Chapter 7 - Arrival

In a delivery room in the Maternity Unit of Leicester General Hospital a heavily pregnant Alison Jackson cried out with an intense and unbearable pain, as she pushed for the last time and a baby boy finally slipped out of her and into the hands of the attending medical team.

A nurse recorded the birth as 06:15 on 6th June 2015 and inwardly smiled, raising her eyebrows in surprise as she wrote the pattern of numbers into the relevant boxes on the form.

Exhausted and relieved, Alison looked on anxiously and excitedly as the midwife cleaned the surprisingly calm new born baby before placing him onto her chest.

Despite the relative coolness of the room, the baby simply nestled contently, seemingly oblivious to the hours of physical and emotional endurance that had taken place earlier that morning.

Overwhelmed with happiness and pride, her husband, Richard looked on, holding his wife’s hand and occasionally kissing her, talking softly with words of comfort and praise. His eyes were filled with tears of happiness and wonder at what he had helped to create and bring into the world.

Upon being gestured, a member of staff took a picture of the new family and in that momentary instance; the baby opened his incredibly deep blue eyes.

He looked up at Richard, registering his face and appearing to smile and then his gaze moved onto Alison’s face, as she sat up slightly, proudly cradling her little bundle of joy.

Their gaze was drawn jointly to look into his eyes which were glowing, captivating, almost hypnotic and with a sudden rush of fear they felt very uneasy and alarmed.

Alison instinctively let out a frighteningly whispered “Oh my God no”, just as a nurse hovering nearby saw the baby’s eyes.  She exclaimed in total shock at the deeply coloured glow and in a panic, called for a Doctor to come over to the delivery room.

Moments later the parents’ happiness quickly gave way to concern as one of the duty Doctors breezed in and walked straight over to the anxious parents, whilst talking to the maternity team.

“Has the baby been weighed, measured and checked yet?” he asks, as the boy glares at this new stranger in the room.

Doctor Thompson walked over to the bedside and carefully carried the infant over to a nearby desk and placed him into some scales.

He recorded the weight at 8 lb and 4 oz, before lifting the boy out and measuring him. Only then did he start looking at his eyes through a scope; equally amazed and intrigued by the sheer depth of the glowing blue azure colour.

Feeling petrified and worried, Alison called out “Is everything alright Doctor. What’s going on?”

He lifted his head and turned slightly to look at her and with considerable concern, but masked by professional and calming reassurance, he explained, “I’ve never seen anything like this before and whilst your baby appears to be well and healthy, I would like to conduct some further tests and would request that both Mum and baby stay on the ward for a few days at least, possibly longer, whilst these take place’.

He returned the baby to Alison, noting that both parents have got brown eyes, but he is forced to leave, as his ward pager bleeps angrily and as he turns to rush out, he announces “I’ll be back later to check on developments but please do not panic and try to remain calm”.

Once out of sight and earshot he quickly made a call on his mobile to a fellow physician to talk to her about the baby with the incredible glowing blue eyes.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life Jenny and believe me you won’t have either; they have an ethereal glow and are just such a deep blue, almost jewel like depth to them. I’d really appreciate it if you could call into the Hospital. When could you come by?”

“Wow, this all sounds eerie and intriguing. I can cancel an appointment and be with you around 3 this afternoon – which ward?”

“Perfect thank you so much. I don’t know whether I should be worried or just amazed, but yeah, meet you on Ward 4, East Wing Maternity. Hang on, second thoughts I’ll put the mother and baby in the private room; just off Ward 5. The name is Jackson, Alison Jackson and I’ll let her know you’re calling in for a second opinion’.

“OK Ian see you later” and with that he hung up and marched back quickly to the delivery room, to make sure that the staff were aware of where he wanted them to take the mother and baby to.

He waved and nodded with a smile at the on-looking parents, before leaving the room, as they simply glanced at each other quizzically, before they both turned to look down at their new born child who quietly gazed up at them smiling.

The midwife followed Doctor Thompson out of the room to ask what was going on and why the need for a private room.

“We need to keep them isolated and we need to keep this as quiet as we can and avoid too many people noticing what’s going on. Just tell the Jacksons that we’re doing this as a precaution and for reasons of sterility, privacy and whatever else you can think of. I’ve got a specialist friend of mine, Jenny Dempster, coming in later to examine the baby. She’ll be here at around 3 this afternoon”.

Later that day, Jenny Dempster arrived at the Hospital Maternity wing and made her way to the private room on Ward 5. She knocked quietly on the door before walking in to assess the scene.

