does anyone know what my mother-in-law could be talking about? (re: breastfeeding)

I finally found out why my in-laws are so uncomfortable with and perplexed by my breastfeeding. My mother-in-law claims that she had trouble doing it. First, she told me that she only breastfed each of her two kids for a month each because she had problems. When I asked her what problems, she said she had problems in the hospital because her breasts got hard and milk leaked out and it was "too much." I said I thought it just sounded like her milk coming in and maybe she was an oversupplier like me. She said no, she was ill with a fever (I thought mastitis, but do you get that the day after the baby is born?) and she had to be put in a strait jacket and stay in it in the hospital for 13 days with my husband (??????) and then as soon as his sister was born, she had to ask for the strait jacket and wore it for 11 days. I asked her if she meant a strait jacket like they use in mental hospitals, and she said yes. Could this have been a way of binding her breasts to make her milk dry up? And if this was the case, how could she simultaneously have nursed for a month? (This was in the early 70s both times.)
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Maybe she had bad reactions to the hypnotic medications they used to give back then for labor. There was quite a trend to give women something called "twilight sleep" during labor and then put them out under general anesthesia during the actual delivery. It was usually a medication called scopalamine. It had no pain reduction properties, but it gave women amnesia. In other words, they hurt like hell, but couldn't remember it later, and they were often delusional and wild during labor. If they were lucky they also got a bit of morphine for the pain, but not always. It wasn't uncommon to tie women in restraints during twilight sleep labor...for their own protection, and the staff's protection, because they were kinda crazy.

Scope and morphine also depressed babies pretty well for the first few days after delivery, so they weren't able to nurse. It could be that her poorly nursing baby coupled with her fuzzy head from the drugs she had, made her hard breasts just drip drip and never produce correctly. Recovery from birth took a very long time because of those awful drugs.
Maybe she had bad reactions to the hypnotic medications they used to give back then for labor. There was quite a trend to give women something called "twilight sleep" during labor and then put them out under general anesthesia during the actual delivery. It was usually a medication called scopalamine. It had no pain reduction properties, but it gave women amnesia. In other words, they hurt like hell, but couldn't remember it later, and they were often delusional and wild during labor.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
that's what i was thinking it may have been..

when my sister was born, my mother did not have any pain medications but shared a room with a women (curtains separated them in the birthing room) who had scopalamine.. my mother and father recall the women screaming "bloody murder" while she was giving birth.. it freaked them both out and they still remember it to this day!
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Originally Posted by Poodlehead
Maybe she had bad reactions to the hypnotic medications they used to give back then for labor. There was quite a trend to give women something called "twilight sleep" during labor and then put them out under general anesthesia during the actual delivery. It was usually a medication called scopalamine. It had no pain reduction properties, but it gave women amnesia. In other words, they hurt like hell, but couldn't remember it later, and they were often delusional and wild during labor. If they were lucky they also got a bit of morphine for the pain, but not always. It wasn't uncommon to tie women in restraints during twilight sleep labor...for their own protection, and the staff's protection, because they were kinda crazy.

Scope and morphine also depressed babies pretty well for the first few days after delivery, so they weren't able to nurse. It could be that her poorly nursing baby coupled with her fuzzy head from the drugs she had, made her hard breasts just drip drip and never produce correctly. Recovery from birth took a very long time because of those awful drugs.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
She said she had an epidural with my husband because the doctor recommended it and wanted one with his sister but they wouldn't give her one because she was progressing too fast so she got other drugs - maybe the ones you are talking about?
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That is crazy. I have no idea what she's talking about.
Originally Posted by babywavy
cracking up at your wording, but i have no idea either!
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That is crazy. I have no idea what she's talking about.
Originally Posted by babywavy
cracking up at your wording, but i have no idea either!
Originally Posted by rainshower


haha - when I read it later I was hoping it didn't come across rude or something.

Amneris, I hope you didn't read anything into what I said! I mean no more than I said!

