Birth in the 60's - unconscious - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd like some perspective here. Anyone talk to their mamma about their birth experience? My mom gave birth to my brother in 1964, and her comment was "they put me under. 7 hours later they woke me up and said "here is your baby, Mrs. X."
I can not even begin to imagine how disconnected from birth that must be. I asked her how she felt about this, and her only coment was a flat "Well, that's what they did then." Does she really not care? Or is she so disconnected from her feelings that she doesn't even know this is wrong? Anyone else's mama been through this type of 1960's birth? How was their reaction?

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#2 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 07:20 AM
 
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That's pretty much how my grandmother describes her births. She had 3 kids in the last half of the 50's. She was so unaware of herself (and overweight), that when she had my aunt in 1968, and didn't even realize she was pregnant until she went into labor. Can you imagine?
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#3 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 07:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AllisonR
... "they put me under. 7 hours later they woke me up and said "here is your baby, Mrs. X."
... "Well, that's what they did then."
This was exactly the conversation I had with my mother about my birth. By the time my youngest brother was born, in '68, she said she insisted on being awake for the birth. (A radical idea for that time and place.) I know she had some sort of spinal, and that there was no coaching to push ("they took the baby" is how I'm told it happened so I'm thinking forceps?) She ended up seeing the baby, but then he was wisked off for a few hours before she actually got to meet him.

When my oldest was born, she was shocked over and over again--that I was holding the baby even before the cord was cut, that SHE got to hold the baby when he was minutes old, that his eyes were open, that he held his own head up and looked around...it was like she'd never had a baby of her own. I don't think it was that she didn't care about her own births, I think she just didn't know any other way, or what there was to miss.

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#4 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 09:22 AM
 
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thats what my mom says too, she doesn't seem to care its just what was done. she had a hard time accepting the fact i went through a birth unmedicated and was eatin less than an hour later, she just couldn't comprehend. My aunt had the same thing and i asked her and she wished she was awake and things were different.
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#5 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 10:00 AM
 
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My Mom and I just talked about this after she saw my homebirth last month. She was completely amazed by my birth and absolutely in awe of natural childbirth. My siblings and I were born in 1968, 1969, and 1973 respectively. She said she got a pudenal block (which aparently numbs you from hipbones down, suppressing any urge to push) and we were all removed by foreceps after a large episiotomy. We were all taken right to the nursery for a few hours, given bottles and pacis and only brought to her every 4 hours to nurse. No wonder she had breastfeeding issues.

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#6 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 10:15 AM
 
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That was my moms birth experience in '63 with my sister and '66 with me. She does not care. It was the way it was done. It obviously made it easier for her to let us cry it out.

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#7 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 10:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JayGee
My Mom and I just talked about this after she saw my homebirth last month. She was completely amazed by my birth and absolutely in awe of natural childbirth. My siblings and I were born in 1968, 1969, and 1973 respectively. She said she got a pudenal block (which aparently numbs you from hipbones down, suppressing any urge to push) and we were all removed by foreceps after a large episiotomy. We were all taken right to the nursery for a few hours, given bottles and pacis and only brought to her every 4 hours to nurse. No wonder she had breastfeeding issues.
Boy, the talk about "breastfeeding issues" brings back memories! My oldest son was born in 1978 (well, almost 1977 -- he was born on New Year's Day). I did have an unmedicated birth, though I still recall being wheeled into the delivery room and hearing one of the nurses say about me "...she did it all 'cold turkey'!". I had been repeatedly offered paracervical blocks during labor -- epidurals weren't really being used back then.

But as to breastfeeding -- I very much wanted to breastfeed my son. But in the hospital we were required to weigh our babies before we nursed them, and then again AFTER we nursed them. If they hadn't gained enough weight, we had to give them however many ounces of formula to make up for it. Sigh. So when I was discharged (after the usual four days of hospitalization), I was told I didn't have "enough milk" to nurse my baby, and was sent home with an extra 6-pack of formula...

Anyway, I went on to have my next child 14 months later, born at home and breastfed until he was 3 1/2. So much for "not enough milk"...

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#8 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 06:10 PM
 
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Those were my grandmother's birth stories my father (& his siblings) were all born in the mid to late 50's.

She says it was much "eaiser" than what I went through *rolleyes*. My great grandmother gave birth to her at home... I bet she was saddened by her daughter's births... wish I would have been able to ask her about hers.

