A rush of love

Both my daughters had always had me running around after them...

Published by: Polly Taylor & Jean Jollands
Published on: 31st March 2011

They say when you’re a mum to young children you never get five minutes’ peace – and boy, are they right!
When my daughters Donna, 25, and Michelle, 22, were little I was forever running around after them. Getting them ready, helping with school work, taking Donna to Guides or around to her mate’s house for tea, or running Michelle to Brownies and swimming club.
It seemed non-stop – sometimes I’d wished I could be in two places at once!
Now they were older, though, I could finally sit back and relax – the hard part was done.
Donna was working at a restaurant and lived with her partner Paul, 28, while Michelle was training to be a hairdresser and shared with her boyfriend Allan, 22.
They were grown up at last….
‘Mum, I’m pregnant,’ Donna announced excitedly one day.
‘That’s fantastic!’ I beamed. Now she’d have a little’un of her own to run around after!
But if I thought that was wonderful news, I was in for a double celebration when Michelle popped round a fortnight later.
‘You’ll never guess what,’ she giggled. ‘I’m expecting, too!’
‘Wow!’ I gasped, flinging my arms around her. ‘That’s great!’ Only… two grandchildren at the same time? I’d be straight back to running around like a headless chicken….
‘Don’t worry,’ Michelle said, reading my thoughts. ‘My due date is two weeks later than Donna’s.’
‘Phew!’ I chuckled. I’d be able to support Donna, get her settled with her new baby, and have a few days to recharge my batteries, before helping Michelle.
And if I’d thought I’d be pulled in two directions to support the girls through their pregnancies, I needn’t have worried – they were supporting each other.
They spent hours comparing their bumps, moaning about swollen ankles, sleepless nights and giving each other tips.
‘I can’t stop throwing up,’ Michelle complained to Donna when morning sickness kicked in.
‘Drink ginger tea,’ she suggested. ‘It’s supposed to settle the tummy.’
Six months into their pregnancies, though, and other things in their lives weren’t as settled.
‘Me and Paul have split up,’ Donna sobbed down the phone to me. ‘He’s moved out. What am I going to do?’
‘I’ll be there as soon as I can,’ I promised. Throwing my things in a bag, I sped over to her place to comfort her.
‘I’ll stay as long as you want,’ I said, giving her a hug. ‘You shouldn’t be by yourself.’
As I settled her down with a cuppa, my mobile rang – Michelle.
‘Mum, I’ve had a fall…’ she croaked, breathing heavily.
‘Oh my God!’ I gasped. ‘Are you okay?’
‘A-a bit shaken,’ she stuttered.
‘Try to get some rest,’ I told her. ‘I’ll be round… wait, I can’t, I’m at your sister’s….’
I felt terrible. Allan worked full time so Michelle was by herself – but I couldn’t rush around there, could I? Donna needed me, too.
Just like when they were little, I found myself wishing I could be in two places at once.
Then I had an idea.
‘We’ll come and stay with you in Liverpool,’ I told her, grabbing Donna’s overnight bag.
When we arrived, I was finally able to relax – this way I could keep an eye on both of them.
‘I’m so glad you’re here, Mum,’ Michelle said. ‘I….’
The next thing she was doubled over, clutching her belly. ‘M-my waters just broke!’ she gasped.
Oh God! She wasn’t due for another six weeks!
I grabbed her hospital bag and called Allan, telling him to meet us at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
‘You wait here,’ I told Donna. She was seven months pregnant – no way was I letting her get caught up in this drama.
When we arrived at the hospital, Michelle was checked over.
‘Your baby’s heart rate is dropping,’ the midwife said. ‘We need to deliver the baby by emergency Caesarean now.’
I watched helplessly as she was wheeled away.
Hours ticked by as Allan and me waited for news. Finally, a midwife came to see us about 4am.
‘Michelle had a little boy,’ she smiled. ‘They’re both doing well.’
‘Thank God!’ I breathed.
Her son Astin only weighed 4lb 10oz and had been taken to the intensive care unit as a precaution.
Sitting beside Michelle in the recovery room, I couldn’t wait for her to come round so I could tell her about her little boy.
Just then, my phone rang – it was Donna. ‘Guess what…’ I began, excitedly.
‘I’m having contractions!’ she cut in. ‘I really can’t hold on much longer!’
She couldn’t be serious? She wasn’t due for another four weeks! Her sister hadn’t even seen her baby yet!
‘I’m coming to the hospital,’ she panted, hanging up.
My heart racing, I dashed down the corridor, dodging in and out of doctors and trollies, to the reception to wait for her.
When Donna’s friend John wheeled her into the hospital, Donna was groaning loudly.
‘Is – Michelle – all – right?’ she panted between contractions.
‘She’s fine,’ I said. ‘She had a boy.’
The more I thought about Michelle, the more I felt compelled to check on her. ‘Back in a minute,’ I told Donna, turning on my heels. Breaking into a jog, I scooted back.
‘She’s fine,’ the midwife told me. ‘Still dozing.’
Breathlessly, I skidded back down the corridor to Donna’s side.
Blimey! This was worse than when the girls had Brownies and Guides on the same night!
‘Michelle’s doing well,’ I wheezed, rubbing Donna’s back. ‘Now it’s your turn.’
An hour later, about 7am, her 5lb 4oz little girl Katelyn was born. ‘She’s gorgeous,’ I smiled. ‘Let’s see if Michelle’s ready to meet her.’
Dashing back across the hospital, I found her in the recovery room. ‘The midwife just took me to meet Astin in intensive care,’ she beamed. ‘He’s perfect!’
‘So is baby Katelyn!’ I grinned. ‘Donna’s just given birth!’
‘What?!’ Michelle gasped.
I wheeled her across the hospital to see her sister, and niece.
‘I thought I was still out of it when Mum told me,’ Michelle laughed. ‘I knew our due dates were close, but…!’
‘My waters broke almost as soon as you left the house,’ Donna said.
Michelle had a cuddle with Katelyn, and later we all went to see little Astin.
Four days later, when we all went home, I felt more exhausted than when I’d had my own kids!
Astin and Katelyn are almost one now, and running around after them. Helping Donna and Michelle is exhausting, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. They say mums never get five minutes’ peace – it turns out grans don’t, either!
Jeanette Hunter, 47, Warrington, Cheshire