JOURNAL NO. 32
August 1981 - December 1981
Age 23

"... The baby just gave me a good, solid THUMP. Maybe (she) knows that Mommy & Daddy are finally making it legal today." 





 

Friday afternoon
August 7, 1981

This is supposed to be the hottest day of the whole year, according to the forecast ... already it's up in the 90's. I am firmly planted in front of the electric fan with General Hospital on the tube, and I have no intention of moving from this spot until I have to drive down to Dave's Place and pick up Ray, later this afternoon.

A few minutes ago I looked down at the front of my blouse and noticed a wet stain near my left breast. Upon investigation, I discovered that I'm "leaking" a little bit on both sides! It was such a shock! (A pleasant shock.) Now I'm sitting here, feeling VERY pregnant. I'm barely showing, although my belly is so round anyway that it's hard to be certain what's me & what's the baby ... but the baby is kicking, and my breasts are preparing for nursing, and Lord knows what other changes are taking place inside of me that I don't even know about. It's as though I'm just sitting back & letting somebody else do the driving.

A funny thought just occurred to me: my baby, whoever he/she may turn out to be, may someday be reading this very journal!  Hiya, Puss!









Saturday morning
August 8, 1981

(Ce Ce Kitty is grabbing my pen as I write this)

The next morning ... early. Preparing to brave the heat of another scorcher. Feeling weak and sick.

Ray and I had dinner at his parents' house last night, and everyone - even Ray's father and his little sister Barbara - was incredibly nice and friendly to me. I couldn't believe it. Where was all the hostility I've come to expect? Maybe it was so pleasant because Sheryl wasn't there to stir up trouble. But whatever the reason, it was a welcome change to actually feel like part of the family instead of Madame X. They asked all kinds of questions about the baby, and Ray and I told them about our wedding plans. Peg has offered to let us have our wedding dinner at their house, after the ceremony.

Afternoon:

Feeling a little better, but it's so damned hot. I can't even move. Ray just got home from work and he's going to turn on the sprinkler in the front yard ... maybe some of the spray will waft in through the window and cool me off.








Sunday afternoon
August 9, 1981

Unbearably hot. I can't even MOVE. If it weren't for the electric fan and an occasional refill of ice water, I wouldn't be able to stand it.









Wednesday 6 p.m.
August 12, 1981

Haven't felt like writing anything at all because of the heat ... haven't felt like doing much of ANYTHING, for that matter. Come to think of it, I still don't. Maybe I'll write later.









Thursday
August 13, 1981

There really is a God. I got out of bed a while ago and it's sunny, bright ... and cool! Or cooler, anyhow. It may get up into the 70's, but that's NOTHIN' compared to the insane temps we've been hitting this past week. I actually slept through the night.

One fly in the ointment (of course): the water is shut off again, and I have no idea whether it was Ray who shut it off or the water company. I have a terrible feeling it was the water company, in which case God knows how long it'll be before we have running water again. I was caught unprepared this time, with only a tiny amount of bottled water stashed in the fridge. Yikes!

I'm also still living in fear of Mike or Ann coming by and demanding their food stamps -- which we don't have. I'm scared to death that Mike might get really ugly about it. Ray could get into a helluva lotta trouble.









Tuesday morning
August 14, 1981

It was the water company who shut us off yesterday. Damn. Luckily, Ray was able to run over to the hardware store and pick up another little metal pipe to slip into our meter after dark, so I had a chance to wash the dishes, run a couple loads of laundry, take a shower and wash my hair, and full up a bunch of empty containers with fresh water for today. Next week - hopefully - we can pay our bill and get our water back for good. We're going to be facing some pretty steep bills in the coming months, though ...

Sunny but cool. Drinking coffee, watching a "Three's Company" re-run, watching the kittens run and play on the kitchen table. Cautiously happy. I would like to be completely, all-out happy, but as always there are a few problems to be considered. Mike Myers DID come by the house yesterday. I knew he would. But, he didn't say anything about his food stamps at all, which was a big relief.

Our wedding plans have changed. Ray's older sister Patty called from Arizona and expressed a desire to be at our wedding, so we've postponed it another week to coincide with her arrival. It will either be sometime on Saturday evening, August 29 or else on Sunday, August 30. Frankly I was surprised that Patty wants to be at our wedding, considering her low opinion of me, but I don't mind pushing thing back another week. Actually, it works out better that way, because the 31st (Monday) is the beginning of Ray's vacation. That way we'll have lots of time for a honeymoon ... maybe a few days at Ocean Shores, which is what we'd both like.

Ray's family - especially his mother - has suddenly become unbelievably supportive. We may even have the wedding at their house, in fact. Ray's parents have offered to buy me a wedding dress, too. I know they're anxious for us to be properly married before their grandchild is born, but I also think - I hope - that they're beginning to like & accept me, too. That's important to me. I don't expect that Sheryl and I will ever be friendly, but his parents liking and accepting me is much more important than Sheryl's approval or civility.

My in-laws. My God, these people are going to be my in-laws . What an odd feeling.









Saturday a.m.
August 15, 1981

Almost noon ... and it's cloudy and overcast today. I think I could cry with relief. The heat spell must really be over! Now I can begin to feel like a human being again and get some things done toward planning the wedding. There's so much to do in so little time.

A little bit "lonely" today. Ray didn't get home until very late last night, and then he got up at 4:30 this morning and went to work again. So I'm facing another day alone. Pore liddle me. Jesse gives me a reassuring "thump" every now & then ... maybe he's saying, "Hey, it's OK Mom - I'm here!"  And in odd way, it is reassuring.

Last night I lay in bed and watched him kick. Now you really can see it from the outside, when he/she kicks - my whole belly jumps. Ray still hasn't seen it, but not for lack of trying: every time he tries to feel the baby moving, the little bugger STOPS moving. Maybe the baby is "teasing Daddy!"

I can't believe that I'm already halfway through my pregnancy, and that in as little as four months the baby will actually be here.

Little Jesse? Little Stacie? Of course, she probably would have changed the spelling to "Stayci"  ... 

God, I need a shower and a shampoo!!!







MUSIC PLAYED ON AMERICAN BANDSTAND

8/15/81
("Featuring the Dance Contest and Gladys Knight & The Pips!")
Hosted by Dick Clark
Sea Breeze astringent commercial
Certs Breath Mints commercial ("for breath that's face-to-face fresh")
"THE KID IS HOT TONITE" Loverboy
"YOU'RE MY GIRL" Frankie & The Knockouts
Starbust Fruit Chews commercial ("You get a burst the moment you chew")
Signal Mouthwash commercial
Lip Lickers Gloss commercial
Jordache Jeans commercial
GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS Some new ballad off their latest album, didn't catch the title
SOME OBNOXIOUS DISCO-"RAP" SONG by someone named Frankie Smith
Clearasil Commercial
Dentyne Chewing Gum commercial
Scripto Erasable Pen commercial
Nair Hair Remover commercial ("Drop the blade, babe - put the Nair there")
SOMETHING by Randy Van Warmer
RATE-A-RECORD: "Our Lips Are Sealed" by The Go Go's, 77-1/2
"Flame" by Tommy Hill, 75
Compound W Wart Remover commercial
ABC commercial
Osh Kosh B'Gosh commercial
SOMETHING by Van Halen (indecipherable title & lyrics)
SOMETHING by Balance
(I finally gave up after I realized I don't recognize half the songs they're playing today ...)










Tuesday noon
August 18, 1981

Hot. Just took a run to the beverage store on Rose Hill; now I'm back in my armchair with "All My Children." I've got to go meet Ray in a couple of hours so we can go apply for our marriage license. Dave McK. is coming with us, to act as witness.

Last night Ray and I were sitting in the living room, watching TV and talking about the wedding. I looked at him and said, "Do you really want to marry me?," and he said, "Yes ... I really do." And he meant it. I guess that on some level it's difficult for me to believe. No one has ever wanted to marry me before. This is the first man who has ever wanted to invest his life into a permanent relationship with me. I'm afraid I may wake up and discover I've been dreaming ... or, worse still, I'm afraid he might walk out in the middle of the afternoon and never come back. It's happened to me before, after all.

Also last night - for no fathomable reason - I went off on some kind of crying jag for about an hour. I just couldn't stop the tears. Ray found me sprawled across the bed with my face all swollen and blotchy from crying, and he was completely baffled. For that matter, so was I. As usual, though, he was absolutely wonderful and understanding, and he helped cheer me up in no time with a good dinner and a nice long bath. He may not understand my moods, but he certainly knows how to snap me out of them!

The only thing I can figure to explain the sudden flood of tears is maybe a case of pre-wedding, pre-baby jitters. I'm right on the brink of two hugely important milestones in my life - marrying and Ray, and shortly afterward having our baby - and if that isn't enough to stress a person out, I don't know what is. I'm having all the normal doubts and fears, nothing too far out of the ordinary, and every once in awhile it catches up with me. Like last night. I wonder if we're doing the right thing, getting married ... and having a baby ... all so quickly. Is Ray right for me? Am I right for him? Are we going to be a happy family? Will we be good parents? Is the baby going to be normal and healthy? Ray and I have been very happy and content in the almost-year we've been together. Our lives have been insulated and private, and we haven't brought a lot of outside people & influences into it. (And when we DID - like when we tried having Mike Myers as a roommate - it was a total disaster.)









Thursday night
August 20, 1981

Where is Ray?? It's after nine o'clock and he still isn't home. I keep watching out the window for his headlights.

Hungry. Lately my appetite has become enormous: I am ALWAYS hungry. I'm going through a whole jar of peanut butter a week - Adams Old Fashioned, the kind with the oil on top - and almost half a gallon of milk a day. In the morning I crave breakfast cereal with lots of sugar, and well-done (burned) toast with big chunks of butter on it. The rest of the time I like spicy things, like pepperoni, or else really sweet things. God alone knows how much I weigh right now, since we don't have a bathroom scale, but the way I've been chowing down lately I've probably put on at least fifteen pounds already. Geez. How much of that is baby, and how much of it is fat remains to be seen. Next year is going to be misery, trying to diet down to a presentable weight.

We got our marriage license! Ray and I keep looking at each other in disbelief, saying "We're almost married?!"

The baby kicks and thumps and moves around all the time. From what I can tell, he/she must still be laying on its back ... sideways inside of me?









Friday morning
EARLY
August 21, 1981

Nearly six o'clock in the morning, and Terri V. is outta bed already ... that's incredible!! I had to drive Ray to work this morning - he was late, again - and as long as I'm up, I figure I might as well STAY up. I'd like to get some things done today, for a change. The wedding is next weekend, and I still haven't the foggiest idea where we're going to have it. I thought I'd call around and see if any churches are available on the evening of the 29th. (Talk about short notice.) I would also like to visit a couple of maternity shops and find myself the perfect dress to be married in ... something lacy and delicate and old-fashioned ... AND concealing!! ...

I'm sitting here at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. The kittens are running around the kitchen, hunting bugs and climbing into cupboards. Gary Lockwood (KJR) on the radio. Sitting on the table beside me is - wonder of wonders - my wedding ring. MY WEDDING RING?!?! Ray gave it to me last night, although of course I won't be wearing it until after the wedding. (Damn!) He came home around 10 p.m., kissed me hello and said, "Don't go away." I stood there while he reached into his shirt pocket, and then he pulled out a little brown velvet box and solemnly said, "Will you marry me?" Inside was my ring. It's the simple gold band I tried on at Jafco a few days ago - I guess he went back and bought it after work yesterday. It goes without saying that I was thrilled. I still am. I can't stop looking at it. It fits perfectly, and it's just beautiful. I told Ray I wasn't interested in a diamond: this simple, clean-looking gold band suits me just fine. It looks like "me." Ray is (hopefully) going to have one just like it.

THOUGHT: I've been Terri V. for so long, will it take me long to get used to being Terri P.? Is it like getting to used to writing a new year every January?

1:00 p.m.  

Afternoon, same day. I drove to Bellevue and met Ray for a quick lunch, and now I'm back home in time to gulp down a 7-Up before making a ton of phone calls from the nearest phone booth. Damn, I wish we had a telephone!! It would certainly make life easier.









Sunday
August 23, 1981

Early evening. Another warm summer day, but at least it's not blisteringly hot, the way it was a couple weeks ago. I'm sitting in the big ugly armchair Dad gave us, in front of the fan, listening to the stereo. I've felt weak and wrung-out all day long, and aside from cooking breakfast and reading the two Sunday papers, I haven't done a thing all day. I can't. I feel rotten.

Ray and I went to The Somewhere Else last night, for what was our last big night-out as "single people" ... one week from right now I'll be Mrs. Raymond P.  Strange to think about that. We listened to the band (The Ronnie Lee Group, hard rock. Remember the homely little retarded girl dancing all by herself in the middle of the empty dance floor?) We came home at a fairly decent hour, but I still feel Grade A Rotten. Hungry. Ray is making another one of his deluxe roast beef dinners ... I can't wait.

At this point in the journal there is a note written to Jamie, dated 9/24/91:

"Jamie:

It makes me feel bad now when I read this old journal and I remember how careless I was about drinking when I was pregnant with you. I was young, and we just didn't know as much then about the dangers as we do today. Please forgive me, and let's be thankful to the Lord that you were born so beautiful and so healthy.

Mom."

We now have a church, a minister and a definite time & date for the wedding. Yesterday afternoon we had a pre-wedding counseling session with Reverend Vance, at Aldersgate Methodist Church in Bellevue: it was relatively painless, and I think I picked out a great church & minister, considering that I drew the name at random from the Yellow Pages! Rev. Vance is very nice, and the sanctuary where the ceremony will be is lovely but not overbearing. I still don't have any idea who will be coming. Dad and Mom, of course, and Debby and Grandma St. John. Grandma V. says she "can't" come because Grandpa is too sick, and Ken - my stepdad - is holding out because he doesn't think he's really welcome, I think. At any rate, it's going to be a small wedding. Maybe 30 people at the very most. Considering the last-minute arrangements, it's a wonder that anyone is going to be there at all.

Watching Ray bustle around the kitchen ... checking his roast, slicing mushrooms, putting together a pot of spaghetti sauce for tomorrow. As usual he's wearing his old jogging shorts and his raggedy tennis shoes; his back and shoulders are red from the sun, and his hair is sticking out wildly in all directions. He looks like a little boy, thoroughly absorbed in his dinner preparations, wearing a half-frown, eyebrows drawn together in concentration. Smells of roasting meat and freshly chopped onion are wafting my way. The house is in its usual Sunday condition ... empty beer bottles in the living room, newspapers scattered on the floor, dirty breakfast dishes soaking in the sink and strewn along the drainboard. I am taking the day off from housework.









Monday afternoon
August 24, 1981

Just went and paid the $148 water bill at Kirkland City Hall ... now we have WATER again!! YAY!!!! No more planning my days around the amount of water I have stashed in the fridge. The house is still a complete disaster area - even worse than it was last night - and I'm just sitting in the middle of it all. I would like to spend one whole day this week cleaning EVERYTHING, from top to bottom, so I won't have to worry about it next week - but apparently today isn't gonna be the day. In an hour I've got to pick up Ray at Western Kraft, and then we're going to his folks' house to bring them up to date on the wedding plans.

I wonder: am I going to find a nice wedding dress? Will Ray have a ring? Will we go on a honeymoon?









Tuesday morning
August 25, 1981

TODAY will be Cleaning Day. I purposely let Ray take the car to work this morning, so I wouldn't be tempted to go out & ignore the housework. I plan to scrub and scour and rub and clean from top to bottom ... but first, a bowl of cereal ... a quick scribble in my journal ... a hot shower ... and "All My Children." In that order.

I really like something that Margot Kidder says in this week's People, regarding marriage. She says, " ... I'm dying to be married again - to have someone to have children with, grow old with, shuffle around in slippers with, watch TV with, wake up at four in the morning with, and just chat with about your fears." Naturally it made me think of Ray & I. I woke up in the middle of the night last night after a terrible nightmare, and Ray just took me in his arms and held me until I stopped crying and felt "safe" enough to fall back asleep.

That's one thing I think marriage is about ... being there when the other person is vulnerable and needs a pair of arms & a soothing word. And knowing the other person is there to do the same for you, when YOU need it. Someone to take showers with ... to split a large pizza with (pepperoni on my half, sausage on his) ... to make plans for the future with ... to share the Sunday paper with ... to eat ice cream bars in bed with ... to gripe about the neighbors with ... to fight over pillows with ...

I used to swear that I would never be a housewife. I thought it was "demeaning" for a woman to stay home all day and take care of the cleaning and the cooking and the children. I thought I was above all that. Now here I am, a full-fledged homemaker - a novice homemaker, but a homemaker nonetheless - and I like it! After the baby arrives, my whole day will revolve around the care & feeding of the new little person and my new husband and our home. I can't wait. I CAN'T WAIT!!









Wednesday evening
August 26, 1981

Well, I got a lot of stuff done ... cleaned the house yesterday, went dress shopping today ... but I seem to be losing my perspective. I'm not wild about my wedding dress, and I keep sitting here thinking about how lumpy-dumpy I look in it, instead of thinking about what it means to be wearing it in the first place. My nerves are shot to hell. I've had two super-hectic days in a row, and I'm feeling frazzled. Ray and I are picking at each other, too. Thank God I'm not having a big formal wedding like Princess Patty or Princess Sheryl: I'd be a nervous wreck. I'm having enough trouble handling this little dinky wedding.

Number One on my list of priorities tonight: I'VE GOTTA CALL DAD AND TELL HIM THE WEDDING IS ON SATURDAY, NOT SUNDAY!!!!! So why am I putting it off? Cuz I'm SCARED!

Oh yes, that reminds me. We went over to Ray's folks' house last night and talked to Peg (Don is out of town), and she informed us it would be "impossible" to have the wedding at 6 p.m., since Patty's plane doesn't get in from Tucson until 5:30. Which of course practically had me in tears. I'm so damned tired of changing everything all the time. We managed to get hold of Rev. Vance, and he was nice enough to suggest a 7:30 ceremony, but that's still going to be a real tight squeeze, timewise. Which leads me to my Number Two worry: calling Mom and giving her the latest time & date changes. Damn. Every time I talk to her, I swear that the plans are "definite" and there's no chance of them changing again. And then they always DO.

Frazzled from spending a whole day shopping with Ray's mother, his grandmother and his sister. AAARRRRGGGH.

Something old: Great-Great-Grandma's handkerchief (Gram St. John)
Something new: My dress
Something borrowed: Earrings from Barbara
Something blue: Garter from Grandma Bev P.









Thursday
August 27, 1981

I'm not doin' NUTHIN' today ... and it feels terrific!! My wedding is two days away, but I refuse to sit here and pull my hair out. I keep telling myself it's no big deal, it'll all be over in a flash. For all the fuss & hullabaloo of Patty's big wedding, compared to my own small-scale affair, in two weeks both weddings will be only memories. Maybe deep down inside I'm envious of the big beautiful weddings other people have. I'm not sure. Being pregnant makes a big wedding impossible. There just isn't the time - or the MONEY.









Friday morning
August 28, 1981

Six o'clock in the morning, but I can't sleep. I drove Ray to work at 5 a.m. so I could have the car for the day, but now I'm too keyed up and restless to slip back into bed. Maybe in a little while. This will be another relatively slow, easy day ... I want to be rested and relaxed for tomorrow. My wedding day. I just can't get over it. Terri V. is finally getting married. I've been reading some of the old journals I wrote in high school, circa 1975 (the Scott K./Rick H./early Steve P. era), and I remember how far-off and impossible marriage seemed to me then.

Yesterday afternoon Ray's mom and Barbara and Ray and I went to Lamont's at Crossroads and outfitted Ray for the wedding. He'll be wearing blue/gray slacks, a gray dress shirt, dark gray corduroy blazer and a striped tie (much to his dismay, I might add). The day before that, when Peg (as Ray's mother will henceforth be referred to) took me shopping. I bought my own dress, and she bought me a maternity slip, a pair of shoes and some nice pantyhose. My dress was on sale for $17.99, and it's very pretty, but it's not a maternity dress and it makes me look very heavy, especially around the tummy (where I'm full of growing, kicking BABY). Everyone who is coming to the wedding knows I'm preg, though, so I guess they'll forgive the bride for looking something less than svelte.

Peg also took me to a florist and ordered $65 worth of flowers. (Ray and I are starting to feel guilty about all the money she's shelling out.) I'll be carrying a blue and white bouquet, with matching flowers in my hair. Ray and Don will have boutonnieres, and Judy will have a small bouquet to carry.

We're not going to be able to afford Ray's ring until his next paycheck. Fortunately, his Dad has a nice, plain gold band - like mine - that he's letting us borrow till then. That way I can put a ring on Ray's finger during the ceremony.

