Chapter 13: And So What
Getting inside to our room, it was obvious why that shelter was such a big deal and why it was such an extensive process to get in. Just the walk alone to our room and the various facilities for use that we passed along the way made it obvious. That was definitely not your typical shelter, the fact that it had three floors was very telling. The first floor consisted of a full size laundry room, no different than your usual neighborhood laundromat. The staff’s office area, a gymnasium and a huge community lobby where we had mandatory community meetings twice a week.
The second and third floor was where the designated housing units were located. I say housing units because these “rooms” were like actual little apartments. When you entered, you stood in what would be your kitchen. The kitchen had a full size refrigerator, a counter top like electric stove, kitchen sink and every item you would need to prepare a meal and eat it. To your left was two doors, the first door you came across was the bathroom, equipped with toilet, sink and bathtub/shower. The second door next to it was a bedroom with a full size bed and the bedding needed to to fix the bed sat on top of it , a Chester dresser and a closet. In the area where the kitchen was, adjacent was like a little dining and living area. It had a sofa, television with basic cable and a dining table with chairs. Last, on the right wall was another bedroom with a bunk bed set and a twin bed with bedding on top of it and a couple Chester dressers. Let’s not even speak about the scenery right outside our living room window. I am floored, but it’s nothing like having your own and at least the children would have been more comfortable there for the time being.
I think we were there maybe a month, month and a half before I had received my income taxes. Now Darnell came up with a million things we should do with the money, but none of his ideas included leaving the shelter. Personally, I was getting more pregnant by the day and I really didn’t want my baby born in a shelter. So I took some of the funds I had, alongside what the shelter contributed to our move, found a nice 3 bedroom house, I paid first, second and the deposit all in one go. I spent some of the money on baby items and took the kiddos on a long overdue trip to Chuck E Cheese. Of course Darnell is not excited about what I did, but who cares, it was my money, I worked for it and so what. I mean hell, for a motherfucker that wasn’t working and didn’t even bother to lift a damn finger to attempt to look for work, did not contribute shit, your suggestions doesn’t really matter, now does it? I think we were in the shelter for another week before we were all moved out and settled into the new house.
The house wasn’t on the best side of town, but it was ours. There was a basement that was only good for doing laundry, on the first floor when you walked through the front door, you veered left and was in the living room, next to it was the dining room, a bedroom off to the right, walk through the dining room and there was a kitchen, a bathroom and the back door that lead to the driveway on the side of the house. The second floor, going back to the front entrance, as you came through the front door, you would head up a flight of steps and it consisted of two additional bedrooms and a big bathroom at the end of a small hallway.
Things were alright for a good while. Darnell found work that was about thirty minutes away, it was a temp to perm position, he was making really good money and I had hoped it would work out for him. The only downside was I had to drop him off and pick him up five days a week. I also took the last few bucks I had from taxes and bought him work clothes and steel toe boots that were required for the position. Meanwhile, I started having complications with the pregnancy from out of nowhere, so I couldn’t work at the time.
The pregnancy got so bad that I would pass out anywhere and wherever. Once while at the grocery store, Darnell had caught me just in time and literally had to drag me to the car and go finish the shopping by himself. Doctors said my Iron was low, we tried Iron pills but they were not working, so I had to go to the local hospital every Tuesday for Iron Infusions. That went on for about four months. Towards the end of the pregnancy I had to sleep sitting up, my edema was so bad, I was literally drowning in my sleep. My blood count was always dangerously low, so doctors were concerned with regular labs because for whatever reason my blood count would not regenerate. I had gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclamptic. I mean any and every thing that could go wrong with that pregnancy, went wrong. Finally at the end of it all, my doctors told us that it may come down to us having to choose between me and the baby because they doubted we both would make it. Then ended it by saying, “We’re also ordering blood on standby just in case there is a need for a transfusion.” they apologized and left the room.
While all this was going on Darnell had again, for the umpteenth time, lost another job and it took quite some time before he would even bother to look for more work. In between time, I had to ride around the area applying for different programs until I had the baby and was able to work again. The welfare office in the community was paying expectant mothers for taking a customer service skills course, which I did. Not only did I get paid, but I also got a certificate out of the deal that is very handy even today.
Even though Darnell was there with us, we were not together. The kids had the upstairs bedrooms, I slept in the bedroom on the first floor and Darnell had a little pallet and television in the living room. Now to you, there was probably nothing wrong with that arrangement considering everything that man put me through. It worked as a way for me to see what he was going to do in the new situation. I wanted to see if he was going to prove he was ready for a family, but he was doing a horrible job of it. Of course, that didn’t stop him from bugging the shit out of me, for me to “let him in″ but I wasn’t having it at all.
I’m due any day now and I’m terrified. Everything that I had been discussing with my doctors was finally becoming real to me. Not that I didn’t take them seriously before, but being so close to giving birth and realizing I could possibly die in the process was starting to set in. I had exceeded my due date and was given a date to come in and be induced. We get to the hospital and the room is already set up for delivery. They even had the bags of blood on standby as they said they would. The nurse gave me a gown, escorted me to the bathroom, told me to take everything off and to put the gown on. I did as she said, came out the bathroom, sat my clothes with my other belongings that I brought and just stood by the bed. I’m so scared right now, I just want to run out of the hospital and towards the hills. What if this is the last place I see? What if I lose my baby today? What if my children lose their mother today?
My vibe must’ve been spreading because Darnell looked just as lost in that moment as I did. As if on cue, a nurse walked in, she started to rub my back and told me everything was going to be just fine, but I had a hard time believing that. So with that,I pulled my grown woman panties, climbed on the bed, allowed her to do my vaginal exam and that’s when she placed the suppository in my canal to start the induction process. It took a couple of hours, but eventually I started contracting and that’s when games began.