Sunshine State…..we meet again.

Somehow we ended back in Florida, all four of us.

Did I mention I am pregnant?

Yes, it turns out that during my dancing phase my eating disorder reared it’s ugly head again and I became obsessed with getting into shape. I couldn’t be jiggling around onstage in front of tens of thous….ok tens of people.

I stopped having periods again. I barely ate, this was both because we were flat broke and because of my demons. So somewhere along the way I got pregnant. At least I was married this time, that was my rationale. It was a terrible marriage. It sucked the life out of me in every way possible. Here I was an 18 year old pregnant stripper, I wasn’t a prude. I was up for anything but his addiction to porn was all consuming. I should have equated it to my all encompassing eating disorder.

We were both sick. What sane 29 year old man marries a 17 year old with a newborn that’s not his? So here I am back in Florida, pregnant with a 1 1/2 year old and a jobless husband. I think we stayed with my grandparents for a while, then my mothers. At some point my relationship with Bruce kept deteriorating and he moved back to Virginia without me. Another uneventful birthday passed.

I babysat for money. I started looking into college and trade schools trying to find some direction. I got HUGE. It was the first time I craved food in my life. With Josh I craved ice and the smell of gasoline. With my daughter I craved gallons and gallons of whole milk and the smell of laundry detergent. So I sat around my mother’s house, separated from my husband, going through another pregnancy alone.

I lived in the duplex with my mother, the same one I spent my honeymoon in. My daughter’s arrival was a little more eventful. Because Joshua came so fast, 4 hours from water break to delivery, they told me to be quick about getting to the hospital. So when I felt contractions in the middle of the night, I woke up, showered, gathered my things, gathered Josh and woke my mother.

My brother was there at the time, maybe staying the night, he didn’t live there. We called my grandparents because someone had to watch Josh. My brother drove, my mother in the passenger seat and me and Josh in the back. I was choked up the entire ride, I felt such guilt bringing in another life to share my love with. I can’t explain it, but I felt guilty.

We met my grandparents in the parking lot of a Marshalls on the corner of Military Trail and Okeechobee Rd. in West Palm Beach in the middle if the night. I hugged and kissed them and Josh and carried on to the same hospital, St Mary’s. My brother driving like a mad man. He was more nervous than any of us. When we arrived and checked in, they wheeled me upstairs just like before and the same nurse that I had dealt with 23 months before walked in the room, took one look at me, remembered me and said “ohhh no” and walked back out.

I had to promise her I would not cuss at her this time or pull my IV out. My daughter Laura did not come quickly and you still do not get epidurals on Medicaid. She was born 14 hours later after being induced to move things along, she weighed just shy of 9lbs, split me in half and I required some stitching back together. (I should mention Joshua was tiny, just 6lbs).

We weren’t ever entirely sure she was a girl, every ultrasound I had she was never in the right position to get a definitive answer. So when they said “it’s a girl” it was really something special. She was my second miracle. Born 23 months to the day October 20, 1993. I cried and cried.

I couldn’t wait to introduce her to her big brother.She was named after my grandfather’s mother. A story I remember him telling me was that his mother’s headstone simply said Laura. Something to do with being too poor to afford the rest of her name. I wanted to honor him. He was my rock.

Despite not having my husband there to witness her birth, it was a good day.



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