The Story of Vera and Her Family, chapter 1

17 11 2007

In 2001, Vera was preparing to go overseas to teach in Ukraine for a year. She asked me to write the story of her life. It was impossible to write just about Vera so I wrote about our family from the years l979 to 2001. Someday, I hope to write our complete family story starting from the year l974. In the meantime, we have at least some very good accounts of family history with this little book. Each week, I will try to post a chapter. I hope our story will encourage families that are struggling to keep pressing on in faith. Surely, I could never have imagined how wonderful our lives would turn out. In the nitty gritty of having small children , I experienced a great deal of depression. I didn’t drive a car at the time, and was housebound unless a friend or my husband took me places. I didn’t drive as a way of life until l989. Thankfully, those kind of fears are past me. Today I’m a functional driver and go and come as I please. May the Lord bless each family that reads these little posts!




The Story of Vera and Her Family


Chapter 1: Vera is Born

I have always loved the fall. There is no doubt that each of you children were conceived in the fall. Even now the crisp cool air, hot tea, apples, cider, hot chocolate, leaves turning colors and then falling–beckon to my warmest emotions.

Is it any wonder then that was my special season of conception?

As early as December l978 approached, I knew that once again I was with child. I can remember nursing Maria in the summer and having an inner knowledge that I would conceive again soon. Yet truthfully, we faithfully practiced birth control. You my dear, were certainly meant to become a living human being.

I was so very tiny when I had my first prenatal checkup. I weighed only 117 lbs. My biggest fear was: “How will I manage with two preschool children and two babies?” My doctor at the time expressed that you would be the icing on the cake. I liked what he said a great deal.

I stayed very tiny my entire pregnancy. I had my usual first trimester nausea. Ben and Sandy used to follow me to the bathroom and watch me throw up.

We had just moved to our first “new to us home” in October. We enjoyed the newness of our home throughout my pregnancy .

My long time girlfriend loaned me her maternity clothes. They were so feminine and a change from what I’d worn for the past three pregnancies. I felt so pretty when I wore them.

I stayed so busy taking care of Ben, Sandy and Maria. During my pregnancy with you, Maria developed serious ear infections. When she was only 7 months old, she had tubes placed in her ears. (Ben suffered that way also but didn’t have tubes put in his ears until he was two years old).

In February of your prenatal days, we had a visit from Joan (your dad’s sister) and her family. We all went to the Birmingham zoo.

In May, your dad’s parents drove from Iowa to visit us. They came once a year the first five years of our marriage.

We attended Briarwood Presbyterian Church at the time. We were friends with a couple that had six children. They were expecting their seventh child soon. We went to their home for dinner one Saturday evening. Likewise, we had them visit our home for a meal. Now looking back, I can’t imagine how we packed that many folks into our tiny home for a meal. We both gave birth to baby girls. When we left Briarwood , we lost contact with this family.

The spring and early summer were exciting times for Ben, Sandy and Maria. I spent a great deal of time watching them play. I sat on either the front or back porch. Maria was always in her pumpkin seat right next to me. Ben and Sandy loved to drive their little toy cars and play on the backyard swing set.

In April of l979, some dear friends of mine, drove my mother to Birmingham for a visit. At that time, their son and his wife were living in Georgia. They dropped mom at our home on their way to see Bill and Liz. It was the only time Mom got to visit with us before her health took a bad turn. Mother’s Parkinson’s disease was getting worse. She stayed out in our living area as much as she could but always retreated to the bedroom in the afternoon. She had terrible shaking spells.

During her visit, Birmingham experienced a terrible flood. It was similar in devastation to the l997 flood experienced in our now Western Kentucky town. The creek beside our home was already overflowing a mile or so beyond us. Right where we were living–the creek swelled a foot beyond the banks, We were very fortunate that it stopped with that.

Mother never had the health to visit us again. She worried terribly about my emotional health as much as my physical health. I lost my temper when Ben and Sandy poured water over Maria’s head. Maria had tubes in her ears. The water caused another serious infection. Mother was horrified at my losing my temper. The flood was a concern to mother. She didn’t like us living so close to a creek. Over all, mother’s visit was special. I never could have imagined that we would never have such a visit again.

Ben scared me during the last month of my pregnancy. He had a toy red bucket that he absolutely loved. It accidently got thrown in the creek. Ben started into the creek with me right behind him screaming for him to stop. The creek was only two feet deep. Ben was not quite four years old. It was certainly deep enough for him to drown. I screamed and hollered, but he just kept right going. I couldn’t chase him. He waded all the way down to where our friend , Pauline, lived. A lady heard me screaming and went into the creek to rescue Ben . I spanked him when I got him back to the house. Even today , he remembers the incident well and tells me that I was overly concerned.

Some friends of ours, ( a young married couple) agreed to take care of Ben, Sandy and Maria, while I was in the hospital. I had a great amount of false contractions the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy. I was stressed out! Furthermore, I was quite cranky with my doctors. Finally, the evening of July 4th, I felt my contractions were steady enough to check into the hospital. We called this couple and they came quickly.

We arrived around 6:30 p.m. at St. Vincent’s Hospital. A pelvic exam revealed that I was indeed in labor. While I was in the labor room, there was a report on the television that the nationwide trucking strike had ended. That strike had caused me a great deal of anxiety. I was glad to know it had ended. I had been afraid that there wouldn’t be enough food left in the grocery store.

My doctor joked with me during your birthing process how I had interrupted his BBQ.

There was a great deal of joy and elation as you came forth! “It’s a girl!” And from that moment, we called you Vera Joy. When they got ready to move me to the recovery room, ,my doctor joked that “there wasn’t much to lift.” The next day I weighed in at 120 lbs. I only weighed 134 lbs full term.

I struggled my teenage years and most of my young adult years with anemia. So I was anemic and way to thin at your birth. Nurses came in to talk to me about nutrition and birth control. The non Catholic student nurses tried to talk me into getting my tubes tied at the nearby Baptist hospital. Even if I had wanted to go that route, I simply didn’t have the strength .

Maria was only eleven months old and was not even walking when we arrived home. Unless you were in your baby bed, I kept you in the your pumpkin seat. That way the “gang” could see you but not harm you by accident.

Right away I noticed a lump in your right eyelid. Our pediatrician wanted me to squeeze the pus out of your eye several times a day. However, within a couple of weeks your eye was purple with infection. We took you to an eye doctor. He told us you had a very severe blockage in your tear duct. He placed you on antibiotics. I put them in your formula and within days your eye improved. I still had to drain that lump. He decided to do surgery on your tear duct when you were just three weeks old. You were so tiny and helpless, having weighed only 6 lbs and 1 oz at your birth. We had to let you cry all night because we couldn’t feed you prior to surgery. You cried and cried. Finally, you started sucking on Dad’s thumb until the nurses came and got you. This just torn my emotions up.

The doctor declared your surgery a success. We went home with high hopes. They soon dashed! That awful lump came back and also your purple eye. We were so crestfallen. Back we went to the eye doctor. He placed you on another round of antibiotics. Again, when your eye cleared, surgery was performed. This surgery was not a success. He told us that he believed that you didn’t have a right tear duct. He referred us to a pediatric eye specialist. He put you on antibiotics to clear the infection up. This doctor wanted to wait until you were three months old before her operated on you.

The surgery took a couple of hours. He had a very difficult time and told us you were born with a deformed tear duct. He repaired the tear duct. Thankfully, you have never had anymore problems.




One response

18 11 2007

Thanks for posting my story. I was a beautiful baby, wasn’t I? (Just joking. I know that I was your most mischievious kid!)

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