We married when I was 16 years old and pregnant. Our baby was due on April 18th 1968. I went into labour on May 7th, in my 42nd week.
Our baby girl was stillborn. She shared her birthday with my husband who was 19 years old the day she was born dead. I was rendered unconscious by injection when she was delivered so did not see her, or know what had happened. It was not usual for dads to be present at the birth in those days so my young husband sat outside and waited, and waited.
I was put into a private room, next to the premature babies nursery and left there for four days, hearing the cries of newborn babies. I knew, without being told, that my baby was dead but had to ask the nurse if it was a boy or a girl. She looked at the floor and said "a girl" and ran out of the room. On day four, I was told that I could go home. After packing my clothes, I remember dissolving into floods of tears, the first that I had shed and being helped back into bed by a silent nurse. I eventually went home the next day.
Only later, did I piece together, that my baby had been alive when I was admitted but her heart had stopped 2 hours before she was born, weighing 5lbs 8 ounces. Cause of death Cerebral Haemorrhage; I was told "if she had lived, she would not have been any good anyway" and "there is no reason why you cannot have another baby"Meanwhile, my poor husband was in his own dark place for a long time afterwards. I still cannot say how long it was, he told me that the doctor/midwife or whoever, had asked him what religion we were as they could try to save our baby, by emergency caesarean but I might have died. A terrible thing, for a young man on his 19th birthday. Later, the hospital staff asked him, "would he make burial arrangements?" they offered to "dispose" of our baby for us. No-one asked if we would like to see her, hold her or have a photograph. We were not allowed, in those days, to name her. We have no birth or death certificates and it was not thought that she deserved a proper funeral. When I was still in hospital, my husband was paying for her burial.Two weeks after my confinement I found a new job - no maternity leave then - and tried to get back to normal as was expected of me.
We still have the undertakers receipt with a reference number on it. One day we will try to find her burial spot. As far as we know, there is a corner in the cemetery especially for tiny babies but I have the fear that reality will not live up to my hopes of a green and pleasant resting place, after all these years. Yes, we are still married, over 40 years now. We went on to have two healthy boys, now grown, both very much beloved and never taken for granted. We are lucky enough to have two beautiful granddaughters now, and as we watch them grow, we remember our very own baby girl... writing this the tears are very close once more, I feel as if I have spent the last 40 years of my life on the brink of tears...
Catherine & Brian