Sometime in October, 1969, I thought I’d developed a nagging stomach virus. For several days, I’d been nauseous throughout my days at work and into the evening. I never vomited, but just felt sick all the time. And boy, was I tired! I craved naps and usually took one as soon as I got home. After about a week of this, I made an appointment with my doctor.
Dr. Bruce Julien had been my gynecologist for about a year. His offices were on Miami Beach, which made him easily accessible from my job at Jordan Marsh, which was then located across the street from Trinity Cathedral – just a quick drive across Biscayne Bay. Before examining me, he asked me a bunch of questions about my symptoms, then looked at me and said, “Could you be pregnant?”
I was stunned by the question, so stumbled for a bit before saying, “Well, yes, I suppose I could be. But I don’t think I am.” Your dad and I had been married for eight months by now, and I really wanted to get pregnant. My disappointment each month when my period started was immense. And, I had just had a period – although, as I told Dr. Julien, it was much shorter than usual. At this point, he directed me to get undressed, cover myself with a sheet, and he’d be right back. I did as I was told, and he soon returned with his nurse. As he examined me, poking and prodding, all I could think of was how embarrassing it is to be a woman. Within a few minutes, he looked up over my knees (vaginal exams put women in an awkward position), and said, “You are.” “I’m what?” I asked. “Pregnant,” he replied. “About eight weeks. Baby will be here sometime in late May.”
(Son, I know that if you were here, you’d be saying, “Oh, mom, I don’t need to hear all of this crap about periods and vaginas and stuff. Chill.” But it’s part of your story. Our story. And I’m telling it because I want you and the world to know how wanted you always were. Right from the start.)
After I got dressed, Dr. Julien gave me a due date – May 22, 1970 – a prescription for prenatal vitamins, and told me he’d see me in a month. Still unbelieving, I floated out to our ’69 VW, imagining how I’d tell your dad the exciting news, and how happy he’d be. I was ecstatic.
I quickly came down to earth as I encountered Miami’s rush hour traffic. I was suddenly paranoid and extremely protective of the miniscule life I carried inside me. Cars were following too closely and going too fast! I was terrified someone would crash into me or cause me to go over the side of the bridge. I was white-knuckling the steering wheel all the way home, imagining all kinds of things that could happen to cause harm to you, my baby.
I finally arrived at our apartment, and hurried inside. Your dad had to work that night, and I had to wake him up, fix dinner, and then see him off to his work. But first…
I hurried up the stairs, into our apartment, and sat on the side of the bed. “Eddie,” I said, “it’s time to wake up for work.” He groaned and rolled over to look at me. “Did you see the doctor today?” “Yes,” I said. “What did he say?”
“We’re going to have a baby!”