Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Sometimes, when you least expect it to happen a memory will pop into your head. Once it's there it won't let you go,you have to take that memory, turn it over,examine it and experience it all over again. Not so good if the memory is of something painful, happy memories are always welcome but even a happy memory can brings tears.
I want to share one of those happy and tearful memories with you.

Thirty seven years ago I had finished my Nursery Nurse training and started working in a maternity hospital. Maybe a silly thing to do as the youngest baby I trained with was a few months old and we didn't do any training in hospitals. 
There I was in my crisp,clean nurse's dress and starched cap as nervous as is humanly possible, off to work in an environment I knew nothing about.
The sister in charge of the ward was absolutely horrible and expected me to know the same things as a nurse who had trained in hospitals for three years.
She only barked instructions at me but luckily another Nursery Nurse who had been there a while helped me out. I gave the new born babies their first baths and usually first feeds. I showed new mums how to bath babies and helped mums to breast feed. It would have been a lovely job without the sister in charge and on her days off it was heaven.
Now and then a baby would come into the nursery and stay there. We would feed the baby,bath him and cuddle him, he would not be going to the ward to be with his mum as he was being adopted or fostered. The baby would be given a name by one of the nurses and spoilt rotten.

 One day a gorgeous new born boy came down to the nursery from the labour suite. He was to be adopted and I was told it was my turn to choose a name for him. I called him Christopher. I gave Christopher his first bath, his first feed, changed his first nappy, sang to him, cuddled him and loved him. We all loved him, he was such a lovely baby, he loved his feet tickled and to be rocked to sleep in your arms. A few days later a group of young girls came to the nursery door to see him and after being told by Matron that the mum wanted her friends to see him we wheeled his little transparent cot to the door and the girls oohed and aahed at how beautiful he was, and then they were gone. We all felt uncomfortable about this and very sad, I don't know the reason behind it but at least the baby had no idea what was happening.

Babies came and babies went home and still we had Christopher, we even acquired a pram and one of the nurses took him out for some fresh air.
One day about six weeks after he was born I was asked to take off his identity bracelet and take him to Matron's office. I didn't have a clue what was happening but standing there was a young couple and the woman burst into tears when she saw the baby, this I was told was to be Christopher's new mum and Dad and my first impression was they were a lovely young couple. I was to show them the baby and they had to say if they still wanted him.
The woman said ,"Of course I want him." She very nicely told me she knew I had named him Christopher but they would be changing it and she hoped I didn't mind. She handed me a huge bag of beautiful baby clothes and a shawl to dress him with. His new mum said she had put three outfits in the bag and would leave it to me to choose which one he wore.
Everyone who had ever held him was in floods of tears as we had no warning that he would be leaving, after six weeks it was happening so quickly and the nurses who were not working that day wouldn't get to say their goodbyes.Although I have to say a lot of the tears were because we were so happy he had found a family.
I dressed him and wrapped him in his white hand knitted shawl, the first time he had worn real clothes and not a hospital issue. As I carried him out to the car for his new adoptive parents I whispered to him,"Now it's your turn to go home Christopher" and that was the last time he was called by that name.
He was born in October so he will be a man of thirty seven now, maybe even a father himself. I have thought about him a lot over the years, and hope he has had a fabulous life and that somehow he knows that in his first few weeks of life he was loved by many.

As for the horrible sister? She was suspended from duty just as I had left to go to another job. I never found out why but the rest of the nurses breathed a sigh of relief and raided her chocolate cupboard.


  1. Awww what a sweet story! And why were some of the 'old school' nuns so nasty? We had a few at the college I went to for freshman & sophomore years, up in Maine. I never understood why they had to be so overly stern and harsh.

  2. Thanks JoJo. She wasn't a nun. In the UK we call the nurse in charge of a hospital ward a sister although I think these days they may be called charge nurses. Although she was similar to the "old school" nuns you mention.

  3. It was such a terrible way to manage adoptions. I knew of birth mothers made to care for their babies (some sort of punishment, I presume) before handing them over to adopters. You can only hope he had loving parents.

  4. Sat reading this in quite a matter-of-fact mood but the scene with you putting real clothes on him got to me. A beautiful memory. At least you knew that the adoptive parents desperately wanted him.

  5. Yes it was Jo in the dark old days. I remeber thinking the couple were lovely and they did really want him. Its made me feel so old writing this that he would now be 37yrs.

  6. Thanks Ros ,yes I believe they did but it was an awful way to do things. He was with us one minute and gone the next ,it really upset some nurses who weren't there to say goodbye,we all invested time and love into him,I just wish he knew.

  7. What a memory Anne and what an experience. Who knows why some people like the sister have to be that way. Christopher couldn't of asked for a better person to look after him at the beginning of his life. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks Kate what a lovely thing to say. Yes that sister was horrible she was also very pretty,her personality did not match her looks.

  9. This reminds me so much of the saying, 'People come in and out of your life for a reason...' and sometimes you don't understand it at the time.

    I can identify with your story. ;-) Thank you for sharing.

  10. Lovely story. My wife was a midwife, and my sister is adopted so I can relate to the story well.

  11. Welcome to my blog John. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  12. Yes Maria ,that is so true.

  13. What a wonderful story! My brother is adopted and I can imagine the young parents' joy.

  14. Thanks Talli,yes it was a lovely moment.

  15. Oh Anne what a lovely story. I know it's impossible for a baby to actually remember events but I think Christoper he must have some sense of the love he was given by you those first weeks of his life. I really believe that.


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