Mum and baby were clearly asleep and the Father looked up from a magazine he was reading. Jenny walked over to introduce herself, gesturing for Dad to stay seated, as she sat down on the chair beside him and placed her briefcase on the floor.

She extended her hand to shake his and whispered “Hi I’m Jenny Dempster, I occasionally work with Doctor Thompson.  He asked me to drop by to have a look at your baby boy; who looks lovely by the way, so congratulations” as she glanced across at him sleeping in a hospital crib.

Richard smiled and fleetingly studied her for a moment before introducing himself. She was tall with shoulder length, auburn hair and hazel green eyes.

“Oh Hi, I’m Richard, my wife Alison and yes, we’re going to call him William, after my Grandfather. Have you come in to check his eyes?”

“Yes I have, but I’m not sure whether I should wake him. How long has he been asleep?”

“Oh about an hour, he went off after Alison drifted off about an hour earlier”.

Amazingly and almost as if he had heard them,  baby William opened his eyes and tilted his head in the direction of where the couple were talking and stared at yet another new stranger, holding her gaze for what seemed like a few minutes, all very quietly and calmly and without even blinking.

“Oh my God” blurted Jenny, “That is unbelievable” and she stood up and walked across to the crib, joined by Richard who reached in to pick the baby up, wrapped in a snuggler. “Hey there little fella, how are you?” he cooed.

Jenny looked on completely mesmerised and astonished by what she was looking at.

“Ian, sorry I mean Doctor Thompson, told me that his eyes were this amazing colour, but I had no idea. This is incredible. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life”

“What do you think is wrong?” Richard asked, looking on anxious with worry.

“I don’t know. I’m not even so sure whether there is anything wrong as such. He seems remarkably calm and accepting of the situation and not at all troubled by his eyes being this way. I need to look at them more closely if that’s OK?” and with that she walked over to her briefcase, retrieved a scope and walked back over to Richard, saying “Could you just hold him still for me for a moment, whilst I take a look with this scope?”

She peered into the eyepiece and adjusted the magnifier to study the image that confronted her, whispering incredulously, as she searched around the left and then the right eye.

There was a pupil at the centre, but instead of it being black it was a deep, dark blue and around it was this slightly glowing, semi-transparent ocean blue of colour in the cornea and iris area. This was surrounded by an otherwise white eye ball, albeit partly tinged in a blue haze, which she figured must be coming from the glow in the iris.

She put the scope down onto the bed and blinked repeatedly, rubbing her eyes back to the normality of the light in the room and exclaiming “Wow, that is just astonishing” as she peered into Richard’s eyes, saying in a raised and excited voice “Doctor Thompson said that you and your Wife have the same coloured eyes, which are obviously quite normal, so this can’t be a genetic influence, which as I’m saying that, is just plain ridiculous, as I can’t even believe what I’m looking at” and as she turned to look back at baby William, Alison stirred and they both turned to look at her.

“Oh Hi darling, are you OK? I’m sorry did we wake you?”

“No … well yes, but it’s OK. I thought I heard a voice in a dream saying wake up and at that moment I became aware of talking in the room and I just came around. Whose this?” as she glanced over at Jenny.

“Oh yes, sorry this is, did you say your name was Jenny?”

“Yes that’s right, Jenny Dempster” and she walked over to greet Alison, “I’m a Consultant Paediatrician and I sometimes work with Doctor Thompson. He asked me to drop by and take a look at William”.

Alison smiled awkwardly as she shook hands with Jenny but without letting go of her grip she said “Do you know what’s wrong with him, can you tell us anything?”

Jenny raised her hands slightly in surprise saying “To be brutally honest no I can’t. I was telling your husband that I’ve never seen anything quite like this before. Your son seems fine. He’s completely untroubled and clearly not in any pain. I’ve had a close look at his eyes whilst you were sleeping and they are just the most incredible glowing colour. I’ve got no idea what could have caused this and frankly I don’t know where to start with researching the problem. Well I’ll rephrase that, as it might not be a problem as such; it’s just highly unusual”

“Doctor Thompson said he was going to conduct some tests or something and we’d have to stay here for a few days, maybe longer” Richard chipped in “but what will that entail?”

“Yes that’s right, we certainly need to conduct some tests and have a closer look at William, probably whilst he’s under an anaesthetic. We could ideally do with scanning him; certainly his head and perhaps his body too for good measure, to see if anything can reveal what’s caused his eyes to be this way.

