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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2008
‘Why would they hire some pregnant girl?’ Campus Echo assistant editor documents her journey to unexpectedly becoming a mother In December, Campus Echo assistant editor Gabi Clay-White found out she was pregnant. It was not a pregnancy she planned, and she found the news very difficult to accept. When someone suggested that she share her experience with Campus Echo readers, she checked with her parents and her counselor. They liked the idea. Here, she opens her diary to Echo readers. This is the first of three installments. Introduction: I have always been the type of person to be organized. You know, have everything planned out. After I graduated in May, I would move to Houston, Atlanta or Charlotte and become a producer for a primetime news station. Yep, for the next five years, I would work my way up the broadcasting industry ladder; by 2013, I would be nominated for an Emmy. It’s funny how things change ... November 23: Thanksgiving was yesterday and I ate like a pig. I have never eaten that much — something isn’t right with my body. I’m always tired and my breasts are sore. Oh, and let’s not even talk about my back! I’ve missed my period, too. PLEASE God … don’t let me be pregnant! Naw, I can’t be pregnant. I just can’t. I think I’ll go get a pregnancy test. Pray for me. November 30: I am pregnant. Wait, let me rewind. I got home from Wal-Mart and didn’t open up the test for a week! Why did it take me so long? I guess I just couldn’t
take the fact that I would be a mother. I finally decided to do the test. And there they were. Two pink lines. So I drank a whole bunch of water, waited an hour and took the test again. Two pink lines. Right now, I’m numb. I don’t feel anything. I’m not physically sick — yet. I don’t know how I am going to tell my parents, friends, family. I’m so scared. I called my boyfriend to tell him the results. He was quiet at first but said he would support me and the baby. I don’t know if I’m going to keep it or not. I don’t know how I’m going to take care of a baby. I don’t have a job lined up and I doubt a news station would wait until I have my baby to hire me. Why would they hire some pregnant girl when there are hundreds of other candidates who will be able to work the day after graduation? Maybe I can just have an abortion and forget everything that has happened in the last week. But, according to my religion, having an abortion is wrong. I remember seeing people in front of Planned Parenthood back home in California with picket signs and post-abortion pictures. Those pictures showed everything — the bloody fetus and broken bones. But, I think I’m only eight weeks along. So the baby probably looks like an egg — which means that it doesn’t even have a heartbeat, right? Right! So, that’s what I’ll do. December 6: I saw an advertisement in the Campus Echo for free ultrasounds until the
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third month at Pregnancy Support Services. I don’t know why, but I want to see what’s growing inside of me before I got rid of it. My friend Brooke went with me. since I don’t have any relatives in North Carolina and I needed support. At the Pregnancy Support Services office, they took me to the back. This lady introduced herself as Joyce and started asking me questions about my health and my religious views. Then she said PSS is a Christian-based office. Oh great! I was hoping she wouldn’t lecture me about keeping my baby. I had already made up my mind and I’m NOT changing it! I’m just not ready to take on the responsibility of another life. After the brief and uncomfortable session, she gave me a cup and told me to go pee in it. After about 15 minutes of waiting, Joyce took Brooke and me aside to read the results. “Congratulations!” she said. I just looked at Brooke and put my head down. I wanted to cry but the tears just wouldn’t come out. Joyce told me that next week they will confirm how far along I am and do an ultrasound. I’m nervous but I know I have to tell my parents soon — or at least before I have an abortion. December 7: Before I call my parents, I called my friend Blair. She lives back home in California and she knows almost everything about me. As soon as she got on the phone, I just blurted it out. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. At first, Blair screamed. I guess she was in disbelief. Then she started crying, asking me all these questions like, “Are you gonna keep it?” and “I want you to come out here and have the baby.” I felt like saying, “Well, what do you think I should do?” But now that I think about it, it doesn’t matter what Blair or anyone else thinks – this is MY life. The last thing Blair said was, “You know I’m going to support you, Gabrisha.” That made me feel a little better, to know that I’m not alone. My mother called soon after I got off the phone with Blair. It was now or never. My mom always knows when something is wrong with me. I broke down and just started crying. I told her I was pregnant and all she said was, “It’s alright, baby. You’re not the first and you’re not the last.” My mom told my dad because I was too nervous. But he took it well.