RCW's explanation makes it sound just as crazy. What a horrible experience!
In The Birth Book by Dr. Sears, it talks about how back in teh day they used to give the women all kinds of crazy potent dangerous drugs that really messed with them mentally.
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Maybe she had bad reactions to the hypnotic medications they used to give back then for labor. There was quite a trend to give women something called "twilight sleep" during labor and then put them out under general anesthesia during the actual delivery. It was usually a medication called scopalamine. It had no pain reduction properties, but it gave women amnesia. In other words, they hurt like hell, but couldn't remember it later, and they were often delusional and wild during labor. If they were lucky they also got a bit of morphine for the pain, but not always. It wasn't uncommon to tie women in restraints during twilight sleep labor...for their own protection, and the staff's protection, because they were kinda crazy.

Scope and morphine also depressed babies pretty well for the first few days after delivery, so they weren't able to nurse. It could be that her poorly nursing baby coupled with her fuzzy head from the drugs she had, made her hard breasts just drip drip and never produce correctly. Recovery from birth took a very long time because of those awful drugs.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
She said she had an epidural with my husband because the doctor recommended it and wanted one with his sister but they wouldn't give her one because she was progressing too fast so she got other drugs - maybe the ones you are talking about?
Originally Posted by Amneris

Sounds like she was given twilight drugs during both deliveries. She sounds very confused about both experiences...which is not unusual when listening to birth stories from women who gave birth from the 1940's thru the 1970's. If you think the OB industry is effed up now...it's nothing compared to how effed up it was back then (although they had better outcomes and lower c-sec rates then...go figure...).
Last summer I read Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy. It gives a lot of info about things like "twilight sleep" like RCW described.

Amneris, I don't remember reading anything exactly like what your mother described, but it has been a while since I read it.

Definitely an interesting read!
Life with Lydia

That is crazy. I have no idea what she's talking about.
Originally Posted by babywavy
cracking up at your wording, but i have no idea either!
Originally Posted by rainshower


haha - when I read it later I was hoping it didn't come across rude or something.

Amneris, I hope you didn't read anything into what I said! I mean no more than I said!

RCW's explanation makes it sound just as crazy. What a horrible experience!
Originally Posted by babywavy
nah, I thought it was funny. She does say some things that could be considered "crazy" in general.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Maybe she had bad reactions to the hypnotic medications they used to give back then for labor. There was quite a trend to give women something called "twilight sleep" during labor and then put them out under general anesthesia during the actual delivery. It was usually a medication called scopalamine. It had no pain reduction properties, but it gave women amnesia. In other words, they hurt like hell, but couldn't remember it later, and they were often delusional and wild during labor. If they were lucky they also got a bit of morphine for the pain, but not always. It wasn't uncommon to tie women in restraints during twilight sleep labor...for their own protection, and the staff's protection, because they were kinda crazy.

Scope and morphine also depressed babies pretty well for the first few days after delivery, so they weren't able to nurse. It could be that her poorly nursing baby coupled with her fuzzy head from the drugs she had, made her hard breasts just drip drip and never produce correctly. Recovery from birth took a very long time because of those awful drugs.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
She said she had an epidural with my husband because the doctor recommended it and wanted one with his sister but they wouldn't give her one because she was progressing too fast so she got other drugs - maybe the ones you are talking about?
Originally Posted by Amneris

Sounds like she was given twilight drugs during both deliveries. She sounds very confused about both experiences...which is not unusual when listening to birth stories from women who gave birth from the 1940's thru the 1970's. If you think the OB industry is effed up now...it's nothing compared to how effed up it was back then (although they had better outcomes and lower c-sec rates then...go figure...).
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Definitely very confused, and a lot of inconsistencies or things she was completely unaware of. For example, her husband said he was not in the delivery room as men were not allowed, and his brother verified that he was sitting outside anxiously waiting, but she swears she saw him in the delivery room. Probably a hallucination. That's really sad.

