On the eve of my birthday, I want to give thanks to my mother for everything she sacrificed for my safe passage. Here’s a little backstory from my upcoming book, “Scraps-A Recollection.”
Seven months pregnant, she woke up to a puddle of blood soaked into the mattress. The late morning light filtered into the bedroom just enough for her to see that something was wrong. Her nightgown and sheets were wet with sweat and what looked like her period, though she knew it couldn’t be. She tried to wake up through the panic, yelled “Help!” but my father wasn’t home. She hoped he’d just taken the dogs out and he’d be right back, sobbing as she stuffed wads of tissue to stop the blood, and crawled to the phone. “You and the baby might not make it,” the doctor warned her. They discovered the bleeding was caused by a dislodged placenta.“You have Placenta Previa,” the doctor said. “You’re on round-the-clock bed rest if you want to carry this child full term.” “As long as I’m able to sing two sets on Saturday night,” my mother pleaded. The doctor glared at her in disbelief. “Are you telling me you’re willing to risk everything to perform at a nightclub?” She’d been so relaxed only weeks before. She had her gigs. She had her husband. She had hope. They’d just settled their thrift store decor into their first house, surrounded by citrus groves and a yard perfectly-sized for two Great Danes and a baby on the way. Now all she could do was was pray for a healthy baby and the rebirth of her career. She crawled around the house on all fours with the dogs and counted the days until her C-section. A double chili cheeseburger from the original Tommy’s was her last supper before the surgery. When she woke up the next day, the nurse whispered, “She’s beautiful. 8 pounds and 7 ounces.” “Huh?” she asked, groggy and disoriented. She felt a sharp twinge from the seven-inch scar stitched from her pubic bone to her belly button. She’d made the sacrifice and there was no taking it back. She was a mother, and her life would never be the same.