It was the summer of 1999. I laid on the bedroom carpet for comfort. I was feeling sick to my stomach and not really in the best of moods, despite the fact I was no longer in a hotel. Thirty days of living in a hotel room is never easy! However, this was a small sacrifice to be with the one I loved.
The sun began to set. I could hear excitement in my fiancé’s voice. This was the first time he had ever shared living quarters with a female. On top of that, I had moved from a different state just to make our engagement more official.
“Are we gonna watch the fireworks tonight?”
“Yeah, let’s go out and celebrate, Honey Dumpling!”
I could barley lift myself up off the floor, but I didn’t want to be the party pooper. It was the Fourth of July. We were madly in love with one another. I closed my eyes, mumbled something to the effect of, “Do we have to go out? I’d much rather sleep the night away instead.” My fiancé drops down beside me, kisses me on the forehead. “Anything you want to do is all right with me. But we’ll have to order Chinese and make our own fireworks then.” His words get a chuckle out of me.
I whisper in his ear as we cuddle on the carpet floor. “I think I’m pregnant.”
Sure enough, I took three pregnancy tests the following day. All three of them came out positive. The happy and so-in-love fiancé looked scared. Looking back on it, I kind of believe he was more disappointed. As the months went by, my belly grew heavier. I often looked at the weeks on the calendar, wondering if it would be too late for me to get an abortion. My “marriage” wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it to. My new spouse would stay out late, sometimes not coming home for weeks. I was still new to the city, and very much afraid that I had made the wrong decision of moving to a new state for the sake of love, despite the fact that I was engaged to this person for over a year.
My final trimester was a mess. I was stressed out the entire pregnancy, never knowing where my husband was or who he was with. I knew he had been seeing other women on the side. I found out through hidden messages on memory cards, etc. He never tried to hide his “behavior” too much. He was bold with hurting my feelings. At the same time, whenever I made up my mind to leave him, he would go into the “we can work it out” mode. I would believe him, and felt I owed it to our unborn child to try to save my marriage.
The day my son was born, we had spent the evening walking the River Walk the entire day. My little brother came up for a visit, hoping I would go into labor soon. I was a week overdue already! I started getting contractions the day my brother’s family arrived. But, my doctor reassured me that it was nothing to worry about. On the night my brother headed back home to Dallas, an hour later, my water broke. My ex was asleep on the bed. In fact, he and I weren’t even speaking to each other. He only returned home for the sake of not looking bad in front of my family. They had no idea I hadn’t seen him an entire month prior to their visit.
I didn’t think we could make it to Wilford Hall. My contractions were coming fast. I shouted to my half asleep spouse, “Call an ambulance—I’m not going to make it!” I could see fear in my husband’s eyes. Confusion and panic made him look like a fumbling idiot! Cameras, notebooks, teddy bears, overnight bags seemed to be growing from his body. I couldn’t stand to look at his awkwardness; I was in too much pain as it was. “I think I’m going to push, I can’t hold it any longer!”
By the time the EMTs pulled me out of the ambulance, I gave one silent push. I could feel something warm in the palms of my hands. No one seemed to notice that I had just give birth in the emergency entrance parking lot. I held on tightly to the warm wet substances in the palm of my hands. I held on for dear life to this warm soul resting at the edge of my fingertips. The thought of an alligator gathering her young entered my mind. Hold the baby firmly, but gentle enough to not hurt it. I was certain my child was about to roll off of the stretcher. I call out to my husband, “Mike, the baby is out!” He turns to look at me, and all of a sudden everything goes silent! The EMT raced over to the wet baby, ignoring mom, of course. “My god, that was fast!” one of them shouts out. The mean one! He was very rude on the trip over to the hospital. Almost as if he didn’t like touching a person of color. He refused to remove my pants as I yelled out “I think my baby’s head is out!” He told me there is no way the baby is coming out, and then continued to shove an oxygen mask on my face. (I removed my pants in the ambulance myself.)
It only took me thirty-five minutes to give birth to my son … from the first contraction to the parking lot!
They say how you carry a child in the womb is the way your child will live out its life on earth. The way a child enters into the world will be how it shall leave it. I often times wonder, did I do the right thing by choosing to bring my son into the world? He is here now, no turning back. At times, though, I look back on the days when I would stare at the calendar. I remember the apple that marked his due date …how I wondered, should I throw the apple away?