My wish for a friend for my little toddler has been granted and is now on the way. My husband says, he likes how women look like they are blossoming and healthy when pregnant.
Nearing the end, I neither look nor feel either of those. My weight is going crazy and I look like an oversize balloon, the blood pressure continues to rise and the Doctor is threatening hospital, for hypertension and toxemia.
However, very fortunately, before any of that happened, June 27th 1978, I was woken in the wee small hours of the morning. The baby had decided to come into the world very fast, and was putting on great pressure to get out. We barely made it to the hospital in time. For this birth the rules had been relaxed, and the staff dressed father up in a white gown and allowed him to see his last child’s birth.
I was hoping in my heart to produce a new son for him, but he is overjoyed at a daughter. Just having a new baby, he laughingly says, proves he is not past it yet.
She is a very wide awake and alert baby, with large piercing eyes and a kink in the hair that looks like the makings for curls. She peers out from her hospital bassinet, parked beside my bed, quietly staring all around as if she has just landed from another planet and is sussing out where she is.
When her skin color and the whites of her lovely big blue eyes take on a yellow tinge, the nurses say it is Jaundice, and transfer her into a special incubator to lie under a blue beam of light. To prevent her eyes being damaged by the light, they are covered with a mask made from special black cloth for protection.
When I go to the room where she is to feed her, I feel very frightened to hold her. The same thoughts and feelings I had after another birth, that I might hurt her, have returned, but the fear of being called ‘mental’ stops me telling anyone. So as quickly as I can I attend to her and leave.
My dear Nana, now at the great age of Eighty, arrived on the Newman’s bus to supervise the ones at home while the husband worked. When she told the little toddler, if she didn’t do as she was told, her soft house slipper would come off for a smack, the toddler said, if she did that, she would tell on her, to her Father.
Just after giving birth a nurse from another part of the hospital delivered a note to me from my eldest girl who is now married. Her note is to inform me she is in another ward after having an, Ectopic pregnancy, removed. It seems a cruel thing for that to happen to her at the same time as I have a new baby.
Hanging around in hospital for five days when I longed to be with my family was boring, and I eagerly looked forward to the husband’s visits. In the afternoons, the littlest kids came, and not being allowed inside, I opened the ward window to talk to them and show off their new sister. Evening time visits were just, dads only, and I easily identified my husband’s steps coming up the corridor by the noise of his new brown leather shoes, squeaking, which set my heart all a flutter.
On the day we got to go home, my heart was full to overflowing. The Matron, following a hospital tradition, walked us to the door and handed over our new baby with best wishes, once my lovely husband and I were seated in the car.
When the baby never had a poo for four days we called our local Plunket nurse, who was also the husband’s sister, and she reckoned not to panic as breast fed babies sometimes did this. On her weekly visits for weighing and checkups, the toddler feeling a bit left out, insisted on sitting in her little baby sister’s bath after her.
Not wanting to tempt fate and get offside with God, I made contact with our local Presbyterian church to arrange to have the two little ones, Christened. The minister said he would only agree if we started attending church.
My husband surprised me by agreeing, as he was always quite against church. He thought that they were all after money. He got a great laugh out of telling a story about running a Priest off his property, by holding the scruff of his collar, after his mother converted to Catholicism.