I told her to let things go. It’s not our battle. It’s the Lord’s. Sit and think, keep your focus on God and everything will be fine. BLAIR POWELL CHILDHOOD FRIEND
When we went to Pregnancy Support Services, it was scary because we knew that in an hour her life could change forever. BROOKE SELLARS NCCU SENIOR AND FRIEND
I prepared her to be the best. I have watched her grow and mature. I’m confident that she will be an excellent mother. LINDA CLAY-CARR
RAY TYLER/Staff Photographer
I told my mom that I wanted to have an abortion. I think she was a little disappointed because this would have been her first grandchild. I had to call Planned Parenthood back home to schedule my termination appointment on the 22nd of December. After I got off the phone with my mom all I could do was cry. I didn’t want this child to come into this world and not have everything that I had. My mother had me when she was 30. She was financially and mentally stable. I’m not. I don’t think I can be as good a mother to my child as she was to me and that scares me. December 12: My boyfriend and I went to Pregnancy Support Services this morning. They did an ultrasound and we both wanted to cry. I’m six weeks pregnant. I can’t believe that another life is growing inside of me. Oh, and get this – it does have a heartbeat! Now I don’t know what to do. But the little flicker I see on the screen makes me realize this might not be all about me anymore.
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December 29: I flew to California for the holidays and my aunt, uncle and cousin came out from Oklahoma. The 22nd came and went and I’m still pregnant. I decided to keep the baby. After seeing that ultrasound my heart changed. I’m still scared but I know I have support and help from people in California and North Carolina. I’ve been extremely moody and irritable. I’m always angry and I have a low tolerance for people right now. I’m guessing it’s the hormonal changes going through my body. I’ll be glad when it’s over. January 14: School started last week. It should be a happy time for me since I’m graduating in May. But it’s not. I don’t feel like doing anything but lie in the bed. I don’t have any motivation to go to class or to be around anyone. I haven’t written anything for the Campus Echo, I quit my internship at ABC-11 TV and my position as secretary for Team Paradyce, a modeling troupe. What’s wrong with me?
Oh, and I found out that my insurance from back home isn’t covered in North Carolina so I don’t know what to do. This is so stressful. On top of that, my boyfriend and I don’t get along at all now. I cry all the time. I just feel alone. But I’m too scared to let people know how I’m feeling. I HATE my life! January 28: I’ve had enough. I can’t take this anymore. On Friday, I made plans to kill myself. I was driving down Fayetteville Road and all I remember is a vivid picture of driving into a wall. I pulled over to the side of the road and just started crying. All I could think of was my unborn child. I don’t know what triggered the suicidal thoughts, but I do know that I have been extremely depressed lately. I had a doctor’s appointment today. My doctor told me I’ve been losing weight. As soon as I left the doctor’s office, I started crying again. I called my mom and told her I needed her to come to North Carolina. She’ll be here tomorrow morning. I just hope I can make it
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2008
‘I think I’m having another breakdown’ Campus Echo assistant editor continues her journey to unplanned motherhood In December, Campus Echo assistant editor Gabi ClayWhite found out she was pregnant. She then decided to open her diary to Campus Echo readers. In the first installment, published Feb. 27, Clay-White described her initial reaction to the news. In this second installment Clay-White describes her bout with depression and how she is overcoming it. January 29: My mother is here! She flew in this morning from California. I am so happy to finally see and hug her. We go eat breakfast at IHOP and I tell her everything I’m feeling — except for the suicidal thoughts. I just can’t break the news to her yet that I want to end my life. Of course I cry, but this time it’s more of a relief, because I’m finally getting everything off my chest. I just hope her visit to North Carolina will give me the strength to make it through the next months. January 30: It’s almost 1 a.m. and I can’t sleep. I had an extremely bad day today. My mother called and I had the worst attitude with her. It kills me because she doesn’t know everything I’m feeling, so she automatically feels I’m being mean to her on purpose. I still don’t know what it is that makes my personality turn on and off so fast. I know I need to do something about this emotional imbalance because it could be hurting my baby. I want help. I need help. I’m too afraid and ashamed to ask. January 31: I think I’m having another breakdown. There is a burden on my shoulders and there’s no way it’ll lift unless I let someone know what I’m feeling. So today I came home and told my mom that I’d thought about killing myself. At first, she was quiet. Then she took me in her arms and began praying for me and saying that I don’t have to contemplate taking my life because there are people who care about me and would be devastated if I committed suicide. But she never cried. I know, it seems like I cry about everything — but I can’t remember a time when I saw my mother cry.
