September 21, 2012 by dontbringlulubook
In the summer of 1961 I realized that I was pregnant again. We had a momentary mental wobble when, inevitably, our thoughts turned back to the events surrounding Sarah’s birth, but that passed quickly and we looked forward eagerly to arrive to the arrival of a son. He would be called Louis after one of our jazz heroes. Sarah had been named after another jazz immortal, Sarah Vaughan. Both names would be a nostalgic reminder that we had spent much of our courtship, as it was called in those days, in the basement of 100 Oxford Street jiving to the music of Humphrey Lyttleton and his band, and had seen both Armstrong and Vaughan in action at their concerts in Britain.
The only sad not at this time was that Georgie, the cat who came to us from that Graveyard in Tottenham, became seriously ill. He had survived the journey from London to the Sussex coast and then the moves to Hedge End and Locks Heath in Hampshire, but not his final one to nearby Fareham, where a vet diagnosed a fatal liver condition.
In the wider world, there was much anguish at this time over the terrible effects of a drug called Thalidomide. It came onto the market in the late fifties as a treatment for insomnia and morning sickness in mothers-to-be. It was withdrawn a few years later after a vigorous campaign by the Sunday Times which established that Thalidomide had killed 100,000 babies in the womb. A further 10,000 were born with major disabilities and deformities. Many had hands shaped like fins growing directly from the shoulders. Others had deformed eyes and ears or were without a kidney or lung. As the Sunday Times reported, many of them died shortly after birth or were stillborn. By the time I became pregnant all of the horrible facts about Thalidomide were only too well known and I vowed to myself that I would try and steer clear of any kind of medication, including even aspirin, until after the arrival of our second child.