At my last antenatal visit before Charlotte's birth Y2K bug hysteria had reached a crescendo. The press was full of scare stories that all computer systems and all systems driven by computers were about to fail and we'd be plunged back into the dark ages! I wish I'd kept the actual hand-out I was given by the Queen Mother's hospital but I didn't realise years down the line that it might become a quirky and fun historical document. What I do remember of it is the following:
- Don't phone an ambulance to take you to hospital in labour as the system risked being down, use a taxi instead, or better still your own car
- Bring a torch in case the lighting system failed
- Bring a photocopy of your medical notes in case the hospital couldn't access them on their system
- Bring a sleeping bag in case the heating system failed
- Bring extra warm clothes and hats for the newborn
- Prepare your relatives for the possibility they might need to cook all your meals at home and bring them in to you
- Don't panic about complications as the one generator they had hired would be used to run theatre for emergency caesareans
- And finally, one that wasn't technology related: Be prepared to wait as there would no doubt be a rush given the huge number of millennium babies predicted across the world!
I was somewhat bemused and not overly worried given she was not my first baby. I went into labour at lunchtime on 3-1-2000, so they'd had fully two days plus to sort out any glitches. I made my own way to hospital (I lived five minutes away) at 8pm and it was dead. There were no other mums in labour that I could see, the lights were on, even the fairy lights on a tiny, scabby Xmas tree in the corner of the deserted ward seemed to be working. The radiators were hot, the fridges on and it was pretty much a repeat of my stay when I had had Marcel two years earlier! I was the only one in my ward as the great millennium rush hadn't materialised either. Definitely a bit of an anticlimax!
The baby photographer presented everyone born that week with one of these special frames!