Spending these few days with Anna Roan, and Julia Anne have brought back some early memories of when Julia was first pregnant with Jennifer, our oldest. We were in Hawaii, and things had finally gotten better in our marriage. We were both making a life for ourselves. Most of our friends were in the military, in my squadron. We were all about the same age, with the same goals and ambitions. It was only natural that we began to hang out together as couples. There were cookouts and beach time on the weekends. The guys played golf, while the women went shopping. Soon it seemed that something was in the water and all the women started getting pregnant.
Well a couple of our friends had gone in with us to buy a sailboat. It was a 21’ clipper. It was really pretty, very sleek lines and it was a very good boat. The only problem was that we had it moored in Pearl Harbor at the navy marina. In order to get it out into the open ocean it took over an hour just to get out of the harbor. That was if there were no naval vessels entering. So we spent a lot of time just sailing around the harbor. That was very fun, and we enjoyed sailing. The only problem was we didn’t have any rest room facilities. That really didn’t matter to the guys, but the women were not very happy if we were out over an hour. We solved that with a bucket. It was very primitive but effective. The person who had to use the facilities would go below with the bucket. Do the deed, and then bring the bucket up. We would dump the bucket out, and then hold it alongside the boat to wash it out. Inevitably, someone would drop the bucket, then we would have to try and retrieve it. Retrieving a bucket in a sailboat is not as easy as it is in a powerboat. We had to come about, using all of our sailing skills to recover the bucket. As you can imagine this whole “bucket thing” didn’t really go over very well with our wives. So it wasn’t long before we had a brand news “chemical toilet” installed in the sailboat. I guess we had owned the sailboat about a year when Julia got pregnant. After she was pregnant, my sailing career ended. I think she went out twice, got sick twice, and that was the end of that. I think I went out with the guys a couple of times, but for all practical purposes we were through sailing. Looking back on the sailing I can truthfully say this. The happiest two days of my sailing career was the day we bought the boat, and the day we sold the boat.
Julia’s pregnancy wasn’t a surprise. It seemed the thing to do in our time of life. I was 26, Julia was 24, and all our friends were either having a baby, or thinking of having a baby. I had no idea what it would mean to be a father. I was just as clueless about fatherhood and being a parent as I had been about marriage. Why is it the most important things we do in life, we have no training for. The only training I had at being a father was modeling after my Dad. Julia’s training as a Mom was the same. Since her family and my family were vastly different, you can imagine the results in the years to come. Well, right now we were clueless, just enjoying life, and thinking how much a child would add meaning and love to it. So we decided to try to get pregnant. We figured it would take months, maybe longer. Some of our friends had taken almost a year to get pregnant. Well, Julia was very fertile. She got pregnant immediately. I remember the night we first realized that she was pregnant. Remember, there were no home self test available back then. We had gone out to our favorite Mexican Restaurant, Mamma’s Mexican Kitchen. It was delicious as usual, but before we got home, Julia had thrown up. It was the first of a couple of months of morning sickness. We were excited, clueless, but excited non the less. I was busy, trying to get enough flying hours to check out as an Aircraft Commander. However we still found time to shop, paint and get the nursery ready. By this time we were living on base, and we were excited to begin to get the house ready for a baby.
Julia was on the cutting edge even back then, and she had me enrolled in Le Maze classes. I was going to be her “labor coach”. That meant I would be in the delivery room, and present for the birth. That took some getting used to for me. At that time, all the men I knew had been in the waiting room, not the delivery room. But I went to the classes, and we were a team. I have to admit that the birth of my daughters was something I am so glad I was able to witness. If Julia hadn’t pushed me, I would have missed this great privilege.