Wednesday 19th January 2022

Birth Stories. #1. An Occasional Series. 6/2020.

Birth Stories. #1. An Occasional Series. 6/2020.

Who doesn’t enjoy a birth story?

Oh, maybe that should read…would you enjoy reading some birth stories?

If YES… read on.

If NO…Thank you for reading so far. I will catch you back here soon I hope!!

Images of the most of the babies are photos from their first day/night of life. I have a framed photo collage of each of the 2 groups of 4 grandchildren. Very special memories.

The ‘last’ grandchild’s BIRTHday.

This (bad) photo taken at sunrise was when I drove to Sydney – around 90 minutes from our new place of residence on the Central Coast. I had been on “Grandma-standby” for a few days but with the birth now not expected till the following week, I got quite a shock/surprise to get the news that our son and his wife were on their way to the hospital and a neighbour was in the house while the siblings slept. That dear ‘breech’ baby wanted out of there and she was delivered naturally and both mother and baby were well. I waited at our son’s house with his sister (who had also been called to relieve the neighbour) till he arrived home with the news for us all…and with great relief, we left the family and went for a much-needed breakfast.

Here she is: 

Our daughter’s arrival. LONG time ago. 

So, this young, married, and pregnant teacher (me!) soon learned the hard way about being pregnant. I was going well. We lived outside a country town in north west N.S.W. in 1971. I saw the local G.P. for my check-ups and then… BOOM! “No, you won’t be having your baby here as you need specialist attention and that is urgent.”

Yikes. Way to scare a mother-to-be and the father too… yet he is not really scared of anything. So, chastened, worried (because I had gained a LOT of weight in a short space of time) we arrived at Tamworth, two hours from home,  to meet the Ob/Gyn. His examination ended up with me getting a diagnosis of then toxaemia, (pre-eclampsia) and taken straight to the hospital for bed rest and diuretics and keeping me and baby well. It was a LONG week I was there, confined and scared…because I knew nothing really. The treatment worked and my now Doctor let me home with the promise of returning in 2 weeks for induction AND (I never understood this, but obeyed) eat lots of lollies.

Dutifully, we returned one Wednesday evening and after admission, some induction strategies began. Pills and pessaries I think. Husband went home (2 hours away) as he had to teach at his one teacher school. No progress towards labour that night. All day Thursday still nothing much. Was transferred to labour ward that night and the Ob/Gyn visited and broke my waters. He was surprised to see some blood and explained it was likely to be a placenta previa partly covering the cervix that had been noted in a pelvic Xray (yes, of my baby and me)  but he showed no real concern. In this time nothing happened. Boring. Waiting. Boring but wait. It was Friday. Off to delivery suite. No idea why. BUT I did have some pains like periods. Nothing much given for pain other than some gas (mask). My husband called around 1 p.m. to be told “no she is not in labour don’t come down in this awful weather.”

Meanwhile, this pain which grew was in the back and more. A wonderful midwife was so kind. But still….I had no idea UNTIL around 4-4.30 I wanted to be sick (not like me ever) and I wanted to leave. Those who have given birth will know this is called transition. I did not but the pain escalated, as did my tightening of the poor midwife’s hand…and around 5-5.30 they called in the Ob/Gyn…he arrived in his whites. His squash gear! And by 6.35 p.m. I had delivered our little ray of sunshine. There were no pain meds. I was on a high. He even managed to stitch me and tell me 9/10. I thought it was my performance …later I found it was the baby’s APGAR.

The lovely Ob/Gyn then left the room but I could hear him on the phone “Mr Whelan you have a beautiful daughter”……and with that, my husband and his mate (my principal) got in the car and began the drive in the rotten winter night to meet his daughter.

But he could only see her through the glass. She was held to the glass for him to ‘meet’. Then he came to see me. “She has your fat cheeks and a dimple and my long fingers”. True. Back in those days no-one got to hold the baby except for the mother and nurses and it was not until we were discharged 6 days later that he got to hold his daughter and meet her properly.