What else can I tell you? Oh yes. I finally called my parents last night and told them about the new time for the wedding. It was a little scary, but now it's over with and I'm left with NOTHING to worry about. That gives me a nice, buoyant feeling. Mom was very nice about it - in fact, the later time might be easier for her, and for Uncle Dick & Aunt Ann if they decide to come. But Dad was grumpy. At first, anyhow. "On Saturday?" he groused. "Well, I'm just not gonna be able to make it, I guess." I knew he would be difficult, but it's my own fault for not calling him sooner. He doesn't like unexpected changes in plan. When I explained that it wouldn't be until 7:30 - and when he heard the exhausted, frazzled tone of my voice - he relented and said that of course he'd be there. (With Ann, his new girlfriend.) They'll come by the house at 6:00 tomorrow evening, and they'll drive me to the church. I'm probably going to be nervous as hell, and it'll be nice to have my Daddy there to lend a little moral support.

Peg is having everyone over to their house for a little champagne after the ceremony, and naturally she invited my family. Mom was delighted and said yes, of course she and Grandma would love to come. Dad flatly refused. (Again, I knew he would.) He said that he and Ann have "other plans." Now that I think about it, I'm a little hurt. It wouldn't kill him to have one glass of champagne and to stand still long enough for a few introductions and pleasantries ... but, that's my dad for you. I really couldn't expect anything more from him.

Grandma V. is definitely not coming ... that hurts too. The woman raised me, but she can't spare an hour to watch me get married? She says it's because she can't leave Grandpa, not even for one evening, but I have a feeling it goes deeper than that. I think she's disappointed in me. I still love her very much, but things just haven't been the same between us since I moved out on my own, three years ago. We've pulled apart from each other. I wish she would reconsider and come to my wedding, but I know she won't. We got her wedding gifts yesterday - a second-hand vacuum cleaner and Gim's old rocking chair. The vacuum cleaner barely works but it's better than nothing: the rocking chair is old and beautiful and familiar, and I love it. It sat in Grandma's house for many years, and now it will sit in mine. In another few months I will rock my first baby in it.

I also got my old bookcase back - the one that Grandpa V. made for me when I was nine years old. Later today I'm going to clean it completely (it's a mess ... it's been sitting in Dad's carport for two years, and it's covered with dirt) and then I want Ray to move it into the baby's room. The first piece of furniture in Jesse/Stacie's bedroom.

Mom said something funny on the phone last night: she said she'd been sitting there doodling my new name over and over again ... "Terri P.," "Terri Lynn P.," "Terri L. P." When she told me about it she sounded ... I don't know ... wistful, somehow. Her firstborn getting married and all that, I s'pose. Not to mention imminent grandmotherhood!

I'm getting MARRIED tomorrow!









Saturday morning
August 29, 1981

This is it. This is my wedding day. (!!) I'm sitting here at the kitchen table, sipping a glass of 7-Up in an effort to combat my stomach upset, looking at the gray clouds laying low overhead. CeCe is sitting on my foot, playing with the hem of my bathrobe. "The Jetsons" are on TV behind me. Ray is working a few hours this morning - by choice - we need the money, he says. Running a load of laundry in the bathroom. The house is fairly neat and clean, but there are still a LOT of things I want to get done today. The baby just gave me a good, solid THUMP. Maybe he knows that Mommy & Daddy are finally making it legal today.

Our marriage license is sitting on the table beside me: Don Jr. took Ray to Seattle yesterday to pick it up. I never knew there would be so many darned FORMS to fill out.

How do I feel? Distinctly unbridelike. I'm not nervous and I'm not excited: I'm just sort of numb at this point. Maybe I'll feel differently in a few hours.

Just ate a couple of hot dogs. I would like to smoke a joint or drink a beer or something, but I know better. Ray should be home at 2:00.




"Ray" & I on our wedding day
August 29, 1981





Monday morning
August 31, 1981

Well ... the Big Day has come and gone, and I am now Terri P. ... Mrs. Raymond E. P.! People keep asking me, "How does it feel to be married?," but even though I've thought about it and thought about it, I have to say that I honestly don't feel any different at all! Maybe it's because Ray and I lived together for nearly a year before we got married. Maybe it it's because our wedding was so low-key and informal and easy. I look at the ring on my finger, and the wedding bouquet in the fridge, and the gifts piled on the kitchen counter, and the only thing that's hard to believe is that it's OVER already ...

I have a lot to write about. Ray is sound asleep in bed, while I sit here in the living room with a cup of coffee and "Family Feud" on TV. (God, no wonder I don't feel any "different" ... my routine hasn't exactly undergone a major change.) We couldn't afford to go on a honeymoon this week, which is a little disappointing, but at least Ray has the week off so we can be lazy and do anything we want around the house for the next few days.

The wedding had its moments. Five minutes before the ceremony, it started raining buckets. By the time we were ready to start, a few people still hadn't shown up: they were still slipping into the sanctuary after the ceremony began. There weren't a lot of people there - just the closest family members and friends. Dad escorted me up the aisle and gave me away.

The minute Reverend Vance began to perform the ceremony, Ray's little nephew Billy started to scream at the top of his lungs -- probably because both of his parents were standing up with us at the altar. No one was paying any attention to him. He kept up the screaming & crying throughout the entire ceremony, until FINALLY someone was intelligent enough to let him toddle up the aisle and stand by his mother. I wish they would have just done that in the first place. Rev. Vance was wonderful about it and didn't even bat an eye: he just spoke up louder, to compensate for Billy. He also was kind enough not to say anything when Bob Tuffs took flash pictures during the ceremony - something that was STRICTLY forbidden! The ceremony was traditional. Ray wouldn't even look at me while he was repeating his vows: he just stared straight ahead, as though he was scared to move. I was amazingly calm and composed. The only difficult part was kneeling for The Lord's Prayer ... or, should I say, getting back up after The Lord's Prayer ... !!

When Rev. Vance pronounced us man and wife and Ray gave me a kiss, we turned around to face our guests and the minister said, "I am pleased to introduce, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond P." Flashbulbs were going off, and we just stood there grinning like fools. It was a happy moment. Even Billy stopped crying, and everyone started to applaud as we half-ran, half-walked down the aisle.

After the ceremony was over, we went to Rev. Vance's office to sign the license and the other paperwork. Then everyone went to Ray's folks' house for champagne and wedding cake. Both of my parents were there, and not only were they civil - pleasant, even - to each other, they also got along famously with Ray's family.









Friday morning
September 4, 1981

A few days later ... I've been "honeymooning." This week has been long, lazy and almost unbelievably happy. Ray and I haven't done anything much out of the ordinary -- hanging out at Dave's Place, visiting Ray's folks, doing things around the house, grilling steaks, watching late night TV. Right now Ray is at the paint store, picking out paint for the bathroom.

Tomorrow afternoon is Patty's wedding -- my new sister-in-law! -- tonight is the rehearsal. Ray is going to be an usher.

I'm beginning to "feel married" ... a little. Our life together has changed so little since the wedding - we're still enjoying the same comfortable, easy lifestyle that we've enjoyed all year - but now there's an undercurrent of permanence and solidity that wasn't there before. I look at Ray and think, "This is my husband." I look at the house and think, "This is our house." For keeps!  It makes me feel very good and very secure. All of the mistakes I've made in the past, all the crummy relationships, all the heartaches, all the pain ... none of that matters anymore. This is the beginning of our married life. I know that someday I'll look back on this period of my life as being one of the happiest ... the most filled with promise. So much could be ahead of us, and it's all beginning NOW. Today. Ray and I are so close, and we get along so well ... it's difficult to imagine we could ever be otherwise. Divorce is impossible, unthinkable. We have arguments, but nothing serious. Nothing we can't handle. We've never gone to bed angry at each other, and that's the philosophy we plan to follow ... "Never let the sun go down on your anger."









Monday afternoon
September 7, 1981

<-----  Sammi Cat is sleeping right here
Labor Day

Hot. Sitting at the kitchen table with my third can of Pepsi, my hair in rollers, "One Life To Live" on the tube behind me. Dad was here for about an hour or so, just to visit, but now he's gone and I really should get the vacuuming done. Too lazy, though. Ray is painting the bathroom but I just can't seem to follow his example. Sammi is stretched out, asleep, on the table next to this notebook: he's been a holy terror these past few days & I don't know why. The other morning he climbed onto our bed while Ray and I were still sleeping and he peed all over the comforter!! Right now he's got white paint all over the side of his little black face. Damned cat.

God, I'm sick of Luke & Laura on "General Hospital" !!!!!!!!!!! Why doesn't Mikos Cassadine just zap 'em with his weather machine?!

This is Ray's last day of vacation ... tomorrow he's back to the salt mines, and I'll have the house to myself again. On one hand it'll be nice to have my privacy & solitude again, but on the other hand I've gotten used to having my handsome husband around, and it's going to seem strangely empty around here w/o him.

Patty's wedding was on Saturday. In a letter I'm writing to Karen, I described it this way:

"... But would you believe that because of all the mishaps at our wedding, it was even more special to us than it might have been otherwise?? All the little mistakes and imperfections gave our wedding a character all its own. Yesterday afternoon Ray's sister Patty got married - one week after we did - and her wedding was one of those huge, stiff, formal things, with bridesmaids and organ music and a ten-minute procession up the aisle and the whole bit. Technically, it was perfect: not a hair out of place, not a missed step. But it was also very COLD. No one smiled. In fact, they all looked positively grim! No on laughed, or applauded, or anything else to make it feel like a HAPPY occasion, the way they did at our funny little wedding. Patty's wedding cost thousands of dollars, and ours probably cost $300 altogether ... but guess who had the most fun? And isn't getting married supposed to be a happy occasion, anyway? ... "

And it's true. There was a minute or two during Patty's wedding - when the organist started playing the traditional wedding march and the church was filled with music - that I felt a twinge of envy. I've always loved that music, and I always imagined myself strolling up the aisle while it played. But honestly, I wouldn't have traded our quiet simple wedding for all the white lace and organ music and catered receptions in the world. Um. Yes I would have. But I was determined to pretend otherwise.

Ray didn't quite hear Reverend Vance during the part of the ceremony where we were exchanging vows, and he ended up promising to "love, honor and carry me" (instead of "cherish"), and he pledged me his "face" (instead of faith). I nearly missed a step going down the aisle after the ceremony and almost fell flat on my face. Wouldn't THAT have been cute?! Reverend Vance thought Ray's name was "Roland," and he kept referring to him that way.









Tuesday morning
September 8, 1981

Just woke up after a whole nightful of WEIRD dreams. For the most part, everything was a jumbled-together hodgepodge of familiar faces and places (Danny Kent, Karen Pugh, Grandma St. John's house), but two small pieces of dream stand out:

1. I needed a place to live. Mom and Grandma St. John had an apartment together, so I went over there with my boyfriend - Scott S. - to see if I could move in with them. When I got to their apartment, the place was already filled with a bunch of my cousins and other relatives, and there was no room for me. Someone suggested that Scott and I move in together somewhere. I hated the idea, because I was no longer in love with Scott. In fact, I was miserable, because I was deeply in love with someone else & I couldn't remember who it was. Just then Ray walked in the door, and suddenly I remembered that it was Ray that I loved, and I felt very happy and relieved.

2. For some reason, my eyesight was failing and the doctors said I was going blind. I could actually see just fine, but no one believed me when I told them that. My mother said that now I was "handicapped" and I could never be left alone again. I wouldn't even be allowed to leave the house. I was so mad at my mother that I screamed and yelled and started hitting her.

A worry:

Our dumb neighbor from next door - Ben Something, the guy with the two rotten little kids and the perpetual wine glass in hand - came over here the other evening to invite Ray and I camping. (Naturally I said "No thanks.") While he was there, he looked at my belly and said, "What - have you already had your baby?" When I said no, I still had another three months to go, he could hardly believe it. "When my wife was six months along, she stuck out to HERE!" he said, amazed. Now I'm worried. I keep looking at myself in the bathroom mirror, with my clothes off & with them on, and the bulge I was so proud of last week seems to have just disappeared. I don't look pregnant at all. The creep is right!

The baby is kicks and thumps all the time, so I know he's in there, but I'm just not getting as big as I'm supposed to be at this point. I'm afraid that something is wrong. Maybe the baby isn't growing normally, or maybe he's not growing at all. For the first time in two months I have that awful, scary feeling that something is going to go wrong. We're going to lose this baby, or he's going to be born with some kind of serious defect. With all the confusion & chaos of our wedding the last few weeks, the fear had sort of subsided and I'd started feeling optimistic about the baby. Now the fear is back, dammit.

Two young women pushing baby strollers just walked past our house.

Baby ... are you in there? Is everything going to turn out all right? Am I going to be reading this journal in six months and smile, because you were born perfect & healthy? I hope so. A year from right now I hope there's a pink, brown-haired little person on the living room floor in front of me, gurgling and playing.

At least I vacuumed yesterday, so the carpet looks clean. Ray wants to go bowling today at 4:30. Mailman is here ... did I get anything?

YEP!!! A wedding card from Grandpa Torg and a check for $100!!!!






Early Fall 1981 is:

Sending away for mail order catalogs ... sliced ham with brown sugar ... clipping recipes ... a dozen new plants ... stomach aches ... getting used to the wedding ring on my finger ... Jamie Lynn ... Ray's new bowling team (Mike, Larry, Jim & Art) ... back-combing my hair ... boxes of baby clothes ... Pepsi ... You Bake It pizza ... frogs croaking outside the bedroom window ... Grandpa V. passing away ... the refrigerator on the blink, and no electric rollers ... painting the baby's bedroom ... Dr. Pheifer and Dr. Van Paaschen ... wedding pictures ... baby kicking me on the right side ...









Wednesday morning
September 9, 1981

Sipping a cup of hot tea ... the remnants of last night's take-out Chinese dinner are spread all over the kitchen. (Note for future: the eggrolls from The Ming Palace are ROTTEN.) Just got a big package from Ray's great-aunts in Arizona, Doreen & Helene: a set of bathroom towels (lime green, hot pink), two kitchen mitts and a Dustbuster. Guess I'm gonna have to get on the stick and write some thank-you notes pretty quick. Then we'll have our reception - maybe on October 3rd? - and I'll have some more "thank yous" to scribble, I hope.

Cloudy, gray, overcast. Kimberli Harris is whining and complaining to Barry Ryan about the sad state of her life on "Ryans Hope." I am freshly showered, with my clean damp hair twisted up in a towel and my mouth tasting of toothpaste and tea. I have a little bit of housework to do, but nothing major. Tonight is Ray's first night of bowling on the new team, maybe ... IF they can come up with two more people to bowl on the Western Kraft II team. I hope so. I've always enjoyed going with Ray to watch.

OUR WEDDING GIFTS
Grandma St. John: needlepoint plaques
Grandma V.: rocking chair
Grandma and Grandpa P.: $80
Grandma Deines: wine glasses
Patty & John: $20
Janet K.: picture frame
Uncle Dick & Aunt Ann: wine decanter, baking dish
Nancy & Bob Tuffs: Arcoroc dishes
Judy & Don: electric can opener
Grandpa Torg & Mickey: $100
Barry & Gloria S.: $20
Aunt Helene & Aunt Doreen: towels, oven mitts, Dustbuster






OUR LIFESTYLE

A few words about our lifestyle today in 1981.

Marriage hasn't changed things very much - except, as I mentioned before, the new sense of permanence that underlies everything now. We've developed a certain way of living & doing things, and we're both very comfortable with it. Our life is relaxed and easy: a simple life, revolving around the house and the kittens and each other. We see our families fairly often, and every once in a while we'll go to Dave's Place for beer, but by and large it's just the two of us. After the baby comes, it will just be the three of us. We both love the comforts of home ... a neat, clean house (but not "fussy-neat"), good food, a well-stocked fridge, clean sheets on the bed, good TV shows, reading the evening paper, keeping the yard in shape, playing with the kittens. We drive a beat-up old car, drink Rainier Beer, smoke home-grown weed, sleep until noon on weekends, wear jeans and T-shirts (mine are of the maternity variety at the moment!), listen to rock music, and watch movies on HBO instead of going out.

Continued on 9/11/81

Ray does most of the grocery shopping and cooking, in a nice reversal of the usual sex roles. He worked in a restaurant for a few years, and he has always had a real aptitude for cooking, I guess (whereas I have a hard time heating a frozen pizza).* I take care of the house, the laundry, stuff like that ... and to my amazement I actually enjoy it. During the years I lived with Dad, I was expected to do all the housecleaning, and I hated it. One high school girl trying to clean that filthy house was impossible ... Dad was the No. 1 Oscar Madision Slob of all time, and there were all those dogs running around the house, and it was disheartening to spend the whole day picking things up and cleaning and then realizing that the place STILL looked as ugly and smelled as terrible as it had when I started. No wonder by the time I left home, I hated housecleaning with a passion. I swore that I would never again be a "slave" to housework. Now things are different, and I think the thing that makes all the difference is the fact that this is MY house. I'm house proud. It's not the biggest house in the world, and our furniture is old and frayed, and we really need to paint ... but none of that matters. I love this place. I look around the living room and the kitchen, at all the little things that have been added since I moved in, and it gives me a feeling of pride and love and security. The little plants in the kitchen windowsill ... the antique rocking chair ... the neat rows of record albums ... the glass-topped coffee table and the tattered but clean sofa and armchair ... Ray's bowling trophy on top of the TV ... the framed pictures on the wall ... the spice rack, and the bright orange mixing bowl, and the Hawaiian serving plate decorating the kitchen. Our cupboards are filled with dishes and glasses and silverware, most of it mismatched; the hall closet holds neatly folded piles of clean towels (also mismatched!) Our bedroom is a curious mixture of little girl/married woman ... the big bed where we read and make love and sleep curled up next to each other at night, and my rag dolls and stuffed animals arranged on top of the dressers.

("Sammi, NO!!!"  He's trying to horn in on CeCe's hunk of pot roast.)

The words of that old Crosby, Stills and Nash song run through my head whenever I think about how much I love this place:

"Our house is a very very very fine house
With two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy 'cause of you ..."






CURRENT FAVORITES


COLORS: Brown, gold, orange, "fall colors"

FOODS: Pepperoni sandwiches, crunchy peanut butter, steak, baked potatoes, pop tarts, pizza crust, burned toast, barbecued chicken & ribs, Rice Krispies

SONG: "Hold On Tight," ELO

SOAP OPERA: "All My Children"

DRINKS: Milk, Sunkist Orange Soda, Pepsi

PEN PALS: Georgia Rodriguez, Debbie Short

HOBBIES: Working on scrapbooks, sending away for mail-order catalogs, clipping recipes, writing in journal, making tapes, houseplants, rolling joints, writing letters, pregnancy

CLOTHING:
Maternity jeans, red bathrobe, men's dress shirts

BEST FRIENDS:
Ray, Sammi, CeCe, Baby

MAGAZINES:
Parents, Family Circle, Womans Day, Baby Talk, Expecting

CARTOON STRIP:
Cathy, For Better Or Worse, Herman, The Far Side, Drabble, Ziggy

TV SHOW:
M*A*S*H, Barney Miller, WKRP in Cincinnati, Taxi





A thought out of nowhere:

I'm looking forward to holding my baby more than anything else, I guess. I dream about holding a warm, sweet-smelling tiny person. I'm looking forward to rocking her.

Today is a "Schlepp Day." Yesterday I did a whole bunch of housework, so today things are relatively neat and clean. I'm just sitting around watching soaps, reading Dr. Spock, trying to write letters to Tammy and Jean Ann, feeling the baby thrashing around inside of me. CeCe just climbed up into my lap, with a little squawk of protest: it's time for her afternoon nap, and she demands my lap and my undivided attention.

I asked Ray to call Dr. Pheifer for me today, since he has the car and I'm nowhere near a phone. I hope he remembers. I've GOT to see my doctor soon, and make sure that everything is alright with the baby. I've tried to put what our stupid neighbor said the other night out of my head, but I'm still convinced that I don't look pregnant enough for someone who's six months along. I've also been having dull pains in my lower pelvic area, and I'm sorta worried about that. I want this baby. Every month I seem to want it more & more. Apathy has given away to intense anticipation. I lay in bed at night and think about the baby, wondering what it will be like to be a mother. When I walk down the hallway I peek into the spare room that will someday be the nursery, picturing in my mind the way it will look with a crib & a dresser & a little person in it. I've been reading an outdated version of "Baby & Child Care" all day, and all the stuff about feeding schedules and formulas and diaper-changing and bathing is a bit overwhelming. Am I ever gonna get the hang of it? Will I be a good, efficient, capable mother? Am I going to enjoy giving so much of my time & energies to another person?

A thought:

The change of seasons seemed more pronounced when I was still in school ... now I barely notice summer gradually slipping into fall. One day it's too hot, and the next day it's golden and perfect, the way it is today. Stopping to feel the season for a moment.









