Saturday, 28 February 2015
Tomorrow will be the first of March, and historically it is also St David's day in Wales, also the day we, as a family remember as the birthday of Chopin the Pianist and Composer, who is part of our family tree. # All those years ago, I had been told to expect my baby on February 28th and the day actually passed quite nicely although I remember I was pretty fed up with being pregnant and with a big bump* I know I had washed my hair and drawn my eyeliner carefully and went down to the town where we were living. We had rented a place outside London. My husband was a student at London University and each day he scrambled out of bed and rushed to the station to catch the early train, not coming home until the mid evening. So I had a lot of time to fill in during the day, and not knowing many people locally, I spent my days in the parks or at the shops, window shopping or doing real shopping and bringing it home in the wheeled shopper I had. Because I had no real idea of keeping house, I would ask my sister in law who sometimes visited, what to look for as I bought meat, or what meals to make that her brother might like. She was an invaluable source of knowledge to me, although she was much younger, she had had to learn how to housekeepe as her mother worked full time as did her father.. As usual, my husband returned for his meal and I was, I remember cooking bacon..boiling the leg of ham in a large pot, and with cabbage and potatoes to go with it. I remember this, because I also managed to burn my wrist in the steam, as I tested whether the joint was cooked. It was a nasty burn and hurt a lot, but I got cold water and then a cream to sooth it. We then sat quietly listening to the radio as he worked on his papers. Around midnight I noticed that my bump was one hard mass, and felt quite uncomfortable. Being first time parents, neither of us knew what this meant, so I rang the hospital and was told they would send an ambulance around to collect me. My hospital was in the centre of London, so quite a way away. They arrived at last and we both traveled to the hospital where I was booked in, and he was told to make his way home. At three in the morning, there were no buses, so poor chap had to hitch a way to get home and of course it took him many hours, but he did finally manage to get to bed. Meanwhile, I was told that I was in the very early stages of labour and not to worry and get to sleep as much as I can until the pains really would start. I lay there trying to sleep when I heard very loud screaming and then a baby cry. I thought to myself, 'oh, maybe this birth thing might be painful'** up to then I had not really thought about how and what, was going to happen. Of course I had seen the drawings and the explanations, but no real idea of what was coming! At about 7.30 I was wheeled into the labour ward and left to cope with the mounting pain.. I recall that they bought me a cup of tea which I reached out to get, then the pain started in earnest and I did not manage to drink anything at all. The pain was huge and I was very very frightened. They gave me gas and air, which I held on to for dear life, even when they disconnected the head from the tube..I started to count and count and count, and would get up to around 70 before the slowing of the pain and down the other side.. then it started again, over and over and over, and I know that I was held down by nurses as I tried to get off the bed, and I was convinced I was in a James Bond Movie and was being held prisoner by Smersh! Finally at 4.29, my baby was assisted by forecepes and was born. My first reaction, was that he looked a very funny colour, all greyey blue, but soon the pink colour returned. I know that I was asking over and over what colour was he, because I had been so worried that my colour skin would make him darker and his father's fairness would give him orange hair! However my fears were not realised and the little darling was beautiful with dark streaks of hair. He was taken away, as they did in those days, for a 'cot rest', which meant I did not see him for his first four days of life.. and no one suggested that I was taken to see him in the nursury. Since I met him for the first time that boy of mine has been a source of joy and love and not for one minute have I ever felt less than privilaged to have known him and now his darling family.. Tomorrow I will facetime him in Australia where he now lives. He has made a wonderful second family after his first marriage failed, and his son from the first marriage is comfortable with his stepmother and his brothers, so all is finally well in his life. When I was younger, 48 seemed so far away, and now its my boy who will achieve that age tomorrow, how blessed I feel.