I was chatting to my Dad today about when my Sis was born in 1960.(123 Posts)
November 1960. My Mum was in labour, he dropped her at the maternity hospital at 10pm and was sent home.
He heard nothing all night (he said he found the dog a great comfort), had a call at 6am the next morning saying my Mum had given birth to a healthy girl, both fine, and he could come in and visit later. He turned up at 8.30am and was sent away "because it was feeding time". He bumped into the family doctor on the way out who sneaked him back in.
The next 2 babies were born at home on the family farm in 1962 and 1965. A very different experience, attitudes were changing very quickly, lovely midwives.
I'm just so shocked that he was sent away at 10pm and was sent away at 8.30am the next morning! Oh, and he was a dairy farmer and probably knew more about birth and lactation than the lot of them put together!
sent away again, should have said
My dad was sent away in 1970. My mum always says she was really glad as she didn't want him faffing around there and he'd probably have passed out. H was with me for all 3 of our children's births but tbh I didn't actually notice -he could have sneaked off and I wouldn't have realised.
I was born in 62 and delivered by my DF, not that he had much choice. I came 20 minutes after the first contraction.
My ex bf was born in the mid 60's. His dad was at the football, and his mum got a message through. At half time they announced "would MR x please ring the maternity unit as his wife has given birth to a baby boy"
My father was unconscious on the floor having passed out at the birth of my brother - he'd have been more use (and less of an obstruction to step over) sent home!
I think the "feeding time" thing is interesting too. I suppose they got all the mothers to feed 4-hourly or something.
My great grandmother gave birth early, in the snow, in a tent in her garden while repairs were being done to the house. The rule then was that for 40 days the mother musn't be moved so there they stayed for 40 days!!
How times have changed eh?
When I was in labour with DD1 I was given an epidural and DH was sent home while I had a sleep as it was going to be a while. I woke up while he wasn't there and really wanted him back!
When I was having DD2 I didn't have an epidural but I was that high on G&A that at one point I thought that he had gone home . He hadn't he was just sitting on the chair, quietly beside the bed!
My dad has been watching call the midwife. It's apparently very accurate- he was brought up in that part of london in the 40s and 50s. Can't remember what he's doing tomorrow, but he can still remember going to get prescription orange juice from the midwives at the baby clinic at the end of his road
My brother was born in Amsterdam in 1979. They showed my mother her placenta and asked her if my dad would be taking it with him or if she wanted to keep it at the hospital until she left.... UGGH.
My mum was born at home- my Grandad was waiting downstairs, and the midwife came to tell him he had another daughter and gave him the placenta, wrapped in paper, to burn on the fire.
blessyou, that poor woman! Even without mangled nether regions you wouldn't want to spend 40 days in a tent in England. Bet the neighbours loved that the baby couldn't be taken
somewhere more soundproof indoors
My dad was sent away too when I was born in 1968.
He was told it was feeding time too.
My mum asked me if I gave birth in stirrups and did they shave me. I mean wtaf ?
My sister was born at home a couple of years later and the midwife didnt arrive in time so he delivered her !!
I'm so glad things have moved on.
40 days in a tent ? thats nearly 6 weeks ?? < mind boggles >
My Aunt had her first 4 in hospital without her husband (DHs weren't allowed to be there), but by the time she had her 5th baby policies had changed and he was encouraged by the midwifes to stay. She was furious and sent him away saying he had no business to be there.
During my 4 labours my DH sat silently in the chair next to the hospital bed whilst I laboured and gave birth. This time I am likely to have to go it alone (due to childcare) and am rather worried I might need him, even though he didn't do anything before.
Its just what you are used to I suppose.
It was definately birth in a tent, winter, had to stay there...
Reading it back I am wondering if some of the detail is wrong ie 40 days ?? , so have facebooked my Grandma and will be back to confirm or correct! (She's awesome 87 and facebooks me every day)
I can remember going to the loo in the early hours when I was 12, my Dad was sitting on the stairs smoking. He said" won't be long now" and I said "what won't"
"mam is having the baby now" he said lighting another cigarette from the first one.
I asked if she was in hospital and was told no she's in the front room. This was in his own home, feet from where mam was and he wasn't allowed any closer to her than a drafty hallway.
This was December 1965 the day before mams birthday. She gave us all a sister
I was born in the early seventies. Dads not encouraged at the birth and mum stayed in hospital for ten days post birth. Big bag of salt at the side of the bath in the post natal ward and sleeping tablets with milky drink in the evening to ensure mum had a good nights sleep. Babies all in the nursery at night and if baby cried during visiting hour, they were whipped off to the nursery!!
My mum and MIL told me how when theirs babies were born the midwife took them away to the nursery, so they could rest (1970s). The babies were all bought out by the midwifes for the mums to feed every 4 hours and then taken away again, regardless of whether they were formula fed or breastfed. In fact my mum told me that the midwife gave me a bottle of formula when I was in the nursery, even though I was breastfed, because I wouldn't stop crying. She only knew this when her baby wasn't bought out for a feed with the others and the midwife was rather cross that she had had to feed me for my mother. When I continued to want feeding more often than every 4 hours my mum was told that her milk was obviously not good enough and she had to put me on formula.
DD1 was born at home, and I didn't like it when the midwife sent DH upstairs to get some baby clothes! I think she wanted to give him a job to do, but he was doing a very good job of just being there for me, even though it probably looked like I was ignoring him.
My Dad buried my afterbirth in one of the fields on the farm. I could point out the spot right now, 48 years later! I'd like to report lush growth or a magical tree or something but the foliage is unremarkable!
EarthMother I like that story, I can just picture your Dad smoking on the stairs!
Women must have been made of sterner stuff back then - I burst into tears when poor DP suggested that since he hadn't eaten for a day and a half, and nothing was happening, perhaps he could nip out and find himself some food!
