Blitz baby: I like reading other people... - Lung Conditions C...

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Blitz baby

Alberta56 profile image
99 Replies

I like reading other people's reminiscences, so I hope mine will amuse some of you. Please don't bother to read them if you are only interested in medical matters. Anyway here goes, starting right at the beginning.

It was March 1941. The sirens had sounded, and the bombers were passing overhead when my mum told my dad that the baby was coming. My dad walked in the dark to the nearby nurses' home, where they had booked a nurse to oversee the delivery. Dad and the nurse walked back- always a slightly dangerous business with our night fighters and ack- ack shooting at the bombers. ( My elder brother amassed a fine collection of spent ammo from these raids.) Then the nurse stayed with my mum all night and nothing happened. Next morning my dad went off to work. (Bricklayers did not get paid in those days if they did not work.) He hurried home at lunch time- and found my mum eating an egg which the nurse had cooked. Off to work in the afternoon and back quickly at tea- time. Still no baby. Eventually the nurse told him he'd have to fetch the doctor. So father walked down to the doctor's surgery, where a lot of hopeful patients were waiting. When he explained his errand the doctor was not best pleased, but he picked up his bag and shouted into the waiting room that he would not be back that evening. 'They'll still wait', he told my dad. Back at the house the doctor got out his trusty forceps and helped my rather small mother deliver 9lb. me.

According to my parents the doctor was not a happy bunny because he had sent his wife into the country to escape the bombing and was looking forward to a night of sin with his receptionist. I remember him as a large and rather abrupt Scotsman, whose vaccinations were fierce and painful.😂😂 Nothing to do with me messing up his evening?

99 Replies
sassy59 profile image
sassy59

A brilliant, if somewhat scary, beginning Alberta. I loved your story. Our daughter weighed 9lb 8oz at birth but arrived within 2 hours. She herself had her eldest son quickly and he was born weighing 9lb 6oz. I’m pleased the doctor went to help your mother and you arrived safely. His amorous ways had to wait. Xxx❤️😘

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to sassy59

Poor doctor. He must have been sex starved. 😂😂😂

sassy59 profile image
sassy59 in reply to Alberta56

Served him right 😂😂👍

Tykelady profile image
Tykelady

We are close in age and I enjoy reading stories of past events. To be honest I remember them more than I remember yesterday's lunch. I joined primarily for medical advice but was surprised to find how long many of us had survived with these ailments.x

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Tykelady

I didn't start getting ailments until I was in my 70ies. I'm still cross about that.

Patk1 profile image
Patk1 in reply to Alberta56

Crikey! Uv been lucky x

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10 in reply to Alberta56

sorry my reply diverted from your story. All I know about my birth was that it was at small hospital, Loveday Street, Birmingham. mother wouldn’t talk about it, so think might have been difficult. I have a broken disformed big toe, always been so, think damaged when being delivered. Jean x

leo60 profile image
leo60 in reply to Morrison10

I have a scar above my left eye and was so bruised they wouldn't let mum see me for a few days! Things were different ....... xx

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10 in reply to leo60

Sorry have scar, and your poor mum not allowed to see you. Hope other bruises didn’t have adverse result. Yes things were different years ago. Didn’t change very quickly, my oldest child was born in 1966 in small specialist hospital run entirely by women. My husband wasn’t allowed into entrance hall even. The care and attention was very good, and I felt in safe hands. After she was born during night I was put into own small room to sleep. Next morning nurse brought me drink, asked me if could hear baby crying, told that was my daughter who hadn’t stopped, but they couldn’t find out why!

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to leo60

My goodness- that sounds dreadful, for you and your mum.xx

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Morrison10

gosh. I was lucky.

Patk1 profile image
Patk1

Great story of yr arrival and the times, and the drs life.enjoyed reading it.thanku xxx

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Patk1

Thank you.

Nula2 profile image
Nula2

Hi Alberta, I enjoy all aspects of this site: the informative, the funny and the interesting stories. If we can help each other by sharing our medical and life experiences or raising a smile, whats not to like. Thank you for telling your story 🙂xxx

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Nula2

i looked at another site recently, where the people were only talking about their illness, mainly detailing how much worse it was getting. Poor people, but I found it very gloomy. Laughter keeps us sane.

Tykelady profile image
Tykelady in reply to Alberta56

I'm a member of another one and the only things they discuss is how much they suffer and how no one in the NHS does what they want them to do.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Tykelady

Oh Lord. Long may this site flourish the way itis now.

Nula2 profile image
Nula2 in reply to Alberta56

100 percent! Laughter and chatting to people is so beneficial. I find it helps in so many ways and like you say stops me from going completely off my rocker! 😆xxx

peege profile image
peege

Brilliant Alberta56! Was this town or country?

9lbs your poor mum!!

