids are just amazing, Tiff! Always full of strength.xx

  • Megan at Writing Out Loud (10 comments.):

    Wow. That’s amazing.

  • Hear Mum Roar (1 comments.):

    I think all three of you did really well. I’m so glad you had kind staff to help you through this

  • Shelly at Tropical Mum (1 comments.):

    That has made me all teary-eyed. You have written it so well.

    What a brave little girl your Ivy is.

  • Christie - HomeGrown (2 comments.):

    I’m sorry you have to go through this pain. Your writing definitely took me on a journey, beautiful.

  • Kelly Be A Fun Mum (5 comments.):

    poor, poor thing! It so hard to see your children in pain.

  • nellbe (2 comments.):

    oh Tiff, what a strong family you are.

  • Kate:

    Wow, Tiff. I don’t know how you do it, or little Ivy. What a brave, brave little girl she is! I’m in tears reading this. Big hugs to you and little Ivy!!

  • Shawnanne:

    Wow-I was on the edge of my seat and holding my breath as I read this. You are a strong woman and my heart goes out to you and Ivy and your whole family. I only knew bits and pieces from Project365 but this gives me even more insight to the beautiful person you are. You have endured so much heartache. I’m glad that you have your blog and your project to chronicle your feelings and do something for YOU because you are doing so much for everyone else. HUGS!!

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