Catherine Randall Kelso, Ann Randall, and Barbara Randall

Recorded October 26, 2019 Archived October 26, 2019 39:03 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: chi003165


Conversation between Barbara Randall (93) and her two daughters, Catherine Randall Kelso (69) and Ann Randall (65). They share stories about childbirth and how much things have changed.

Subject Log / Time Code

1:49: BR born in 1925. She remembers that back in those days the doctor would come to the house. 3:00: CR asks BR what she remembers about her father being born in a hospital in Middleton, Ohio. 4:15: BR recalls what it was like during the Baby Boomer generation 06:31: BR remembers being alone at he hospital when they told her she was going to have a breach birth. When her husband came to kiss her after the baby was delivered, he was nearly knocked to the ground from coming into contact with the ether they had given BR. 08:55: BR remembers when doctors suggested that after delivering a baby, mother's would stay in a hospital for 7 days and not move from the bed. 10:05: CR and BR recall that that Grandma came to help after BR had a baby. BR's sister also came to help with the new baby. 13:00: CR wants to know what it was like giving birth to Ann. 15:00: CR asks BR if she remembers receiving any anesthesia during her deliveries. 19:00: CR remembers having an emergency C section and wondering how they got the staples in her. 21:00: BR Barbara remembers that she kept all of her children's first clothes. 24:33: CR remembers having a whole floor to herself. 25:44: AR taught a popular natural birth course in her town in West Virginia 28:43: CR remembers having to use a diaper service. AR remembers washing, hanging, and folding diapers. 31:50: BR remembers when she was in the hospital that a miner's wife had just delivered a stillborn. 33:00: AR's third pregnancy was a geriatric pregnancy, which just means she was over 35. 37:00: BR reflects on how maternity ward are closing all over the place.


  • Catherine Randall Kelso
  • Ann Randall
  • Barbara Randall

Recording Locations

Chicago StoryBooth

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:07 My name is Barbara main Randall.

00:12 And today's date is Saturday October 26th, 2019. I'm in Chicago, Illinois and my interview partners are my daughters.

00:26 Kathy and and

00:31 Oh my age 63.

00:37 No.

00:41 93

00:49 Ann Randall I am 65 today's date is October 26th 2019. I'm in Chicago, Illinois. I'm with

01:05 My mother and my sister

01:10 My name is Kathy Kelso. I'm 69 today's date is October 26th, 2019 weather in Chicago. My interview partners are my mother Barbara Randall and my sister and Randall.

01:29 So

01:31 We've always enjoyed hearing the stories that you've told about how we were all born. So I wanted to so one thing I wanted to ask you was to tell us how what you know about how you were born.

01:49 Well, I was born in 1925 and we lived.

01:57 Found my ancestors founded by my Maya and those days.

02:08 The doctor came to the house and I was born in our home and my the doctor stayed until I was delivered and then we had a a woman who we didn't Call the Midwife because she didn't deliver the babies, but she was a person whose two stayed a few weeks with you to tell you.

02:34 To help you and your husband then with the baby and course. I had help from grandparents.

02:43 So you also told a story about your when your grandparents came it was November 20th December day and my father called him and told him.

02:57 See if they wanted to come over and see my grandmother said

03:06 I wouldn't go out on a day like this for anything and he said but we have a little girl over here. We'd like you to see you and she said we'll be there right away.

03:17 And so my dad

03:22 You're so Daddy was born in 1923. And what do you know about how he was born? This is interesting because

03:30 His his father had lost his first wife in childbirth, and so insisted that

03:43 My his his mother go to the hospital having the baby born in that was unusual in that family, cuz the family looked after everybody, you know, and but she but she agreed and so he was born in the hospital.

04:01 So that was Middletown, Middletown, Ohio.

04:08 So tell us about how that's he was born.

04:13 Well, we were we were like all baby boomers Baby Boomers generation the plan was that you got married and then

04:26 You had

04:29 We're going to have four children 2 years apart boy and a girl two boys and two girls.

04:36 And so we we we did that and

04:41 3 yen

04:47 On our first wedding anniversary. We set out to have a baby and that was Betsy.

05:00 And so

05:03 She was born.

05:06 She was born in the hospital right in Charleston Oh, yes the days when?

05:21 It was it the hospital's frantic.

05:26 With babies and lots and lots of babies being born and but if we were in it

05:33 Hospital that I was in a little room with three three beds in it and the two other mothers expectant mothers and they were

05:51 It was interesting.

