And Baby Makes 3 – The Family Begins

Ray and Anne ‘tied the knot’ on June 23, 1962. The reception was held at Josephine and George’s house where everyone had a grand old time! Family members from contrasting backgrounds mingled, danced, drank, and shared many laughs at this joyous occasion.

In May 1963, Anne began to feel exhausted. She would visit the doctor periodically, but the cause was not determined. Anne continued to work as a switchboard operator, until Ray found a new position, which would take them back to Ontario. Moving together would prove to be a challenge. Anne felt somber, as she would be leaving the family she loved behind, but trudged on. They arrived in Ontario and one of Anne’s first thoughts was to find a local doctor. She still was not feeling well and was loosing weight, which on a 90 lb frame began to show. She found a doctor and received the news; she was pregnant. She was overjoyed, rushed home and made a special dinner. She wanted everything perfect when she told Ray the news. He arrived home after a long day at work and was overjoyed to hear the news. Anne no longer worked, instead took time to take care of her health and waited patiently for the joyful day, which was estimated by the doctor as February 8, 1964. Anne’s pregnancy at first was bumpy, but as she entered her third trimester, she began to feel a little better, but would still tire easily.

It was Thursday January 16th when finishing a slice of toast Anne began to feel labour pains. She called Ray and her Mom. Ray rushed home to take Anne to the hospital; Josephine would take the bus and meet them there. Both Josephine and Ray stayed with Anne for as long as possible, until the doctor told them it was time, and wheeled her down to the operating room. Those were the days when men stayed in the waiting rooms, while their wives delivered their child, not only that,  a purplish haze hung in the waiting room brimming with other ‘father’s to be’. Anne was put under anesthetic, as ‘natural child birth’ was not practiced in hospitals at the time. It was 6:28 p.m., and a healthy, red headed blue-eyed girl was born, albeit a couple of weeks early. The doctor walked out and announced to the new dad and grandmother; it was a girl. Tears welled up in Ray and Josephine’s eyes as they waited for Anne to be admitted into a room. Ray was so happy that he immediately looked for a phone to give his parents the big news.

It is while Ray called his parents, that Josephine noticed her daughter being taken into a room. She rushed in to give her daughter a hug when she noticed Anne was having difficulty breathing and choking.

Josephine ran to the nursing station where she screamed ‘something’s wrong with my daughter, please help her’!

Nurses ran down the hall into the room to find Anne barely breathing and turning blue. Anne was immediately rushed back into the operating room. Meanwhile, Ray returned to find his mother-in-law very upset. She explained how she found her daughter and said it was up to the doctors. Ray ended Josephine’s sentence with … ‘and God’, as he rushed down to the chapel.

Time passed slowly as Josephine and Ray waited for the doctor to return, hoping and praying that Anne would live. At last, the doctor returned to give them the news. The next 24 hours would be crucial; Anne was taken into ICU where she would be in an oxygen tent. The doctor explained that Anne had vomited and experienced acute respiratory distress, which if it had not been caught in time, could have resulted in death. She was lucky that Josephine had found her when she had. Both mother and husband could visit, but only for a short time, however they were welcome to see the little girl in the maternity ward immediately.

One cannot imagine what both Josephine and Ray were feeling. Elated at the birth of a healthy baby girl, but yet, terrified that they may be losing Anne. Something had gone horribly wrong.

Anne would spend the entire Friday, unconscious, but later would recall a nurse carefully holding the newborn and telling Anne ‘This is your little baby girl, she needs you now, I know you have strength left to fight.’

Anne woke up on Saturday, although groggy, but she was back. No one will ever know if it was the nurse, her husband, mother or new daughter that gave her the strength to come back, or through the power of tenacity, or prayer (as Ray would always note).

It was an harrowing 48 hours but Anne was on the road to recovery. The nurse carried the little girl into the room, gently placed her in her Mother’s arms; that would be the little girl’s first introduction to Anne, and they bonded immediately.

 

© 2014 Paula Bilz. All Rights Reserved.

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