Husband Dropped His Pregnant Wife At The Hospital And Never Returned.
Story by Susan Stevens (Author)
As she continued to talk, my mind wandered back to the year she was born–1967. My sixth pregnancy was my most difficult one. Nothing about it was like the previous five. I took a quick mental walk down memory lane.
In the kitchen I put a clothespin on my nose and prepared for the worse. The stench that others called the good aroma of home cooking made its way past the clothespin and my stomach turned as I headed toward the bathroom.
Kneeling on the floor with my head hung over the cold porcelain bowl had become a daily ritual for me. Three months of ritual in fact. For three months I could eat nothing but the nectarines canned the year before. I’d never had morning sickness before, and was thankful when my bout with it was over.
The months that followed were pretty routine, but around the due date things changed drastically for me. I went into hard labor in the early morning hours of November 4th. My husband grumbled as he got dressed for the ride to the hospital. After a few hours in the hospital my labor stopped and I was sent home. Things repeated themselves in the wee hours of November 5th and November 6th.
On the last trip, my husband told the doctors they were to keep me because he was not bringing me in again. They could tell he meant it and decided if labor stopped they would induce it this time. Labor stopped, but started again before they had to induce it. I won’t go into details about the rest of my stay, but will say my husband was not there, never showed up, disappeared into the nightlife of San Francisco, and the hospital finally paid for a cab for me to take my new daughter home when I was released.
She was different than the others from the beginning. She liked to be alone, woke from a sound sleep with a blood curdling scream that always brought me running and thinking one of the other children had accidentally injured her. She was slow learning to sit up, crawl, walk or talk. Eventually, she was diagnosed with a developmental disability.
She was my most beautiful baby, but not a cuddler. If you tried to pick her up, she would raise her arms straight up so she almost slid through your grasp. She was also headstrong and stubborn. Even though she had a disability, I always challenged her to go beyond what she felt she could do.
As she grew older I explained how we all have disabilities of one kind or another. Some are painfully shy, some afraid of the dark, some have physical disabilities we can easily see, others have hidden disabilities like hers. Although there were a few times she was hurt by her peers calling her “retarded”, she learned that they could have a “disability” in their lack of understanding people like her, and she let it go.
She grew into a confident young lady, facing many challenges head on and coming out the winner. While at home she learned to handle money, plan menus, do her laundry, cook, clean, crochet, do counted cross stitch so well the back looked almost as good as the front, and numerous other activities. She eventually moved out on her own and proved to me and the world she could take care of her own home.
I looked at her as she continued to talk, and I listened with new awe. “My doctor confirmed the home pregnancy test and started me on prenatal vitamins. He wants to see me in four weeks and I need to have a history of family pregnancies. David and I want to get married.” Was this the little girl doctors said wouldn’t get beyond a 4th or 5th grade education? No, this was a woman taking control of her life and now the new life she is carrying.
She loves children. Her door is always open to neighborhood kids, and she always has homemade treats or games to play with them. She has regularly baby-sat for friends and family. The fact is she is wonderful with children and will be a good mother. I just never thought of her as married and a mother.
She has always amazed me, and she continues to amaze me. I looked at her and I saw a gentle spirit full of love for others, full of love for David, and I saw the sparkle of love starting to shine for the baby she will one day hold in her arms.
I saw her anxiety as she waited for my reaction. My heart swelled with pride for this young woman who has fought so hard to be “normal”. For the moment I set aside my surprise, and any concerns. I reached out to my daughter. Gathering her in my arms for a hug, I felt her tension and apprehension melt away. It was the beginning of another journey for her, but she knew I’d be there cheering her on as she once more stretched her limits.
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