Saturday 1:30
September 12, 1981

Sun is shining ... I've got the car today and $90 in my purse. Ray works until 6:30, and then I'll be picking him up at Dave's Place around 7:00 or so. The whole day stretches out ahead of me. The two little neighbor kids (the OBNOXIOUS ones, Chris and - ugh - Damien) are running around my living room, playing with Sammi. Ordinarily I wouldn't even allow them to set foot in my house, but I seem to be in a tolerant mood today. Sort of. (Me: "Don't TOUCH her, Damien ... and I MEAN it." Shades of future disciplinarian!) I only hope that my kids are one helluva lot better-behaved than these two monsters are. They have no manners at all, especially Damien. Early on in childhood I can remember Grandma V. teaching Dick & I to have perfect manners around grown-ups, and we were relatively polite, well-behaved little kids as a result. Looking back I remember that I actually enjoyed being polite. I plan to bring my child up the same way ... teaching him/her to say "please" and "thank you," and how to answer the phone like a human being, and how to behave around adults, and things like that ... all the things that Chris & Damien have obviously not been taught.

Ray and I had a fight last night, of sorts. For the second night in a row he came home several hours late & very screwed up. (Last night's excuse: he had to stay at Dave's Place for a few hours and "babysit" his drunk brother. His excuse the night before: he had to stay at Dave's Place for a few hours and "console" Randy Seaver, who has apparently broken up with Marcie again.) I wasn't mad at him for being late - in fact, I was never mad at all, and neither was he, really - so I guess it wasn't an actual "fight." He wanted to make love. (Ha ha, if that's what you call it when a drunk, unshaven husband reeking of beer tries to roll on top of you in the middle of the night.) I said "No" - kindly but firmly - and he staggered out to the living room and tried to fall asleep in the armchair. TWICE. Both times I had to practically drag him back to bed and re-tuck him in. Mercifully he passed out finally, and I got a few hours of sleep.









Sunday night
September 13, 1981

Home. Tired. Watching the 1980 Emmy Awards. Ray is out in the living room, watching something else. Today was Barbara's 12th birthday, and we all went to The Olde Spaghetti Factory for dinner, then back to Peg & Don's for cake and ice cream. I'm now stuffed full of good food, and I feel very sleepy and very content. Ray and I are back on good terms, as I knew we would be. He has been very loving and tender the past couple of days. He is, by far, the gentlest man I have ever known.









Monday morning (early)
September 14, 1981
(I remember where I was fifteen years ago today. ARF.)

Eeek. The house is a MESS. Looks like I've got a full day of housecleaning ahead of me, but at least I'm out of bed earlier than usual. It's still too early to tell how energetic I'll be feeling, though ... it's 8:00 now and already I'm thinking about heading back to bed. Maybe I should gulp down a couple hot cups of coffee and take a cold shower. Ray took the car today, dammit - we'd already agreed to let me have it today. (I HAVE GOT TO CALL DR. PHEIFER!!!!!!! Ray didn't call him for me on Friday: I knew he wouldn't.)

As always, I'm full of thoughts about the baby. This week I seem to favor the name "Jamie" for a girl. I even ran it past Ray and he liked it. He's pretty much leaving it up to me, though. "Jamie" - or "Jaime"? - makes me think of a little girl with Ray's big brown eyes and brown hair. Might even be Jamie Lynn, too. Knowing me, I may change my mind another twenty times between now and the time the baby is born, but Jamie is a name I've liked for years, so you never know.

I like to lay in bed, early in the morning after Ray has left for work, and feel the baby move. For some reason that's the time when he/she is most active. Sometimes the kicks and thumps are so hard, I could swear that Baby is turning somersaults inside of me ... it makes me wonder what really is going on in there. I wish there were some way to take a peek and make sure everything is OK ... see what the baby looks like, and what he's doing ...

Moment to remember: Ray sitting at the kitchen table watching his football game on the portable TV, tenderly cuddling CeCe, as though she were made of porcelain ...   if he's this tender and loving towards a kitten , think what a tender, loving father he's going to be.









Tuesday morning
September 15, 1981

Sunny day. Peanut butter sandwich and milk for breakfast. "All My Children."









Thursday morning
September 17, 1981

Morning. Just climbed out of bed, groggy from another morning of silly dreams (none of which bear repeating). Waiting for my coffee to heat up ... wondering where in the world my kittens are? Ordinarily they're right there at my feet when I unlatch the door in the morning, waiting to be let out, but this morning there's no sign of them. Hmmm.

Cloudy and overcast today, for a change. We were having another mini-heatwave earlier in the week, and even though it wasn't as unbearable as August was, it was still sticky & uncomfortable. Today there's even fog - lifting now - and when I stuck my nose out the door to call for Sam and CeCe, I got a whiff of that familiar "beginning of fall" smell. Reminds me of walking to school early in the morning ... a nice, happy smell. Brings back pleasant memories. I always loved the first day of school.

I've got an appointment next Tuesday at 2:30 with Dr. Pheifer - thank God. Peg called and made the arrangements for me, since I can't get to a phone, and she's going to take me. I'm so relieved. In fact, I'm very happy today.

Baby, please hurry up and get here! And when you get here, please be healthy and normal and ready to join our little family!

Terri, Ray and Jesse P.
Ray, Terri and Jamie P.

If she's born close to Christmas, maybe her middle name could be "Noelle" ... ?









Friday noon
September 18, 1981

Sitting in my customary noon-time spot in the big armchair ... sipping my first cup of coffee, my clean wet hair wrapped in a towel, "All My Children" coming on in a minute. (How long is the Sybil Thorne murder business going to go on?? And who really did it?)

Sunny. Might even get hot today, dammit. The house is clean, and I have very little to do today. Maybe I'll work on some of my special little projects ... my scrapbook? My recipe cards? A letter to Jesse ... ?

A thought occurred to me in the shower this morning: after the baby is born, am I going to miss these long, private days? (Note from 12/21/84: Sometimes!)

Excerpts from a letter I'm writing to my pen pal Melinda in New Jersey:

"... Ray and I spent our wedding night at the Ramada Inn in Kirkland. By the time we checked in and went to our room it was after midnight and we were both shit-faced from all the champagne. Ray konked out the minute his head hit the pillow ... I had to get all his clothes off before I passed out myself ... not exactly the kind of passionate wedding night you read about in novels!

More Honeymoon:

" ... I woke up the next morning and watched an old Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, then took a bath and got dressed before Ray even twitched a muscle ... "

The Baby:

" ... The baby is coming along just fine. For awhile there I was having these terrible anxiety attacks because I didn't seem to be 'showing enough.' You could hardly tell I was pregnant at all. Even our next door neighbor noticed it - he thought I'd already had the baby!"

Now I look like the side of a house, and I'm getting bigger every day. Or so it seems. The only clothes I can fit into are these disgusting STRETCH maternity jeans and tops that make me look like a real frowse, but I'm not complaining. Much. I have these blue spells when I stand in front of the mirror in my stretch pants and my "I'M NOT FAT, I'M PREGNANT" T-shirt and I cry because I look like such a tub, but Ray - bless him - has finally learned to cope with these silly moods ... he's just as excited about this baby as I am. Next month we start prenatal classes."

"I'm not going in for natural childbirth. I'm too much of a coward for that, but I still want us to be prepared for the actual birth and how to take care of the baby and all that stuff. Neither one of us has ever even changed a diaper before. We're complete novices. Ray plans to be there in the delivery room with me, so I want him to be prepared for some of the stuff that may be slightly less than pleasant. That's what these classes are for.

" ... I'm feeling fine. The baby started kicking in the middle of July and hasn't stopped since. Sometimes I think he must have a trampoline in there ... "

" ... I really enjoy the sensation. It's almost as though the baby is talking to me. A couple of strange things are happening to me, though, as I get further and further along. First of all, my appetite has become really weird. Aside from the 16 oz. jar of peanut butter and the three and a half gallons of milk I go through each week, I've been having unusual cravings ... among other things I have been craving burned toast, strawberry Pop Tarts, plain hamburgers (just meat & bun, no condiments), Pepsi, avocados, and - my favorite thing of all - plain pizza. We pick up a regular pepperoni pizza from one of the local restaurants and bring it home, where I strip off all the toppings until there's only the crust and a little sauce. Then I add a couple of pepperoni slices and eat it. No cheese, no mushrooms, no olives. All of that stuff gets dumped onto Ray's part of the pizza. I've got to have it this way or I can't eat it."

"The other weird development is this inexplicable nesting instinct I seem to be developing. Like staying up till midnight organizing the hall closet. Or yesterday, when I spent three hours sorting through a lifetimes' worth of old letters. The house has to be neat & clean at all times or I go nuts. Already I've interrupted myself half a dozen times as I write this letter - to polish the coffee table, wash the "lunch dishes" (one plate, two forks, a knife and a coffee cup), put a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, among other things. This is all very strange, particularly since I've never exactly been the world's tidiest housekeeper ..."

" ... So you can see that things are going fairly well around the P. household. I feel very domestic. I remember swearing that I would never be a housewife, and here I am. Barefoot and pregnant, too! (Omigod.) Underneath it all, I feel very much the same person I've always been ... just a little less confused, a little more secure. I just hope to God I don't go stale on myself and turn into one of those lumpy-dumpy housewives who sit around in rollers & bathrobes all day, watching soaps and screaming at the kids. I doubt that I will. Hopefully next year, after the baby is born, I can look for a job or go back to school or SOMETHING, ANYTHING to keep from turning into Mrs. Raymond E. P., instead of Terri P., if you know what I mean. I have an identity to protect."







Evening:

Now it's evening and the sky has clouded over - threatening to storm. I just realized that I am becoming obsessed with this baby. Well ... maybe "obsessed" is too strong. Preoccupied, maybe. I'm beginning to think about him/her all the time.

Actually, it's difficult (impossible?) NOT to think about the baby, when he's thumping me 24 hours a day ... !!








Monday afternoon
September 21, 1981

Don't really feel much like writing, but I'm sitting here at the kitchen table, and my journal is sitting right in front of me, and I don't have anything else to do ...

Stormy, cold afternoon. Bitter wind blowing outside. My nose and feet are ice cold. The house is neat and orderly ... the lights are on already because it's getting dark ... the news is on TV. Feels like home. I'm sleepy and content and waiting for my tea water to boil and my husband to come home.

Looking at two whole boxes of baby clothes ... all kinds of tiny little nightgowns and pajamas and pants. Miniature clothes. Doll clothes! Ray and I spent the day yesterday out in Fall City, at Don and Judy's, and I came home with a carload of Billy's outgrown baby clothes and stuff. Today I've folded and sorted them into two separate boxes - one for when the baby is a newborn (she just kicked me), and one when she's six months to a year old. I THINK. Actually, I'm just making wild guesses as to what will fit her when. I have no experience with such things, and it's hard to imagine exactly how small she will be at first, or how fast she'll grow. All the clothes look so incredibly tiny to me. It's hard to believe that most of this stuff will actually be too BIG for her at first.

Judy also gave me a baby seat, a wicker "Moses Bed" to carry the baby in (with a matching bunting bag), a stroller, a scale, a jumper seat, a diaper bag, a set of bottles and nipples ... and what else? An armload of books on pregnancy and childbirth, which I'm reading already.







Tuesday evening
September 22, 1981

Evening. Another cold, stormy night. Ray is bustling around in the kitchen - putting away groceries, feeding the kittens, making our dinner of warmed-over potato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I'm sitting in the big old armchair, halfway watching "Laverne and Shirley," feeling extremely happy and cozy and content. I finally saw my o.b. today, and he gave me - AND the baby - a clean bill of health. I feel ten pounds lighter. (Figuratively speaking! Actually, I've put on FOURTEEN POUNDS since June.) All of my anxieties have melted away ... for the moment, anyhow. Tomorrow I'll probably start worrying about low birth weight or toxemia or birth defects. But right now - this evening - I feel very optimistic, and very close to the baby. I'm thinking of her in terms of "when," rather than "if."

Oh. And our next door neighbor can go suck an egg. I specifically asked Dr. Pheifer if I'm showing enough for this stage of pregnancy - 28 weeks, according to him - and he said yes, the baby felt just the right size and my uterus is in the correct position and everything is just FINE.

He gave me an antacid and some calcium lactate, to help with the heartburn and the leg cramps, and hopefully they'll do the trick. I get heartburn from just about anything now, especially coffee and Pepsi.







Friday noon
September 25, 1981

A few days later. Busy. I sort of let the housecleaning go for a couple of days - too tired, too lazy - and today I'm trying to catch up, in between snatches of "All My Children." There's so damned much to do in the next three months. Today just THINKING about it all is overwhelming. Time to make some lists, I guess.

 

THINGS I WOULD LIKE TO DO BEFORE THE BABY ARRIVES:

  • Paint nursery (yellow)
  • Have wedding reception
  • Get crib & chest of drawers
  • Repaint my old bookcase and any other nursery furniture that needs it
  • Get books back from Gram St. John's attic
  • Arrange for diaper service?
  • Have Mom, Gram S. and Deb out for a visit






Miscellaneous thoughts about the baby:

Why have you been so quiet today, little one? I haven't felt you moving much. Is anything wrong?
Am I going to see you being born?
Are you Jesse or Jamie?
Did you hear me singing to you while I washed the dishes today?










Saturday morning
September 26, 1981

Just got up to answer a persistent knock on the front door ... turned out to be a process server! Guess I shouldn't have even bothered getting out of bed ... but now I'm up, and I might as well stay up. Made a big pot of coffee and fed the kittens. Now I'm sitting here at my usual spot at the kitchen table with a big mugful of steaming hot coffee, the kitchen door cracked open an inch, cool air on my bare feet.

It is a beautiful, sunny, pre-fall morning ... a "golden morning." Technically, autumn began on Wednesday, but it'll be another week or two before the true fall weather arrives ... cold frosty mornings and nights, clear crisp days, leaves changing color. I'm not attempting to be poetic here: I just love this time of year. I always have. Fall always feels like beginnings to me. A time of beginnings. Last year at this time I was falling in love with Ray and began a life with him; this year I carry our son or daughter inside of me. Maybe that's the truest "beginning" of all. Every day my baby - OUR baby - grows and moves and comes one day closer to joining our little family. She's moving right now, even as I write this. Maybe she hears the children playing outside and longs to join them ...

The other night I had another dream about having the baby, and even though the dream was as muddled & confusing as the others, I remember that I had a little girl, and that she was born healthy and perfect, and that we named her Jamie. The dream and the name have been going around & around in my heart like a song ever since. I'm definitely going to name her Jamie. I love the name. It's cute, without being "cutesy-poo," and it's slightly different without being bizarre.

I called Dad on Wednesday night from the bowling alley - Ray's league bowling night - and told him the name we've picked out. His only comment was, "No comment." He still wants me to name her Denna Jeanne, the name I picked out for my future daughter when I was thirteen. For some reason the name has stuck tight in his memory and he still wants me to use it. Honestly. He can be stubborn about the weirdest things sometimes.

Jamie Lynn? Or Jamie Lee? I've never been all that thrilled with my middle name, and I'm not sure if I should inflict it on someone else, except that it does have a nice ring to it when coupled with "Jamie."







Hundreds of odd, isolated thoughts come to me out of nowhere. Pardon me for my inconsistency. One minute I'm thinking about names, and the next minute I'm thinking about diapers, or feeding schedules, or the chain of motherhood that links me to my own mother, and her mother before her, and every other woman in the history of the world who has ever given birth. I think about my own mother a lot these days. I suppose that's natural. I long to have a talk with her, maybe while sitting here in my kitchen, just the two of us, drinking coffee. I'd like to ask her all the questions I've never had reason to ask before. How did she feel when she was pregnant with me? Was she happy? Was she excited? Was she scared? Did she love my father then? Did they look forward to my arrival? Did I kick and squirm inside of her? Was she hoping I'd be a daughter? Did she talk to me, or sing to me, while I moved around inside of her? Did she lay awake in bed at night next to my sleeping father, with her hands pressed against her tummy, waiting to feel my slightest movement? Did she wonder who I was going to turn out to be? Did she have dreams about me, and worry that something might be wrong with me when I was born? Did she fear labor? Did she think about death ... her own, or Dad's, or mine?

I'd like to know about all these things. I'd like to hear about the day I was born - what she remembers of the actual birth, what her feelings were about the whole thing. I'd like to know what her relationship with Dad was like at that point. I'd like to know when she held me for the very first time, and what thoughts were running through her head at that moment.

I'm not so much interested in hearing about my early babyhood right now, probably because I can't identify with that phase of motherhood yet. I probably will later, after the baby is born. Then I'll want to know all about Mom's feelings and experiences during the first few months of my life. Right now I'm more concerned with pregnancy ... and labor. Especially labor.








Sunday night
September 27, 1981

I am almost idiotically happy. We've been having thunderstorms, off and on, since last night, and Ray and I have been holed up here in the house with a roaring fire the whole time. Cozy, warm, comfortable, peaceful. Savoring every moment of this stage of pregnancy.

I worried that I wasn't "showing" enough

 

The kittens are curled up together in the rocking chair. The fire crackles and pops furiously; corned beef and boiled potato smells are wafting from the kitchen, fogging the windows. Dark wintery night. Bathrobe and bare feet. "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" on TV.









Monday afternoon
September 28, 1981

Still raining. I love it. I've been bustling around the house all afternoon - washing dishes, picking up the Sunday paper, singing snatches of old Simon & Garfunkle songs, watching out the window for the mailman.

Later:

I've had a wonderful idea. Thinking about my mother the other day was what put it in mind - wishing I could have a long talk with her, and hear about her life and her feelings while she was pregnant with me. Maybe we will have that talk, sometime soon. I've already invited her to come out and spend a Sunday here sometime in October. Maybe we'll get a chance to talk then. But in the meantime I've been struck with this brilliant idea, and for the life of me I don't know WHY I didn't think of it sooner.

I'm going to put together some kind of notebook, filled with excerpts from my journals and my diary ... maybe some newspaper clippings, some pictures, some of my own poetry and cartoons ... all sorts of things that, put together, paint a picture of my life and the world around me during the nine months I carry my first child. Sort of a "pregnancy diary." And maybe there'll be a special page or two at the end, describing the actual birth, and what his/her first few days of life were like, etc. etc. etc. Right now I'm just brimming over with ideas, and I'm REALLY excited.

The point of all this, of course, is to provide Jesse/Jamie (especially if it's Jamie, and she's pregnant one day) with an informal record of my pregnancy, my feelings, my early married life with Ray, the earliest days of our lives together as a family. This is assuming, of course, that Jesse/Jamie has an interest in reading about such things ... but if this baby is her mother's child, a notebook like this will probably be of great interest in another eighteen years or so ...

I know that if MY mother were to present me with something like this right now, I'd go out of my mind with joy. I think everyone probably likes hearing about their own beginnings, don't they? Or am I just thinking this way because I'm pregnant?

Tonight the baby has been more active than ever before ... constant, vigorous movement for over an hour now. I took a hot bath a little while ago - is that the reason?

I love you, baby.







September 30, 1981
Wednesday afternoon

I just saw my first autumn leaves of the season ... I was sitting here at the kitchen table with a Pepsi, getting ready to fix my hair and staring idly out the living room window, when I saw them ... almost a whole treeful of lovely oranges and golds and reds. For some reason this has made me feel just wonderful. Fall is here.

The baby has been unusually active the past couple of days, particularly early in the morning while I'm still in bed, and then again in the evening when I've settled down with a book or a TV show. All those little elbows and feet. What is he doing in there? Maybe he just can't get comfortable.

Ray is bowling tonight. I didn't go with him. I just don't feel like drinking these days.









Thursday afternoon
October 1, 1981

The first day of my favorite month. October has always been a special time of the year for me ... some of the most important changes of my life have happened in October. In another week or so, in fact, Ray & I will celebrate the one year "anniversary" of our first date. Impossible to believe it's only been a year.

One year ago, the man who is now my husband was little more than an acquaintance ... he was my best friend's boyfriend! I was all wrapped up in a dying, nowhere relationship (with Billy) and Ray was the last person on my mind. I neither liked nor disliked him: I simply didn't care much either way. I didn't really know him. If I had any opinion at all, I thought he was a fool to be involved with Terri, and that was about it. Then he came knocking on my apartment door one night, out of the blue, and nothing has ever been the same.








Friday afternoon
October 2, 1981

Bad night last night. Baby is getting so big that I couldn't make myself comfortable enough to sleep: I tossed and turned practically all night. Besides that, I was bothered by something Ray said before he went to sleep - he said that he "feels scared" whenever he thinks about the baby coming. I worried about it all night. I'm not even exactly sure what he meant, because he dropped off to sleep a minute later and we didn't have a chance to discuss it any further. What is worrying him? The money? The responsibility? The risk?

