I Get Born
I was born on September 4th, and that year it was the day before Labor Day. This fact was always told as if it were funny, but actually it was all part of the birthing story. The doctor did not want my mother to have even one contraction as she was an elderly first-time mother who had a heart weakened by rheumatic fever in childhood. When she went for an appointment on Friday, the 2nd, he told her he wanted her in the hospital right away to await any signs of impending birth there. My mother told him she couldn’t go to the hospital that night, and when asked why, she said, “We’re having steak and lemon meringue pie for supper.”
My mother didn’t go to the doctor until she was almost five months pregnant. At 48, she thought she was “going through the changes,” but my father thought she was pregnant and urged her to go to the doctor. She went from the appointment to a church banquet where my father and aunt and uncle were already seated. She wrote on a piece of paper, “I am having a baby.”, and passed the note around. Legend has it that the three of them could not eat, but my mother ate her meal and some of theirs.
At the time, this pregnancy was a medical miracle. Today my mother would hardly merit a line in the journal, crowded out by many in Hollywood.
More than once my mother told me how sad it made her that everyone thought that she and/or the baby would die so no one bought her a stick of baby clothing or furniture. She said, “They could have bought it and returned it.”
But despite all the misgivings, on a Sunday night at 8:40 P.M., I was delivered by Caesarean section at Baker Memorial Hospital in Boston, Ma. It was three months before my mother’s 49th birthday.
My father described me as very active from birth and said that when I tried to squirm out of my undershirt, my mother called for the nurse to take me back to the nursery.
They named me Dorothy after my mother’s favorite sister, but it was significant that the name meant, “gift of God,” for my parents felt that I truly was that.
(c) Dorothy C. Judd