Alison retorted slightly, still holding and tightening her grip on Jenny’s hand “No, please there’s no way you’re going to operate on him. Please don’t do that. Is it safe to anaesthetise him? He’s just been born for God’s sake!”

Jenny placed her other hand on Alison’s shoulder and talked softly and calmly “Hey please don’t worry we’re not going to open him up or anything; but we are going to have to consider putting him under an MRI scanner but this will have to be in around 10 days’ time. He’ll need to be absolutely still for around an hour, maybe longer, I don’t know at this stage, hence why he’ll have to be sedated. But please don’t worry, sedation is completely safe. We use this practice with premature babies at birth, as it helps with the trauma. I promise you he’ll be OK”.

Alison relaxed her grip on Jenny’s hand and looked anxiously across at Richard who still had William in his arms and said “What do you think honey? What should we do?”

Richard walked over to the opposite side of the bed and offered William to Alison for her to hold him and kissed her on the forehead, as Jenny let go of her hand and stood away, so that Richard could speak quietly and privately.

“Look we know he’s not in pain and he seems so calm and relaxed. They’re not going to conduct anything invasive” he said glancing over at Jenny before returning has focus back onto Alison and William and saying “but we need to know what’s going on and they’re clearly stuck for answers. I’ve heard about babies being anaesthetised and I’m sure Jenny will make sure he comes to no harm” and again he looked across at her and she nodded saying “We’ll take every care with him. He’ll be fine”

William was still awake but fidgeting and nuzzling into the nightie covering Alison’s breast, “Aw look he’s hungry, oh here you are my gorgeous boy” and she lifted him into position so he could suckle on her engorged nipple. She heaved a sigh and gave a relieved looking smile at Richard and nodded her agreement.

Jenny stepped forward once more towards the bed and said “Good that’s good. Thank you. I know it’s very troubling for you both at the moment and all at a time when ideally you should be feeling so happy and relaxed. Well let’s face it someone already is” as she nodded and let out a little laugh as William sucked hard and vigorously, still with his eyes wide open looking up at his mother.

“You’ll need to keep him off his feed for about 4 hours before we take him down to the MRI room and put him under, so I’ll try and make sure you get sufficient notice when the time comes. For now though, please just relax as best as you can and don’t worry too much. I’m sure William is OK really. We just need to find out what’s going on. So, please try and rest. If you want to stay in the room overnight Richard I can get the porter to bring in another bed for you”.

“Would you like me to stay my love?”

“Well yes that would be handy, but you’ll need to go home first and get some things won’t you, so why not go and let me have a sleep, as William will drift off after this feed anyway, so I can see you later”.

Richard acknowledged the plan and kissed his wife on the lips and then kissed his son on the forehead whilst he continued to suckle on his mother’s breast.

He walked over to Jenny who asked if she could walk out with him and they left the room together.

As they walked through the corridors heading in the direction of the exit for the car park, Jenny spoke reassuringly to Richard about the procedure they were planning to undertake on William in due course and she added that he and Alison, if she was up for it, could join her, Doctor Thompson and the MRI team whilst William underwent the scan.

She suddenly stopped and said “Hang on a minute. Look before you go, can I trouble you to come with me to A&E as I could do with taking some blood for analysis from you. We’ve already got Alison’s, normal procedure when she arrived. It’ll mean we get on with the checks whilst you’re sorting yourself out at home and before you come back”

Richard shrugged his shoulders and nodded in agreement and they rerouted off down another corridor.

In a bid to try and get Richard to relax and take his mind off things, Jenny ventured a question to get him talking, “So how long have you and Alison been together?”

“A few years now” he replied. “We were University sweethearts and had met each other in Leicester, I was studying Law and Alison was studying media. After we both graduated, we decided to stay in Leicester and for a while we jointly rented a flat close to the City Centre, before eventually moving out and buying the house we currently live at in Market Harborough”.

“Oh right, so what do you do for a living?”

“I work for a leading law firm and am on track to hopefully to become a partner in the not too distant future”.

“Wow that’s brilliant, well done you. And Alison?”

“She works for herself, using home as an office. She develops promotional marketing material and websites for small businesses, you know that sort of thing”.

“Yes, yes well it’s all necessary if you want to be seen these days isn’t it? Oh look here we are” Jenny replied as they arrived in the A&E ward.

Jenny commandeered a consultation room and a Nurse, requesting that she bring some kit for taking bloods.

“I haven’t had this done for some time” Richard announced as he sat down and rested his arm on the desk.

