A Tale of Three Pregnancies. Part Two: 1970

The following account is part two of my mum’s birth story trilogy. Nurse Ratchet, scopolamine, and 8 lb total weight gain. Wow.
Two years later I felt more confident. This was another planned pregnancy; I expected an easy delivery and I had made up my mind this time that it would just be easier all around to use formula.  There was still no support in the community for breastfeeding and only the same two obstetricians were available to me. 

At my first prenatal visit I mentioned that I had terrible heavy pressure in my perineum after the last pregnancy- it had felt as if my uterus was about to fall out. I wondered, were there any signs of a problem that could be seen on exam? I got the same old “you don’t know what you are talking about” answer.

I had another normal pregnancy except now they were really strict on weight gain and by 4 months I had gained 7lb  so guess what? I got counseled to go onto a 1,000 calorie diet! No ifs ands or buts.

By the end of my 8th month one of these doctors had the nerve to tell me that I should probably eat more. I had followed their advice (basically just given up carbs) and my total weight gain was only 8lb. After delivery I was down to 100lb. (approximately a BMI of 17.2. I’m 5′ 4.5″).

Braxton Hicks contractions started early in pregnancy and continued almost daily until the end. My due date was August 13th 1970. 

On July 31st I began cleaning with abandon. By mid morning I had a bloody show, called the office and was advised to come in immediately and with my suitcase. My now almost 2 year old daughter was taking a nap and I quickly had a friend stop by. At the doctor’s office I was examined and told I hadn’t even started dilating. Go home!

The friend babysitting let slip that a surprise shower was planned for that evening. My husband tried talking me out of this but knew that as headstrong as I am……OK, as long as I wasn’t driving.

We had a fun evening. I broke the rules again and instead of keeping to a light meal I indulged in lobster. We were living on Cape Cod so why not? The contractions started and increased but hey I had two nurses in the group timing contractions for me. After dinner we continued the evening at a local bar with one of the group saying “we need a table close to the door because we’re having a baby.” Not half an hour later I realized that this was getting serious and I wanted to go home, fast. The head nurse in the group in charge of the Med/Surg unit at the hospital called the Doc on call and I was swiftly escorted to the hospital. My husband followed shortly thereafter but the first words he heard on entering the OB unit was “We just got one in from……a bar who says she’s in labor” Liquor? No I don’t drink, never have.

Sod’s Law [Murphy’s Law], I got the same non-verbal doc for delivery. My contractions of course had almost become non-exsistent in the 10 minutes he spent palpating my abdomen. It was 11pm. I asked for an enema and things sped up fast. I presumed incorrectly that my records would show from the previous delivery that I did not want scopolamine. I got caught at a bad contraction during transition and after refusing meds every few minutes that were being pushed on me I stupidly gave in. Had my husband been with me as is so common today, if I had been able to write a birth plan, a lot of ifs; I could have made it through and would have had a pleasant remembrance of this delivery. 

At the change of shift the new nurse was “Nurse Ratchet”. I wanted to be on my side during transition and pushing, she kept pulling me onto my back, which definitely increased the pain and I know I came close to swearing at her.

This is where it ends for me. Because of the scopolamine I don’t remember any more about that night until I woke in my bed in the ward asking about my baby and the time of delivery. I also asked Nurse Ratchet if she had any children. When she answered no I thought that answer explained a lot.

My son had been born at 1:35 AM weighing 6lb 8oz on August 1st 1970, twelve days early. Unfortunately I don’t have any recollection of what should have been a beautiful experience. It was taken away from me. But, I did have a beautiful healthy baby boy.

al bottle al newborn
My mum says to note the breast binder in the second picture. If you look closely you will see the white wrapping under her gown to stop her milk. Also, note the pretty awesome glasses she is sporting!

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