That’s why I look up to her. She is so strong and I just feel like a failure because I don’t know how to control my emotions like she does. After we talked, she asked me if I wanted some counseling. Here goes. I either take it or leave it. I can’t live like this anymore, so I tell her “yes.” She looks on the school website and finds a psychologist named Dr. Carolyn Moore who works in the Student Health and Counseling Services. My mom tells me to get some rest because she is going to try and get an appointment with Dr. Moore tomorrow. February 1: I decided not to go to class today. I just wasn’t in the mood to be bothered with anyone. Luckily, I got an appointment with Dr. Moore. When I walked up to the building, I was a little hesitant. Even though I know I need help, I don’t feel comfortable telling a stranger about my problems. My mother came with me so my nerves calmed down a little bit, but I was still scared. Dr. Moore called my mother and me into her office. We sat down and after I began talking, I could tell that Dr. Moore was a nice lady who was actually concerned about my life. I told Dr. Moore everything, but I think she was most concerned about my suicidal thoughts. Even though I didn’t actually try to kill myself, I was still at risk of attempting suicide. She brought in a co-worker, Dr. Carolyn Gibbs, and they decided that I had clinical depression. I was devastated. I knew that I was feeling down and angry but I never would have thought that I was depressed. They asked if I was stable enough to be on my own, and I know that I’m not. I told them so, and they suggested that I be admitted to a hospital. Oh no! That is NOT going to happen. I refuse to be hospitalized, locked up in a straitjacket and deemed crazy by everyone. I told them that I would be OK if I was able to talk about my feelings at least once a week. They agreed, but I know if I get any worse, I will probably be admitted without consent. Dr. Gibbs suggested that I take the anti-depressant pill,
Gabi Clay-White gets ready for a sonogram that will identify the sex of her baby at Harris and Smith obstetrical and gynecological clinic, March 7. Find out the results in her third installment to be published April 16. RAY TYLER/Staff Photographer
Zoloft. I had heard of it from people I know who take it, but it seemed like Zoloft did more damage than good. I rejected her offer. I also didn’t want the medicine to hurt my baby. After our meeting, my mother and I went to all of my professors and told them what was going on. Surprisingly, they were very understanding. Most of them knew something was wrong with me but they didn’t want to intervene in my personal life. For some reason, it seems like things might be getting a little better.
and he tells me that it could cause harm, but there’s a really, really small chance that it actually will. I give in and take the prescription. He says he would start me on a 30-day, low dosage and if I needed more, he would give it to me. Since my mom is leaving in a few days, it’s better if I start it now so that my body can get used to it and I might be able to make it on my own. But, if need be, my mom said she will quit her job and move out here until I graduate to take care of me. I’m just hoping that she doesn’t have to do that.
February 8: I have an appointment today with Dr. Heath. I have to have some blood work done to make sure there aren’t any genetic deformities in my DNA that could harm my child. I hate having blood work done. My mother comes with me to meet Dr. Heath. I ask her to talk to him about my depression and how it could affect my baby because I am too emotional right now. Dr. Heath suggests Zoloft. I voice my concerns about it causing defects in the fetus
February 14: My mom left on Tuesday. She had to go home to take care of some business, just in case I need her to come back. But my dad will be here on the 18th to stay with me. I’m in Baltimore for the rest of the weekend for the HBCU Student News Media Conference. These past nights have been hard because the Zoloft hasn’t kicked in. I’ve had more suicidal thoughts than ever. I’m still crying all the time. Yet I have been able to sleep at
least five hours. I haven’t had much time to think about my situation since I’ve been in Baltimore. My Campus Echo family keeps my mind occupied, and I’m always smiling. February 20: This week has been going GREAT! My dad came out here for the week but he will be travelling back and forth to Virginia because his cousin passed. I’ll be at home by myself sometimes, but the Zoloft is working — I’ve been so much happier. My dad is the greatest. He doesn’t say much, but I know he loves me. I even enrolled in prenatal yoga classes because I know I need a way to focus my anger. I like it a lot. I started going back to class, and I’ve gotten involved with the Echo again. I told my mom she doesn’t have to come out here. I feel like I’ve been doing better. Of course I have my down times, but with all the extracurricular activities I’m doing, I will be okay. Oh, and I almost forgot, I think I felt my baby kicking today! That is the most excit-