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#9 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 06:17 PM
 
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My mom had a lot of meds, but resisted the doctor's suggestion that she be put under. It apparently took a lot of strength of will on her part to assert that she ONLY be given a spinal. She also had to insist that she be allowed to wear her glasses!

The funny thing is that she had a very easy labor up until transition. They didn't give her the anaesthetic until she was already fully dilated. She played my dad in Scrabble (and I think she even won!) They gave her the meds not because she asked for them, or was in pain or anything, but because that was just what they did.

Is that ridiculous? She was fully capable of giving birth without help, and they gave her drugs "to make it easier" that made it impossible for her to do more than observe the birth? Which she only got to do because she said "hey, give me back my glasses, this looks like it might be interesting"!

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#10 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 06:25 PM
 
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Yeah, my mom had my sister while put under in 1966. I still don't understand it. So did they have to take the baby out by force in all cases? Can a baby get out without pushing? It must be awful to not remember your own child's birth.

Three years later, she had me 100% natural. She just waited until the last minute to go to the hospital and I was born 10 minutes after she got there!
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#11 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 06:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayGee
She said she got a pudenal block (which aparently numbs you from hipbones down, suppressing any urge to push) and we were all removed by foreceps after a large episiotomy.
And Dr.s wonder why so many women of that generation now have serious prolapse/incontinence issues...gee how could cutting through the kegel muscle and then inserting large spoons and prying the baby out cause trauma?

Dp's grandmother had 5 babies in the 60's and she was "knocked out" for all of the births. One was a stillbirth. She was forced to bottlefeed and ended up getting pregnant very soon (like 3 months) after each birth because she was told by her mother (who breastfed all her children) that you couldn't get pregnant that soon after. She ended up having a total hysterectomy at the age of 24 because of uterine prolapse due to all the damage done from the births. Everyone in her family talks about how she "went crazy" after the hysterectomy- most people seem like they blame her! I can't imagine having my female organs removed at 24 and not even being given hormone replacement (she wasn't offered anything other than "nerve pills"). It saddens me that much of her life was ruined because of the way her births were handled. Everything about birth and childrearing during that time period just seems so horribly wrong.

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#12 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 06:34 PM
 
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I was born in 1965, and my mom says she was "totally out of it" when I was born. I asked her a few times how they even get the baby out without the mom pushing at all (because even with forcepts, the mom often needs to move the baby down by pushing) and she says she has no idea. She is very glad that she had me that way, and never would want to give birth naturally.
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#13 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 06:41 PM
 
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I never had the opportunity to talk to my mom's mom about her births. My dad's mom had her babies at home and my mom was radical enough to homebirth in the 70s.

My husband's grandma told me that the instant she pushed her babies out, she was put under (unconscious). She asked me all kinds of questions about birthing my children, about placentas and umbilical cords; she had never seen one and had no idea what happens to a woman after her baby comes out, because she was always unconscious. All EIGHT of her children were born in this fashion! I thought that was very sad. At first I thought her questions were bizarre and they seemed like they might be attacking my homebirth decisions, but she shared more of her story and it became clear that she was asking painfully obvious questions not to force me into conversation, but because she had been robbed of having that experience herself.

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#14 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 06:48 PM
 
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My mother was unconscious for the birth of my oldest sister, 1975 in Mobile, Alabama. Mama was married @ 14 (had never even been kissed) and had her first baby a year later. She really didn't know any better. She tells me she woke up, and was handed a beautiful baby and the nurses fed her grapes.
My mother birthed a total of 7 babies - the last 6 of us in the hospital non-medicated. She was shocked when she was about to push out #6 and was given her first episiotomy with no explanation.
Poor Mama! She is very interested & enthusiastic about my sisters' and my birth & nursing experiences.

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#15 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 06:56 PM
 
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It's a little off topic, but my MIL had DH in the 70's and is completely impressed by how aware and well informed I am about what's happening to my body (I'm 31 weeks right now). I told her what position he was in and that I knew when he flipped head down, and she was amazed that I knew. She's also amazed that I'm as healthy and feeling as good as I do, which I attribute to a regimentally healthy diet, something that's also a little mysterious to her.