05:57 And you were all in labor together well together.

06:05 Anna first well in those days course Daddy brought me in and

06:14 That he was took they take me away immediately. None of the husband's for were there and that.

06:25 He

06:27 I was there by myself and the doctor came in and said

06:36 But she was going to say it was going to be a breech birth, and then he just left and so I had to think about that.

06:49 Then

06:53 So when you were in labor that he give you an aesthetic right away or oh, yes, they did. They started giving your stuff to put your completely out and

07:05 Especially because of the breech birth to but you know, but they they put everybody I think at that time and as matter of fact

07:15 So, I don't know anything about.

07:20 Didn't have the joy of knowing when my when she was born and then they showed the baby to your dad. And then your dad came in to tell CB and he leaned over to kiss me and

07:43 All of a sudden he wasn't there and drop down to the floor up. Apparently I had still had so much either that it is.

07:57 But then of course, we were thrilled to know that we had our our little daughter so so she was born like in the evening. And when did you see her? When did they ever find it? I didn't see her till the next morning and I was determined to nurse her and you know instead of bring me to let you know I'm running really think I didn't see her till the next morning Daddy Jim Jim. Jim said she's beautiful. She was ghosted cuz her feet came out first.

08:37 And the Sheep, so

08:41 I brought her to me, but they were in this was a good hospital. They were doing all the right things at the time it wouldn't you know, but they just brought me brought her to me every 4 hours. That's the only time I saw her for a little bit every 4 hours whether she wanted to be nursed or not to know but I was determined a nurse and and she was determined to be in the hospital though that that was 7 days. You stayed 7 Days in the hospital and you weren't allowed to get up during those seven days in bed. So course by that time.

09:18 You need a lot of help when you got home and

09:24 So so it was supposed to be your mother Grandma main that came but

09:34 So I've had a letter from Daddy, but she had had a heart attack.

09:39 So daddy said we didn't tell Barbara about the heart attack because she didn't we didn't want her to lose her milk.

09:52 And so when you got home then

09:58 Will help take care 2 will she couldn't come get it right today or we got home, but she was there the next day and she took care of us and you know, take care of the baby.

10:22 So, okay. So how are a lot of a lot of help from the we lived in one of those neighborhoods postwar World War II neighborhoods everybody helped each other and somebody somebody and we didn't have a car because you couldn't buy cars for it cuz they hadn't made any for a long time. And so my neighbor took me to the there were three cars on the street and one day fails drove us to the hospital and then that the next morning or that when I got home somebody came this dinner and then the next morning somebody came with breakfast and then were the first and then somebody came and help me bathe the baby for the first time. You know, you had one of those

11:09 A nursery with a bathtub valve bathtub in a place in it. That's where you beat the baby.

11:20 So

11:21 I was born in 1950 so how'd how was how was that well?

11:29 That was even

11:32 There is even more frantic in some ways, but

11:41 It reared actually it was a must know that's a and I'm thinking about that you things were much better this the there was a r I went to the Nobi who had his own little hospital and he he was a way ahead of his time because daddy could be with me until I went into the delivery room. He brought her they brought her to see both both of us immediately. We saw you and then they when they when you wouldn't let the date.

12:23 They took care Nursery, but they brought you to me to be nursed anytime. They thought you wanted to be nursed and they had a rocking chair 25 days that I stay and what did Daddy say when I was born because I was not a breech birth.

12:44 Well, I always heard but daddy said was you were the most beat-up looking baby. That was the other thing. They said I still didn't I still didn't get through the delivery because they told me they had to sedate me because she was going to be shoulder first.

13:11 They are all.

13:14 We're very well behaved after they came but they sure came in her attic waste. All right, I was born in 1954 for she was born in 94. So what was that? Like well by this time we had a build a new PAW spittle out near us and

13:39 It was it was 24 hours a day babies were being born in an in first you were in a hospital room, then you went to a delivery.

14:01 Free delivery room and then you went to the to the

14:08 End of the delivery room and so

14:13 They came it doc doctor came in and looked at me and the nurse came in and looked at me and left me there and then and then they sent Jim out and

14:24 So by birth pangs, we're getting back together and I thought so I walked out to see if there was anybody out there and I walked down the hall in my water broke. So a friend of nurse so me and putting that up and took and took me in quick quickly to the pre delivery room and and then call the doctor who was in my doctor who was in

14:50 Birthing somebody else's baby. And and so and then I went in and and

14:59 So what was that? So this time the anesthesia was different, right? Yes. Yes the other food. That's the other thing good thing by that time they were putting it in in your

15:12 Doing an epidural epidural. Yeah.

