Lynley is an Aucklander who has been a librarian, tertiary educator and consultant. She has always had several creative endeavours on the go, and is mildly obsessive about exploring her family heritage through her writing and research.
Dr Dunn, good catholic that he was, told my godless father “I might not be able to save them both – if it comes down to it, I’ll save the baby.” My father, not at all impressed by this logic, contemplated taking up smoking again (having given up roughly a year before) and, instead, paced.
At 2.30pm on a sunny Auckland January Wednesday, my mother thoroughly anaesthetised, I was delivered. 48 years later, the next time she was hospitalized at the age of 89, young nurses marveled at her vertical caesarian scar – the opposite direction to modern practice. We both survived.
Mum had been in hospital, confined to bed and boredom, for two months in the lead-up to my arrival. The doctor had rushed home from his family summer beach holiday to deliver me. After I was born, she wasn’t allowed out of bed for a further several weeks. Dad spent the two hours a day he was allotted beside the incubator, as my premature self developed strength and lung capacity. “You were just five pounds – five pounds of butter” he would often tell me, holding his hands out as if clasping five blocks of yellow goodness, wrapped in greaseproof paper.
Mum finally got fed up and checked us out early. The sister tut-tutted and told my parents they must hire 24 hour nursing help. “My mother will help me during the day and Pete is there at night” was Mum’s retort. And so it was. I had three doting care-givers, and life was good.
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