On this day my youngest brother was born. On this day my Mum could no longer have any more children. Mum had three sons. I’m the eldest. We were all troublesome. I was a transverse lie and the obstetrician couldn’t turn me. I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. Mum needed a Caesarean section and I was 2 weeks premature. The middle brother was a grade four placenta prævia. Mum was instructed to rest for three months. She had a Caesarian section and the middle brother was a month premature. My youngest brother whose birth we celebrate today was born in an emergency Caesarian section after Mum’s uterus ruptured. Mum recalls the blood and the pain. He was ten weeks premature. Forty something years ago, that was fairly premature. Mum objects when others say she didn’t have a proper pregnancy because she didn’t experience a normal vaginal delivery. People who suggest that to Mum should watch out. Mum suffered a lot to have three healthy sons.
When I was in high school Dad often assisted obstetricians who delivered babies to Dad’s patients when things got complicated. I remember Dad taking me to a delivery. I’d made it clear I was intending to read medicine at university. Dad checked with his patients and the obstetrician and everyone was sweet. I really enjoyed being in an operating theatre as a high school student watching the miracle of birth. I recall the obstetrician spraying me with amniotic fluid.
As a medical student I recall the confinement of a Spanish lady who didn’t speak English. The midwife made panting noises and gestures and the lady pushed rather than pant. Disasters occur in slow motion. I watched her perineum tear and I remember seeing the end of her rectum. It appeared to happen so slowly yet I know it happened in a second or two. The baby was fine. The Mum needed some repair work. I hope she ended up okay as she grew older.
The last deliveries I was involved with professionally were when I was a junior house officer doing my country relieving stint in Wondai. The head midwife was the Mum of a famous Australian cricket player. She told great stories of her son and amazing stories of the local politicians. “Old Rack” was fun catching babies with. That was her term for delivering babies, “Catching baby time”.
Obstetrics is really important as a clinical microbiologist. So many serious infections can occur. Some can lead to ongoing congenital problems. Others are deadly at the time of confinement. Understanding obstetric microbiology is really important and so many lives have been saved and so many humans owe a normal human existence to the pioneers of obstetric clinical microbiology.
Happy birthday Grasshopper, I hope you have a great day.