My own mom had a completely natural hospital birth, also in the 70's, with no interventions. She must have just been in a bubble, because it was just how it was done. She never had any hassle about it and is baffled by all the crap I'm wading through and rejecting now.
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#16 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 07:05 PM
 
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My grandmother's children were born pre-60's, but 8 births and 2 miscarriages led her to a life of prescription drug abuse. With 10 births in 15 years, each heavily medicated, she died two years ago addicted to painkillers that were first given to her in the hospital decades ago. She told me that she was knocked out for the births, she didn't even remember when the babies were ever given to her until she got out of the hospital, and sacks full of who knows what were placed on her chest and abdomen to "flatten them out".

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#17 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 07:07 PM
 
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My mom's birth with me was a horror story of interventions in 1976. she was awake and alert but its a pretty horrible story nonetheless.

In 1970 my step-mother was shackled spread-eagle on a cold table and left to labor alone for two days. She didn't have any drugs but she did have a huge episiotomy.

Neither my mom nor my stepmom are apathetic about their births. I am pleased to say that both of their second births went much better.

My MIL said she's learned more from childbirth from her own kids haning children then she ever did when she was pregnant. She was always treated strangely because she breastfed her children though.

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#18 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 08:14 PM
 
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My mom is a twin - and was born at home by my grandmother. My mom always told me about how she was all lifeless when she got out and they thought she was dead. So they wrapped her up in some paper and put her aside to care for the next baby. After a couple of minutes they heard noices from the paper - my mom moving around : -
Anyway only recently did I talk to my grandmother about the birth. She told me that they used ether and that she was half asleep during delivery - at home :shock: No wonder my mom was weak and half-dead when she was born.. Using ether during birth sounds bloody dangerous to me..

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#19 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 08:37 PM
 
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My mother labored alone flat on her back in the hospital room, my dad refused to be in there with her. (Same with my stepmom 11 years later.) I was posterior and the labor was long, finally the doctor gassed her and pulled me out with forceps, she doesn't really remember much.

My DS was also posterior and I was talking with her about the different positions that I labored in to encourage him to turn over (which he did). She says she wished she had known about things like that back in 1975.

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#20 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 08:47 PM
 
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My mom hasn't talked much about her birth stories (she had 6 children from 1964 to 1978). I did ask her about my birth right around the time I had my first baby, and she said, "The nurse asked me to give her my hand, and the next thing I knew you were already born." When I pressed for details she just said there wasn't anything else to tell, other than she remembered it was a beautiful sunny day. I got the impression that she was knocked out without her consent. I was born in 1971.

I have no idea how the births of my siblings before and after me were (all vaginal births, I know that), but I do know that she was active in LLL and breastfed us (I nursed until I was 20 mos).

She is very accepting of natural birth. She wasn't present at my births, but she never had any problem with the fact that I had my babies at a freestanding birth center with midwives. And she seems supportive of my sister, who has been a doula and is now a midwife. I wish I knew if she had any of my siblings naturally - she just never talked about it (perhaps there is some resentment and pain there about things she wishes had gone differently?).
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#21 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 08:52 PM
 
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When my grandmothers had my mother and father and their siblings. Uncle (1948), Dad (1949), Mom (1950), Aunt (1962) all of them were in the hospital I think with average birth back then. My grandfathers weren't allowed in the delivery room because that was the norm back then. Not sure how long they stayed in hospital after the birth. They didn't breastfeed them because it was bad to do to breastfeed. Not sure if they had paci. When my mother had my fraternal twin sister and me (1981), she had pretty much non med free birth, really not sure if moved around at all during labor or delivery. My father was in the room even though he doesn't and still doesn't like the hospital. My mom stayed 3 nights after our birth because we born the 2 days before New Years that year so she got the extra night. My mom breastfed us until 7 mo when our ped thought both of us weren't gaining that much weight and of my course my listen to the ped because shes a register nurse and did what was best for us, but in retrorespect I wish she breastfed us until we wanted to wean. However my mom didn't believe in paci at all, but however we had braces as well. Not sure if she had an episiotomy with us. Think my aunts births with my cousins were the average with epidurals, and so on, but her last cousin, it was really fast, plus she had a midwife with that one. 1st (1991), 2nd (1993), 3rd (1998). My uncle was in the room with her for the 1st 2, but the last one he wasn't (he isn't the biogacal father of that child, not going go into the story), my grandma was in the room with her for the last one. She stayed 2 days after that. I know that my aunt tried to breastfeed my 2nd cousin, and didn't breastfeed my 3rd one, not sure about the 1st one. My last 2 cousins had paci since birth until I think 3 yrs old and now they need braces. Not sure if my aunt had episiotomies.