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to peege

I was born in leafy Southgate, a north London suburb. There was nothing worth bombing in Southgate. The bombers were passing over on their way to more important targets, perhaps De Havilland's at Hatfield or possibly going on to the Midlands. My elder brother was also a nine pounder, so my mum was used to big babies.

cofdrop-UK profile image
cofdrop-UK

🙂🙂🙂🙂

SORRELHIPPO profile image
SORRELHIPPO

Great story, your poor Dad, Mums just have to put up with it all. Glad I came after the blitz, Dad was off in the Fleet Air Arm at that point (Pacific Ocean) and I think Mum still at school.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to SORRELHIPPO

Your dad must have had a dangerous war. All those Japanese in their Zeros!

MoyB profile image
MoyB

Loved reading your post. xx Moy

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to MoyB

Thankyou.

leo60 profile image
leo60

Loved reading that Alberta, thank you :)

I was born in 1960 in an Army hospital (even though Dad was RAF!) in Rinteln, W. Germany, my mother was also tiny, only 4"11 1/2 even on a good day and was also delivered by forceps! We have much in common :) But I think I ruined my poor mother's life more........ I was 9lb 8oz, same as sassy!! As a big baby I only grew to5"2", did you grow to a size you would expect a big baby to? Sorry Mum x

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to leo60

I too ended up at 5'2", same as my mum. Mother thought all self-respecting babies ought to be big. My younger brother, a mere 6 pounder, was the runt of the litter. 😂😂😂

leo60 profile image
leo60 in reply to Alberta56

Strange isn't it? My younger sister was very premature and was less rhan 3lbs at birth but is now a porky 5"2". My kids were 5lbs2oz now 14st 2lbs and 5"6". My other daughter also born at 5lbs 2" is 5"11" and about 9st 8oz, whilst my son born at 7lbs8oz is 5"10" and about 11st. I think my sister is so large from my mother subconciously trying to "feed her up"! I am now a lot heavier than I am normally, I have been a pretty much constant 7st 6oz. It doesn't follow does it?! xx

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to leo60

It's hard to keep the weight off with lung troubles. xxx

leo60 profile image
leo60 in reply to Alberta56

It sure is! From 7st8oz to nigh on 12 st, quite a shock when I forget NOT to look in the mirror!! xx

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to leo60

Alas! I find my appetite is still as good as when I was active. I tend to lose weight when I'm ill, but as soon as I feel better back it goes on. 😋😋😋

leo60 profile image
leo60 in reply to Alberta56

I tend to eat more from giving up smoking/boredom/ steroids and obvs lack of exercise. But noq I realise that's why I was always cold! Though I think I'd rather put on an extra layer ;) xx

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10 in reply to Alberta56

Talking of our adult height. My mother was only 4ft5, my father was 5.2 and I’m now 5.1, think skunk from 5.2. Joys of growing older x

leo60 profile image
leo60 in reply to Morrison10

I remember leaning down to hug my mum, but yours was tiny :) xx

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10 in reply to leo60

my mum lived alone until died age 111. I was only child because of PCD. xx

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Morrison10

Yes indeed. Grrr! xxx

Izb1 profile image
Izb1 in reply to leo60

My daughter was born in Rinteln in 1974 after 37 hours in labour, she only weighed 5lb 7oz. I remember saying to the Irish midwife what is wrong with my back the pain was so bad, she laughed and said you are in labour my dear x

leo60 profile image
leo60 in reply to Izb1

Oh gosh! Rinteln! Was your husband also in the forces? Yeah my first was a measley 5lb 2oz, but after all the stories of forceps I am quite pleased to be honest! She soon caught up ;) xx

Izb1 profile image
Izb1 in reply to leo60

Yes my ex was a soldier and we had a few postings around North Rhine Westphalia. I spent around 5 years in Germany and loved it x

leo60 profile image
leo60 in reply to Izb1

My Dad made quite a few friends out there and I would go and stay with them for holidays as I was learning German at school. I loved it too and everyone was really friendly! xx

djbctla profile image
djbctla

Enjoyed reading the picturesque account of arrival Alberta, so funny, best wishes Bernardine 🥰

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to djbctla

Thank you xxx

peege profile image
peege

I'm sure quite a few of we mums are now thinking of our own experiences- minus a scary blitz of course - and well after the start of the NHS. My first two were born in Libya. Both were born very quickly 3 hours & 80 minutes. My 6lb son is now 66ft with size 11 feet!

