Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mom's Birth Stories: Second of Eleven

The following is my Mom's second birth story. For a little background, check out my first post about this new series, Mom's Birth Stories and her First Birth Story.

Her story is broken into 4 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery, Breastfeeding and Reflections. I have also provided some of my comments and reflections at the end.

When I asked my Doctor what he recommended for a good space between children he said 1 to 3 years.  When my first baby was six months I weaned him on my Family Doctor’s recommendation (standard then) and became pregnant the following month. (My sisters and brothers are all 1 or 2 years apart and my husband’s too so this seemed right). We wanted our children to be close too.

With this pregnancy I started off 10 pounds lighter and didn’t drink as much milk (Doctor said the amounts suggested were too generous) although I had heartburn a lot and discovered later it was probably the tea I drank. I remember he said to eat soda crackers before I got up in the morning and this helped a lot.

I remember feeling like I was pregnant and taking in a urine sample one week and it came back negative. I was pretty sure I was pregnant so the next week I brought in another sample and it was positive so perhaps it was too early to detect it the first week.

Labour and Delivery
My Doctor’s due date for me was February 14 but my second baby arrived on February 24, 1974. My labour length was 17 hours, but it wasn’t all hard labour. I went in on a Saturday afternoon and baby girl was born at 7 am on Sunday. The nurses gave me two Demerol shots spread apart by hours which I think made me drowsy. When I was delivering her I could barely keep my eyes open and when they turned the mirror for me to see I strained to see a full head of dark hair and then closed my eyes again. I heard them say she was a girl which I was happy to hear and I knew that she was born on Sunday which was my favourite day. I was in the hospital for 5 days again as was the practice. I had told my Dad before my second baby was born that I was hoping for a girl and for her to be born on a Sunday. After my Dad remembered what I’d said he commented that I must be doing something right to have both of my wishes come true. We laughed and felt very blessed. Baby #2 (a girl) weighed 7 lbs. 3ozs.

Breastfeeding began the same day and all went well. I knew more and and so it was easier to have her latch on, etc. I remember when they brought my baby into the room for nursing, another mother had said that there was black haired baby in the nursery that looked native and then she saw it was mine. (Her features were very different than her older brother who was blond as a baby).

Baby #2 was breastfed for 6 months as which time the Doctor recommended weaning.

The weaning went much better (for both of us) because I did it gradually. It was easier and more natural.

Mom's Reflections
The best part of this pregnancy was having very little pain during the delivery. The worst part of this pregnancy was being too drowsy to watch her be born. My doctor gave me a small episiotomy again which healed quickly. This birth experience made me realize that I needed to be proactive in deciding what I was given during labour.

My Reflections
Many of the hospital practices were the same then as Baby #2 was only born 1 year and 3 months after Baby #1.  It still all seems very scary to me that my Mom did not seem to have much control over any decisions made during her labour. After going through these stories and hearing many more over the years, it's no wonder I feel so passionate about woman making their own choices and being informed these days!

I asked my Mom about being 10 days over due and if she was pressured to being to induced.  She said the doctor never suggested induction since they always said 2 weeks either way of the due date was normal.  Rather than growing from this, today's women and doctors jump into inductions way too early these days. This is something that has definitely gotten worse.


  1. I think if you can take control of one thing during your pregnancy/birth, it should be to avoid induction. Inductions are so wrong, in so many ways. They are only medically necessary in a small number of cases, and even then, I'd say a "wait-and-see" approach would be appropriate for some (eg. elevated blood pressure - doesn't it make sense to just monitor this, and if it does get more serious, induce??) Anyway, I could go on :)

  2. One thing that is surprising me about these stories is that your mom seemed to breastfeed as a matter of course. My mom, who had her babies around the same time as this, absolutely did not have any interest in breastfeeding and I thought that was the standard. She was offered a shot right after the birth to stop her from producing milk and never once even considered it, it was just not done.

    Is this something your mom felt strongly about, and fought for? Or did her doctor support breastfeeding? Did she get any help in the hospital? Did anyone tell her just not to bother?

  3. Lynn, very good questions! I will ask and comment here with her answers.

  4. Thanks for your question Lynn. Two big factors in my Mom's choice to breastfeed - she grew up on a farm and she stayed home and didn't go back to work. She responded with the question: "Yes, both your grandmothers breastfed. Both seem to say about 3 months was the norm back then. I knew instictively that Mother's milk was the best and basically the main reason I had breasts so I wanted the best for my children. I knew from growing up on a farm that the calves drank from their mom's first and then fed their mother's milk for a few days after too. I knew it boosted their immune system. It was not the norm back in my day but most mother's weren't staying home either so convenience was the bottle plus the media really made it look like there was no difference or even better for your baby. I didn't trust the money grabbing businesses."

  5. Your mom rocks! Good for her for standing up for what she wanted, even as a young mother.