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Live long and prosper

My wife Tam was pregnant with her firstborn, Vance, and had Eclampsia and Toxemia. She was extremely ill. We had not planned a family; in fact the doctors diagnosed us both sterile. Me by chemical damage from my work at Pentachem, and Tam was struck by an auto as a child. So when news of pregnancy hit it was a shock to say the least. Tam became very ill and our OB/GYN was one of only a couple to choose from in our area. In fact, at the time of finding out about the pregnancy he was the only OB/GYN in Coos County. I returned from the early shift at the milk plant around 2:30 pm. As I came in, I knew something was seriously wrong. I found Tam swollen until her facial features were swallowed by swelling and her face was flat. Her poor fingers looked like overstuffed sausages. As I entered the tears, she had been holding back all morning came forth in a deluge of sobbing and fear for our child. I threw some things into a bag and we were in the car for the 40minute drive to the hospital. At the hospital, we were greeted by a bustle of activity as the staff worked to relieve some of the edema and high blood pressure, which threatened Tam and our child. The on call Dr. and the nursing staff did their best to make Tam comfortable and reassure her. Dr.Lee had not yet appeared but being the only OB/GYN in the county kept him busy. “ I am scared! Tam cried out to me. I was scared also, the Dr. on call had told me how sick my wife and child were and I wanted them to induce birth before the toxemia caused permanent damage to mother and child. He said that was Dr. Lee’s call and he would be making rounds later that night.

I stayed with Tam as late as I could then drove home to be with our oldest, Ryan. The next day I worked my early shift and was on my way back to the hospital by 1:30 pm. When I arrived, I walked into Tam in tears. “What is it honey? What is wrong? Are you all right? Is the baby all right?” She looked up; the swelling had only slightly subsided and tearfully she related the doctor’s visit. Dr Lee had swept into the room angry. He began by saying “ Well Mrs. Freire it is obvious you are not taking good care of yourself so we shall have to do it for you. I am recommending you remain in the hospital the remaining two weeks till your due date” Tam tried to explain that she had been following all his advice and was still getting more ill. Dr. Lee then exploded “ Your problem with male authority is the main reason you are here now!” I heard the details from a shocked nursing staff as I arrived. So, I was feeling very protective of my poor little honey. I spent quite a period with my beloved wife trying to be reassuring while inside I was planning a visit to Dr. Lee. The following day I took off from work and drove into Coos Bay to Dr. Lee’s office. I arrived promptly at 9:00 am. When I told the hospital nurses my intentions the day before they were more than happy to assist by relating when I could catch Lee in his office. I had pure ice water in my veins as I walked in and politely demanded to see Dr. Lee. “ I’m sorry the Dr will not be in today” was the first try by the head of his office. “Bullshit! I watched him pull in and park, now you better go get him right now” I spoke just loud enough to have the room full of pregnant women look up at the commotion. In a couple of minutes, I was escorted into his private office where he was waiting with an angry expression.” What is this all about? I do not like having my office disrupted like this!” I did not take a seat but rather leaned way over his desk and said with a quiet

intensity “ I am here over the visit you paid to my wife yesterday” It was then I noticed his enlarged pupils and pallid complexion. “ Your treatment of Tam yesterday is the talk of the hospital Dr. I am here to find out what makes you think you have the right to talk to a patient in that manner, especially a young woman in fear of losing her life, child or both?” He tried one more attempt at brushing me off “ If she was following her diet guidelines she would not be where she is, would she?” That was all I could hold back on and I let him have it. “Look Dr. you work for me, I am paying you to give my wife prenatal care. She is NOT some birth vessel and will not be treated as such. You say she has a problem with male authority, I think you have a drug problem from so many late night deliveries.” His eyes widened at the accusation but I could also see the truth of my statement there in the dilated pupils. “ Now Dr. since I do not feel I am receiving good services for my money I am at this time firing you as Tam’s Dr. Your services are no longer desired and I am telling you to remain away from my wife for the remainder of her pregnancy.” His jaw was wide open now and his eyes had begun to flash anger but he was not even going to stand up as I leaned over him. I think he saw the dangerous position he was in by the look on my face. As I left, I could feel the eyes of his office staff staring at the man who just fired their boss. In the months of Tam’s pregnancy, a new OB/GYN had established a practice. She had an office downstairs from Lee in the same building. I left Dr. Lee’s office with my wife’s chart and walked straight to Dr. Gruhaz’s office. I was quite amused to find they already had the story from the hospital and were more or less expecting me. She was more than happy to take over the case and once she saw how ill my wife and child were ,promptly induced a long painful labor.

Dr.Lee had supervised all of Tam’s ultrasounds and had said, “ I never like to predict from ultrasounds, but you are obviously having a little girl. I am 99.9% positive” So we entered the delivery room on a Friday with two baby showers of little girl clothes and the lovely name of Calie Dawn Freire. After three days of intense labor and great fear for mother and child at about 7:00pm, the doctor said, “Say hello to your son!” My mother in law and I after 72 hrs of worry and fear looked at each other over Tam’s tummy and both exclaimed “ OOOH FUCK!” much to the shock and amusement of the nurses and Dr. Vance was born with a ring shaped bruise from banging his head against an unopened cervix for two days and a mild strep infection, Tam however was as sick as I had ever seen a woman after birth and was several weeks reestablishing her metabolism. Time spent renaming the 99.9% girl who turned out to be a boy. So much for infertility, we were like a freshly plowed field. After six weeks, we discovered we were expecting Olivia Dawn Freire and promptly 9 months later, she arrived with little of the drama of Vance’s birth except I had just put steaks on the grill when the water broke,. Tam and I finally figured out what was causing her pregnancies, and after Olivia’s birth opted to have no more children. Our family is complete with our oldest son Ryan and his younger siblings Vance and Olivia. Tam and I can say with great pride our children will not grow up as we did, afterthoughts to our parent’s lives.