Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Please Don't Let My Baby Die

Today’s Wild Ride Wednesday goes back to early July of 1984. I was married to my ex-husband.

It was 3am and I was lying in bed—alone, pregnant, and awake. This was nothing like I thought married life would be.

I’d only been married eighteen months. Shouldn’t we still be in the “newlywed” phase? The sad truth was, my new husband and I had spent more nights apart then together. He was addicted to cocaine, and chasing the high took priority over me.

I remember how shocked I’d been to discover we were going to have a baby. I mean, I know how it happened, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out when it happened. We were very seldom together. On that hot July night I was sixteen weeks pregnant.

This was in the days before everyone had a cell phone. I lay awake thinking the same thoughts that had rattled around inside my head the night before, and the night before that, and for most of the nights since our wedding. Was my husband alive? Was he in jail? Was he with another woman?

I got up to use the restroom. Panic washed over me. I was bleeding.

My pregnancy was completely unplanned, but I’d heard the heartbeat, and I loved and wanted this baby very much. I started to tremble—only a tiny bit at first. My eyes welled with tears and I soon found myself rocking and sobbing on the bathroom floor. Oh God, please don’t let my baby die.

A few weeks earlier I’d done something I never thought I’d want or need to do—I went through my husband’s wallet when he was in the shower. I scribbled down the woman’s phone number I’d found written on a scrap of paper buried deep in the leather wallet.

I picked myself up off the bathroom floor and stumbled to the phone. I dialed the number. “Hello?” The woman’s voice was soft and confused.

“My name is Liz.” What was I doing? Was I crazy for calling this woman? It was the middle of night, for heaven’s sake. “I need to talk to my husband. Is he there?”

I heard her whisper. “It’s your wife.”

An hour or so later my husband walked in the door. He was so angry. I explained to him that I was bleeding and I was scared. I needed the father of my child to be home with me.

“You know we don’t want this baby. Loosing it would be the best thing that could happen to us.” He turned to me and put his finger in my face. “How dare you go through my personal belongings and check up on me. I’m going to bed. Leave me alone.”

He walked into the bedroom and slammed the door.

I took a shower, sat on the couch, and waited for the sun to come up. At 9:00am I called my doctor.

My husband moved out the next day and we spent the rest of my pregnancy living apart. The ultrasound would show that Dallas was alive and well—growing, moving, and kicking inside me.

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