15:25 He had let out a drip of spinal fluid fluid though. And when

15:37 Oh, yeah.

15:39 Raise my head off the pillow if you're in my head that way to headache and

15:44 But he said that Jamie and you said

15:52 The second and he said you said you're going to die. Don't you and I said yes and then says you're not I'll show you and he gave me a shot of General adrenaline that you jerked it back up any course, it gradually got better. The fluid then and I'm butt.

16:14 Threat we called Freddy to call the doctor Freddy and eat.

16:23 I hate when it when you were born. He said

16:32 Something like okay Randall I got I got you another girl on that course. I thought that doesn't that's why I said that question you always ask is she. Alright, and he said she said well

16:52 We had theirs you got too many. I won't tell you how she was born. She hit you got too many good stories already. So I remember didn't know what that problem was. I had protest about

17:09 They did give you a little even though I was a little just a mild anesthetic, you know, and I said no I want to be there when this baby is born but then

17:22 After he decided I had to have something so I I didn't get I missed all three.

17:34 Are you in the hospital this time this now we're down to three days in the hospital.

17:39 And then we had

17:43 This time

17:49 My my sister and her husband came in and took.

17:55 Cathian

17:57 And Betsy to stay with Grandma my grandma my mother keep my mother didn't come this time sheet, but they she kept the children and we had Gladys personhood work for this here again.

18:13 She was a person who had taken some training. She should should really work for us and she was one of them.

18:22 African American Family American Family said she taking some training to

18:31 State just to do that to be with persons after childbirth. And so we had her for three weeks and

18:39 Good.

18:41 So

18:45 What what did what was your daddy's after raising raising us and having us what what were you as your feet about your parenting?

19:02 Well

19:08 We were engaged in a lot of facts of life. I'm glad we chose. And I know it's not for everyone but we were lucky to have the use in the house and the financial ability and all the other other circumstances enabled us and

19:35 And enforce having children just putting out hostages to Fortune but none of our other other endeavors, so unable this more

19:47 To increasing maturity

19:51 Deepen our face

19:53 Strengthen our relationship or gave us more joy.

19:59 And them

20:01 And this concept is a heritage heritage. We passed on to you and so

20:10 It's one of our great and it was been one of our great blessings that we were able to be with all of

20:17 You and our grandchildren to chat with you when our grandchildren were born.

20:23 And I'm

20:26 You're you were good parents.

20:30 So that's five other stories.

20:42 So

20:46 My kids so when I had Randy

20:50 Our oldest in 1983. He was born in a big Hospital in Columbus. And I I took the bit by then. We were doing natural childbirth classes and everybody took natural childbirth classes and we need my husband went with me and learn. Her breathing. He was there and he was there during labor and then labor didn't go anywhere. So I ended up having an emergency C-section and that was a little discouraging but everything was once once Randy was there we were very happy. I shared a room in the hospital with another woman that had a C-section and she came in 12 hours behind me. So everything that they asked me they asked her so they said are you going to nurse and they said then they would you could hear her 12 hours later. Are you going to nurse and then they would say and then we both went there Staples in May.

21:50 They said how do you put a man in they said you ever seen a staple gun? And I said, how did I take them out and they said staple remover and 12 hours later than women said there are Staples in my stomach. And how did how did they put them in and on the type to Jared and then but he was not in the room all the time, but it was small and and they left my recollection is they left Randy with me a lot and I nursed him whenever I could and and Steve was there and then the thing I remember about going home is that you mother were coming up later. You were Annie you were living with us and I remember coming home and what we did with he was in one of the car seats and completely wrapped up in six different layers and every layer I take out the layer take a picture and you still couldn't see him till he finally took out the file. That was very important. What you brought the baby.

22:50 Be home in I kept all the three the outfits that all three of you were born in and and I I gave them to you then. I think they're in that we haven't met up in the attic are there in are there in the Attic are things we keep when Julie was born.

23:17 She was born in California and I knew she was going to be a C-section. So I went to C-section classes. And so we everything we expected everything that was going to happen. So that was a lot better. The only problem with her is she was born in a hospital that was brand-new. She was the second baby in the hospital. So when they were getting ready to give me the anesthetic and all that she could hear the doctor. You can hear the nurse playing and doors looking for stuff. They couldn't find anything and butt and and so then

23:52 But we were there, you know and then they let everybody and I mean they let us in and so he took a picture of Julie Berry likes getting her apgar score of it while they were doing that. So if they were all right there and mother was there and and and and Steve was there.

