I explained to the doctor all about Patsy and Doug, and that we wanted to tell Mum together, and that they wouldn’t wait two months to break their news. Being the lovely old man that he was, he immediately said: ‘OK there’s a special test that I can give you that usually is only carried out in emergencies.’
Home pregnancy testing had not yet been developed, and wouldn’t be for many, many years to come. The test that the doctor was going to do had something to do with sending a sample of my urine to the hospital laboratories, injecting it into a frog, and waiting to see if the frog laid eggs!
‘Ring me at the surgery in three days time, and I’ll be able to tell you the results of the test,’ he said, and if you really are going to have a baby.’
They were the longest three days of my life, and on the third day I rushed to the telephone box.
‘Have you got the results yet doctor?’ I asked.
‘Yes,’ said the doctor, ‘the results were positive. You were right: congratulations!’ I couldn’t believe it.
‘Am I really going to have a baby?’ I asked.
‘You certainly are. Come to the surgery and I’ll give you a letter for the antenatal clinic.’
The four of us went to visit Mum and Dad, so eager and happy that we could hardly contain ourselves. Needless to say, Mum, Dad, and all the siblings were ecstatic about the news.
It was a wonderful nine months. Pat and I did everything together, and Arthur and I were so happy. When you consider that David was born to Pat and Doug on February 27th, and Lynne was born less than a fortnight later, you must admit that we did remarkably well, at very short notice!
Daddy was working away in Wrexham for a lot of the time I was carrying Lynne, and he wrote me many letters about his hopes and love for his forthcoming grandchild. I still have them in my treasure chest.
When I look at my children I still can’t believe that Arthur and I made them and that we alone are responsible for these lovely people that are now part of our legacy to the world. If we never achieve anything else of any worth in our lives, we have at least done this.
I remember dreaming a particular dream several times during my first pregnancy, always a variation on a theme. I would carefully put my baby away somewhere safe. Perhaps in a bed, cot, room or even a drawer. Then I would forget it for several days, and the thought would suddenly strike me that I had omitted to feed it. I would wake up in a cold sweat! Perhaps this is a common dream for expectant mothers.
Even now, as I touch the fingers of a small baby and feel the little wrinkles of its skin I am immediately transported back forty-something years to the births of my children. All those years ago, the sensation of holding a baby in my arms, made a perfect job of imprinting itself upon my brain. I close my eyes and my babies are back. The warm head, so soft and downy against my lips. The smell of baby powder and clean, sterile linen. I lay my finger in the palm of a tiny hand and it closes its fingers around mine, in a reflex action: so tightly, so tightly. The baby blue eyes are closed and the perfectly formed mouth makes little movements. I lay my baby against my shoulder and a tiny face nuzzles into my neck. This must be one of the most wonderful of all wonders of the world!