I had a moment of terrifying, blind panic as I lay awake in bed: I suddenly felt sure I was going to die in labor. Part of me - the rational part of me - tried to recall something I read earlier in one of my childbirth manuals, about how the female body is fully equipped to deal with the strain of childbirth. But laying there in the dark, with Ray sound asleep next to me and no one to take to, I couldn't shut off the fear. I've never been as afraid of death as I was last night. I've had fears before - that the baby will die, or that Ray will die before the baby gets here - but this time was different. This time I was thinking about my own death, and it was unbelievably scary.

As if that weren't bad enough, I had yet another panic attack later. Suddenly I found myself thinking, "What the hell are we doing, having a baby??" And that was even more terrifying than my fear of death. The feeling lingers today. We're not ready for the responsibility! I'm not, and Ray certainly isn't. We've barely been married one month, and in another two months we'll be PARENTS. We're rushing headlong into something we know nothing about, and I'm scared. I'm too young to be having a baby. I'm still a child myself! There's too much I have to do first! I'm too selfish to be a mother. I don't have the inner resources to devote myself to another person, wholeheartedly and unselfishly.







Saturday
October 3, 1981

Better, a little.







Sunday night
October 4, 1981

Better still. I've had a rocky couple of days, emotionally, but things have leveled off a bit and I'm more or less back to normal. The baby is thumping away inside of me, and I realize how very much I'm looking forward to her birth. It's true that her arrival is going to complicate our lives in ways we can't even imagine right now, but I would like to think that she will also enrich our lives in a thousand ways more.







Monday night
October 5, 1981

Randy Wolf stopped by this evening for an unexpected visit. I haven't seen him since he moved to Whidbey Island five months ago, so it was wonderful to sit and talk to him. I miss him when he disappears for weeks or months at a time, but I have a feeling he'll forever be popping in and out of my life without warning. That's just his way.

Ray stayed home from work today with a bad head cold. We didn't do much of anything all day ... it was raining again, so we built a big blazing fire and re-heated yesterday's spareribs and corn for a makeshift dinner. Now he's watching a football game in the living room; I've got a TV movie on here in the bedroom. Sipping a glass of wine. The window is open, and I can hear the rain pouring steadily. Thinking. Baby is moving a little bit - he's been relatively quiet today, but then so have I.

Later:

Now I'm laying in bed next to my husband, watching the end of my movie, waiting for my hot dog to cook. I'm always hungry these days. I try not to worry about how much weight I'm gaining, but in the back of my mind there's always this gnawing worry about how I'm going to look after I've had the baby. I'm probably going to be FAT.

Smell of Vicks Vaporub ... Tony Randall and Lorna Patterson in "Sidney Shorr." Clock ticking on the wall. Fire still popping, out in the living room. Orange soda in a paper cup, no ice. Nothing on my hot dog but a tiny squirt of mustard.





Just woke up and turned on the TV - the first thing I saw on the screen was Frank Reynolds, ABC News Correspondent, looking grim. With a sinking feeling I realized that something terrible must have happened, and I was right - Egyptian President Anwar Sadat has been assassinated. What will this mean?







Wednesday night
October 7, 1981

Baby is still very active. For some reason he seems to kick most strongly and most often on my right side, rather than the left. Under the ribcage, too. Sometimes it's hard enough to hurt.

Other things I've noticed:

* My belly button is different. It's bigger, deeper and flatter.
* The baby usually kicks most around 7 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.
* Sometimes my whole tummy suddenly goes very hard. It's a distinctly odd sensation.
* My fingernails are growing stronger and longer, but my eyelashes are falling out.

Ray is bowling tonight, but I was feeling more tired and uncomfortable than usual, and I decided to stay home.

Just me & CeCe & Sammi tonite
red balloon tied to TV
bare foot, cold nose
hot dog/vanilla ice cream taste in mouth








Thursday morning
October 8, 1981

So damned tired anymore. I can barely get out of bed in the morning, and then I don't do much of anything around the house all day. I feel fat and sluggish.

The baby has been strangely quiet all morning long, barely a twitch. Naturally this has me worried, especially since she's been so busy inside of me all week. I'm just sitting here in the armchair with my hands pressed against my tummy, waiting and hoping for even one small nudge.

Had a terrible dream last night about miscarrying, although all I remember about it this morning was lots of blood. This hasn't helped my frame of mind today, understandably.

Today's easy agenda: wash dishes, pick up living room, make bed, put away laundry, pen pal letters to Debbie Short & Michele Manzo.

(AHA. Baby just started kicking me right in the middle of my belly at 11:30 a.m. All is well.)





Wondering what my life is going to be like next year, staying home with a tiny baby every day. It's so easy for me to be negative and think only of the down side - not getting enough sleep, changing diapers, all the extra work, the stress, the loneliness - and I wonder if I'm going to be able to handle it. Am I going to pay enough attention to her, or am I going to be short-tempered and resentful of the demands on my time? I'm so used to just spending my days as I please, with no schedules, no demands. When I feel like getting up, I get up. When I feel like eating, I eat. If I'm feeling particularly tired or sick or lazy. I ignore the housework and just curl up with a magazine. My time is my own, and I've been very happy this way. After the baby arrives, everything is going to change, isn't it? No more thinking only of myself. I won't be able to "ignore" a feeding or a diaper change if I'm not feeling up to it. There'll be no "forgetting" to do the laundry or making the formula. And on top of all that there'll still be dishes to wash and regular laundry to do, and all the rest of the housework. Thank God Ray does most of the cooking, at least. That's one less responsibility. And I think - I hope? - that he'll also help me out with the baby, and with the housecleaning, whenever he can. I know he doesn't expect me to do everything, because we've talked about it already. I guess that I'm lucky he's willing to help out, even on top of his own job at Western Kraft.

But still ... there's a lot of hard work ahead. I think I can handle it, but it's going to be damned hard in the beginning ... I realize that already. I'm going to be tired and cranky and preoccupied, and I'm afraid I might take it out on the baby. I don't want that to happen!!

I'm also afraid that the baby might come between Ray and I and affect our marriage in a negative way. I'm going to be so busy and so preoccupied with little Jamie/Jesse ... Ray will come home and want to talk about something that happened at work, or he'll want to go out for a beer, or make love, and I'll either be all wound up with thoughts of bottles and diapers and trips to the pediatrician, or else I'll be totally exhausted and "too pooped to pucker." Ray may begin to feel left-out of my life, maybe even left out of his baby's life, and it may makes things tense and unpleasant between us. Again - I don't want this to happen. I love my husband very much, and our marriage is so new and special still that it deserves a little extra effort on my part to help keep it that way. I must remember to make time for Ray, and to include him as an integral part of my day. Even when I'm dead tired and feel like crawling into a hole and ignoring the world. This is the advice all the books and magazines are giving me - "Take time to talk to your husband," etc. - and it makes a lot of sense. Whether it's going to be easy advice to follow remains to be seen. We've got rocky times ahead, starting our family so soon after our marriage, and I guess it's up to us to turn it into a blessing rather than an obstacle.

God. I sound ridiculously idealistic and naive, don't I?

But instead of thinking about all the negative aspects of bringing this baby into our home, maybe I should take some time to imagine the happier things that may happen as a result. I can't forget about love. The love it took to create this baby in the first place ... the love between Ray and I. My pregnancy has enhanced this love, without a doubt. The last few months, in spite of the physical discomforts (an enlarging belly, constant heartburn, leg cramps in the middle of the night) have had a very special, tender quality. Ray has become a gentle, understanding husband, even when I've been at my most intolerable. I've become more ... what's the right word? Content. Serene, almost. Not as flighty and unstable emotionally. More tolerant. More at ease in my role as homemaker, wife, soon-to-be-mother. I no longer feel that I've somehow let myself down by choosing this lifestyle rather than some other. Maybe adding the baby to our home is going to make things even better. Ray will become an even better husband and a wonderful father, and I'll feel even more content and fulfilled as a mother. (More idealism, but why not?) What I'm trying to say here, however clumsily, is that bringing the baby into this house is going to mean bringing more LOVE into the place. One more person to love. A whole family. The three of us. There's nothing wrong with having one more person in your life to love, is there? Love is all there is.

And what about fun? Isn't there going to be some fun involved, when we've become a family? Aren't babies supposed to be fun? A little tiny person to hold and tickle and play with and make funny faces at ... won't it be fun to watch her grow and develop? I can already see Ray & I, monitoring her every little development, talking to each other about each tiny step, marveling over every smile and goofy face. I can see Ray asleep on the sofa with the baby next to him, identical expressions on the faces of father and child. Or Ray squatting on the floor at baby-level, camera in hand, taking hundreds of pictures of that little face. Christmas should be fun with a baby in the house ... it will give me an excuse to do all kinds of silly things, like hanging stockings and paying visits to Santa Claus and stringing popcorn and playing Christmas music on the stereo. Snow will be fun. So will the zoo, and merry-go-rounds, and Walt Disney movies, and picnics at the lake. And all the other fun times, the quiet daily times ... sitting in the rocking chair with the baby in the early evening. Bath time. (HA HA! 6/20/82) Sitting on the living room floor clipping recipes or working on my scrapbook or writing letters, with the baby gurgling and playing beside me. Taking her to the bowling alley on Wednesday nights to watch Daddy bowl. Long walks around the block on sunny afternoons.









October 10, 1981

Saturday morning. A beautiful, crisp fall day. Ray just left to go to the Western Kraft company picnic, and already I'm mentally kicking myself for not going along. I've had very little sleep the last few nights - last night particularly - and I chose to stay home and work on my pregnancy diary instead. Ray said I'd probably just be sitting around for six or seven hours at the picnic, which would be rather uncomfortable for me at this point. I guess he's right, but still ... I wonder if maybe it would have been nice to get outside and be around some people. Damn.

Well, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I suppose I should do something productive today. I've got the car, anyway (Dave & Cathi gave Ray a ride to the picnic) and a little bit of money. Maybe I'll drive up to Rose Hill and see if the office supply store is open. I can get a new typewriter ribbon and just browse around a little. We're also extremely low on groceries - the fridge is empty and the cupboards are bare - and I'm hungry. I could splurge and get some BBQ Kentucky Fried Chicken !! MMMM!!

Nights have been really bad for me lately, for a number of reasons. Last night I barely got three hours of sleep, I think. Ray came stumbling in at 2 a.m., drunk as a skunk, and promptly fell into bed & started snoring. To make it even worse, he has a cold and that makes him noisier than usual. This morning I feel ragged and run-down. The night before that, my own fears kept me awake. I honestly don't know which was worse - Ray's snoring or my late night paranoia. Among the things I worried about: the state of the world, particularly following the assassination of Anwar El-Sadat ... the AWACS controversy ... whether I should be bringing a child into a world as unsettled and threatening as ours is ... Ray dying before his child is born .. labor ... the Rapture occurring too soon ... the house catching on fire and burning to the ground, taking everything we own with it ... my weight after the baby is born ... Grandma and Grandpa V. dying before I have a chance to see them again ... money ... the kittens being hit by a car or a truck ... the baby being born with some kind of mental or physical handicap ... my own ability (or inability) to be a good, capable mother ....

Ad infinitum. I lay there in bed, staring into the darkness, as one by one each individual fear paraded through my head. It was dawn before I fell asleep: I wondered if I was losing my mind.







October 15, 1981
Thursday morning

Got up earlier than usual this morning, and now I'm glad I did because my mother-in-law stopped by unexpectedly. She just left. Now I'm sitting with a cup of coffee, listening to the stereo, enjoying another cold, crisp autumn morning. Wondering how to best use this day. Ray gets paid today so he probably won't be home until very late.

My Grandpa Vert is dying. That was one reason Peg stopped by - she got a phone call last night from my mother, saying that he'd slipped into a coma. As it turned out, I already knew: Dad drove out on Tuesday for a visit, and he told me about Grandpa at that time. According to Dad, they don't expect him to live from day to day ... he could go at any time.

There is so much that I could write about all of this, but I can't right now. I've got to think about it first, and wait to see what happens in the next few days. This isn't going to be easy for me. If Grandpa dies, it will be the first time someone close to me has died. Grandpa has always been one of the special people in my life. So many of my childhood memories revolve around him. He was an integral part of my growing up, and it's difficult to imagine him not being there. I am saddened by the thought that my child will probably never know this wonderful, vibrant man.

I'll write more about the situation as it develops. Dad is going to take me down to visit Grandma on Sunday, and I expect that to be very difficult. In the meantime, I thank God for my new husband and for the baby growing inside of me ... they make this painful situation somehow easier to bear. Maybe it has something to do with the process of life renewing itself. As one life is ending, another is beginning. I'm going to miss my Grandpa more than words can say, and I'll never forget him, but feeling the baby move inside of me reminds me that life indeed goes on, despite everything.

Dad and I had a good time on Tuesday, in spite of our shared sadness over Grandpa's condition. We drove to the Goodwill store in Seattle to look for a secondhand crib. We didn't find one, but I did buy two darling little baby dresses - one pink, one yellow - just in case I have a girl! I also got a couple of paperbacks. Dad took me for lunch at The Royal Fork, and then I was home early enough to take a nap before Ray got home from work.

Since we couldn't find a decent used crib, Dad has promised to order us a new one from Sears. Please let this be one promise he makes good on!! (Note: He didn't. My mother wound up buying us a crib after the baby was born.) He has also offered to let me have his old chest of drawers to use in the baby's room. That means I still need a small nursery lamp, and then I SHOULD be all set, furniture-wise. I still have to get diapers, blankets, crib sheets, more bottles and nipples, maybe a bottle sterilizer? And what else? A waterproof sheet or two for the crib, maybe?



Dad took this picture of me standing in front of
my beloved Kirkland House, after our trip to the Goodwill
October 1981






 

Friday morning 10:30 a.m.
First cup of coffee
October 16, 1981

Had another bad dream about the baby last night, but I don't remember anything about it this morning ... all I know is I woke up crying, loud enough to wake Ray up too, because he comforted me until I was able to fall asleep again.

Very cold, foggy morning. Fog is so thick I can barely see across the street. Drinking a freshly made cup of coffee. CeCe is purring happily in my lap, following her big breakfast. Listening to a tape I made yesterday for the party Ray and I are having tomorrow night.

"Ray" (right) and I at the house party we threw for friends & family
October 1981

Ray was home unusually early last night. Ordinarily on payday he plays with his buddies at Dave's Place until all hours, but last night he was home at six. Kurt W. and Mike Myers stopped by for a while, and we invited them to our party. Ray was extra-tired, so I grabbed some money and the car keys and drove to Albertsons to pick up a few necessities (some frozen food, cat and dog food, milk, pop). When I got home Ray was undressed, in bed and VIOLENTLY ill. He complained of nausea and chills, so I hovered over him for the rest of the evening, making sure he was comfortable and warm.

Peg and Barbara are coming over for dinner tonight - Ray is making one of his cheese-stuffed barbecued meatloaves. So he'll be home early today. Then tomorrow night is our party, and I'm actually starting to feel nervous about it. All those people ... Ray's friends, really, not mine.








Wednesday morning
October 21, 1981

Just haven't felt motivated enough to write anything lately ... don't know why. My life is in suspended animation. Time is passing very, very slowly ... each crisp golden fall day is identical to the one before it. Everything is centered around my house and my husband and the baby waiting inside of me to be born. Everything is still, quiet, waiting ... and, for once, the waiting ISN'T the hardest part. The waiting is easy and pleasant.

Just got up a little while ago to make Ray a pot of coffee and see him off to work, and now that he's gone I've decided to resist the impulse to slip back in bed. Sitting at the kitchen table watching "Good Morning America" on the portable TV, sipping coffee, sniffling. Fingers sticky from glue. Kitchen a shambles from last night's dinner, steak and "the works." Cold, frosty morning. Sun beginning to shine on the treetops. The tree across the street is now half-green, half-gold.

Didn't sleep much last night, as usual. Woke up in the middle of the night feeling bulky and uncomfortable, and I just layed there, tossing and turning for hours. Sometimes in the night, when I'm only half-awake, I think I hear a baby crying in the next room ...

I saw Dr. Pheifer yesterday for one of my regular check-ups. The nurse took another blood test, and to my dismay I found out that my blood count has dropped since June - from 34 to 30. No wonder I've been dragging it around lately. I've been ordered to triple my iron intake as a result. Everything else seemed to check out normally, I guess. I was weighed (have gained 3 lbs. since last time ... what does that make altogether? 16? 17 lbs?) and had my tummy measured and listened to the baby's heartbeat, which is still reassuringly strong and regular. There were some questions I wanted to ask the doctor - what position is the baby in right now? Why does he feel like he's lodged so high in my ribs? - but frankly Dr. Pheifer is so cool and aloof, I just wanted to get out of his office as quickly as possible. I don't like him. I know it may sound paranoid, but I don't think he likes me much, either. Yesterday he asked me AGAIN if I've decided to breast-feed, and he asked it in such a way that I felt guilty saying no, I'd rather bottle-feed. So I hedged and said I "hadn't made up my mind yet." Coward!

I wish I could switch o.b.'s and find someone more confidence-inspiring, but I'm so close to my due date that it's too late now. Dammit anyway.

My next appointment - INCREDIBLY - is not until November 17. I thought that during these last couple of months I was supposed to see the doctor more often - like every other week. Instead, he blithely told the receptionist to schedule me for the middle of November, at which point I'll be mere days away from my due date. This is just another example of Dr. Pheifer's disinterest: I just don't think he gives a damn.

Peg drove me to my appointment again, and afterwards we met Billy & Judy at Bellevue Square for lunch. Inch by inch I'm becoming more comfortable with my mother-in-law, even though her way of doing things & my way are so different. We did some "window-shopping" around the mall and looked at things for babies, and she is obviously interested and excited about this baby, and at the same time she seems to be genuinely concerned about me, too.

Time to take a shower, I think. (Noisy garbage truck in the street outside.) If I don't, I'll end up crawling back into bed.

Dishes - vacuum - make bed - put laundry away - pregnancy diary - list of things still needed for baby?







Thursday 11:30 a.m.
October 22, 1981

Another rocky night last night, with barely three hours' sleep sandwiched in between bad dreams, midnight trips to the bathroom and reoccurring bouts of heartburn. It's practically impossible to find a comfortable position to sleep in. If I lay on my side or my tummy, the baby thumps and pounds against my ribcage in protest. And laying flat on my back feels stiff and unnatural. I finally got tired of tossing and turning and I tiptoed out the living room, where I sat with a glass of Pepsi and stroked the kittens and thought about things. It occurred to me that in a few weeks I'll be making MANY such trips to the living room in the middle of the night - and Ray, who could sleep through a hurricane, will probably sleep through it all. So I'd best get used to it.

I sense that Ray is going through a difficult period right now. Something similar to my own "Oh-my-God-what-are-we-DOING?" blind panic last month. It's nothing specific he's said or hasn't said: I can just feel a certain hesitancy, a reticence whenever I try to talk to him about the baby. It's almost as though he's afraid to talk about it. Maybe he's frightened. Maybe he's having his share of second thoughts. The reality of the responsibility involved is maybe beginning to hit home with him, just as it did with me.





Evening

Grandpa Vert died this morning at 10:30 a.m. I am at this point very sad but numb about it: I don't think the reality of it has set in yet. Ray is helping, but I need time to think and sort things out in my head before I write anything further.









Friday morning
October 23, 1981

Very early ... still dark outside. Ray just left for work, but I didn't want to stay in bed alone so I forced myself to get up. I had terrible dreams about Grandpa all night, which really surprised me because I thought I was fairly calm & accepting of his death when I went to bed last night. Apparently I wasn't. At any rate, I didn't want to dream anymore without Ray right there next to me: nightmares are always worse when you wake up alone afterwards.

As far as that goes, this whole thing would probably be far more difficult if I were alone. I am SO THANKFUL that I have Ray to see me through this very sad, very difficult time. I'm not sure I would have the strength otherwise.

I was taking a nap last night when Ray came home and broke the news to me. I heard him come into the bedroom and turn on the bedside lamp, and then he was kneeling over me and shaking me gently and saying, "Honey, you've got to wake up now." He sounded like he'd been crying, and when I rolled over and looked at his face, I just knew. "He died, didn't he?" I said, and Ray nodded, and then we were hugging each other and crying and Ray was saying, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." I had been expecting this, of course, but hearing the news still came as a shock, and it still hurt. After a while I dried my eyes and put on some shoes & a jacket, and we drove to a nearby phone booth. I stood there in the phone booth with a can of 7-Up and a stack of quarters and made my calls ... Mom, Grandma, Dad, Mom again. My parents were both very sad, but Grandma V. was weirdly cheerful. It was very disturbing. I'm not sure what I expected when I called her, but certainly not this strident, "Oh-well-what-can-you-DO?" attitude. I was relieved that she wasn't falling to pieces, but I wonder if she is coping as well as she sounds. I hope she is. She is one of the strongest people I have ever known, and it would be horrible to see her crack.

