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Claywoman

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Memories of Childbirth…or How My Hair Started to Gray…      Download this Full Story
By Claywoman
Friday, January 18, 2002



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Tonight I found myself looking back over my life. When you are my age, it really takes most of the evening, wondering where time went. Yesterday I was singing in coffeehouses and a young swinging single. Today I am a college Senior working toward a Master's in History. If you are following this it may seem to be only a few years but remember, I did not start college until I was forty something. The tone of my mood was the realization my son, my sweet bundle of joy turned thirty-three in September. Not only that but his first-born child is coming close to his eleventh birthday. I mused about when I found out I was pregnant and the terror that involved.

My husband Dum-Dum (my pet name for what's-his-name) and I found ourselves pregnant after only three months of marriage. I always wanted children; I wanted a large family with at least four children. Dum-Dum on the other hand, wanted two children. We came to a compromise and had three children. Let me make sure…we had our first…our last…and our oh-oh…yeah we compromised. I remember walking into my doctor's office when I suspected something amiss and he confirmed my suspicions. If you can picture this scenario, I am wearing a gown that covers absolutely nothing, my feet in stirrups and the doctor who pulled my tonsils telling me he remembered when he helped pull my first tooth. He is doing things to me I would not do to an animal and he is talking about the number of stitches I had in my childhood!

When I finally got dressed, he confirmed I was pregnant and how happy he was to deliver the child of one of his early patients. My face was purple and I wished an abyss would open and swallow me. He told me I had nothing to worry about but he wanted to check something in another month. Any woman can and will tell you, that statement gives nightmares, for thirty-five days I lived in agony wondering if something was amiss. Finally the day of my next appointment came around, by this time I was having trouble buttoning my jeans and seeing my feet. I knew he was going to yell at me for gaining weight and I almost dreaded the appointment.

When I met with him in the same room with the same stirrups and the same gown, he did not talk about my childhood. Instead, he kept measuring my stomach and other parts of my anatomy I will leave to your imagination. He kept whispering to his nurse and she wrote his instructions down then hurried out of the room. Soon she returned with some sort of gadget and placed this cold, instrument on my stomach. I just felt my baby move trying to scurry away from that thing so fresh out of the freezer, if I could have, I would have scurried away from it also.

After what seems like an hour, he put the drape down over my body and stood up, took my hand. With a look of consternation on his face looked my straight in my soon to be fainting eyes and said,

"You are carrying twins."

I looked at this man and started laughing, tears ran down my face, he always kidded me about someday having twins and I knew he was covering something horrible and telling me something to ease my pain. When I stopped laughing, I asked him to repeat what he said and then tell me the truth.

"Jacquie, you are carrying twins."

I slumped forward and he caught me, I did not exactly faint but I knew I could not walk either. His nurse brought me a glass of orange juice and told me I was not his first case of twins, nor would I be the last. I decided not to tell Dum-Dum right away since he was not too fond of having a baby and twins might cause a heart attack. We were planning an evening out, dinner and a game or two of pool. I thought I would tell him then.

We went to our favorite restaurant, The Silver Spoon, a small, home-style café where the menu was a blackboard on the wall and each night the entrée was different. We chose the baked potato feast night. It consisted of a baked potato the size of a meat platter, and twenty-nine goodies to put on said potato, everything from home-churned butter to grated zucchini. The meal also included home-baked bread that melted in your mouth, a tureen of clam chowder made with freshly caught clams, and enough coffee for the average logging camp. All this served at tables you shared with strangers who by the end of the evening were no longer strangers. After dinner, we went next door to the beer joint run by the same people and played pool.

Now Dum-Dum bought me my own pool cue, it had an inlaid ivory handle and the balance was superb. I loved that cue and polished it often to keep the wood moist so it would not warp. At usual, Dum-Dum was beating the pants off me with his bank shots. Being pregnant, I had a hard time leaning over the pool table let alone shooting. Stomachs get in the way of a smooth shot. He had beaten me three out of four games and was on the winning shot in our fifth game, when he asked me what the doctor said. I got this evil gleam in my eyes and told him,

"The doctor told me its twins."

Unfortunately, I told him just as he was shooting and for some strange reason the cue ball went sailing off the table, past the logger sitting on the stool pinching the waitresses tush, and hit the plate glass window. Fortunately, no damage done except to the logger, who reared back when he saw a cue ball sail past his nose. As he jumped, his head hit the wall then snapped forward and his forehead struck his pitcher of beer, spilling it all over the waitress he was pinching. He got up and walked towards us, meanwhile Dum-Dum looked at me and asked me not to kid him.

"I'm not kidding…"

The logger walked up to my husband and handed him the cue ball, Dum-Dum took it and told him the news. The logger got this look on his face, slapped Dum-Dum on the back and bought another pitcher of beer and an iced tea for me.

To be continued….

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Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 6/29/2002
well done, claywoman!! i love your tales!! i especially love the fact that you are native american; I have ALWAYS admired the native american people; what a shame how we white man treated you and your ancestors just because of what and who you are. i love the american indian way of life; kind of wish I had some in me...:(
Reviewed by Poop Monkey 5/30/2002
I love these stories! I'm having flashbacks to WBM.
Reviewed by Kone Simons 2/24/2002
I think I know you! WBM castaway...I remember we came from the same area...I lived in Polson for several years. Love this story.


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