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Eleven

My pregnancies started prior to women's lib, prior to abortion, prior to Lamaze or whatever the heck that is; I guess back in the olden days maybe (laughing).  We'd been married about six weeks maybe, somewhere along there, when I got pregnant the first time.  When I was almost three months pregnant, we went on vacation.  While we were there, we were playing baseball and running around and everything, I started spotting and my mother-in-law said, "Don't worry about that, I spotted all through my pregnancies".  So I lost the baby.  I've been pregnant eight times.  I've had three miscarriages, one at six months.  Five babies and only one baby was full term.  Martin, my first, was seven weeks early.  He weighed five pounds one ounce and he was 17 inches long.  Lynn, the second, was two and a half weeks early.  She weighed seven pounds ten ounces and she was 22 inches long.  Tammy, my third, was one day shy of full term.  She weighed eight pounds three ounces and she was 22 inches long.  Margaret, my fourth, was two weeks early.  She weighed six pounds and seven ounces; 21 inches long.  Leah was two weeks early.  She weighed eight pounds 11 ounces and she was 22 inches long.  My first miscarriage, like I said, was at three months.  My second miscarriage was at six months, and that was between Margaret and Leah, my last two children; the baby didn't make it. And then my third miscarriage was at three months, and that was also between Margaret and Leah.  Similarities in pregnancies:  I always knew when I was pregnant between three and four weeks pregnant.  I knew I was pregnant because I couldn't stand to go in the bathroom and smell the hand soap on the counter; that went through every pregnancy. I could not stand the smell of hand soap, as soon as the baby was born, it was fine (laughing).  I always had afternoon to evening sickness, I never had morning sickness. Nothing else with it, it was there for three months.  During each of my pregnancies I felt very little movement.  Most of the time, I would have to sit down and not move for several minutes in order to feel something going on in there.  I had to take it easy up until the first three months each time because my uterus is tipped backwards and it had to tip forwards.  The doctor had to actually tip it on my second baby.  I gained between 18 and 25 pounds with each of my babies, except for the last one - I gained more than that on her.  I weighed 104 each time I got pregnant and I went right back down to 104 by six weeks after each birth.  The only exercise I did was a little yoga, that doesn't really mean anything cuz I don't gain weight.  You know how some people can eat a bite of something and gain ten pounds?  Well, I can eat ten pounds of something and not gain an ounce.  I never took any vitamins during or after any pregnancy.  I never thought of them, no one ever mentioned them.  With the first one (birth), I had a couple of days of what I thought was indigestion and it was very mild.  Finally, Jacob (husband) called the doctor and the nurse said, "Well, bring her in and we'll check her".  I went in and they checked me, and they said, "Here, take this sleeping pill, and we'll let you go home in the morning because you are fine".  So by the morning, Martin had been born.  Actually, I had trouble with each one of my pregnancies trying to figure out if I was actually having labor pains.  Labor pains lasted a couple of hours before my second child was born, and they were so mild that I wouldn't have even gone to the hospital had my mother-in-law not insisted that I leave.  And then on my third child, the labor pains started in the middle of the night.  They were never very heavy, but by ten o'clock the next morning the doctor decided that he should induce me, which he did.  For some reason or another at that birth, a piece of the placenta didn't come out, it broke off.  And since I was running a fever and I was loosing a lot of blood, he kept me in the hospital for two weeks.  I had to have two blood transfusions and some kind of special injections to expel the piece of placenta, and then they sent me home.  My fourth baby arrived a little after midnight.  But before she came, we went around and around the hospital because I wasn't sure if I was going to have the baby then.  And finally when we went in, there she was.  Those pains started at about five minutes apart and they were regular.  The next two times I became pregnant I had miscarriages, which was between my fourth and fifth child.  My fifth child surprised me by waking me up in the middle of the night with mild pains.  I timed them and they were four minutes apart, but still they were mild and everything.  So by the time we got to the hospital the only thing they could give me was the advice to lie still and let the baby be born (laughing).  That was how quick she was.  Because my first child was premature and he only weighed five pounds one ounce, my doctor wouldn't let me nurse him.  But then with all my other children I nursed each one of them, and various times they wanted to quit or I wanted to quit.  Tammy actually nursed until she was 14 months old.  Never had any trouble with having milk, I had plenty of that and everything.  And Martin was in the incubator for two weeks.  When we got him home, we had to set the alarm and get up to try to feed him every two hours.  The only way you could get his tongue loose from the roof of his mouth was to invert a spoon and pry it loose, and then I could stick a bottle nipple in.  He would get just a little bit out of it, and threw up almost everything.  So by the time he was about three and a half weeks old, the doctor took him off of formula and had me put him on instant milk, the kind you mix with water.  And by the time Martin was a year old, he weighed 33 pounds, so it didn't hurt him any (laughing).  I never was an emotional person, so I never had raging emotions like some women I suppose have when they are pregnant.  