Liz Wheelhouse -Nursery Nurse

My name is Liz Wheelhouse. I was a Nursery Nurse at The Unit, Whalley Drive from 1974-77. I left work there to have my five children. Although my first three were born in Northampton, I went to the Unit after they were born, this was nice as being an ex-nurse, I was given a side room. I had my fourth son in the Unit.

I was the only Nursery nurse, there were also 9 nurses on different shifts, 1 Manager and 2 SEN’s. Anti-Natal Clinics were held on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and we were taught to take blood pressure and urine samples, if anything was amiss the samples were sent to Aylesbury.

It was a nice friendly atmosphere, being all female staff, and we got on well together.
Part of my job was going into the Delivery Room and holding the legs of the mum-to-be (dads were not encouraged to go into the room or help with the birth but sometimes did). I would also put the tube into the baby’s mouth when born to remove the mucous.

The Midwife was a very powerful person and it was she who would cut the umbilical cord. My job then was to put a name tag on the leg of the baby (in those days it was only put on the foot and not on the wrist).

After the birth, mum was given a quick look at the baby, it would then be wrapped up and taken to the nursery where weight, head circumference and height would be logged. The baby would then be bathed and dad and siblings would be allowed to look at the baby through a glass window.

On day three, I would show the mum how to bath the baby and how to top and tail and clean the cord on day 4. I would make up the bottles - the mum was not shown this until day 6.
I would take the baby out to the car and the mum would often be taken to the car by wheelchair.

Mums had to have a sleep time and midwives would check the height of the uterous and stitches. Mums were encouraged to sleep on their tummies with two pillows underneath them. If mums were not breast feeding, they would have their breasts bandaged very tightly and would be given some tablets to stop their milk. In those days, mothers not breast feeding were given a stern lecture. If babies woke in the night, they were given a bottle and not take to their mum to feed, which is very different now-a-days.

Christmas was the best time, because the first baby born on Christmas day was put in a crib decorated in gold, and the second was put in a silver crib. Small babies were sent to Aylesbury in an incubator which was quite traumatic for mother and baby.

More stories told by the staff to come..