Ok now I’ve missed my 1st period. I didn’t think too much of it until i missed my next one. Well i was convinced that I’m not pregnant as i didn’t have sex… I always read Dolly Magazines as a young teenager, in my era our mothers didn’t talk to you about sex, periods or anything of that nature it was hush hush. Most of it you learnt in the school grounds talking with friends. Well Dolly mentioned in one of their issues that sometimes FIT girls/women might not have regular periods but may experience spotting. OK so I thought that was me. Another month went buy and still no period. Now I’m getting scared. I haven’t told anyone and I’m still training a lot. So now i think if i train harder I will fall and miscarry. Well another month went past and still no period. Now you’re thinking I must of had morning sickness. Well yes I did. Our toilet, shower and bath were all in the one room so i used to lock the door, turn on the shower and vomit in the toilet. Sometimes i would just vomit having a shower. Mum was a nurse and dad left for work early so 9 times out of 10 we were home alone to get ourselves to work and school. The worst thing i remember about being morning sick was I had to catch a bus and train to work every day. The bus was fine. Back in the late 70’s our trains were still the old red cattle trains i called them, the ones with the doors you had to open from the outside, the seats were bench seats, hard red/brown leather with everyone sitting knee to knee. I would get sick every train ride. I prayed so hard and so many times that I would not vomit on anyone. I never did. I would find a cabin that i could sit near a window for fresh air as this would help. The windows if they worked used to be wooden shutters that slide up and down. For those of you that remember them the carriages used to rock side to side as they rolled over the train tracks. So this motion used to make it worse. I travelled from Oxley to Brisbane Central. This took aprox. 45min or longer in those days as Electric Trains didn’t exist yet. When I got off at Central station i would bee hive to the corner Newsagents next to the Post Office and buy a Health Bar and this would settle my tummy. I can still smell that shop and hear the paper boys on every corner selling the latest addition of the Telegraph.
I would attend work without saying a word. I remember running to the toilets there to be sick as well, wondering when this is all going to stop. I used to fall asleep at my desk in my lunch hour as i couldn’t help but be so tied all the time. I used to say that i was tied from training so much. Well no one questioned me. OK so now my tummy is slightly showing. It was to my advantage that the Terry Toweling Track Suites were in fashion. The tops usually had elastic in the bottom and sat down over your thighs. You could even buy dressy ones to wear to work. YUK, the fashion in the late 70’s early 80’s were shocking, but to my favour. I wore jeans right to the end of my pregnancy, so they weren’t done up all the way but who would know, all my other pants and skirts had elastic waists. Maternity clothes were rare and obvious and disgustingly ugly I WAS NOT WEARING THEM. I just continued life completely ignoring my situation. I carried Natasha mostly through winter so was easy to hide. I was 3-4 months pregnant when i won the Queensland Championships. It was from then until August 1980 I found it the most difficult. I used to wear a half cut off leotard with a baggy shirt over the top to training. I guess I looked like a frumpy teenager going through a body change. Training was hard. My centre of gravity had changed, it was harder to spin and I was scared to jump. I had to work hard to rotate 203 times in the air and land on one foot. My bladder was being challenged as i was getting further into my pregnancy. I would we my pants all the time. I resorted to wearing pads as this would absorb any little accidents i would have when I was spinning but mainly when i was doing my jumps. When i landed i would wet every time. I even had a change of underwear to help go on as normal. No one ever said anything, I just continued like everyone else. The toilets used to be a hang out for us girls as we had a change room we used to talk to each other or we could talk to kids through the glass louvers connected to the swimming pool. So frequent visits were normal. In fact we used to hide from our coach in there to have a break from him ha ha.
