Reds, golds, yellows all swaying in the light morning breeze. What a contrast from the darkness of the night before.
Laying here on my own in this hospital room, away from the madness and chaos of the open maternity ward, I felt safe and secure. The last twenty four hours had been full of mixed emotions. The busyness of looking after three very young boys whilst heavily pregnant, together with the knowledge that anytime now our lives were all going to be turned upside down, had my head spinning. Our little girl wasn't due for another two weeks but all of the boys were early and the hospital told me to expect a delivery at any time now!
So here I was, separated from my little girl for the first time in nine months. Outside, on the ward, Staff and new mums were bustling around. Gordon had gone home to look after the boys, and all I had to remind me of the night before was a Polaroid photo of the daughter I had just given birth to. I had been allowed to hold her for a couple of minutes before she was whisked away to the Special Care Baby Unit, and now the doctors were reluctant for me to see her before they had fully checked her out. The reality of the seriousness of my baby's health hadn't sunk in even at this stage. All I wanted was to see her and hold her. My beautiful little girl. Why were they stopping me from being with her?
I remember almost every detail of that day. Even as I sit writing I realise that it is exactly twenty years since I went into labour. And yet every detail is as fresh as that day! How can that be? My husband certainly doesn't share the recall that I have. I sometimes wonder if I must be making up some of the story that has dimmed over time. But no! Ask any mum who has been in my situation and invariable they have a similar tale to tell.
Now is not the time to give a minute by minute account of that day. It would take too long and would probably be too personal for some to read. Suffice it to say that our lives were changed by the events that took place. Our daughter came into our lives and turned them upside down. It has been hard and challenging. There have been days and, worse, nights when I've just wanted to hide away from the difficulties that have presented themselves. But they have been eclipsed by the joy and fun Hayley has brought into our lives, and I think that we are better people as a result.
My beautiful girl will be twenty tomorrow. It will be the first time we have been apart for her birthday, but this is how life should be now. Whilst I reflect on the past she will be celebrating with her friends.