(He stayed.... I calmed down later and let him escape )
I remember my mum telling me about her births in the 60's/70's. After her first birth the baby died, she said the hospital used a dirty needle on him and he got septicaemia and died a few days later. The hospital were very matter of fact about it, sent her home and didn't bother to tell the community midwives, so they turned up a few days later asking to see the baby. My dad answered the door and just said "it's dead" and the midwife didn't even look phased or embarrassed, she just said "Oh well, cheer up, these things happen!"
A year later she was due to give birth again. She'd gone into hospital to have my dsis, they didn't believe she was in proper labour, and put her in a ward to get some sleep. She told them the baby was coming but they didn't check, just gave her some kind of sleeping drug. She said as the nurses were leaving the ward the doors were still swinging closed and the baby was born in the bed. And then she just passed out. The next morning she woke up to her mother eating grapes next to the bed and asking if she thought it would be born today, and she had to tell her that she'd had it! She didn't even know if it was alive or dead, they'd taken the baby off to nursery, all while she was sleeping.
Third baby (the year after) was a home birth, can't blame her after the first two. She said the midwife held him up by the feet and said he looked like a skinned rabbit! My dad wasn't there, she said he was in the pub, she was happy with that though, she was a very private person and he was a pain in the arse at the best of times.
Several years later she had my db at home, reasonably uneventful apart from a few suspicious comments on his hair colour as it wasn't the same as my parents or the other kids. Thanks for that, midwife! Dad was downstairs watching Jason and the Argonauts, and when told the baby was out, said he'd be up straight after the end of the film.
I was born in the 80's, the only birth with my dad present. In hospital again as she was an older mother by then. She had given up smoking and I was a full 3lb heavier than the rest of them (Poor mum!) she said it was agony, made worse by my dad who after being absent for four births decided to come over all evangelical about it, and as she was trying to push, he was shoving her head forwards so she could "see" me being born, which I'm sure helped no end told you he was a pain in the arse.
A friend from work, who is in her 50's was told that her mum gave birth at home with the midwife in attendance happily chain smoking next to the bed. In those days doctors would go to a certain number of births to keep their hand in, as it were, and when the doctor turned up he demanded whisky and proceeded to sit at the end of the bed getting pissed and smoking away with the MW.
My DS was born in 1971. My DH was sent home and didn't know he had a son until the next day as we had no phone. I remember being left alone in labour and given a magazine with an article about dreadful hospitals where they left you alone in labour. DS was put in a nursery and brought out for feeds four hourly. I struggled to breastfeed and the Sister said "yes it is a very inadequate nipple". A few of my friends got slapped for making too much noise in labour. When my DD was born two years later in a different town I had joined (well helped to found) the local Women's Movement. I marched in ready to fight battles only be told that husbands were encouraged to be present at the birth. The babies were next to us and we were home after 48 hours.
Only thing I would say is that I have wonderful adult children, with whom I have a great relationship. I didn't manage to breastfeed either of them, but they are a healthy weight, fit and active.
It is only a very small part of the whole process, though I know it doesn't feel like it at the time!
It's stories like these that make me chuckle when people talk about how the NHS should go back to the old days, matrons yadda yadda. Can't imagine the general public putting up with being bossed about and t
Told the staff know best now!
My dad wasn't at the birth of either of us - with me he was on a site visit somewhere and they couldn't find him to tell him that my mum was in labour. Not sure about my brother's birth, but he definitely wasn't in the room. Mum was shaved and given an enema with both of us, plus episiotomy was standard. She remembers holding tightly onto the midwife's hand for hours and hours and has terrible memories of her labour, which included being shouted at for being too loud and a type of pain relief that made her feel panicky.
Breastfeeding wasn't even mentioned and she gave us glucose if we woke up through the night after 12 weeks (on the paediatrician's advice), so we'd eventually realise that there's no point waking up for food. This was late 70s early 80s.
Fast forward 30 years or so, she was in the labour room when I gave birth to DS1. She had no plans to be there, but she hadn't realised that I wouldn't be moved to an operating theatre. I had an epidural and was chatting away with DH between pushes. The lights were dim and the midwife and OB were calm and smiley. The whole thing was over in 4 hours - I only had to push for 15 minutes - and she burst into huge sobs. She later told me that it was partly because she was so grateful that I didn't experience the same loneliness, helplessness and degradation that she had - her exact words .
My mum had her babies in the 1980's and the only differences she mentioned were the lack of choice (she was shocked when I was offered induction at 41+0 because of slow latent labour and I declined). In her day the dr told you what was going to happen and you just accepted it. Also she has given me some very weird breastfeeding advice over the years which apparantly was the advice given then.
giantbanana that is terrible, your poor mum! I really can't believe how things were done.
When my brother was born in '81 my mum said they took him straight off to the nursery so she could get some sleep, and they also fed him formula despite the fact that she was breastfeeding. Brought him to her fkr feeds (not sure how often). I was in tears listening to her tell me (had given birth a few months earlier)
It's just really shocking to me, surely instincts must have kicked in at some point?!
When my Mum had me by CS I know I was taken off to the nursery with all other CS babies so that the mothers could rest, and was only brought out at feeding time. She also stayed in for ten days so she would find lifting easier when she was at home. AND there was one matron in charge of the ward who knew everyone there, and took responsibility in terms of meds, general care etc for all the Mums and babies.
I don't think things have improved since then. Quite the opposite. See here!
My Mum almost gave birth to my sister (in 1989) in a hospital cleaning cupboard. They had a lack of beds and didn't believe her when she said the baby was coming, so the midwives wheeled her into the cupboard and went to leave her there. Then they saw the baby's head and changed their minds!
FWIW, sayanything, I was shouted at by a midwife for 'being too loud and making a fuss' when in labour two years ago. I was very upset . Some things don't change!
I was born in a maternity hospital in a small village in Wales. There were ashtrays by each bed and at night, the nurses would go out and buy fish and chips for the Mothers. The babies slept in a nursery down the corridor.
I can't help but envision a row of new Mothers all smoking away and stuffing cod and chips down them gleefully as their babies are fed by nurses in another room!
