To read previous chapters click here for the list of chapters or click on the link at the top that says “Government Property-A Memoir Of A Military Wife.”
Another Baby, Girl or Boy
So far, it had been a monotonous summer. Every day the high temperatures were draining, and the sun was frying me to a bright red. I do not tan. I burn. During our honeymoon in Virginia Beach three summers ago I had a sunburn which turned into sun poisoning. From day one, I could not leave our hotel room as just the heat, even in the shade, hurt my sunburn.
So to a woman who was seven months pregnant and huge, and with a toddler under two years old, having to sit outside every day with the toddler was sheer torture. There was no air conditioning in our home on base. Neither of us wanted to have to be inside where it was hotter.
Every day I had to take my toddler outside so she could play in her wading pool. One day I had an entertaining idea. I went over to where she was splashing in her pool and climbed in and sat down. I used a bucket to pour water over my head and body, especially my huge belly. She laughed and started pouring water over me as well.
The neighbors were starting to stop and gawk at us. We were in the front yard, so it was open to everyone. It felt so good that every day we were sitting in the pool. I was able to cool us both off and entertain the neighborhood at the same time. They got used to seeing us sitting in the pool.
I didn’t buy a maternity bathing suit. Maternity clothes were so expensive. I made most of my maternity clothing or bought it at the thrift shop on base. Or as I just remembered, I borrowed my mom’s maternity clothes that I used to wear as an unpregnant teenager because I loved the styles. I had some material that had been laying around from the outfit I had worn to go and see Andy when he graduated from boot camp. It was small black and white checks. I had sewn a top that was made with lots of elastic and was like a tube top with a skirt sewn on to the bottom. It worked great as a summer top or to use when we were sitting in the wading pool.
The problem arose when we went to the beach with our best friends, Charlie and Kim. I usually didn’t go in the water as I hate being pulled under or thrown around by the waves. So, I wore the top with a pair of shorts as my bathing suit.
I decided to go in since everyone else was. I got pulled under and choking, surfaced, and stood up. The water had stretched the elastic and made the skirt heavy and the next thing I knew it was down around my hips under the baby bump and our friend, Charlie, happened to be staring right at me. I was so embarrassed and dropped back into the water trying to pull the top back up and over the baby and my breasts. I may be an exhibitionist, but not to the point of nakedness, especially in front of people I knew. The other people there I would never see again, but we were close friends with Charlie and Kim. I struggled with the waves and the top and managed to get it up to the point that I was mostly covered. I got out of the water fast and wrapped my towel around me.
I went back to the wading pool until summer ended and it cooled down some. That may have been the last time I ever set foot in the ocean. I hated the sticky feeling and the sand that managed to get where it didn’t belong.
Since I was working, my fellow friends at work had set up a shower for me at the officer’s club. They thought they were secretive, but I knew what was going on. Every time I walked up, and they were talking, they all shut up and looked away. I would have had to have been dumb and blind not to figure that one out. I could have used that shower for my first baby, but hey at that point I would take it. We never did have much with the first child, and most of the clothes were from yard sales, so I got some new baby stuff with this one. We still had all the baby stuff from the first child, and this made for some new things to add to it. As she outgrew clothes, I packed them away. We were still planning on having a third child, and so nothing was given away.
This brings me to her due date. The doctors had decided she was due on a particular day in October. I went into labor with her quickly as she was the second child. I went to work that night, the day before she was due. I worked at the Officer’s Club (which I will describe in various other chapters). I could keep working as the hostess; I just had to stop waitressing. I came home that night and our friends, who would be watching our older child, had just left when the labor pains started. We had to wait till they got home and call them to come back and get our oldest daughter as I was in labor and I had to get to the hospital.
We arrived there after midnight, making it my official due date. When asked my due date and I told them it was today, those nurses had the nerve to say to me that I couldn’t possibly be due that day because babies do not come on their due dates. What kind of stupid reply was that one? Babies do come on their due dates all the time. I was in terrible pain and tired of arguing with the nurses.
Finally, the records were brought upstairs from the ob/gyn section of the hospital for the night deliveries. The nurses pulled my file, and finally, they had to agree that it was indeed my due date. I wasn’t dilated yet, but she was the second baby, so they didn’t send me home. They made me walk the hospital floors until finally my water broke and I could be set up and put to bed and start the proceedings for a delivery.
I didn’t have anesthesia. As I said, I had all my children by natural childbirth. It hurt a lot, but I was more afraid of the needle for the anesthesia than I was of the pain from the birth itself. My first child took 36 hours of labor and was 6 pounds 9 ½ ounces and, this one took 4 and a half hours from start to finish and weighed 7 pounds 15 ½ ounces. She was a lot larger than her sister had been. A pound and a half is a big difference when it comes to babies.
The second child was born in October of 1979 five days before my birthday. Our two kids were both born around one of our birthdays.