When I was pregnant with my second child, I would come home from working at the Portland Press Herald all day, lay on the couch and “play doctor” with Jess, my 21?2-year-old daughter – I was the patient. She would take my temperature, rub my forehead, and use all the other things in her special doctor kit to make me feel better. For me, it was not only quality time with my first born, it also was a half hour or so off my feet. Later in the evening we would lay in her bed together reading, and of course I was the one who fell asleep first.
The second time around, as told by our beautiful cover model, Emily Devlin Micucci on page 10, is different in many ways. Back 20 years ago – or so – the term “birth plan” was not popular. But I went into the delivery room the second time with some very specific “birth demands.” Some worked out, some did not. But overall, the second time around was a much more manageable experience – until (after my little cherub was born safely) I hemorrhaged about 3 gallons of blood and the entire staff went into a panic. Nothing a transfusion couldn’t fix – but it was a mess!
At that time, there were no “push presents” and the term – as far as I know – hadn’t been coined yet. Not familiar with it? Read Katie Bell’s piece on page 17. My push present the first time around – after 28 hours of labor – was a large pair of forceps (think giant barbecue tongs) inserted into the birth canal to basically yank the baby out. And for my second little miracle, I got the transfusion, a catheter and clogged milk ducts. I did get one great present, for me, delivered to my door a few days after I came home with my second child. My sister Nancy had a full meal delivered from the Village Inn in Belgrade – roast duckling with all the wonderful sauces – ready to reheat and enjoy. I will never forget the pure joy I felt from that simple gesture.
The whole issue of testing was scary for me during my pregnancies. I had a niece born and living with spina bifida, so not only was I worrying about the health of my unborn child, but also thinking about how any choices that I might have to make would affect my relationships with family members. You can read about 21st-century testing trends on page 6.
I can’t finish this column without saying that you must learn all about a tense vagina on page 21. Seriously, it’s a thing, and it can be remedied in ways that are more pleasant than any of the poking, prodding, stretching, tearing and bruising that most of us endure during pregnancy and child birth.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Maine Women magazine. We have many exciting things in store for you in 2016. Stay tuned.