Anyway, Grandpa's funeral is tomorrow morning at 11:00, at the little church where he and Grandma celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary a few years ago. I have no idea what to expect. I've been to two funerals in my whole life. One was for a distant adult cousin, the other was for Scott S.'s Uncle Jock. Neither funeral affected me in much of a personal way, although I was moved by the dignity and grace of the occasion. This will be something completely different, though. This will be saying goodbye to someone who was an integral, important, much-loved influence. How will I handle it? Will I be strong?

I have a pile of old photographs sitting beside me, of Grandpa at various stages of his life. I've been looking at them this morning and remembering. Grandpa digging for rocks in Oregon. Grandpa barbecuing steaks in the backyard. Grandpa asleep in his armchair after dinner. Grandpa at the head of the Christmas dinner table, his cheeks rosy from port wine. Grandpa standing in front of the house in his "greens." Grandpa sweating in his garden. Grandpa driving the old blue station wagon with the Terry Trailer hitched to the back. Grandpa smoking his pipe and listening to me play the piano. Grandpa playing his guitar and singing "Golden Slippers."

My earliest memory of him is not one specific event, but rather a collective memory of snuggling next to him on the sofa after dinner. He would smoke his pipe and watch the Huntley-Brinkley report on TV, and I would sit in the crook of his arm and lay my head on his chest. He was an awful tease, and he got a huge kick out of my groans of protest ("Ohhhh Gran-paa!") after a particularly awful pun or joke. He treasured little girls. My school chums and neighborhood pals got the same jokes & gentle teasing when they came to my house to play. So did my cousins, when they came to visit. Little girls were a special and precious miracle in Grandpa's eyes, but I think somehow that I was the most special of all to him. I was "Grandpa's girl," and it was a position that I loved and treasured, and which I miss now with a big aching knot in my heart ...

... I wish that just once more I could be six years old, snuggled on the sofa next to Grandpa ... smelling the smoke from his pipe, listening to Grandma washing the dinner dishes in the next room, feeling utterly safe and happy and protected and content ... I wish that just for a moment more I could be Grandpa's girl again.

'One of my favorite pictures of my grandfather (with "Nellie Belle")




Sunday
October 25, 1981

Grandpa's funeral was yesterday, and in spite of the sadness we were all feeling, it was a dignified, loving hour of tribute to a man we all loved deeply. Several people stood and spoke a few words about the impact Grandpa had on their lives. They spoke of him as Boy Scout leader, Rockhound, guitar player, church choir member, uncle, father, friend. I wanted to stand up and say something about him as grandfather, but my knees failed me. So I sat and listened and cried a little and remembered, and when it was over I talked to family and friends, and we all felt the common loss of someone special.

The funeral itself lasted less than an hour, and it was very simply. We sang a few of Grandpa's favorite hymns ("How Great Thou Art," "Amazing Grace," "My God And I"). and Reverend Mounts read some passages of Scripture. It was a beautiful autumn morning, the kind of day I know Grandpa loved. I thought how fitting it was, that we were laying him to rest on a day when the world was particularly lovely.

 




My father and I the day of Grandpa Vert's funeral
October 24, 1981




 

Monday 10:30
October 26, 1981

Ray just left for work, later than usual: he was complaining of a backache earlier, so he slept for a couple of extra hours. The house is in its usual Monday morning, post-weekend state of disorder. I'll be busy today. The past week or so I've become increasingly aware of the added bulk around my middle, and it's becoming harder & harder to move around. I think the baby is growing faster now. Imagine how huge I'll be in another month! I'm walking differently, too ... sort of a sway-backed waddle, with my bulge jutting out in front. It's hard to maneuver myself in and out of chairs.

At the funeral, Dad said he may bring the new crib out to the house sometime this week. I've been nudging Ray, hoping he'll get on the stick and paint the baby's room before we start moving furniture in. I want to paint it yellow, but leave the closet door and window trim white. I wish we could get new curtains, too, but I s'pose the ones we've got will have to do. Once we get the crib and the chest of drawers from Dad, and move my old bookcase into the room, we'll be set. I can't WAIT. I'll probably be running in and out of there every five minutes, just looking at things. Right now the room is a mess, and it's hard to imagine how it will look when it's painted and furnished ... but that time is right around the corner, isn't it? It'll mean one more room to clean, of course, but who cares?? I CAN'T WAIT.

Also at the funeral Mom mentioned that Aunt Jody is putting together a bunch of Kelli & Ben's outgrown baby clothes, and she'll bring them up Christmas Eve. I am so, SO thankful for all the things that people have been loaning & giving me. We're going to have one well-dressed baby!! And I don't know how we'd have been able to swing it, otherwise. The only things that I've bought, so far, have been some plastic pants, two snap-front T-shirts and the two little dresses I bought for fifty cents each at Goodwill (which I may or may not be using, depending on whether or not this baby is Jamie)! Other than that everything has been given to me.








Thursday noon
October 29, 1981

I'm not sure, but I think the baby shifted his position this week. The night before last, in fact. I woke up yesterday morning and lay in bed for a few minutes feeling the baby kick, as I usually do. This time, though, something was different. The hard smooth bulge had moved higher, up past my navel. And it felt different, too ... more centered, more up and down, instead of lodged way over on my right side, the way he's been for so long. I stood up and looked in the mirror and could even see the difference. I'm rounder in front, and it all seems to be centered snugly right beneath my breast bone.

I'm curious. Is this the "lightening" I was told to expect in my eighth month? Checking the calendar, I see that I'm in my thirty-third week. Think I'll look through my pregnancy manuals and see what they have to say about it.

"Eighth lunar or 32 weeks, the fetus is about 16-1/2" and weighs about four pounds. Babies born now look like little old people because their skin is so wrinkled."

- "Prenatal & Postnatal Care" -

"By the 30th week fat is deposited under the skin of the fetus, making it smoother and more rounded, less red and wrinkled ... Navel begins to flatten."

YES! But nothing about lightening? Hmmm. Yes - here it is:

"Womb moves up to the ribs. The mother has to lean back to keep balance; the level of the womb may drop. Bladder irritability can recur. Uterine contractions increase in frequency."

- "Woman's Body: An Owners Manual" -

Oh my goodness ... 36 weeks?? I couldn't be THAT far along, could I? Gonna check another book.

"At some time during the eighth month the mother will feel a sudden lightening sensation. This is when the baby drops down into the pelvis. During this eighth month, the uterus sinks down about two inches and the head engages into the correct birth position. It is now only separated from the outside world by about four and a half inches at its lowest point, and it can be felt by the doctor vaginally."

- "Having A Baby" -







Evening

Cold, dark, wintery night outside: inside, the house is warm and neat and brightly lit. Wishing that Ray would come home and make a fire ... that would make it perfect. Today is payday, though, and he may not be home for hours. Sitting, cross-legged, in the armchair. Hungry. Boiling a couple of hot dogs and warming a can of pork & beans for a light dinner. Refrigerator is on the blink now ... a whole gallon of milk soured and I had to dump it down the drain. Haven't had much luck with appliances this week - now my electric rollers refuse to work either. My hair is rumpled and matted and pulled back into a messy ponytail. Maybe tomorrow I'll figure out some way to fix it.

I've had a busy day. Cleaned the bookcase, fixed up some of my old dolls, wrote a long letter to Melinda.

(Note: Ray surprised me by coming home early with KFC for dinner.)








Friday noon
October 30,1981

Woke up today feeling right on top of the world, happy to be alive. Took a hot shower, singing "Joy To The World" at the top of my lungs ... had two pieces of burnt toast slathered with butter and strawberry jam and a nice, COLD glass of milk (the refrigerator has miraculously begun to work again). Now I've settled into the armchair with my first cup of coffee and my makeup bag and "All My Children" on TV. (Jenny Gardner just met a handsome classmate named Greg Nelson, and now they're going for a soda.)

Friday night: Ray and I went to Dave's Place until I got bored & cranky and insisted we go home. Saturday night: Hallowe'en, Ray and I at home. Sunday: Peg & Barbara over, Ray painting.

The house is a complete disaster area, and I am delighted ... that means I'll have plenty to do this afternoon, and keeping busy seems to be the only way to make the time pass. I'm becoming so anxious for this baby to arrive. I've been anxious all along, of course, but as my due date gets closer I'm beginning to feel like I could burst wide open from sheer impatience. October just crawled by; I expect that November will be more the same. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Little One, will you ever really be here?

Ray painted the baby's bedroom this weekend, and now the walls are a bright cheerful yellow. The whole room looks bright and clean and happy. Later this week I'm going to get that bookcase painted and have Ray move it into the baby's room. If I could get all the necessary furniture moved in, I could keep myself busy arranging things and storing baby clothes and figuring out what to hang on the walls, but Dad still hasn't bought a crib or brought out the chest of drawers. (Whole tummy suddenly lurches to one side.) I expected him to pop in this weekend, but the only family visitors we had were Peg and Barbara, who stopped by yesterday afternoon. At least the nursery is painted, at any rate.

November will be filled with doctor appointments, childbirth classes at the hospital, finishing my pregnancy diary, family birthdays, Thanksgiving, getting the baby's room furnished & ready, reading up on labor and infant care, crossing days off the calendar, and waiting, waiting, waiting ...







Tuesday 11 a.m.
November 3, 1981

Just got home from my regular appointment with Dr. Pheifer, and now it's only 11 a.m. and the house is still fairly orderly from all the cleaning I did yesterday, and the day stretches before me, long and lazy and lovely.

Tired. Didn't sleep very well last night, although I've discovered a method of tucking a pillow between my legs and under my tummy which allows me to lay comfortably on my side. This also helps alleviate some of the soreness I've been feeling in my upper thighs and between my legs. Still, it was an effort crawling out of bed at 8:00. I was barely dressed and ready when Peg came by to pick me up. Although Dr. Pheifer didn't check my blood count this time, I'm sure that it's probably still low & that's one reason I'm still so lethargic. I may just sit here in the big reclining armchair and watch TV all day.

On Thursday morning at 11:45 I have an appointment with the pediatrician I've picked out for the baby, Dr. Van Paaschen. He's been the family baby doctor for a while now; both Peg and Judy recommended him highly. This appointment is a "get acquainted" session, and I'm looking forward to it.

Dr. Pheifer and I seem to have straightened out some of our communicational difficulties. Today I asked him several questions about my general condition and about the baby, and he took the time to give me simple, straightforward answers with no rush, no condescension. There was no pressure about breast-feeding this time, either. I saw that my chart has been marked "bottle feeding," so I assume they've finally allowed me to choose for myself.

I asked the doctor if the baby seems to be getting big enough - if I'm "showing" enough. I asked him this same question a few months ago, but I don't think he realized how worried I've been about it until I asked again today. I told him that everyone I talk to makes a big deal out of how "unpregnant" I look, how I don't "show" much at all, and that all these well-intentioned but misguided comments are really starting to bother me. He measured my tummy and reassured me, once again, that everything looks perfectly normal. "The baby IS getting big," he said as he measured me, and I guess I should just take his word for it and be thankful that I'm having such an easy time of it.

I also asked him if he could determine the baby's position. He said I'll be having a full vaginal exam at my next appointment, and at that time they'll be able to tell me exactly where the baby is. But for now, Dr. Pheifer said, they can only guess: from the way the baby is kicking, he is most likely head down, facing forward, with his buttocks under my breastbone. That sounds about right. These days the kicks are centered more around my navel (little feet & knees & arms?), rather than on my right side, the way they were for so long.

Later:

Slept most of the afternoon - got up in time to watch the 1981 "Soapy Awards" on Merv Griffin. Reheated hamburger and tater tots for late lunch/early dinner. Ray home at 7:30 with a pizza for Dinner #2.









Wednesday morning
November 4, 1981

Early, early morning ... Ray isn't even out of bed yet, but I found myself wide awake and thought I'd slip on a bathrobe and come out here to the kitchen and put some coffee on. Still dark outside: stars are glittering in the sky like pieces of ice. The kitchen smells like onions and cat food and freshly-brewed coffee. My kitchen. My house. My kitten, purring happily in my lap. My husband, huddling under the blankets in our bedroom, savoring his last precious few minutes in bed. My baby, turning and rolling lazily inside of me. I'll drink a hot cup of coffee and soon afterward the baby will wake up a bit (like his mother) and begin to move around more vigorously (unlike his mother). I have a feeling this will be one of those mornings when I sit up for awhile with my coffee and "Good Morning America" on the tube and I think about starting my housework early, but then I slip back into bed until noon ...

Slept OK last night - better than usual, in fact. My enlarged tummy fits perfectly into the curve of Ray's back ... plus it keeps the baby from being squashed into my ribs. Ray can feel the baby kicking when we're laying this way - he says it "tickles." Lately he's started to take a greater interest in the baby's development, I think. Little details, such as layettes and feeding equipment and middle names and crib mattresses, don't turn him on much - he's leaving the decisions regarding such things entirely to me - but he is beginning to show some interest in how the baby is developing. Last night he wanted to know how my doctor's appointment went. I was surprised but pleased. Then, later in the evening when I was sitting in the armchair propped up with pillows, and Ray was in the rocking chair next to me, the baby began to roll and kick with unusual vigor. Ray just sat there, fascinated, watching my tummy jumping. Then he asked me "how big" I thought the baby was, and where it's head and feet are, and it made me feel wonderful to know that he's interested.

A new fear has begun to surface: am I going to be disappointed if I have a son and not a daughter? I've wanted a little girl all my life, I think. Will the grandparents be disappointed - especially Dad? What is it like, being mother to a son?

Noon:

I was right. I went back to bed at 7:30 a.m. and slept for another three hours.

"The mother with a small baby finds her time, which used to come in chunks, has been whittled down into slivers. She may wonder if she will ever again be able to schedule something for a certain time and actually do it then. She worries that the days (and years) ahead will always be like this - with precious few pockets of her time not claimed by the baby.

What she doesn't know yet is that it will get easier. Caring for her baby will become second nature, and she will become skilled in shifting priorities day by day and minute by minute.

Chemically, her body helps her to adapt. Powerful "mothering hormones" calm her and reinforce the intense feeling of oneness she feels with her child.

Among the adjustments she makes is an acceptance of her changed body. She may be bewildered by the two handsful of bread dough which seem to have replaced her previously firm abdomen. Sleep, which used to come in one long luxuirous whole, now comes in sections and her body reacts appropriately. It encourages her to ignore the clutter and the undone jobs of housecleaning and lie down with the baby instead. The mother may be surprised to find herself draining dishwater that has grown cold and refilling the sink with hot water - and draining and refilling it two hours later. She plans to get all birth announcements written and mailed on Monday but instead sends two on Monday, none on Tuesday, three on Wednesday. And she may find herself in her nightgown at noon.

As a baby and his parents wade through this time of adjustment together, they are all gradually maturing as a family. The baby is making adjustments as well. His body is adapting to the pull of gravity, to digestion, firm and soft surfaces, loud and soft sounds, bright and subdued light, hurry and slow. He gradually learns that when he hurts, someone will come to remove the pain. He is able to be comforted. His anxiety lessens and he learns to trust.

Mothers and fathers of first babies may be surprised at themselves. The father, whom all his friends would describe as capable and decisive, may feel unaccustomedly helpess and periodically awash with unexpected feelings of tenderness toward his son or daughter. The mother learns, by trial and error, what she can and cannot do and still realistically accomodate the needs of her baby. She finds an increasing sureness in her motions as she feeds, changes, comforts, bathes and soothes.

The new father may wonder what has hit his life, which he knows will never be quite the same. His wife may seem obsessed with the baby - one minute anxious & fearful, the next confident and relaxed. The father doesn't have the benefit of bodily changes to ease him into fathering. He is propelled into it. Fortunately, today's father has given himself permission to be involved. It is reassuring to see him holding, talking with, and above all enjoying his baby."

- Excerpted from "Parenting Matters" Magazine -









Friday morning
November 6, 1981

Sunny morning. By now everything is gold and scarlet and orange and beautiful. Sitting with my coffee, "The Edge of Night," my face freshly-scrubbed, bare feet. This will be a long day with little to do. The house could stand some cleaning ... damn, I wish I had a vacuum cleaner! ... but I'm feeling stiff and sore and bulky this morning, and even walking down the hallway is an effort.

Yesterday I had an appointment with the new pediatrician, Dr. Van Paasschen. Initial opinion: I like him very, very much. He is friendly and straightforward and easy to talk to.

After the appointment Peg took me over to her house and I spent the afternoon there, watching TV with Barbara who was home from school with a cold. Peg and Barbara propped me into a big soft chair with my feet up and a pillow behind my back, and then they proceeded to wait on me hand & foot for the rest of the day. Later in the afternoon Ray came over, and we had a big steak dinner with the folks. Don Sr. was there, and he talked nonstop about the baby. He was the only one with nerve enough to feel my big tummy, and he was quite pleased when the baby obliged him with a good, solid kick. He'll obviously be an enthusiastic grandpa. Actually, this baby is going to be born with four extremely "enthusiastic" grandparents, as well as a handful of doting "greats" and a BUNCH of aunts and uncles. What a nice way to enter the world ... with an AUDIENCE!

Peg bought some crib blankets and sheets for the nursery, bright yellow with little pastel animals all over them. Now if only I had a crib to put them in.

Evening:

Ray is down at Dave's Place watching some stupid fight with the guys, and I'm home alone. Eating barbecued chicken, sipping a Pepsi, half-heartedly watching a Spooky Horrible on TV. Have a headachy, flushed feeling. Sure hope I'm not getting sick, especially when I'm uncomfortable enough as it is.

I shed a few tears when Ray went whistling out the door this evening ... feeling sorry for myself, with no one to talk to but the kittens and you, Journal. I wish sometimes that he wouldn't spend so much time at the tavern, but at the same time I recognize his need to be with his friends. So I try not to go crazy when he goes out for the evening. It usually doesn't do any good, anyway. When he wants to go, he goes.

Damned dogs are barking in the distance ... an eerie, lonely sound.





Example of the way Ray infuriates me:

Me: (giving him one of our wedding pictures) "You can put one of these in your wallet."
Ray: "I don't think it would fit."







Sunday morning
November 8, 1981

Early Sunday morning. Cold and foggy outside: leaves have begun to fall. Inside the house is warm and quiet. Ray is still in bed, snoring beneath four layers of blanket. I woke up feeling restless and unusually energetic, so I got up and made myself some coffee and toast and now I've taken my seat at the kitchen table, to think and write and be alone for a little while. It's a pleasant feeling, being alone but knowing that he is right here in the house - right down the hall.

Wondering if anyone will come to visit today. Mom? Dad? The in-laws? I haven't talked to anyone in my family in two weeks, since Grandpa's funeral. I never seem to be in front of a telephone. I don't leave the house much at all these days, (mostly) by choice. So for the present my world is pretty much contained within the four walls of this house. I don't feel confined or cut off from anything, though. Not much, anyway. Last night Ray and I went to Dave's Place for a couple of horus, early in the evening. The place was practically deserted, and Ray and I sat at a table alone together ... it was actually quite pleasant. None of the usual crowd and noise and smoke and confusion: just my husband and I and the jukebox and a hot plate of nachos and sausages. I took my shoes off and propped them up on a chair, and Ray leaned back in his chair, and we talked ... about the baby, about labor, about getting a phone, about our first date, about this & that. Still, after a while I began to long for my big comfortable armchair and the warm security of my own little house, and we came home. Ray was tired and left the tavern without complaint. The remainder of the evening was spent watching TV, reading the paper, enjoying a fire, playing with the kittens. I went to bed at 1:00 and slept straight through the night, for a change ... one delicious whole chunk of sleep. Maybe that's the reason I feel better than usual this morning.

(A rumpled, unshaven man in a bathrobe just wandered out to the living room, grabbed a section of the newspaper and then disappeared into the bathroom without a word ...)

It occurs to me that in another month an evening like the one we spent last night will be out of the question. Jumping into the car on the spur of the moment for a beer at the tavern, then sleeping eight hours without interruption. Baby is going to turn everything upside down for awhile. I wonder how Ray is going to handle the sudden intrusion into his life ... will he want to spend time here at home with the baby and me? Or will he "rebel" and start spending even more time at Dave's Place, in order to escape a crying baby and a tired, depressed wife? I certainly hope not. I hope that he'll be here to witness and share and enjoy the growth and change of our baby.









Monday morning 11 a.m.
November 9, 1981

One month from today our baby is due. ONE MONTH?!?!?!?!!!

Got out of bed a few minutes ago. It was hard leaving the warm comfortable tangle of blankets and trudging out to a cold kitchen, but I've put my coffee on and cranked the thermostat up and things should warm up here directly. Fog is extremely thick this morning. Bone-chilingly cold outside.

