Saturday, September 29, 2007

Family Complete

Story contd.

I was so relieved the ceiling hadn’t fallen on me and my little son;my Guardian angel was on duty that day. After I had settled him in his cot I crept downstairs to phone William and tell him what had happened. He came home straight away and I persuaded him that I was fine and didn’t need to see the doctor but we had to do something about the ceiling. In those days work-men actually came when they said they would and although the builder couldn’t promise to reproduce the elaborate moulding exactly - he made a good job of it and the house stayed sound from then on.

Just one more surprise. I went down to the cellar one day to fill the brass coal bucket and was amazed to find the cellar floor hidden by a small lake. I hastily retreated and phoned poor William. By the time he got home the water had disappeared. Although no-one had told us, there was a well in the cellar which would over flow after extremely heavy rains. Nothing to worry about.

It was the custom then to have the first baby in hospital and the second- if all was well – at home. There were two midwives, one who was shaped like a hedgehog; she was dry with a twinkle so we christened her Mrs Tiggy Winkle and prayed she would be on duty for the birth. The other one was skinny with glasses and an expression as if she had just eaten bitter aloes. She was very dismissive when she saw the new single bed we had bought. It had a rounded bottom which seemed to incense her and she said it was far too low and must be put up on blocks.

We had set the bed up in the playroom on the ground floor where it looked out onto the back garden. William had a brainwave – as he thought – got eight breeze blocks from the garage and elevated the bed. I really lost my cool when I saw them – dirty, cumbersome and with the odd wood louse crawling over them. They quickly disappeared and were replaced by neat wooden blocks.

By now William was working for the MOD (Ministry of Defence) and had a reasonable amount of leave so he took time off to look after me during the birth and help with # 1 son and the new baby. To my delight it was Mrs Tiggy who was on duty when I started. It was lunch time and she said she had nobody else due so would stay with me. We all tucked into a stew I had made, and she said she knew when I was having a contraction as my face went ‘all pink.’

After she examined me she warned that I would probably have quite a small baby. It was a long afternoon and I remember lurching through the hall to answer the phone and having a strong urge to delay the whole thing for a month or two. Fat chance! We had a fire glowing in the play-room and the bed facing the window and Mrs Tiggy was concerned about the draught when the door was opened so we moved the bed and blocks against the back wall – much more satisfactory.

When it was bed-time for my son and William took him up for his bath Mrs Tiggy said,

‘Let’s try and have the baby before your husband gets down again.’

And we actually managed it with my special breathing coming up trumps and soon there was that delightful bawl from a new born baby. A beautiful boy and a glorious 8 pounds – a whole pound heavier then his brother. The one certain thing about midwifery is that nothing is certain. William was thrilled, I was thrilled and the nurse said I had done brilliantly. But – she was terribly sorry – she had tried to hold it together but the old wound had torn and I would have to have stitches. She knew what was coming.

Old Dr Rigg’s house backed onto mine so he was there in a trice and I had a repeat performance of the suturing with no local anaesthetic. Why the hell didn’t I protest but one feels so weak and helpless and it was again a bitter irony that I managed the birth like a trooper and then had to try to gag my screams with the inadequate gas and air mask. Poor William heard and later told my sister he couldn’t put me through that again and I made a decision that this was going to be my family – complete. I had always visualised a little girl (who later appeared as my first grand-daughter) but I would never change my two sons, not for all the tea in China.

When no-one was looking I sneaked to the phone – just outside the door - and phoned Mum. She hit the roof and ordered me back to bed out of ‘ that draughty hall’. Then my sister Mattie and husband turned up with a bottle of champagne which I wouldn’t touch as I intended to start feeding my sturdy little son. Eventually the guests left, William went up to bed and I was left alone in the firelight with him and felt a great thrill of happiness – all pain forgotten. We decided to have a go at this feeding business and – like his brother he clamped on with relish.

Normally with breast fed babies they have a sticky stool- meconium - for the first 24 hours but this little boy was so determined he had a normal stool by morning. It was an icy February morning and the daffodils were out in the garden. I wondered what the brothers would think of each other. I heard William bringing #1son downstairs. I’d soon find out.

42 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

It is so good to read your posts. You take us over to have glimpses over your life.

Glad Michele sent me here!

PI said...

gautami: thank you. That's much appreciated.

sister AE said...

Hello, Michele sent me today, but I am so happy to catch up with your posts. You are such a good story-teller. I am happy to be along for the ride.

PI said...

sisterae: thank you - that's nice to know.

November Rain said...

Michelle sent me today... WOW...
I had a roof cave in on me and my daughter....

I was giving her a bath she was 2 and the ceiling in the bathroom gave way due to a heavy rains in Florida

I also breast fed my two I remember that sticky stool...

Love to read your life stories :)

craziequeen said...

Hi Pat. Michele sent me here to see you this evening.

Your reminisces sum up the feelings I have missed in my life being unable to have children. I have always yearned to hold my own baby, but that has never happened.

I wrote about some of the emotions in the third person here:
http://craziequeenstorystore.blogspot.com/2005/10/outsiders.html

cq

david santos said...

Thanks for story, PI! Very good.
Have a good weekend

PI said...

novy: that must have been even more frightening. I hope you weren't hurt.

