Twenty Years Ago Today . . .

. . . right about now, actually, I was welcoming my first child into the world.
We knew that Emily’s birth would require a C-section because she was breech.  Although my obstetrician was one of the last left in town who would assist at a vaginal breech delivery, he required that one have a “proven pelvis,” and mine, alas, had not yet been tested.  (I think we can all now agree that I can win all pelvis competitions.)  We wanted her to choose her own birthday, though, and I wanted to experience labor–I had so looked forward to a natural birth!
I woke to signs of labor that morning–it was a Monday.  John called in to work.  We were so excited!  I was scheduled for my regular weekly OB appointment that afternoon, and the doctor agreed that I was in early labor and that he would be happy to schedule the surgery that evening.  We didn’t go straight to the hospital, though–I had something I wanted to do first.
After we completed our errand we reported to St. Mary’s Women’s Pavilion, which is probably the best hospital ever.  And so, it appears from the pictures, did about half of Knoxville.  Emily’s arrival was anticipated with much excitement.  Of our friends, we were the first to have a baby.  She was the first grandchild on both sides as well.  She had four living great-grandmothers and she was the first great-grandchild for three of them.  Looking back at the pictures this evening, I believe I counted twelve people who were in the waiting room while we were in the operating room.
Here’s a picture of John, all suited up and ready for the birth.  He looks a little nervous.  He didn’t know yet how much he was going to enjoy C-sections.  (I never grew to share his enthusiasm.) 
I remember in the operating room asking when they were going to begin and John saying they had already started.  I am not one of these people that cares to watch myself being disemboweled on the operating table.  The screen was up.  A little tugging was all I felt, but I did suffer some sort of anxiety reaction at some point and had to be restrained as I was attempting to get off the table.   I recall John saying, “She’s so small!  She’s so tiny!  She’s a girl!”  He who had hoped for a boy the entire time was instantly smitten.  And she wasn’t tiny–at 8 lbs. 14 oz. she was pretty big, although the smallest of our five.
The trip down the hallway to the recovery room was surreal with all the people running out of the waiting room hoping for a glimpse.  My father even had my sister Betsy (who was away at college) on the phone giving her a play by play.  We had 45 minutes alone to get ourselves together and prepare for the onslaught of admirers.  John spent the time calling his family and out of town friends on the phone, and changing Emily’s first diaper (he had said he wasn’t going to change diapers but he could not stand to see her uncomfortable).
I love this next series of pictures because you can really sense the party atmosphere.  This first one shows John shaking hands with my father, with my Uncle Charlie looking on. 
Mima is in the background just coming into the room.
See in this next one how everyone is arrayed around the bed (which you WILL NOT see because I am in it, looking dreadful) just staring in delight at this wonderful new creature? 
From left to right are my cousin Jeffrey, my Aunt Mary Leslie, and my friends Katrice, Kim, and Rico.  Granny’s hair is visible behind them!  My sister Anne and my cousin Sarah were there too, as was my mother, who must have been taking all the pictures.
Doesn’t it look like a party?  That’s because it was!  The errand we ran before coming to the hospital was picking up a birthday cake.  It was John’s 25th birthday, and right after this picture we cut the cake, while he admired the best birthday present he ever received.

Emily Rose Sholly, three days old

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  1. Betty Sholly says:

    Leslie the special cake Mother.., lam reading your blog. I am reliving all the events? I am not sure of the day. I belive it was the same day you came home from the hospital. Love reading..Love you.

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