Last night was funny. Ray had already gone to bed and fallen asleep, but I was still feeling restless and found myself wandering around the kitchen near midnight ... checking the locks on the windows and doors, eating another fudge brownie, drinking a last glass of water (I'm ALWAYS thirsty!), when I looked outside and saw what appeared to be thick smoke rolling past the kitchen window. It even smelled like smoke. In something of a panic - already mentally trying to calculate which possessions to save - I jumped on Ray and woke him, screaming "Honey! Honey! There's smoke in the kitchen!" He grudgingly crawled out of bed and went to investigate. And of course it was only fog - the smoke smell was from the Webber, which Ray used to cook our dinner on earlier - and I felt properly silly but relieved, and we both went to bed and giggled about it until we fell asleep.

It takes so little to throw me into a panic these days. The mother bird protecting the nest, I s'pose.

Mom and Debby came out to visit yesterday, and it was wonderful to finally, finally have them here. I showed them our house with great pride, particularly the baby's room (still a mess, but getting there). Then we sat at the table and drank coffee and looked at family photographs and talked for two straight hours. This was what I'd been longing for - a chance to just sit down and talk to my mother - and although there were some things I couldn't bring up with my little sister sitting there, still I REALLY enjoyed the afternoon. The very best part of all was that Mom brought me her tattered copy of the "Better Homes & Gardens Baby Book," which I've been happily pouring through ever since. Some of the information (and especially the pictures) are outdated, but some things never change and a lot of the information is going to be a big help. In the back of the book are notes and records of my birth and early development, which Mom recorded. These are the pages I keep going back to: they move me beyond words. If ever I wondered if I was loved and wanted, all doubt has now been forever dispelled. The final page is titled "Mother's Notes," and here Mom wrote a few short paragraphs about my development at various ages. Here at one year - Dec. 15, 1958 - she wrote:

At one year Terri is still a sunny, happy little cherub with hair as straight as a scarecrow. She is definitely "Daddy's girl," and grins every time he comes into the room. She is stubborn, ornery and as cute as a bug's ear, and we love her more dearly every day.

And then again, at two years:

At two years Terri is bright and active, never still a minute, busy keeping house and taking care of her babies. Still very much her Daddy's girl, and, I'm afraid, more than a little jealous of her baby brother, but she's still our sweetest girl and we love her now as much as ever and more & more every day.









Tuesday morning
November 10, 1981

The fog is gone ... bright and sunny today. Feeling crampy and achey. Wondering just how close to labor I really am at this point. Days? Weeks?








Thursday afternoon
November 12, 1981

Woke up early this morning to watch the space shuttle launch - then fell asleep again till noon. I'm taking all the vitamins in the world, including iron three times a day, but still I can hardly get myself out of bed before twelve. Felt cramps and aches again when I finally got up. My whole tummy feels hard and hot and sore.

Our sink has been stopped up for days now, and the rotting-garbage smell is making me sick to my stomach. The refrigerator is still on the blink, too, so all our food has spoiled. Why is it that when one thing goes out, everything goes out?








Friday afternoon
November 13, 1981

Another long, lazy day ... sunny, ice-cold. Sitting in the armchair drinking coffee laced with milk, watching soaps, washing the bedding. The sink is still stopped up, and every dish we own is dirty. Depressed about the way the house looks, but I'm so heavily pregnant now that there isn't much I can do about it. Can't do any bending or lifting; Ray will have to help me put the sheets on the bed when he gets home. I try to keep things as neat and orderly as possible, but that isn't saying much. The important thing is for me to avoid feeling discouraged. Keeping the house clean isn't the highest priority right now.

Wish that there were something I could do today to prepare for the baby .... and I don't mean washing the baby clothes again, or making more lists, or writing about him/her in my journal ... I wish there was something really IMPORTANT for me to do. This is one of those days when the waiting isn't easy at all.








Monday evening
November 16, 1981

Had a wonderful weekend ... spent lots of time alone with Ray, went out a little bit, had a couple of Sunday visitors, finally got the sink unclogged (had to call a plumber). Washington had its worst windstorms in 20 years, which knocked out power everywhere in the state. The worst of the storm was on Saturday. Ray and I drove down to the tavern early in the afternoon to have a beer and watch the fights on TV, but the electricity was out in Bellevue. The tavern was open anyway, and although it was dark it was nice ... we listened to the Huskies game on someone's battery-operated radio, and there was a big blazing fire, and about ten or so "regulars" sitting around. Ray and I had a good time just relaxing and watching out the windows for the lights in Bellevue to come back on. The storm was wild and furious when we finally left. We stopped at one of the few open grocery stores we could find and bought a whole shopping cart full of junk; then we came home and had home-made hamburgers and fries and fell asleep by 9:00. We were both pooped from the night before - toots and talking until 4 a.m. - and we needed the extra sleep. Sunday was long and lazy. I watched the storm while Ray cooked us cheese omelets and hash browns and bacon for breakfast. Ordinarily we don't eat breakfast on the weekends, but that's just the kind of weekend it was ... so cold and stormy outside.

On Friday night Ray came home in tears because Dave & Cathi were having some kind of big party and he had very pointedly not been invited. With tears in his eyes, he said he'd waited down at the tavern until 8:30, hoping they would call and invite him over ... but they never did. My heart just split in two when I saw him sitting there, so hurt and vulnerable ... my sweet, sensitive, kindhearted husband.








Friday noon
November 20, 1981

Haven't written much this week ... anything I write these days all sounds the same, doesn't it? Waiting. I swear that every day seems longer than the last. The baby feels huge inside of me, and she rolls and pushes against me for hours at a time. It must be getting awfully tight & cramped in there. I feel so sore and stiff in the mornings that even shuffling around the kitchen hurts, so the last few days have been spent fairly uneventfully in the armchair in front of the TV. I nap a lot. It has become a little easier to sleep at night, but I think that's mainly because I'm growing accustomed to Baby's nocturnal thrashings and am learning to adjust to them. I usually wake up at 4 a.m., needing to go to the bathroom, and the pain - the achey feeling - is worst then. I take an aspirin and drink a little water, and then I go back to bed with the pillows tucked around my legs and my tummy and fall asleep again.

On Wednesday I had my (now) weekly checkup - this time with Dr. Pheifer's associate, Dr. Heffron. He gave me a brief internal exam, which was a little painful but not unbearably so, and he said that although the baby hasn't "dropped" yet (I was wrong a couple weeks ago when I thought it had), my cervix is beginning to soften, and it shouldn't be much longer before the baby is "fully engaged." The doctor said we're still looking at December 9 as the due date. How long is that? Twenty days? Two and a half weeks? Might as well be twenty YEARS, the way time is dragging by ...

Wondering how the baby will feel about having a December birthday ... ? I've never minded it: in fact, I've enjoyed having my own special day right smack in the middle of the Christmas season. It somehow makes the entire month more special. There's alwats the possibility, of course, that Baby could choose to make his/her arrival on the 15th. Hmmm. What would it be like, spending my birthday giving birth to someone else?? (Ouch.)

Jamie Lynne P.
Jesse Edward P. (Edward? Taylor? Raymond?)

a little boy with straight brown hair?

intense munchies (trying to ignore)





Baby is moving around heavily ... little pokes and jabs ...

Raining. Late afternoon. House is neat and dark ... living room lamp switched on low. Last night's pizza re-heating slowly in the oven. "Rockford Files" on TV. Huge mugful of Pepsi on ice (new stuff, from a newly-opened bottle ... the kind that burns so deliciously going down). Cars splashing noisily in the rain as they drive past the house. Sammi jumps in through the window and lands with a thump on the kitchen table ... the chair legs wobble and squeak. CeCe is asleep in the rocking chair.





The weekend:

Friday night Ray stayed out until very late with his friends down at the tavern: I spent the evening quietly, watching HBO. Ray and I slept late on Saturday - drank some coffee, took a shower, went down to Dave's for a few hours to watch the UW/WSU game and drink a beer. Stopped at a grocery store on the way home and spent our last few pennies on the makings for a big pot of spaghetti sauce, which Ray spent three hours preparing ... it was delicious. I had a hangover on Sunday morning. We drove down to Grandma St. John's for a family birthday celebration/dinner (for my little cousin Ben's first birthday and for Grandma's birthday). Had a big ham dinner, birthday cake, enjoyed myself talking to Mom and Grandma and Jody. Jody brought me a huge bag of baby clothes ... and I do mean HUGE, Combined with the things that Judy is loaning me, I have so many clothes for the baby he/she may never wear the same thing twice! I washed and sorted all the baby clothes yesterday, and I have nearly forty undershirts alone!


At Grandma St. John's house, October 1981
(Aunt Jody on left, me, my little sister Debby)


While we were at Grandma's, Ray hauled all my boxes of books and knick knacks down from Grandma's attic, where they've been stored since 1978 (the summer I lived with Grandma). I spent several hours yesterday (Monday) sorting through everything and assimilating it all into my household ... how LOVELY to have all my old familiar books back!!

I worked hard yesterday, and today I'm tired. Had my weekly appointment with Dr. Pheifer this morning at 10:15 - Peg took me, as usual. Had a blood test - my blood count has gone back up to 32 since I started taking the ferrous sulfate three times a day. Dropped half a pound since last week, now I weigh 173-1/2 lbs. Brief internal exam, was told my cervix has begun to dilate. Baby has dropped a bit but still isn't fully engaged: baby's heartbeat remains strong and regular. Dr. Pheifer says it could happen any time between now and December 9!

After my appointment Peg took me to lunch at Bob & Nancy Tuffs' house - Don Sr. joined us there. Nancy gave me a beautiful handmade comforter and bib for the baby. Ham sandwiches, holiday cookies, "Yukon Jack." Came home and took a nap; feeling achey, flushed and headachy. Ray home before six - brought home a box of "Dreft" baby detergent without being asked, which I found strangely moving. Jan Sellers came over and cut Ray's hair for him, much shorter than it's been in years; it looks different but much better, neater. She also trimmed my hair about an inch. Ray is making my favorite chicken sandwiches and homemade fries for dinner.

The fingers on my right hand keep going numb on me ... naturally MY first thought was of encroaching paralysis, but Dr. Pheifer assured me today that it's normal. Something about pressure on the nerves or something. Makes it hard to write neatly because I can't hold the pen the way I normally do.

Don Sr. offered me a thousand dollars if I name the baby (if it's a boy) "Donald Earl P. III." When we told him that we'd decided on Jesse or Jamie, he said "Oh, you can do better than that." This hurt my feelings, but I know it's our decision and no one else has any say in the matter. Still don't have a middle name for Jesse! Ray says "no" (VEHEMENTLY) to "Edward" - he has also turned up his nose at "Taylor" or "Raymond," but so far he hasn't contributed any ideas. Guess it's up to me. I like Taylor, which popped into my head out of nowhere the other day, but I doubt that I'll name him that. What about Matthew? Jesse Matthew?





IF WISHES WERE FISHES ...

  • Healthy, normal baby!
  • Crib & mattress
  • "Chronicles of Narnia," C.S. Lewis
  • New sofa and loveseat
  • Wedding picture reprints
  • Microwave oven!
  • Baskets for desk
  • Paint job in our bedroom
  • Paint job in baby's room
  • Baby book
  • Piano
  • 35mm camera
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • New winter coat
  • Fish for aquarium
  • Better car!
  • Chest of drawers/bureau (for nursery)
  • Wedding scrapbook
  • Receiving blankets
  • HUGE photo album
  • Bedroom slippers
  • Coffee mugs & holder
  • "In The Heat of the Night" - Peg Benatar
  • High chair
  • Decorative cannisters
  • Bathroom medicine cabinet
  • Macrame wall hanging
  • Standard folk guitar
  • Headboard
  • 1982 datebook
  • Lamp for baby's room
  • Full-length mirror
  • Blank cassettes (90 min.)
  • "The Mirror" Marlys Milhiser
  • Velour bath towels
  • Part-time job in 1982
  • Several BIG plants
  • Cardigan sweater (beige)
  • Pictures for baby's room
  • Refinish Ray's old desk
  • Hooded sweatshirt
  • Big diaper bag
  • TV trays
  • TELEPHONE!
  • Salad bowl set
  • Gold hoop earrings
  • Hanging Boston fern
  • Braided rag rug
  • Bookshelves in living room
  • Bookshelves in bedroom
  • Fireproof strongbox (HUGE)
  • Linen calendar
  • Gloves or mittens
  • New ELO album
  • New Peg Benatar album ("Precious Time")
  • Tennis shoes
  • Refrigerator magnets
  • Towel rack
  • Personalized stationery [Editors Note: I had to wait twenty years for this one.]
  • Engagement ring
  • Tabu perfume
  • Birthstone ring
  • Planter for philedendron
  • Diamond stud earrings
  • Long nightgowns (pastel)
  • Bathroom shelves
  • Felt-tip markers
  • Wicker clothes hamper
  • Paint hallway
  • Plant stand





MUSIC LISTENED TO DURING THIS JOURNAL:

  • "Hold On Tight" - ELO
  • "Helter Skelter" - Peg Benatar
  • "Slow Hand" - The Pointer Sisters
  • "All The Young Heroes" - Gary O
  • "Fire And Ice" - Peg Benatar
  • "Harden My Heart" - Quarterflash
  • "I've Done Everything For You" - Rick Springfield





Sit and drink Pepsi on ice and eat baked potatoes until Ray gets home. (Late tonight? 'Tis payday.) Ryan's Hope. Beef pot pie in oven. Loving Ray. Loving our baby inside me.

It's going to be Jamie, isn't it?








Wednesday morning 10 a.m.
November 25, 1981

This is something I hadn't anticipated ... this numb, puffy sensation in my hands, which makes it painful to hold a pen ...

Just got up. Feeling happy. The baby is going to be here soon. Is it my imagination, or does she sense it too? There's a feeling of inner excitement within me ... a buoyancy, an urgency. Impossible to describe. The baby doesn't move as much as before, but when she does, my whole tummy moves with her. That gives me an idea of how big she is. It takes two hands pressed firmly against my tummy to get a sense of all of her.

I know what's making me feel so chirpy this morning (aside from the baby) ... I'm having those first stirrings of Christmasy feeling! But where did it come from?? Hmmm.

It just takes some people longer, I suppose, but I've finally realized what those grinding, sudden gusts of pain I've been feeling are all about. They're CONTRACTIONS! A particularly severe one jolted me out of my sleep at 3 a.m. this morning, and it suddenly dawned on me then what was happening. They're like menstrual cramps but much stronger. As I lay there in bed with my knees drawn up and a pillow clamped between my legs, I tried to calculate how long it lasted. (About a minute.) My tummy was rock-hard to the touch throughout the whole thing, and then very gradually the pain lessened and it was over. I stayed awake to see if it would happen again, but that was the only one.

If this is any indication of what the "real thing" will be like, I guess it will be bearable. Painful, but bearable. Except that it goes on for hours and hours, doesn't it? That must be the hardest part. A little pain is tolerable, but hours and HOURS of it??




Crib (Mom will bring it over?)
Paint and move bookcase indoors
Ray finish painting window trim in baby's room
Move dresser over from Peg & Don's
Store baby clothes
Buy 1 dozen cloth diapers & diaper pins
Buy 1 doz. Playtex nipples
Emergency numbers on fridge & for Ray's wallet
Waterproof pads for crib











November 28, 1981
Saturday afternoon

Ray is hauling garbage. Cold today - feels almost like it could snow. The house is neat and warm, stereo is playing, kittens are asleep on our bed. Hot rollers in my hair. Ray's folks are taking us to The Rice Paddy for dinner at 6:00. Ray has had the past couple of days off, and it's been wonderful having him around the house. I love him dearly.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. We had dinner at Peg & Don's, along with Barbara, Don Jr., Judy and Billy. I gorged myself shamelessly and then had to practically be air-lifted to the sofa afterwards. It was great fun at the time, but I was in terrible pain for hours after dinner. (That is, until 11 p.m. when I got hungry again and had a big turkey sandwich ... !)

After Thanksgiving dinner  ...  stuffed tighter than the Butterball.

Tummy hurts today. Barely got any sleep at all last night. Can't sleep on either side now, even with pillows tucked all around me. The baby has been relatively quiet the past couple of days, but when he does move I have to stop whatever I'm doing. It's very hard to concentrate on anything when there's this enormous person moving your whole interior around.

Ray and I have been inordinately close the last week. Things are always good between us, but have been even more so recently. I suppose that the baby has a lot to do with it, but even beyond our shared anticipation is a pleasant sense of "twosome-ness" ... a feeling that we belong together, that we're a couple, that we're partners. Friends and lovers. It's nice. We're very comfortable. Our life isn't wildly exciting at the moment - there isn't a lot of running around & socializing - but I'm finding a surprising amount of satisfaction in my life anyway. The smallest things give me pleasure. Waking up in the morning next to my husband. Beer and nachos at Dave's Place. Holding CeCe in my lap. The way the house looks when it's tidy and warm and a fire is blazing in the fireplace. Making coffee. Folding baby clothes. Watching Ray bowl on Wednesday nights. Sitting together in the living room in the evenings, watching TV, reading the paper, wordlessly sharing a warmth and a camaraderie that only marriage can give to a relationship ...








Monday morning
November 30, 1981

Final day of November. Should I drag out the old boxes of Christmas decorations and take inventory, or am I jumping the gun? I'd hate to get into the middle of some big project, like decorating the house, and then have to leave everything a mess while I rush off to the hospital ...

Every morning now I wake up and wonder, "Will this be the day?" Last night while I was watching TV I suddenly had this uncontrollable urge to leap out of my chair and go pack my hospital bag. I also put my coming-home outfit together, and later today I'll put together some things for the baby to wear home from the hospital. I've taped a list of emergency numbers and some basic instructions for Ray to the fridge, and I guess that I'm all set. The culmination of nine long months of planning & preparation is at hand.

Now it's evening ... scribbling a few words while waiting for Ray to come home. Dark, rainy night. Heartburn. Wearing my robe even though it's only 5:30 ... hair limp and dirty ... no makeup. Please God, don't let my labor start tonight - I would hate for anyone to see me looking so awful!!

Dad came out today for an unexpected visit - brought us a truckload of firewood, and then we sat and talked for a couple of hours. He is depressed but appears to be coping, anyway - he has plans to open a locksmith shop in the spring if he doesn't get his job with the Post Office back. He is still excited about becoming a grandfather, at least, and he gave me all kinds of last-minute fatherly advice.

Hungry.

Feeding my late-night brownie jones  ...
November 1981



 





Tuesday evening
December 1, 1981

DECEMBER IS HERE!!! I can hardly believe it!! Centuries have passed since I first learned I was pregnant, but at long last we've reached the final month. Within days our baby will be here. DAYS. The thought is exhilerating and terrifying.

Dr. Pheifer examined me today and says I've dilated two centimeters. His parting words were "I might see you next week, or I may see you sooner, in labor." Naturally I came right home and cleaned & straightened the baby's room from top to bottom. Ray moved the dresser in last night, so this afternoon I put away all the baby's clothes and made the room look nice and neat. Just in case. And then, it being the first day of December & all, I got out all my boxes of Christmas decorations and my Christmas albums, and I've been making a tape of holiday songs recorded off the radio, and I've hung two big red stockings with hearts on them from the stereo. Christmas is here! In the P. household, anyway!








Wednesday morning
December 2, 1981

So, so happy. Christmas music on the stereo. The house is neat and clean from yesterday's whirlwind efforts, so today will be spent working on special projects of my choice, relaxing, preparing to go watch Ray bowl tonight. Feeling good. I didn't sleep much last night ... most of the time I just lat there in the darkness beside Ray, thinking about things. The baby. Christmas. Family. The funny little sweater than my penpal Tammy Cooper made for the baby, with shoulders wide enough for a football player. How happy and content I am, and how truly excited I am about the holidays, for the first time in I don't know how long. The past few years saw me feeling jaded and unenthused about Christmas, but this year I am as excited as a little kid ... and it feels wonderful. Ray is a big part of it: sharing the holidays with a husband for the very first time. And having my own home. And, of course, the baby, who apparently will arrive in plenty of time to share this first Christmas with us. Three stockings hanging near the fireplace ... one for Mommy, one for Daddy, and a tiny one for our own little holiday bundle. I have a feeling this may turn out to be the very best Christmas ever.

Later:

Both of my in-laws dropped by unexpectedly today ... Peg in the morning, Don later in the afternoon (while my hair was in rollers and I was drinking a beer!) They "just wanted to see how I was doing" ....








Thursday morning
December 3, 1981

Taping Christmas songs off the radio, sipping coffee with milk, surveying the small amount of housework I have to do today. Not feeling as good as I was yesterday, but still good. Still happy. Went to watch Ray bowl last night, and this morning I'm tired. Had an awful nightmare last night ... I still remember parts of it. A doctor was telling me that this baby would probably live for only a few minutes or so at the most, and that I would be unable to have any more children. I woke up shouting and crying. Later in the night Ray had a nightmare - he was shouting "NO! NO!" about something.

