Sunday, June 29, 2014

A letter to my mother from the doctor who delivered me

I lost track of this particular letter for quite a while, and was afraid I had somehow tossed it away.  But the grandson, in the process of remodeling our old house, found a few things I neglected to move, and this letter was among those things.  

My mother lost one baby full-term and had a couple of miscarriages before that.  During her pregnancy with me, she developed what was then called uremic poisoning.  These days there is another name for it, but the name fails me right now.  If you read the words in this letter, you will see just how dangerous it was.  My parents-to-be pretty much assumed that either my mom would die, or I would.  They were asked whether they should concentrate on saving baby or mother, and I remember my dad saying that he told them by all means, save my mother if it came to a choice.  Remember, he lost his mother and his first wife to death in childbirth.  

There are two pages to this letter.  I'm making the pictures larger than I usually do.  I know it's too big for my blog, but as long as people can read it, I'm happy.  I will do other entries, and this one will gradually be pushed to the bottom and nobody will know the difference.  I was born in Iowa, but evidently we moved back to north Missouri shortly after my birth.  

  It seems Mother had written a letter of thanks to the doctor who was present when she finally managed to give birth to a full-term, live baby girl.  I remember her telling me that the doctor told her, as soon as I made my appearance, "It's a little Mary Jane."  

OK, here's page two:

The letter is postmarked July 22.  I was born on July 7.  There is just something I treasure about this letter.  I have to tell you that my parents did not heed the good doctor's advice to not spoil me.  Oh well.


Jon said...

That letter is a real treasure and it's wonderful that it's still in existence. Perhaps you could frame it.

It never fails to amaze me when I see how doctors have changed over the years. They used to be genuinely caring, easily accessible, sincere, family-oriented. Nowadays they are largely condescending and have a God-like attitude of superiority.
There are exceptions, of course, but it is rare.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I think perhaps the term you're looking for is preeclampsia or eclampsia. I carried past my due date a full month, but my doctor was reluctant to induce my labor because he thought that the baby was smaller than she turned out to be. When I showed for the the last doctor visit leaking amniotic fluid he didn't have much choice and finally induced my labor. My blood pressure was dangerously high and I had protein in my urine and I had made up my mind when I went in that morning that I was wasn't leaving without having a baby and/or a different doctor. I was in labor for over 13 hours before I finally fully dilated and had Jessica. She weighed 8 lbs even and they could have done a c-section long before I finally had her. Turns out I was all baby, and even in 1987 when I had her ultrasounds weren't totally reliable for measuring the age/weight and sex of the baby. But all is well that ends well and I was blessed compared to many.


What a wonderful treasure that letter is. My first born and I almost died from preeclampsia. So I know just how grave your mother's condition was. And what a blessing it is you were born healthy.

Margaret said...

What a lovely letter! My parents' doc was also a family friend and went to their church, so he did house calls when needed. He delivered all four of us, as well as my older daughter. He also came to my wedding. I miss the old time relationships that doctors and patients used to have. It's so clinical now.

Lori said...

Yes, that is a treasure. I'm so glad you still have that.

Average Jane said...

Such a great piece of personal history!