Mum said it was very cheerful...she came to see me with DD2 in hospital and commented on the sombre atmosphere in the ward. I agreed...it was awful.
'he found the dog a great comfort)' made me
I also remember that the paediatrician thought babies should be next to their mothers. She came round twice a week so they were all wheeled out of the nursery for that, then put away again afterwards.
Has anyone read Lorna Sage's book Bad Blood? The description of the hospital she was in is exactly how I remember it. The one I went to was a former workhouse and felt like it.
I read this a few years ago, I know its DM but its quite interesting
gave birth in every decade
With me in 1968, my Dad actually was there for some of labour surprisingly, but my Mum sent him home because he was annoying her. I cried a lot apparently and kept all the other babies awake so was relegated to the Matron's office while my Mum and everyone else caught up on their sleep.
With DB in the early 70s, it was all too quick and DF didn't make it. In fact, it was so quick there wasn't time for a shave but, never fear, the hospital shaved Mum afterwards because it was hospital policy (!). She was down to bf my DB but the Matron told her he was too big and they sent out for some sort of second stage formula to satisfy him, bless his poor little digestive system.
Mind you, I had a fairly ghastly birth/post-natal experience a few years ago, so things have not necessarily improved much - just changed.
My mother had a planned cs under General in the 70's. Huge calipers in her stomach. Was kept in for three weeks and I was weighed before and after every feed though there were no medical concerns.. they didn't want to discharge her as she was breastfeeding and she was under huge pressure to give up even though I was fine! She eventually lied and said she would formula feed me to get out of hospital!
I'm one of 7 and the only baby that was born at home. My dad was also sat on the stairs smoking until the midwife came out of the room to fetch something from her kit and spotted him. He was then ordered by the very formidable midwife to sit in the corner of the room and watch his baby being born.
With my older siblings the hospital policy was dads were not allowed at the birth and my younger sister was a CS under GA.
I was born in the 80s, in a hospital in Africa, which was high class for premmies at the time, was 2.5 months early. Mum had a terrible experience as far the little bits she has told me. Very long labour, shaved etc etc like other comments. I was taken away immediately, she didn't even know if I was okay, just I was a girl. She was left there on her own on the bed for over 2 hours, cold, sore, hungry and very very sleep deprived before someone came to clean her up, take her to a fresh bed etc. It was terrible and I think it affected her when my brothers came along in the late 80s and early 90s. She became really paranoid bout knowing where they were being taken..though at that stage we had moved to Ireland and she had them both in a private hospital. Dad was not present for any of them, for me, he was travelling and he got the message quite late. With my brothers, dont think he was encouraged even then to be present or around. Remember going with him to take bunches of flowers to mum after each of them was born. Were were allowed to be there during feeding time for my littlest brother born in the early 90s but really didnt get to see them until they all came home together. Strange to think now how uninvolved men were allowed to be and how much that has changed. My husband knows there is no way he will get out of it, I couldn't do it without him. He has been forewarned!
My dad was sent home from my birth in 1971. My mum still hasn't forgiven him for believing the midwives who said there was no way this baby was coming tonight (wrong), going home and leaving her with some utterly foul midwives who gave her pethedine just as I was being born.
Cue very sleepy, unresponsive baby, failure to bf and a lot of distress and resentment.
A shattering of her dreams in a lot of ways, I think - her own mum was awful, and having children of her own to be a wonderful mum to was so important to her.
My DB was born at home!
I was born in 1985 and was my mums first. At the time she wasn't married to my dad. The first midwife my mum came across in hospital asked her if she was giving her baby up for adoption. Luckily this midwife went home and didn't deliver me.
She had retired when my sister arrived in 87.
A lot has changed since I was born ( 1956). I'm incredulous that my delivery was under GA, a high forceps case performed by the GP and a visiting surgeon. My mother wasn't allowed to see me the first day because they had made a mess of my head dragging me out and she was told she might find it upsetting! All the new mothers had 10 days in hospital, with the nurses keeping the babies in the nursery and bringing them in for feeds. My mother made a couple of life time friends and happily remembers being waited on hadn and foot for the duration of her stay, and the lovely food.
My sister was born in 1981. She was in a bad position so the hospital consultant stuck his hands in and turned her, with no pain relief whatsoever. My mother said she hallucinated that she was being tortured and totally lost it. She screamed (naturally). The consultant's response was "will someone shut that woman up!" The same consultant got a reputation in our rather small town and was eventually farmed out to lecturing, to protect women from him no doubt. She said the birth was horrific, and to this day she can't watch even the most mild simulation of birth on tv - she has to turn over. My birth was next, and she opted for a private hospital where she said it was like being in a swanky hotel It was all a lot better and she was much happier. Unfortunately due to poor monitoring my younger sister's birth was also awful and my sister ended up with cerebral palsy.
I feel very sad for my mother in terms of her experiences of childbirth. When I told her about my very straightforward birth with my DS she was clearly jealous, though not at all in a nasty way, she just couldn't hide her amazement at how easy I said it was and how happy I was with it. I'm planning a home birth for the current one and she is clearly upset about it but again is really trying to hide it - her own experiences mean she can't possibly imagine being so laid back about birth. To her it's a terrible ordeal that just has to be endured rather than something that can be quite enjoyable in its own way. I am sad for her that, even though my birth was ok, she was still terrified for all three of her children's births and her overriding feeling when looking back on those important days is fear.
When I was in labour just under two years ago my DH was told to go home while I had a sleep after epidural was put in. He was back in time for the EMCS the next morning. We were both happy about him going home - the MWs said they would call if anything was happening, and tbh neither of us were that fussed about him being there for the actual birth anyway.
Thunks - the weighing before and after a feed was to see how much milk you had had. A friend of mine weighed her dc's to see how much they were getting at each feed. Very old fashioned. But quite a good idea if you aren't sure they are getting enough.
