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The sister hurriedly said we cannot commit ourselves and you must wait to see the specialist that evening.The specialist was late by at least an hour and had to come from another hospital a distance away to see us.One day she burst into my kitchen to show me a ring that Tommy had brought for her. I took their love seriously and took them both to a jeweller so they could choose their engagement rings.
The minute I saw them together I knew that something was happening, they were quite simply growing very, very fond of one another.
As she was growing up, my one wish for Maryanne was that she would find someone to love, and here I was watching it blossom.
These were the longest loneliest hours I had ever known.
All the other mums avoided me like I had an infectious disease, I had asked the sister and the doctor if my baby could be a ‘mongol’ baby as they were called then, if I had hit him I do not believe I could have had a more shocked reaction.
The road ahead was very hard and I was continually told that this sort of child did not happen to young women of my age, it only happened to older mothers usually in their change, you can imagine I was in shock and did not have a clue what the future held, all I could see in my mind was a child being taken along with a stupid hair cut, long socks and frumpy clothes. The next week I was in a daze and finally went to the hospital to be given the results.
I kept thinking that they had had it all wrong and my baby would be ok.The date was Monday, May 17, 1971 she arrived at in the afternoon.My mum arrived that evening and was looking forward to seeing her grandaughter, we were told that no one would be allowed to see her as she was in an incubator and had to be kept warm, I was not allowed any contact with her that night at all.On May 16, I had to get up at about five in the morning to use the bathroom, I realised that I had been having tummy pains for a few hours, although they were mild, I knew they were early contractions.I went back to bed for a couple of hours only to be awakened to regular contractions, these progressed on and off for most of the day. The pains stopped but I was kept in and on the following morning I started full blown labour. The second my daughter was born she was whisked away because they said that as she had taken so long to arrive, she was very cold and had to be incubated to warm her.Then the ward rounds started and a young male doctor came round with the ward sister and proceeded to inform me that I would not be allowed to go home as planned as there was a doctor coming from another hospital to see me that evening.I asked why and was quickly told by the sister that it was not their job to say anything and that a specialist doctor would be there at that night. I was left on the main ward with no visitors allowed until the evening.His words will live with me forever; “I gather you already know what I have to tell you”.That was it, he then said that blood tests had to be done and it would take a week or so to get the results.Three years into their engagement we started planning their wedding, her aunty was an incredible dressmaker and we decided on her dress, which was utterly beautiful and Tommy had his suit made.In between all this, the complaints started rolling in, believe it or not they were from other parents who were shocked that I would support them all the way.