We’ve come a long way, baby

(That’s me, on September 11, 1984, TJ’s birthday!)

My son TJ and his wife, lovely Emily, are going to have a baby. A girl!

Another granddaughter and I am thrilled!

And the other day, when I was going through a memory box, trying to weed out the stuff I keep and keep — and sometimes wonder why — I ran across some papers in an envelope.

And they made me smile.

When I had my daughter Tracy in 1978, there really wasn’t too much you could do about “natural childbirth” unless you were like my dear great friend Holly who bravely gave birth in the comfort of her own home. I was more of a chicken, I guess, and just did what the doctors told me to do. Because of that, it was a partly humiliating, horrible experience, on top of the most joyous miracle of giving birth to my very first and glorious daughter.

I was always kind of angry about how I felt I’d been cheated out of the more total beautiful experience a bit by my savage doctors who just did whatever they wanted. Shave, snip, strap.

So when I became pregnant with my son Tyler and then TJ, I decided to take what I could into my own hands. Although the idea of having the babies at home was enticing, my new doctor talked me into having them in a “home-like” hospital room, a new-fangled thing called a birthing room and all the really hip hospitals were doing it. My husband and I went to Lamaze birthing classes and we learned how to breathe our way through contractions. I spent days recording my favorite songs — Billy Joel’s Allentown and Hungry Like the Wolf, I think.

And I worked up a list of do’s and don’ts for the hospital. That list is what I found in my memory box the other day.

(Click on the “hosp” link, above, if you’d like to have a chuckle. I like how I used the word “please” and typed — mind you, that is from a typewriter! — in ALL CAPS AS IF I WERE SHOUTING AT THE HOSPITAL PERSONNEL.)

It worked pretty good, too. I won’t go into the details, but I was able to enjoy joy of the birthing experience, same as before, but without some of the frustration and pain — it probably helps not to be so naive about it all, too. I am POSITIVE Emily will have a great time.

Here’s me in the birthing room with my little sweet visitor, Tracy — I love this photo!


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