Trigger Warning * Violence * Language
Labor with our third child was long and hard, just like my pregnancy. Nate was a dream, walking me through the halls, always by my side, rubbing my back. It was as if he wanted to make up for missing Brian’s birth, and it was definitely not as if we had been fighting for the whole pregnancy. It was hard to believe we had just screamed hatred for each other.
This was the Nate I had loved before. This was the man I had hope for.
As soon as the doctor announced I had given birth to a daughter, I fell back on the bed and watched Nate in action. The doctor handed our baby over to him because I was only half-conscious, and as I looked at the two of them, I caught a glimpse of the other Nate, the one that was kind and loving and didn’t hurt me. I wanted to remember that moment forever.
Our happy day was interrupted later when, after waiting hours for the nurses to bring our baby girl back to us, a doctor came in and announced she had stopped breathing. Nate squeezed my hand as we waited for the doctor to go on. The pause, the silence, was deafening. I didn’t miscarry her, but I lost her anyway.
“But she’s ok now. I had to sit beside her and nudge her every time she stopped.”
What the hell? Way to be dramatic, I thought, every ounce of me wanting to scream at the doctor. But he said I could go to her instead of bringing her to the room, so I shut my mouth and hauled myself down the halls I had paced the night before to be there for my sweet girl.
My heart broke as soon as I saw her. That tiny little baby had an IV in her hand and beeping machines all around her, but she looked so fierce as she shook her fists and cried out to the world. I needed her more right then than I realized. She was a new symbol of strength to me. She came to be when she shouldn’t have, persevered through a tough pregnancy, and here she was, still fighting, railing against the world. If she could be a fighter, so could I.
She was fine after that, my little Stacey, and we took her home on time. Life was simply bliss at first. I almost believed she had indeed fixed everything, but it wasn’t long before things got ugly again.
When friends or family came around, we were the picture-perfect family. Nate put on a show that he was a doting father and caring husband, but behind closed doors, he was mean again, distant. He began picking on Scott, calling him a wimp any time Scott chose to read rather than play football. And something inside of me, an alarm, went off, worried about our daughter when she got older.
I was just scared. It was time to begin working again on my plan to return to Florida. Without Nate.
With my neighbor’s help, I got a job waiting tables. I planned to sneak money, hide it, and just be gone one day. He’d be able to figure out where I went – back to our house – but I hoped he’d just get the point.
I also set up another appointment to get my tubes tied. It was supposed to have been done while I was still in the hospital after Stacey was born, but because of her breathing issues, my doctor refused to do it, as if I might need them intact if I needed to replace my child. I wanted it done. Despite not wanting to have sex with Nate, he still came to me when he wanted it, and I was too afraid to tell him no. It was easier to just let it happen and be over with. I was terrified of getting pregnant again. The procedure needed to be done, and it needed to be done before I found myself stuck even more.
When notice came that we lost our house because the taxes weren’t paid on time, I didn’t give up. But shortly after that news, I had to quit my job because the hours didn’t suit Nate. Not only did having to keep the kids while I worked prevent him from doing what he wanted at night, but he also thought he’d have to run soon. The cops were sniffing around, he said.
Whatever Nate wanted, Nate got.
About Angela Giles Klocke – I’m a Colorado-based speaker, writer, advocate, and princess! I am also a survivor of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and more. I would love to speak to your group, school, or organization. Catch my TEDx Colorado Springs Talk on abuse, violence, and talking about uncomfortable topics, coming soon. Contact me!