Today I open my heart: You are my sunshine

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My girl, Ms. May always makes me proud.

No matter what she does in life I will gush with pride to anyone that will listen to me.

But this week (probably because I have been quite stressed and on high emotional alert (with starting my new job) I have spent lots of time just thinking about her, because she calms me, she is my sunshine.

I have been thinking about just how lucky we all are to have her in our lives. Reflecting back on how she survived when all the odds were stacked heavily against her.

You see, Ms.May didn’t have the best start in life…

When I initially found out I was pregnant with my girl, instead of feeling utter elation, I felt panic.

The joyous moment you feel at seeing the pregnancy test indicator turn blue, quickly became clouded with fear.

The what-if’s come flooding back, along with the jittery nerves deep down in my belly.

You see, I had been pregnant before.

I had already experienced the feeling of utter heartbreak when you don’t bring your baby home from the hospital.

My first baby was born with encephalitis at 20 weeks, too premature and too poorly to survive the delivery.

But this time when I saw the blue line, somehow it felt different. I felt confident. I had hope.

Why? It was a pure gut instinct. Nobody knows your body as well as you know it yourself  in my opinion.

My first two pregnancies were twin pregnancies. Add to that a very complicated gynecological history  – my chances of carrying a baby full term were pretty slim from the get-go.

I had ALWAYS known it was never going to be easy.

But I was determined.

At the time, my body instantly rejected the foetus because of past operations and scar tissue. My delicate womb after many surgeries was not capable of carrying one, let alone two babies to full term.

Don’t you just love how totally amazing our bodies are? The ability to convey the message: “hold on a second – this just can’t work” is truly amazing.

My only hope of ever holding a healthy baby in my arms was for the pregnancy to be singular…AND THIS TIME IT WAS

Hal-le-lu-jah.

Yes. Stage One. Complete.

As with my first two pregnancies I was once again assigned to complete bed rest from day one. They only time this changed was to visit the consultant for my 7/14 day scan (yes, I had constant scans).

The slightest hiccup and it would all be over  – this was  probably one of the few times in my life that I have ever listened and not pushed on regardless.

I wanted my baby MORE THAN ANYTHING. So I started having daily injections to fool my body into thinking things were better than they were.

The fabulous injections seemed to work brilliantly and got me to the 12 week stage with not too many dramas.

Let me tell you, I could not have been happier when I had my first bout of morning sickness (as dreadful as it is) because it was an indication that things were going ok.

Reaching the twelve week mark  was for me, euphoric!

Of course I had been there before but I just felt this time was different. I constantly kept telling myself it was going to be fine.

Sixteen weeks quickly followed and I was still pregnant – I couldn’t believe my luck.

I was growing, my body was changing and life felt good…from my horizontal position!

At eighteen weeks things started to change. The pains started. I was bleeding again and I truly believed I was going to lose my baby. I was admitted to hospital, put on a drip to reverse the mild contractions I was experiencing.

This time was horrendous because ultimately you don’t know if the operation to try to save your baby will be the thing that takes it away.

I remember as if it was yesterday, I felt like my heart would break into a million pieces if anything went wrong again.

My body automatically wanted me to deliver my baby because my uterus was trying to grow and expand but the scar tissue I had, was not allowing this to happen. The contractions were a natural reaction, they were just trying to fix the problem.

At 20 weeks the risks of a general anaesthetic were weighed up and I was quickly sent to theatre to have my cervix stitched together to keep my baby inside and to try to fool the contractions (along with a tonne of drugs to reverse the process).

It worked.

When I woke up I was frightened and in pain but it was at the time  (1992) the only option available to me.

My goal was always to get to  28 weeks.

Oh boy did I pray for this day to come because I just wanted to give my baby the best chance of survival and 28 weeks (at that time)  was the benchmark.

28 weeks came and off I went for my weekly appointment. I was already in pain. I just knew I was in labour because I had been there before.

As I’m sure you can imagine, fear had not allowed me to look forward and plan for my girl’s arrival.

I had nothing. Not even a disposable nappy. I could not afford to tempt fate.

Once I arrived at the hospital I deteriorated fast. I was quickly moved to a centre of excellence by ambulance with blue lights flashing a nurse on board trying to keep me and my unborn baby alive.

It was extremely stressful because the drugs I was being given intravenously had the power to give me a heart attack.

I remember not caring about myself at all though. I didn’t care what they needed to do to me, I could take it.

All I kept saying was ‘please do want you need to save my baby’.

I won’t go in to what happened in the next 36 hours because its history. My situation was totally unique to me.

Ms. May my gorgeous Rebecca was born at 10.30am on a Sunday morning weighing just 2lb.

