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The rest of the story – Sept. 14th, 2013

14 Sep

Time for a little detour. I will skip to pages 193 – 196 of “The Chocolate Bar”.
The reason ? Because it is a very special day – today is my baby’s birthday. She is 54 years old but as all mothers will be able to identify, she is still my baby. And indeed, from the very beginning she was only mine. Her father refused to claim her and my mother supplied me with pills she claimed would make me miscarry. They both had different reasons. Martin, my sociopathic husband was supposed to be sterile when I married him and therefore no need for contraception required – or so I thought. When our first daughter, Charmaine was born the doctor claimed it was a one time only miracle. When it happened again five years later my husband refused to believe it was his and pronounced that it was my baby – God only knows who the father might be – and he would take no responsibility for this baby’s existence. My mother, with good reason didn’t want me to pass on, what she believed to be her son in law’s defective genes and insisted I end the pregnancy. at 24 years old I was afraid to make any decisions and so I did nothing, as was my usual way of handling problems.
Life continues whether born or unborn. my baby grew normal with no complications until the eight month. I was laying on the examination table at a free clinic since Martin proofed to be serious about his threat of wanting nothing to do with this child and we had no medical insurance. Several student doctors were surrounding the table receiving instructions about my condition. Most of what they were saying went straight over my head until I heard the word pre-eclampsia. “My mother had eclampsia with one of her births” I said, followed by the question “Is this something like that” ? A long discussion followed about yes, indeed it was the same thing but with modern medicine in this country the expected out-come was not as dire as it had been for my mother who was told it was certain death for her, the child or both of them. Never the less, it was enough to put fear in my heart since I was truly alone in this whole experience. I was determined not to allow this diagnosis to interfere with my awaited little girl – yes, I was totally convinced that I was carrying a beautiful little girl.
Living on a salt free diet was bad enough without the threat of convulsions during delivery for me to think about and I decided to speed up the process. Word among pregnant women was that all it took was some castor oil to bring on labor and at eight months I decided the baby was ready. On a Sunday evening, after Charmaine’s bath I drank a small bottle of castor oil. I thought myself very clever for drinking it through a straw so as not to taste the awful stuff – until I got to the bottom and opened my eyes – all the oil had risen to the top and was now waiting for me to drink it straight if I was going to get it’s benefit. I’m no quitter. In the middle of the night my contractions started and I became very fearful that I might have hurt my tiny baby by my selfishness. Now, I have heard since then that castor oil does not bring on labor – be that as it may, that night we had to go to the hospital. It was the first day of school and Charmaine had to miss it because she was taken care of by my grandmother in another part of town during my visit to the hospital. She never did forgive her baby sister for this crime.
My second little girl was born without any complications but, oh my, was ever tiny – five pounds, 2 ounces and only 16 inches long. Her first cry was not even a cry in the delivery room – it was definitely a laugh and made every one laugh along with her. My husband was not present and my mother came into the labor room while I was having an especially hard contraction and said: “Well, Gatel, if you had taken the quinine I gave you to bring on a miscarriage you would not be suffering now”.
The suffering ended as soon as I saw my little cherub and heard her laughing. She has kept me laughing – well, at least smiling for 54 years now.
The best decision in my life was refusing to take those pills.
Happy Birthday, Corky.

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