ONE STEP AT A TIME
WOMAN - UK|October 26, 2020
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Toni-Louise Worthington was told by doctors her son would never walk, but Oliver was determined to prove them wrong
FIONA KINLOCH, RIA NEWMAN

As a parent, the excitement you feel in each of your child’s milestones is unrivalled. The first time they smile, sit up, or crawl, is met with a huge round of applause. And when they take their first wobbly steps, a look of determination on their face before they drop to the floor with a huge smile, Mum and Dad are usually blinking back happy tears, holding up a camera to capture the moment. I imagined all those things when my son Oliver was born. What I didn’t imagine was hours spent at hospital, hundreds of tests and machines to help him do the things we take for granted. Yet, now, the sense of pride I feel when he reaches a milestone is overwhelming – because of just how much we’ve been through to get there.

My fiancé Stephen and I had always wanted children, so when I got pregnant in late 2015, we were thrilled. After a textbook pregnancy, we welcomed Oliver in July 2016, weighing 8lb 14oz. His birth was complicated as he got stuck, which was a life-threatening complication, and I suffered from polyhydramnios – a condition where there’s too much amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. Despite it all, he arrived healthy, had a dark head of hair just like his dad, and dark eyes like me. And as I held him for the first time, I couldn’t believe we had made something so perfect.

But when we were back at home, we noticed Oliver wasn’t breastfeeding well and found it difficult to suckle. We weren’t too worried as we’d heard some babies take a while to get used to it. But then he kept arching his back and, knowing something wasn’t right, at four months old we took him to our GP. We were told it was likely reflux, and that he’d grow out of it. When Oliver was six months old, I took him to sensory classes and was so excited for him to meet other babies and learn new things. But week after week, I saw the other children progress with their development while Oliver stayed the same.

Falling behind

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October 26, 2020