There were ten of us in our family - five girls, three boys and my parents. Four girls came first, followed by one boy, then myself, with my two younger brothers following after. William, the second youngest, was born in 1980, three months premature. My mother had a fall, which brought on premature labor.
William spent the next four months in intensive care, battling for his young life. My parents went through hell, trying to spend as much time as possible with their newborn son, as well as caring for the six other children they had. When William pulled through, the doctors said my parents shouldn't try for any more children. They said my mother would never be able to carry another child to term and it was best that she be sterilized. My parents reluctantly agreed and the procedure was booked.
When my mother went in for the procedure, she had to have a pregnancy test done just in case - it came back positive! Abortion was not an option in Ireland back then, so my mother had to proceed with the pregnancy. She went private - my father worked all the overtime he could to pay for the best medical treatment he could. My mother was classed a high risk pregnancy, due to the premature birth of her last child, as well as her age - she was 36 which was then considered old to be having a baby. It was a difficult pregnancy for her - there was that huge risk that she would miscarry. My parents were absolutely thrilled when my youngest brother was born healthy.
As a result, my mother was always a bit overprotective of my youngest brother. She saw him as the child she almost never had. She adored him! He was eight when my mother died in 1990. I don't think he fully understood what was going on. As he got older he'd cry every time we spoke of her. He missed her so much.
I started having dreams about my mother when I was about fifteen. It was always the same dream. She'd be sitting at our kitchen table with my youngest brother. There was a huge pile of sweets in front of them, and she was helping him to count out sweets for himself. Nobody else was allowed to have any sweets. She wouldn't speak to anyone else either, just whispered to my brother. This dream continued for a couple of years, until I was 17 and it changed completely.
I dreamt that my mother was standing in our kitchen. She was dressed up in the outfit she'd worn to her brother's wedding a number of years before she died - a green dress with a large white hat and white handbag. I kept asking her why she was there, but she didn't answer, just kept smiling. She stayed for a few minutes, before telling me that she was waiting for someone and that she would be leaving soon. The dream then ended.
The following afternoon my youngest brother died. He was aged fifteen and it was the day before the seventh anniversary of my mother's death. I believe my mother had been trying to warn me all along that she was going to take her baby boy back.