Daytime TV, February 1981
New Mother Erika vows: “We'll Have more children!”
By Lorraine Z. Smith
“We went to the hospital expecting to be sent home!” new mom Erika Slezak laughed. “My contractions were about two minutes apart, but they weren't the least painful. My doctor said, 'Good for you. Come to the hospital.' So we left at 8:30 in the evening on January 22nd.”
Still believing it to be a false alarm – even though she was already several weeks overdue – Erika didn't want to bring her suitcase. Her husband, Brian Davies, however, toted it along, “just in case.”
Laughing through the emergency room, Erika didn't believe she was ready until the doctor looked at her and confirmed, “Yep, you're going to have a baby tonight!”
About 9:00 p.m. Erika went into hard labor, and at 3:30 a.m. the doctor decided a Caesarean birth was in order. So much for Erika and Brian's natural childbirth classes!
Baby Michael was born at 3:48 a.m., weighing-in at nine whopping pounds! Erika saw her child an hour later, but Brian met his son ten minutes after delivery. He remembered his first thoughts and reactions:
“We had gone through all the Lamaze courses, but I wasn't disappointed when the doctor said a Caesarean was necessary. We both trust him completely, and the health and safety of Erika and the child came first.
Linda Dano, Phyllis Behar, Judith Light, Nancy Snyder, Margaret Klenck, and Andrea Evans all showed up for the baby shower for Michael who was content to keep everyone waiting several weeks longer than they expected.
“When the doctor made the decision, the room exploded with people in green uniforms. It was like watching an episode of M*A*S*H! Then, suddenly, I was left alone in a waiting room. It was like a prison waiting! That was horrible! Luckily, they called me as soon as everything was over.
“I can hardly explain my first feelings,” Brian enthused, still sounding a bit bewildered. “I don't know if it was incredible relief, or what. He just looked so terrific! And Erika was all right. It was a relief and thrill at the same time. He's fabulous looking!”
Clowning around on the set, Erika dipped the doll that represented her on-screen baby during his
Christening scene rehearsal. You can bet that at home, Erika
is quite a lot more kind, caring, loving, gentle, etc.!
Brian, an only child, would've been the last male heir in the family line. Naturally, his parents – who were vacationing in Florida at the time – were delighted to have a grandson. “They call here about every hour!” Brian laughed.
“We planned this child, so we were looking forward to the event enormously. But it's all much more than I ever thought it would be! It was like …well, like when you go to a movie that everyone has told you is great, and you find it even greater – it hardly happens that way. This experience is beyond anything I could put into words. It sounds corny, but it's a miracle! I sit and watch him for hours!”
Asking Erika is it worth waiting for, she answered, with as much enthusiasm as Brian readily displayed: “Oh God, yes! I never had a child before. If I had known beforehand what it's like to hold your own baby in your arms, I would never have said all those things about feeling fat, and worrying about labor pains, and all the things you go through when you're pregnant. I'd go through that again – for even longer – because the reward is so great!. We've always planned on having at least two.
“The rewards out-weigh any discomforts!”
“When I hold this baby, it's the most incredible feeling. I just can't put it into words. It's just the most glorious thing that ever happened to me! I look at that baby, and I can hardly believe he came out of us.”
On One Life, "Viki" has a teenager, played by Andrea Evans, in her care, and an on-screen baby boy. In real life, Erika and Brian plan more kids.
Having a Caesarean took a lot out of Erika, so she was still feeling tired, but she couldn't say enough good about the hospital – Beth Israel in Manhattan – and the staff.
“There was one nurse there who was with us from the moment we arrived until four in the morning – even though her shift ended at 11 the night before. You took one look at her, and knew everything was going to be all right. She's a midwife too, and had a great air of competency about her. She knew exactly what she was doing, and was in complete control. Her name is Hinda Fagali. She was even bringing me food – like spinach and noodle soup – to the hospital! She even wanted to cook an entire meal and bring it in, but I was on a liquid diet then."
“Jokes about hospital food are all true!”
Least there are readers who are putting off pregnancy for fear of the weight gain involved, Erika explained: “I weigh less now than I did before! My doctor expected me to gain between 20 and 25 pounds. When I gained 30, he wasn't terribly pleased, but when I returned home from the hospital, I weighed 32 pounds less! I can put on my regular clothes, and they fit!”
Both Erika and Brian have never been happier. And chances are, little Michael won't have to wait very long before he'll have a sister or brother!