Not Just One Dollar

Chuck’s first career job was at such a low pay scale that many high school graduates’ wages equaled Chuck’s even with his accounting degree. Chuck and Jalene were grateful for his job which provided for their apartment, utilities, the single car and their few, meager necessities.

However, they were struggling to meet their daily needs. Ben and Lorraine frequently brought Chuck and Jalene groceries during visits to see their new granddaughter.  They were aware of Chuck and Jalene’s difficulty in providing for all their requirements.

Jalene was ecstatic when she walked outside their apartment one morning and found a dollar bill lying in the flower bed. Although only a dollar, it was enough to purchase two cans of formula for Marie. Jalene immediately thanked God for the blessing. She was concerned as to where they would obtain the money for additional formula which was totally depleted. Chuck had sold his prized coin collection which his uncles and grandfather began for him when he was a child. Money was so sparse, they were liquidating anything they could sell to cover their basic obligations.

As a result of their financial hardships, Jalene began a home custom sewing business. She began sewing at age 10 as a 4-H Club member and prided herself that her garments always won 1st place in all the sewing competitions. Although she dropped out of college to work full-time to enable Chuck to complete his college education, she knew her sewing was a skill which could provide an income for their small family.

Jalene had more sewing business than she could maintain, as her fees were below minimum wage. Had she been a wise entrepreneur, she would have increased her rates. However, because Jalene’s desire was always to be fair and kind to others, she continued to sew long hours for little income. Nonetheless, she made enough to provide some of the essentials for their meager home and lives.

When Marie was 4 months old, Jalene began experiencing extreme nausea. She was hesitant to believe she could be pregnant again.  Chuck’s lack of desire for sexual intimacy had been an obstacle for her to become pregnant with Marie. Thus, she rapidly brushed the thought of pregnancy aside.  As the nausea progressed without subsiding, the doctor confirmed her suspicions. Marie would be an older sister when she was barely one year old.

Even though Jalene had planned on another child when Marie was a little older, she was thrilled to know she would have another baby, but struggled with her pregnancy and illness.  Caring for an infant and maintaining all the tasks of being a full time homemaker, while also fulfilling the increased demands of her sewing customers was becoming a tremendous challenge for Jalene. Additionally, Chuck’s increased anger toward her for their lack of income produced emotional and physiological anxiety.

Jalene began experiencing debilitating and extremely painful headaches. After several physician’s visits, x-rays and medical tests, the doctors confirmed, she was suffering with migraine headaches. Jalene was unaware in 1972 that these headaches would remain with her for the remainder of life.

One day as Jalene was performing her daily tasks, she was jolted when Marie shrieked in pain. As Jalene ran to Marie’s aid, she realized Marie’s foot was entangled under the large bedroom dresser. Jalene fell to the floor to free Marie’s tiny foot, while the infant continue to scream in distress. Jalene was unable to free Marie’s foot without hoisting the heavy dresser.

As soon as Marie was free, Jalene grasped her tiny daughter, holding her tightly in her arms to console her. Jalene was also experiencing much discomfort. Jalene was concerned the baby she was carrying might be harmed from lifting the weighty piece of furniture. She twinged with abdominal pain, but realized there had been no other options. Marie had to be freed from her entrapment.

Several days passed, but Jalene’s pain remained. Early one morning she awakened with an urge to urinate. As she entered the bathroom, her pain was familiar; feeling as though she was in labor. She was now the one shrieking in agony. As Chuck and Jalene arrived at the hospital emergency room, the staff was prompt in telephoning her obstetrician.  Upon his examination Jalene was overcome with grief. She had lost her baby at approximately 20 weeks.

Jalene was disturbed that losing her baby might have been a result of  lifting the heavy chest. Dr. Perry validated he could not confirm this was the cause. He made certain Jalene understood she was not to blame for the loss of the baby. Only God understood the loss of this precious life. Jalene’s sorrow was great as she wept for hours. She remained in the hospital for several days as Dr. Perry and the staff cared for her healing body, while God restored Jalene’s broken heart.

Jalene’s routine resumed with her tasks of homemaker and mother, while the desire to move from the two bedroom apartment into a house was one of her top priorities. Even though her sewing clientele increased, she was unable to provide enough additional income to purchase a small house. Chuck’s salary remained extremely low. They were fortunate he had been placed with an Army Reserve unit following his military assignment in Georgia. This enabled them to have a small monthly supplement to each of their incomes.

In the spring of 1973, Jalene’s nausea returned. Her frequent and intense migraines were always accompanied with nausea. Therefore, she believed the nausea was a component of the headaches. Her frequent requests and desires for intimacy from Chuck continued to be pushed aside as he contributed countless excuses for not being intimate. Therefore, another pregnancy could not be a possibility.

Please continue Jalene’s journey as a wife and mother. If you are new to the blog, you may desire to begin from Jalene’s early life. The blog began in April 2016 when Jalene was a child, progressing through today. Thank you for following Jalene on her life’s path.

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