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I was chatting to my Dad today about when my Sis was born in 1960.

(123 Posts)
FredWorms Tue 12-Feb-13 23:55:30

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!

EmilyAlice Wed 13-Feb-13 11:05:22

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!

iamabadger Wed 13-Feb-13 11:07:40

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

iamabadger Wed 13-Feb-13 11:08:22

Told the staff know best now!

sayanything Wed 13-Feb-13 11:08:37

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 sad.

elliejjtiny Wed 13-Feb-13 11:08:48

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.

MoreSnowPlease Wed 13-Feb-13 11:17:12

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?!

stinkingbishop Wed 13-Feb-13 11:20:50

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!


NiniLegsInTheAir Wed 13-Feb-13 11:54:48

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! grin

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 sad. Some things don't change!

MrsMushroom Wed 13-Feb-13 12:00:22

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 was awful.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 13-Feb-13 12:05:06

'he found the dog a great comfort)' made me grin

EmilyAlice Wed 13-Feb-13 12:07:40

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.

Chopsypie Wed 13-Feb-13 12:12:17

I read this a few years ago, I know its DM but its quite interesting

gave birth in every decade

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 13-Feb-13 12:25:22

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.

thunksheadontable Wed 13-Feb-13 12:31:38

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!

TheWoollybacksWife Wed 13-Feb-13 12:49:48

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. grin

With my older siblings the hospital policy was dads were not allowed at the birth and my younger sister was a CS under GA.

anasaltman Wed 13-Feb-13 12:56:00

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!

NightLark Wed 13-Feb-13 12:59:09

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!

haloflo Wed 13-Feb-13 13:22:21

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.

higgle Wed 13-Feb-13 13:24:47

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.

CailinDana Wed 13-Feb-13 13:27:42

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 smile 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.

PetiteRaleuse Wed 13-Feb-13 13:34:00

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.

Superene Wed 13-Feb-13 13:51:49

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.

Taffeta Wed 13-Feb-13 14:05:44

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. grin

thunksheadontable Wed 13-Feb-13 14:35:06

Supreme, for three whole weeks?

thunksheadontable Wed 13-Feb-13 14:39:37

(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.

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