Snippets of memory

For the first time since Covid arrived, we took the dog to Wellesley campus for a walk. It was a little cooler than expected but beautiful and because of spring break, emptier than usual.

Driving home we passed the low-slung brick building where I went for prenatal care back in the 90’s. I couldn’t remember the name of my midwife, even though she delivered both boys. Michelle, maybe. Diane?

But K and I had a good laugh concerning something I did remember from C’s birth.

First, I have to say that the nurses attending both boys’ births were absolute angels. They could not have been more competent or more kind.

Second, I had opted not to rely on pain medication and managed (just barely) to stick to that, so just about every ounce of consciousness was taken up with the business of riding each contraction. Further, because of how my labor didn’t really speed up until the very end, after a dozen hours of labor, I was falling asleep in between contractions. What I’m trying to tell you is that I was a little out of it.

So when K told me that one of the nurses had been by, without thinking I responded, “Was it the hairlip or the hunchback?”

It sounds like a dream but it was not. I’m not proud of my blurt and hope I can be forgiven for lacking even my usual minimal filters because of the intensity of the birth experience.

But can you imagine? One four-and-half-foot tall nurse dramatically bent over, the other with a deformed upper lip. And again: both angels.

20 thoughts on “Snippets of memory

  1. Nancy

    What a great place to walk! I only remember snippits too, nothing much on the nurses, except that I recall they were nice. Too much pain in a crazy fast labor. I do recall yelled at my ex to stop rocking in the damn rocking chair that squeaked! And NO MASSAGE, don’t touch me! lol I would normally never say that!

  2. Marti

    Birth stories are such rich family lore: I had to be induced because I had toxemia. I went into the hospital a month before my due date expecting a boy, and came out with two little girls. No one in our family could remember anyone having twins…

    Labor took about 5 hours and I remember seeing my little Erika, all 4 lbs. of her and then the nurse, telling Dr. Jones to look, “here comes another one” ,at which point I tried to get up and off the birthing table and then I think I momentarily passed out. Our little Twin B, (3 lbs, 14 oz) remained Twin B until the following morning when Rich took one look at her and said,” this is Shelley.” We had chosen two names when I was pregnant: I wanted Ariel for our son but Rich didn’t like that name so Ariel was to be Adam. I’ve always liked the name Erika, a good strong name, so if we had a girl, Erika would be her name and that was it, did not consider any other names, especially since my Dr. had gone out on a limb and said he pretty much knew that the child I was carrying was a boy…he certainly was embarrassed after the delivery but we all took it in stride. The girls were preemies but healthy, stayed in the hospital for 3 weeks until they were over 5 lbs and could come home. We visited them every day, wearing masks and gowns when holding them.

    I was due at the end of November , a Thanksgiving child but instead, we were blessed with two. almost trick or treat babies; the girls were born on Oct. 27th and they were both a trick and most definitely a treat.

    A little story about R: we were both college students, living on the GI bill and my educational opportunity grants, when we got married so $ was tight. R had gone up to the office to check on a payment plan when he heard the staff exclaim: “How wonderful, twins have just been born!” He said he knew without a shadow of a doubt that these were his children and got a silly grin on his face,, according to my sister, who was with him. When they went back downstairs, Dr. Jones was waiting and told Rich, “congratulations, you have a little girl”, shook his hand, grinned and said, “congratulations again, you have another little girl, you are the Father of twins.”…

    1. deemallon Post author

      Hard to imagine having twins unexpectedly. These stories are rich indeed. I love the grin in absentia — that knowing. And trick or treat? How perfect.

  3. Liz A

    Sue for the first, Virginia for the second … both angels … and my second child becomes an angel herself at the end of the month when she graduates and begins work as a Labor and Delivery nurse

    and yeah, the stories … Meg was a 30 hour labor, so Don thought he’d have plenty of time to read the Bradley childbirth book when I went into labor with Meliss … he got as far as “lower your shoulders” as a way to relax through a contraction … but he was totally lost when I went into transition, frantically thumbing through the book while asking “where are you now?”

    1. deemallon Post author

      The childbirth book! How hilarious. C was 16 hours, D less than 5. I’m so distant-proud of your daughter! What a beautiful accomplishment with a great career ahead of her.

  4. Saskia van Herwaarden

    number one was a race to the hospital after hours of labour and it turned out he was stuck, male GP and male gynaecologist, who stitched me up real tight, yikes! number two a home-birth with a lovely midwife, loose stitches, a far less painfull experience and not just ‘cos it was second time round: she knew what she was doing
    in both cases the boys were exactly a week ‘late’ and after the waters broke the whole episode lasted 8 hours both times….
    we have a lot less painkiller births here in the Netherlands* and I had none (apart from very local anesthesia when they had to snip just a little wider to prevent tearing…..)
    * we claim it’s part of culture, not sure what’s best really
    one of my aunts gave birth to her first daughter in the States and thought nothing of it, daughter number two was born in either the Uk or Holland, I can’t remember, what I do know is she was shocked when she realised it was gonna hurt: no painkillers in Europe in those days and she suffered like everyone else, my mum used to tease her about this

  5. Hazel

    Filters go out the windows during birth. Home births here with some yelling by me (A couple- Telling everyone not to watch me during contractions & for someone to change the music (the CD had played through five times). I remember thinking, “I’m going to die doing this.” and then, “WHEN am I going to die?”

  6. Nancy

    What great stories y’all have! Mine were fast (1hour, 1hour 20 min, respectively) – I went from 0-transition (skipping everything in between…so when ex said “take a deep cleansing breath” I was pushing!) – to done, hard (very torn w/ the first, bruised tailbone w/ the second). First doc, not mine – the third guy in the practice, whom I didn’t like, got there late and was generally horrible. Second team, no beside manner but were “the only
    Perinatologists in Northern Nevada”…so they had to do. That one was complicated. She came home a couple of days after me.
    What I find amazing, in a kinda funny way is that one never forgets this stuff, their birth stories ❤️ Love to all you mamas and us bonus mamas who are so proud of Liz’s daughter!


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