It was Sunday morning, July 2, 1978. I was 8 months pregnant, and my husband and I were waiting on Elvis and his wife to pick us up so we could to a lake somewhere in Milton, FL to fish. Actually, it wasn't the Elvis, as he was long gone by this time. This was a guy my ex worked with as a flag driver for the admiral. (Talk about a cushy job.)
Anyway, Elvis' wife and I got along real well, which was unusual, as most of the navy wives I had met in Pensacola were not all that friendly. (Elvis liked to be called Elvis because he fancied he looked and talked like Elvis. He didn't, but who cared?) There were a lot of weird guys that worked with my ex during those days. Most of the other people I had met were always high. So was my ex for that matter, but at least now, at this final stage of our pregnancy, we were actually talking to one another. For a long time, he would not even talk about the baby, as if it wasn't happening. Then the ship went in the yards in New York for awhile, and I found some letters a girl had written him about how cute he looked in his uniform.
Shit hit the fan, my brother wanted to kill him, I was alone in Florida, pregnant, not working, but determined to make my marriage work. If that meant putting up with a little bullshit, I put up with a lot of bullshit.
I was actually terrified of the actual labor and delivery process. I wanted the baby so much, but the process of getting it was scaring me, the closer the day came. I had read books about child birth, and caring for babies, one in particular seemed geared toward the hippy birthing experience. It showed fully nude pictures of pregnant women, and they described their natural childbirth experiences. Of course at the time, the Navy Area Regional Medical Center did nothing but natural childbirth. Maybe an episiotomy if they had to widen the birth canal, so to speak.
But, after hearing how big I was, how fat I was, how unattractive I had become, reading this book made me realize how much more feminine my pregnancy actually made me. I was learning to love my pregnant body, and was totally into the nesting mode.
So, while we waited for Elvis and his wife, my lower back started to hurt like a bitch. Then it would ease off. Then it would start up again. By the time the Elvis's got there, my ex and I were wondering if maybe I was starting to go into labor. Then, I felt this huge rush of water come shooting out between my legs.
"I think my water just broke!" I said, stunned. It was happening. My God, I thought, I am going to have this baby. But, its not due yet! I have four more weeks!!
Elvis' wife said, "Yeah, I can see. Let me go get a towel," to my husband "you get her things," to both of us "and you guys go to the hospital."
Elvis looked shocked. "God, what if we had been out on the lake!" He sat on the sofa, beside my husband, both of them staring straight ahead, both of them probably higher than a kite.
"You want me to drive?" I asked. My husband looked up, eyes wide, and said, "No, no, you probably shouldn't be driving. I'll drive. Come on." I had already pre-registered, so I just basically would have to check in.
When I finally got into a room to be examined, they discovered I was already dilated 4 cm. and since my water had broke, they decided to keep me. They put me in a room, hooked me up to monitors, one which had a graph indicating when a contraction was coming. How I loved that fucking monitor. I used my own method of breathing, focused on a spot in the room, and tried not to scream like a maniac. The only comfortable spot I could find was to sit straight up. I had always called my baby little Jake, and I told him to hang in there, we were going to be ok. I was terrified! This went on from about 11:00 am until 9:00 pm. Wave after wave of intense pain, which some knothead called contractions, followed by a two-minute respite. Every so often an older nurse would pop her head in and give me a cup of crushed ice, but that was it. I could hear other women moaning, screaming, crying, cursing, which only frightened me more. Then the doctor popped his head in and told the nurse he was leaving as it didn't look like anything would happen tonight. I thought to myself, there is no way in hell I am going through 12 more hours of this shit!
To be continued.....