This last month.
It is hot. It is May. Unusually hot for May in Vermont, or so I believe. Sandra tells me it is just me and my pregnancy. I feel like this baby could come any minute. I am sure heavy enough for it to do so. They tell me it still has to cook for another month.
In this last month I go to Lamaze classes. Sandra or Carol go in as my coach, They teach me to "breath though the pain". Hell, No. When the time comes I will breath in and breath out "Drugs!". I feel silly doing the exercises. There are 10 other pregnant women there,but they are all there with their husbands. Women older then me. the couples will look at me in different ways. Some with pity in their eyes, some with judgment, some with superiority. Oh they say kind enough words tome. They all say how nice it will be to get on with my life afterwards. 2 actually told me I was noble for giving a poor baron woman my child so that a nice couple could start their family.
One told me she hoped it had my eyes, since blue eyed babies are so in demand. I asked her "Are children with butterflies on their face also on demand?"
She looked horrified. I think it came to her that my birth mark might be genetic. Than she skirted away fro me.
But then I thought 'what if my birthmark is genetic?'. My Mother and her family didn't have one, but who knows who my father is. These are the times I wish I knew. Will the people who want a blue eyed child rejected because it had a birth mark or needed fixing like I did.
This was the first time I questioned if I would have a normal child. Now it was all I could think of. I could not even voice my concern. I had nightmares that my child would look just like me and no-one want it. It was left alone in an orphanage. All alone while I went on with my life never knowing. When I said nightmares I mean every night. Is there some special knowledge that only the mother has when she is pregnant with her child? Did my mother have nightmares of me? Did she dismiss them?
Now I am getting closer to my own pretend birthday. The nightmares persist and I see the butterfly child crying. Oh, how the child cries all alone, no-one picks it up. Finally I come I pick up the butterfly child. I hold the child I cry. I whisper in it's ear. " I am here, mama's here. I will never leave you. Don't cry." And it stops crying. It smiles. It hugs me. I smile and hug back.
The very next day was my birthday. I know that Carol and Sandra were planing a party. They do for all the girls.
I got up, got my robe on. I went right into their office. Sandra was sitting behind the desk going through official papers.
She looks up and smiles. " Hi, hon. I actually wanted to see you. I wanted to show you some of the perspective parents, that way you could get a feel for who will adopt your baby." She had some folders in her hand.
"About that, my baby. "
" I want my baby."
"You are emotional and this time can be a very emotional time for a young woman..."
"Emotional or not, I want my baby."
"Why don't you just look at the prospective mothers. Maybe one will make you feel better about the decision"
I sit down and open the folder after folder trying to remember to breath.
Everyone of the mothers had blue eyes.
"Don't brown eyed people want to adopt babies?" I asked.
She laughed a bit. "People who want to adopt babies want to try to find babies who will match their own looks."
"Why? A child is a child."
"Well.. Well they don't want the child to feel like an odd duck in the family."
"Why would it, it already knows it was adopted."
"Not always, some parents choose not to tell their child that."
"So the child may never know it had a mother before? How could a choose a mother who would lie to my child?"
"It's just an omission, once you give up the baby, it is not yours, you are not the mother, the new woman is. These women are all older than you, they have husbands, families, houses, they live in good neighbourhoods and would send the child to good schools, their husbands all have good jobs. They can afford to give the child everything it needs. Young mothers struggle. They can not always support the baby. They don't have support systems. They don't have good jobs. They don't have the patients a child requires. They don't have the experience a child needs. If you are still growing and becoming a adult how will you raise someone else to be one?"
"Let me meet these three. Today." With that I got up and waddled out of the room. I tried to do it with as much dignity as possible and hide the fact I needed the bathroom 10 minutes before. As soon as I was out of the room I got back to the upstairs bathrooms as fast as I could.
I spent and hour getting ready for the day. My energy level seemed to be a little low in the last few days. The hot shower felt so good on my aching back and belly. I started feeling more energy now.
I came down and ate breakfast.I wasn't very hungry. Unusual for me, I have been eating like a horse the last month.
By noon there were three women in the parlor for me to meet.
Looking at them they looked like 3 perfect people. All with gold bands. All in bright clothes. All with uneasy smiles at me.
I came in and sat down.They all stared at my face.
"It's not genetic, I assure you. Though any child from any mother might have a birth abnormality." Carol said to the woman.
They all smiled and shook their heads as if to say, "Of course I knew that."
"Oh, she is lying of course, in my case, my mother had the same birth mark and clef lip and my grand mother and her mother , too" Now I look for the reactions.
Carol did a quick look at me with a "What the hell are you doing" look on her face.
The women all had the same scared stare on their faces, worse than before.
"She's kidding, such a kidder. Great sense of humor. And that is genetic." Carol quickly said.
"So is teenage pregnancy, I am the same age my mother was when she had me." O.k. I lied, I am now 16 and that is not genetic.
They stared at me again worry on their faces. O.k. these women are not the brightest women. My child will be able to out smart them by the time it is 5.
"Danni, stop teasing the poor women." Carol half scolded " One of them will have the pleasure of being the baby's mother. "
"Speaking of that, Which one of you would adopt a child that looked like me, you see my own mother rejected me when I was born, I want to make sure you wont do the same."
None spoke. None thought of a child that was not perfect. they heard blue eyes and white and they wanted that child.
"Contestant number 1: What would you do if this child came out looking exactly like me? Or had any of a number of birth defects? What would you do?" I looked at the women at the end to the left.
