Monday, 30 March 2015

1: I am born....

I came into this world on 15 July 1965, half an hour after my twin sister. We were the fifth and sixth children in the family, and my mother had pneumonia and ended up spending six weeks in the London Hospital where we were born. My poor father was left to cope with a full time job, four children under six, with childcare provided by Norland nannies, and kind friends who pitched up to help with the laundry. We didn't have a car, and we lived many miles away from the hospital, so  I can only imagine how difficult that period must have been for them both.

Things weren't helped much by the manner in which I and my sister came into the world. In those days twins weren't whipped out at 36 weeks as they are often are now, so we were two weeks over our due date, and my mum had to be induced.

All went  swimmingly to begin with and my sister was duly born at 4.25pm (Just in time for Jackanory). It was only when I was having babies of my own, I completely twigged the stress of my much later arrival (4.55pm, in time for Blue Peter).

I had decided to head out shoulder first (according to my mother, who had trained as a midwife), the most complicated presentation in the book. So the attending doctor (who my mother had trained with) decided to turn me round to make me breach. Again, nowadays, my mum would have had an emergency caesarean, but back then the solution was to put her to sleep, while they got me out. Which is where it all went a bit pear shaped.

My dad had arrived at the hospital by now to discover he'd missed the first baby's arrival, and that my mum was allergic to something in the anaesthetic and at one point had stopped breathing. He told me much later, that it was the worst day of his life... gee, thanks. Though I do get the point. He must have had a moment when he thought he was going to be a widow with six small children. Thankfully, that wasn't the case, and my mother made a full recovery.

I don't know how long we stayed in hospital, but a very kind family friend, one of the few people we knew who had a car, made the trip from North to East London to bring us home, to the house where I was to live for the next 18 years: 30 Selborne Road, Southgate.

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