I used to follow my mum’s health encyclopaedia so I knew where i was at with my pregnancy. The day i felt the flutters for the 1st time I will never forget. This made it all real. The book said that this was normal as i had no idea what was happening. I did look into an abortion but i had no way of getting to Sydney, paying for it and getting home. Besides it was easier to ignore it and hope it would go away. How immature was I? OK so i thought if i was to have this baby then i would adopt it out. How i made such an important decision ONLY GOD KNOWS. Mum and Dad still had no idea as through my whole pregnancy I would lay on my tummy. We had a big ‘Ol comfy lounge with cushions I could separate, put my tummy in there and rest. I thought pregnant people can’t lay on their tummy so mum wouldn’t ask questions. That’s exactly what happened. Well times ticking it’s August 1980 & I’ve got the Australian Rollerskating Championships to compete in. I usually had my costumes custom made but for the Queensland’s my dressmaker made comments about my body shape so I wasn’t going there. I settled for a second hand costume which i never had before from one of the larger girls that always had beautiful costumes. In those days our skirts on our leotard were not short but hung from your waist down over your bum (lucky me). I went on to win that year. I didn’t skate my best but still managed to pull it off. At the end of September I read that i was close to the end. I just had an innate feeling. A couple of months earlier my coach said to mum that he thought i might be pregnant, so she makes and appointment with Dr. McCarthy to have a virginity test. He asked me if i was a virgin, I said yes, he gave me a sex talk and the visit was over. PHEWWW. How lucky was i again. But NOW IT’S TIME to say something to Mum. I don’t remember her response only that she made an appointment for me to see Dr. Loth. We did. He palpated me, asked me questions and proceeded to tell mum that i was pregnant. She then asked how far did he think i was? His response was over 8 months. I can still see mums mouth wide open and the look of shock. I kept saying I can’t be, I can’t be i didn’t have sex. I explained to Dr. Loth what happened and he explained how it did unfortunately did happen. I told him then and there that I wanted to adopt this baby. Mum still motionless and in shock, not to mention that a couple of months earlier Dr. McCarthy told mum that i was still a virgin. Mum is standing in shock that her only daughter is pregnant, due in less than 4 weeks but also wants to give up her baby for adoption. What are we going to do. Mum said to me that she would race out and buy a cote etc whatever we needed. I said no, that i wanted to adopt the baby out. I can’t even remember the drive home. Mum did ask me who the father was, I just said you don’t know him and she still doesn’t.
Mum told dad later on and she told me that he was devastated and disappointed. Both that i was pregnant and that i wanted to adopt. That was to be the only Dr’s apt. I had in the whole 9 months. Imagine doing that today, no scans, no pokes, no prods, no student Dr’s having a look either. Looking back its a bloody miracle really. Well one morning I woke up and i knew it was time. I knew i was in Labour (the book told me so). I went into mums’ room and said i think it’s time. She just looked at me and said it’s only been 2 weeks do you think maybe it’s a false alarm. She rushed me into the car anyway. On our way to the Royal Brisbane Hospital which was on the other side of town for us my waters broke. What the hell was that all about? I started to cry and was in so much pain. Mum assured me it was OK i was so upset about doing this in the car how would we clean it up. Mum told me it was totally natural because i was with her i knew not to panic. Having her there was a huge comfort. When we arrived at the hospitals front door mum was yelling i was in labour and my waters had broke. I was rushed into a wheelchair and i could hear the nurse saying boy she must be premmy as she is so tiny. Little did she know. I was put into a birthing room and my legs were tied into stirrups. Wonderful invention – NOT. Man that was the worst experience, imagine having your legs spread up in the air for hours. They started to shake from the stress of everything and i couldn’t stop them. Thank god they don’t do that now. The Dr’s and nurses all knew ahead of time that this was a baby to be adopted. I was treated with Royalty really. To this day i appreciate that they put me into my own private room in the private ward to help me make my decisions. I was given an epidural to numb me from my waist down. I also had gas. I was so stoned and numb the birth wasn’t painful at all. Even when the Dr. Stitched me up he was impressed that i had no tearing and he only had to do a figure 8 stitch. So i was up walking around quite quickly.
