On that day the 21st of March, I celebrate the anniversary of the birth of my darling daughter.
I have been called many things in my life, but the most wonderful title of all for me is ‘Mom’.
I had several miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy in my twenties, and Doctors told my husband and I that I would never be able to carry a child.
I had internal damage that would prevent that happening they said. I could not fall pregnant again they said. We were devastated by this news. I was crushed, and very depressed.
It seemed that my damned past was going to affect my future yet again.
We decided to travel in an effort to lift the depression, journeying throughout Asia, just exploring, relaxing, and having a marvelous time.
Shortly after our return to Australia, I became very ill. It was put down to a tummy bug, and I was told to rest up and drink lots of fluids.
The vomiting grew worse, and I began to hemorrhage.
The Doctors did all manner of tests on me. I was pregnant. My husband and I looked at each other and we both cried. Fear and delight battled with each other to maintain dominance. Delight won.
I was overjoyed … and terrified that I would lose this little one as well.
It was decided to hospitalize me for the duration of the pregnancy to give the baby the very best chance of growing and becoming a live birth.
The staff spoiled me, being in the maternity ward for 30 weeks you do tend to become part of the furniture. They were marvelous.
My husband did the long trip into the hospital every day, and on weekends, he stayed all day with me. We couldn’t bring ourselves to plan, afraid that if we did we would jinx the baby.
I knew in my gut that this little one was a girl; I also knew that she would survive.
I am not certain why, but I felt it deep within me, I named her Amanda from the time I was eight weeks pregnant. I talked to her often, describing the world and how much she would love it; silly, nonsensical, hormone driven stuff.
The medical staff were fantastic, it was a base hospital in country Queensland, and the nursing staff took it in turns to wheel me around the rose gardens in a wheel chair several times a day. I wasn’t allowed to walk. They massaged and exercised my legs to prevent the muscles losing tone; they played cards with me in their lunch breaks and often popped in after their long shifts were done just to help keep my spirits up.
They brought me books and tapes to listen to, they shared their hopes with me and sometimes their dreams, they became a very large extended family of aunts and uncles.
My doctor was amazing. He was young, and determined that if I was prepared to remain in hospital in order to have my baby he would do everything he could to ensure I carried to term.
The day I felt our baby kick for the first time was almost overwhelming. I had nurses coming from everywhere to see if they could feel it as well. I shared that pregnancy with so many wonderful dedicated people.
Once I reached 28 weeks I started finally to relax a little, my husband and I planned the nursery and were overjoyed at having come so far.
When our little one became restless and kicked frantically, I would put Barbra Streisand in the tape deck and place the headphones across my hugely protruding abdomen. I had lost sight of my feet by then. Streisand still calms her if she’s anxious.
After all the stress and worry at the constant possibility of losing our little one, I ended up going 21 days over due date.
The doctor decided to induce me, as I had refused a caesarian section. Although of course, I granted them the right to proceed with it if there was any sign whatsoever of the baby showing fetal distress.
I was induced at on the 20th of March. 22 hours later, I was still in full labor and the baby showed the beginnings of distress. The doctor examined me and discovered that the little one had her arm up over her head, and her elbow was wedged behind my pelvic bone. He suggested we do an episiotomy and he would move her arm down and enable her to be born naturally.
I am a stubborn woman. I agreed to this of course, but I refused all pain relief. If this was to be the only time in my life that I could ever have a child I wanted to experience it fully. My doctor reassured me that the baby would be fine and he would deliver by caesarian if any of her distress levels rose.
My poor husband stood by that bed for over 22 hours. His hands were actually bleeding from where I had dug my nails in during the contractions.
The delivery room was filled to capacity, word had spread that I was about to deliver and staff came in off shift to be there to witness the birth of my baby…a baby they considered partly theirs.
Amanda-Rose was born at on Saturday 21st of March 1981. She had a mass of dark hair and was
22 inches long. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 12 ozs, which distributed over such a long baby made her look a little like a plucked chicken. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.
My husband tells me that even the doctor had tears in his eyes when she was born. I had the biggest most wonderful collection of baby wear on the planet delivered to me by these wonderful people that all insisted they be allowed to visit “Their” Amanda from time to time.
They placed our Amanda-Rose on my tummy and I felt the most overwhelming rush of love I have ever experienced.
She turns 30 years of age next week. She calls me Ma, most of the time, unless she is highly emotional and then it’s Mommy.
What a marvelous word that is. Mommy, Mom, Ma…no matter which term she uses I still light up like a Christmas tree at the word.
What joy and laughter she has brought me over these 30 years. Oh… of course, there have been tears, and worry. The teenage angst … the trying years and the unhappy moments... it’s all part of the wonder and the privilege of parent hood.
The lovely moments when I found her burying her lunch in the garden to feed the “Human Beans” or when she cut the cats whiskers because she thought he must be itchy. Or the day she punched out a boy at school when she was 8 years old because he called her friend from Pakistan a horrible name. So many moments…to treasure and hold close in my memory. What a gift she is.
I am so proud of her. She has grown into a delightful and caring human being, she is funny, witty and kind, pig-headed, stubborn, and unmoving when she believes in something she will fight to the bitter end to defend it. She is 6’2” tall and a beautiful young woman.
Thank you my child.
Raising you and being loved by you have given me cause to rejoice, thank you for the most wonderful 30 years of my life.