When 3ft foot 1″ Amanda Moore, 25, from Swindon, was told to abort her pregnancy she was devastated, but she defied doctors orders and has now celebrated the christening of the special baby that could have killed her and has achieved the title of Britain’s smallest mum…
“Can everyone just clear out and leave me alone?” I yelled. I needed peace and quiet to get myself ready.
It was the day of the christening of my beautiful seven-month-old baby boy Aidan and I wanted it to be perfect.
I was never supposed to have a baby and probably won’t be able to ever again and so I wanted the day to be an extra special one.
That’s because I’m a 3ft 1″ woman with brittle bone disorder – I’m one of the smallest woman in Britain.
I was born with osteogenesis imperfecta which meant my bones fractured easily and has caused my stunted growth. When I was born I had 14 broken bones – doctors told my mum that they didn’t think I would survive.
I kept breaking bones till I was about 18. But I was a fighter. My elder siblings Amy and Adrian, who are now 29 and 27, were always given instructions to look out for me but I was actually fine looking after myself.
I’ve never let my disorder stop me. I use a special electric chair to get me around and it’s the same height as beds and chairs so I don’t need anyone to lift me.
I’ve always gone out with friends and I could shop for England but I knew there were things I wouldn’t be able to do like other woman.
There was no way I could consider having a baby with my condition but it hadn’t really bothered me – I’d never met anyone special enough to want that.
Then last year that all changed.
“Do you want to go out sometime?” Steven Fyfe text me shyly one day at work. We worked together at a taxi firm and we’d been texting a bit but this was the first time he’d officially asked me out.
I really liked him but I was five and a half years older than him. He was just nineteen. I would talk to my mum for hours about it, just going over the same ground. I really appreciated my mum’s patience and advice on it.
“When you fall for someone you just can’t control it, stop worrying Amanda,’ she’d say.
“But he’s only nineteen and the son of my boss!”, I’d reply.
I decided to bite the bullet. I told him how much I liked him and it turned out he did like me – a lot. He saw past my shortness and my brittle bones and my special chair and fell in love with me. His mum loved me too. Within a year, we had moved in together.
It was a dream come true. We did things like normal couples. I’ve been used to people staring at me every day of my life and when I started going out with Steven I didn’t mind the looks anymore.
I was truly happy and I could appreciate we did look a slightly odd couple – he’s 6ft 1.5″!
My mum continued to be my rock throughout dishing out advice and allowing me my rants when Steven was spending too much time playing play station or making my pristine house messy.
Even as her own health deteriorated she would always there at the end of the phone despite her daily hospital visits for dialysis for her kidney failure.
Steven and I had discussed children and it was definitely something we wanted but it was a subject we were going to deal with much later on. In an ideal world when Steven was about 25 and I was 30.
It was a complicated matter – having a baby would be very dangerous for a woman of my size and with my condition.
However, our plans went out the window and our lives changed forever when I discovered I had fallen pregnant.
“But I’ve been using protection!” I wailed to the doctors when they confirmed my dodgy bloated stomach and strange food cravings were actually due to a baby growing inside me.
Steven and I were both extremely shocked but also very excited, we couldn’t help it.
Doctors advised me to have a termination and we did think about it. I didn’t want to die and there was a real and likely possibility that the baby growing inside me would kill me.
But at the same time I felt a love developing for our unborn child I just couldn’t dismiss. We both wanted this baby so much.
We told doctors that we planned to go through for it. I could tell a lot of them thought we were mad.
Telling my mum was a bit scary. I knew she would be worried about my health.
She had picked me up and cuddled me after every broken bone and accompanied me on my numerous hospital visits.
“I just don’t want to see you in any more pain, Mandy,” she told me. “Have you really thought about how hard it will be if the baby has your condition? It’s not fair on the baby.”
A tidal wave of guilt hit me. I was a strong person and was proud of the person I was but my condition had taken me through some really dark times.
Could I put my baby through that?
There was a 50/50 chance of me passing it on.
Steven and I discussed it for hours on end but we both decided we would go for it. Once I’d made the decision I felt happier. I could now focus on eating the correct foods and doing my best to stay healthy.
Then I received the most devastating call.
It was Tony, my mum’s partner.
“Your mum has taken a turn for the worse – we don’t think you should come up in your condition though.”
Of course I ignored him and Steven and I drove up straight away.
She had contracted MRSA during one of her dialysis visits.
When I entered the ward I knew I was there to say good-bye. I held her hand tightly and said how I would tell her grandchild all about her. She slipped away with us all around her.
I felt like a part of me died with her. She was a huge part of my life. I was three months pregnant and my hormones were everywhere – I began doubting whether I had done the right thing.
How would I cope without her?
Every daughter needs their mum with them when having their first child and I was more in need than most girls.
But she had gone. I shed a lot of tears in private.
In the end it was my unborn baby that kept me going. We decided to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl.
If it was a girl we knew we would call her Diana after my mother.
But it was a boy.
It was actually Steven that came up with the perfect name for him – Aidan. It was the letters of my mum’s name rearranged.
The rest of the pregnancy went reasonably well although it was very painful. Steven was very good though and massaged my feet when I moaned and fanned me when I got hot.
