BABY GIRL

I was young. We got married. And when I had my first child, we woke up, I woke up one Saturday morning, I was sick. I said, “What’s wrong with me?” I said, “I never been sick in my life.” I said, “What’s wrong with me?” 

So he knew I was sick. And a guy, his brother’s friend, told him, he said, “Oh, there’s a doctor” – it was a Saturday – “There’s a doctor that’s open on Saturday, take her there.” 

The doctor took me there – I mean my husband took me there. I’m throwing up all in the street, going to the doctor. I was embarrassed, and he said to me, he held my hair, “Listen, don’t be embarrassed. Just throw up. If you got to throw up, just go inside and throw up.” And that’s what I did. 

I got to the doctor. The doctor said, “OK Mr. P., I got good news for you.” 

He said, “Good news?! My wife is sick, what kind of good news you got for me?” You know, like that.

He said, “You’re going to be a father.” 

He said, “A FATHER?!”

He was shocked too.

The doctor said to him, “Make sure” – that was on a Saturday – “Make sure you take her to the hospital, the prenatal clinic, because if you don’t take her there, she’s going to lose the baby.” 

I was threatening a miscarriage, and he took me there. And I went to the prenatal and wherever, every day. But my stomach never got big or nothing. I didn’t even feel like I wanted to eat a lot of food or nothing. The only thing I ate when I was pregnant with that child was peaches, the whole time I was pregnant.

Then one morning I woke up. I was feeling bad. He was getting ready for work, so he took me to the hospital. And they put me in the bed and said, “Oh, she’s not ready to deliver yet,” to my husband. “Go on to work.” 

That was seven months, but I was early. My baby was born at seven months. I was seven months pregnant. She was born in October. She was going to be born in December, but I didn’t make it to December. 

So they told him to go on to work, and he goes to work. And then later on, his baby came, and they said, “Oh, where your husband?”

I said, “Y’all told him to go to work!”

And so anyway, I had the baby and he wasn’t there. 

It was a girl. They said, “Ms. P you have to give me a name to take the baby to go downtown or whatever.”

I said, “I ain’t got no baby name.”

They said, “You didn’t think about a baby name?”

I said, “No.”

So my mother had came into the hospital. She said, “You don’t have a name for the baby?”

I said, “No.” I said, “But they want me to name them so they can send a paper. Otherwise my husband has to go downtown and give the name.”

She said, “No, he ain’t going downtown, no way, to give no name.” She said, “I got a name for the baby.”

I said, “What’s the name, Mama?”

She said, “Susan Jeanette.”

I said, “You want to name the baby that?”

She said, “Yeah, Susan Jeanette.” My mother’s name was Susan. She wanted that baby to be named after her, because that wasn’t her first grandchild, because my brothers had kids, but my mother was so happy about a girl. She just wanted to name that baby because she only had one girl: me. She had four boys and one girl: me. And she named her.

I said, “OK, go ahead.” So I gave her the name and that’s it. That’s the story. 

The baby stayed in the hospital for a week, because she was premature. She was only four or five ounces, And I didn’t have no pain when she came out. I didn’t have no pain. She just came right on out. 

And the nurse said, “Why didn’t you name your baby Diane?” During that time there was hurricane Diane. 

I said, “Diane?”

She said, “Everybody named the baby in here Diane.” 

I said, “That’s their business. I don’t want to name my baby after no hurricane.” 

I still remember those days. 

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