" I ... I had not thought about it. I would have to discuss that with my husband." She smiled nervously.
I did not want a mother who would have to refer to her husband every time something happened. What kind of mother would that be?
"Contestant number two: Same question." I looked at the middle one.
"It would depend on what the birth defect was? how many drugs did you do during your pregnancy, dear? I would also have to find out what my husband thought, too."
She smiled as if she had the right answer. She did not. A real mother doesn't get to choose what she can deal with and what she can not,nor again does she have to get her husbands opinion on what she thinks.
"Contestant number three: Same question." Now the last mother the one on the right, I looked at the woman on the right.
She spoke clearly with authority. " Of course I would love the child no matter how it turned out. My husband and I love children and if God mad the child different that is just what God intended , who am I to disagree with God." She smiled confidently at me.
She was full of bullshit.
I saw how she looked at me, just liked the other women. She would always lie to my child.
I stood up to tell them off when a sharp pain came in my belly and I felt like I peed myself. What was going to be a wonderful speech to put them all in their places came out "Oh. Crap!. Ahhhh."
I looked at Carol. She placed her things down on the table picked up the phone and called the doctor to tell her we were coming in.
I looked at the women , now looking very happy. "Sorry ladies, bottom line, I'm keeping my baby, it would outsmart you when it was still a toddler anyway. There are some stupid girls who are pregnant here, they would be better for you. AHHHHH"
I barely got the words out when another sharp pain came.
"Sorry ladies, as Danni mentioned we do have other girls here who will have babies soon, I need to get this one to the hospital. Thank you for coming in." And Carol ushered them out the door.
She turned back to me holding my belly and wincing in pain. "Proud of yourself,dear? It's a good thing you are in labour and in so much pain, it make me want to hit you less."
I managed a smile. I know they would never hit me or anyone else here.
"Is your bag packed?"
"No?!" She said "Did you not think this was coming, we have been telling you for weeks to have that thing packed."
I started up the stairs. Carol rounded up the things she needed, Sandra, car keys, snacks for her and Sandra, books, etc.
I found things pretty quickly and within 3 contractions I was packed.
Sandra rushed up to the my room, took the bag from me and helped me down the stairs.
The bumpy ride to the hospital I will never forget. The small red car had seem to have no shocks left and hit every bump, I think Carol was exacting her revenge. Later she said it was all in my head.
What can I say about the process of checking into a hospital when pregnant. They make you wait too long, tell you that you have a long time to go and you should be patient. They put you though a lot of humiliating exam, You know what, let's just put it this way, Miles touched me less down there than I got touched by at least 20 people now. Teaching hospital can make you feel less human and more farm animal then they really know.
The labour was, well, come on,you all saw movies or have been though it. A lot of screaming a lot of pain a lot of sweating. A lot of wondering how I ever got myself hear to begin with. And of course the swearing of sex forever. The nurses laughed at that one, they said almost every woman says that. Even when it's their forth kid.
All I could think of after 4 hours of this, and the 1/2 hour of pushing was "what of Sandra is right." I can always give one of those women the baby. The second one wasn't that bad.
It is amazing how much energy and power you have in that time. The last push and out it comes. They take it and clean it up. A Doctor is stitching me up down there and no-one is telling me anything.
There is a little commission over by the baby. I realize I don't hear a cry. Aren't babies suppose to cry when they are born?
"Hey! What is wrong with my baby?" I say rather forcefully.
"One of the older nurses turns towards me "It is best if you don;t get attached dear, we will take it away now.
They look at Sandra and Carol. they nod it was o.k..
"Is it dead?" I said very sheepishly.
"Oh, no dear. It is very much alive." One of the doctors said looking up.
"Than why isn't it crying."
The teacher doctor , the oldest one spoke "That is because she is breathing nicely on her own, they don't all cry, and this one is smiling. She is watching us."
"Of course she is watching you, you are in HER face... She's a girl?"
"Usually what SHE means" the doctor replied ho was stitching my privates.
The teaching doctor resumed. " No, it is not usual, it means she is very intelligent."
"Let me see her, bring her to me." I said.
"Really," the nurse said "it is better not to get yourself attached. It is better to forget."
She was trying to be nice enough, she knew where I was from.
"Forget what, my child! Are you crazy? Give me my baby!" I am now very agitated and would have gone right over there if I wasn't still being sewed up.
"She's keeping her baby. She has decided to keep her baby. Please do treat her with all the respect you would treat any other mother." Sandra sharply spoke.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know. I thought... of course you can see her. " The nurse swaddled the baby and brought her to me. the doctor at my posterior was finally finished and got up to leave.
I was afraid at first. I worried what she would look like. She handed me the baby. I looked down expecting to see my face. But I didn't I saw her face.Her beautiful perfect face. I unwrapped her, looked her over , perfect in every way. Ten fingers. Ten toes. Two arms and legs. One perfect little nose.
"Let me show you how to feed her." The nurse spoke and broke me out of my spell.
Feed. Oh, I had not thought of that. And damn, that girl has a good appetite. She looked at me, I looked at her. Time stopped. All was right in the universe.We had each other and all was as it should be. She looked at me, she was feeding from me, I was feeding her. We were still connected, but now we could see each other. Tears of joy ran down my cheek. I smiled at her. We would be alright.
"What is her name?" One of the doctors asked.
Oh, man, name?