You are my sunshine

This is the first photograph I ever saw of her – it was totally love and adoration at first sight. I didn’t need to hold her or even touch her to know I would lie down and die for her within a heartbeat.

Nothing will ever replace the feeling when I saw her for the first time.

Because it’s the day I became the luckiest girl in the world and I have been ever since.

The next few weeks were very hard especially for my baby girl. Her little body was put through hell and back. She had procedures performed on her tiny body without anaesthetic because she would not have survived. Infections came and attacked her on a regular basis but she slowly became strong enough to fight back.

Through all of this time I never once stopped believing it would all work out. Even when the dreaded call came in the middle of the night for us to rush back to the hospital, I still knew  in my heart she wasn’t going anywhere.

Ms May came home from hospital after 7 weeks in ICU.

On the day I brought her home she weighed 4lb 10oz and looked huge to me.

When you leave the hospital with a premature baby that will need to sleep on a heart monitor for the first two years of her life to ensure she stay’s alive, you are realistic.

I was told to expect development problems which are associated with arriving 3 months too soon:

  • Problems with her eyesight.
  • Speech and hearing difficulties.
  • She would struggle educationally.
  • Always be a year behind her peers.

So the reason for this post is just to say my girl has beaten the odd’s.

I am one of the lucky Mum’s.

She arrived in Australia with an OP1

Last week saw the start of her Law Clerkship interviews…I can assure you when I held her in my arms for the first time I never believed it was possible.

You are my sunshine

So it’s these times of reflection that bring me back to realising that no matter what is happening in my life, I should never feel stressed or worried because I am blessed.

In my daughter I have a best friend and an unbreakable lifelong bond.

I would always sing ‘You are my sunshine’  to her through the small opening of her incubator. For my 50th birthday she brought me  the Uber Kate circle I am wearing in the bottom right picture engraved with You Are My Sunshine – it’s funny how things go full circle don’t you think?

Beckie is my only surviving baby out of 6. I was pregnant again after I had but alas it was not meant to be. To our whole family she is a miracle.

Thank you for reading my story. Today just felt like the right day to share. Who lights up your world?

 

 

 

Bev,

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  • Deauvanné | Mama Stylista

    Oh Bev, I am crying. Thank you so much for sharing such a powerful story of strength and love. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful. You are such an amazing woman! All my love to you both. xx

    • Thank you so much for reading about me and my girl Dee. I’m feel such a lucky Mumma – she really is my sunshine xxx Sending lots of love back xxx

  • I have also had 6 pregnancies resulting in 3 children two of which were sick babies. Not a day goes by that I don’t think I am the luckiest woman in the world to be their Mum. I would probably have taken them for granted far more if I hadn’t been through what I did to get them to where they are now, a tween and two teens all strong healthy and smart.

    Thank you for sharing your story and good luck to your daughter with her impending employment.

    • How lucky are we Andrea? I am delighted to hear you now have 3 healthy children who are your world. On the interview front – it’s all going well so far, we have everything crossed for a positive outcome!
      Enjoy every second with your family, Happy Easter xx

  • I’m typing through my tears. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s such a great reminder to never take our babies for granted and to be grateful for every single day. What a miracle Beckie is and how lucky she is to have a wonderful Mum like you. xxxx

    • Thank you Vanessa, Beckie truly was a miracle for us. Sometimes I find myself just needing to stroke her cheek just like I did when she was a baby and too poorly to be held. That tiny skin to skin contact makes all the difference for me xx Happy Easter gorgeous girl xx

  • Oh Bev and Beck – what a story – that bond I saw in both of you the first time we met makes so much sense now xx

    • Thanks so much Nikki. Just knowing you could tell how close we are truly melts me heart – I am just the luckiest. She is the light of my life xx

  • Kathryn

    Beautiful, she was meant to be your girl Bev. Thanks for sharing your lovely story xx

  • angie

    Such a lovely story! I am lucky enough to work with prem babies and love to hear stories like this!

  • Sophisticated Mumma

    You’re obviously so proud and you cherish your lovely daughter everyday. Your post is so from-the-heart and you are such a warm writer Bev, you truly did not deserve such grief. You have a clever, beautiful daughter and 5 little angels who are probably smiling that you had the strength to speak out xx

    • Thank you for putting into words exactly how I feel about my little angels. I never ever discuss the pain and the heartache even with my closest friends and family because it is just too hard. Until now I have kept all of the pain locked away. Thanks so much for making my heart a little lighter with your words xx