Here she is in 1972 with “our bags” ready for me to go to school and her to daycare with my boss’ wife in the residence next door to school. So grateful for this!

Our first grandson’s arrival.

If you remember hot and stormy weather (oh yes, we have quite a bit of that lately!) then I can vouch for it early in the 2000s too. One very hot (up to 40s) Monday in mid January, our daughter was admitted to hospital for an induction for the birth of her 3rd child. She and her then husband were all for me being around  (this is the last Mum, so it’s fine if you want to be there). Once we knew that she was in her delivery suite, and the 2 siblings (then 4 and almost 2) were OK with my husband, Papa, I set off with camera(s) and ready to be there. But….I can now tell you truthfully, it was not the space for me.

Back then, despite thinking I could do this, my anxiety was quite high – because I was certainly not able to help in any way and it became confronting to be in the room where I was no help – my words. So, as my daughter laboured….and continued to resist epidural notion, I needed to be elsewhere…so went out for a walk around the wards. I passed an anaesthetist moving fast towards my daughter’s room as I had heard “get me the epidural” words….but alas, not to be. I then heard what was for me “loud noises” and tried to compose myself as I re-entered the room….and it turned out, that it was my grandson’s birth that had been the source of the sounds and there he was!!

He was so attentive I will never forget his engagement with me. The eyes! There was a bit of a kerfuffle I will call it though when her Ob/Gyn arrived, as the midwife had safely delivered B. He was asking why she hadn’t called him earlier. I remember her trying and it being constantly engaged. He was about 15 minutes drive from the hospital and it was school holidays. Before our grandson arrived and I heard the midwife trying to make these calls, we concluded it was probably not going through as back then only one phone line did the internet too. We reckoned it was his daughters!

Nevertheless the issue  settled.

But the weather did not that night. Around the time of B’s birth one of those raging southerlies arrived and with a hospital on top of a rise in Sydney’s north shore, we could feel its impact. When I left to drive home, around 8 p.m. everything outside the San at Wahroonga was dark. I wended my way through a tree-branch strewn carpark and drove slowly home via blacked out traffic lights and rain. We had tried calling my husband with the news but did not then know the phones were out too. My excited arrival home, in the dark, was chastened by “shush, I just got the girls to sleep, it’s been very scary”….and “oh” from me…then I told him of the news. I am afraid his tiredness meant a less enthusiastic response but the next day, we loaded up the brand new sisters and went to meet Mr Now Firelite DJ when he was one day old.

Here he is.


There are more stories to tell.

Like it says, this will be an occasional series.

I have deliberately kept all details as private as I can for those here.

Do you like to share stories like these?

I hope so but I do know that they do not appeal to all.


Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2020 – All rights reserved.



  1. I remember being confined to what I called house arrest for the 2 weeks before I had Sares as my blood pressure was up & my ankles were swelling badly – it had been a hot summer in Sydney. I hadn’t put on much weight – I think only about 8kgs the whole pregnancy. I had no idea what was coming but figured it was likely to be just a day out of my life & it sort of just was really. I didn’t have any pain relief – not because I was a hero but because the gas spaced me out, pethadine makes me nauseous & with a scoliosis in my back I was scared of an epidural. Besides, I never really clocked just how much it was going to hurt lol. #MLSTL

    • Love your attitude…just a day in your life….there must be so much there in your story.

      I know that with this first one, drugs were very few and far between and it seemed a bit of gas sucked was it. Ahhhh. I shall share more about #2 birth another time.

      Anyway, your beautiful girl arrived and that is the best bit right!!

      Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thank you for sharing these stories. They reminded me of my own child birth experiences and the stories my mother told of my birth. She was a storyteller and it was she, not myself, who told my children stories about their births.

    • Oh Michele, thank you.

      Each of us “carries” a story.

      I know in school staffrooms we didn’t mind sharing our stories…mostly women anyway.

      I like that your Mum was the story teller for your children. Each of my grandchildren has a memory book of sorts about hearing the news they were being expected, to the newspaper headlines on the day they were born and photos of course. I admit, I slowed down by the time I got to grandchild #6, 7 and 8. #1 (not mentioned here YET) of course got the most!)

