Today my beautiful daughter celebrates another birthday. I won't say her age as that is her personal business but suffice to say I was 23 when she was born. Yesterday she was on my mind a lot and my thoughts flew back to when she was born and the first few weeks of her life. Let me tell you that story.
My first husband and I had been married about 17 months and we were both working. I began to feel a little unwell and as I was unsure what the problem was I visited my dear old GP. He examined me and told me he was sure I was pregnant and that I should see a specialist immediately. He quickly got me an appointment with an excellent obstetrician who told me that I was definitely pregnant but in some danger of losing the baby.
First there was the thrill of knowing I was carrying a new life but then the concern about whether this baby would survive. I gave up my job and followed orders about taking it easy and for the next couple of months kept my feet up as much as possible etc so that hopefully all would be well.
I know friends and family members who have had lots of trouble while pregnant but apart from being careful what I did for the first few months, I felt wonderful. No morning sickness at all so plenty of time for sewing and knitting and thinking of baby names. Chose 3 girl's names I really liked and a couple of boy's names. I never told anyone but I desperately wanted this baby to be a girl. My 3 chosen girl's names were Diane, Karen and Susan. Ordinary but nice. The boy's names were Peter and Steven. Not many fancy names back in the 1950s.
Towards the final months of this pregnancy it seemed I was carrying a lot of fluid and my blood pressure began to rise way past where it should normally me. My specialist kept an eye on me and when I visited him when I was 8 months he said I was to see him again in a week and if my B/P was still high he would put me into hospital.
I am not sure if he scared me but during that night I woke knowing something wasn't quite as it should be. A friend with whom we shared the house had had a baby 6 weeks previously so my husband called her in and she said she definitely thought the baby might be on its way. My husband also drove to the GP's house (we had no telephone way back then) and the doctor told him to get me over to the hospital immediately, if not sooner. This would have been at about 3am and as when we arrived at the hospital my water broke as I was going up the front steps.
When in the maternity ward I was immediately taken into the delivery room and my specialist arrived only a short while before my lovely daughter was born at 5.30am. It was mid-winter and I remember him arriving dressed in a turtle neck sweater and telling me it was darned cold outside. All went very well and so very quickly too. The baby weighed 5lb 8ozs which was a good weight as she was 4 weeks premature (and she was 18 inches long). She was very healthy and was taken to the nursery to be weighed and all the other things they do to new babies.
As my doctor was very modern in his approach to pregnancy I walked from the delivery room to my room and was told I could get up later in the morning and have a shower. I later learned that practically all other doctors didn't allow new mums to get out of bed for up to a week and I was the envy of quite a few. I shared the room with a lady named Thelma who was 39 and had just had her first baby. I feel it had come as quite a surprise to her to find she was pregnant but she loved her little boy and so did her husband. We kept in touch for a year or so but eventually lost touch as they moved to the eastern states. I often wonder how they were faring.
It was normal then to stay in hospital for 10 days after giving birth and I must admit I enjoyed having the rest. On the first morning I noticed Thelma having a cigarette and I too was a smoker then. One of the nurses (they were nuns back then) came in and I asked her if it would be a good idea if I perhaps stopped smoking now I had a baby. Her answer would startle people today but she said "Oh no dear. The shock of giving up smoking might cause you to lose your milk." How times have changed. I therefore kept smoking and finally gave up the wicked weed when I was about 38 years old. These days I hear dreadful stories of what happens to babies whose mothers smoke while they are pregnant. Do I feel guilty about having smoked during two pregnancies and while breast feeding? No I don't and will write a post soon about reasons why smoking was once considered good for you just to explain why I don't feel guilty. I don't think either of my children have suffered because of my habit for which I am very thankful.
That is when and how my baby girl arrived in my life and today as a lovely grown woman I hope she has a wonderfully happy birthday. I do just love her so much. Happy Birthday my first born child. xx