There is a meme floating around Facebook which deals with pregnancy and childbirth. Someone assigns you a number and you have to write that number of things about your pregnancy and/or childbirth. Mary Wise of Red Nose gave me the number 10. I figure with five pregnancies, finding something to say about pregnancy and/or childbirth will be a breeze!
1. I was 22 when I was pregnant with Jeri. So disappointed that I didn't get pregnant the first month after Walt and I were married. It took about 3 months, but I was thrilled to be pregnant. I couldn't wait to get into maternity clothes and the very first thing I wore was a skirt from Germany given to me by a German friend of ours, whose childbearing years were over. It had a waistband that expanded with your pregnancy, not the panels that your belly would fill over the coming months.
2. In those days you didn't have ultrasounds and they didn't even let you listen to the baby's heartbeat. You just took it all on faith that everything was progressing normally. After I started working for an obstetrician's office, and saw midwives working with pregnant women and saw all those wonderful ultrasound pictures I frequently said that if I didn't already have five children and were as old as I was, I would love to have the experience of a midwife pregnancy and delivery.
3. Each time I was pregnant, the very first sign that I was pregnant was not being able to drink coffee. The thought of coffee made me nauseous.
4. In those days nobody told me anything about not drinking alcohol and so I continued drinking liquor, frequently having a gin and tonic at night or wine with dinner, but really what I craved most was "a coke in a glass over ice."
5. Walt and I went out to a Japanese restaurant one night and we had what was called a "sushi cone," which, if I remember correctly, was sweetened rice wrapped in some sort of brown spongy stuff. I loved it. When we got home I had this really strong craving for another one and made Walt drive across town to get more for me. By the time he got home, I didn't want it any more.
6. The only other thing I remember craving strongly was when I was pregnant with Ned and couldn't get enough Italian peppers. Walt would have to pick up a jar almost every night on his way home from work. After Ned was born, my mother brought me Gravenstein apples in the hospital (then you had to stay 3 days). They were my favorite apple, but for some reason I just couldn't eat them, and to this day no longer like Gravensteins.
7. I went into labor with Jeri at night and we left for the hospital at 11 p.m. She was born around 2 in the morning, I think, which was remarkably quick, considering she was a breech baby (the only one of the five who was breech). The hospital staff, however, didn't think to tell Walt, waiting in the waiting room worried sick that something was wrong, for several hours after she was born. He fell in love with her at first sight.
8. I had natural childbirth with all of the kids, but never took a class until I was pregnant with David, when Kaiser was finally starting to allow fathers to be in the delivery room. By that time I had given birth naturally four times and was a La Leche Leader, so I taught the class on breastfeeding and then we missed the last class because I had already given birth. Walt nearly didn't get in the delivery room at all because he was filling out paperwork while I was upstairs ready to push. They got him gowned up and he went in with the camera, which we had been told by our doctor (who was not the doctor delivering) that we could have a camera in the room, and the doctor sent him out to get rid of the camera. David was born either just after...or just before (I can't remember which) he got back in the delivery room. I think he missed the actual birth but was there to scratch my nose because my hands were tied down and I couldn't move them.
That was the worst part of delivering each time. You had to be strapped down to a table with your hands strapped in place and every single time the first thing that happened was that my nose itched.
9. After Ned was born, another woman was about to give birth and they left me on the delivery table, with Ned off in a bassinet, crying, but I was strapped down (at least they did release my hands) and unable to do anything. I swear everybody in the hospital came through that room, including the janitor, while I was waiting to be moved to the recovery room.
10. Paul was the first one that I attempted to nurse on the delivery table. I had permission from my OB, but Kaiser being a teaching hospital, babies were always delivered by interns and the intern who delivered Paul first made fun of me for the natural childbirth ("she's a breather! She's a French Breather!") and then when I insisted they give me Paul instead of taking him off to the nursery, the doctor very reluctantly agreed. They put him on my chest and he wasn't at all interested in nursing. The doctor made fun of me, but at least I got to hold him, which I had not been able to do with either Jeri or Ned.
BONUS: An additional bit of information about the births, when I was in the hospital after giving birth to Tom, my OB came to see me and told me about a woman who had given birth to a child who was allergic to formula. She didn't want to nurse and so he was asking me if I could help get some other women to collect breast milk for him. His name was Tommy (one reason, I think, why we never called Tom anything but Tom or Thomas because for some reason I couldn't call him Tommy). As it turned out Tommy had a malabsorption syndrome and was sicker than they realized. He spent most of his 2+ years at Stanford hospital. The breastmilk (I collected milk for him through both my breastfeeding days with Tom and with David and coordinated a group of other nursing mothers who were willing to donate milk) had to be mixed with some other things for him to absorb anything. It kept him alive, but did not allow him to grow. His mother brought him to see me during one of his rare trips home from the hospital. David was a strapping 10 lb newborn at the time, and Tommy was 2 years old, but weighed less than 7 lbs. I remember how weird it was to see this newborn-looking child smiling and playing with toys and waving at me.