I was born in 1967, premature at 4lbs 4 oz, my mum stayed in hospital for 10 days with both my elder sister and myself. I was given another woman's milk as I was premature and this was the only option apparently. My mum reckons this is why I am the only person in our family to have hayfever!
My sister was transverse, which they didn't discover til labour started. She was a traumatic forceps delivery and my mum was told not to try for another for 2 years after as she had tilted her womb.
There's 2 years 9 months between my sister and I.
Supreme, for three whole weeks?
(Also unlike formula you don't actually know calories.. so working out ounces intake not necessarily helpful and was basically because they felt at that time that breastfeeding was less adequate and made it clear she wouldn't be discharged if breastfeeding. She fed me to ten months and I thrived, slept through etc... but I am very proud of her for sticking to her guns in the face of unhelpful professional practices.
I was born in the 80s and I know my father was sent home.
I was born in 1974. In hospital.
My dad was there during labour/birth, although he was asked 'why are you here' He said 'because its my baby'
I had to be on hourly obs because I was a big baby and family history of diabetes, because of this they took me to the baby ICU [cant remember what is called, but I still have the card from my cot in there] my Mum was upset as she hadn't seen me for long before they took me up, she demanded they bring me back to her bedside as hourly obs could be done here surely and SHE wanted to breast feed, so they brought me back and Mum got to BF.
Mum was also berated for getting up and doing her hair/putting make up on!
All the nurses referred to her as glamour puss!
She was shaven and given a Daz enema [yes Daz washing powder!]
When DS1 was born in April 1978, my Ex wasnt allowed in to the birth without seeing a film of a birth first. He didnt go to the film and wasnt allowed in.
By the time I had DS2 in October 1979 he was, although he was useless.
A friend of mine had two children about 18- 20 years ago. She was from England and her DH was from Tunisia, they lived in Tunisia at the time. She went to the local hospital where they had midwives to help with the birth, no doctors and no pain killing drugs though, NONE! After she had her baby, all was well and she was taken to the ward where she had to SHARE A BED! with another woman who had also just given birth. They were 'top and tail' ing. Despite all this she still went back to have her second baby there.
Things have improved for single mothers certainly, my aunt was 17 when she gave birth in the 70's, she was dry shaved and given an enema. No one explained what they were doing or why. The attitude was, well you had you fun, now take the consequence. Now they have teams of midwives just for young mothers, it is a world away!
I was born in the 70's and delivered by a midwife who was chewing gum at the time, I came out and she turned me upside down and slapped me on the bum to get me awake/breathing/whatever.
My mum came here in the 50s. She didn't speak much English and she was on her own, they wouldn't let anyone come in with her. I can't imagine how terrifying it was for her.
My dad wasn't at any of her 8 births.
Actually, DH was the first man in either family to attend his children's births- that was in 1990!
I was born in the early 1970s, in a hospital. My father drove my mother to the hospital at midnight and was immediately sent home. He spent an uneasy night on the bed, lying on top of the sheets, with the cat next to him for company and his shoes on for a quick get away! When the telephone rang in the hall downstairs at precisely eight o'clock in the morning, he leapt out of bed and so startled the cat, that she shot out in front of him and he trod heavily on her tail. He had to drop her at the Vet's on the way to meet his new baby!
My mum says she was allowed two attempts at breast feeding me and then was told that I 'didn't seem to be getting much' and promptly handed a bottle. My mum asked how to hold the feeding bottle etc. and the nurse said 'it's easy' took the bottle and used a needle (which was embedded in a cork and kept in her pocket!) to make the teat hole bigger, handed it back and said 'there you go'! I was brought to my mum at fixed times to be fed.
The area where my parents lived had a large Hindu community and the ward was frequently frisked by nurses looking for illicit (as they saw it) ear piercing needles and honey which they would confiscate! My mother says that her neighbour in the next bed explained that the father of the child would dot honey and ghee on the newborn's tongue as a special welcoming ritual. Given what we're told now about honey and the risk of botulism in under-ones, I wonder if this tradition is common nowadays - can anyone tell me?
A daz enema?? Good grief.
DM says that when DF took her to hospital for the slightly early arrival of her 3rd and last dc in the mid 70's the midwives asked if she wanted DF to stay (hadn't been allowed with the first 2 dc's births). She hastily pulled the shopping list she had been writing, out of her handbag, got the housekeeping money from her purse and told them "No way, that's the last thing I need right now ! Give him this and tell him to go home straight after doing ths shopping. I'll ring when I'm done."
A few days before our dc1 was born she told dh to just ring them when he was ready after the birth , just to let her know that we were all fine, and that she'd understand if he was a bit shell-shocked by the experience and didn't feel like calling straight away.
My gran was told she had to wear socks to give birth. Not any socks, wool ones. A midwife fetched some for her. She also was "given the baby" to feed. Five minutes on one breast, five minutes on the other and done. And the baby was brought back every two hours to feed. This was a long time ago though.
I was born at home in 1970. Dad was downstairs watching the footy. I think that was quite normal in those days.
DP was with me when I gave birth but 90m later (after a 4 day labour and EMCS) he was sent home at 8pm and wasn't allowed back until 12noon the next day. Because men weren't allowed on the ward after 8pm.
DD will be two at the weekend.
I couldn't believe it when Mum told me that bit!
She said that soapy enemas were what you got. she had her first birth at home and the midwife asked for soap suds, at my birth in hospital they had a box of Daz ready.
'High, hot and a hellava lot' 3Hs enema.
I remember being given one, and told that I couldn't 'go' for 20 minutes. But I couldn't hold it any longer after 10 minutes and begged for the bed pan otherwise I would be doing it on the bed. With lots of 'tutting' she got one for me. Didn't know it was Daz/soap suds.
We weren't allowed up out of bed after birth for 3 days, and had the bed pan brought for us - but couldn't do a wee lying in bed the first time. More 'tutting' from the nurses.
