..The midwife said: “Well there’s nothing wrong with her bowels,” as she revealed a big brown stain on the towel the baby had been placed. This was changed and the midwife started to rub the baby who I noticed had remained quite silent throughout her delivery. She was born a blue/grey colour and gradually began to turn pink, but very slowly. The midwife asked her to give her a big breath which I translated as meaning that she was not able to breathe properly. This triggered further panic and anxiety. Could I take any more anxiety? I felt like fainting as the midwife began to tickle the tiny child’s feet. It seemed such a sweet simple technique that for a moment I was relieved of the pulsating anxiety and intrigued to see this intervention. Then the midwife tool a length of tube attached to an instrument placed some of the tube in the baby’s mouth and I immediately heard a gentle sucking noise.

The midwife looked at me and explained that they had to ensure there was no fluid in her lungs. The surgeon had mentioned as he looked inside Isobels tummy that there was a lot of mercanium as if to confirm my information that Isobel had been in pain for weeks. I was later to discover that this was a sign of foetal distress but in addition that she had been affected by the raging infection on Isobel’s kidney. This was discovered when she eventually had the renal scan later. Meanwhile the midwife seemed happy and wrapped her firmly in a clean towel, placing a cotton hat on her head. I asked the midwife what sex the baby was? If anyone had said the minute she was born I did not hear. I remember staring at the clock as the operation began. It was 11.15 on Friday 29 January 1993. By 11.35 the baby was lifted out of her mother. So the midwife took pink plastic ID tags and carefully placed them around her wrist and ankle and said: “Look a girl, it’s pink for a girl.”

My sense of joy fought against the dread and anxiety that had overwhelmed me. Although we had never openly expressed a preference we both really wanted a girl so at last there was some light in this dreadfully dark experience. She started to explain what was happening and in my hyper-alert state I felt another wave of dread crash over me. “The baby is cold so we need to warm her up, she will go to the Special Care Baby Unit, please come with me.” I looked back at Isobel and remembered to ask them for her Placenta. Isobel had made this a specific request. The team looked at me and then each other and carried on. As we moved towards the exit I took a last glance at Isobel feeling such pity and horror at what had transpired. I felt hopeless to do anything or help her and now torn away to stay with the baby.

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