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My Little Angel by Ann Marie Flanagan

Photo of Ann-Marie Flanagan and baby RobertOn 21st July 2011 at 1.37 PM our long awaited son Robert Michael Shanahan arrived, healthy and beautiful, biased that I am. I went through the public service and found it to be excellent. Everyone was supportive and encouraging, nurses and doctors alike. I never got to meet the consultant gynaecologist, which was a good sign. I do think however given my disability, she would have been interested.

It felt like a long pregnancy. As with many mothers to be, I was worried for my babys health. While the research I did showed a minimal risk of my child having AMC, I couldnt get it out of my mind. I was both excited and nervous at each scan. I couldnt wait to see my growing child and I feared that something would be detected. Of course, it was better to know and prepare. Also I would love my child irrespective but as a person with a disability I hoped that I would not be responsible for causing a childs impairment. I also feared being judged for my child having health or disability issues. Joy and relief were always the outcomes of our appointments. We chose to wait until his birth the find out his gender.
As a friend said to me, I was already a mother.... just waiting for my baby. Yes for as long as I can remember my heart ached to be a mother. I surrounded myself with children. I have a wonderful niece and nephew Ryan and Megan and 3 other Godchildren. They fill my life with love. However, it wasnt the same. When I found out I was pregnant (for a second time, as I had a miscarriage 5 years ago) I couldnt believe it. I am 38 and had begun to accept that life had other plans for me. In fact I had sat and cried with my mother just months before I became pregnant. I have a lovely partner Derek, we had a good life and I enjoyed my career. I was afraid I would spend my like wishing for what maybe be and missing the love and goodness I had. Then the doctor said the words I didnt think Id hear again, you are pregnant! I thought I had a serious illness for weeks and finally went for tests.

My pregnancy was average. I had morning sickness, which is all day sickness some days. I couldnt eat sugar from about 5 months on, which wasnt a bad thing, as I put on loads of weight! The last two months were very tough on my back and legs. Again, nothing unbearable. Robert was breach, which wasnt a problem as I was having a planned section. I was able to stay awake for the birth.

I still cannot find words to adequately describe the ultimate joy, love and disbelief when he bounced into the world. I asked the nurse to pinch me...really when they said it was a boy and he was perfect and that he was 8 pounds and 5 ounces, I could not believe it was my life. My precious son, the love of my life and me, together at last! The first night Robert and I had together will stay etched in my heart always. I couldnt reach the hospital cot so before Derek and our friends left, I took the mattress out and laid it and

Robert in beside me. I sat and stared at every inch of him. He was (is) the most perfect little person. He came from me. I was in awe. As I held to my breast and changed his nappy, it felt like a dream. My life has changed utterly...
Today as I write, Robert is 8 weeks old. Everyday is different as he does something new. Smiling, chatting, staying awake longer, kicking his legs and swinging his arms, making everyone around him smile. I wake up every morning or in the middle of the night, I look down into his face and thank God for my blessings. Robert is everything and more that I ever dreamed of! My hope for his future is that he grows up healthy, happy, feeling loved and that he makes good decisions for himself.