My sister was a screamer and was kept in the linen cupboard on the ward so as not to disturb the other babies in the nursery
I was born on cup final day at 1pm in 1960 and my dad was at the game.
I was born in 1960 and my Dad took my Mum into the maternity hospital at 10pm at night and went home. I was born at 6am and he was allowed to visit later that mornign.
My siblings were born in 1962 and 1968 at home. My father sat downstairs whilst the midwife was with my Mother. The Doctor visited and drank whisky with my Dad!
By 1988 when I had my first the husband/partner's presence was mandatory of course. My DH stayed the full 22 hours I was in labour and even got a parking ticket!
I also got told off for screaming - I even screamed into the gas and air mask as didn't help at all. .
My mother had my brother & I in 1979 and 1984 with the main difference being a routine episiotomy in 1979. I'm not sure if it was still routine in her hospital 5 years later, but she declined it (and didn't tear at all). Other than that she had the option of gas & air, pethadine (or similar) and epidural, although she opted for just the gas & air in the end.
Late 1960s while I was being born my dad was at the maternity hospital waiting and 'minding' my sister who was 3 at the time. He was obviously not a very good minder because she remembers wandering about on her own and being shooed away and SLAPPED by a nurse. Imagine that happening nowadays
I gave birth in 1969 and 1972.Both crash ceasarians under GA.I was very ill during the first one.I never saw either of my sons until they were 2 days old but that was normal for babies born by CS in those days.They were kept in SCBU under observation in case of breathing difficulties.No one worried about skin to skin and bonding because these things did not exist.All ceasarian mothers were kept in hospital for 12 days post birth.Uncomplicated births were in for a week for first baby and two days for subsequent ones.My babies were kept in the ward nursery at night-I was not breastfeeding because I was told I was too poorly.I was told to restrict my fluids and both my breasts bound tight with a linen binder.
Husbands/partners were just being allowed in for normal births, there was no question of them being allowed anywhere near an operating theatre.My DH had already stated during my first pregnancy that he did not want to see the birth.He visited me in labour but left at the end of visiting time just before things got complicated.The night my first son was born Miss World finals were on TV.He went to his sisters to watch it on her telly.He then went home to find a note had been pushed through his door by the police saying he had to phone the hospital at once.We had no phone then so he went to the corner shop to ask to use theirs.The hospital just told him to come at once as a emergency had occured.He got there in very quick time and was asked to sit in a waiting room until he was told that I had have to have a very quick ceasarian to save both our lives and me and his baby son were poorly.I have a vague memory of him standing by my bed before I zonked out again.Later he told me he had been taken to SCBU to see our baby who was now recovering.He had to stand in front of a glass window and saw our baby being held by a nurse, he said baby was still bloodstained but breathing.
Second time round he joined merchant navy.Did not come home until our second son was two months old.While I was being taken to theatre I was asked where my DH was as he must come to the hospital I said he is in Japan so they sent a message to his ship.
I trained as a midwife in 1966-67.I could tell some tales.I did my community experience in a very deprived area. Fathers were not allowed near a woman in labour.In hospitals there was a ''Father's Room'' where fathers waited while their wives/partners were giving birth.It stank of cigarette smoke.In the hospital I worked in nobody was allowed to smoke in the bed areas because of the babies, but smoking was allowed in the day rooms where ashtrays were provided.I can remember mothers trying to rush their baby's feeds so they could go for a smoke.Only two visitors were allowed per bed and no visitor, even the father, was allowed to touch the baby.Mothers from the immigrant population would anoint their baby's eyes shortly after birth and this went without any comment.Breast feeding mothers had to draw the curtains around the bed while feeding at all times.After a home delivery it was normal for nearly all the neighbours to come in to admire the baby and ask the mother what sort of time she had.I can remember going into ne house with a midwife to a woman in labour.It was a freezing cold night and none of the bedrooms were heated.The mother was in advanced labour and was bending over near the fieplace moaning in agony.The midwife ordered her bed to brought downstairs out of the freezing bedroom.Her husband and another man who was there dismantled the bed brought it downstairs, assembled it in the living room and we got her into it just in time to deliver a healthy baby.Placentae were wrapped in newspaper and burned on the fire.If there was not a fire, someone in the house was instructed to bury it in the garden if there was one.If no garden or fire we took it away to the council incinerator.In some houses there was no cot for the baby but there was always a pram-the old fashioned coach built type.The baby slept in this even if it had to brought upstairs.Co-sleeping was not allowed.In one house we called the day after the birth to find the mother in bed but washing the older children by using a bucket by the bed while the father sat on a chair smoking.
Sorry if this is long but this is just part of it.I wonder what will be written in 40-50 years time about giving birth now.
Wow 1944girl, that makes fascinating reading. Did you continue to practise as a midwife?
No NeverQuiteSure I did not continue to practice as a midwife.I had my own two children shortly afterwards and my own experiences of childbirth put me off midwifery completly.I cannot watch any programme on TV about childbirth.I can still write about my children's births though.
I trained as a nurse before midwifery and worked as a nurse until I retired.
I had my first baby in 1972. I was two weeks "overdue" so was summoned into hospital to be induced. There was no discussion about anything which happened, including frequent internal examinations.
I was shaved (since everyone had body hair back then, it would have been considered extremely weird to shave oneself...it was strictly a medical procedure), given a soapy water enema (agonising...I was stuck on the loo for ages while the midwife knocked at the door telling me to hurry up!) and finally an attempt was made to break my waters. Mine wouldn't break so I was put on a drip and things started fairly soon after that. I was in an open ward where several women were giving birth behind curtains so it was pretty unnerving.
Since the two young nurses/trainee midwives assigned to me were unfamiliar with the drip procedure, they had lots of discussions - over my head - about whether they should "turn it up a bit". They kept turning it up until I had no break between contractions. I felt myself bearing down a bit - only for the midwife to appear and instruct me not to "grunt like that". I obeyed, my bearing-down sensations disappeared and eventually they had to "help baby out" with low forceps. Huge episiotomy - to "prevent prolapse later in life"...oh dear, the irony! - and my 9lb 8oz son arrived.