As far as the labor pains, most of the time I didn't know if I was really going to have the baby.  I never wanted to go to the hospital because I didn't want them to look at me and say, "What are you doing here?  It's not time to have that baby".  I had heard of women who go in and walk the floor for like fourteen hours, I never could picture me doing that.  So I never really went through the things that I guess a lot of women have.  That was at the time when the husband made enough money to work and the wife stayed home, I know those days are over.  And I could take care of the kids all by myself.  I did try everything there was on the market at the time, but you know, you get pregnant anyway.  For the first two I was in the hospital for about five days and for Tammy it was two weeks, because I had the problem.  And then Margaret came and I was in there three days, and then Leah was born.  I went in on a Friday and came home with her on Saturday, so that's how times changed in between there.  I asked my doctor the first time, before Martin even was ready to be born; I asked him if Jacob could be in the delivery room.  He said that he wouldn't allow any husbands in the delivery room because he was there to deliver the baby not to take care of a stupid husband (laughing).  What he said was, "I want all my babies to come out okay," his babies that he delivered.  He didn't want to be distracted by a husband, a mother, a mother-in-law, or anybody else there trying to interfere with the delivery.  For the first one that I lost, we were in Michigan and then we moved to Washington State.  When we moved there, I got Dr. Pettcoat because somebody referred me to him, and said he was a really, really good doctor to have for babies.  So then when I got pregnant there, I went to him and he told me that I would have to take it easy the first three months and he kept close tabs on me.  I didn't know until the second time, the next time I got pregnant, that I was having the problem with the uterus being tipped backwards and he said that's why I did loose the first one.  I guess there's a three month time there when if the uterus is tipped backwards, it does move forward.  I guess, most women, their uterus is tipped backwards a little bit, but most of them tip forward either before or after three months. And I guess if you don't, that's when you start to have trouble because you're starting to get heavier in there and it won't stay, at least that's what they told me.  And from what I understand, they don't do that procedure anymore.  Someone said they had never heard of it and didn't know any doctor who ever did it, where they do tip your uterus.  But he did mine and it saved the baby.  It wasn't unpleasant; it was embarrassing.  You had to get on the table on your hands and knees, and then while your bottom is up in the air he just uses his fingers and tips your uterus.  If you're lucky, you stay that way.  At night you had to kind of stay in that position for a couple of days and then you're okay.  But I assume that now, they don't do that procedure because maybe they're afraid of being sued. Insurance is involved in everything.  Martin stayed in for two weeks and it was cheep too.  The babies then only cost about a thousand dollars, the whole doctor thing and the delivery included.  Insurance covered it.  They were very lenient about staying in and taking care of you, and no questions about what your doctor said or if you could stay in.  I remember growing up and hearing women talk about their babies and how many stitches they had to have, and how horrible it was and everything.  So asked him after Martin was born, "Well, how many stitches did I have?"  He kind of laughs and he said, "I know exactly when to cut if I have to, and you don't have any stitches".  Meaning I guess that some will do the cutting whether they need to or not, and then the stitches.  It was natural to have them and it was natural to take care of them. One thing that I did at night, because I nursed the babies; I would get up and take the baby to bed with me.  Nurse it on one side and then finish and turn on the other side, and then when we got through put it back in bed.  I don't think that anybody would do it now, I guess now it is (considered) really dangerous.  I didn't spend all that time sitting up in the living room or rushing around to get the bottle ready.  My youngest did have trouble right after she was born; she had some kind of breathing problem.  Let me back up there, my mother-in-law said that her youngest had asthma when he was born.  Leah didn't have asthma, but she had some kind of problem with breathing so I kept her crib right beside my bed.  She was in there for the first six months, that winter.  She was born in November 15, so that whole winter the first time I would get up to nurse her, then I would stay up the rest of the night.  I would sit on the couch with her and hold her in my arms so that she was in an upright position sitting on the couch with me.  Because she did have trouble breathing, and that went on for several months.   I was right there beside her so anytime she acted like she was having trouble breathing, I was right there to lift her higher and make sure she was breathing.  Yeah well, you don't get much sleep with a bunch of kids anyways.  Speaking of napping, Martin, my first, slept 12 hours a night from two in the morning until two in the afternoon. And you couldn't wake him, a freight train could have gone through the room and it wouldn't have woken him up.  And then when Lynn came along, she slept seven hours a night, no naps, so I guess it just depends on the child.  Childbirth just seemed natural at that time, I didn't think before time, "Oh my God, I'm going to go through so much pain," or whatever.  It just didn't enter my head that there was going to be a lot with it.  And frankly, when I went through menopause it was pretty much the same thing. I never had any hot flashes.  I never had emotional this or that, I went through it and that was it.