ing feeling in the world. In a few weeks, I’ll be able to see if I’m having a boy or girl. Yup, things are looking so much better. March 6: This week has been overwhelming. My first article came out in the Echo last week and I’ve gotten so many positive responses. Friends who just walk up and hug me. People call me non-stop to make sure I’m OK. I have friends who say they wish they never had an abortion, and that they think about their unborn baby all the time. I’m just thinking, what if I had gone through with my abortion? I went to Pregnancy Support Services on Monday and met with the nurse who did my ultrasound. I told her how much I appreciated their help and its influence on whether I was going to keep my baby or not. I’m going to get my ultrasound tomorrow. I’m so excited! I’ll find out the sex of the baby, I fly home tomorrow for spring break and I graduate in less than two months! — To be continued
Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2008
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Boy? Girl? Scan reveals newest Clay Campus Echo assistant editor continues her journey to unplanned motherhood In December, Campus Echo assistant editor Gabi Clay-White found out she was pregnant. She decided to open her diary to Campus Echo readers. In the first installment, published Feb. 27, Clay-White described her initial reaction to the news. In her second installment, she described her bout with depression and how she is overcoming it. This is the third of four installments. March 7: I pull up to Dr. Heath’s office around 10 a.m. I have so many emotions running through me right now. Of course, I didn’t want to go by myself, so I brought Brooke along for support. We sit in the waiting room for about 15 minutes, and then the nurse calls me. She takes us down the hall into a room I haven’t been in before. It is much bigger than the regular exam room – maybe because it has to house the ultrasound machine. I lie on the examining table and tell Brooke to move her chair next to me so she can see the screen. The ultrasound technician comes in and gets right to work. She pours this cold gel on my stomach and starts moving it around. She explains that she has to take 40 to 50 pictures of the baby to put in my records and then she will let me see. So I’m lying there anxious to see what’s growing inside me and it seems like it’s taking FOREVER! “Okay Ms. Clay-White, now it’s your turn,” the nurse says. She turns the screen towards Brooke and me. “What are you hoping for?” the nurse asks. I tell her it doesn’t matter, but I’ve been praying for a boy. I just know that little person growing inside me is a boy. Let alone that I’ve been telling everyone I’m having a boy, even though I wasn’t positive. I guess it’s that mother’s instinct. The nurse shows me the baby’s arms, legs, and heart. Finally, she starts moving down … IT’S A BOY! I smile from ear to ear. “I told you! I knew it!” I tell Brooke and the nurse simultaneously. The nurse prints out six pictures as a keepsake — I’m surprised at how clear they are. You can see everything. My favorite one is of him raising his fist in the air while he’s on his back. God, I can’t believe I’m about to be a mommy! Oh, and his name will be Aiden Nicholas. Sounds nice, huh? March 8: I’m on the plane with my ultrasounds snuggled tightly in my purse. I’m really starting to show so I know I’ll be getting the question, “What are you having?” and any chance I get, I’m going to show off my son. I’m sitting next to a couple with a small toddler who refuses to sit down. Usually, I would get irritated because my rest is disturbed by some kid, but now I put myself in their shoes. I simply turn to the side and start playing with the little girl. This seems to quiet her down — but not for long. After she gets bored of playing peek-a-boo, her dad takes her into the aisle to walk around. Just think — that’ll be me in another year. I just wish the way I looked at people with rowdy children on planes won’t happen to me. But I doubt my wish will come true. My plane touches down in California and I remember that I have a funeral to attend today. My childhood friend Regina has passed away from a rare form of cancer. She is only 23 years old. I have many emotions going on. I’m angry, sad and confused. It’s crazy, because I think about her parents and grand-
“What are you hoping for?” the nurse asks. I tell her it doesn’t matter, but I’ve been praying for a boy. GABI CLAY-WHITE GRADUATING SENIOR
