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Ten years

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Ten years ago today a very special person was born – my daughter Kelsea. Ten years ago today I nearly died – 13 blood transfusions saved my life. I have spent the past few days reflecting on all that has happened in this time and thankful that I was given a second chance to experience it.

Kelsea, the tiny little baby born a month too early, has grown into an amazing young lady – a mixture of sweet childhood innocence and wisdom beyond her years. Kelsea has a goodness inside her which as much as I would like to take credit for, cannot.  She is a much nicer, caring person than I will ever be. A couple of years ago Alana and I were preparing her Christmas card list for her friends at Pre-school. She told me that there was one particular boy that she didn’t want to give a card to because he was awful. I told her I didn’t blame her and that I wouldn’t give him one either. Kelsea interrupted us and said “Alana, Christmas is the season of love and forgiveness, don’t you think that you should give him a card?” Alana nodded solemnly and said “Yes Kelsea”. I remember thinking “Maybe I should have been the one saying that”.

Kelsea is also a gifted communicator – both aural and written. Earlier this year she won a multicultural speaking competition. While her speech was good and delivered flawlessly, it was her impromptu speech which won her the award. The children (8 and 9 year olds) were given the topic “History Repeats” and allowed 5 minutes to prepare a one minute speech on the topic. They then had to deliver the speech to an audience of approximately 100 people.  Kelsea walked out onto the stage and began with “History repeats itself with natural disasters. One year a tornado will come through and destroy a town. Then the following year another tornado will appear and the same thing will happen. But history SHOULD NOT repeat itself with man-made disasters. We should learn from our mistakes.” She then went on to talk about environmental damage. I sat there and wondered yet again, where had this child come from? Where did she get her clarity, her insight and her confidence?  I think even if I had been given 50 minutes I couldn’t have come up with a speech like that.



Kelsea is serious but playful, kind and determined. She is calm yet at the same time dramatic. Even her birth was dramatic. She was induced a month early because of my pre-eclampsia.  During the birth, I suffered a placental abruption which considerably hastened her delivery into the world and she was born very frail and weak. Then two hours later I suffered a massive post partum haemorrhage and was taken from her, not seeing her until the following day when I was too weak to even hold her. It was 48 hours later when we were finally reunited and then only for short intervals until the third day when she was officially handed over to me. Surprisingly this didn’t affect our bond at all. In fact I wonder whether it has made it even stronger.

I think back to that night and still marvel at it, despite all the drama and I wonder whether it has changed me. Have I lived my life differently than I what I would have, had it not happened. I suppose I will never know. I do know that I have taken more chances than I did before and I am more willing to give ‘something a go’.  I think I am also more conscious of time and I tend not to put things off as I did before but at the same time I am incredibly mindful that life is NOT A RACE.  I am determined to live life, not just be a spectator. My commitment to animals has also become stronger. While I have always been an animal lover, the past ten years have made me want to do ‘something’. Finding that ‘something’ has not been easy and in many ways I am still searching but at least I have made a start.

I must say that I didn’t see any white light or tunnel that night. There were no angels or flashing visions of my life. But I will say that I felt the most incredible sense of peace. Even though my body was shaking uncontrollably, literally bouncing up and down on the bed I felt great tranquillity and a deep understanding of the situation, yet I wasn’t in the slightest bit scared. The only way that I can describe it is acceptance and complete trust in what was happening.  Even as the time wore on and on (the hospital had to organise an emergency delivery of blood and platelets before I went into surgery), I felt calm. I watched almost disconnectedly everything that was happening around me with a mixture of interest and awe for the doctors and nurses. It seemed that the more blood I lost the greater the feeling of peace I experienced. This could easily be put down to the fact that my body was releasing endorphins to cope with the shock but I prefer to think otherwise. I remember thinking that all my life I had wanted to feel like this – to experience this incredibly deep connection with who I was and the life force that runs through every living thing. It is just ironic that I almost had to die to feel that way.  It was also interesting that despite the fact that my physical body was freezing cold, inside I felt great warmth and I was acutely aware of a warming yellow glow at the bottom right side of my bed.

When I awoke the next morning , although feeling like I had been hit by a train, I still felt the same peace, in fact it stayed with me a long, long time. I adored my new baby and ten days after her birth I took her home. Now ten years have passed. I am older and wiser and she is too and she has her whole life ahead of her to achieve her dreams.  I know she will become the most amazing person who will teach me far more than I could ever teach her. I also know that animals everywhere have an amazing future ambassador. She has a passionate love for all creatures great and small, as well as people and she is articulate and courageous. I am just so glad to be here and able to share her journey.

Happy Birthday Kelsea, I love you.

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