Joe and I were together for nearly a year and a half before we had a separation. He had cold feet. He insisted he was to go to California and become a monk. It was traumatizing to me. It was a cold exchange of words from an otherwise warm man. My bipolar disorder/borderline was in full swing when he dropped me off to my apartment to say goodbye. I was alone, in a city, with nothing. I was frightened. I had no job, no money and had never been on my own before. I hated him.
Living outside of Detroit was scary for a single woman living alone. But, I didn’t have a car, so I took the bus and walked to look for work. Michigan had and still has a terrible unemployment issue. I looked tirelessly for a job. Even McDonalds wasn’t hiring. I was broke and living on cottage cheese. I picked up a newspaper and noticed a wanted ad…for a job I never thought I would take. “Wanted: Adult Entertainers! Big Money. Pay Daily”. Anyone who says that people have a choice to not do certain work have never been unemployed, starving and fearing eviction in one of the murder capitols of the world.
I got to the shady looking establishment with the only lingerie I had and shoes I got from the Salvation Army. I was told to get on stage and dance for my “interview”. I was never more afraid. They asked me what music to play…and in my rage I wanted heavy metal. I danced freely and I became their “niche”. The metal maiden, they called me. I started working there 4 days a week and made on average $4,000. Was it demeaning? Yes. Was the money great? Yes. Did I feel empowered that I was taking care of myself? You bet your ass I was. About 2 months later while I was at a party I called Joe. I was drunk and it was 3am and I screamed at him like I had never screamed. He didn’t say anything, just listened (or slept). I got off the phone and passed out. The next day I got a text from him, I was reluctant to look. He wanted to meet me. I was still very much in love with him, but felt betrayed on a level that I cannot even say. I agreed. To celebrate a possible restraining order or relationship makeup session, my friend Ashley and I promptly got our nipples pierced. At about 8pm we pulled up to a local IHOP and saw Joe standing there. The sight still haunts me. He looked like Charles Manson with a long scraggly beard and looked as if he hadn’t seen sunlight in years.
We went in to the IHOP, ordered and ate. The bill came and I insisted on paying. Joe, naturally, insisted he pay (he after all always worked and I didn’t often do so). Flipping out my wallet of 100’s was a very intense and exciting experience for me. He was shocked. But I was self-sufficient now. After I paid, we talked for a while until he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said “I’ve missed you so much”. I promptly told him he couldn’t cry in the IHOP and we should go to the car to finish talking. After much talking and negotiation we decided to give love another try…to give trust another try. It was about a month later that I fell pregnant with my son. I was petrified. We had just gotten back together after a separation…I was stripping…I just found independence. What was I going to do? I went through a bad phase and even contemplated abortion several times. Finally, I decided regardless of what would happen I would have the child. I stopped stripping and we became broke pretty fast.
Joe started working nights stocking shelves at Meijer. I was about 7 months pregnant when we got a knock on our door from the county with an eviction notice. Our landlord foreclosed on the house for nonpayment and had been pocketing my rent for nearly a year. We had 30 days to get out. We had no idea what we were going to do. After a few days we found an ad for a house for sale in the area up north where our parents lived. The price couldn’t be beat and it had low payments. We promptly moved north and settled down. I didn’t have much time before the baby would come. A move while pregnant is torture.
On August 25th I went to my OB appointment. I was 39 weeks 5 days. I had some back pain but I was otherwise in good spirits. I peed in the cup, had my blood pressure checked and waited for the doctor. I was eager to find out how much I was dilated. He came in and asked me if I was well and if I felt any pain. I said I felt great and had some mild back pain and some contractions. He said great and checked me. He looked up at me pale as a ghost and walked out of the room saying nothing. I was worried. What was wrong? Did my baby pass away? He came back moments later with a wheelchair. “Mrs. Foster, you are 6 ½ cm and about to go into transition, you need to get to the hospital immediately”. WHAT! I felt nothing. I felt fine! I couldn’t be having a baby! I refused the wheelchair and said I would go on my own. The hospital was right next door. Joe called our family and off we went.
I was in disbelief I that I was having a baby. Isn’t it supposed to hurt? I got there and the doctor checked me. He said I felt nothing because my water was still intact and he popped it. THEN came the pain. It was nauseating. I was 8 cm when I insisted on an epidural. Somehow I was lucky to get one in that late stage. By time it was in, I was ready to push and the epidural had only worked on one side. I could feel everything on the side that wasn’t numb. After 3 pushes my miracle Gabriel Jhonen-Benjamin Foster was born at 7lbs 1oz and 20” long. I held him for a moment and they took him away for APGAR testing. I was mortified that I couldn’t see him. An hour later he came back to me and I tried to breastfeed him. The nurse insisted I not do it for a few hours because he wasn’t going to be “hungry”. In hindsight, I wish I would have slapped that bitch, because we never achieved a successful latch and 2 months into breastfeeding and supplementation I had to stop trying because he wasn’t gaining weight properly. Gabriel is now a healthy and spry little boy and will be turning 4 in August. Becoming pregnant with him changed my life and changed Joe’s life in a way he may never know. He is truly our miracle.
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