Sometimes he would even take the extra weight in his hands as he helped me into bed and onto the sofa. I only weighed 3 stone before and during pregnancy I went up to five stone! It felt very uncomfortable.
They told me they would have to operate early as my body would not be able to take it but I kept telling them no when ever they suggested a date.
I said I felt fine – I wanted Aidan left in the womb as long as possible.
But then I had a bit of an episode in Asda. We were in a long queue and it was boiling and I began to feel really uncomfortable.
“Help me I can’t breathe!” I cried and then I blacked out.
I woke up in hospital and doctors said I really must give birth. It was getting too dangerous.
So at 35 weeks they began the Caesarean process at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. I was in the Silver Star unit, which deals with complicated pregnancies. I’d like to pretend that I felt happy and strong about it but I was absolutely terrified.
I was so worried I would never wake up. I rubbed my stomach and begged Aidan to be gentle with me.
My anxiety ebbed away as the anaesthetic kicked in and I was wheeled to surgery, dreaming of finally being able to see baby Aidan’s face.
I went in on the Thursday and on Friday 27th February, Aidan Fyfe was born weighing 5lbs 5ozs.
He was beautiful and he hadn’t inherited the disorder! I was so happy.
As he was five weeks premature he was kept in the special care unit.
Two weeks later as Aidan grew stronger they transferred him to the hospital in Swindon.
I went to him every day. At first I found it torturous not being able to look after my baby without nurses and tubes to help him breathe and feed around him.
But actually it was a good period for me to prepare and come to terms with things. I think while I was pregnant, I was so concerned that he would have the disorder, that he might not survive or that I would die that I hadn’t actually considered it all working out and what would happen next.
I bought even more parenting books to add to my collection.
Steven thought I was mad.
“Amanda you’re being silly,” he told me. “You’re going to be a great Mum and you’ll just pick it up along the way. You don’t need a book.”
But as usual I ignored him and bought and read them all anyway.
After two and a half weeks we brought Aidan home.
I started to worry if he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do at certain stages according to the book.
But then I started to discover Steven was right. I was picking things up along the way. I was coping.
I found singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star stopped him crying every time and I knew the difference between when he was crying for his bottle and when his nappy needed changing.
I couldn’t believe it – I was coping just fine as Britain’s smallest Mum!
I knew what I had to do next – plan the christening. Steven isn’t particularly religious but my mum had me christened while I was in hospital and it was something that was very important to her.
I began planning the perfect day. I scoured the internet for the perfect outfit for Aidan and shopped till I dropped for a dress for me.
In the end I settled on a £45 size 8 Jane Norman one. It would have been a short dress on most girls but on me it was more like a proper ball dress. It was cream with black sequin embroidery and it was fitted round the bust. My boobs had grown with the pregnancy so they fitted into it perfectly.
Everyone would be watching and I wanted to look amazing. I knew it would go perfectly with my most treasured piece of jewellery – my ‘Mummy’ necklace from Aidan for Mother’s Day. I couldn’t wait.
I picked Aidan a cream and gold suit out from Sazoo online. It came with a cute bonnet and shoes. The shoes didn’t arrive in time so in the end my sister had to nip to Sainsbury’s to get a pair.
We had asked my brother Adrian to be godfather as well as out best friends Robert, Kathleen and Louisa.
On the morning of the christening, I thought of the one person that couldn’t be there. Mum.
I wish she could have met Aidan or at least known that I was going to survive giving birth before she died.
I took my favourite picture of her and folded it into my purse. That way she would be with me on the day.
Whilst my dad and Steven fussed around the house getting all the last minute things done – sausage rolls ready in a tray in the oven, wine in the fridge, laying out the buffet – I got ready.
It was really important for everything to go well. No one had expected me to ever have a christening and yet here I was. I also knew I wouldn’t be arranging another one. Although we would love Aidan to have a little baby brother or sister, Steven and I had decided we wouldn’t go through the process again.
I needed a good two hours to get ready. Aidan sat and gurgled at me throughout. He had a little bit of a cold and had been up in the night but he was content now.
As we rolled up to the church late – thanks to me blow-drying and straightening my hair – I knew it was going to be a good day. A crowd of smiling faces welcomed us and the sun was shining.
Aidan bawled his eyes out as he was christened but when Steven handed him to be I soothed him and he stopped.
Everyone noticed and I loved the comments of how well they could see I was doing.
I clutched my purse the whole time knowing the important photo was inside. I don’t know if it was being in a church or if it was the emotion of the day but right then and there I knew my Mum was smiling down on me. Smiling back with Aidan in my arms and Steven beside me I could not be any happier.
I know there will be challenges to overcome. Soon Aidan will be bigger than me and we are working out how I can move him around the house in my chair while Steven is at work.
We will also have to tell Aidan that he has to be gentle with Mummy and much later on we will have to talk about his decision to have children as he could be a carrier of the brittle bone disorder.
But for now I am proudly wearing my ‘Mummy’ necklace knowing that I am Britain’s smallest.
I just have to work on completing my dream and adding to my my prized jewellery collection – with a diamond engagement ring!