Sammi and CeCe are prowling around the living room looking for bits of food ... bumping up against my legs with their little chirping noises and their big, imploring eyes, begging me to feed them ... an old "Love Boat" re-run comes to a silent end on TV, soon to be replaced by "Family Feud." Listening to KEZX, waiting for good songs to put on my Christmas tape. (Got a good Roger Whittaker a few minutes ago ... I love his deep, resonant voice.) Never thought I'd be listening to - and enjoying - one of the so-called "easy listening" radio stations. But then again I never thought I'd be a housewife, either! Good Lord. Am I getting old? I'll be 24 in two weeks. Is that "old"? Married ... almost a mother ... listening to mellow music ... watching soap operas ... reading "Family Circle" magazine ... drinking coffee with my toast ...

Just had a FLASH ... Donna & Chuck are going to have a one-nighter - if they haven't already - Palmer's going to return & Donna's gonna be pregnant. Am I right?? And Carrie Sanders will somehow be involved too, right?

Noon

Hmmm ... is labor beginning ... ?? I've got a really nagging, persistent backache. It came on suddenly about twenty minutes ago, and has continued without let-up. Hungry. I would love to fix myself a scrambled egg sandwich, but I'm afraid to eat anything, in case this is "it." Is it??








Sunday afternoon
December 6, 1995

Obviously it isn't. A couple of days later ... the backache comes and goes, and I have an occasional contraction - maybe once or twice a day - but nothing resembling labor. Growing a little impatient ... I'm getting tired of this final, cumbersome stage of pregnancy. Sp stiff and sore in the mornings and evenings I can barely hobble from one room to the other. Sitting, standing, walking, laying down ... everything hurts. Friday morning I vomited for no reason at all, and yesterday I had a stomachache that lasted for hours and kept me running to the bathroom with irritating frequency. Needless to say, sleep is impossible, too.

Ray is painting my bookcase and watching the Seahawks game. I tried picking up the house a bit but found it too painful to move. So I've settled into the armchair with Sammi and the Sunday paper. Stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree. Fire is popping and crackling in the corner. Tonight will be a "meatloaf night" ... and after that, a long warm bath.








Monday morning
December 7, 1981

Waiting for my cinnamon rolls to heat up and my coffee to brew. "Edge of Night" on TV. The kittens knocked over another plant last night -- the second one this week. The house is a moderate shambles ... nothing serious, mostly newspapers all over the living room and the remnants of last night's dinner in the kitchen. If I pace myself I can stay busy all day. The waiting is worst when there's nothing to do but SIT. At times like that I usually find myself sitting on the floor in the baby's room, folding blankets or counting pairs of p.j.'s or rearranging toys on top of the dresser ... simply for lack of anything more constructive to do.








Tuesday morning
Early/Coffee/Stereo
December 8, 1981

Not even seven o'clock in the morning. Ray just left for work. Peg will be here in a couple of hours to take me to my doctor's appointment.

Feeling like this could be "the day." Ray and I both had a miserably sleepless night, tossing and turning until his alarm went off and we finally decided "Heck with it" and got up. I feel huge and bloated this morning, and I've been in mild pain for several hours. I honestly don't think I'm in labor - yet - but I must be getting close. Glad that I'm going to see my doctor today, although I'm not looking forward to the internal exam. Another example of my cowardice when it comes to pain, even in small doses!

Part of me wishes the baby would hurry up and get things rolling: another part of me wishes there were still a couple of months left to go.

Afternoon 4 p.m.

I've dilated to nearly 4, according to Dr. Pheifer, and the baby is ready to be born at ANY TIME. He didn't even bother to schedule an appointment for me for next week - that's how sure he is. I still have this "feeling" it may be later tonight, or possibly tomorrow. I'm still "leaking" a little, and my urine is tinged with blood. My bag is packed and waiting on the kitchen table. Wish Ray would come home. I don't mind being alone, and if anything starts to "happen" I can just walk next door and borrow Ben's phone. But I would still rather have Ray here, just in case. I want him close beside me through this whole thing.

The baby has been fairly active all day long, except for a few hours this afternoon while I laid down and took a much-needed nap. I still worry that something will be wrong with him/her ... that he'll have no arms, or three legs, or one eye right in the middle of his forehead. I guess I'll continue to worry until the moment he's born & the doctor says everything is OK. That will most likely be my first question -- not "Is it a boy or a girl?," but "Is he/she OK?" What a wonderful moment that will be -- hearing that first lusty yell from my very own living, breathing, tiny son or daughter. An end to nine months' worth of worry and waiting. I hope that they won't just whisk him away the minute he's born ... maybe they'll place him on my tummy for a couple of minutes, or let Ray & I hold him for a little while. Wouldn't that be lovely? An introduction to Mom & Dad!



4:40 p.m.

Went to the bathroom and passed what looked like a small blob of bloody tissue. No pain, except for the usual mild cramps. Getting dark outside. Watching for Ray to come home. Hungry, but I don't know if I should eat anything ... ? All I've had today were two slices of toast and a glass of milk at noon.



7:30 p.m.

Feeling better, even if it's only temporary. Ray has gone to buy me some chicken at KFC ... I have a big pot of potatoes boiling away, for mashed potatoes. This may be my last meal for a while, so I might as well enjoy it!

People have been coming by all afternoon to check on me ... first Don Jr., and then a little while later Peg came back over with Barbara ... everyone is terrified that I may be here alone when my labor starts. Ray was home at 6:30, and when he heard all the days' news - the leaking, the blood, the doctor's comments - he realized that this may be "it," and his face split wide open into the world's biggest grin as he pretended to shake in "terror" ...

Cramp beginning, 7:45 p.m.



9 p.m.

Moderately severe cramp/contraction while I was sitting in the armchair eating dinner and watching "Superman" on HBO. Lasted about a minute? Otherwise I'm feeling OK; maybe even sleepy enough to get a few hours of sleep? Standing and walking are VERY uncomfortable, but I feel OK when I'm sitting down. Leaking a little bit when I walk around. Baby is squirming heavily ... impatiently? ....



12:25 a.m.

Went to bed and dozed off for about an hour, when a ferocious blast of pain woke me up, right before midnight. Sitting in the living room watching Johnny Carson, waiting for the next pain to hit. A little bit scared. Is this it?? Impossible to believe that within hours, maybe, Ray and I will be parents. And so much to endure before then.




12:32 a.m.

OUCH!




12:40 a.m.

OUCH!




12:46 a.m.

OUCH!




12:53 a.m.

OUCH!




12:59, 1:08, 1:15, 1:23, 1:28, 1:35, 2:29, 2:33, 2:40, 2:43, 2:46, 2:52, 2:56, 3:01, 3:06, 3:15, 3:20

OUCH ...







December 10, 1981
Thursday night

I'm a mother. I have a tiny daughter named Jamie Lynn P., and I'm very, very happy.




Jamie Lynn Polen
Born December 9, 1981





December 11, 1981
7:30 a.m.

And now today, sitting in my comfortable hospital bed surrounded by flowers, magazines and the usual hospital paraphernelia, maybe I can scribble down a page or two about the fantastic experience I've just had. The final entry for my pregnancy diary? The nurse just woke me a few minutes ago to take a blood sample from the crook of my arm; within minutes another nurse was in and rudely shoved a suppository up my ass - ouch. Now I'm laying on my side, a thermometer dangling unattended from my mouth, waiting for the suppository to take effect, and I'm too uncomfortable to write. Will try again in a bit, after I've had a "b.m." (as Nurse rather brusquely referred to it) ... and then maybe had some breakfast ...

2 p.m.

Afternoon. This will be written in bits and pieces, in between catnaps and meals and feeding my baby ... she'll be here in a few minutes, as a matter of fact. I just woke up from a nap - Dad called, just to say "hello" and to see how I'm doing. He's on Cloud Nine over his new granddaughter, as are all of the grandparents. He says she's the "most beautiful baby he's ever seen." She really IS, too. Of course there's the normal amount of maternal pride (and prejudice) involved, but looking at her objectively - or as objectively as POSSIBLE, anyway! - I'm almost surprised by how pretty she is. She's small ... 6 lbs. 5-1/2 oz. at birth, 19-1/2" long ... but her coloring is uniformly peaches and cream and her features are perfect. No funny marks, no discoloration, no abnormalities of any sort. She has lots and lots of dark brown hair, but I can't tell whether it will have the nice natural curl her Daddy's hair has, or if it'll be board-straight like mine. Impossible, also, to tell about her eye color ... right now her eyes, when they're open, are big and wide and bluish in color, liquidy-dark.

Naturally I've counted all of her fingers and toes and checked to see that everything is in place & in working order ... and it is. She is absolutely, 100% perfect.









My labor began late on Tuesday night, near midnight. Ray and I had eaten a late dinner of barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, watched "Superman" on HBO and then went to bed around 11 p.m. I was pretty sure this was going to be the big night, but I hoped to get at least a couple of hours sleep. Just as we'd both dozed off, though, I had a single, wrenching cramp and was instantly wide awake. Another pain followed a few minutes later. I realized I wasn't going to get any sleep, so I came out into the living room to monitor the pains and see if they established any kind of pattern or rhythm. It soon became obvious that I was really & truly in labor, because the pains were coming at regular eight-minute intervals. As time went on they started getting sharper and more painful.

Waking Ray up wasn't easy. He was sleeping like a log, and even after I managed to get him to sit up and told him "Honey, this is it," he didn't fully comprehend what was going on. Finally I decided to give him a chance to wake up on his own, and I put on my clothes, shoes and a jacket and walked next door to borrow Ben's phone. It was 2 a.m. and pouring down rain. It took a few minutes of knocking & ringing the door bell to rouse Ben. "Ben!" I shouted through the door. "It's Terri from next door and I'm in labor ... can I use your phone?" And he shouted back (without opening the door) that his phone was OUT OF ORDER! Incredible. Undaunted, I walked back to our house and ordered Ray out of bed. He was sleepy, confused and cross, but he pulled on his clothes, made a pot of coffee and then drove me to a nearby phone booth.

I called Dr. Pheifer's answering service and was quickly transferred to the hospital. I told the nurse who took the call that my pains were coming eight minutes apart, and that I thought my waters may have broken. She didn't think that contractions eight minutes apart were anything to worry about, but she was concerned about the fluid leaking. She said that I should probably come into the hospital, but something in her voice convinced me there was no reason to rush. I made another quick call - to Peg & Don, letting them know we'd be leaving for the hospital "soon" - and then Ray and I went back to the house to time the pains a while longer & get ourselves organized. We sat at the kitchen table, where Ray drank coffee and calmly read a comic book; I sat with a piece of paper and a pen and scribbled down the time each contraction hit. By then they were becoming VERY painful and made me cry out loud, which scared Ray a little, I think.

Peg and Barbara pulled into the driveway around 2 a.m. They'd already been to the hospital, and were of course told that we hadn't checked in yet. Minor panic at that. Peg was afraid that maybe our car had broken down en route, or something worse had happened, so they zoomed over to our house and were relieved to find us calmly sitting in the ktichen. We all sat at the kitchen table and talked and watched my contractions. Soon they were getting so bad that Peg said, " think we'd better get her to the hospital." The four of us piled into Peg's car and in a matter of minutes we were checking in at Evergreen.

Peg and Barbara were ushered into a waiting room somewhere, while Ray and I were taken to a small room where I would be going through my labor. The room was bright and cheerfully decorated, but in the middle of the night like that it just seemed garish. I was nervous and tired, and Ray was awkward and tired, and neither one of us really knew what to do. He helped me get undressed and into a hospital gown, and then he sat beside me while the nurses did some preliminary tests and hooked me up to the fetal monitor. My contractions were really regular, but to my surprise they barely registered on the monitor at all. (Uh oh.) I thought I was well into labor, but my cervix was only dilated to 3 cm and it stayed that way, without change, for two or three hours. The nurses would just leave me laying there on the table for 45 minutes to an hour, and then come back and check me, but each time they told me I still hadn't dilated any more. This was very discouraging, and I was afraid that it was a false alarm and that I'd be sent home. The nurse, however, said she "had a feeling" I should stay, and finally she asked me if I wanted labor augmented (induced). By this time the pain was becoming unbelievably bad and I just wanted to get it over with, so I said "OK." Ray went to let his mom know we were going to go through with it, so she could get on the phone and start calling our families.

The next few hours were the most difficult hours of my life. I was shaved and given an enema, and then they hooked me up to an I-V, which made the contractions come faster and harder. There were two nurses beside throughout the whole ordeal; they helped me breathe through each contraction, giving me support and encouragement. Between contractions they asked me questions about the baby ... was I hoping for a boy or girl? what names had we picked out? ... anything to keep my mind off the pain. It was no easy task. My entire body was consumed by pain: it was terrible. It was literally the worst pain I've ever experienced, the worst I had ever imagined experiencing - and the contractions kept coming, one right after the other, until I honestly thought I couldn't take it any more. The nurse broke my bag of waters, and that intensified the pain even further. I was given Demerol three times through the I-V, to take the edge off the pain, but I didn't notice any difference. It just got worse and worse. I was screaming, sobbing, begging them to "DO something!." begging for more Demerol, swearing, hyperventilating, invoking the Deity ... not a very noble performance, I'm afraid. During the brief respite between contractions, I apologized to the nurses for the screaming & stuff, but they were gentle and kind and they told me to go ahead and scream if it helped.

Ray was there on & off through most of this, but I think it upset him terribly to see me in such agony, and he would stay for only a minute or two before he would quietly slip back out of the room. Occasionally our eyes would meet, and he'd give me a look of tender concern and love.

Dr. Pheifer wasn't there at all - it was his day off! - so his colleague, Dr. Heffron, eventually delivered the baby. This of course suited me just fine, since Dr. Pheifer and I never got along. Dr. Heffron proved to be competent, patient and friendly. He came into the labor room to check on me periodically, and he was very reassuring.

By then my cervix had FINALLY started to dilate. Within the space of 45 minutes ir dilated from 3 cm all the way to a full 9 cm, and that meant I was finally ready to deliver.

The contractions were at their zenith by then, and just when I thought I would expire from the pain and the screaming, the anesthesiologist came in and administered a caudal (with a needle in the small of my back). Within minutes I could feel nothing from the waist down ... nothing but blessed numbness and cessation of pain. It was so wonderful, I cried with relief. It was 10 a.m. Ray changed into his green hospital "pajamas," and I was wheeled down the hallway, still attached to the I-V, to the delivery room. I was no longer scared, no longer in pain ... I was happy and excited and enjoying myself by then. The medication stopped the pain but it left me completely conscious and alert, and I was able to see, hear and enjoy everything.

The delivery room looked exactly as I'd pictured it, even down to the big mirror mounted on the wall and all the nurses milling around in gowns and masks. I was on the table with my legs in stirrups, and Ray sat on a stool to my left, holding my hand while the baby was being born. I couldn't feel the contractions at all anymore, but each time the fetal monitor would register one coming I was instructed to take a deep breath, hold my knees and PUSH. The first time I did this, the baby's head crowned. I could see a mass of wet, dark hair in the mirror ... the top of the baby's head. I looked at the little head in the mirror and said to myself, "Who are you?" A few minutes later I had another contraction and I pushed again, and then once more, and she popped right out effortlessly.

My first thought when I saw her, all bluish in color and covered with vernix and wriggling in the doctor's hands was, "The baby's OK!" Then I sat up a little bit to see what sex the baby was. I thought I saw some tiny little testes, but then the doctor said "It's a girl." The next few minutes are a happy jumble in my memory. The baby was immediately placed on my tummy and I held her while I delivered the placenta and Dr. Heffron stitched up the episiotomy. She was warm, wet and wiggly. Then the nurses took her to the other side of the room and did whatever nurses do to newborns, and Ray kissed me, and the nurse covered me with a warm blanket because I was shivering uncontrollably.

A little while later we were all back in the labor room; the baby was in my arms, wrapped snugly in a blanket. Ray held her for a little while and there were stars in his eyes. Then he made an offhand comment - "Jesse, huh?" - and I realized that he thought the baby was a BOY! Needless to say, he was stunned when I said "No, Honey, we have a girl!" He was flabbergasted! And what's worse, he'd already told his mom that we'd had a boy, and she was on the phone calling everybody with the happy news, so she had to backtrack and call everyone all over again, to tell them it was JAMIE, not JESSE!

I was taken to my hospital room soon afterwards and have been here now for two days. Tomorrow morning we go home. I assume that Jamie is doing well, since no one has told me otherwise. The nurses bring her in and I give her a bottle at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and although she doesn't eat much, she seems to enjoy sucking and she likes me to hold her. A nurse changed her diaper for me while I watched, so "next time" I'll probably give it a try. The nurse who brings her into my room called her a "snuggle bunny." She curles up with her fist in her mouth, and she's so cute everyone just wants to pick her up and cuddle her.

I realize that she's in a nursery filled with babies who are just as beautiful & special in their parents' eyes, but each time they wheel her into my room and I see that tiny pink face peeking out from her blanket, I think my heart is going to burst with pride over my beautiful, perfect little daughter.

Ray was here last night and stayed long enough for her 9:30 bottle, and he held her for a long, long time, just looking into her face and playing with her little feet and hands. He's already madly in love with her.


 

Getting to know my new baby daughter in the hospital
December 1981








Saturday we were discharged at 11 a.m. Jamie had her picture taken in the little rosebud dress & bonnet her Grandma P. gave her; I packed up all our stuff, and then Grandpa P., Aunt Barbara and Daddy took us home. It was an ice cold, sunny December morning, and the mountains were breathtakingly beautiful in the distance. When we got home, Peg was there at the house, vacuuming and cleaning. We had ham sandwiches for lunch, put the baby to bottle & to sleep. Drowsy and a little high from the Demerol ... feel good. 


 

With Jamie on our first day home from the hospital
December 1981

Judy & Don over in the evening with Bobby.

Kurt & Wendy








Monday 5:30 p.m.
December 14, 1981

Today was my first day home alone with my daughter, and things have gone very smoothly. She's not on any regular schedule yet, but seems to need about four oz. of formula every four or five hours. She sleeps soundly and enjoys eating and loves being held and cuddled ... in short, there have been no problems at all. She only cries when she's hungry or uncomfortable. I think I got up and fed her around 12:30 last night, and then I held her until she allowed me to put her down. She sleeps tucked into her little Moses basket, either on the sofa or on the floor of her playpen.

Visitors: Peg (1 p.m.), Don Sr. (4:00), Peg & Sheryl (4:00)

Package from Dora & Helene, bunch of cards, $45








Tuesday noon
December 15, 1981

Aha. I have learned my first important lesson about taking care of babies ... it's next-to-impossible to finish anything. (Washing dishes, writing out birth announcements, scribbling in my journal, etc.) She cries and I jump to attention; as a result there are always half a dozen unfinished projects laying around. She is so good, though, and so generally uncomplaining, that when she does make a little fuss I don't mind jumping up after only half a manicure or in mid-sentence and attending to her simple needs. There will always be time to finish my personal tasks or to grab a quick nap later, but she will only be this tiny & precious once.

I look at her and can't believe she's really, finally here. I touch her cheek - it is incredibly soft and smooth and warm. I hold her close to me and smell her hair. It is a new smell ... a "baby smell." I will probably never forget this smell, even if I live to be a hundred years old. Unless you've held your brand-new baby daughter, you can't know how wonderful and terrifying and moving and precious that smell is ... you couldn't even describe it. It is totally unlike anything else in the world.

Today is my 24th birthday. Waiting for Dad - and Grandma Vert, maybe? - to come visit. Caramel rolls baking in the oven. Rain outside. Windows fogged with steam, the result of sterilizing baby bottles. Jamie is sound asleep in her basket, a few feet away from me.

I float around the house ... humming as I bake my rolls, add fabric softener to the laundry, peer out the window looking for visitors. I feel like a mother. My baby stirs in her basket ... tiny hand flutters to tiny cheek. I bend over her and tuck the little hand back beneath the blanket. A brow puckers; she sighs, deep in sleep.

I look in the mirror: I look like a mother. My new pegnoir is deep maroon, with lace around the cuffs and collar. My hair is tied back with a maroon ribbon. I am wearing an opal necklance and matching opal earrings and a gold watch and my wedding ring. I am happy, and it shows in my face, in my eyes. A deep sense of satisfaction, of mission accomplished, courses through every part of me. This is what I was meant to be. My husband, my home, my daughter ... these are the things that fill me now. Myself. A deep sense of self. I am filled.