He was taken away to the nursery after the briefest of cuddles and in the morning the nurse brought him to me with a "he'll be no problem to feed - took his bottle fine!" and a smile. I was livid; I'd told them I was breast-feeding and wanted him left for me to feed. It still makes me furious.
I was allowed to breastfeed as long as I stayed decently behind the curtain and obeyed the rules. They let me feed for 2 minutes each side, then 5, and so on, until the 10 minutes limit was reached.
Needless to say, I ignored much of what they said and luckily he was keen to feed so I breastfed him despite them. With my other 3, I was much more bolshy, and the culture had changed - women were treated slightly better.
As a footnote, I had hated the enema experience so much that I stayed at home until I was in advanced labour with my second baby. The grumpy midwife examined me internally (again, not so much as a by-your-leave) and said "you've waited far too late for an enema!" Oh dear. What a shame.
Oh, and I delivered an over-11-pounder a few years later, with no episiotomy, no forceps, nothing.
My dc1 was born in Sierra Leone in 1970.Dh was with me and the delivery room was packed; my baby was one of only a few non local babies born in the hospital and there was great excitement as the last four had been girls and they were teasing the obstetrician that he couldn't deliver a white boy!!!
At 1pm a male orderly brought my lunch and was told to wait.He stayed to watch.At 1.15 I was delivered of a 6lb 4oz boy. Everyone including dh left by 1.30 to have a celebratory barbecue to congratulate the two men!!
Dc2 was born here in the UK.Dh had to leave to collect ds from neighbours and wait for a babysitter.The hospital told him they would ring in plenty of time.I went in at 4pm and dd was born at 3am.Dh was phoned at 6am as they 'didn't want to disturb him.'That was the hospital where I was told by a doctor,"it's no concern of yours mother!" when he couldn't hear a heartbeat! Fortunately the nurse could and let me listen.
when my mother died and we sorted through her things we found a letter dad had written to her while she was in the maternity home having my eldest brother in the fifties. He promised to sit on the home steps until he was allowed in to visit,
"so think of me, outside getting piles while you're cuddling my baby"
Not sure if that's sweet or clueless.
I know my mum found her births traumatic and wouldn't discuss them, other than to advise my sister and I to "think of your toes" in labour and to say her homebirth with my sister was much more comfortable.
She was an older mother, (44) when I was born in the mid seventies. She had a number of midwives make ignorant remarks about the quality of her breastmilk, ability to cope etc. because of it.
Dad wasn't at any of the births, although apparently the family doctor told him off for burning sausages when he attended after the homebirth.
My dad missed his first born's birth in the 70s as he was hungry. Hospital canteen wasn't open and no mobile phones to call him back. My DH missed our first born's birth as DD came early and faster than he could get back from work. Ironically my dad drove me to hospital..... But left quickly!!
Back to correct my previous post! These are my Grandma's words:
"The baby was my elder sister Patricia. My parents were having a bungalow built for them and it was to be ready by mid-December. Pat was due to be born late January or early February. They were living in an ex-army bell tent until the bungalow was ready.
Pat decided to arrive twelve weeks early on November 6th and she weighed under two pounds. In those days a new mother didn't get out of bed for two weeks - so there they stayed. (They moved into the bungalow in time for Christmas - as planned)
Pat thrived in spite of everything and lived to the age of 78. She served in WW2 flying the barage baloons in London during the blitz."
Sorry, got carried away with "40 days"
I think Pat must have been born around 1923.
After my father died I found a letter my mum had written to him in the early 1950s when she found that she was expecting my younger brother.
In the letter she talked about the terror she felt about giving birth to another baby and the steps she was taking to try and abort my brother ( gin, hot baths, purgatives ) .
Such a sad sad letter ,I could feel her panic through the years.
My birth was a traumatic forceps delivery and obviously affected her . My mum died 8 months before my dad and they had been divorced many years.
I do know that when my father visited my mum in hospital after my brothers birth she did not tell him that she had had the baby and it wasn't until he was leaving the ward and a nurse congratulated him that he found out.
Such a sad tale. I burnt the letter as I would hate my brother to know about it.
I can go back even further to my own birth in 1944.My mother never spoke to us about her childbirths until at 14 I overheard her telling a neighbour about my birth.I was in her words''dragged out'' by her GP who made a mess of my head causing it to bandaged.She then had a PPH and was very ill.Despite this she had four more children with no problems at all.
I can remember my younger siblings having a crepe bandage around the tummies when newborn.This was to protect the umbilical cord stump until it healed.We were told to watch the ''soft spot'' on their heads and not touch it.This was the large fontanelle.
In 1921 my grandmother gave birth to my uncle, who was a breech birth, at home.After that she said no more babies and stuck to her word.
I have mentioned this before on MN about ''handy women'' who helped at home confinements.They were the equilivant of today's doulas.They were local women who often gave their services free because they knew that the favour would be returned if they needed it.My grandma and her own mother were part of this band.Their only qualification was that they had to have given birth themselves and my grandma assisted at her first confinement, as it was then called,just six weeks after her first baby,my mother was born.These handy women also gave their services at the other end of life as well.As then, alot of people died at home, so they were often needed to do the necessary, which meant laying out the body.One of them would come back to the house each day until the funeral to do household tasks so the relatives could grieve undisturbed
All a very differant age now.
My friend who was born in the late 60s at home said immediately after she was delivered her dad came into the room smoking and passes lit fags to her mum the midwife and all 3 puffed away happily in the presence of a newborn.
I love your posts 1944girl
Blessyou That is an amazing story! a 12 week prem baby in a tent I thought I had it hard having a newborn term baby in a flat that was being decorated entirely at the time! at least I had heat!
Trumpton That is really sad, your Mum must have felt desperate.
