She enters the hospital through a side door like a slave arriving late for work: afraid of what will come. It is 1967 so even though she is in labor, she put on stockings and a nice pair of shoes, dressed, and touched up her hair before arriving. She still holds onto showing people she is the "nice girl," she was raised to be.
They bring her in to Labor and Delivery and keep the door shut. She starts to cry out, in pain, but is immediately scolded. The nurses have made it clear, she has done this to herself, she has no business complaining about it now. Sympathy is reserved for married women. Nice girls who grew up and followed the rules. Not whores.
She was in denial about the pregnancy for a long time. When she finally told her mother, her mother called her a whore, slapped her and told her the family would finance her to go off to the country to have this one. As though she had been caught shop lifting and this was the only time she would be bailed out. Her mother was appalled when she suggested she would stay in school. Big breasted, Carole hid her pregnancy through the spring. She was to give birth in the summer so would not take summer school classes. She had a bohemian friend in Nebraska who would let her stay on the farm for the summer until she gave birth.
Telling her mother fortified her position on the pregnancy. She felt a twinge of ashamed, but she felt more alienated by her family, closer to her baby. As he grew, so did her attachment to him. She knew she would hand him over to a nurse. Knew she could not keep him. But still, she could not help but feel the bond of mother and child. She would turn herself inside out for this child. There is nothing bigger than motherlove.
Practical, she continued to attend college. She knew she would need something to keep her busy when the baby went on to his life. She would need a life to help her forget him. She had no way to support him. Her mother's comments made it abundantly clear, her parents would be of no help.
Now the nurses refused to help her. They would not look her in the eye, and when they did occasionally meet her gaze, it was defiantly, with judgement and disdain in their faces. She labored on silently, painfully. She felt the fire burn through her spine and they told her to push. She pushed the boy out.
They reached out and took him. And even though she knew, knew the look she would get, she asked to hold him.
"He's not your baby, whore. I'll give him to his real parents." The nurse told her scornfully. Then, she gave her a shot. Nancy felt woosie then and became sleepy. A pen in her hand. Papers and the nurse was gone with her boy. And she never even held him. Her sleep was not restful.
From that moment on she regretted it all. She regretted most letting go of him. Regretted going to the hospital. Regretted her ruined stockings and her ruined nights. Regretted her quiet labor.
She fortified herself and went to the hospital to inquire about him. She asked what the adoption agency's name had been and how she might contact them. She had made a mistake, she'd told the hospital and needed to find out what she had to do to rectify the situation. The hospital tried to refuse her, tried to send her away a slave-whore. But she was inside out and without rest and no longer cared what destruction society had in store for her. Her soul was already destroyed with longing and need. She didn't care what the adoptive parents could do for him, he needed to be with her. Every part of her body told her that.
She stood at the desk, breasts leaking, and told them she would soak the desk while she waited, but she would get the information she came for.
Next, she went to the agency. But here there was no amount of pleading that would achieve results. She begged, argued, cajoled, and got no where. The records were sealed, there was nothing she could do. She became hysterical and police were called to remove her. She contacted her senator, her state senator, her congressman, her state congressman. None would speak to her. She was ragged and desperate.
Each night she would start to fall asleep only to jerk away in the in-between space of waking and sleeping where she was about to sign the papers. NOOOO!!!! She would scream. Then she'd search for him.
She was convinced she'd know his face. Nature had not created this bond that it should simply vanish. She would find him. She would know him.