I interviewed my grandmother to see what it was like for her when she had babies many years ago.
My grandmother had 2 chilren. My mom in 1948 and my uncle in 1953. There were no ultrasounds back then so the doctors could only ‘guess’ what you were going to have. When my grandmother was pregnant with my uncle, he guessed that it was going to be an athletic girl, which was untrue on both accounts…because my uncle is, of course, a male and he is not athletic. My mother remembers being excited to have a sister, and was very disappointed when her parents brought home a brother instead.
My grandma told me that she had false labor pains with my mother, and ended up being sent home from the hospital the first time she went in. They ended up going back the next day, but were very tired from not getting much sleep the previous night. My grandpa fell asleep sitting in a chair with his head on the hospital bed and the doctor gave him a hard time for falling asleep while his wife was in labor. Grandpa was allowed to stay with her until she went into the delivery room.
Grandma was not given a choice for her method of pain relief, and was just ‘put under’. She doesn’t remember how they administered the drugs, but she was not conscious of what was going on during the birth. For the first labor, she had to lay flat on the hospital bed for days after the birth so when she did get up to walk it was very difficult and painful. She stayed in the hospital for a week. For the second labor, they had her up and walking the same day. She was surprised at the differences in just 5 years time.
The babies stayed in the nursery the whole time, and were brought to my grandmother for feedings. She stayed in a 4 bed ward. Side note: One of the women in the ward did not know she was pregnant until she went into labor. My grand mother never did believe her story. For her first baby, Grandma used carnation formula, and was never asked if she would have rather nursed her baby. She said she considered nursing her second baby, but the doctor asked her why she would do that since she didn’t nurse her first.
My grandmother’s mother stayed with her for about a week after my mother was born. They used cloth diapers and since my mother was born in July, they were able to hang the diapers to dry outside. After it got cold, they had to hang them inside to dry.
So what do you think? Sound a little different than today? Who knows what it will be like when our grandchildren are having children!!by