My whole life, I’ve wanted to be a mother. In my year 12 yearbook, under ‘What I want to achieve’, I listed “to have 2.3 children, a Labrador and a white picket fence”. Life doesn’t always turn out how you plan it. In 2007, I lost twins. I started to believe that I would never have a child. I wanted it so badly; I started to think it would always be just a dream. I had failed at marriage. I had failed at pregnancy. Everything I had dreamed of, had hoped for, had failed.
Then, out of nowhere, three months into a relationship, with my now husband, I saw those two pink lines again. I was pregnant. I’ll be honest; I never actually believed a baby would come from it. I had very little faith. When I talked about it, with my partner, I felt like I was playing ‘make believe’. This was never going to happen. Because I believed once, and look what happened then? All the doctors kept telling me how ‘high risk’ this was. I was an insulin dependent diabetic and the pregnancy had been unplanned.
Everyone was getting so excited, and I wanted to tell them to shut up. This wasn’t going to happen. Stop talking about this as if it was real. Every scan we went to, I waited for them to tell me that, ‘Unfortunately, there is no heartbeat’. Those words echoed through my head, as I would sit in the waiting room, and wait for the inevitable. Yet they never said that. Every time, I would see that heartbeat, and think, ‘Wow! We dodged another bullet’. I can’t imagine what it must feel like, to go to a scan, and my biggest worry is, ‘is it a girl or a boy?’ The only thought I ever had, was ‘Please be alive’.
I had an anterior placenta, which meant I couldn’t feel movement for a really long time. Pretty much the worst nightmare of someone who doesn’t believe their baby will live. I think I only felt movement for about 4 weeks, before my waters broke at 31.5 weeks.
Two days after my waters broke, at exactly 32 weeks; I was rushed into the operating theatre for an emergency C-section, after monitors showed that my daughters’ heart rate dropped during a light contraction, and didn’t come back up.
As the nurses and doctors ran down the hall with my bed, people jumping out of the way, I thought, this is it. My baby is going to die. It felt so surreal, is this really happening? A week ago I had just gone on maternity leave, with two months ahead of me to prepare for my baby’s arrival. My baby shower was supposed to be the following week. How can this be happening? It was like a scene from a movie, everyone was running, doors were being shoved open, people were shouting. I have never been so terrified in my life.
I remember the first time I saw my daughter, the doctor holding her above the curtain, for a brief moment, before she was rushed over to the waiting paediatricians. I remember hearing her tiny cry, and looking at my partner as we both burst into tears. That’s her, our daughter! I have never in my life heard a more beautiful and amazing sound. She was rushed straight to the NICU, her father went with her, and she was hooked up to machines to help her breath, and drips and feeding tubes. She weighed 1.8kg, and was 45cm long. So tiny, yet so strong. I never imagined I'd have a premature baby.
I think I spent those first few weeks in a state of shock. My husband and I drove nearly an hour each way daily, to sit beside our tiny little daughter in hospital, for nine hours a day. We lived on hospital kiosk food and take away coffees. We spent every waking moment with our baby or traveling to see our baby. All we would do at home is sleep (for me, in three hour increments, getting up to pump breast milk through the night) Milla spent a month in hospital after her birth. During that time, we did not do a single grocery shop, or cook a single meal. The house could have probably fallen down around us, and I wouldn’t even have noticed, we were so emotionally wrought from having a sick baby in hospital.
Unfortunately this is the reality for so many families. We were lucky; Millas' time in hospital was relatively short, in comparison to other children. We met families whose babies had been in NICU for months on end. Families where one or both parents had to return to work, bills still needed to be paid, responsibilities met. Many families had older children to care for as well, juggling their time between children, between hospital and school, stretching themselves so thin, trying to meet every ones needs.
Support For Mums is an organisation that has been established to assist families who are experiencing circumstantial crisis, such as a premature birth or a sick child, depression (pre/post natal), relationship breakdowns, death of a partner, and other sudden or unexpected changes of circumstance. They provide short term practical support to families, to relieve some of the pressure during these stressful situations. Support for Mums will provide information and referral, practical assistance and/or funding. Information provided may include referral to appropriate services and information on government initiatives. Services may include payment of cleaners, babysitters, cooks, taxis or gardeners.
Support For Mums is a not-for-profit organisation, who relies primarily on fundraising and donations to operate.
On the 30th of November, I will be sky diving out of a plane at 14,000 feet over the St Kilda beach to raise money for this wonderful organisation! I am part of ‘Mother Jumpers’, an event run by Motivating Mum, where mothers from all over Australia jump out of a plane to raise money for Support For Mums. My goal is to raise $1000. I have opened a fundraising page~ http://www.mycause.com.au/page/janethehesitanthousewife and I would be so grateful if you could make a small donation to support this organisation, that does so much to help families in crisis. So grateful in fact, that I promise I will actually JUMP OUT OF A PLANE. 14,000 FEET IN THE AIR. PROMISE. (And I will only cry a little bit!)
Jane Flynn blogs at hesitanthousewife.net. Due to a number of complications during her pregnancy, the most serious of which was nearly losing her sight, Milla will be Jane's only child. She will never get her 2.3 children, or experience carrying a baby to term or going into labour. Still, she feels blessed.
Most importantly, you can DONATE HERE.