Such different times to 1941

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to peege

Well done your son. xxx

rachelmi profile image
rachelmi in reply to peege

he is tall 😊😁

leo60 profile image
leo60 in reply to rachelmi

I was just going to say!! 😂😂 xx

rachelmi profile image
rachelmi in reply to leo60

🤣🤣

garshe profile image
garshe

I prefer stories like this than some always complaining. I know it's hard when you're unwell buy its good to hear about others experiences in life. Thank you for that xxSheila 👍💕

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to garshe

Thank you xxx

d0ttysslave profile image
d0ttysslave

I love these stories, so thank you for sharing them. I wonder if, perhaps, babies were larger a couple of generations ago. I was over nine pounds and my mother recounts that she took one look at me, after I was born, and fainted. My brother used to insist it was because I was so ugly, but my mother told me that she it was a difficult birth but she wanted to stay 'awake' to see me safely into the world. My brother was ten pounds! He was born in 1959, and I was born in 1960.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to d0ttysslave

My Auntie Grace apparently burst into tears at the site of her firstborn, because his head was such a funny shape. It must have righted itself, because he grew into quite a handsome man, but new mums are very sensitive. xxx

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10

Thanks for that very interesting story. I remember the nightly bombing in 1941, went to bed in Anderson air raid shelter dug into back garden, always damp as on clay soil, but I survived! My father worked during day as a prop shaft straightener for tanks etc. Evenings nights he was an ARP warden, took injured to hospital, assisted people who had been bombed etc. Sorry don’t have any funny story, but recall one morning saw tree with toilet pan that was resting on big branch! Jean x

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Morrison10

I managed to send a general reply, rather than one just for you, saying that I was too young to know anything about the horrors of war, so all my memories are of funny or silly things. Brain fog, I fear. xxx

rachelmi profile image
rachelmi

wow ! What a scary prospect to deliver a big baby in those days. I’m pretty sure a forceps delivery is never something you would want but a good way to help your mum deliver you. People were in tough times and had no chance of an epidural! Yikes 😳. Glad it all went well eventually. Lovely story thanks for posting Alberta x

(ps. My husband talks about life before the NHS was founded. Seems so strange for me, it’s always been there. He eventually became a director of the SW NHS but now has his feet up, retired. )

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to rachelmi

My parents did not seem at all fazed by this. I think they took it for granted that everything would come right in the end. xxx

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to rachelmi

I can remember my Father and I having pneumonia and no antibiotics to help get us better. The relief was huge when the NHS came in. Mum would go and pick beans and peas to pay the Drs bills.,we lived in a small three bed Prefab that really was as cold as being outside. It was home though. The Neighbours would bring us a rabbit for Sunday dinners and Mum would get Marrowbones from the butcher to make a stew. Dad grew all the fruit and veg. They were very poor days and people think they’ve got it bad now.

rachelmi profile image
rachelmi in reply to Mavary

yes I can’t imagine how difficult life would be without antibiotics and NHS. Thanks for your interesting response x

Izb1 profile image
Izb1 in reply to Mavary

I remember my Mum saying she paid a penny for the doctor, they were tough times x

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Izb1

I don’t know how much my Mum earned for bean and pea picking but you can imagine it was pittance.

We didn’t have though and didn’t want.

Living in such cold conditions it wasn’t only pneumonia but one Sister had Bronchitis the other Rheumatic Fever.

We don’t know we’re born now with all the luxuries around us. And people are still asking for more.

Izb1 profile image
Izb1 in reply to Mavary

Yes we all had medical problems in the winter. I think most people were on the breadline after the war. The cold was the biggest problem, trying to keep warm in the winter was a nightmare and winters were much colder then. I am the youngest of four and we topped and tailed in one bed, that perhaps kept us a little warmer. Ice on the inside of the window panes. You are right people dont know how lucky they are nowadays x

Cloudancer profile image
Cloudancer in reply to Izb1

Yes you could draw patterns with a fingernail on the ice inside the windows of our bedroom!

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Cloudancer

Sometimes the ice made pretty fern patterns. xxx

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Izb1

I was the youngest of three and I can remember getting into a freezing cold bed. My Sisters were allowed a stone hot water bottle. I wasn’t allowed it as i was too young. I remember scratching pictures on the inside of the iced up window. There were five inch icicles hanging from the roof. X

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Mavary

Brrr! poor you. I sometimes wonder if our lung problems started with that sort of austerity.

Izb1 profile image
Izb1 in reply to Mavary

So remember those days and think we had fun scratching pictures on the frosted windows and sliding around outside, but am so glad we live in healthier times and that winters are warmer now x

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Izb1

that’s why I got pneumonia and TB. Living in a cold damp place. I probably had Aspergillosis too but nobody knew.

Izb1 profile image
Izb1 in reply to Mavary

I do wonder if we had pneumonia as children and can remember being quite poorly once that Mum had the doctor out. Those younger days could have been the reason i now have bronchiectasis , there must be thousands of us with the same complaints, just tough times x

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Izb1

I’ve hadpneumonia three times in my life. I’m obviously prone to it. It was probably the Aspergillosis that cased it all.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Mavary

My dad belonged to the Oddfellows, which helped a lot with medical bills. I never felt we were going hungry, but we had an allotment and kept chickens. I think we were lucky.