My 24th birthday  ...  holding the world's greatest
birthday present
December 15, 1981







Wednesday 11 a.m.
December 16, 1981

Uneventful though it was, yesterday was probably the very nicest birthday I've ever had. Dad and Grandma Vert were here for a few hours, until 3:00. Peg stopped by early in the evening, and when Ray came home he brought me two small plants, a miniature Christmas tree for the coffee table, and a birthday card which he signed, "Love you very much - Ray & Jamie." Through it all our daughter slept in her basket, wet her diapers several times in a row, took her bottles. Ray and I stayed up until her 11 p.m. bottle but it seemed to take forever for her to finish, and we were tired and wanted to go to sleep. So we took her into our bedroom with us, with her basket on the floor next to our bed. She continued to just suck and suck on her bottle but didn't seem to be getting satisfied. Finally we examined the bottle closesly and discovered that the nipple hole was too small and practically no formula was getting through. We quickly warmed up another bottle and she took it ravenously. I tried to get her to sleep in her basket on the floor beside me, but the slightest little cluck or sigh from her had me wide awake, and I realzed I'd NEVER be able to sleep, so I carried her, basket and all, back to her room.

She woke up at 4:30 a.m. for another feeding -- a bit later than usual, but after all the problems & delays we'd had with the 11:00 feeding it was no wonder. I hopped out of bed the minute she cried. The living room and kitchen were too cold, so I dragged the tocking chair and all her stuff into her nice warm bedroom, changed her on the floor and fed her in her room. Asleep again, both of us, an hour later. This morning I fed her in our bed, no problems. When she was finished I slipped off my nightgown and layed her on my tummy, and she fell asleep with her head between my breasts, listening to my familiar heartbeat and all of my internal rumblings ... sounds that had been the Muzak of my womb furing the long nine months she waited and grew within me ...

She is just one week old this moment.

I've been kind of "weepy" the past two days. Not exactly postpartum blues or anything ... I just feel sort of overwhelmed by everything that has happened to me in the last week, I guess. Maybe it's all catching up with me finally. Last night I was eating dinner and reading a book about newborn infant care, and all of a sudden I started thinking about Jamie's birth, and I burst into tears. I was so deeply moved by the significance and the power of it. Ray began to cry, too, and we hugged each other and looked at our daughter sleeping and held onto each other, laughing and crying. I cried again a few minutes later, when Ray put his arms around me and said "Happy Birthdy ... you're a wonderful wife and a wonderful mother." I took the birthday card he gave me into the bedroom with us when we were finally settling down for the evening, and when I read it again I cried. I cried this morning while Jamie slept on my chest. Even now, writing all of this, I'm tearing up again. I didn't cry when she was born, except when I was in labor (and those were tears of another sort entirely) - but now the floodgates are down, I guess, and who knows how long the waters will flow??

Long, private day ahead of me. Peg won't be coming over, for a change ... just my daughter and I. How lovely! I'll try to write more this afternoon. There is so much to say.

Still bleeding moderately. Bottom isn't as sore, but my stitches ITCH.








Thursday 1:30 p.m.
December 17, 1981
My Sweet Bumblebee

Impressions of Baby Daughter: Beginning to think maybe she does look like me, a little bit ... this gives me a curious pleasure. Round face, pink cheeks, luminous baby-blue eyes, tiny rosebud mouth. She is just down for her next four hour sleep: I swear you could almost set your watch by my daughter. Every four hours, five or take a few minutes, she gives a hearty yell and Mommy is instantly at her side. Have taped a piece of paper to the fridge & am keeping track of the hours, the length of each feeding, the intervals between. Four hours - right on the dot.

Gave her a sponge bath with a warm wet washcloth. Washed her hair with a microdot of baby shampoo, rubbed it gently dry with a towel ... her "feathers." (There is movement from the basket, a tiny hiccup, a whimper. I hold my breath. Will she? Won't she?)

The house is a mess. I have been sleeping when she sleeps. I sit and drink my coffee, willing myself to stay put in this chair and just let the housework go. I could too easily become obsessed with picking up, cleaning, picking up, cleaning ... it could drive me crazy. I don't want to become like that. I like things to be clean and neat, but I don't want to become manic about it. I want my prioroty to be nurturing ... my daughter, my husband, my cats, my plants, myself. Taking care of the needs of the living things in my life. Keeping us fed and clean and warm and loved. Who cares if the dishes aren't washed and the bed is unmade and the coffee table needs dusting? (I do - but I'm fighting it!)

Still bleeding steadily, but most of the pain is gone. An occasional, menstrual-like cramp is all. Last night I layed down on the living room floor, flat on my back, and pressed my hands hard against my tummy. The bulge is gone. The hardness is gone. Nothing but soft, slightly-flabby tummy, ribs, belly button back to normal. Sad. Part os me is missing. In a strange way, even though she is right here in my arms, I am lonely for her. Strange.

Jamie won't settle down. It's been almost two hours now and she's still working on the same bottle. I'm hungry now myself, and I would dearly love to take a shower and put on some makeup, but each time I put her down she becomes restless and starts to cry after only a few minutes.

Still weeping. Last night, watching a special report on TV about missing and murdered children, I cried copiously for a full hour. And just now, opening the mail - Jamie's birth certificate arrived from the hospital, and once again I'm sitting here, misty-eyed. She's official!


In all her glory
(The little orange afghan would eventually become "Liddle Diddle")
December 1981




10:30 p.m. and Ray's still not home, and I'm mad, scared, uncomfortable - I'm out of sanitary pads - where in the world IS he??  Beginning to feel some resentment. He hasn't been helping out too much with Jamie so far. I give her all of her feedings and all of her diaper changes, and Ray holds her for a little while in the evenings. Sure hope this isn't going to be the pattern. Sure wish he'd come home. I need a bath and a clean pad something terrible.








Friday morning
December 18, 1981

My bowl of oatmeal is spread all over the kitchen floor. I had to wait two hours from the time it was cooked this morning until now - when Jamie FINALLY fell asleep - to eat it ... and then I dropped it. I am sitting in the armchair furiously smoking my first cigarette in months, fighting back tears, praying to God the baby doesn't wake up right now.

My head aches, my stomach hurts, I'm hungry, I'm exhausted, I'm mad. Ray called in sick this morning and I thought, "At last! A reprieve!" I thought maybe he could handle the morning diaper change and feeding while I slept or took a shower or did the dishes. At 10 a.m., though, he threw on his work clothes, chugged down a cup of coffee and started to walk out the door! I just came unglued. He didn't even offer to lift a finger to help me ... the only reason he called in sick was so that HE could get a couple extra hours of sleep!! I was speechless with rage: I just sat on the floor and cried. The bastard. I asked him if he could at LEAST fix me a bowl of oatmeal. "No, I'm going to drink this coffee and then I've gotta get to work," he said. He didn't even realize how upset I was! So I didn't ask - I DEMANDED - that he fix me a fucking bowl of oatmeal. By then I wasn't even hungry enymore, and the baby was starting to howl in the other room, and my nerves were totally jangled. He was surprised by my anger, and meekly began boiling water for my cereal while I took care of Jamie. By the time she was changed and the oatmeal was cooled, I had calmed down a little. I said, "Maybe you could get us a Christmas tree tonight?," and he nodded and took $20 from me for gas and a tree and then he left, solemn and unsmiling.

The baby was really good for awhile and took her bottle happily, and I started feeling better, but then all of a sudden she got fussy and it took two another hours for her to go down. I would put her in her room and tiptoe out and start picking up the house, but then three minutes later she'd be crying again. A big package arrived from Aunt Dora & Aunt Helene in Tucson and I had to sign for it, and while the door was open the cats ran in and I had to scramble around chasing them back outside, and all the commotion set Jamie off again. When she finally allowed me to put her to bed, I went out to the kitchen - ravenously hungry by this point - and reheated my oatmeal. And then I dropped it. Without a word, without so much as a tear (I'm all cried out anyhow), I came and sat down and here I am. I'm just going to leave the damned stuff where it is, too - spread all over the floor. Maybe it will serve as a silent message to someone that I need some HELP.

2 p.m.

Jamie slept for exactly ONE HOUR - noon to one o'clock - and woke up screaming again. I don't understand it. Her "precise four hour schedule" has gone right out the window. Here she is, sucking away at another damned bottle ... her second within a couple of hours. In the interim I was able to grab a quick shower - thankfully - and a Sears delivery truck brought a brand-new crib to the door, which I haven't had a chance to even look at yet. Baby seems to be getting sleepy in my arms. Dare I hope??

2:15 p.m.

Put her in her room, firmly closed the door, sat down here in the living room ... and she is screaming again. I am in tears. She has been awake, crying for most of the time, since 10:30. I'm absolutely at my wits end. I find myself actually wishing my mother-in-law was here ... good Lord in Heaven. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I didn't realize it was going to be this hard. I can't even put on my makeup or dry my hair or make another bowl of oatmeal because Jamie needs me to hold her.

What keeps me sane are two things: realizing that I am not a rotten mother simply because my baby's non-schedule is driving me batty ... and realizing that it won't last forever. SOMETIME - soon Lord, please - my baby daughter will fall into some semblance of routine and both our lives will be less rocky.

4 p.m.

I look like a human being once again ... I'm actually wearing clothes! Jamie finally konked out and I was able to do my hair and nails and put on some makeup. This has done wonders for my frame of mind. The house, unfortunately, is another story entirely. Rarely has it looked worse. The oatmeal is still on the floor, and now the crib is in pieces all over the place. Won't Daddy be surprised. Ha ha hee hee ho ho ho.





Thoughts Outta Nowhere:

What an interesting - eventful - journal this has been! Marriage, pregnancy, birth, Christmas. I haven't changed addresses ONCE! How nice!

Johnny & Gail, Melinda Z., Sheryl Rich, Bob & Nancy T.

Broke a nail - darn. Best nails I've ever had, too. Giving birth have anything to do with it?

What exactly does one pack in a diaper bag for a one hour excursion to Dave's Place?

Probably shouldn't drink anything, either - would make that middle of the night & early morning feedings just that much harder. [Sudden weird pang of guilt/sympathy/regret for my high school boyfriend Scott!!! "Crying" by Don McLean on the radio. We were going to have a daughter named Jamie, we said, until I turned into a rat.]

Favorite new Christmas song - "Stop The Cavalry" by The Corey Band








Saturday 9:30 a.m.
December 19, 1981

Splitting headache, but in a better frame of mind than yesterday, at least. Baby Daughter woke up an hour ago, took her bottle, rocked with me for a few minutes, and then - miraculously - went right back to sleep. I s'pose that I could slip back into bed myself now and get an extra couple hours' sleep, but I have a lot to do today. This afternoon we're going over to Peg & Don's for my birthday dinner, and it will be Jamie's very first excursion out into the world since we came home from the hospital a week ago. Before we go I'd like to try and pick up the house a bit. Baby stuff is laying around EVERYWHERE (although the oatmeal has been cleaned off the floor).

Peg and Barbara came over and sat with Jamie last night for a few blissful hours, giving Mommy & Daddy a chance to "escape"for a little while. We had a couple beers at Dave's Place with friends, stopped at a grocery store, bought our Christmas tree. I've got my first postpartum hangover, and I feel like hell this morning, but it was worth it. Baby Daughter is my beautiful, precious angel and I love her dearly, but I'm going to have to get out of the house once in awhile if I want to be a sane, capable mommy.

Ray took care of the late-night diaper change and feeding last night, and I slept from midnight straight through till 8 a.m. this morning. Heaven. (Message received!)

Jamie already loves her Daddy. A positively miraculous change comes over her when he carries her around the house in his arms ... she is quiet and content.








December 22, 1981
Wednesday night

Depressed. Too depressed to write much, in fact. Just took two of my remaining Demerol - my "emergency stash" - maybe that will help. Ray just left to go bowling, and I'm sitting here at the kitchen table with fat tears sliding down my cheeks ... overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of me tonight, tomorrow, the day after that, the day after that ... it has begun to dawn on me that Jamie is here to stay, and that the work isn't going to end for a long, long, long time. I have signed on for the long haul.

Here it is, the day before the day before Christmas, and I haven't done one fucking bit of shopping yet. We were going to go do it today, Ray & I, but he had to work later than expected. That means that tomorrow, SOMEHOW, in the space of a few hours I've got to shop for sixteen people, and wrap the presents, and shower & do my makeup and hair, and drive down to visit Dad and Grandma Vert, and take care of Jamie on top of everything. My head aches, just thinking about it all. Merry Christmas. Ho ho ho.

Excuse me while I make a few lists & try to prepare.

Ray take care of Jamie in the morning - Peg's house by 10:00, drop off baby - SHOP - finish by 12:00-1:00.
(RAY?) wrap presents @ home while I shower
Leave for Dad's by 3:00? 4:00? Want to spend 1 hr. at Dad's, 1/2 hr. at Grandma's

  • Nice photo album
  • 3 photo frames (Mom, Dad, Grandma S.)
  • 3 toys
  • men's sweatshirt, large
  • ladies bathrobe, medium
  • men's shirt, large
  • 2 candles (?)
  • 2 pierced earrings
  • 1 eyeshadow, 1 lip gloss
  • wrapping paper, tape, ribbon
  • (I can feel the Demerol working)
  • film, flash
  • hairspray & blush for me






December 27, 1981
Sunday night

Feeling crummy ... beginnings of a sore throat, headache, fever. Can't complain to anyone about it, though, because no one really gives a damn. Doesn't that sound childish? It's true. Now that I'm not pregnant anymore, all the special attention has abruptly come to an end. This was expected, however, so I'm not surprised ... just a bit let-down.

Baby is sleeping - I hope. Yesterday she lost her "stump" - the last little part of the umbilical cord - and now she has a normal belly button & looks like a real baby. Tonight she had her first tub bath, in the kitchen where it was nice and warm - screamed throughout the whole ordeal - Ray stood there and took pictures.

Jamie's first bath!
December 1981

Watching a favorite Star Trek re-run (the spores) - Ray is in the kitchen busily preparing shish kebobs and salad for our dinner. Hungry. My appetite has been completely out of whack since I had Jamie ... frequent stomach aches, constipation. Haven't felt much like eating. Wonder if I'm losing any weight?

Christmas 1981 has come and gone ... our firstas a little family. In spite of the rushing around, the jangled nerves, the fatigue, it was quite nice. We managed to get all of our shopping done in the nick of time and also managed to visit everyone on both sides of the family. 

On Christmas Eve we drove to Burien - Peg let us borrow the Nova - and visited Dad, Grandma Vert, and everyone on Mom's side of the family at Grandma St. John's. 

Christmas Eve 1981

Christmas Day was spent at Peg & Don's. Jamie was relatively well-behaved during the long car rides, as well as the noise and confusion of family festivities, and since there was always someone who wanted to hold her, I had a chance to relax and enjoy myself, too. Santa Claus was exceptionally good to the three of us, and our combined loot is spread beneath the Christmas tre now ... it looks like we're opening a baby shop, what with all the clothes and toys all over the place ...

Ray's gift to me was a "promisory note" for a new pair of pants, whenever I want them. I'm going to try and drop a few pounds first, and then I'll take him up on it and get some new jeans. Other favorite gifts were a beautiful white lace blouse from Peg & Don, a BIG scrapbook from Dad, a music box from Uncle Dick, earrings & a necklace from Barbara, my favorite perfume (Tabu) from Sheryl. Jamie got some really cute stuffed toys and lots of clothes, and Peg & Don gave her a deluxe car seat.

 

Our first Chrismas together
December 25, 1981









Jamie has been with us for two and a half weeks now, and it's beginning to feel like she's always been here. I've grown accustomed to that little face, and watch hopefully now for the first real smile ... when will that happen? ... watch hopefully for the big blue eyes to turn brown like Ray's ... watch for the hair to show signs of natural curl ...

I intended to weigh her this afternoon before her bath, while all her clothes were off, but I forgot: I think she's gaining weight, though. She seems to take her formula well, and drinks anywhere from 4 to 6 ounces of it at a sitting - 6 or 7 feedings in each 24 hour period, depending on her schedule (which is to say, no schedule at all). I let her eat for a few minutes and then take the bottle away and bubble her, and then let her eat some more and bubble her again, repeating the process until she's finished the bottle. This seems to help prevent indigestion, although she gets the hiccups at nearly every feeding and that takes awhile to go away, after lots of back-patting, small drinks of formula, soothing whispers in her ear. She twists her head around from where she's laying on my shoulder and (seemingly) looks me squarely in the eye. She is very strong but still can't hold her head up for any length of time - after a second or two it wobbles and flops back against my shoulder. She gets impatient if I withhold the bottle for too long, and sucks her fingers frantically, clumsily ... squints ... frowns ... moves the little mouth like a baby bird's, open, closed, open, closed ... gasps, chirps, makes little sucking noises ... howls unhappily if I still haven't given the bottle back, the whole face scrunched up, beet red, ANGRY, hands tightened into fists, body rigid, legs drawn-up, froglike. Then the nipple somehow finds it's way back into her mouth and she begins sucking vigorously and the huge blue eyes look up at me in acquiescence and the tense little body relaxes. She makes the nicest sounds while she's eating -- happy little noises of contentment, satiation.








December 28, 1981
Monday noon

Just crawled out of bed. Jamie has been sleeping in 4-5 hour stretches the past two days, which is lovely ... I've needed the extra sleep. Feeling worse, though, in spite of the added rest. My throat hurts like hell and I've got that headachey, feverish feeling behind my eyes that usually heralds the arrival of my annual winter flu. Dammit. I can't afford to be sick right now.









December 29, 1981
Tuesday night

Sore throat persists - nothing major, just enough to be an irritation. I've started smoking again and I suppose that doesn't help.

Ray and I just took pictures of each other standing in front of the Christmas tree with Jamie. The tree is getting dry and I'm going to take it down tomorrow - if there's time.

Busy, busy, busy. Lots of visitors stopping by unexpectedly ... Mom, Leslie Sellers, Dad. Peg & Barbara came by at 2:00 to take Jamie and I to the pediatrician - Jamie's first check-up. More on all of this later, if there's time!!

9:30 p.m.

Jamie is screaming in the next room ... am I ever going to be able to tolerate it?? Dr. Van P. (who shall hereafter we referred to as "Dr. Frits") said that when she's been fed, cuddled, burped, changed and comfortably tucked into bed - when hours have gone by since she first woke up, and I'm certain all of her needs have been met - to let her cry. This is unbelievably hard to do. Right now she sounds as though her heart is broken, and it is painful - remarkably so - for me to sit here & try to ignore it. I'm finding that there is more actual maternal instinct in me than I'd first believed. I don't seem to be as self-engrossed as I used to be ... I would rather go in there and try to comfort my baby, nerve-racking though that may be, than just sit here in my armchair, lazy and comfortably. This morning I was thinking about what I would do if the house caught on fire - how I would get Jamie out - and I realized, all of a sudden, that I wasn't thinking about how to get my personal belongings out (my journals, my photo albums), the way I always used to do.

2:30 a.m.

Waiting - with baited breath - to see if she goes to sleep without crying.

Amazing how still & quiet the house is at this hour of the night.





Terri: "When do you want me to go back to work?"
Ray: "Tomorrow."
SILENCE
Terri: "No, really."
Ray: "I dunno."









December 31, 1981
Thursday afternoon
Stereo is out / Hungover / Sniffles / Just took 1-1/2 Demerol

The final day of the most satisfying, eventful year of my life. Ray is out grocery shopping; Jamie is wiggling around in her basket on the sofa; I'm sitting in my armchair in front of a small fire, watching out the window for snow, sipping a Pepsi on ice, reflecting on the year now past. What a year it's been, too. I have becomne just what I always wanted to be - a wife and mother - and I feel as though I've found my niche in the world. I'm happy. I love Ray so much that sometimes I think my heart is going to burst. He is the love of my life, the man I've always waited for. I love Jamie - my precious baby daughter. We are really & truly a family.









ASSORTED NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR 1982

1. Spend the first year of Jamie's life at home w/her, bringing her up in a loving, common-sense manner; helping her to appreciate beauty, truth, family.

2. Diet down at LEAST to my pre-pregnancy weight (140) although I would rather get down to 120.

3. Open a savings account.

4. CLEAN OUT THE SPARE BEDROOM!

5. Play the piano 1/2 an hour to an hour daily until the Clementi comes back to me (when I get the piano???)

6. Shorthand, 2-3 hours a week.

7. Make effort not to be so obsessive about housecleaning; remember that my highest priority is my family.





Things that make me happy: Jamie in a good mood - Ray likewise.

Things that bother me: Jamie crying - Ray falling through on a promise.

Wishes: 1. That we can get by w/o my having to get a job for one year. 2. New car with brakes that WORK!

If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I would be: Laying in bed propped up with a bunch of pillows, under an electric blanket, wearing absolutely nothin', watching soap operas, sipping Pepsi on ice.

Terri: "Honey, are you having an affair?"
Ray: "I'm gonna go watch the fight with Jim & Scotty." (Oh yah? Where's Sulu & Mr. Spock??)

 

 





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