Saturday, October 21, 2006


This is the one day of the year when I'm a year older than Meredith.

We have two older brothers, and Mum was quite happy to leave it at that. But she knew that Dad wanted a daughter badly, and so they decided to have one more baby.With six weeks to go she went to the doctor and he felt her stomach and said "I don't know, all I can feel are feet!" An x-ray confirmed there were two of us, and she and Dad and the doctor stood in the street afterwards looking at our first photo and laughing. For a long while, every time Mum and Dad caught each other's eye they both exclaimed "We're having Twins!"

Mum went from the doctor's office to the sewing machine shop, where she arranged to trade her treadle machine in on a new electric Singer. She knew she couldn't sew for two babies with pedal power!

She was 36 years old, with sons 13 and 3 years old. For all she knew, we could have been boys too; it must have been a suspenseful month until we were born, two weeks early. (If we were boys we would have been called Derek and Warren...)

I suppose Mum thought she knew what she was in for when she went into labour with us. After 8 hours I duly arrived. All seemed normal, until it became clear that Meredith was transverse breech, severely so. She was jammed with an arm out, head and shoulders stuck sideways. Time dragged on, and the doctors couldn't turn Meredith, or do a caesarian because she was so far down. It's hard to imagine the panic it must have caused in a small country hospital, with no-one knowing quite what to do. At one stage they said to Dad, 'You have to choose between the mother and the baby, we can't save both.' And Dad exploded with anger and roared 'Don't be so bloody stupid, you'll save them both!'

After 36 agonising hours, and thanks to the dedicated midwives who wouldn't give up, Meredith finally arrived and was whisked away into a humid crib. Mum, after receiving 8 units of blood through the labour, was parked in a private room to die. She was lying there, drifting away when she heard some people making a noise in the corridor. A nurse scolded them into silence 'There is a woman dying in that room, have some consideration!' When it occurred to Mum that they were talking about her she thought 'Dying, ey? I'm not about to die!!' And she started to fight her way back to life.

We heard that story a lot of times, and it never fails to amaze. A day and a half is a long time to be in complicated labour, a long time to wait to be born, a long time for an anxious father. I guess I was the only one who had it easy.

14 comments:

mereth 8:33 AM  

Happy Birthday, big sister! Have a good day, and on Sunday I'll be caught up to you.

DubiQuilts Fiber Arts 9:57 AM  

Happy birthday to you both. My twin brother and I are 10 minutes apart. He reminds me all the time I am younger. We will be 50 in a few months so I will be reminding him who is older for a short time.

Jenni @ Fairybread 4:14 PM  

What a story! Happy birthday.

Sue 7:17 PM  

Wow, that is quite a story. So glad you all survived, happy birthday!

meggie 1:30 PM  

What a lovely story Keryn.
It brought tears to my eyes, even though I knew you were both ok in the end!
Happy Birthday to you, & Meredith.

Karen 2:25 PM  

What a story, but how was Meredith finally born, did they manage to get her turned?

ForestJane 12:59 AM  

Happy Birthday, you two!

Thanks for sharing that story, your poor mom!

Angela 3:37 AM  

Happy Birthday to you both!
Angela in Indiana

Lucy 12:13 AM  

What a story I am am so happy that both survive . ANd your dad got two daughters!! what a treasure

Hedgehog 12:16 PM  

Happy Birthday. It's amazing to think how medicine changes. What a story!

Anonymous,  9:44 AM  

Your Mom is a strong woman and thanks to those wonderful women who wouldn't give up on all of you! A super story, you'd be hard pressed to have more excitement in a fictional story!

Mary-Kay 9:33 AM  

What an interesting story. Happy birthday to you both!

Sherri (speedyqltr) in Ontario, Canada 8:57 AM  

Wow, what an inspirational story.......miracles can happen in this day and age!

You have some beautiful quilts too :)

One of these days I will get up the courage to try something other than paper piecing, again,(that's the only method of piecing that I've found I can do accurately). Thanks for sharing your tutorials as well, it sure helps to see how things are done, rather than just read it and be lost and discouraged!

Karen 8:02 PM  

I had not read the story before. What a happy ending!

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