Tuesday, July 15, 2008

State of the Union

So, Lance. I haven't written much about Lance, because it's been so . . . difficult. It's such a long story, and it's complicated, and I don't know where to start. Well, here:

Christmas 2006

We are at Lance's best friend's house for dinner when we get the news: the newly married couple (you may remember their wedding), are pregnant, due in August.

Later, Lance turns to me, whispers,"I feel kind of inspired, don't you? Maybe we should do that, too."

"You mean---What? Really? Yes! Totally! Absolutely! We have to!" I am positively giddy, and fresh tears of joy prick the back of my eyelids. Never in a thousand years did I imagine he would agree to try for three.

The next day I make the appointment to have my IUD removed, and by late February, it is done.

We are driving to Disneyland, following Lance's best friend and his pregnant wife, plus another couple with two kids whom we all know.

"We'll have to get a new car", I say casually, glancing back at the kids in our Lexus SUV. "I don't think we can fit an infant car seat between their two." I am testing him, waiting to see if he is serious.

"The lease is up in a year I think, plus I need to sell my car. We'll figure it out."

I don't meet his eyes, afraid he will see the excitement in my eyes, afraid to scare him out of it. But I still can't quite believe it, so I add, "Wow, three. I don't know, I always thought two or four was better. Three was tough for me growing up. Should we have four?" Here I giggle, to let him know I am joking, to give him an out.

He doesn't answer, so I press on. "But I'm so old already, I just turned 37. God, I'd be 40 by then!"

And he says, "We could always adopt the fourth". I sneak a glance at him, sure that he is joking, but he is looking straight ahead, he is not smiling, he seems to be serious.

May 2007
We have been 'trying' for a few months. I put trying in quotes because it is unlike the trying we did before we conceived Isaac. We don't talk about it. I don't tell him my fertile times or give any indication that I hope the sex we are having might end in a baby. It seems very one-sided; the trying is all on my side. His side is just enjoying the sex. I don't want to rock the boat, I'm still terrified that the wrong move on my part will halt our efforts in their tracks, so I just go along, quietly.

Occasionally he makes comments that puzzle me: We clean out the garage, and he piles the old strollers together saying, "We should give this stuff to Alex." I don't answer, afraid of what he is saying, but that night we make love as usual and he doesn't pull out.

At dinner when my parents are in town I spill the beans that my best friend is recently pregnant with her 3rd. My parents are thrilled for her and my dad asks, "What about you two, would you ever consider a third?"
"No way", Lance says, emphatically. I reach over, rub my hands through his hair and smile, then say, "Well, you never know. Right, babe?" He doesn't answer.

June 2007
Earlier in the day Lance has again commented something to the effect of wanting only two kids. And yet here we are, in the evening, about to make love--about to make a baby. I stop what I'm doing, sit up.
"What are we doing? What is this? I don't understand you."
"Why do you say things about not wanting a baby and then come home and have sex with me?"
"What else am I supposed to do?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you are giving me no choice. Either we have this baby or you resent me forever, right?"
"But I thought you wanted a baby."
"I never wanted another baby!"
This quickly degenerates into a shouting match with nothing resolved. A week later, we have sex again. No mention is made of babies or contraceptives.

July 2007
I am in Delaware with the kids, visiting my family. Lance is in California. I have a feeling that I am pregnant, but I have had this feeling for at least 3 months before and I have been wrong. And now I am terrified--if I am pregnant, Lance will freak out. That is a given. I try to avoid alcohol in the off chance that I am, but I'm with my family--we are a family that enjoys cocktail hour--and it is impossible to decline. My period is two days late. Finally I break down and buy a pregnancy test. I have to know, I have to stop drinking if it is true.
Two lines. My heart beats rapidly in my chest, I feel light-headed. I sit on the bathroom floor, holding the test in my hand, not sure what to think. I am ecstatic. I am terrified. I can't breathe. Quietly, quickly I run out to the hall and grab the phone, sneak back to the bathroom. I dial my best friend, the one who is also pregnant with #3.
"Susanna!" I am whispering because I don't want anyone in my parents' house to hear, but also because my voice is not working properly.
"I'm pregnant."
"What? Amy? Are you okay? I can't hear you."
"I'm pregnant"
She screams in joy and laughs, "Oh my god! I'm so glad! Yay! Oh my god! I can't talk I'm so happy!"
I smile for the first time and laugh, too, nervously. But she is so full of hope I can feel the terror subsiding and I start to consider the baby. The baby that I have been wanting so much. A baby! Those teeny tiny toes! And gummy grins! And sweet sweet smelling heads!

I make it through dinner with my family somehow, put the kids to bed, retire to my room. Now I am terrified again because I have to call Lance. I know his reaction will not be what I want. But surely once he gets over the shock he will be alright. He had to know this was going to happen eventually.

