And Then There Was Ellyn… (part 2 of 4)

The rest of that summer passed. I was so busy being preggers and taking care of the boys that I had little time to paint or draw. It just wasn’t a priority. Plus, I had my bible study with Idell, as I wrote about here.

In the last trimester of my pregnancy I got huge again. Everyone, including me, suspected twins for a second time. I didn’t think it was likely, but I sure looked like it could be. I kept asking the doctor and he said, “no… there’s just one baby.” So that’s what I went with.

My due date was November 1st, 1975 and I was so uncomfortable that one of my docs took pity on me. He had me come to the hospital the evening of October 31st to induce labor. He really didn’t think I could carry this baby much longer.

I got hooked up with the Pitocin drip and started having contractions. I fully expected to have the baby within a few hours. Surely I was so far along that this baby would just drop out on its own.

Our best friends, Beany and Kaethe, came to visit for a while. We joked about having a “Halloween Baby” and then they left. My labor got more intense.

Along about midnight, the doc came in and checked me. The labor was NOT productive. It had been six hours of contractions and there was no sign of progress. The doc said it was dangerous to force things when this baby was obviously not ready, so I was released to go home. That was not only disappointing… I had to endure the contractions until all the medicine was out of my system. It was not a pleasant night.

A couple days later we repeated this process with the same result… Hours of induced labor… no baby… sent home.

I was getting discouraged. I was enormous and my mother-in-law, Betty, was watching the boys all the time. I feared that she would be sick of doing that by the time I really needed her. And I was almost as big as I was with the twins – which everyone speculated about. I felt like the Goodyear Blimp.

The doc told me it would be best to wait until the baby decided to come on its own. I agreed, but wondered how long that could possibly be.

During this time I had occasion to visit my paternal grandmother. She took one look at me and said, “that baby will come when the moon changes again.” I didn’t know what that meant – or when it would be – but I was willing to watch the sky for signs. I was getting desperate.

The silver lining was this… my own birthday (which I still celebrated back then) was coming up on the 20th of November. I would be 24 years old and it would be nice to have a baby girl on my own birthday, now wouldn’t it? I couldn’t imagine I would go that long with a due date 19 days earlier, but it was something to focus on.

Then the time really dragged. And dragged. And dragged.

Believe me, you can only go out and hear people say “Oh, are you still here? Where’s that baby?” for so long before you want to punch them in the nose. Plus my friends and relatives would call every day and ask… “anything?” Like I was stalling on purpose. I wanted to rip the phone off the wall and throw it out the front door. I was getting VERY cranky.

But what can you do? I was beginning to think I would be a pregnant cow forever, but that never really happens. And some of my other pregnant friends… who were going early… were making me crazily angry indeed. How is it fair that some women only go 36-38 weeks and I’m now edging past week 42? Can that possibly be fair? I think not!

At any rate, my birthday came and went. I wanted to cry.

Also, at the time, we were in a monthly Euchre Club with a bunch of other couples. I had found someone to sub for me for that November time slot since I thought I would be taking care of a newborn, but here I was… still large with child and going strong. I didn’t feel like playing cards that night, so I still used the sub. And I hung out at the card game around everyone else just to have something to do. I didn’t feel great and everyone doted on me as I sank into a comfy chair that I then needed help to get back out of. At least it was a change of pace from being home feeling like The Blob.

That card game was on a Saturday night and when it was over, Bill and I went home as usual. I didn’t think I could sleep flat in the bed so I camped out on the couch. I was extremely uncomfortable all night. I’m pretty sure Bill slept like a rock as he always did. Which irritated me, but was the norm.

On Sunday morning, Bill got up early and went down the street to work for his friend Briggs. Briggs owned a local pool hall and Bill had worked for him part-time for years. Now they were renovating a building on the west side of town to move to from the original down-town location. It was an ongoing project.

Once Bill was gone and I had the house to myself, I felt like I could finally relax. I plumped up my pillows (still on the couch) and gave a sigh of relief as I prepared to have a fine morning siesta. But no sooner did my head hit the pillow than the contractions began.

Really? Now that I’m finally tired enough to get some sleep and here it comes? Is this real?

Oh yes, it was real. I knew that in no time.

I called down to where Bill was and Briggs answered. “Tell Bill it’s time,” I choked out.

“All right,” replied Briggs. “I’ll let him go if you’re really in labor.”

Suddenly I was totally offended. I thought to myself… “WHAT??? You’ll LET him go???? Like there’s some sort of CHOICE here????” I bit my tongue as Bill came on the line and said he would be right home. But I was furious. And I needed to calm down… first of all, Briggs had no children so had not been through this. Second, I was in cranky labor mode already. I had to let it go, but as you can see, it has been almost 40 years and I didn’t forget it! (Starrgirl has a very vivid memory – you must always realize that!)

So now it was for real.

Bill got home, we made a few phone calls to tell friends and family it was time, and off we went to the hospital. It was Sunday, November 23, 1975. And our much-anticipated baby was finally on the way.

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