24:17 And when I came back to the room, we not only had this whole room dark. She'll be at the whole floor self cuz there was only one of the baby on the floor cuz she was brand new and they let Randy come up and so that it was all that for the most part. It was it was very nice of you. I remember interco Randy at home, and but you also help me take care of the baby. I remember that the baby was they had the baby in the room and you would you changed your diaper and you're the one that brought her to me when she needed to be nurse than and all those things. I remembered. Remember when I change that diaper. I thought well, I never I never had a newborn baby. I never had to tape a doctor.

25:06 So

25:09 Annie and the thing about Julie was when you talk about Randy was a little beat up cuz I tried I was in labor for a while but Julie because she was a C-section and she was absolutely beautiful and you know, we are older pretty from the very first day so still is yes, that's true. So and before you had kids Utah natural childbirth classes in West Virginia, how was that great. So this would have been before Randy was born and I was working at the prenatal clinic in early childhood clinic in Glenville Gilmer County West Virginia, and the they're worse. Well, there were actually no practicing doctors in Gilmer County. There was an osteopath that worked at the college partly because he was the teen doctor and then there in the next County over in Braxton County. There was a small Hospital perfectly.

26:08 Good little country hospital and there was an OB bear and that's who are women went to and he had decided in the 70s when this was coming through the country that women shouldn't have a lot of anesthesiologist anesthesia and that they should have but he didn't seem to get the piece that you might want to teach women that process. So I took it upon myself as a fresh out of college social worker to learn and in this stuff was available. It was a movement in the country and then there were courses and I got a literally got the book said, I work my way through and I taught myself the processes, although although they were all very polite to me and they let me join the society normally nurses aide classes.

27:00 So I made it I you know, I made it open to my clients. Of course. I just made it opened anybody in the community and the doctor they did bring into my County there would be National Public Service doctors that would come in and do their two years there and the doctor and his wife came through my car. So when they had their baby, so I was a community thing that I did. I was always very proud of that.

27:26 Well, you said you were prepared and when the nurse who was not we got along great. She's you know, we were friends forever after but she was not engaged at the beginning but when I left town, she took it over and she started teaching him after I left him.

27:43 I was thinking when talking about diapers that was different to

27:53 Could this recourse Betsy was before?

27:58 You had you know, the cherries are diapers out of the house, you know, and so we had a pale she dropped your first you get cleaned him out and then you drop them in a pail and they sat there for a while and then you wash them and then you had to

28:18 Why should men hang them on the line and and take him off and there was always a stack of diapers on to be folded.

28:30 Yeah, we did that for a while not really a name on the line, but we did to our own diapers for a while. But then we went with a diaper service the driver services knew you had diaper service in the beginning then she s we didn't have to deal with all the above. Yeah, one of my favorite pictures actually is of my older son Scott folding diapers. Tim's diaper sitting on the couch.

28:55 I never can remember. What year was Scott born? So Scott was born in 1986 and he so it's kind of a stressed out first pregnancy. I think so. I had some gestational diabetes and my blood pressure was a little walking nothing off the chart, but but I worked I worked until 5 on the day was born and I had been having braxton-hicks like all day long. I mean, I've been having contractions all day long and I thought they were accident and I know I can I was talking I had such horrible cramps due and I remember you talking about you and I was just like so big deal and you remember you saying that about me that you had cramps worse than they actually actually I object to the first three first three this interesting the first three

29:51 Months of each for Kathy and Betsy I object but I didn't for you but I had cramps and then I got home and my husband was working. And so I took a bath what you really weren't supposed to do and finally I said, you know what I really think this baby's coming. So John came home from work and took me down to the hospital at 9, and we were baby boomlet. So this was in the other thing which we've always joked about was it was 9 months after a major hurricane had come through and I was actually evacuated from that during that hurricane and they made jokes about it, but there were a lot of babies born the weekend that my son was born

30:35 And they the other thing though was it there was some construction in the hospital. And so I knew it was weird things happen. So that meant I had a private room because they had to move people around but by the time I got there at 9 and the doctor came and he never left my side. I mean, I was born a little after 11, so it's only a couple hours but he stay with me the whole time which was even now the doctor would come in and out. They wouldn't release it by your bedside nurse there and then but then we also had a private room but it was on the floor with women who have lost their baby and you know, we had this beautiful bouncing baby boy, and I don't feel bad cuz I knew the women, you know, we were in a private room, but I knew the women around me, you know, that was what was best with me one of those three women threw it in there.