parents. They’ve lost their baby girl. I’m crying because Aiden isn’t even here yet and the thought of losing him before I die saddens me. March 17: Spring break is over and I’m not ready to start classes again. But who is? I met with Dr. Moore today and she thinks that I’m doing a lot better than I was a month ago. As a result, she reduced our meetings to once a week instead of twice a week. For now, I’m focused on graduating and preparing for the birth of my son. March 23: Today has been such a hard day. It’s Easter and I’m usually around family, but since I’m all the way across the country, I don’t have anywhere to go. My mentee’s mother has invited me over, but when I call the house, no one answers the phone. I hope they’re okay, but right now I’m just alone and we all know the battles I face whenever I am alone. All my friends went out of town, so I’m stuck at home eating McDonald’s. I call my mom crying, but I know there’s nothing she can do. I just need to vent. But my mother tells me to remember that this time next year, I’ll be at home preparing an Easter egg hunt for Aiden. That thought puts a smile on my face and my emotions at ease. I’m going to take a much needed nap and hopefully by the time I wake up, it will be Monday. March 4: Ugh! I’m having the worst week ever! I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy hormones, but it seems like my tolerance for people (especially men) is extremely low. I’m driving down the street on the way to school when this old man in a pickup pulls up besides me. You know how you know when someone is staring at you? Well, I can feel this pervert staring at me. I look to my right and he has the nerve to lick his crusty lips at me! I curse him out for being such a pervert and drive off. I could be his daughter’s age, but I guess he doesn’t mind. I’m getting hit on all of the time and it’s so annoying! I feel like I get more advances now than before I was pregnant. My friends tell me I should feel good because most women don’t look half as good as I do, but I beg to differ. I’m just so disgusted with the male gender right now. I talk to my doctor about my feelings, and he says that it’s normal to be emotional right now. March 8: Today is a sad day at my school. A friend has passed for unknown reasons. His name is Tyrell. That’s two deaths in less than 30 days, and both under the age of 25. What’s going on? A time like this makes me question God, even though I know I shouldn’t. I wasn’t close with Tyrell, but it still hurts to know that someone who is so loved could be taken from his family and friends suddenly. I just pray that everyone can remain strong during this trying time. He was supposed to graduate and walk across the same stage that I’ll be walking across in less than a month. These two passings make me realize how blessed I am to be able to give life to another human being.
March 14: It’s crunch time! Graduation is 19 days away and I’m stressing out. This past weekend, I locked myself in my room, focused on writing my papers and studied. It was hard, but I accomplished a majority of what needs to be done. Oh, Aiden has been kicking a lot, too! He used to only move around at night, but whenever I’m still, he wants to move around. So I’m guessing he’s going to keep me on my toes when he finally gets here. I’ve been very anxious because I just want to be able to hold him. I have about three months to go, but I’m being very impatient. I can’t help it. It comes most when I’m lying in bed and I can feel him moving around. I can already see characteristics of myself in him. Weird, huh? My baby shower is this weekend, too. Excited? Yes! I’m just happy that I’ve come such a long way since November — from suicidal thoughts to a mental breakdown to preparing for graduation. It’s crazy. But then again, if it wasn’t for my family and friends, I don’t even know where I would be right now. I think I’ll go ahead and get ready for bed. I’ll talk to you soon.
Graduating senior and expectant mother Gabi Clay-White anticipates graduation, despite her hardships. RAY TYLER/Staff Photographer
Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2008
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5 IVER SITY
The nurses named him ‘the pretty baby’ Former Campus Echo assistant editor tells of the birth and first days of her son Aiden In December, Campus Echo assistant editor Gabi ClayWhite found out she was pregnant. At that moment, she decided to open her diary to Campus Echo readers. In the first installment, published Feb. 27, Clay-White described her initial reaction to the news. In her second installment, she described her bout with depression and how she overcame it. In her third installment, she beats her depression, has an ultrasound, and graduates from NCCU. And now, Gabi tells us about her delivery and the joy of motherhood.
May 3 Graduation day is finally here! It’s kind of bittersweet. Why? I know I’m only a few months away from seeing my son. But in a couple of days, I’ll be leaving North Carolina behind and all I’ll have is memories. While waiting for College of Liberal Arts grads to be called, I reflected on these past months and am very proud of myself. I’ve overcome so many obstacles and am ready to face whatever else comes my way. I look to my left and see the person who has been down for me the entire time — Brooke! We are so excited this day has finally come. These last few weeks, I have been trying to spend as much time with my friends as possible. I’m really going to miss them.
