Losing My Daughter (part 6)

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Losing My Daughter
Page 6 of 18

Christmas and my due date came and went. I can say it was a dreadful Christmas. I was alone and hungry. Later in the afternoon, a friend I used to know from when I worked in the clothes shop came with her mother with the remains of their Christmas lunch. Her mother said she could not eat her meal while she knew I went hungry. I will never forget this kindness. My grandparents and my father were well off. Although my father was an alcoholic, he was always employed and did not waste money. My family had more than enough money to support my child and me. My grandparents were one of the most prosperous families in Dover at the time. But given their total abandonment of me over the past several years, I really should not have expected any help.

On the twenty eighth of December nineteen sixty-six, my father came to visit me. He told me he would pay my rent but no more. It was customary for him to call in and throw the money on my bed, swearing loudly at me. This particular evening when he called, I was folding some baby napkins I had been given by a charity. I had washed them and some other baby clothes I had been given. My father saw this, and began to rant and swear loudly at me about me keeping the baby. I ran past him as I sensed his anger was worse than usual. As a child I had seen him beat my mother and he had also thrown me across the room on occasions. I had good cause to fear him. He followed me to the top of the stairs and tried to pull at my dress to stop me going down. I pulled away from him and I fell. I think he was afraid because he left me where I fell.

I felt very unwell, and I decided that I would ask some one at the hospital if I was okay; my friend was very worried about me. For some days, my ankles had been so swollen I could not wear my shoes. I walked to the Royal Hobart Hospital later that evening. I really caused quite a stir as there were doctors and nursed crawling all over me it seemed. I was whisked away to the maternity floor, helped to shower and dressed in a gown.

An obstetrician/gynecologist examined me and told me that I was dangerously ill with toxemia of pregnancy and preeclampsia. He told me I was minutes away from a seizure. He said that they would do all they could to save the baby and me. My waters were broken and I recall going into labor. I must have been sedated from that point on, as I don’t recall anything more until I woke up in the morning. There was no baby, and I was terrified that my child had died.

I was in an intensive care bed alone. I rang for a nurse, as I could not get out of bed. I had drips and a catheter. When the nurse came, I asked her where my daughter was. I had been convinced for a long time that I was having a daughter. The nurse told me she was well, but that I was not allowed to see her, because she was to be adopted.

 

Losing My Daughter, continued.