Saturday, November 26, 2011


Me with my girls
From time to time as that special day passed I rubbed my belly, enjoying the sensation of tightening as the fundus became firm. I was as confident and ready as a 23-year-old entering motherhood for the first time could be.

For most of the week prior to this day we had gone for walks in the evening, and the tightenings had come for a while, then stopped. Each night as we went to bed I wondered, "Is this the night?" Each morning I awoke, rubbed the bump that protruded under my diaphragm, looked in the mirror at the enormity of my previously flat abdomen, and continued in waiting mode.

The special day was Thanksgiving Day in the USA. We had settled in to our home in Michigan; Noel had commenced his graduate studies in the Dairy Science department at Michigan State University; and we had been invited to join the Professor, Wayne Oxender DVM, and his partner, for our first American Thanksgiving meal.

Our hosts had prepared special food that had significance to the celebration of thanksgiving to God for preserving the lives of the Pilgrim fathers through the previous year, with food stored for the coming winter.

Decorations had been carefully made using corn husks and natural fibers. The turkey had been stuffed and was basted carefully as it roasted to perfection for many hours. I had never seen a turkey like that one. There was abundant sweet corn, sweet potatoes, and corn bread. Probably a dish of spinnach. I don't remember the details. A large bowl was set up with hot apple cider that had sticks of cinnamon floating in it. We dipped into it many times. It was sooo good!

This was a totally new culinary experience for a girl from sunny Queensland. Then pumpkin pie - who ever would have thought of using pumpkin, the staple vegetable, as a dessert? On top of the servings of pumpkin pie someone squirted fake cream out of a pressurised can - the fashion at that time. Who ever would have thought of putting cream into a pressure pac? The irony of using fake cream on this most basic of 'back to the simple life' feasts stuck in my mind, but I was too polite, too blown away, to say anything.

As I said at the start of this post, I was experiencing some tightenings which were preparatory for my labour with my first child, Miriam. That evening the labour became established, and I gave birth the following day.

The good company, good food, and totally new world that we experienced in late November 1973 prepared me for motherhood. Being surrounded by members of the veterinary profession, with their special interest in reproduction and raising of calves, was good for me. I have often reflected on that period in my life, and it has in many ways supported my efforts to work in harmony with natural physiological processes in the birth and nurture of babies in my care.

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