Bringing Baby Home, 1961

During the hospital stay after Tim was born, he stayed in the nursery except for his scheduled feeding visits. I learned to feed and burp, but the nurses did all the rest… and I think they finished the burping job on the way back to the nursery.

After five days, I was pushed to the car in a wheelchair. The nurse laid Timmy in my arms and told me to take good care of him. “He might be president of the country someday,” she said. She gave us a few pages of instructions which included  feeding every four hours, bath at nine A.M., and sterilizing everything that touched baby including ME before each feeding. Although he was on a liquid diet, the instructions included offering water several times a day, sterilized water and bottles, of course.

I definitely needed help considering my inability to move all that well… and inexperience. I hadn’t so much as changed a diaper and the burping wasn’t going all that well. If Timmy eat too much, he threw up in his bed.

The responsibility that went along with this newborn was a little scary.

Dan acted confident but he had NO experience. He hadn’t been allowed in the room with the baby, hadn’t even touched our son, yet.

It wasn’t as scary as it might have been. We planned to stay with my parents for a few days so Mama could help me with the new baby.

I was already a little annoyed, though. Mama hadn’t told me some things about childbirth. Hadn’t told me how sore I’d be. Five days after delivering, I couldn’t sit very well, or get up and down very easy,

Mama didn’t know as much about recovering from childbirth as I thought… although she had an eighteen-month-old herself. She decided we should put a non-stinging antiseptic on my stitches. Like alcohol, this product (new on the market) was very good for preventing infection in scrapes and cuts. But, it was very drying and not intended for use in certain private areas. After the first application, I still couldn’t sit very well, or get up and down very easy, or WALK too good.

And, my dad worried about the newborn’s breathing. I would ease myself into a comfortable position in a chair, and from his recliner, he would say, “That baby’s just not breathing right. You better go check on him.”

I’d struggle to get up (very painful), and walk down to hall (very painful), to check on the sleeping baby. Two minutes after I eased into a chair again, Daddy got worried about the baby’s breathing and I’d go check on him while Daddy remained in his recliner.

Then, there was Little sister. She demanded most of Mama’s attention. And she also wanted mine. She came into the family late, and I played the role of doting relative. Like everyone else, I spoiled her. And, fascinating as Timmy was, Debbie wasn’t prepared to share her Mommy or her sister with a newcomer.

A little stressful.

You think?

After one afternoon and night of this, Dan loaded me and Timmy in the car, along with the instructions, dirty cloth diapers in the pail, and the sterilized water bottles. He took us home where there would be no further applications of the new antiseptic and less worry about the newborn breathing. (I’ll love him forever for this courageous act.)

Just recently I realized that my parents really didn’t know how much pain I experienced. Mama delivered two girls, five pounds and under. And, one six pound boy. Timmy was almost nine pounds and came into the world with the help of forceps. Mama really thought you could sit comfortable the next day. What was my problem? I’d had five days to recover.

Eventually, when I was able to laugh about it, I let her know what I thought about the antiseptic and her nursing skills. Some twenty years later, when my sister delivered her first child, I gave her fair warning. “Don’t let Mama near you with the antiseptic.”

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