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#22 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 09:45 PM
 
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With my birth in 1976, my mom had a whole slew of interventions and I was "born blue" and my mom hemmorhaged (not sure what happened). My dad wasn't allowed in the room and nobody would tell him what was going on even when he saw drs rushing into my mom's room. I'm pretty sure she was awake for the whole thing. With her 2nd baby (my sis) she went to a hospital birthing center. She had her 3rd & 4th at home.

MIL had DH in 1974, in Germany. FIL took her to the hospital, where they were greeted at the door by a nurse who told him to go home and wait for a phone call. I've never heard much more of the story than that, but MIL was very naive about the whole thing and laughs about it now.

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#23 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 10:26 PM
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All I know about my mom giving birth to me is that she was so numb they had to tell her when to push since she couldn't feel it. So at least she was awake for it. This was in WI in 1974.
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#24 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 10:34 PM
 
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Wow this is all so interesting!!

My Grandma who gave birth to all her children in the early 50's was knocked out for the births. Amazingly, she thinks me doing things naturally is great (tho I'd never tell her I'm planning a homebirth for #2) she always says when I describe things that that is the way the Native American women did it. She and my grandfather had many native american friends and a lot of respect for them.

My mom who had me (the oldest) in 1975 gave birth to all of us naturally in the hsptl tho she did have forceps with her second and I think episiotomies for all 3 of us - not sure on the epis.

My husband was born in 71 but his mom had an older doctor who routinely knocked out the woman. Strange thing is that I heard for years that my MIL was awful at giving birth and with pain and passed out at her first contraction and woke up after the baby was already there. It wasn't until I heard several yrs later her saying that she had fuzzy memories of waking, naming the baby and being kind of out of it b4 passing out again and that maybe she had been given something that I figured out she had been drugged for the birth - NOT passed out from the first contraction. SAD!!!!!!!!!
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#25 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 10:38 PM
 
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My mom's birth with me was a horror story of interventions in 1976. she was awake and alert but its a pretty horrible story nonetheless.

My MIL said she's learned more from childbirth from her own kids haning children then she ever did when she was pregnant. She was always treated strangely because she breastfed her children though.
This sounds exactly what my mom told me (I was even born in 76 - LOL!). Even when I had my oldest (induced... in a hospital... didn't know any better at the time...), she said she learned more about childbirth during my labor than her own. I was awake the whole time and got to hold her.

Then when I decided to use a midwife with my second, the woman that I thought was a hippie showed not to be so... LOL! "Are you going to have checkups?" "You're going to do that without any pain medication?" She was won over though when she saw little Anna.

It seems like the majority of people really want to medicalize birth... There are just different ways of doing it, depending on the technology of the time. Do you know they actually gave my grandma Sodium Penethol (sp???) with the birth of my mother??? YIKES!
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#26 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 10:50 PM
 
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IM pretty sure my mother was basically knocked out with both births though now she will probably tell me differently.. I do know with my older sibling my mother almost bled to death supposibly froma tear in her cervix? Sibling was born in 74 and i was 78. I always remember he telling me thats how babies were born back then but i had other friends that were homebirthed..... She also told me how she had to get her milk to stop coming in


I think im the only one in my family tree that i know of that had a natural birth, extended BF and planning a HB.. Kinda sad but also good that i can be added to the tree with that

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#27 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 10:52 PM
 
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Anyone else notice birth didn't get unusually scary until they put it in hospitals? When babies died before that it was usually poor hygene or diet or complications that could not be controlled. Then they put it in a hospital, children still died, but it was more often than not because of interventions! So what is hospitalized birth all about? Finding new ways to have dead babies?!

My mom had all her babies in a hospital, NCB for the first 2 (1986, 1988), epidural for the last (1990). She got an episiotomy with me (the first) tore with the second, and didn't tear or need episiotomy with the third. Pretty uneventful births compared to the rest of your parents, but they were later. I never got a chance to ask my grandmother about her birth stories (she had 7 from '57 to '72) but maybe i'll ask my dad's mom (she had 5 from '46 to '62) about hers. She isn't exactly all there (she's not that old, she's just off her rocker) but I'm sure she'd have some interesting stories.