My mama also had kids in the 1970s but she says she definitely didn't have any of those drugs or types of experiences, just epidurals. Even so, I find she doesn't seem to remember everything absolutely crystal-clear in terms of timelines (she had no idea how long she pushed), but I don't know if that's just because time has passed. For me, I can't imagine ever forgetting that, but who knows? Oh, Mama did say that she turned blue as a result of a reaction to the epidural and they gave her blood and thought she was going to die (?????????)

Why would it be that even with all those potent drugs, there were less C-sections? Was it because they used forceps more for dystocia? (My mama had forceps used.) I can't figure out either WHY all of this started happening. Was it women's request or the medical industry forcing it on us?
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I don't know what your MIL is talking about, but it ounds like birth was a horrible, traumatic experience for her for sure.

There are probably a few reasons for the increased rate in c-sections. I think the rise of electronic fetal monitoring is one. When someone is constantly monitored, every dip on the strip is cause for a "let's do a c-section" scenario. Also c-sections have gotten a bit safer with better surgical techniques and low horizontal incisions (not to say they are not overused). I think in the 70s they were still seen as a last resort, not the "no big deal" that they seem to have become today.
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Definitely very confused, and a lot of inconsistencies or things she was completely unaware of. For example, her husband said he was not in the delivery room as men were not allowed, and his brother verified that he was sitting outside anxiously waiting, but she swears she saw him in the delivery room. Probably a hallucination. That's really sad.

My mama also had kids in the 1970s but she says she definitely didn't have any of those drugs or types of experiences, just epidurals. Even so, I find she doesn't seem to remember everything absolutely crystal-clear in terms of timelines (she had no idea how long she pushed), but I don't know if that's just because time has passed. For me, I can't imagine ever forgetting that, but who knows? Oh, Mama did say that she turned blue as a result of a reaction to the epidural and they gave her blood and thought she was going to die (?????????)

Why would it be that even with all those potent drugs, there were less C-sections? Was it because they used forceps more for dystocia? (My mama had forceps used.) I can't figure out either WHY all of this started happening. Was it women's request or the medical industry forcing it on us?

No, women really don't forget the details of their births. Ask any elderly woman about her births, and she will give you every minute detail, even 80 or 100 years later.

Back in the 70's, the OB industry was not above slipping a drug cocktail to women who had just given birth with an epidural, with or without their knowledge...it kept them nice and quiet...so your mother might have been drugged without her knowledge and forgotten a lot of details due to the drugs. They do it less, but they still do it now too. Lots of women who've just had c-secs get drugged through their IV line and go to sleep, thinking they were just very tired, and then miss the first hours of their newborn's life because they just can't wake up.

As for turning "blue" from an epidural...that was probably a precipitous blood pressure drop. Yes, you can die from that...I nearly died from my first epidural too. The blood she received was probably to replace the blood she lost during delivery (forceps and the episiotomy to use the forceps can cause a LOT of bleeding) and not really related to the epidural itself.

There are many reasons why the c-sec rate has gotten so outragiously high. Many of which have to do with lawsuits and control. I don't think birthing women are completely to blame for the state of the OB industry, but they are definitely part of it. They allow themselves to be controlled and treated like crap, because they don't know they have a choice.
Did they even do twilight sleep in the 70s? My grandmother said she had it, but my mom says it wasn't done when she had me (1973) - and this is the rual South so you'd think if they were still doing it anywhere, it would be small town hospitals.

Is she saying straight jacket and meaning some kind of binding? That's not uncommon for someone who has decided to stop breastfeeding (or not bf at all). I know in the 70s, women weren't encouraged to bf and there was a shot to dry up milk, which apparently made things quite painful for a few days, at least.

And people do forget the details. Thirty years on, who can say what any of us will remember? It's not ALWAYS a conspiracy, a lot of stuff happens between the birth of your children and the birth of your grandchildren. Nevermind that birth is often fast, confusing, intense, etc. It's easy to confuse details, I would think.

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