Tuesday, December 15, 2009

COG 86: A Baby for Christmas or Maybe Not

This post was written for Part 1 of the 86th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.

My sister is the only person I know that has two Baby's First Christmas ornaments.........from different years!

She is one of those unfortunate souls that has a birthday very near Christmas. Back in the era of our births, technology had not advanced to the state that ultrasounds were available. Therefore, determining a baby's due date still relied upon the little chart that the OB/GYNs carry around in their pockets that gives a due date exactly 40 weeks after a date the mother provides. Of course, this also relies upon all the moons and planets be in perfect alignment, that the tea leaves are read correctly, that the Republicans control one branch of government and the Democrats have the other.....well you get the idea.

Because of my father's construction-related work, we moved a lot when I was a young child. In fact, I lived in five states by the age of four. Therefore, we had to uproot ourselves and our little travel trailer every few months for the next jobsite. My mother had seen a doctor early in the spring that year and didn't have exact dates but was fairly certain of a time range when the baby should arrive, which she thought should be early to mid-December. After we spent the first part of her pregnancy in Hawaii, we came back to Idaho and stayed there (I believe) through the rest of her pregnancy. When we got to Idaho, she found a general practice physician in a neighboring small town who also did obstetrics. She never really cared for this doctor and has grumbled about him for over three decades.

My mother reached a stage where she couldn't pick me up any longer and I'm sure the loss of her lap was a great inconvenience to me. Thanksgiving came and went, as well as early and mid-December. According to my mother, she was just miserable, very big, and spent a great deal of her time lying on the couch. At one of the regularly scheduled physician visits, my mother expressed her concern that the baby still hadn't arrived. This was also the years before inducing labor was really prevalant. At that point my mother's true loathing for this doctor became evident as his reply was "The apple will fall from the tree when it's ready." My mother had thoughts of where he could put his apple!

So Christmas arrived and still no baby. The day after and still no baby. Finally two days after Christmas my mother began to think she was in labor and around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, my mother delivered my baby sister at a whopping 9 lbs, 15 oz! My mother is 5 feet 2 inches tall and she delivered essentially a 10 pound baby that probably should have come via cesarean section. The baby was obviously in very cramped quarters because even the nurse remarked about the v-shaped birthmark on my sister's forehead and how it was likely caused, at least in part, by pressing on my mother's pelvic bone.

My only memories of the new baby were in the car ride home, which was before the era of carseats. My mother rode in the passenger seat holding my sister, while I stood on the floor behind the front seats peering over my mother's shoulder at the baby. The only other memory was probably from within that first month when my mother had me sit on our couch holding the baby in my lap so she could take a picture. I remember the baby being VERY heavy. Looking back at the photos, my mom had propped the baby on a couple of small pillows so her head was upright and I wasn't having to support her, but still to this day I can remember that feeling of heaviness in my lap.

Because her birthday was always over Christmas vacation, she never really had birthday parties with friends. My mother, having a January birthday herself, always made sure that my sister got separate birthday presents from Christmas gifts and that they were all wrapped in birthday paper. We never celebrate her birthday on Christmas and we never use leftover Christmas desserts either. It seems she usually had a birthday cake or her favorite apple pie. But there are lots of birthday photos over the years with the occasional twinkle of Christmas lights in the background. My sister is quick to point out that Christmas and her birthday are two separate events. I think there may have been a hapless boyfriend or two over the years that learned the hard way by trying to combine the two into one gift-giving opportunity!

So to Aunt DeDe, as my girls call her, I wish you a wonderful and very Happy Birthday! I promise to use birthday paper for your present but I may have to sneak a non-red or green Christmas bow on there.


  1. This brings back memories of when I was pregnant with my older daughter. She was supposedly due a few days after Christmas. My in-laws came to visit us and kept looking at me as though to ask: "Isn't this baby ready to come out, yet?" They finally got tired of waiting and went home. My daughter finally arrived on 7 January, Orthodox Christmas. And her head was sort of squeezed together into a point!

  2. A great story, certainly right on theme! Thanks for sharing!

    Bill ;-)


  3. Greta, I was convinced when I had my own children that I would have long overdue babies. Instead, I went into labor 10 days early and 14 with the second one. I was miserable by then so I can't imagine going long past the due date.

    Bill, thanks for the compliment and for stopping by.