My daughter is eleven years old today. Hardly seems a moment ago that I was lying on an operating table waiting for her to be 'born'. It was one of the best and most stressful days of my life. A year earlier my second child had been stillborn at term - a terrible shock that has never really left me. So when I became pregnant with Flora, it was decided that I would have her two weeks early by elective Caesarian section.
To walk into a hospital knowing that you are going to have a baby my Caesarian section is an odd experience. I'd had Patrick by an emergency section where you are really just swept along by events but this time I knew what to expect. Fortunately in some ways, the element of the unknown was preserved a little as my time in theatre was put off as a major emergency took precedence. When Flora was eventually born, out came a tiny, scrappy baby looking more than two weeks premature and brick red. But she was breathing and screeching at the top of her little lungs and I couldn't have been happier to hear that sound. She was placed next to me and was soon making funny little noises as she snuggled into me. Throughout my time in the hospital she was never happier than when she was lying on top of me and spent very little time in the cot. She could make her feeling known too and right from day one was a challenging little person.
And she's been like that ever since! A girl who loves her mum and likes a cuddle but who is also feisty and spirited and not afraid to speak her mind. She's a beautiful, clever young lady now but I never stop seeing in her that cross little baby who I was so pleased to welcome. Happy Birthday Flo - I love you.