Dear Katherine

By Elizabeth Leonard


Dear Katherine,

In early July, my grandmother was having her 90th birthday. My Aunt had asked me to come with Matthew to Denver to surprise my grandmother for her birthday. Denver was hot, dry, and it was a miserable trip. Matthew, who was two years old, was difficult to travel with because he was so frightened of new things. I was feeling odd and dehydrated. When I returned home, I had started to “spot” some blood. We immediately went to see the doctor and he performed an ultrasound to see if they could tell if I had a viable pregnancy. This was about Week 5. They really couldn’t tell and I was told to return a week later. The spotting eventually diminished and at Week 6, the ultrasound showed a tiny heart beating fast. It was the most fascinating thing to see on the monitor. I was pregnant and the baby was definitely alive!! I was sent home and told to take it easy which is kind of hard to do with a two-year old around the house. We were ecstatic!

But I was very, very sick and could not hold anything done after eating any meals. The doctors kept saying that by the 14th week, the nausea would go away. That came and went and then they would tell me by the 20th week, I would feel better. Then the docs started to get concerned because I wasn’t getting any better and I wasn’t gaining any weight. I called the doctor at Week 27 because I just could not eat without throwing up. He then told me that I would probably be sick for the entire pregnancy and I was!

My labor started at the 39th week of pregnancy. I was outside on the driveway watching Matthew play while waiting for Dad to come home from work. My swollen body, including my feet, which could only fit in slip-on shoes, allowed me to move very slowly. I was about as green as I always was at that time of the day.

We had our usual dinner and bath routine and nighttime bed stories with Matthew. Nothing seemed amiss and we went about our usual evening. I woke up about 1:00 a.m. and felt some small contractions--very subtle, just a tightening of the stomach muscles. I laid in bed for a while and decided it was time to have my baby. I woke dad up and we called the hospital just to make sure that we should come in. With Matthew, it was easy to tell. My water had begun to seep. This was different. I went to the bathroom before we left, and my mucous plug came out and it was in the toilet. It was strange though because my water had not broken.

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Elizabeth Leonard - I am a mother of two adult children. This is a story of my daughter's birth (2nd child), who was born 29 years ago. We did not know the sex of either of our children in my pregnancies. It was a different time for having children. There weren't as many services or information available to newly pregnant women. Most of the information we received were from other mother's birth experiences or from Dr. Spock. Each pregnancy and birth is so special that it was hard to just pick one for this story. I hope all of these stories inspire other new mamas to share in their own birthing experience. They are stories you never forget!