After she was born all i remember was wanting them to slap her bum and to hear her cry from her first breath, just like in the movies. That is exacty what happened. I remember smiling to myself knowing that she was healthy and going to be alright. I remember feeling totally exhausted. They took my little 6 pound baby and put her in a humidicrib as they thought she was premmy. There was no patient history for them when i came in so not sure on timings.
Back in those days i could only see her but not touch her while she was in the humidicrib. Mum could only look through the glass window like the dads used to do. The next 7 days in hospital were the longest in my whole life. As i wasn’t breast feeding i had to try and dry up my milk naturally. To stop my milk coming in i had to have my breast bound with bandages. There were no drugs to take just a lot of those brown stretchy bandages wrapped around my breast so tight i could hardly breath. We would have to change them regularly because i would leak milk on them and they needed to be washed. They called this binding. I was bound for at least 1 month or 2. Yes I had to walk around and sleep with these bloody bandages on. Imagine having that. Well i did. I know it was for the best. It was.
After a day or 2 from giving birth i was asked to name my baby and I was told there was no guarantee the adopted parents would keep that name. After much thought and looking in magazines I found the name Sheree. My baby looked so pretty and petite; she looked like Sheree to me.
When I was little mum bought me a blue bird necklace, bracelet and ring. I thought i was a princess with my special jewellery and i wanted Sheree to have the same. So I asked mum to buy her a bluebird bracelet with her name engraved on it. We prayed that she would be given it by her adopted parents. Natasha still has it to this very day. I still have my Bluebird ring. I bought Ayrlie a Bluebird ring when she was little as well to carry on tradition for me.
As i was in a private ward we asked that all phone calls be barred to my room as no one was to know that I was there. Not even family members. I heard a rumour years later that some Skating mums did phone around to hospitals to find out if i had had a baby. To this very day NOBODY has said anything to me. 10 years later Mrs Ferris once asked if i had had a baby and I told her NO that must have been a rumour, she was the only one. Its day 7 and the nurse comes into my room to tell me that it’s time to go home and if i still wanted to go ahead with the adoption. I said yes. Then she asks me if i want to hold my baby as she is out of the humidicrib. Of course i wanted to hold her. Man that walk to the baby ward took hours. I was so nervous, I had never held a baby before, I didn’t want to drop her. I didn’t know what to do. I was just mesmerized by her beauty and her size. I ran my finger over her forehead and over her little cheeks. She opened her little eyes and i could see they were dark blue – Thanks god she has blue eyes (Just like me). I put my pinky finger into her tiny hands and looked at her beautiful little fingers and hands. I then took off her booties and checked out her toes. She is just so small. I can’t believe she was in my tummy. I remember the tears rolling down my face as i looked up at my Mother watching me from the other side of the glass. Both of us hurting but had a respect for each other buy not saying a word. I kissed her and then the nurse told me that time was up and it was time to go. I handed her back to the nurse sobbing, saying my goodbyes i was escorted out and back to my room. I can’t even remember the trip home.
On my return to home skating friends were told that i had gone to a health camp for a couple fo weeks. My mum did tell my coach the truth so he could help me with my journey back into competition. Mum took my brother, foster sister and myself to the coast for a holiday to the beach for which i will always remember and appreciate as we didn’t have a lot of money back then even though I used to consider us the rich Inala Family. Which we were. What I remember most is the binding but when i was on the beach i was allowed to be free but come to the hotel the bandages were back on.
I had a 6 week cooling off period. That meant that i could change my mind to keep baby Sheree during next 6 weeks. I would receive a phone call at home to tell them on my decision. That day the phone rang i just sat on mum’s bed and i didn’t answer the phone. All i could think of was giving this baby to a couple and taking her off of them. How could i do that. It wasn’t until i met Sandra and she showed me photos of Sheree in a Foster home. What the Hell. They didn’t tell me she would be in a foster home. To this very day i wonder if i knew that, would i have changed my mind. I feel liked i was tricked in a way.
Well now i have to return to work and get on with life. In my lunch breaks i would walk around Brisbane City looking into peoples prams wondering if that baby was mine…..