May 8 Back in California! I am so happy to be home. I hadn’t realized how much I’ve missed my friends, neighborhood, etc. The first thing I want to do is go home and relax. From graduation, to spending time with everyone, to going to all the festivities, I am exhausted! I’m turning off my phone and taking this time to reflect on the future of me and my child. I want to start graduate school in January 2009. My mom told me not to rush anything because the first year of motherhood is a time to really build a relationship with a child. So I think I will work part-
Former Campus Echo assistant editor Gabi Clay-White with Aiden at two and one half weeks. Courtesy of Kiddie Kandides Studio
“The nurse gets me prepared for labor. My epidural is wearing off again, but it’s too late to get more, so I have to tough it out.” GABI CLAY-WHITE
time for the county, just to make sure I have some kind of income.
June 1 I’ve been really clingy with my mom lately. It seems like wherever she goes, I have to go, even if I’m tired or my back is hurting. I keep thinking that something bad will happen to her while she’s gone. So I try to spend as much time with her as I can. It doesn’t help that she’s leaving town at the end of this month for a few days. I just hope I don’t go into labor while she’s gone!
June 26 My mom left today. She doesn’t know this, but after I dropped her off at the airport, I broke down and cried. I hope she makes it safely. I really wanted to go with her but the airlines won’t let me fly because I’m too far into my pregnancy. I’m just going to have to tough it out for the next few days until she comes back.
July 4 My mom is back and I can’t be any happier! I was extremely lonely and didn’t want to bother any of my friends, so I just stayed to myself and wrote a lot of
poems and letters to Aiden. Now that she’s back, we’re going to a friend’s house to celebrate the holiday. Aiden is gaining half a pound a week now and I just hit my ninth month. I’m praying he comes early because I’m starting to feel the pains of pregnancy. I feel like I’m going to topple over every time I walk. It’s horrible. From now until my due date, I will be seeing my doctor every week. He says these problems are not unusual. I’m just ready to see my little angel.
July 31 Ugh! He’s still not here! I have only three more days until my due date, but I’m getting impatient. At my appointment on Monday, I’m going to ask my doctor to induce my labor. I think I’ve been having mild contractions, but I’m not sure. My mom and I have already had three false alarms, but after doing some tests, my hospital has sent me back home. The suspense is killing me!
August 5 My doctor induced my labor yesterday with a procedure called “stripping the membranes.”
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expects Obama to win. Overstreet said her big fear is that Obama could get assassinated because he is black. “It may sound crazy, but in this day and age, every time a black person tries doing something good, there is a bad outcome to it,” said Overstreet. Reggie Jones, sports management sophomore, said he plans to vote and also expects Obama to win. B u t Jones says that change will be slow. Maria Vasquez, business freshman, also plans to vote and also expects Obama to win. “America seems to be looking for a difference,” said Vasquez. “I am American-born. My family is immigrant. Any decisions being made will affect my entire family in a lot of ways.” said Vasquez, whose most important concern is immigration. The stakes are high according to Wilson, who said that people “irritate him” who say that their vote doesn’t matter and that the system will never change. Wilson said that there will never be positive change until every individual accepts the responsibility to be an agent of that change.
