I will never forget the day when my life was changed forever. I was twenty-two years old and about to give birth to my first child. I was having a girl, who I was going to name Mia Alexandria. Up until this point in my life I was able to go and come as I pleased, but that was about to all change. I knew that having a child would change my life but did not know how much.
It was in December of 1996, and was a cold, dreary winter day. I was in my eighth month of pregnancy and I was crabby about having to lug around extra weight that was in my belly. I awoke early that morning and decided to run some errands. I drove a Jeep Wrangler at that time, a red one with a white hard top that consistently bounced around the road with every bump and crack that you hit. I can still feel the bitter draft that seeped through the cracks as I drove. It was a stick shift, which many of my friends did not know how to operate. Reluctantly, I hopped my pregnant body up into it barely being able to move my limbs from being bundled up in my poufy parka. My friend decided to join me that day to keep me company.
Our first stop was to the unemployment agency. The unemployment agency back then was located in several buildings scattered throughout the state so you just had to find the closest
2 one to you, drive to it, fill out some paperwork, and stand in line to file your claim. Things were not done as they are now with all the fancy computer technology. As we arrived in the parking lot I was feeling a little anxious, not having applied before, and not knowing what I was going to say to the person behind the counter. I had been released from my waitressing job a few weeks before because of my pregnancy, the owner was afraid I might slip and fall while I was working and didn’t want to be responsible or even take that chance. The owner said I could come back after I had the baby but in the meantime I wasn’t able to pay December’s rent nor did I have any food in my apartment. My mom said I could come eat any time I wanted at her house and always sent a care package with me when I left, but still that did not pay the rent. Needless to say I did not have very much money for gas to drive back and forth to her house either and we lived about 15 miles apart. I wasn’t sure if I was going to qualify to receive unemployment but I knew I desperately needed to do something because of the baby I had on the way. When we walked into the building I saw a tremendously long line, a take a number sign, rows and rows of chairs with other fellow unemployed citizens, and quite a few government workers behind the counters. The place was huge. The atmosphere felt stuffy to me and the room was predominantly filled with men that displayed gloomy faces. I took a number and my friend and I took our place in line.
We were standing for about twenty minutes when all of a sudden I felt this rush of wetness between my thighs. I was not sure what had just happened but I thought to myself I could not have just had an accident like a preschooler. As I mentally assessed the situation, the
3 only thing that kept me running from embarrassment was my long parka that came down past a good portion of my back side so you could not see my midsection. My bladder control was not as it was before I was pregnant; however when I realized after a minute or two that maybe the liquid that was uncontrollably releasing from my body was not urine at all, but that my water had broke, which meant I was going into labor. Being twenty-two and it being my first child I think I may have been in shock. Not knowing what else I should do, I decided...