      Thanks for sharing too.


  3. Your birth stories are sweet. They brought up a lot of memories for me. I so remember my children’s births. We don’t have any grandchildren yet, but hopefully soon! I look forward to being a grandma and I am sure I will be on a plane as soon as possible to be with my daughters when they give birth.
    Enjoy your grandchildren!

    • Thanks so much Michele, I have much to be grateful for in terms of our eight grandchildren. So much love for them…and so many stories.

      I used to publish more about them here but as they got older I changed the policy due to privacy.

      I can vouch for grandmothering. It IS wonderful.


  4. Lovely memories Denyse (I’m surprised you remember your own birth story so well – mine is a bit of a blur for both babies – so much going on, a lot of pain, and such relief when it was all over and I got to hold them). I loved the new little baby (and toddler) pics so thanks for giving me something joyful to look at this morning.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM

    • Thank you, I too love the little kids’ pics but have to be careful about what I share.

      I remember with the grandchildren coming, getting some Lux Flakes and washing all the new items. I did this for the first granddaughter (our daughters first) and then for the first baby for our son. Nothing like it. Because we had the children come to our house for care, we always had a stock of baby clothes, wraps and nappies.

      I remember the birth stories because they were so very different and there was 7.5 years apart. A generation almost! And, as you already “know” I do enjoy recounting the memories.


  5. I love a good birth story. The miracle of life. The swearing and screaming and wanting to climb out of a hospital window half way through the process. It’s great stuff 🙂

    • Yes! Nailed it. When I wanted to go home…I did not know that meant I was in transition. Oh, I just thought I was going to be in that pain forever.

      Mind you, apparently my children caused me this as they were both likely posterior lie. More about that when I write again!


  6. A lovely series, Denyse. My Mum had Placenta Previa and had to spend 7 months of the pregnancy in bed – but what a beautiful gift she received – Me! I remember both of my births – Rachel was a straight forward Caesarian and with Nathan 36 hours and then a caeser. Every birth is different but the reward is incomparable – the miracle of life. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and linking up to our 100th party.xx

    • Oh how “awful” for your Mum but I understand why the reward was worth it.

      Yes, in my day (possibly your Mum’s) they actually X-rayed my pelvis with baby still inside to note where the placenta might be. Unheard of these days of course withs scans etc.

      To labour that long and still the caesar I can understand that it was the safe delivery of a baby (your son) that mattered most.

      So true that there is no uniformity in birth. Life IS a miracle.

      Thanks for sharing too.


  7. I love a birth story. Thanks for sharing yours Denyse! I must tell mine one day. The story of how I got my boys and the whole pregnancy and birth story is quite miraculous, as is the story of my daughter. xo #TeamLovinLife

  8. Thanks for sharing these very touching and humorous birth stories, Denyse. I love your style. I’ll be back to read more.

  9. I also love a birth story Denyse! Yours sound scary and once again I’m amazed at your capacity for remembering the finer details, like the squash gear and the weather conditions! Things have certainly changed with pregnancy and I often compare my lack of knowledge with my daughters’ all encompassing knowledge – I was much younger though they are and the information super highway has certainly made a difference to how we learn things. I’m still amazed at my naiveté at times :0 . A great occasional series! #mlstl

    • Thanks Debbie. Yes it was scary but I sure had a lovely young midwife who helped me through. Mind you, her hand was never the same.

      I guess I do love details and its said that we remember very well the good events in our lives. I know that probably it’s the same for the not-so-good but I will keep the birth stories as good ones.

      I admit yes it was even different for me 7.5 years later. Giving birth to her brother I was older, far more knowledgable and there was this ‘new invention’ called the epidural. Mind you, it was not all it promised either! A story for next time.

      Seeing your girls go through – or hear about their experiences – what you did does shift things so much for us as mothers becoming grandmothers.


  10. I enjoyed this post, Denyse and imagine that your daughter and grandchildren would love to read your stories of how they arrived into this world. Such precious memories!