duces his father Joe Biden, who speaks about life and hope, his struggles as a father, and the love of his wife, Jill. Jill Biden steps out to address the crowd. “Joe, we have a special guest in the house tonight…” Then, a tall man strides out, to pandemonium; 20,000 screaming, crying, cheering supporters. He thanks supporters and foretells the historic event that awaits the country. 3:30 p.m., Aug. 28 Denver Convention Center After a week without sleep, this is the final night. The North Carolina Dems are seated in Section 522: nosebleed. After three hours of phone calls and arguing with DNC staff, I have two press passes for Section 133: field seats. Press credentials allow us to bypass the two-mile-long lines to get into the stadium, a mass exodus pressing to witness a defining moment in the 21st Century. We only have to wait for 10 minutes before we are in the INVESCO Mile-High Stadium, as opposed to the average three-hour wait for regular patrons. Remembering the melee of the previous convention nights, we move quickly to find good seats. After an
hour of scouting and sneaking, Rabbi, an N.C. College Democrat from Campbell University, and I are seven rows from the field and within 100 yards of the stage. In the skybox directly behind us, Oprah Winfrey and Co. distract us from Chairman Dean’s opening remarks. Over the next five hours, musicians play, people cheer, surrogates speak, and we pass time with hot dogs, cheesy popcorn, and $4 bottles of water. I call many friends to let them know we have great seats at the show of a lifetime. The cool mountain wind whips through the open-air stadium, and people step out for a warm coffee. After a day-long wait, evening falls on Denver, and the stadium lights slowly brighten. The festivities are at the advent of kickoff. Senator Obama is introduced by Senator Biden and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. The lights dim, and the stadium’s Jumbotron TV screens an inspiring introductory short film chronicling Obama’s rise from obscurity. A string ballad sets the soundtrack for the film, as the screens go dark, the lights go up, and Obama
He said this should cause cramping of my uterus that will bring on contractions. I think it’s working too. My contractions seem to be getting closer together and the pain is becoming more intense. They started at 4:30 p.m. and haven’t stopped coming. I’m going to the hospital just to make sure. I’ll let you know what happens.
August 10 Aiden Nicholas is finally here! Okay, let me tell you all about it. When I got to the hospital, I had only dilated one centimeter (keep in mind that you have to dilate to ten to start delivery), and they were going to send me home but the monitors kept indicating that Aiden was showing signs of stress. This made them decide to induce my labor around midnight. Six hours later, I had dilated to three centimeters. I asked for an epidural (a procedure in which they numb you from the waist down), but it seems to be wearing off – I’m feeling every contraction and it hurts! I finally made it to eight centimeters around 7 p.m., but because Aiden is show-
walks onstage. One hundred thousand supporters, delegates and press raise their hands in fanatic applause, screaming cheers loud enough to shatter eardrums, heralding Obama as if he were Caesar addressing the Roman Coliseum. Senator Obama gives the stadium — and the millions of Americans watching on TV — the marching orders for victory in November. At the end of his speech, we see Oprah proudly waving her American flag, thousands and thousands screaming praise, and a sea of flickering bulbs as every camera in Mile-High Stadium seems to flash to catch Kennedy on stage with his wife, the vice presidential candidate, their families standing behind in support. The blast of the fireworks rival the sound of the cheers as the sky above Mile-High light up in red, white and blue. Tons of graffiti fall on the stadium and the DNC convention ends with a display bigger than New Year’s in Times Square. The Jumbotron contains images of old-guard civil rights leaders crying: Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and a host of black legislators. Dream realized.
ing signs of stress, the doctor told me if I don’t dilate to ten centimeters in the next few hours, I will have to get a caesarean section. I called my Bishop, Aiden’s godfather, and ask ed him to pray for me because I am starting to get nervous. An hour later, my doctor came in to check my cervix. Guess what? I’m fully dilated! The nurse gets me prepared for labor. My epidural is wearing off again, but it’s too late to get more, so I have to tough it out. My delivery went by so fast — it only took an hour! When I saw Aiden, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, arms and legs. That’s why the monitor had been picking up the stress signals. I’m glad he’s okay and healthy. Oh, and let’s not forget: BIG! He weighs nine lbs, five oz., is 22 ¾ inches long, and has a head full of hair. He’s so beautiful! All the nurses nicknamed him “the pretty baby!” I just can’t believe I’m a mommy!
August 22 Motherhood is overwhelming! It’s hard waking up in the middle of the night trying to soothe a baby when
you have no idea what’s wrong with him. He is such a good baby. He only cries when he needs something . The rest of the time he just looks around and makes baby noises. I’m finding myself getting a little frustrated since I am doing this alone. Aiden’s father has not even called to see if he’s born or healthy. I just don’t understand how some men refuse to take responsibility for their actions. Most would call a man like that a coward. I have to remind myself that I went through this pregnancy without him, and even though I would love for him to be a part of Aiden’s life, I can’t make him do anything. Yet, God has blessed my son with some of the best men in his life — from North Carolina to California. I’m strong, have all the support I need, and refuse to let Aiden see me stressing over his father’s actions. I love my son and I want the best for him. I even tell him, while he’s sleeping, that I will never do anything to hurt him, and I just want him to be proud to call me his mother. This is the beginning of a new life, and I am more than prepared to face it.
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