Thirty two years ago today, our 5th child was born. My husband Jerry and I had recently moved with our four young daughters to Doraville, Georgia (suburb of Atlanta). We had selected a small local hospital in a neighboring town, Chamblee to give birth to our 5th child.
It was not the practice at that time to do sonograms on non-risk pregnancies. We had no idea of the gender of our new baby. With four girls, we also had no reason to suspect we would be having a boy. I could tell this particular baby was significantly larger than any of the girls had been, but I had an aunt who had been born at 12 lbs. Still, I was convinced this baby would be a son!
Our baby was due on September 2, 1984. I knew we would probably be moving back to the Dallas, Texas area where the headquarters of Frito-Lay (Jerry's employment) was. I wanted the baby to be born on or before the first of September so we would have the choice of whether or not we could enroll our child in Kindergarten when he or she was 5 or whether we would wait until he or she turned 6. The cutoff date was September first. I went jogging around on the hills in our neighborhood on August 31st. Not a wise thing to do, but it seemed to work. About a month earlier, I had been put on bed rest to make sure the baby did not come too early.
I cannot describe the elation I felt when our first son was born! I was so delighted to find out that I was right about him being a boy, I forgot to have the after baby blues! He weighed over a pound more than our largest daughter. He was 9 lbs. 2 ozs. And 22 inches long. He did not curl up like a newborn does, where they draw their legs tightly up to their abdomen. Jerry laid out flat right from the start.
They used to keep us several days in the hospital back then. On the second day, the nursery delivered the wrong baby to my bed. I knew it was not him immediately! “This is not my baby!” I told the nurse. “YOU BRING ME MY BABY!”
“This IS your baby Mrs. Martin,” she tried to reassure me. “Let’s check your tags.” She checked our tags and said, “Oh, this is NOT your baby.” I think I beat her down to the nursery. He stayed in my room for the remainder of our stay.
I was so convinced I would have a boy, I only packed a boy’s outfit in my hospital bag for his trip home . I had it all washed up and ready to dress him in. If he had been a girl, she would probably have had to wear a little blue nautically themed outfit home. It would probably have fit her better. As it was, I had to shove Jerry into the outfit and it was difficult to snap it.
“You need to take that outfit back to the store,” remarked the nurse who was helping me dress him. “It’s too small.”
“No,” I replied, “I’ve already washed it and he’s going home in it.” It would be the only time he would wear that cute little outfit, but he did go home in it! Home to his four excited sisters and visiting grandmother (Genevieve Johnson).
"Little Jerry" (we named him Jerald Lynn Martin after his father), was a very pleasant little guy. He only cried when he was hungry or had been startled. Then his little face would wrinkle up and he would wail. Another thing to note, he had the biggest feet I have ever seen on a newborn!
Happy 32nd birthday, "Little" Jerry!