None of my babies came easy. When labor started this time we stayed home only for a short while before heading to the hospital. We dropped Heidi off with Wanda and Glen Jantz before we started for town. It was two or three in the morning.
There was no traffic, even so, every time we can to a stop sign I begged Larry not to stop. I wasn’t worried about getting to the hospital in time, I didn’t like the feel in my tummy when he slowed the car. It felt like I was stopping but my tummy would keep going. I guess the baby was on a nerve or something making it feel like that. I remember begging him not to stop at the light when we came across the overpass in Turlock. He took his foot off the gas and the light turned green just in time.
Labor was long again. I just thought it was for everyone. I didn’t realize some women have a much easier time than me delivering their babies. After many hours of labor, when the nurse said all the numbers were right, my baby still was not progressing as it should to be delivered.
Dr. Bigelow told the nurse, to take me to delivery when my contractions reached the point of no time between and I’d been pushing for two or three hours. The mirrors and lights were all set up so I could watch my baby be born. I had seen Heidi be born and it was a memory I will treasure forever.
The nurses hurried actions and a sound of concern in my doctor’s voice made me think of the day our twins were born. I had a horrible fear for a moment something awful was about to happen again. I said out loud I hoped everything they were doing was normal and there wasn’t a problem. The nurse assured me everything was alright. The nurse’s name was Miss Mott. She had been my nurse when the twins were born and when Heidi was born. She was with me every time I delivered a baby.
With Miss Mott’s assurance I relaxed a little and watched as my baby was born. An instrument about the size of a small Dixie cup on the end of a tiny hose was inserted and pushed to the top of my baby’s head. A quiet humming began. The doctor said this procedure, called “”Vacuum Extraction,” was not uncommon when babies refused to progress. The doctor instructed me to push and push again. This went on for another twenty minutes or so. My baby just refused to move.
Miss Mott put her hand on mine and said, “Now Joyce, I know you can do this…push your very hardest, I want to see this baby!” Another round of pushing began. Miss Mott began cheering when the doctor said the baby was finally moving. I was watching all this in the mirrors. I remember thinking how interesting that they’d stick something inside of someone, attach it to a baby’s head, and pull the baby out. When I realized it was me I was watching it wasn’t quite so interesting. I just wanted it over and my baby in my arms.
Finally, with a push I thought might blow my eyes right out of my head, Robin was born. The doctor handed Robin to Miss Mott who turned and put her in a little bed. She did not cry or breathe. Miss Mott said something to the doctor and my heart began to pound.
Miss Mott said in a rather loud voice, “She’s a beauty but she’s not breathing.” Then she added, “I’ll lift her and spank her.” Dr. Bigelow said in a commanding voice, “No! This little girl has been through enough we are not going to spank her too!” Then he added, “Watch this.” He gently nudged Miss Mott to the side. He began rubbing the bottom of Robin’s feet. When there was no response he rubbed harder. “Come on little one,” he said, “this is your birthday and there are people here waiting to meet you!” He rubbed even harder thumping a little in the center of her feet as he rubbed.
I could see her. She had not pinked up yet. Then her little hand jerked and her fingers closed and opened again. “Well,” Dr. Bigelow said smiling, “she’s breathing and pinking nicely, she’s evidently just not going to cry for us today.” Dr. Bigelow and Miss Mott were both beaming as they placed my brand new baby girl on my tummy.
When the nurse handed her to me I remember thinking to myself life just couldn’t be any better than it was at that moment. Robin was absolutely beautiful. Without a doubt, she was the prettiest baby I’d ever seen! I introduced my baby Robin Alpha to everyone in the room. Robin’s middle name is Alpha, for Larry’s dear mother, who I missed so greatly during that pregnancy.
By visiting hours that evening two huge lumps had raised on top of Robin's head caused by the vacuum extraction. Mom called her a little valentine. The first time my dad saw her he nearly threw up out of fear something was permanently wrong with our beautiful new little daughter.
The first night Robin was home from the hospital, when I was totally exhausted, she slept through the whole night. The next night she fell into the expected new baby feeding schedule of every three to four hours. What a pleasure she was. What a joy to hold. How I loved being a new mommy again!