We had been married just over a year when I got pregnant with our first. Though we weren’t planning a baby, we sure couldn’t say we were surprised.
First: I had stopped taking the pill. I had to or I was going to kill someone . . . and it wasn’t going to be me. The hormonal state that Ortho-novum kept me in played “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” with my emotions. For example, my husband would walk in the door after 12 hours of playing soldier. I would say, in my sweetest Donna Reed voice, “How was your day?” only to follow it up four minutes later with a Linda-Blair-exorcist-like, “Get Outta My Face!”
We figured even unplanned parenthood had to be better than that.
Second: the husband was an Army Lieutenant stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska. He was away doing field training. A lot. For long stretches of time. He was gone from Oct. 18 until Nov. 8, left again on Nov. 10 and didn’t return home until the first of December. Hmmm . . . doesn’t take quantum physics to figure out that one.
So, I found myself pregnant. Entirely too young. 4,000 miles away from my mommy. The first of all of our friends to fail the “E.P.T.” test. And more than a little terrified. I felt like Prissy from Gone with the Wind: “Why, I don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ no babies!” My preference: Schedule a C-section, take some heavy drugs, and hope for the best. Oh, but it’s not that easy for a do-it-yourself junkie. You see, I read. And read. And read. And Alaska is not exactly the kind of place where you are encouraged to follow the crowd. Unless, of course, the crowd is a bunch of earth-mother, hippie-wanna-be, save-the-earth do-gooders. (And I mean that in a good way!) So I found myself reading Mothering Magazine and Ina May Gaskin's “Spiritual Midwifery” and Rahima Baldwin’s “Special Delivery” and all manner of natural, wholistic childbirth propaganda. By the time August 13 rolled around, I was enduring a 32-hour labor at home with a couple of midwives.
Now, the birth itself did not turn out exactly picture-perfect. But I did end up with a beautiful daughter, and a passion for pregnancy and childbirth that can only be described as a part-time obsession. More about that at a later date.
The worst part of my first pregnancy: Not having caffeine
The weirdest craving during my first pregnancy: McDonald’s cheeseburgers (ewww.)
The strangest side-effect of my first pregnancy: Sporadic, but uncontrollable giggling (Again, another story for another time . . . )