31:35 What's up, a Miner's wife and they had very good this hospital. They had very good insurance sense and and she had better brought in because she was carrying a dead baby if they're sick child and she had they had to deliver the baby and and it was kind of sense that we felt sort of guilty because this is beautiful baby was coming in in in in she she she she tried to kind of let us know that it's going to be okay.

32:13 So but he was really tiny and they but the doctor said he was less than 5 pounds and so they snatched I got to see him or effect on plants cuz they held him up high so you can see him and he see when I said hi and but they snatch them away because they thought he was the previous step which to this day. I'm different but I think I got it back pretty quick. It wouldn't it was within a shorter time. It sounded like then you guys done like I If he cuz you know what? I'm like, I don't know if John knew where they sweep team up to I should ask.

32:57 Tell Scott and then I had a miscarriage and the other thing about I could throw in here is about health insurance because even though my husband had a good job with good health insurance. It kept changing as the company would change the health insurance. We had to change our doctor so we couldn't sleep couldn't go to the same doctor. So I think for all three pregnancies I had that I have three different sets of he's so anyway, I and it was it was a classic. I was like the it wasn't towards the end of my first trimester and so I went to the emergency room and it was just some Er resident and he was like out of a bad movie. He never talked to me. He only spoke and jargon he decided that I needed to have one of those opioids like you gave me which I'm like, you know, I can do anyway you need this and he just gave it to me. I did feel better afterwards.

33:57 Cuz he give me an opioid but there was no, you know, there was no and I do remember then talk in my OBS fully dressed in my OB office, you know after all this I told him a little bit about it and he said yeah that guy was raw and young and you know, he was some sort of apologized sort of her for the profession and there's certainly different from what are

34:23 Put my great-grand, you know now it's starting so Tim, you know still likes to sleep in late. So he by this time I was a geriatric pregnancy, so they weren't 3535 for geriatric at 35.

34:54 Okay, but he was born in nineteen eighty 1994 to 1990 and just before I turned 36th and

35:06 So when you're a geriatric, they treat that pregnancy they do certain rules. They followed at least at that time. That was the deal and one was that they didn't let you go past your due date. And so even though I was not didn't have gestational diabetes with him, which is another thing that looked at they had said they were going to if he didn't come there were going to do so that's what happened with Scott. They had said they're going to do some next day if he didn't come and he came that night, but Tim they said they didn't do sand so we had to be at the hospital at like 6 in the morning.

35:38 And it's David with me the whole time and he says I was in pain and it was like apparently it was really hard for him. All I remember what I remember is that this is really powerful but I'm doing it like and even though I was hooked up at nine hundred things and that kind of stuff. I never I just felt like I'm having a baby isn't this a miracle and isn't it? A miracle that my body can make this miracle? It wasn't I don't remember John says I was in pain and I was off so, you know this so Tim was great and we were we were with you too. We were with you too, and we took care of

36:23 Ascot and

36:27 So we that that was our joy.

36:30 So the thing that that was it didn't take long he was born like that in the early afternoon. And so again, they were both the super short pregnancy my sister super short labor, but they they had to like go the nurse ran down the hall to grab the OBD actually delivery because she was in another room delivery another baby with Roxy friendly bars.

37:00 Now they're cooked. They're closing.

37:04 Words for the place in maternity wards

37:17 2011 and 2014

37:21 They were both C-sections to but they their rooms they had they were in their own room with a large room in there was a bid for Randy to be there and the baby was with him all the time and where you could come up and the siblings could come up, you know, because some of it was hard but we were all there everybody was there. And so and they it was it was really because there was back there when the babies were born at home. They're on well almost accepted in the hospital so well, but I mean in terms of access, I've always thought I always wondered if that start with Beth and that you would head get her if you would been our generation start with a breech birthday when they always like to do them guys like to see if they would come. Yeah. Well, I really thank mom for

38:20 Going and doing this with us because I think I've always enjoyed hearing all these stories. I just want to thank the storycorps folks were being everybody in the Sturgis cuz we love story. Yes. I'm so I'm so happy. I would I was able to be here and do this with my daughters.