Meet Amber Rose. Daddy's little Princess. Mummy's Angel girl. The BEST little sister in the whole to world to two BIG sisters and two BIG brothers.
I was fast approaching my 35th birthday. Motherhood had eluded me for various reasons and I was just (only just) starting to get used to the idea that I may never be a mummy. I had been having recurring kidney infections and was sent for Xrays. After a long wait I finally went into the Xray room. 'When was your last period?' asked the radiographer. 'About 6 weeks ago.' I said, 'but don't worry.' She refused to do the Xray until I had a negative pregnancy test. So I went home, annoyed. Next day I bought a test, just to show her everything was fine. It came out POSTIVE. I fainted.
The pregnancy went as normal. We didn't have any tests done as I was just too young for the routine ones, and as we told the midwife, It wouldn't make any difference anyway.
Our baby was due 14th July 2006.
I woke up on the 27th June and thought 'Hang on.... something's happening.' By midday I was in full labour and by 2.30 I was in the delivery room. At 3.42 Amber Rose was born. In a rush, the cord twice round her neck, jaundice, low weight, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, low oxygen, low muscle tone, very wrinkled and very quiet but with big dark eyes looking about and a head full of black hair. We couldn't get her warm. The paediatrician came in and examined Amber on the table in the corner of the room. Alan was with him. The doctor was looking at Amber's head, toes and hands. I could only just hear them.
'What are you looking for?' asked Alan.
'I am looking for Down's syndrome.' said the doctor.
'Do you think our daughter has Down's syndrome?' asked Alan.
'Yes.' said the doctor, 'I think your daughter has Down's syndrome.'
Those two words floated across the room to where I was laid on the bed. The world stopped........... a few seconds passed..... the world started again. Amber was wrapped up and brought over to me. I looked down at her in my arms and said 'Hello, Amber Rose. It doesn't make any difference....' and kissed her.
She had to go to intensive care. A scan showed she had an AV septal defect - a hole in the heart. Another examination showed her to have a coloboma of the iris of her right eye. A big tear drop pupil. Beautiful.
She lay in her 'fish tank' under the UV. Wires and probes attached all over her. An oxygen mask by her head. Tiny.
After three days she was allowed out into Transitional Care. And there we stayed for almost a month. A month of heatwave, yet Amber was wrapped in a vest, babygrow, cardigan, mittens, socks and a wooly hat beneath 3 blankets on her cot! She couldn't feed, so she had a tube down her nose into her stomach.
Come July 20th she WAS feeding from a bottle, and had been for a few days. When the consultants came round I told them straight that we were going home. That there was no reason to keep her in any longer. They looked at me strangely, then smiled and said OK we could go home tomorrow!!!
And so began our journey. Six and a half years later and our Amber, our Rose, is thriving. She has so many friends at school I can't keep up. She is lively, healthy (her heart fixed itself by 7 months old, leaving her only with a slight murmur), mischeivious, and curious. Her smile brightens the room and our lives.
People ask me what we want for our daughter. We want Amber to live a happy, healthy and productive life. What does any parent want other than that?