"I have some news".
"I'm pregnant."
"I'm pregnant."
(Long Pause)
"Are you there?"
"Lance? Hello?"
"Yes. Yes, I'm here."
"Um, what do you think?"
"What do I think? Hmm, well, I think this is the biggest mistake of my life."
"Come on, babe, it's not that bad. It will be fun. You love babies, too, remember? And it will be easy this time, we know what to do!"
"I have to go, I have to hang up."
he hangs up the phone.

August 2007
I am sick. So sick I can barely raise my head off my pillow. Food is disgusting, yet it is the only thing that makes me feel better. I stuff chips into my mouth constantly, chips and cookies and processed foods. I carry heated frozen pizzas to my bedroom and eat them while lying down. Every time I get up, I gag. I wake in the night, the nausea so bad I feel like I am on a sailboat. I eat bowls of cereal throughout the night, and I feel slightly better, enough to fall asleep for another hour. In the morning, I cannot look at Lance or the children. Their smell makes me gag. I am green and drawn, I need to eat something but everything sounds foul. There is a metallic taste in my mouth that will not go away. Twice, I forget to feed the kids breakfast before taking them to school. But I don't care. I just need to lie down. I drop them off, stop at McDonald's for french fries, come home to my bed.
It is the worst morning sickness of my life. This is my 6th pregnancy.

Because I am so sick, Lance and I barely talk. We have said maybe 100 words to each other since I announced my pregnancy. But I don't care. I am just trying to survive. Weekends and evenings, he takes the kids, without any prompting from me, to the beach, to the park, to his parents' house. Anywhere, away from the house, where I lie in bed, stuffing my craw with nachos and Popsicles.
"He's okay", I tell my friend Susanna, "he keeps taking the kids for me, I don't even have to ask him, it's actually kind of sweet".
Except it's not sweet, not really. Because he can barely look at me, and I know, on some level, he is taking the kids not to give me a break, not because he knows how terrible I feel, but because he needs to get out of the house too. My illness makes it impossible for him to pretend this isn't happening. He hates me.

Finally, one morning. He is working from home for some reason. The kids are in school. I come down to the kitchen to forage for some chocolate chips or macaroni and cheese. I don't remember how it starts, but it does. The biggest argument fight of our marriage. I am moody and irritable, I feel like shit and I spew: what is the matter with him, why can't he be happy, why is he acting like this is so terrible? He is not the one who feels like shit, he is not the one who can't sleep, what is his fucking excuse?
It is during this argument that the word abortion is thrown around, (though he completely denies it now) and I remember saying shouting "Well you better decide if you want to abort this baby now because I'm not doing it after 10 weeks!" "Thank you", he answers quietly, "thank you for considering that option."
I am 8-1/2 weeks pregnant. I call him all kinds of bad names, stalk back upstairs, cry on the bed for hours. Then stop, because I feel too terrible to concentrate on him and what he is thinking. I can only concentrate on feeling better.
For the next few weeks, again, we hardly speak. I don't care.

September 2007
We are in Canada, vacationing with my family. I am feeling slightly better, though I still have days where the effort of speaking to anyone seems impossible. Nothing tastes good, but at least I do not feel like I have to be in bed all the time. My family is annoyed, slightly, that I am not my usual self--they don't get to see me very often, and they want to have fun with me. But I am not drinking, I go to bed early, I take naps, I don't smile that much. I am annoying to be around. I can't water ski, I can't jump off Whiskey Rock, I can't participate as much as I'd like to, or as much as they'd like me to.
I can't help it. I do my best. I remind myself and everyone else that in April there will be a baby to show for it all. (I am due April Fool's Day, a sign if I ever knew one.) Lance and I don't talk much. I read a lot. The kids have a ball with their cousins, and I am grateful that they at least, are having fun. I am sure things will turn around for Lance and I once I feel better, once the baby comes, once he gets used to the idea. In the meantime, I shut him out, afraid of what he will say if we do talk. I wait until it gets better.

September 20th, 2007
We are back in L.A. I am 13 weeks pregnant, I am feeling much better. I had a CVS the week before and should have the results in a few days. I go in for my monthly OB appt.

No heartbeat.

Okay, I'll tell the rest later. Now you can see why I put off writing this for so long. It takes forever! And it is not a happy story. Actually, I'm not sure if this is making me feel better or worse. But thanks for listening, regardless.


raehan said...

Oh, Amy. Hug.

jennster said...

but i'm dying for more.
this is so heartwrenching. i never knew. i mean i suspected some things but i never KNEW. and i don't even know what to say really. except that i don't really get his mood swings- and i'm sorry that you continue to live a life like this, where you can't really be you, or say things, for fear of his reaction, etc. i'll shutup. lol


c. said...

Wow, POW. Just wow...

isimsiz kahraman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.