I left home for the last time when I was 26; Terry was 22. We set up housekeeping in a third floor walk-up, worked by day, and lived the Hippie life style by nights and weekends. It was the early Seventies. We gradually slid into married life.
Just the two of us.
Our families were still around.
Our friends visited regularly.
All in all, highly gratifying, highly satisfying.
"Maybe we should think about a family?"
"Maybe we should do more than think!"
Two weeks passed.
"Nope, not yet."
A month passed.
"Nope, not yet."
Three months passed.
"I’m afraid to ask."
Four months passed.
"Nope, baby definitely!"
Kisses. Hugs. Cry.
Nine months to prepare but it never prepares you for what is about to occur. Terry decides upon natural childbirth. Not being the one who has to pass the equivalent of a bowling through a straw, I don’t need a say in the matter. Doc Blander says it’s never been done at Lynn Hospital. We said we’d be the first. Terry researched and found Lamaze classes. I’d be coach. Classes were fun and, in late pregnancy, all the ladies looked like a herd of cattle.
"OK class, we’re going to practice the pelvic thrust."
"Excuse me," I said "but that’s what got us into this in the first place." This comment wasn’t received in the manner I expected. I finally lost it watching them on their hands and knees thrust their butts up in the air.
"Can’t you be serious?"
"Terry, you’ve got to see the whole scene from where I am." At that I exploded in laughter again.
"Mr. Carmody!!!" Said the teacher.
"Tom, get a grip." Said Terry.
Grip gotten, I did finally realize how necessary it was to be fully prepared for this type of childbirth.
The baby would sleep in a room, in a crib we prepared – Woops, nope, second cousin many times removed, Jim, prepared the crib. The crib like everything else in my life had instructions that read ‘Some assembly required’. Jim was piped up so high on something that he assembled the crib of a thousand pieces in a little over an hour.
The day came. Off to the hospital we went where many cribbage games were played, much panting, and lots of pain. I wouldn’t have the arrogance to write about what pain a woman goes through; I’ll leave that to those who experience it.
I watched this tiny miracle’s head protrude, then a shoulder, then another, then a torso, then….
"It’s a girl!"
The doctor swept her up to be cleaned. There was a gurgle more than a cry. He then placed Julianne on Terry to nurse immediately. I felt more like a spectator at this point, grateful that I didn’t have to feel the pain of birth but I did pass a bowling ball of sweat, fear, and anxiety.
And then, she came home.
And then, our lives were changed forever....abruptly.
We are the luckiest people alive.