Friday 4 September 2020

Such Need

by Amanda Jones

with eggnog

The desire and instinct had always been there. An urge and demand that wouldn’t let go. She found her man and married to allow the beginnings.

Sex was painful. Diabetes had put a hold on puberty long ago and she was left with scanty if non-existent periods. Tilted positions to encourage conception were suggested and followed. This was 1976 and before IVF, yet not too far from the first test-tube baby in 1978.

She wanted a baby above all else. It was a motherly obsession and led to the fertility clinic.
Treatment consisted of hormones beyond hormones. The oestrogen rippled through her body and over-stimulated her ovaries. But, then in 1978 she fell pregnant.

Diabetes and pregnancy didn’t mix. For many months she stayed in hospital with high blood pressure and on bed rest. The clinical sterility and monitoring a way of being, she saw little of her outside life. They held on and on, trying to prolong delivery.

Eight weeks before the due date baby was in danger and a caesarean could be put off no longer. Whilst under she felt the thuds of a defibrillator and saw a bright, white light. People huddled round and said ‘it’s not your time yet’ until she landed with a thump back into reality. Blueness and puffiness presented in her baby. She was a ‘miracle baby’ declared the doctors as she was rushed off to intensive care. But she was to have no more and they sterilised her to prevent this.

All too quickly she was home with her little one.

Months of exhaustion in hospital led to fainting and overwhelming tiredness at home. Her sugar levels were all over the place and her body tried to adjust. No breast milk was willing and life became ‘looking after baby’ as her little girl cried and cried. She didn’t want to keep her milk down either.
So, she was accused of being lazy.

Another scratch to add to the wounds.

It stung.

She struggled on and trips to Moorfields became part of life. They blasted her retinas with thousands of laser shots to try to stop the bleeding. Having her baby had sacrificed her sight.

And she carried on. She would not let the pain and struggles stop her. Her little girl was the only thing that mattered.

As her child grew she taught her to love unconditionally. Personal circumstance with divorce and being called ‘hypochondriac’ time and time again added strength amongst the tears. Her little one knew how to read and write at the age of three with her by her side.

They sat on the small boxes around the book-filled holders and shelves in the library. They read Dr Seuss and created things for Sunday School. Saving old washing-up bottles they turned them into rockets, and egg-boxes became creatures. She made cakes and her girl licked the spooned mixture. Yet, she was always sick too. Infection after infection; anti-biotics and more anti-biotics.

Being inseparable her girl knew how to inject her Mum’s insulin by the age of four, fetched glucose tablets and practised dialling for an ambulance on their telephone which had Buzby on top.
She began to make soft toys for Moorfields as a thank you for their efforts. And she made her girl’s clothes, uniform and knitted jumpers.

Surviving as a single mother, picking up small bits of work, unaware of any support.

She slowly lost her eyesight as they performed an operation which stopped the bleeding in her right eye. Once, she was a fine artist. What would she do now?

Carrying on, she persevered, instilling her stubborn determination into her child and giving her strength, for life.

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