7 Mothers' Days Ago...

song du jour: Do you Know the Way to San Jose?, Dionne Warwick

mood: sleepy & happy

It was 7 Mothers' Days ago that I lay in bed, pondering and worrying about the strange sickness that was overtaking my body. I was obsessing over how tired I suddenly was all the time, how, a few weeks back, I'd sat through a weekend long business for artists workshop with a huge tray of chocolate cookies in front of me, which, bizarrely, had zero appeal. I was thinking about the steak I'd cooked the previous Wednesday that made me sick as soon as I started to eat it. I was thinking that I should really make an appointment with my doctor for a check up, and suddenly I was thinking OH MY GODDESS, HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE...?!?

The panic that washed over my entire body sent a wave of adrenaline pulsing through my veins. I very quietly snuck out of bed, careful not to wake the dork I was married to (a long boring story.). I drove down my street to the drug store, bought a test, snuck back in the house, did what one does with those things, and watched the plus sign appear. I was trying not to go into shock. Seriously. They always come 2 to a box. I took the other one. The same plus sign showed up.

I snuck back outside and called my friend, Cheri, who is a pediatric nurse practitioner and always an oracle to my more bizare medical questions. - I once asked her the best way to stick my finger to get out the most blood, so I could write on a tiny scroll with it, using a quill. It was to go inside an amulet, the only piece of mine ever to be censored by a gallery. When I got upset with the gallery, another friend told me I could consider myself in the league with Andre Saranno and Robert Mapplethorpe.

"What would you say if I told you I had these symptoms and just got a positive result on 2 pregnancy tests?"

"I'd say, 'Congratulations!'," Cheri replied.

"NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Come on, it can't be true!"

"How long have you been off the pill, and when was your last period?"

"11 months. It was the day my dog died. Can't these things have a false positive? I mean, I'm living with someone with whom I only ever fight. We never.... oh, hell, that night after the dinner party we threw. Once in forever. Go figure the odds..."

"Well, you can go get another brand of pregnancy tests, and if it's positive, you'll know for certain." She confessed later I didn't need to but that she didn't know how else to convince me.

By then, the would be chromosome donor was milling about, getting ready for us to take my mom out for lunch. I remember wanting to burst out with the news, wanting to scream, wanting to cry, wanting to wake up from a very bad and highly surreal dream. The lunch was an eternity. We got home, and I snuck off again for my clandestine rendevouz with another $20 box, containing sticks on which I had to pee. Supposedly ancient Egyptian women could grab a leaf off some prevalent plant and do the same thing cheaper and easer. This time 2 little lines appeared.

I stared at the bathroom door and thought about what, up to that point, was the toughest decision of my life. I knew everyone else's opinion in the matter, and I knew that I had to be certain of my decision before I informed anyone else because I don't care how enlightened men think they are, they rarely seem to integrate the complexity of a process in which their involvement is finished until the diaper changing era. They can come close to making or breaking a woman in the area of support, but they do not grow a fetus. They do not grow a placenta or extra pints of blood. They do not have to pass a watermelon through their penises, and they do not have to have a 6" slash to remove 4-11 pounds of what is assumed to be healthy tissue. It was an extremely conscious choice on my part even if more than any other factor, I feared I might miss my one chance, and though I was not ready and quite scared out of my wits, I looked down at my belly, and feeling like a complete idiot, said "hi."

Despite the absolute radiance I felt, every hour of ever day over the next 6 months I leaned over the closest porcelain basin or nearest garbage can thinking I was about to upchuck everything I'd eaten since the 80's, although I only ever did twice and so never got even a moment of relief. This lovely period of my life was quickly followed, accompanied by doctors in denial each step of the way, by nausea that made me sob and tremors that made Mohammed Ali look steady and then 36 days of dragging my blood depleted body to a NICU across town. That was before the 5 months straight of crying. Skyler's, not mine. Well, ok, mine too. I felt guilty and selfish for that conscious choice because I couldn't make my baby stop hurting, but I also saw in this remarkable child, a will to live and a tenacity and determination to be in this world that rivaled even my own through his birth.

"Mommy, do you like the flowers Gran and I planted for you for Mother's Day?"

"Yes, baby, they're beautiful, but you know what my most favorite present I ever got for Mother's Day was?"


"Well, it was 7 Mothers' Days ago that I found out I had a baby in my tummy."


"YOU! Thanks for making me a mommy!"

"You're the best mommy in the world!"

[V melted.]

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