Mum Knits Hats to Thank Staff Who Delivered Her Baby 70 Years Ago

Memories of giving birth to a daughter prematurely some 70 years ago, has prompted a Falkirk 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 is pictured handing over the hats to staff.

Mrs 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 Selllstrum 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.”

To express milk the young Mum had to travel to hospital twice a day by bus, walking nearly two miles to the nearest bus stop. After five weeks she was allowed to try to breastfeed. “Holding her for the first time is a feeling I have never forgotten until this day. She was a fighter and continued to improve. She met the required milestones and was eventually allowed home weighing 5lb 8oz.

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.