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#28 of 64 Old 06-20-2006, 11:20 PM
 
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My mom had five births (83, 84, 86, 93, 98). The first three she was more or less encouraged to walk as much as possible. epidurals weren't at all common/routine, and she skipped all EFM . She saw an older OB who did perform episiotomies though. With the later births and a different, younger OB, she was pressured to induceinduceinduce. My sister born in 93 was born at 42w3d, and somehow mom avoided a "forced" induction. BY the end of the fifth birth, she had essentially had several 4th degree tears- lots of trauma from 5 episiotomies over the years- requiring reconstructive surgery.

My grandmother had 12 children from the late 40s through the early 70s. She was a nurse beofre getting married/having kids and resisted the typical knocked out birth for all her children. My grandfather wasn't allowed to be present for any of the births- he'd drop her off and go home to wait for a phone call. By the last few children, my grandmother knew when she was getting close to delivering and would wait to head to the hospital... there are a few kids that were born before my grandfather even made it home again (20 minutes away!).

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#29 of 64 Old 06-21-2006, 01:56 AM
 
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These stories are fascinating (and sad)!

I don't know a whole lot but I do know that when my MIL had my sister-in-law (her 2nd child) that my SIL was breech and my MIL refused to let them do a c-section. SIL was born in '82 I think. Anyways MIL says they kept telling her SIL was going to die if they didn't do the c-section. She said every nurse and doctor came in to try and force her to sign the forms...they actually tried to force her hand to write her signature!! She said she was terrified of a c-section though and still refused. SIL was born vaginally with some hip/leg issues that cleared up after about 3 years. Also my SIL was breastfed until she was 2 MIL and FIL also talk about how they went to the "hippie district" with my dh and they bought slings and carried him around like that all the time. My in-laws are way cool.

My grandmother had 2 children, one right after the other. My uncle was 6 weeks late! yep, you heard that right and I believe it was accurate as she ended up having lots of kidney and other health related problems because he got so big (he was 11 lbs and she was a very tiny woman). In photographs you can tell she is pregnant from behind because he was starting to buldge out her back as well! The OB refused to induce her even though she begged. This was in 1949. Finally when she went into labor she went very fast. She said my uncle was crowning before the OB arrived so the nurses kept PUSHING HIM BACK IN! Can you imagine how horrible that must feel?!?!? She said they pushed him back in for about 10 mins before the doc finally arrived. My uncle was born completely blue and not breathing for several minutes. He was severly brain damaged and has never been able to function on his own. He lived with my grandparents until they were too old to take proper care of him. Now in his late 50's he lives in a nice group home and is completely blind (has been since his 20's related to the brain damage). My grandparents tried to sue but I was never really told what came of it so I am assuming they lost. My grandmother always believed that if she had just stayed home my uncle would have been fine...although I do wonder if some of the brain damage was from a very deteriorated placenta.

Rachel, mom to Jake (5/04) and Alexia (7/07) a surprise UC thanks to hypnobabies!
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#30 of 64 Old 06-21-2006, 03:48 AM
 
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These stories are really making me appreciate my mother. She had two natural births in '63 and '65, but describes them as being quite different. In '63, the doctor marched a whole slew of med students into the room where she was laboring and proceeded to give them a lecture about "The Miracle of Natural Childbirth" during which he said, "This woman has been practicing many complicated exercises for many months in order to be able to do this." when the only exercise Mom had done during the pregnancy was walking and gardening. When she tried to say something, she was "shush"ed.

My own birth in '65 was with a different doc and she describes it in positively glowing terms, other than the sadness she felt because she wanted to have more babies and she knew I would be the last.

My father was not at either birth. Mom didn't want him there and he didn't want to be there anyway. I think he was in some sort of a waiting room on the hospital premises. The marriage was pretty much history by the time I came along, anyway.

My sister and I were both nursed into toddlerhood.

Mom had always expected that I would have home births, so it was no big deal although she was a bit disappointed that I couldn't have a water birth like my sister's best friend had.

I don't know a whole lot about my grandmothers' births but I do know that my father's mother, who was a very small woman, was not allowed to gain more than six pounds during her entire pregnancy. She describes biscuits baking smelling like ambrosia and eating nothing but lettuce. She was also told to essentially Ferberize my father and describes the baby crying his eyes out on one side of a closed door and the Mom crying her eyes out on the other side. She remembered such details in her new mother stories! She wanted so badly to be the perfect mother to her only child (the doctors told her that another baby would kill her) and she had such complete trust in these authority figures that she later realized had betrayed her.

She was also incredibly supportive of AP methods and fascinated by the way her grandchildren were being raised. She lived long enough to know that they were homeschooled.
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