Time went by it was getting closer to my delivery date March 24th 1962 I was getting more scared by the minute. I had pushed the events of a few weeks ago to the back of my mind but I now had to think before I spoke. I wanted to walk out then and there but I had no where to go. I suspected now that Mike had only married me to spite his mother, because if you loved someone that is not the way you would behave. I had made my bed as it were and would take the consequences.
March 22nd 1962 I woke up about 01.00am with severe contractions, I woke Mike up and he went to phone for an ambulance, I was taken to Princess Beatrice Hospital, Fulham. When I got there I was examined and they said that the baby wouldnt be very long. At that time fathers were not allowed to see the birth, they had to wait outside. It got to 09.00am the next day 23rd and still nothing but I still had the pains. I told Mike to go to work as he couldnt do anything, thinking he would say no I will wait but no off he went.
I had a rotten day, I was put in a private ward to make room for other Mums whose births were imminent. Mike came back to the hospital after work and stayed several hours, still nothing happened, I was in agony. The pains got worse. They told Mike to go home and grab a couple of hours sleep as it could be hours before the baby was born.
A couple of hours later they took be back into the labour ward and kept saying they could see the head, at about 6.00am on the 24th the midwife decided she had better call for a Doctor (better late than never I thought). A short while later a Doctor Sing came, he examined me and said I needed to go to theatre as the babys head was nose up and the cord was being squashed between myself and the babies nose.
Dr Sing came back and said there was no theatre free and also no anaethetist available he said the only thing he could do was give me loads of Pethidine and hope it would be enough to dull the pain. He said there was only 6 minutes before the baby would be starved of oxygen and suffer brain damage. I said I dont care what he had to do just to save my baby, whatever pain I would feel would be over in a few minutes and I would get over it, my baby was my prime concern. He said he would do his very best and that I was a very brave person.
To say it was agony would be a gross understatement I didnt think I could take much more but this baby meant so much to me. Dr Sing new I was struggling and asked did I want him to carry on, of course I said yes and hoped it would be over soon.
Suddenly the pain was excruciating and Dr Sing said " Sheila you have a baby girl, she is battered and bruised but we did it" and with that she started to cry. He assured me we did it in time and that she would be fine. I was so exhausted I just managed a thank you. He said it had been a joint effort. He said he would give me some morphine as when the Pethidine wore off I would probably be in a lot of pain......more pain.....By the way she was born at 07.15 am on saturday 24th March 1962 weighing 7lb 5ozs.
The next thing I knew it was 11.00am and I was back in the private room. As yet no sign of Mike...I had had my baby and was unable to tell anyone, I had to wait for them to ring the hospital. I tried to move but I couldnt I seemed to be paralysed from the waist down, I was terrified, a nurse came in I told her and she said it was ok Dr Sing had given me so much Pethidine that it would take days to get back to normal. She said the doctor would be in to see me now that I was awake and explain things to me.
Dr Sing said I had had to have approx 30 stitches internally and about 20 external and that I must not attempt to get out of bed due to the state I was in. He also said the baby would have to be what they called cot nursed for 24 hours due to the horrific birth she had gone through. Also that when I saw her I must not be worried about her cuts and bruises this was caused by the rush to free the cord and allow oxygen to get to her, hence all the stitches too. He said I wouldnt believe him but the abrasions caused by the forceps would disappear in a couple of days the bruising from her nose up would take quite a lot longer but to remember there was no other choice and he kept saying he had never met such a brave selfless woman and he knew the baby would have a terrific mother.
They brought the baby to me still in her cot but I was able to hold her hand. She was so beautiful in spite of the awful cuts and bruises, she had long dark hair and I was totally besotted with her, I couldnt wait to hold her in my arms. In the face of adversity she had fought for her life. To this day 45 years later I can still feel that emotion and she still means everything to me. Unconditional love.