Jeanette Zavad

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When were you born?

Jan 17, 1941 on my mother’s dining room table. Momma says Daddy had to help push me out, I was being stubborn.

Wow! And what about your first baby?

Well, Robert was born Apr 22, 1960. He was 8lbs, 11 ¾ oz. He was born in about 5 hours. All my labors were about 5 hours. My water broke at home and so I called Dr. Bell and he asked me if I was having any pains and I says no, so he told me to call him as soon as the pains started. So in a little while I started to get the push pains so I called him back and he said to go ahead and come on in. That was to the local hospital here, I don’t remember what it was called, but it was a small one here in Torrance. Now they’ve turned it into a convalescent home. Well Dr. Bell told me to put all the windows down and come on in, and he knew what he was talking about because the air coming through those windows felt real good.

What happened when you got to the hospital?

Oh they were very friendly. I had to have a shave and an enema and sit on a bucket or bed pan thing because they didn’t want the baby to be born in the toilet, I guess. Well, I got the push pains strong and I says it’s time now, so Dr. Bell gave me a cut and out came Robert. I think I had a saddle block. I don’t remember for sure.

And your next baby?

Next was Jon Charles, and he was born in ’62. With him, we drove up to Bob’s mother’s house and just before I got out of the car, he did a somersault. We hadn’t had any signs of him being breech before. The Dr. said that sometimes there’s a black substance that happens when the baby is breech, but we didn’t have any of that. And I don’t remember if he was feet first or butt first, but he came in at 8lbs 4.5oz.

And after Jon?

Next was Donald in ’63. He was born at South Bay Hospital. He was 8lbs, but he looked heavier. The nurse said she was sure he was 9 lbs, but when we weighed him he was 8. Then there was Michael in ’65 and he was born on my birthday. I wasn’t too happy to share my birthday, but I got over it. I got a baby! He was born at South Bay Hospital too, and that was right when they was coming out with paper diapers. I didn’t like them at all.

What were the paper diapers like?

They were made of paper, but you had to pin them like cloth diapers. They didn’t have the sticky tabs or the Velcro that paper diapers have now, you had to use diaper pins. And they didn’t feel good on the skin. They were just a little stiffer than Kleenex and you had to layer them or they’d leak. And you had to put plastic or rubber pants on over them.

Then next came David in ’69. He was also born at South Bay, and with him I had a ruptured navel and when it came time to push, I was afraid of pushing because I was afraid of blowing up. Dr. Bell was with me for David also. I liked him, he was a good Doc. I was sad to see him retire. We went to him for everything, ‘cause he was a GP (General Practitioner). The one time he couldn’t help me with one of the kids’ illnesses, I think one of the boys had measles, Dr. Bell called a pediatrician. And he was a good guy, too. He dropped everything to come to the house and check out what was happening. He was a really good guy. He had a heart attach some years later and the EMTs couldn’t find him in his house until after he’d already died. Sorry to hear that, he was a good guy.