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Fifteen

The pregnancy was an easy one.  I had cravings for Chinese food, strawberry shortcake, and ice cream.  Actually it's funny, every night I would stop at this little ice cream shop and make my own sundae with strawberry shortcake ice cream on my way home from work, and (then) make a home cooked dinner.  I was exactly one week late.  I was walking to a grocery store like two days before and a woman was really concerned about me.  She kept on following me cuz she thought I was going to have a baby at any moment, that was pretty funny (laughing).   So Jerry was born in North Carolina.  Like I said, easy pregnancy.  No problems, I had morning sickness for one week which happened to be the one week that my husband was gone.  My parents had moved to New Jersey, and when they moved was when we moved to North Carolina so they had all our stuff.  My dad had all our furniture and everything.  He (husband) had gone up there to get some more of it that we had stored, the one week that I was sick.  Now, I don't know if you anything about North Carolina, but we lived in Lafayetteville and they're very southern (laughing), very southern!  And they're very weird, so like the doctor that I had, which was supposedly one of the top notch doctors, did not believe in natural childbirth.  I had Jerry on a Saturday, and my mother-in-law was scheduled to go out of town that morning.  So she decided that she didn't think I was going to have the baby, they decided that it probably wasn't going to happen on Saturday.  She was on the runway on her way to Washington D.C. when I went into labor.  My parents had come down, so they were there.  Gosh, went to the hospital and was in massive amounts of pain, but you really don't think about it.  In North Carolina, you didn't have what they have now, you know, these fabulous birthing suits.  I was in a room with another woman with a curtain separating us, and that was it.  She was screaming and I thought, "Oh my gosh.  Is that was it is supposed to be like?"  Well, come to find out, she was breech so that was why she was in so much pain.  My pain started and I just kept sitting there goin', "Okay when is going to stop?" and my husband would go as soon as the baby got there.  It was very short; I think I was only in labor for four and a half, five hours.  It's pretty incredible.  It is probably one of the most incredible things that will ever happen in a woman's life is giving birth.  I don't think I could ever describe the feelings when you actually give birth, it's pretty amazing.  And it's true, you always check all the fingers and toes to make sure everything is workin', and from there on we just never let go.  When they gave me the spinal, the fluid dripped and so a couple days later, I was in the emergency room with migraines.  I remember he was in his little cradle, and my mom was still there.  I picked him up, and took him into the room to give him to my mom and said, "Will you please take Kevin?"  Well, Kevin is my nephew.  I mean, I didn't know his name; yeah, it was pretty bad.  So I would never recommend that to anybody who didn't have to. 

Lily:  So you said that the doctor was very traditional, but did they let your husband stay with you the whole time?

Yes, he was able to stay there, but my mother was not able to come up.  Well, first they wouldn't even allow her to even come upstairs to where there was a little waiting area right outside where husbands could sit, if they wanted.  And they would not allow anybody else.  Well, if you knew my mom, that wasn't going to work for her.  She ended up being the only other person there besides the dads.  But they would not let her into the labor and delivery area at all, only my husband was allowed in.  But she figured, it was closer than where she was (before).  One thing, we did not know what we were going to have.  We made the decision not to find out, so when I had Jerry I didn't know whether it was going to be a boy or a girl, and it was a boy.  Names picked out for both, so Jerry for a boy and Sarah for a girl.  So we had Jerry Clifford and my dad is Curtis Clifford and my husband's dad's first name was Cliff, so his middle came from both his grandfathers.  And if it was going to be a girl, it was going to be Sarah Marie because my mom's middle name was Marie.  But Peter's mom, well, she was kind of left out of that one, so I was kind of glad we had a boy (laughing).  That way it worked; I didn't have to insult anybody. 

Lily:  Is there anything else that you remember from the labor besides the pain and the spinal? 

Actually, it's a wonderful memory.  Everything, oh gosh even the pain.  You remember the pain, but everything else past that just kind of wipes that whole thing away.  I remember when you're in the delivery room; there is this big huge mirror.  I could see what was going on, so (it) was really cool.  As soon as his head started to pop out I could see he had tons of hair, I mean, it was so great.  Then when they did the episiotomy, I almost lost my husband at that point.  Oh yeah, that was bad (laughing).  He came walking in the room like he was going to perform surgery on me, or something, and then the minute they did that I thought, "Oh my God, he's passing out at any moment".  He did get a little queasy!  And they did have to put a little stool down there for him to sit.  Otherwise he was okay, and I know he really wanted a boy.  So when Jerry was born, we were both cryin'; it was just wonderful, wonderful.  Oh jeez, how old was I?  I'm 50 and Jason's 27, so I was 23.  They did not allow the infants to stay in the rooms with you.  They put him in the nursery and then they would bring him in a couple different times.  They didn't allow him to stay in the room with me as long because I was not a breastfeeding mom.  They were in the belief that, you know, let them take care of the child for the first couple days so you can recuperate.  Then you're going to be on your own.  Another thing is, again being in the South, they thought I needed to eat.  So they brought me dinner which consisted of pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy (laughing), salad, apple sauce, and a peach cobbler for dessert, not that I could eat it.  That was my, okay you gave birth and now you get a good meal at the hospital.  It actually had great flavor, that's the South for you.  And I'm not sure if they do that anymore or not, but they sent you away with enough diapers and cases of formula for ninety days.  They gave you all kinds of things, but yeah it was a nice little hospital.  Not a single class, we just went.  I did my visits to the doctor and they gave us lots of information there, but I did not have any birthing classes.  We had a couple sessions, as it were, at the doctor's office as to try and show me how to do the breathing.  Besides that he (the doctor) just said, "Remember, don't push until I tell you," and that was the one thing he kept saying. They didn't do a lot of that in the South either; very, very conservative.  I was excited.  I was extremely excited, very happy.  Jerry was planned, and we were just extremely excited when I was pregnant.  I think the best part about being pregnant was when I was laying there and he would move all over the place.  You could just feel him there, and that there's life in me, you know; pretty incredible.  I would have loved to have a girl next, but there were no guarantees.  I would have loved to have done it again.