The Nurse swabbed an area in the crease of his elbow saying “Well I’ll be as gentle as I can. We’ll just place a needle in here” as she pushed a syringe into his vein “and then I’m going to draw off a few phials of blood, so please keep calm and still for me”.

After a few minutes, she withdrew the syringe attachment and was about to wipe the tiny bleeding hole in his arm and give Richard a plaster, when she noticed that the wound was healing up before her very eyes and it unnerved her “Oh my God” she exclaimed with a wild shriek as she looked across at Jenny who was packing the phials into a bag and labelling them.

“What” she replied “What is it?”

The Nurse pointed, her eyes wide and alarmed “His, his arm it has just healed up. Look. Look!”

Jenny rushed over and grabbed Richard’s arm and stared at the area where the injection had been and it was completely repaired, there wasn’t even any beginnings of a bruise. She gasped and looked at him and a rather panic stricken Richard looked back at her.

“What the hell is happening to me!” he exclaimed.

Jenny looked around and asked the Nurse to go and get Doctor Thompson to join them and quickly added for her not to talk to anyone; then she turned back to Richard and said “Richard this is unreal, when is the last time you ever injured yourself?”

Richard hesitated “I … I don’t know, it must have been when I was a lot younger. I remember falling off my bike and cutting my lip. God there was blood everywhere. My mother was in hysterics when she came running out of the house to see what had happened”.

“But did it heal up like this?” Jenny said as she pointed to his arm

“No it took ages. My Mum was thinking about taking me to the infirmary but it slowed up thank God and eventually stopped.

Richard was ashen faced and he was in shock. His eyes were hunting for help and an explanation.

At that moment Doctor Thompson came into the room with the Nurse that had gone off to find him. He came straight over to Richard and let Jenny brief him on what had happened.

He looked at Richard’s arm and then said “This is incredible. Have you ever even slightly cut yourself, like shaving or something?”

“To be honest, now I think about it, I just can’t recall cutting myself to the point of drawing blood for quite some time now, although I use an electric shaver and I’m always careful with knives. I’m not handy around the house either, you know DIY etc. Look what the bloody hell is happening?”

“I don’t know Richard. Just keep calm for a moment”. The Doctor glanced around the room and picked up another syringe, broke it out of the packet and having apologised, told Richard he was going to scrape and puncture the skin again, to see what happened.

Richard winced but then watched intently as Doctor Thompson wriggled the needle around a bit to draw some blood out and then he withdrew the instrument and stared wondrously as the skin just healed itself rapidly, leaving just the blood stain on his arm.

Doctor Thompson was almost speechless; his mouth agape. His mind was now racing too. First the situation with the baby and those unbelievable blue eyes and now this, all in the space of the same day. ‘God I need a drink’ he thought to himself.  For now however, he needed to try and think rationally and get things organised and somehow back in control.

He glanced over at the badge on the Nurse’s tunic “OK, Nurse Andrews, I can’t fully explain what’s going on here but you must keep patient confidentiality and you, I absolutely forbid you from talking to anyone about this, not family or friends – no-one. Do you understand?”

The Nurse nodded, shaking and excused herself saying she needed to go to the toilet and left the room quickly.

He turned to Richard and said “OK Richard I need you to remain calm and I’m not sure you should leave here to go home as I understand you might have been planning, as we need to try and work out what’s going on with you.  However, I think it’s fair to say that whatever we’re dealing with here has had some profound effect on your baby and we need to get a handle on the whole situation. Is there anyone you can call on to get you some things so you can stay here in the hospital, maybe for a couple of weeks at worst, so you can be here with your wife?”

Richard nodded and explained that his Sister was a key holder to the family home and he would call her.

“OK good; but you can only tell her that it was agreed you would stay here to be with Alison because of some complications. Tell her to spread the news to the rest of the wider family about the birth of baby William, but they must stay away until you are all allowed home, for your own health and safety sort of thing; but don’t go overboard with it you know?”

“OK I hear you Doctor; I’m good at making up stories. So where do we go from here? My Sister will want to see us when she gets here with my things”.

“Yes of course. OK. Look you can meet her but just say that Alison and William are in an isolation unit and cannot be disturbed by anyone other than medical personnel and yourself. That way she can drop off your things and hopefully just leave”.

Richard nodded his acknowledgement and rolled down his shirt sleeve as he stood up to walk out the room.

© 2018 Visionaries by Chris Donlan - All Rights Reserved

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