This is a hard one to write, so bear with me folks…
Well now I am back home and 1970 is just a few days away. I am living with my parents and no job because I am too pregnant to get work. I still got medical care at the base because I was under 21 and living with my father who is a retired navy man. In February I will be 21 and the navy will still take care of me because it is a pre-existing condition. I was desperate to get back on my own, so I had to swallow my pride and go to the Welfare office! My God, it has come to that!! They accepted me, and I got a small place about 4 blocks from my parents. (Every place in Coupeville is about 4 blocks from each other).
A few girls from school threw a baby shower for me and I got a bunch of cute things. I set the baby’s room up real nice and was awaiting the “time” for it to come. All my drinking friends were off doing other things like getting married and moving away, so I sorta just hung out with my parents, and my friend Barry. Barry was a friend I met while waitressing at the Seagull Café. Barry’s mother lived in the duplex next door to me, and she was an older woman and a drunk. Barry hated drunks, and was upset at me when I drank at all my parties, but when I came crawling back home he was there for me. He was 10 years older than me and never been married. (He later told his sister that if he could find a girl like me he would marry her).
My 21st birthday was February 4th and I was 8 ½ months pregnant. I remember standing outside the Tavern until midnight and then walking in to get my “Birthday” beer. They all yelled at me that it wasn’t time yet, and I almost cried, so they let me in.
I would go to the tavern and sip on a beer once in awhile, or a coke. I don’t think I got drunk then because it made me sick. The baby was due in late February, and I was miserable. I was huge and miserable. It was March now, and still no baby. I went to the doctor every week and he said to come back the next week. The first week in March he decided to induce labor and told me to come in the next week for it. I was miserable, and feeling really weird. When I went in the next week, he said he was too busy, and to come back the next week. The baby was turning a lot and really doing some acrobatic maneuvers inside me. I went home, and three days later I was mopping the kitchen floor and felt a big “pull” in my stomach. It hurt, and the baby was really still after that, so I had my mother take me to the hospital on the base. They did some tests then x-rayed me and came in and told me the baby was dead! There was nothing they could do but send me home and wait for me to go into labor naturally. I don’t remember much after that. I was in shock. I wanted that baby so bad, and planned on raising it myself. Then I went into the guilt mode. Did I do something wrong? Am I being punished for being a bad girl? After all was done, the doctors told me the baby was separated from the placenta and died. If they would’ve induced labor when they said they would, it would not have happened!! I was so hurt and angry!! Barry was right by my side. What a good friend he was. On March 23rd I woke up in the morning and peed my pants. (My water broke). They took me in to the hospital and I had 12 hours hard labor. Mom was in the delivery room with me and Dad and Barry were in the waiting room. They said the entire hospital could hear me screaming. I was afraid and angry, and let the world know!! The baby finally came out and I sat up to try and see it. They whisked it away from me and wouldn’t let me see him. It was a boy weighing 9 ½ pounds. I had to name him, so I named him Michael (after my brother) Lee (after his father’s middle name), then I had to put Bazzell for the last name because my old fashioned parents didn’t want a bastard son named after the family name! (I got over it). I had to sign a birth certificate then sign a death certificate. The following morning I was in bed and there was a gal and her husband in the next bed. She had a miscarriage and the Priest was praying for them. I asked if he would come over and pray for me too, and he asked if I was Catholic, and I said no, and he did not come pray for me. Again, here I was in 1970 and just had a baby out of wedlock. Shame on me!! PRICKS!!! It took me many years to get over the rejection from a man of Faith! I felt so dirty and ashamed, and blamed myself for everything that happened to me.
When I got home the next day I opened the door to the baby's room and it was empty!! Mom & Dad took everything away!! They thought they were keeping me from more pain, but it didn't work. I was so lost!! I had no idea what the baby looked like, where he was and where the baby things were. It was all taken from me. It was like it never happened!! But I know it did, and I was hurting from it!!
To top things off, I got a letter from the Welfare Office telling me that I was no longer eligible for benefits for the month of March because I was not pregnant and did not have a baby, so I had to return the check I received March 1st!! I went to the Seagull Café and got my job back and repaid the Welfare Office. I was on Welfare for two months and swore I would NEVER EVER ask for help again!! I never needed to after that.
Again, Barry was right by my side through all of this!!
He still worked on the Turkey farm and would come to the Café where I worked every night. He would take me to the movies, and have me over for dinner. He was such a gentleman, and always treated me with respect. He was such a good friend, but that’s all it was, a friendship. I moved to a place out by Fort Casey three miles from town, and had a roommate that had a little girl. There was a house next door with 4 bachelors living there. PARTY TIME!!! We had a ball!! We spent a lot of time at the Tavern and then home to drink more. Sometime during this period, the guy that got me pregnant came by and asked if he could see the baby!! I was flabbergasted!! I told him I had no idea where the baby’s ashes were. My parents had him cremated and didn’t tell me where they had the ashes put. He said he didn’t know the baby was stillborn. He left, and that was the last I hoped I would see of him. I don’t know why I was mad at him, I was the one that decided to “do it” with him, and got pregnant. I just didn’t want to be reminded of that period of my life.
Okay, that is enough for tonight. I will get back to the parties tomorrow!
Have a great Friday!!