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mother and newborn

Thirty-one years ago on January 14th, I became a mom. It was a life changing experience that I would not trade for anything.

I had spent the last seven months planning a nursery, reading everything I could about what I could expect during pregnancy, and learning about labor and delivery. The last few weeks before my due date I got a serious case of “the nesting instinct” and I cleaned my house from top to bottom

It was a snowy week in January. My doctor put me on bed rest in the hospital on January 13th because I had developed toxemia.

I spent the night at the hospital, but when my doctor did not arrive the next morning I assumed he would send me home. I got up and got in the shower, and that is about the time he came in and knocked on the bathroom door.

He told me that we would need to go ahead and deliver the baby due to my condition. It was determined that I would need a C-section because I could not labor due to the toxemia.

I called my mom, who called everyone else, and the family soon filled the waiting room. (This is a tradition with our big family. Somebody usually brings doughnuts and coffee, and they have a great time while they wait).

I was taken downstairs, wet hair and all, and was given an epidural. Even though that was not pleasant, I was beginning to get so excited about the baby that I did not care.

After they had numbed me completely from the chest down, they took me into the delivery room and moved me onto the smallest bed I had ever seen. Because I was numb, I couldn’t help as they put me on the delivery table. Talk about a weird sensation!

They threw my gown up over a metal frame, so that I would not see them do the C-section. They strapped my outstretched arms to two other adjacent tables, because as my doctor said, “It is hard to hit a moving target”.

My husband came in the room in scrubs. The C-section had begun.

While this operation was taking place, my doctor and my husband talked about “Hill Street Blues”, a popular police show. At that time, my husband was a policeman.

We kept making small talk until a nurse pushed very hard on my stomach to help get the baby out. I thought she must be a reincarnation of Attila the Hun.

Then I heard it. That first small cry, sounding like the mewing of a kitten. My doctor announced that I had a baby girl. I was overjoyed!

Being the oldest of four girls, I really wanted to have a girl, but my husband was from a family of five boys. As the male determines the sex, I was sure I would have a boy.

I couldn’t believe it, so my doctor put the baby’s “private parts” right up to my face so that I could see for myself.

As soon as the delivery had taken place, I fell asleep while they sutured me up. I did not wake up until they were taking me up to the maternity floor.

They stopped by the nursery and a nurse held up Sarah Elizabeth Veal, my new daughter. They had put a bow in her hair. She was so beautiful! I went back to sleep and woke up in my room.

That evening the grandparents came. My mother and mother-in-law just raved over her. They opened her blanket to count her fingers and toes. They were the tiniest I had ever seen, and as soft as velvet. In fact, her whole body felt like velvet. The top of her head smelled so sweet. The grandfathers held her briefly and then handed her back over to me.

While we were in the hospital, Sarah caught on to nursing right away. I was so content when she was nursing. I was amazed at this design of the human body, that I could feed her from my own body.

Sarah was jaundiced, and at that time they allowed the mother to stay until the baby came home. She was released in a few days.

We brought her home in the take-home police car my husband drove. We stopped at my grandmother’s. She was very ill with cancer and we wanted her to see her first great-granddaughter. Grandma was so tickled to get to hold her and “look her over” to see if everything was there. (Why do grandmas do this?).

We brought her to the house and carefully carried her to her nursery to get her settled in.

She had a very sweet temperament from the beginning, and I reveled in being a mother. I felt like I was playing with a doll for the first few months.

I can think back to each of my daughters’ births and I can remember details of those days years later. I carry them with me, and occasionally pull them out to recall the birth of each daughter. Each day is so precious to me.

In the Bible, the account of Jesus’ birth is full of action. Shepherds, angels, a stable, wise men who came later, animals, an innkeeper. But in spite of all this commotion, Mary took time to be quiet, and it says in the Bible that Mary “kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often”. NLT Luke 2:19.

Not much has changed with new mothers over the centuries.