Memories Remain Vivid
The women remembered very well what had happened and how they felt. The two birth stories were remarkably alike despite the many years between the two. Although details such as the breathing patterns they used and the names of their nurses tended to be forgotten, they remembered other personal little things very clearly and described them similarly in the two stories.
For example, one woman remembered her bag of waters breaking in the living room and her husband scolding the dog, thinking the dog had wet the rug! Another woman remembered being mesmerized by a paper bag taped to her nightstand -- she even described the blue flowers on the bag! She stared at that bag for every contraction and will never forget it. Another remembered the excited ride to the hospital, when she and her husband were singing, "We're off to see the baby, the wonderful baby of ours," to the tune of "We're Off to See the Wizard." All the women remembered details about going into labor, arriving at the hospital, what their partners did (or didn't do) and some of the thoughts they had while in labor.
They also remembered both positive and negative things that were done to them by their doctors and nurses. Some remembered soothing back rubs, praise and kind, encouraging words, but others (the minority, thankfully) remembered being told to "Stop doing that breathing right now," being threatened with, "If you think this is bad, just wait," or their husbands being told to leave. Most remembered the actual delivery and their feelings when they saw and held their babies for the first time. Some remembered large painful episiotomies that took weeks or months to heal.