Friday morning 16 March 1990. Very excited about the imminent birth of my long-awaited baby – sex yet unknown, but 3 weeks early, I painted by nails and did my make-up. No washed out face for this mum. Little did I know!
In the ante-room the nurses struggled to find the baby’s heartbeat. Apparently the machine did not work, again. In walzed the gynea. How are we feeling this morning? Happy, thank you, doctor. And how’s the baby doing? We don’t know doctor, the machine is acting up. The knowing hands on my pregnant stomach felt, inspected and became anxious. Theater, now! he urged. The baby is in fetal stress, the machine is not acting up.
The make-up was scrubbed off, my nails cleaned roughly. The trolley made squeeking noises as we rushed to the theater. The roof of the corridor passed in a blur. I noticed every dirty spot. Out! everyone was ordered. But doctor, the theater has not been cleaned yet. Then clean it while I save the baby, came the instruction. Around me everyone scurried and became hasty.
No time for niceties or choises about anaesthetics, I was put under. Waking up hours later, I asked for my baby. In rolled an incubator with a dirty newborn baby. Not to worry, came the reassurance, your baby is fine, just very cold. I checked, all the fingers and toes were there. I held her, safe in my arms. And I said: Hello Marcélle, I am your mummy. And that’s the story that I repeated for her on her birthday every year until she was sixteen years old.
2 days later I heard the real drama: because of fetal stress, my baby’s heart stopped beating just as they were taking her out. A tap or two later on the little heart however, it started beating again and she was fine.
And she still is.
Years later, Friday afternoon 14 February 2020, I greeted my little granddaughter, also born 3 weeks prematurely. And I said: Hello Liané, I am your granny.