A Night in Children’s Ward

I am currently sat on my own hospital bed next to my daughter who is asleep in the crib. She is recovering from an operation she had on her tongue early this afternoon.


Firstly, I want to thank the staff of the Evelina Children’s hospital in Westminster for being helpful, friendly and attentive as always. And I have my own bed! The NHS can be a wonderful thing.

However, the downside to our National Health Service though is the lack of private rooms. Being on a ward is fine if a) you are discharged the same day, b) the other patients are all quiet or c) you are a very heavy sleeper.


None of the above apply to me right now. Fortunately, my daughter is a pretty good sleeper. But that’s no thanks to the baby across from us, who every 15 minutes will scream, whinge and cry.

I really should be more empathetic. This child has just had surgery correcting a cleft palate and is probably in a great deal of pain and discomfort. But when my own baby is trying to sleep and recover I get Maternal Madness.

I do, however, feel every bit of sympathy for the mum who I can hear desperately pleading with her daughter to “please stop”. I can also hear she is jigging her baby up and down, patting her back and humming to her in the sadest of tones.

I’ve been there. We have all been there.


Whether its in hospital or at home at 3am. The rage that bubbles up inside; willing your child to sleep can make you say horrible things or pat their backs a little too vigorously. Then immediately feel guilty and ashamed and smother them with tears and kisses.

Its only one night. I have to remind myself. And remember how lucky I really am. Speaking to one other parent in the play area, whose 2 year old son had already had 11 procedures on his kidney, made me realise this.

But you know what….it doesn’t matter how well or ill or sleepless your child is, its all bloody hard but rewarding work.



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