I shouldn’t really be here at all. And the very fact that I’ve achieved the standard ‘three score years and ten’ is surprising in itself.
Because my mother was told – categorically, by a respected Harley Street specialist – that she could never bear a child.
There were many and complex reasons why she was trying to conceive so late in life, and the Catholic Church – of which, perhaps surprisingly, I’m still a member – must take a massive share of the blame.
That said, my parents’ early attempts failed – enough for my father, with limited funds, to spend what he had on a specialist. And, after many months of tests and trials, to hear that damning prognosis.
And then, one Sunday in 1952, everything changed.
My mother was kneeling at the communion rail. She had just received the host. And as she stood up she suddenly knew – without a shadow of a doubt – that she was pregnant.
So she duly made an appointment with her specialist. Who was kind, but understandably sceptical. ‘I think we’d better run a few tests. Don’t you?’
Given who is writing this blog, it won’t surprise you to learn the results shocked him to the core. My mother was, indeed, pregnant – at the ripe young age of 42.
It was not an easy pregnancy, and as an ‘elderly prima gravida’ she was more vulnerable than most. While she was physically fit and active, the shape of her hips was not ideal for a late pregnancy, and her slight stature didn’t help, either. In the last couple of months it became obvious that I was not lying in the right position for a normal birth, and a breech delivery would be far too dangerous for both mother and child. So she was confined to bed while the hospital prepared to deliver her baby by Caesarean section.
Which would be attended by a fascinated group of medical students…
But her baby didn’t wait. (It would be many years before I learned to enjoy being in front of an audience…)
On the night before her operation was due her labout pains began, and she was rushed into theatre for an emergency Caesarean.
And that was how Allan James Julius Scott entered the world, greeting it with wide, fascinated eyes, and (after the usual initial cry for air) silence. The only baby in the nursery at Mayday Hospital not crying, and duly nicknamed ‘The Professor’ by his nurses.
The rest – is history. The history of a ‘miraculous child’…