I learned something alarming this weekend while talking to my mother. She says that she’s told me this a million times – that I was born two or three months prematurely! When I pressed her for details she thinks it was closer to three months…
but that I was so alert when I was born that her friend, who delivered the baby, abstained from putting me in the incubator. And that I was only 2.5 kg when I was born. At first I was horrified because I’ve entered the later part of my pregnancy, the last six weeks, when I’ve begun wondering at what point could I go into labor and still have a normal, healthy baby. In other words, how many days until I’m out of the woods? Never really, I know, but this is one marker for me.
Then my sister, who happened to have done her doctoral research in the field of pre-term birth, assured me that there was no way my mother’s story could be true. First of all, a 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) is an average birth weight in Asia, so that I was probably closer to term – perhaps two to three weeks before the due date, but definitely not two to three months. Furthermore, my sister insists that there was no way a baby born two to three months prematurely forty years ago would not have spent a considerably amount of time in intensive prenatal care.
So where does the wacky story come from? Well, we believe that my mother and father concocted that story about my premature birth so it would not have appeared that they had had sex before getting married in late 1967 (I was born in May 1968 ) and that now – that now my mother has actually come to believe her own story.
Talking to my sister put my mind at ease, because Chad and I had our big hike planned for this weekend and I had no intention of going if indeed there was a history of premature birth in my family.
I don’t harbor any grudge against my mother because I’ve been telling people for years that Bella was six pounds at birth and when I found her birth document this weekend, I discovered that Bella had actually been a full seven pounds when she was born – a completely average respectable weight. Well, a pound’s difference is different than a complete invention, but it is funny how time changes and solidifies your stories.
My mother also tried to convince me to have this baby in a hospital (because of my age) but then conceded that she and all nine of her own siblings were born at home without any incident between eighty-seven and sixty-eight years ago. As was my father and all three of his siblings.
So it was an interesting, lively conversation with my mom, but it didn’t change any of Chad’s and my plans: We intend to have a home birth and Saturday Chad and I hiked the roundtrip 9.5 miles to Sitton Peak and back.
We hiked very slowly and brought plenty of food, but the distance still kicked both our butts. Or more accurately, the distance, plus the heat (today it was 97 degrees!), and the final .5 mile goat trail scramble to the actual peak kicked both of our butts. We have spent a very leisurely Sunday moving as little as possible and consuming lots of calories. It was no San Jacinto, which we hiked this time last year, but there was a decent 2150′ elevation gain and Sitton Peak is considered the highest peak in the Santa Ana Mountains south of the Ortega Highway. It was our third weekend in the same area and it was nice to see and smell the passage of different spring flowers on the trail. This weekend a mint/sage type bush was in papery white bloom all over the place driving the bumblebees crazy and filling the air with a sweet fragrance.
I think it was enough of a hike to assuage Chad’s fear about being limited by my pregnancy and the soon-to-arrive baby. It had better be.