1974 was a pretty messy year by all accounts. (Those accounts come from the internet when I searched ten minutes ago.) The IRA began a bombing campaign on mainland Britain and bombed The Tower of London; worldwide inflation pushed up petrol prices and made everyone feel poorer; and, after the Watergate Scandal, Richard Nixon became the first US president forced to resign.
If that weren’t enough, just twenty minutes before 1974 crashed its way into 1975, amidst fireworks and cheers, I was born.
Actually, I was born at home in a small terrace house in a mining village in the north of England. It was New Year’s Eve and snowing heavily. The cheers were from the houses all around, celebrating the new year. A bed had been put in the living room and we had no central heating at the time, so I imagine it was freezing. I think in our household the cheers were replaced by screams that night.
When I came out I was blue and the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck seven times. If it hadn’t been for the deft hands of the midwife I would have died for sure.
Interestingly, the midwife was some kind of ghost, demon or angel, you can decide. Let me explain more.
When my mum went into labour at around 6pm my dad rang the hospital and asked if they could send the midwife out. They said no problem and said that she would be there within the next couple of hours. They said that there would be a delay as the snow was bad but not to worry as she would be there soon enough.
At 10pm the nice midwife arrived. My parents aren’t ones for panicking and I imagine after three hours with no one showing up my dad would have been boiling the hot water and preparing the towels.
Thankfully, he didn’t need them, well they were needed but not by him. The midwife was in complete control and, an hour or so later, I started to show. My incorrect colour was obvious, babies are not meant to be the colour of an overripe blueberry, so the fight to bring me into the world began.
The facts around how they managed to unwrap the cord are a little scratchy, though, in my mind, I was just dropped like a yo-yo.
Once free of the cord, I revived; it turns out that having the cord that tight around your neck stops one from breathing – who knew? Again, thanks to the skill of the midwife I was brought around and before midnight was screaming in the New Year like any other happy reveller.
Seeing the snow outside, my dad asked if the midwife wanted to stay and leave in the morning, but she said that she had more work to do and disappeared into the blizzard.
I was fine, my mother was fine and everyone slept well as the fireworks sang out to celebrate my birth (and New Year, of course, there is that, too, I guess).
The next day my dad rang the hospital to get the details of the midwife as my parents wanted to thank her and send her flowers. Without her help I would have died for sure.
The lady at the hospital apologised profusely and said she was really sorry but they were unable to get a midwife out. The snow had kept everyone housebound.
My dad said that couldn’t be true and described the woman. Now it never pays to contradict a medical receptionist and she was then very clear that no one had been sent out. But, more than that, there was no midwife who worked there who fitted the description.
And, if that weren’t enough, I’ve done lots of research over the years and there are several accounts of mysterious women coming out of nowhere, delivering babies then disappearing.
I’ve never thought too much about this story, I was told it while very young, when I was of an age where I just nodded and didn’t really listen. As time has passed I’ve only spared it a thought here and there.
I did often think that perhaps it was an angel who brought me into the world, and I had a role to play. Then recently someone said that if it could be an angel then it could equally well be a demon.
There have been times over the years where I’ve felt a like someone is watching over me. Once, Alex and I spent nearly a week in Indonesia trying to get a visa to visit China. We finally managed it, bought tickets for the flights and were due to fly the next day – it was all planned out.
Late into the evening I had a sense that we just shouldn’t go. I didn’t know why but I just turned to Alex and said, ‘let’s not go tomorrow, is that okay?’ He’s quite used to my madness so agreed without too many questions.
The next day, just as we would have been landing in China, a huge earthquake took out the airport and most of the province. I have countless strange stories that I could tell similar to this but I’ll save them for another time.
The other option, if I was not brought into the world by angel or demon, is that I could be a demigod – I like this idea but, other than the ability to annoy, I don’t have any kind of super powers (yet).
I think all of this means that I’m somehow destined for great things – that or I’ll bring about the End of Times!
Anything super strange like this happened to you?
Let me know in the comments.
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