Hats Off To Our Former Midwives

Memories of giving birth to a daughter prematurely some 70 years ago, has prompted a local mother to knit more than 70 baby hats for the neonatal unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, as a way of saying thank you.

Mary Sellstrom was 7 months pregnant when, a week before her 18th birthday, the baby decided to arrive early. Her little girl entered the world at 3lb 2 ozs but her weight subsequently dropped to 2lb 12 ozs. Mrs Sellstrom said that without the dedication and determination of the midwifery team at the former Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary, her firstborn would never have survived.

Celebrating her daughter, Jacque’s 70th birthday recently, Mrs Sellstrum said she wanted to help other premature babies. She went on to explain how things have changed in so many ways since 1950. For example her daughter was taken immediately after delivery and placed in an incubator. She was not allowed to touch or hold her and had to remain in bed for 10 days.

She explained: “My husband was allowed to see the baby once through the window of the incubator room where our daughter lay. He was then asked to leave.”

There was no touching, no holding, just looking through the window. I was heartbroken and longed to hold her.”

In her adult life her daughter became a nurse, a wife, a mother and a grandmother, all of which would not have come about without the care of the midwife and nurses in the premature baby unit at the former Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary.