I had been corresponding with my brother’s girlfriend, Helena (not her real name). She had a three-year-old son, Allen (not his real name) and I related to her as a mom, asking advice and such. She and my brother had rented a house in Bakersfield.
One night she was out with some of her friends and they were involved and accused wrongly in a case of “mistaken identity” in a drug bust. She was put in the women’s jail outside Bakersfield, and I wrote to her and she to me, almost daily. She was my encyclopedia for information about having babies and being a mom.
I was becoming uncomfortable in the apartment I was living in. One of my roommates—a male, broke up with his long-time girlfriend and started bringing women home—a different one every night. I did not like the character of these women and talked to him about it, but my fears fell on deaf, horney ears!
I confided to my brother my fears about this roommate and he offered me a place to live with him and Helena and I accepted.
In early May, my brother took a Greyhound bus up to San Jose, where I picked him up. He stayed the night with me. Then the next morning, we went and rented a U-Haul and a car dolly, packed up all of my furniture and belongings, and drove to Bakersfield.
We arrived at his and Helena’s house—I was hurting and exhausted, as was he. We settled in for the night at his place, with my stuff still in the moving van and slept. The next morning we went down and rented a storage unit and moved all of my things, except whatever I needed for staying at my brother’s place and for the baby, into the storage unit.
Helena was thrilled to have me there, but my brother and her put me in the same room as her three year old son. They had one more room, but it had her “barber’s chair” in there—that is how she earned extra money on the side, cutting hair. I was just grateful she and my brother let me stay there, but a bit put out that I was paying them for a room and sharing it!
I established myself with a clinic in Bakersfield (I never saw the same Dr. twice!). Helena decided to take advantage of my staying there and I got the privilege of watching her three-year-old son for free!
So I waited through the weeks in May, getting bigger. Then June came and the baby started to drop. Helena loaned me some videos of childbirth, which really freaked me out! I borrowed books from the local library to help me learn more; I was getting ready!
Before my due date Helena who was going to be my birthing coach and my brother broke up. Now who was I going to ask? She reassured me that even though her and my brother was “Kaput” that she would still be willing to be my birthing.
On one Saturday in the middle of June, it was hotter than Hell in Bakersfield. I had been feeling really sluggish and tired and like a huge tumor had sprung up on my front side! My brother and some of his friends were at the house and they were drinking and hanging out. They joked about my stomach (my brother did!) being a “great place to set their drinks—kind of like a mobile table!” I was laughing at their teasing, and all-of-a sudden, water started running out of me. ”Yikes, I have peed myself,” I thought. I discreetly wiped up the mess, mostly ignored, and went to change my clothing.
I had made friends with the neighbor next door, who had four children of her own. When I told her, she said, “Oh honey, you need to call your hospital—your water has broken and your baby is on its way!”
So she walked me back into my brother’s house and gave him a look, which got the loud music playing, turned down. She told my brother, “Call your sister’s Dr. Is there anyone here sober enough to drive your sister to the hospital where she is registered?” My brother’s friend, Ken (not his real name) stood up and said, “I’ll take her!”
Ken had a very fast, 1968 Ford Mustang. He gently guided me into his car, and my brother piled into the back. He drove very fast down Highway 58, hauling ass to Kern Medical Hospital, where I was registered. It was June 24. It was a false labor—the baby wasn’t ready to make an appearance yet!
The next couple of days were hot, muggy, and very uncomfortable for me! My brother was one of those, who liked to use the air conditioner sparingly!
I spent my days washing all of the clothing in the baby’s layette, buying newborn diapers and getting ready for the baby.
On June 28, my water broke again and this time I knew what was happening. My brother rushed me to the hospital this time, and he alerted Helena and my mother.
I was in labor from 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. At 3:00 a.m., after a lot of pain, a cord wrapped around the baby’s neck, and zero relief, Amanda, my beloved daughter, came screaming into this world. When they lay her on my tummy, we both checked each other out; I was curious about her, and she was curious about me. I fell in instant love with my baby and vowed to take care of her for as long as she would need me.
My life had changed forever—I was a “Mom.”
(Part 1) | Part 2