CPR Section House

CPR Section House

Friday, March 4, 2011

Second Child

  In Espanola , there was a hospital run by Nuns on the Mill property . Two doctors and nurses were maintained by the company to provide for the needs of the company town and the inevitable lumbering casualties in the area .

  Since access to this hospital was easy , this is where Mum went for the birth of her next child in December of 1950 on her own birthday ...at 2 o'clock in the morning . A steady pain under pressure woke her suddenly . Mum worried that something wasn't quite right and the presence of her mother's spirit told her it was time . Waking up a neighbour who agreed to care for three-year-old Sharon during the next few days , a taxi was called into service to rush Mum and Dad the three road miles to the hospital .

Since life at McKerrow was a lot less physically active than for her first child , Mum had gained a lot of weight . The long walks and gardening that had kept her fit during her first pregnancy were not part of her second ...and the two visits to the doctor in town had no warnings of the difficulties having a large baby could cause . This was not unusual for the time . Despite Mum's queries , 'Doctor knows best' .

  When she and Dad were dropped off , a very nervous young Nun was the only one on duty at the small hospital . When Mum asked her which doctor was on call , the Nun explained that there was no one except her there , and that the doctor would not be coming until 8:00 am . Mum told her that she would be having the baby long before that so calling the doctor now was essential . The Nun told her she would admit her and the doctor would come in the morning. However , when she saw Mum react to the pains she was getting and heard her firmly say " It's happening now , not in the morning !" , she reluctantly made the call .

 All the while the frantic Nun was preparing Mum for the birth , she moaned at how angry the doctor was at being called to duty at this time of night . Once she helped Mum onto the delivery table , she went into a panic when she saw the head of a baby trying to push it's way into the world . The Nun attempted to push the baby back inside , crying out "Stop this at once !" , as if Mum had total control over the process .

 In the midst of this  , the doctor arrived not dressed for a birth but in his street clothes . He expected to find some over-reacting woman who was responding unnecessarily to labour pains . The Nun breathed a sigh of relief but suffered a dirge of nasty comments about her ineptitude and sharp orders from the doctor . Just as he bent over to examine how far along Mum was , the water broke all over him which didn't help his mood . Within a minute , the baby tore itself through already screaming before the rest of her was free . Another voice added to the fray . The doctor was livid . He yelled at the young Nun to clean up the mess and that he would return in the morning to check 'them' out . Then he left the room without examining either patient .

 Mum explained to the Nun that she would have to help with the after-birth first and clean up later . Soothing the young crying woman with gentle orders , Mum helped her through what needed to be done ...cleaning , weighing and wrapping the baby ; letting Mum hold her while the Nun did the cleaning up required and recording the birth . The knowledge gained from working with her midwife sister in England came forward to bring things under control and her Mother's presence calmed her.

Eventually , all was complete and peace set in . Dad saw Mum and Marcella Christine in her room , unaware of all that had gone on . Once he had seen them both alive and safe , he headed home to McKerrow as he had to work in  few hours .

The doctor came in the next morning , took a cursory look at baby , signed his name to the necessary papers and left .

The next morning on rounds , he was informed of the bleeding that continued and left orders to use bandages until things healed naturally... "There was nothing to be concerned about . A few days with your feet up will take care of that ." When Mum asked about the baby having her leg and arm curled up around her head on one side , he simply replied that it was nothing to worry about and that all would work out fine . When she explained that the baby wasn't keeping down her breast milk , he told her to keep trying for a couple of weeks then switch to formula because something might be wrong with her milk . Then he said mother and child were free to go home . The taxi was called and the bill handed to them as they left the hospital . ( There was no health care at that time...$2500.00 was more than Dad earned in a year .)

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