An Online Journal for Women by Women
An Online Journal for Women by Women
The trauma of birth doesn't predict the future

My First Child: The Story of Geoffrey’s Birth

I was so excited to be pregnant. At 23, I was young and healthy and worked until five days before the birth of my baby. (I quit on his due date, but he was late, a precursor for the future.)

When the pains started, they were about 10 minutes apart. I waited until they were eight minutes, and told my (then) husband, Sig, it was time. When we arrived at the hospital, I was told I was dilated a few centimeters but that I might as well stay rather than go home only to return an hour later. That “hour” was a bit optimistic. Seventeen hours later, I went into active labor.

I had planned to get an epidural, but the doctor said the baby was too big, it would be too difficult for me, and it was best that I be anesthetized and sleep through the birth. It was a disappointment, but I was a baby myself—what did I know?

After the birth, I learned that my baby weighed just 6 lbs, 9 oz. I was mad! That certainly was not too large for me to have given birth while awake! Ah, but here’s the rub: Geoffrey had a really big head, and the doctor had difficulty getting him out of the birth canal. He used forceps to pull him out, and I received 40 stitches! (To this day, he has a bald spot shaped like forceps where hair never grew.)

Because of the trauma of his birth, when they brought him to me (in the hall—they didn’t even have a room for me at the time) he looked like he’d been through a war zone. Later, my mom came to see me, and I asked, “Did you see my baby?”

“Yes, I did,” she said.

I started to cry and said, “Mmmy baaby’s (hic) so (hic) uuugly!”

“He is not!” she declared. “He’s a nice baby.”

nice baby? A nice baby! She’s the grandma and the best she can say is, “He’s a nice baby”? I mean you might say, “It’s a nice dress; It’s a nice day,” but a nice baby? Really? Now I knew he was ugly.

That turned out to be just silly young mommy hysteria. By the time we left the hospital four days later, he was adorable, and he grew to be a precious child and handsome man.

However, he really did have a big head for a little boy. When he was a toddler, I had to buy shirts that had two buttons on the shoulder that I could open to pull his shirt over his head. I wonder if they still make those…

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