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Alberta56

we had three Chickens but made the mistake of calling them names so when it came to Christmas we couldn’t face eating it.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Mavary

Our chickens were for egg production, not for eating. Eggs were a useful form of exchange- eg. my dad would give one lady eggs and she would give him sugar which she didn't need, so my mum could make jam. I don't think father could have faced the ructions if he has suggested eating one of our chickens. 😂😂😂

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Alberta56

I don’t know what happened to our last two chickens. I can’t remember having them for dinner. Dad wa a big softy with animals.

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10 in reply to Mavary

I had pneumonia and pleurisy in 1946, just after war. My dad also had pneumonia, coal was rationed, only enough for one fire in house, so my dad and me slept in different beds in one bedroom, mother had to walk upstairs with coal to keep fire going. She slept in bed with dad, think she must have been exhausted. I had Kaolin poultices that she had to put on my chest several times each day, and I survived x

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Morrison10

Oh lord. I don't think I knew I was born. xxx

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Morrison10

Mum used Kaolin poultices for my Dad. She also put Goose fat on his chest as someone had said it was good.

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10 in reply to Mavary

I’ve not had or heard of goose fat on chest! I remember about 1960 had pleurisy, treated with first antibiotics, worked like miracle, was well in few days.x

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Morrison10

this was about 1948 or 9

Firefly25 profile image
Firefly25

Loved reading your story- what a fascinating glimpse into the past! Thank you for sharing xx😊

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Firefly25

Thank you.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56

i was too young to know about the horrors of war- my mother sheltered me from anything nasty. So my memories are fragmentary and mostly of funny things.xxx

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Alberta56

This was after the war. I was two years old when the war finished but people were still very poor. When I was nine years old we moved to a semi detached house a few miles away. We thought it was Heaven. Still no central heating. We only had a coal fire but the house was still warmer than the one we had before.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Mavary

Our house had sash windows, so it was 'very well ventilated'. Not being used to anything different we took it for granted that only the living room was warm.xxx

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Alberta56

we never had a warm room at all despite keeping the range going. It was only a little one.

teenieleek profile image
teenieleek

I don’t think that doctor ever forgave you for spoiling his fun. Either that or he was just rubbish at doing injections.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to teenieleek

🤣🤣🤣🤣

Mavary profile image
Mavary

Ha Ha! Server se him right for cheating on his wife. 😹🤣

Izb1 profile image
Izb1

Thanks for sharing your story Alberta , a glimpse into the past, those were hard times x

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Izb1

Thank you.

Mooka profile image
Mooka

what an entrance into the world. Sounds like an episode of call the midwife. Really interesting thank you for sharing.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Mooka

Thank you.

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10

just read through all posts, very interesting and informative. Thanks to everyone, and yes only touching on more difficult times, is good to remind us how lucky we are now, even with problems with GPs and NHS. Best regards, Jean x

Cloudancer profile image
Cloudancer

What a lovely tale.I was born as a keillands rotation forceps delivery.

Looking like an alien with bruising and a mishappen head the ward sister gathered me in her arms and said to my mother " this babe will be a blessing for you all of her life".

I think of her kind words often...

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Cloudancer

Someone should have told my Auntie Grace that when my cousin Stan was born with a misshapen head. It righted itself of course, but poor Grace did not know that at the time.

I'm sure your ward sister was right. 🥰🥰🥰

embroy profile image
embroy

Brilliant story, I really enjoyed it. God bless you and your parents.

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to embroy

Thank you.

Biofreak profile image
Biofreak

Love your story Alberta. I have quite a few stories from the war told to me by my Mum, Dad and Aunty mainly. I'm from Manchester so it was heavily bombed during the war. Dad was in North Africa and Italy in the RAF and my Mum was evacuated. You have reminded me of all the stories they told me. God bless them. I think we could all probably fill a book with their stories. My mum told me I was born at home in 1956 with the help of the midwife. My mum had just eaten a meal of braised steak and onions when she went into labour and said I had braised steak and onions on my head when I came into the world. Don't know if she was joking or not but it's a great thought 😂

Handihaler profile image
Handihaler

That was Doctor Finley!! And his receptionist was Janet!!

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Handihaler

I'm sure Janet was too respectable to get up to mischief in north London 🙄🙄🙄. xxx

bluepettals2 profile image
bluepettals2

how lovely to read and that is what i love about the lung community, all so friendly even witha rotten ill nes to deal with, i am vintage too but not as vintage as you alberta, but love reading these wartime stories, how life was so different in those days, my dad was away 6 years in the war and i remmber mum saying my dad walked round to the midwives house, no mobiles in those days, she came on a bike! 1947!

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