  • Josie

    You are one incredibly amazing and inspiring lady Bev!xxx

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Omg Bev you are a truly brave woman I am so glad you have your sunshine to light up your world,your story brought me to tears.Your Beckie is so truly lucky to have you for a Mum and I’m so glad that despite the odds she survived and you did too,miracle baby for sure,what a sweet girl.
    My children light up my world as well I have a son James who us 25 ,I call him my sunshine too,and my petal of a daughter is 23,we do the I love you more thing in texts and I had a necklace made for her last birthday with that on it.My children are precious as well I was going to see an infertility specialist before I had James and I had a hysterectomy at 35 so I feel very lucky like you to have my babies,and my husband ,it is our 29th wedding anniversary on Sunday,thank you for sharing your story gorgeous girl Xx

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful words Lisa darling. Whenever I feel apprehensive or scared I just think back to my girl being born and the world feels instantly better. She soothes me, she really is my sunshine. We all love her to bits.
      I can tell how much you adore your children and your husband too – Wow 29 years this Sunday! Congratulations to you all, I’m sure you will have a wonderful time celebrating your gorgeous family xxx
      Ps. Love you and love you more are words that we use to each other everyday too! How lucky are we? xx

  • How wonderful to read your story! Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with us xxx

    • Thank you Janet – I can’t believe it’s nearly 22 years ago now, I owe everything to the amazing care both of us received. She is my life xx

  • Petra

    Oh, this is just such a beautiful story with a happy ending Bev. Thank you for sharing it and gorgeous photos too. I was horizontal for my one and only baby too, only going out to have weekly, then fortnightly scans. I bled, I did not have “morning sickness”, I was anaemic, border-line diabetic etc etc, and I wasn’t allowed to walk much or travel in a car. He came through at the end tho’, although colicky and reflux’y and he is 12 now. We are so close – I did attachment parenting and don’t regret it. He is the light of my life. I could not have more children for lack of ovulation – it was a miracle I had him as it was indeed a miracle you had your girl. xo

    • Oh Petra I felt everyone one of your words. I did not follow any rules when my girl came home from hospital, I just made them up as I went along. Thank you for sharing your beautiful happy ending with me too – we are both so very lucky to have given birth to our miracle babies xx

  • Oh gosh, Bev – the love you feel for Rebecca is glowing through the screen and warming my heart. Much love to you and your gorgeous family. You are obviously all fighters, believers and some of life’s sparkliest gems. x

    • Thanks so much beautiful girl. I am the luckiest and truly blessed. Beckie makes my heart continually shine with pride. One day soon, I hope we get to share a glass of something delicious and natter about how wonderful life really is xx

  • Louise

    what a beautiful story Bev and what a beautiful daughter you have. Isn’t intuition a funny thing? Best of luck to Beckie with her interviews. I have 3 children who light up my life. Every day I am grateful for them.

    • Thank you Louise, my girl is my everything.
      Being a Mumma is the best feeling in the world isn’t it? I will let you know how the interviews go, it feels so weird that she is now breaking out into the big wide world as an adult…as long as she doesn’t stray too far form home I will be fine. xx

  • Yvonne Duke

    That’s a lovely story. I know how you feel. My twins were born at 26 weeks weighing 960g and 640g and sadly my daughter Hope passed away after 2 weeks. My son Innes spent 4 months in hospital with lots of problems, but miraculously survived and is now a healthy 15 year old. I had a son aged 5 when the twins were born and went on to have 2 more girls. Miracles do happen x

    • Yvonne your story although filled with heartbreak for Hope is also filled with Joy. You are so right miracles do happen, it sounds to me that you have been truly blessed with a house full of gorgeousness. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with me xx

  • Margaret Perusich

    With tears in my eyes I have to say ‘thank you’ for sharing your story.

  • Struth

    This is just a beautiful story.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read about my girl xx I’m a very lucky Mumma xx

  • What an amazing lovely lady you are. Thus makes me love you even more. I have tears in my eyes and bumps all over my body. Congratulations to you all. Beautiful ladies and remarkable. I really would like to send you a big huge hug and say thank you for sharing. I am proud of you both. Hugs Bev. xoxo

    • Oh Vicki thank you. My emotions have been high the past couple of weeks. To be honest I never ever thought I would share my story, but it just felt right. Beckie called me today and said it was good for her to read too, she is a wonderful girl xx Ps. One day in the not to distant future I’ll be happy to have that wonderful hug in person xx

  • katypotaty

    I’m so glad you shared this, I have tears streaming down my face.
    I can see in your face every time you mention Beckie just how special she is to you, and I think it’s so beautiful how proud you both are of each other.
    I know it must have been difficult to share, but you really are amazing. xox

    • Thank you so much gorgeous. It was a nerve racking decision for me to share this.
      I am so lucky, I have been blessed with the perfect girl. She really is my sunshine, my everything and the light of my life. xx