BECOMING A MOM By: Frances M. McCrory-Meservy May 1966

I gained weight all over. I was finally not 30 pounds underweight. I felt great. The only problem I had was sciatica. I was so big with Stephi that there was a tremendous amount of pressure on the sciatic nerve.

The last night Al and John were in town, one of the restaurants in Buna gave us a free dinner. We had a wonderful meal and enjoyed the company. When we were through, I could not stand up. Al and John carried me out to the car amidst laughter. The owner made a comment about how bad that looked for his business as he laughed.

Three weeks after she was due, my brother, Sam and I went to the grocery store. I got a catch in my left hip so bad I could not move (sciatica). I leaned on the meat counter laughing and Sam started rubbing my hip. The owner started to call an ambulance: he thought I was in labor. I was laughing too hard to tell him different. All I could do was shake my head no and finally was able to tell him I just had a bad catch in my hip. He and Sam helped me to the car. He made me promise I would not go shopping again until I had the baby.

Stephi was a very active baby. She never stopped moving unless I lay curled up next to Al. Then she would get still and go to sleep. After he left, I tried everything. Finally I discovered if I cuddled up to a pillow and left the light on, she would get still enough so I could get some sleep.

Common practice in 1966 was to have a saddle block when you had a baby. I wanted to have mine naturally without the aid of drugs. The nurse said Dr. Todd would never allow that. When I first saw him, I asked if that was possible. He examined me and said we could do it because of the way I was built. All he would have to do is catch the baby.

Stephi liked to stretch. I would be in tears it hurt so bad. Al showed Mom how to find her rear and tap it gently. She would immediately curl up and I could breath again. The stretching pulled my skin and muscles away from my ribs.

I began to hear a clicking sound. It sounded the same as when I would click one fingernail on the other. It felt like I was being scratched inside. The Dr. said there was no way she could have nails that long or strong. When she was born, he found out he was wrong. They had to put socks on her hands so she could not scratch herself.

Stephi was a month overdue when I finally went into labor with her. On May 11 I started having contractions. It felt like a belt tightened around my abdomen; but there was no pain. Around midnight the contractions were five minutes apart. Mom took me to the hospital.

Why do they put a clock on the wall in the labor room with only a minute hand and a second hand? That really irritated me.

About 5 AM, I started having back labor. I thought my back was going to break in half. About 6:10 PM the nurse told me to lay on my left side because my babyís head was about a quarter inch out of the birth canal. I told her I would throw up if I did. She got me a pan; I turned on my left side; threw up and almost instantly had the urge to push.

Finally at 6:34 PM they took me to the delivery room. On the way the nurse kept telling me not to push because the Dr. was not there yet. I told her there was no way I could not push. Dr. Todd barely got there in time to catch Stephi.

Stephanie April Meservy was born May 12, 1966 at 6:36 PM in Baptist Hospital during a hurricane in Beaumont, Jefferson Co., TX.

At 6:47 they brought Stephi out of the delivery room in an incubator. She was 19 inches long, weighed 8 lbs. 8 ounces and was up on her elbows looking around. She was so alert they decided to try a color test. She would follow the colors instead of the grayscales with her eyes. They determined she could already see colors at birth. (My Mom said I was 19 inches long, 6 lbs. 8 ounces and was up on my elbows looking around when I was born.) Stephi looked just like her Dad; but had my brown eyes.

Delivery was very easy for me; but I tore. The Dr. put me to sleep because he said the stitches would hurt worse than the delivery.

Over the next few days my Dr. sent Momís-to-be up so I could tell them about what it felt like to have a baby naturally. Labor hurt; but delivery was hard, not as painful and a relief.

I was huge and had more milk than necessary. The hospital asked if I would mind nursing a couple of other babies because their Momís didnít have milk yet. I had plenty for Stephi and the other two babies. I said OK and did for three days.

Stephi would be asleep in the nursery; other babies would start to cry; she would lift her head up; give them a dirty look; turn her head over and go back to sleep. We realized later she had nerve damage and was deaf in her left ear. Thatís why when she turned her head over she could sleep.

Alís XO came back off leave. His wife almost died: she was three weeks past due. He gave Al leave to come home and be with me because I was almost a month past due. He made it home the day after Stephi was born.

My cousin Marie found her way around floodwaters to the airport. She collected Al and brought him to the hospital. My Aunt Margaret came to the hospital and had me fix my hair, etc. She did not tell me why. What a wonderful surprise when Marie brought Al in with her. I was overcome with joy.

My Dr. was old fashioned and insisted I stay in the hospital for 7 days. Al was on two weeks leave. I could hardly wait to go home.

We had a week together at home as a family and Al had to go back to the ship in Panama.

Gen 3:16 To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you."

Psa 128:3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table.

Background picture of Baptist Hospital Birth Certificate, Fran with Stephanie (1 day old, Stephi 2 weeks old, Al with Stephie 1 week old) - picture taken by Fran's Mom in Beaumont and Buna, Texas

Unequally Yoked

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