My grandma nearly died giving birth to my uncle. After struggling for two days at home she was taken to hospital. When my uncle was finally delivered, the doctors were unable to start him breathing. They called in my grandad, who was anxiously pacing and smoking outside.
Grandad was told to take a deep drag of cigarette smoke and blow it into my uncle's face. The doctor held the baby upside down by the feet, furiously slapping his bottom while this was done.
My uncle took his first breath courtesy of Philip Morris and is the most robust of my grandma's five children.
The doctors sternly warned my grandad that another birth would kill my grandma, she went on to have two more!
My other grandmother had straightforward births attended by the family doctor (bizarrely, a cardiologist) at home with her four children but she was not expected (allowed) to feed them herself so did engage wet nurses for each.
This was done via the local hospital, who would offer the position to women whose babies had died at birth .
My grandmother said she was so jealous of the first girl who came she could barely stand to look at her and has always felt bad about the way she treated her. By baby No.2 she was prepared for those feelings and made sure she got plenty of time to cuddle her newborn.
My mother's experiences differ wildly depending on what day you ask her - they are always more dreadful and traumatic than anyone else's though!
I was born in 1971 and my father was at m birth. When my sister was born 4 years later he didn't stay as she was born late night and was asleep.
My father now in his late 60s was the first of his siblings to be born in hospital he's from Barbados, his uncle believed the stork brought his nephew!
When my grandmother had my father and his twin brother the doctors suspected it might be twins, so she was sent for an X-ray to find out. But not told the result! So when she came to give birth my grandfather walked her to the tram stop and waved her off on her way to the hospital, neither of them knowing whether she would come back with one baby or two!
That's absolutely mental Amanda! It's so hard to understand the thinking behind something like that isn't it? I mean, it wouldn't have cost them anything to tell her, and it would have at least prepared her, but they somehow thought there was no need for her to know! Bizarre.
:-) amanda It's hard to get your head around how people we kept so out of the loop regarding their own babies and care isn't it.
MIL also had an xray at 7 months pregnant with twin DH and his DB. she had to lie on her stomach for it! She only found out it was twins 6 weeks before they were born in 1975.
My dad wasn't allowed at the birth of my brother or sister in 1971 or 1973. He was there when I was born in 1981
I'm not sure he was that happy about it to be honest!
My nan had 12 healthy children (don't know if at home or in hospital) but when she had her 13th in hospital, he made grunting noises when breathing. She kept begging the doctors to check him as she knew something was very wrong. They just told her nonsense, he was fine. Sadly he died within the week from a chest infection and never came home from the hospital. When my nan was distraught by his death the midwife reprimanded her and said she was selfish because one of the other women on the ward had also lost her baby and wasn't lucky enough to already have 12 others. My nans reply was that the other women didn't really know what she had lost then. She never got over the fact that the doctors ignored her pleads to check what was wrong with her baby and always impressed upon us the importance of insisting our babies and children be checked, if we thought something may be wrong. She told us to trust our instincts as a mother and not what the doctor tells us.
My gran had 9 healthy children, all by c-section! My mother said her abdomen is like a road map - in that time there was no such thing as a nice neat scar along the bikini line, they just opened you up whatever way was convenient. How she survived 9 c-sections is beyond me, she was very ill after the last one, but today she's a fit and filthy mouthed 87 year old so clearly she's quite well built I hope I have decent helping of her genes.
Of course the doctor should have told her not to have any more after 3 but this was Catholic Ireland where the only purpose of a married woman was to produce babies, regardless of the effect on her health.
I know it's crazy isn't it! That sort of information was just for the doctor. No need to tell the patient she was going to require two cots, double pram, etc.
PrincessofChina - snap. 13 months ago. Not only was dh sent home, but I was expected to get myself or of bed after the 4 days in labour and an emcs without any help, not even a hoist.
When I rang the bell to get someone to pass me my baby to feed the mw who appeared sighed and said 'what?' In very long suffering tones. After 6mm months of counselling I'm now recovering from the ptsd, anxiety and depression my post natal care caused.
Areseface, that's interesting about the cigarette. When Picasso was born in 1881 he was put aside and left for dead whilst the attendants cared for his mother. A passing doctor blew cigar smoke up his nose and he started to breath.
My Gran had my dad in 1934. He was a very long and difficult labour (he has a big head!), a forceps delivery, and my Gran vowed never to give birth again. They adopted a little girl a few years later. Did these women who never gave birth again give up sex altogether, I wonder? How sad some of these stories are.
When my sister was born in the early 70's by cs my dad was outside the room.
For some reason they popped round the door and held up a blue card to show him he had a son then 30 secs later showed him the pink card as well.
My poor dad thought it was twins and phoned everyone to let them know, it was hours later that he found out it was only one baby but they had mixed up the cards.
LadyClarice, I simply cannot believe how I phrased that bit about my Dad and the dog.
She was called Judy. She played an important role and should not remain nameless.
fredworms first birth control clinic in England opened in 1922 so hopefully they used birth control. You had to be married though.
When I was born in 1974 in Dublin my Dad was sent home. My mum was strapped into stirrups with bright spot lights directed at her, ready for examination. Then there was an emergency elsewhere and they forgot about my mum for a couple of hours. She was alone, in immense pain and very hot and dehydrated from the lights when they found her. It was her toughest birth experience. I can only imagine how dreadful it was. I was her third and last child. After me she found a doctor who fitted a coil for her. In 1970s Catholic Ireland that was a big deal!
My eldest sister was born in 1969 London. Mammy said the nursing staff were nicer in London compared to Dublin. But in London when she asked about breastfeeding she was told "women like you can't breastfeed". My poor mother believed it. I'm so glad breastfeeding is better understood now. I'm expecting my #2 and I breastfed my first born for 2 years. I'll always cherish the wonderful memories and bonding we experienced. There were hurdles to be passed early on but I hope to do it all again with #2.
Had forgotten that I too was told that I "was too brainy to breastfeed"??
