14 April 1983

A new sister for James

We had worked hard to prepare James for the arrival of a new baby, so he was a full bottle on everything a baby needs to know and pleased to have the opportunity to expain the meaning of life, the universe and everything to his new sister.

06 April 1983

A Baby Record for Darwin Hospital

After giving birth to James under the weariness of a bout of malaria, I was eager to have this baby naturally, normally, easily ...

I hadn't had any ultrasounds, or any of the 'normal' check ups in the Torres Strait, so I expected the doctor in Darwin to be a little fussed. But as I lay like a beached whale on an examination bed between the doctor and the nurse, listening to them talk about me as if I couldn't hear, I became a little more concerned.

As we got to know our Alison, as she got older, we could understand perfectly what had happened. At the time it was a little perplexing. She wasn't positioned correctly to be born. She was an "oblique, flexed breach" with her head up against my liver, her bottom on one of my hips and her feet on the other.

The other thing was that this was obviously going to be a very big baby. I had several ultrasounds - so we were sure it wasn't twins - and even an x-ray to make sure there was room for her head to pass through my pelvis.

The doctor decreed a Cesarean Section birth, and I wept with disappointment. Kindly, the doctor offered to turn the baby - but if it didn't succeed, I had to expect a C-Section.

I was incredibly uncomfortable, getting around the Darwin SIL centre on a bicycle because it gave me the support I needed, and swimming a lot. Finally, a week late, I went into labour.

The only car available in the car pool was a beaten up old Holden, which stalled on most corners. Every time it did so Peter would ask, "So, do you think you could walk it from here?" I was cheerful and hopeful, intending to walk around at the hospital to hurry the birth along.

After a few minutes in the waiting area of the labour ward a scared-looking nurse came in readin my file. She was horrified to see me standing up, and pointed out that if my waters broke and the cord dropped between the baby's knees we would have a deadly situation for one or both of us.

So I gave in and submitted to the unsuccessful attempt to turn the baby, and so to a C-Section birth.

Our Alison weighed in at 5160gm, or 11lb 6oz. I had the Nursing Mothers association traipsing through wanting to look at the baby, because she was the biggest in I don't know how long.

And the reason she was in that terrible position and unable to be turned? She had the cord tightly around her neck three times. Yep, that's our Ali. You should see her using a telephone - the old-fashioned ones with a cord!

But so beautiful! Looking like she was already three months old.

The matron said I would never be able to feed her, and I should start her on Farex right away, but I figured that wouldn't be good for her at all, so I struggled on.