CQ: I am so sorry. It's bed-time now but I'll be along tomorrow to read. A big hug.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

The birth of #2 son sounds like it was so easy...one wonders how you tore, again....And the stitches without anbesthesia---HELP ME! Terible. I don't understand doctors someimes...Maybe it's only male doctors that don't consider the kind of pain that stitches could cause in such a sensitive area....If they could just "substitue" their worst nightmare on their own body and the pain THAT would cause...well, things might be a lot different! (lol) Well told, Pat.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Congratulations, again - and well done for stopping at two, very sensible.

PI said...

David: thank you and welcome.

Naomi: I think it was because he was a whole pound heavier than his brother that did it. Also in those days the medical profession were regarded as higher beings. It just wasn't done to ever question a doctor especially for me, having been trained as a nurse.

Zinnia: two were more than a handful. Bless 'em!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Wonderful stories, Pat. What a surprise to find the lake in the cellar!

Michele sent me.

PI said...

Jean=luc: the first few months there were a bit unnerving but then we had 20 odd years of no probs - house wise.

craziequeen said...

So, come on - how did your sons get along through life?

Michele sent me back to see you while we are waiting for our friends across the pond to rub the sleep from their eyes.

cq

FOUR DINNERS said...

A worman came when he said he would?????

Impressed

yellojkt said...

Glad the midwife worked out so well for you. My wife had so many complications, there was no chance of the doctor risking that.

R2K said...

: )

PI said...

CQ: 40 odd years in two lines? OK! they both have families of their own, they have always been loving sons and I am proud of them.

yellojkt: I do hope all turned out well for you.

R. Sherman said...

‘Let’s try and have the baby before your husband gets down again.’

Of course, here in the States we have a telly in the birthing room along fathers to keep an eye on the ballgame during the messy bits -- and to keep them from leaving, I'll wager. (On the day of the OD's birth, the St. Louis Cardinals won 6-2. An auspicious beginning.)

Cheers.

Eryl Shields said...

‘Let’s try and have the baby before your husband gets down again.’
I love that!!!

I've tagged you for a meme btw.

PI said...

Randall: I couldn't envisage having either of my husbands around at such a personal ordeal - it would have driven me nuts. When did it start I wonder?

Leigh in Atlanta said...

hey, I used to have a cellar that did that.

Michele sent me over to say hi

Z said...

My second child was born at home too, by far the best experience of my three childbirths. I felt fine and well enough to get up, but I'd been warned there was a risk of haemorrhage so I stayed put for several hours - when I popped along the landing to the loo.

Glad all went well - apart from the stitches.

PI said...

4D: you suffer too? We're expecting one at 9am tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Eryl: I'll be over to have a butchers soon.

PI said...

Z: I think because of the stitches I was made to stay in bed and poor William had to do bed-pans. Greater love hath no man.

November Rain said...

no we werent but we had to move as a result and it ruined the holidays for us

PI said...

That's a shame Novy.

Nea said...

Red hot pain, giving birth and the stitches afterwards, you have brought back some happy memories, thank you;)

PI said...

Nea: don't mensh! Happy to oblige.

PI said...

Leigh: the time to worry is when it creeps up the steps.

kenju said...

Oh, Lord, I can't believe you had that baby at home! I know many people do it, but I didn't and I'd be afraid. I can't imagine stitches without local anesthetic! Ouch!

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

They stitched you with no anaesthetic again! Good grief, what was the matter with these doctors?

Congratulations on #2!

PI said...

Hi R2K! I love your street art.

Judy: You had to be tough to live over here in the fifties. Maybe that's why my sister settled in the States:)

PI said...

Sam: I still think you were brilliant to have two at once.

apprentice said...

What great memories! I'm glad you got the nice wifie. What are men like re the dirty blocks from the garage.

Oh, I felt those stitches. I remember getting them too, I got a pain killer, but it made me really sick and spoiled the first few post birth hours.

I still mantain velcro is the way to go!

Casdok said...

Just came across you today.
Simply lovely!

PI said...

Anna: wouldn't that be great? I could get used to the noise.

PI said...

Casdok: you are VERY welcome.

moon said...

I love reading your memories...and very happy that both your sons were born healthy...I gasped at the pain u must have felt being stitched up cold like that!!
I breast fed my daughter..and loved it. The week we have a raw nipple is tough but even then, I was so happy to be doing it...my mother hadn't done it nor did my mother in law so I didn't have any references...but I knew it was the best thing I could do for my daughter. I shall always remember, especially the quiet night time moments alone with her at my breast...and marveling in the knowledge that I alone was sustaining her life..with the best food possible for her over anything else. So many women I know, opted NOT to breastfeed...its, their choice ofcourse but I always thought it such a pity...and so much more complicated...breast milk is always ready, and perfect..no matter where u are,....I loved it!! lol

PI said...

Moon: you are right - those quiet times were out of this world. Probably the nearest thing one gets to bliss on earth:)

Almost American said...

My sister was born at home, and when the midwife arrived for the delivery she complained that the bed was too low. My grandfather trotted outside to get some bricks to lift the bed up to the height she wanted, and by the time he got back it was all over! I wish my own deliveries had been that quick! Glad I was in hospital though as I had significant complications.

Wasn't nursing wonderful? I guess you have to want to do it though.

PI said...

Hi AA and welcome! That's an interesting story. Men the same the world over:) Yes nursing was the most meaningful thing I ever did.