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
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).
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.
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.
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?