Also remembered the fury of a friend of mine when the hospital had made all kinds of mistakes at her delivery, that they then wrote to apologise to her husband "for the treatment of your wife whilst in our care." This was in the mid-seventies.
I remember asking GP for the Pill before I was married and he said he wasn't allowed as it would encourage the girls to become < horror of horrors> Promiscuous. It was only for < respectable> married women. That was in the late 60s .
I'm always amazed that my dad was present and actively involved in my and my sister's births - 1964,1966 and 1968. This was a in a small maternity hospital in our local town. And Mum breastfed us all until we were nearly one, which i think was unusual at the time. Neither of them had even slightly hippy tendencies, in fact both are/were rather sensible Conservative types (God bless my lovely dad in his dreadful 70s suits, with my poor mum having to host executive business dinner parties a la Abigail ). My grandmother had all 8 of her children at home, and was hugely anti-hospitals and doctors, right up until she died aged 98.
I've just remembered, I have DSs placenta carefully wrapped and in the deep freeze since Oct 2010. I planned to bury it and plant a fruit tree or bush over it. I may as well wait until the second one comes in May and plant them beside each other.
I shall have to ask my mum if my placenta is buried in the garden. They had a gas fire so it wouldn't have been burnt.
It is amazing to think about how much ante-natal and childbirth practices have changed since I was born in the late sixties. My mum had seven children. 2 CS, a set of twins (she was X-rayed to confirm this), a prem baby, an overdue baby and a home birth with me. Even that wasn't straightforward as I was an undiagnosed breech and the midwife had to turn me during delivery. I kept trying to turn back, so the MW held on to my shoulders while my mum pushed me out.
My great granny was told no more children after no 3 . Grandad was born 1899 . " That was the end of their married life as Great grandad loved her too much to risk losing her " separate rooms from then onwards.
I know my mother was granny-reared as her mother suffered from post pural psychosis and was hospitalised for 45 years until her death .
My mother knew nothing about birth control at all and had 3 babies in 4 years . My brother was conceived before her periods restarted see my above post about that pregnancy.
All 3 of her children had aLOT of info about birth control !!
My mother's cousin, born in 1920 at home, was given up for dead by the doctor who delivered her by forceps in a very difficult birth.A neighbour who was present at the birth was told to ''get the body out of the room before the mother sees her''.As the lady carried her out she felt her move,rushed her downstairs and dropped a few drops of whiskey in the baby's mouth.This baby survived till old age, despite permanant facial injuries and a speech defect caused by her traumatic birth.
My father and his sister were premature twins, born at home in 1918.They were supposed to be so small the midwife placed them together in the same cot and told my grandmother they would not see the next day.They saw many days, both lived to old age and brought up families.My grandmother, at the time of the twins birth, had one child aged 13 months and two years after the twins had another baby, making four children in three years.
Four children in three years
And no cbeebies either!
My grandmother took three days having my mother in 1921. Things weren't going well, so she had to be taken to Jessops hospital. I don't have any details of the birth but my Mum was assumed to have been stillborn and was put to one side whilst they tidied up Granny. After a while Mum made a little snuffling noise, and the Doctor, 'an Indian Gentleman', said 'Ah, that's better'. Mum lived to nearly 88 despite the difficult start. Granny later had twins in 1929, but all this was shrouded in mystery - we think they were premature, one might have been still born, but we think one was alive, but was left to die because 'it wouldn't amount to much.' Mum only found out that she had had a couple of brothers from a school friend, many months later. Granny never talked about it, so we never found out any more details. It was all very sad.
My dad wanted to stay with my mum for the birth but it wasn't allowed (1973) and they actually had some porters come and escort him out when he refused to go.
My mum had an awful birth and I ended up being taken away. She still hadn't seen me after 2 days and only after she threw a crying fit did they bring the baby to her.
It seems so barbaric now.
So many sad stories, and that's just the ones we know about. There must have been so much hidden grief.
I know that during my birth in the 1960s my Mother grabbed the midwife's hand, who promptly slapped her away and said "now then, we don't want any of that".
Love this thread! Fascinating.
But keep reading about people having enemas...probably a really stupid question but what's that? Or is it better that I don't know?!
After reading all this I'm surprised anyone had children!
Have people always had pain relief in labour, or is that relatively new?
My mum still has the TELEGRAM sent from her mum at the hospital to her dad to say she'd been born (in 1947). I've no idea why it was done by telegram. Need to delve a bit next time I see her.
Actually, thinking about it, it must have been because they didn't have a phone!
Ct an enema is a preparation put in you rectum to make you poo. It used to be done as standard because it was believed to help labour and for cleanliness.
I had DS1 in 1980, and was shaved and given an enema shortly after arriving at the hospital. I hadn`t expected either, and both were carried out in silence and with no explanation.
The most horrendous part was that I was made to poo (semi-reclined) in a bedpan held by the nurse who had pumped the soapy water into me - I still cringe when I think of the loud bubbly noises that accompanied my performance!
Wow pixel, were you in labour at that stage?
When I was a student midwife in the late 60s and soap and water enemas were given as routine to women in early labour.The soap was green slimy stinking stuff which you diluted with warm water then poured into the patient via a funnel attached to a long rubber tube which was inserted into the rectum.
Soap and water enemas were also used on the general wards before any patient had an operation,''to clear out the bowel''.It was usually the job of the most junior student nurse to administer them-as well I very much remember!
Yes, I went to hospital when I was getting contractions every 10 mins IIRC. The effect of the enema was practically immediate, apparently in those days it was vital to cleanse the intestines before proceeding!
I hadn`t realised until reading this thread that enemas and episiotomies are no longer automatic!
One of the key roles of the NCT in the early stages was campaigning against routine shaving, enemas etc
I think my mother's grandmother became an unofficial village midwife (and she had a lot of children herself too). My mother was one of the first NCT members and had me in hospital but insisted on coming straight home and the rest at home. My father was a doctor so more involved I would assume than other fathers in those days. It wasn't all bad then in all births/families.
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