Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Prologue

The story of Laura begins with the plan.  Life as a medical intern and resident in the early 1980’s was not easy.  I had to be “on call” every third night usually which meant I had to stay overnight in the hospital.
So, your mother and I decided that we would wait until my “on call” nights had ended so that I would be home every night after you were born.  My “on call” nights were scheduled to end in early 1983 so that was the year we planned to have a baby!
On top of that consideration, your mother decided that she really didn’t want to be 9 months pregnant in the winter in Baltimore (for reasons that you can see below from February 1983) and she didn’t want to be 9 months pregnant in the hot and humid Baltimore summer.
I was therefore “requested” to plan for a baby to be born in either April of May of 1983!!!!!  
My medical training came in handy as I plotted to “carry out” the plan in early August of 1982.  My friends at Hopkins advised me to take night call “every other night” so as to theoretically increase the chances of success with my plan.
I was “on call” at Hopkins on the night of August 5, 1982 which was memorable only in that I received a call from someone in India who wanted to know if he should agree to a pre-arranged marriage to a woman with polio.  Weird.
I got home around 7 PM on Friday, August 6, took a rest, watched “Tarzan the Ape Man” on HBO and then put my plan into action!!!!!
Saturday was another night on call and then I was back home on Sunday morning.  We had “Chicago pizza”, watched a movie called “Under the Rainbow” and then…
Monday was another “on call” night and then, on Tuesday August 10, it was on to Round #3 after playing softball with the Hopkins Neurology team!!!!  
So the “Story of Laura” definitely begins sometime between August 6-10, 1982!!!
It was then time to just “wait and see” for a few weeks. The picture below was taken around August 15, 1982 in our back yard and it the first known photo of you at about 1 week!
On September 8, I took a urine sample from your Mom to the Hopkins ER (there were no home test kits back then) and the test was positive!!!  It was not a surprise, of course, yet we were both a bit subdued due to the major significance of the news.  Your Mom was a bit more sleepy than normal but otherwise quite fine.  That weekend, we went to Justin and Julie’s wedding in Easton, MD., where the second known photo of you was taken at about 4 weeks!pastedGraphic_1.png
Monday, September 13 was the first OB appointment with Dr. Victor Khouzami, who obviously confirmed my diagnosis!  I met your mother on Orkney Road after work and we told Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop the big news.  We then went to Ballygar Road to tell Grandmom and Grandpop.  Needless to say, everyone was happy and excited.  The prenantal vitamins started later that week:
The picture below is of poor quality but it was taken on Sunday, September 19, 1982 at about 6 weeks).  Nice wood pile in the back yard, huh?
On a personal note, at this point in time, I was also trying to figure out what to do after my residency.  I had received a tentative offer in August to go to the San Francisco VA Hospital (with UCSF) from a colleague (Dr. Mike Moskowitz) but he decided to stay at Harvard so I was bummed.  Then, on September 20, 1982, I got a call from the Chairman of Neurology at Stanford (Dr. David Prince) which ended up having a major impact on our lives.
Everything was moving along smoothly with your pregnancy with excessive sleepiness of your mom being the only real difference that I noticed at this point in time.  We had an OB appointment on Monday, October 11 (~2 months) when we first saw your heartbeat!!).
On Sunday, October 24 (2.5 months), we took a drive to Prettyboy Reservoir in Northwest Baltimore County to look at the Fall trees…which were not that great.  The proof is shown below:
We had a big Halloween party at our house on Saturday, October 30 with ~60 people.  I was a hockey player, as you can see below.  I still look about the same, don’t I?????
On Monday, November 8 (at 3 months), we saw Dr. Khouzami again and we were able to hear your heartbeat for the first time.

The first sign of your baby bump was on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1982.  We went to the Jarosinski dinner from 1-4 (and I played Atari games) and then to Ballygar with your grandparents and Busia.
The maternity clothes came out shortly thereafter (November 28, 1982):
At the 4 month point, after buying more maternity clothes on December 3:
We decorated the Christmas tree on December 12:
And exchanged gifts at Ballygar on Christmas Eve… 
And then at home…I gave your mother the famous Dr. Spock Baby Book.

