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Birth Story From 1960

How things have changed for mothers expecting their first baby! Thank goodness!

It is not until you hear about the stories of mothers from over 60 years ago that you can appreciate how far the healthcare system and those working in it has come.

Emma's Nan, Debbie's Mum, tells us about her experience of having her first baby (Debbie) and what it was like for her in 1960.

In 1959 I was a strong confident 21 year old lady who had ben married for 2 years.

In June 1959 I missed a period and went and saw my doctor. I was told to come back when i missed my next one and then he would do a check. There were no tests in those days it was all wait and see. All went well and I was pregnant with my first child.

On March 8th at 7pm after having twinges all day I went into St Albans, St Julian's Ward. I was shown into a room of my own, examined and told to say goodbye to my husband and ring the bell if I needed anything.

During the night the contractions got worse and I was given pethidine then left. 10 minutes later I was sick over everything and had to have a complete bed change (nothing was said by the staff but I felt there were thoughts!). Around 6 am I was examined by the sister in charge and told 'this baby wont be born until later'. When I see pictures now of people in the room when the bay is being born I remember how I felt in that room on my own, first baby, no preparation of what went on. I think the mums of today are so lucky.

Despite being told there would be no baby till later she was born around 11am, weighting a healthy 7 and a half pounds.

After the birth she was taken to the nursery and brought to me at 2 pm for feeding time, and then again at 10 pm. When babies went back to the nursery after feeding they were weighed and often brought back if they showed the same weight to be fed again.

You were allowed home after 10 days, visiting was evenings only, my husband and one other. On my first day home my mother-in-law stayed with me until the afternoon, she must have known how I was feeling about being left on my own, she said you will be ok and went. After she left I looked at this tiny little baby and thought 'I am responsible for her life so get on with it'. I was lucky I had relatives that lived close by to help me, there is so much help for young mums these days if you don't have family around to help, but don't be afraid to ask.

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