Gigi's Journal - December 29, 2011

7 months pregnant with our first baby.  There was no finding out what you were having via ultrasound prior to birth.   We would have to wait until his birth.  We had two names picked out - Jennifer Ann or Timothy James.  I was due on December 20, 1978.  During the first week of December Ray and I decided on Christopher James if it was a boy.  Never gave the name "Chris Schmidt" being born around Christmas one thought!

Just days old in this picture!  Looking back I think labor started around 7:30 AM on December 28, 1978.  I remember waking up at 7:30 with a backache, 8:00 backache, 8:30 backache, etc.  Throughout the day the backache became more frequent.  I had a clinic appointment that day and mentioned to the other women waiting to be seen that I was having this backache every 10 minutes.  One of the women assured me I was in labor.   It was 3:30 PM and this was the first thought that I might be in labor!

I remember seeing the doctor soon after that conversation about possibly being in labor.  He was listening to the baby's heartbeat when I had a "backache".  He kind of mumbled under his breathe and it was then I mentioned the backache I had been having.  He asked if I had been checked before.  No, I hadn't!  Almost 2 weeks after my due date and no one worried about checking me, inductions, fetal testing - nothing!  Ah, those were the days when pregnant women who went past their due dates were treated normal!  He checked me and I was 3-4 cm.  He told me to walk around for an hour and come back.  My friend Kevin and I walked around the hospital.  (Kevin is a good friend who took me to many of my appointments.)  The doctor rechecked me an hour later, told me I was in labor and sent me home.  He told me to come back when I couldn't stand it (the contractions) any more!

Not completely understanding what that meant I ended back at the hospital at 9:00 that night.   Ray and I took childbirth classes, so he was allowed to come in the room with me!  The night nurses were great - they asked me if I wanted the "prep" which included an enema.  I gratefully declined!  Ray and I were put in a labor room.  I was 5 cm.   No monitors.  Just a bed, chair, table and TV.  That's where I labored.  It was comforting to have Ray there but a well intentioned nurse kept coming in and asking if I wanted something for the pain.  The revival of unmedicated childbirth was fairly new and the routine of asking was well ingrained in this nurse.  Finally, at about 6-7 cm, I gave in to Demerol, a narcotic that makes you feel loopy and not really care that you are in pain.  

After trying for a few more hours to cope and making it to about 7 cm, I got the epidural.  A newer method of pain relief administered by the OB!  He tried 4 times and finally got it in.  I will never forget his words to me after I became comfortable.  It was 1 AM.  He told me, "I'll see you around 5:30 and we'll have us a baby".  Amazing how those words have affected me this many years later.  

Not sure when I started pushing or for how long but I remember when they rolled me back to the OR, where everyone gave birth.  Ray was by my side the whole time.  The doctor used forceps to get him out, which was pretty common,being so numb.  At 5:37 AM Christopher James Schmidt, 8#7, 21" long was born!  At 5:38 AM the phone in the OR was ringing.  It was my mother, who had awoke out of sleep and just knew I had to have had that baby!  She called information and one call and transfer after another until she got through to the OR!!!  Crazy.

I was in a recovery room for an hour or two before transferring into a four bed room.  I got to the room and the other women were being discharged.  By the end of the day I was the only one in that huge room!  Christopher was brought to me every four hours so I could hold him and breastfeed.  

My mother, after talking to me in the OR, got in her car and drove 12 hours to meet Christopher.  She stayed 10 days which was so helpful for me and Ray.

I was 19 when I gave birth to Christopher.  I have no regrets of having him so young.    I just had to stay one step ahead of him :-)

On his birthday this year, he gets the best gift.  He became a parent in July.  Our view of our parents changes when we become one!  Happy Birthday Christopher.  You were the perfect child to be born first.  You gave us a run for our money and kept us on our toes.  May you always stay one step ahead of your girls!


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