Yo u spent your first Christmas with both sets of families throughout the day.
And your first New Year’s Eve was a somewhat less than wild party at my friend John Schmidt’s house:

As a bit of an aside, you might like to know what music you would have been hearing in utero so here are the #1 songs from the end of 1982:
And the start of 1983:
1983 started out well.  On Monday, January 3, we saw Dr. Khouzami for the 5 month visit and all was well.  Later that evening, at 8:45 PM, I got a call from Dr. Prince at Stanford offering me a job! 
You were growing quickly, as you can see below in a photo from January 17, 1983:
As well as on January 30 (at almost 6 months) on Super Bowl Sunday:
On Friday, February 11, the “Blizzard of ‘83” started.  There were high winds, lightning and thunder as 23” of snow fell in 24 hours (the second highest total ever at that time in Baltimore).  I was even excused from having to go to the hospital (a rare event!).  The sun was out on Saturday the 12th so the entire neighborhood went out to shovel (even you, sort of!).
A good job was done by all…
But I was exhausted!
We saw Dr. Khouzami again on February 14 (at ~6 months) and I gave your mother your crib as a gift!
On February 17th, we attended our first “Childbirth Class” at GBMC.  You were coming soon!  The next classes were on February 24 and 26 and then March 5.  The photo below was taken on March 4 (at ~7 months):
At this point in time, it’s may be good to tell you that we used to like a TV show on Friday evenings called “Remington Steele”.  The actress shown below (Stephanie Zimbalist) was named Laura on the show.  I liked that name for many reasons and we ended up selecting that name for you “if” you were a girl (as we did not know your sex at this point in time).
We saw Dr. Khouzami on March 7 (~7 months) and all was well.  
It was definitely time to get ready for you so I built a rocker for your mother on March 12th (after another childbirth class).  It ended up getting used a lot!
I was off to Stanford on the 14th due to my job offer.  I bought some baby clothes for you at the Stanford Bookstore and spent a lot of time looking at houses during the week, including 861 Allardice Way for the first time. From, SFO, I went to a Neurochemistry meeting in Honolulu on Sunday, March 20. I returned from the long trip on March 25 and we attended the final childbirthing class on March 25. 
The celebrations were about to begin…
First was a baby shower from the other school teachers at St. Thomas More.  The cake was pretty fancy:
And lots of gifts were brought home…
On Easter Sunday, April 3, you got your first Easter Basket!
On April 4, you attended your first Orioles game (the season opener) at Memorial Stadium, even though you really didn’t watch, which was good since they lost 7-2 to Kansas City!
On April 10, there was a surprise Baby Shower at Aunt Helen’s for you.  A good time seemed to be had by all:

Meanwhile that day, I built your crib!
We saw Dr. Khouzami again on April 11 (~8 months).  We bought your crib mattress on April 13 and you tried it out for the first time:
On Thursday, April 14, there was another shower for you, this time at your mother’s Aunt Pat’s.  Once again, it looked like a good time was had by all (I hung out at home with Grandpop):
On Saturday, April 16, we attended a wedding (Vera Perry, a work friend of your mother).  I am pretty sure that this is the first time that you ever danced:
We saw Dr. Khouzami again on April 18 as the appointments were now weekly.  All signs continued to be great with a due date of May 4th
We attended a breastfeeding class on April 20th, although I am not sure why I was there!
Monday, April 25th was an unusually cold day (42 degrees) and rainy.  We went to see Dr. Khouzami as scheduled who said that “it was too early yet”.  I got calls from the hospital around midnight and 1:30 AM so I didn’t get to sleep until~ 2:30 AM.  
At 5:30 AM, your mother woke me to say that she had water leakage.  We timed her contractions and we called Dr. Khouzami.   It was time to head to GBMC!
By 8 AM, we were all set and everything was going well:
I will spare you all of the technical medical details except to say that all continued to progress smoothly until about 11 AM when the contractions stopped!  Apparently, you had to finish some of your prenatal activities!  
Not much happened for the next few hours.  We watched old TV show reruns and some of the NFL Draft (it was a famous one since the Baltimore Colts drafted John Elway from Stanford #1 and he refused to join the team!).
At 2:30 PM, your Mom started pushing but still no progress!  It was exhausting and not a pleasant experience but she kept going.  Around, 5 PM, Dr. Khouzami said that the time had come for an intervention and a spinal block was given…

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