Happy Friday! Time for another birth story. This series is going really well and I hope that people are enjoying it. Everyone I’ve spoken to who has written their story said it was really empowering. I’m always looking for people to contribute. Email me if you or someone you know might be interested.
The third and final story from my mum and it’s mine.
Baby number 4 was supposed to arrive on the 16/02/93. My Mum wanted a Valentine’s Day baby, I just wanted my baby as soon as possible. This had been my worst pregnancy. I had been sick all the way through, I had to have a glucose test in case I had pregnancy diabetes, I didn’t they were just big babies. I was anaemic due to a mix up between the G.P and hospital concerning iron tablets and I had three other children. I had terrible back ache and had to have several scans because at one point baby was transverse, so was laying across my tummy. I was laying threatened with a c section, they tried to turn baby but that didn’t work. However, at the last minute baby turned. Hurray, or so I thought, little did I know. By now they could tell if baby was a boy or girl, but I elected not to know as I had not known with the older three children. I think my husband would have liked to have known, but hey it was me having this baby so it’s MY decision. I did have a suspicion that baby was a girl though because the lady doing the scan said “I expect your little girl would like a sister wouldn’t she?”
I woke at about 5AM on the morning of the 9th of February with sharp pains. Oh good I thought here by lunch time, home by tea time because I was booked in for 6 hours and my previous labours had been quick. By 8 o’clock the contractions had slowed. A neighbour had said she would take the 2 older children to school and would meet them and look after them if needed, leaving me with a 3 year old. My husband then decided that he was going to work!!!! As things had slower down. Don’t forget we didn’t have mobile phones then. “What!” I said, “You can’t leave me here with a toddler.” “Oh it’s ok.” He said “Your mum and sister are on their way.”
My lovely mum and sister turned up on their bikes. Mum stayed until 3pm and then went home to prepare the beds for her 3 grandchildren. My sister stayed until 5pm when my husband returned home. I told him we needed to go to the hospital. I phoned and was told to come in. We collected the 2 older children from the neighbour and together with the toddler dropped them off at Mum’s and made for the hospital. It was now about 6:30pm and 1 was still expecting to have baby fairly quickly once I got there. Ha ha, no such luck. I was by now in agony.
This was certainly the most painful birth, so they gave me the gas and air and were quite shocked that I didn’t know how to use it. I had not needed it with the others. Then they took it away from me as I was getting too high on it. I remember feeling very annoyed about that. My baby was not making very good progress along the birth canal, but was not distressed so they decided to leave her alone, but for some reason she seemed stuck. The midwife looked and said she is facing the wrong way, looking up instead of down. It was now 9pm and my midwife should have gone home, but he said she was staying until this baby made an appearance. They told me that because this way my fourth child everything down there was stretched (charming) and that would help.
At 9:59, with no forceps or intervention, a baby girl arrived. They had told me she would not be large like her brother. Well they were right she wasn’t so big. Only 10lb 6oz! We hadn’t decided on her name so for 3 days she was just baby Daws until the nurses pleaded with me to give her a name. We decided on Cathryn Laura. My Dad had passed away during my pregnancy and Laura had been his Mum’s (My Nanny’s) name. It was also my Husbands Nanny’s name so it pleased both families. My husband wanted to go and phone the Mum’s with the news of the birth but they made him stay because I needed a bath and they didn’t have enough staff to stay with me. In those days if a baby was born at night they kept it in the nursery so as not to disturb the other mums on the ward.
About 3am they came and told me by baby was being transferred to S.C.B.U (Special Care Baby Unit) because she was having difficulty breathing, but not too worry. Of course I did. In the morning when the babies came through from the nursery, mine didn’t. The nurses said she was ok and would be on the ward shortly. Still no baby. Eventually they let me got to S.C.B.U to see her. I was told that she had a stridor in her throat which vibrated when she had a bottle, it made an awful noise. They didn’t know if the breathing problems were caused by the fact she didn’t realise she had to take breaths every now and again while feeding or because she had so many rolls of fat on her neck that she couldn’t support her head when feeding.
We were told that Cathryn might have to be transferred to a bigger, more specialised hospital if she didn’t improve. After 3 days I made the difficult decision to go home leaving Cathryn behind. I had 3 children at home who were upset and being looked after by my Mum and sister. They needed me too.
But the drama didn’t end there. Oh no! One night at 10pm after we visited Cathryn. I had bad tummy pains and increased blood loss. My mum who had been babysitting said to phone the emergency doctor, who wasn’t very helpful and told me to wait and see the midwife. Mum said keep any large clots to show the midwife (yuck) because she thought it was bits of the placenta. She was right, it was. The midwife said that it was ok because the pans and bleeding had stopped.
Luckily after 3 days we were allowed to bring Cathryn home. She had learnt to feed and breath and the stridor disappeared after a few months. As we left the S.C.B.U I thought this is it. No more babies. I can’t do this again and I’m not coming back. I didn’t until 22 years later at the birth of Cathryn’s daughter Edith.