|09-12-2005, 01:02 AM||#1|
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: walking out to the street
Local Time: 09:55 AM
A Story Without Me 9
A Story Without Me Chapter 9: achtung, baby? Or: The Birds and the B.__________________
Disclaimer/Author's Notes: Fanfic Bono and B pay The Author a surprise visit at her office. She shows them the view from her office window. Guys, that's Ford Field over there. Site of the next Super Bowl. "Real Bono once sang at the Super Bowl." That was in New Orleans, wasn't it, Fanfic? "Yes." I'm sorry. I was never there, but I feel awful for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Anyway. Maybe it's because I see a football field every weekday. Maybe it's because my male coworkers love fantasy football, and I heard it's the second-most popular thing on the Internet. But I've come to the conclusion fanfic is like fantasy football. However, unlike fantasy football, I'm not ever trading you for the other band members. "Did you hear that, Fanfic? She's keeping us!" B highfives Fanfic Bono. No, guys. I don't own you. That's against the law. "Oh." But you know I love you two, right? "Awww!" And by the way, Fanfic Bono, I found out why Bono and Edge will never play Ford Field. "Why's that, Author jobob?" Their security doesn't allow beach balls. Other Notes: The B-on-a-tropical-beach description is more or less Bono's own "Marlon Bono" fantasy from "Bono In Conversation." I remind you that B is based on Bono, I am not exactly like J, and this story is fiction. There is no extended scene for this chapter. Please try to contain your disappointment. The scenes I owe you are in the mail. Here we go:
It's very early Wednesday morning. You have today off. You're glad because now you can stay home, relax, and get some sleep. You've been tired, so very tired, this last week. You're also irritable, and it's driving you crazy. Your breasts are very tender, sore in fact. When B touched them the other night you cried out from pain, not pleasure.
You feel like you've got a case of PMS that just won't quit. In fact, you were supposed to get your period last week. Or were you supposed to get it shortly after your birthday? All you had was a little bleeding for one day.
And you're slightly nauseous all the time. Like a few years ago when you had to take a medicine that had a side effect of low-grade nausea. Back then you told yourself this is what morning sickness must be like, not that I'll ever really know ....
You sit down at your computer and Google "symptoms of pregnancy." The sites say you have them. They explain home pregnancy tests and how to best take one. They also say you need to call your doctor. So you can confirm the pregnancy and start prenatal care.
The Internet also has a lot of due date and conception date calculators. You try a few. If your last period began on July 23 (you think), that would put your due date at the end of April. Your conception date would have been August 6. Your birthday.
Oh, no. No. No! Please, God, no! You can't be! Not three months into a relationship! You're not ready to even think about talking about moving in with or marriage to B! Much less parenthood! He's not even sure how many more years his company wants or needs him to stay in the U.S.! You are just beginning a new career! And having a baby at 40? What will your family and friends say about all of this?
You never, ever, wanted to raise a child on your own. You always thought that would be wrong. You believe children need both of their parents, especially since your own parents divorced when you were a teenager. Something in you also believes that ending this pregnancy only because of your age, its timing, and the inconveinence would be wrong.
How could you possibly be pregnant?
Oh, please. You know how. Almost since you met, you and B certainly have been doing things which would make you pregnant. And when you were celebrating your birthday, you both got, shall you say, carried away. As an old friend said to you last winter during a discussion of sex and pregnancy, one wild night is all it takes. You had a wild weekend: A very private birthday party Friday night. A quickie Saturday morning. A wild-and-angry-middle-of-a-Saturday-night. Plus, you invited him into your house Sunday night. More than enough for it to take.
You remember what you said to B the night after your family's birthday party: "B. I know what kind of a boy you are. You're the kind of boy who could get me into trouble." Looks like he may well have gotten you into trouble. In the classic sense. Does anyone still use that old phrase to refer to your apparent situation?
Now B will think you tried to trap him. Or accuse you of cheating on him -- like you even spent enough time away from B to be able to cheat on him. Or he'll suddenly leave you and America for Ireland. Or he'll move to a faraway tropical paradise which doesn't extradite unwed fathers. Or he could refuse to pay child support and make you take him to the Friend of the Court -- or the Irish court system as well as your local court system -- to collect. Or he could refuse to admit paternity, leaving you to take him to court and demand a DNA test. Yes, there's all sorts of possibilites. None of which sound like fun.
But didn't B tell you on the night you met that he always sort of wanted to have a family?
And you hate to admit it, but the older you've become, the more you've regretted not having a family of your own. You didn't deliberately set out to do this. But you've already decided that if you have to do this, you'll do it.
You drive to your neighborbood drugstore and buy a home pregnancy test.
After trying to take a nap and waiting the few crazy hours without going to the bathroom to make sure you could pass the urine test (another symptom: you have to pee far more often), you take the test. You bought one with a results window which actually reads "not pregnant" or "pregnant." You didn't want to guess at what lines or plus or minus signs or color changes meant what when you were already frantic about the result.
You pee on the stick, put your pants back on, then sit on the toilet, holding the white plastic stick in your hand, waiting for the result to appear in the window. It changes quickly.
"Pregnant," it says. You never before realized just how big of a word "pregnant" is. Even in that tiny window, it looms large.
Oh, God, help me, you silently pray as you start to cry. You put the stick on your sink. You grab for toilet paper, dab the tears from your eyes. What am I going to do? How am I going to tell B? I should tell him first, and soon. Like tonight. Get it over with. He needs and deserves to know. And call my doctor right away.
You reach for the stick again. Yes, it still says you're pregnant. You get your phone, and call B's office.
"Would you please come over after you leave work, B? I need to talk about something with you," you say as calmly and nicely as you can, all things considered. He agrees. He even offers to bring dinner. Yes, Thai would be nice, mild Pad Thai for you, you tell B. Oh, and could he please get chocolate ice cream for dessert? (You're craving it, but you can't say "craving" just yet.)
Then you call your doctor's office. You explain the situation to the nurse. You tell her you already had your yearly checkup scheduled for Friday morning, but you now need to have a pregnancy test. You just had a positive home test, the pregnancy was unplanned, it's your first, and you are 40. And you want to ask her a few questions. Actually, you'd like to ask her several dozen questions, but you doubt you can keep her on the phone for that long. You wish your mother were still alive. She would answer your questions. She would cheer you up. She would have liked B. She'd tell you how to handle things with him. She would have been thrilled to finally have a grandchild. She would be the last person on Earth to ever judge you about anything. If Mom were still on Earth.
You e-mail Dr. Dave to ask him for a little advice. You've already exchanged a few interesting e-mails about B with Dave. Then, you try to sleep.
It's now early evening. You got some sleep, showered, changed, looked up a few more things on the Internet. Dave actually called you after he saw your e-mail, and you talked about what to say to B and how to say it. B came to your house after work. You finished dinner (what little of it you ate, because you were so nervous) and are now sitting side-by-side, hand-in-hand, on the two-seater swing in your backyard. You're not swinging the swing (you're queasy enough already), but you're looking into his eyes and holding his hand. The weather has suddenly cooled. Temperatures have finally gone down over the last few days from the nineties and eighties of most of this hot summer into the upper sixties and seventies. Still warm for a late August night.
Here we go. Remember what Dave said. Don't get angry, be calm. Don't blame B. Yes, B has also told Dave he's wanted children. Just tell B the news.
You take a breath, and start:
"B, you know we've had a great summer together, right?"
"Right we have, love."
"You know I already love you very much, more than I've ever loved any other man?"
"You do? I knew you loved me, but I didn't know that."
"I'd like to think we can talk to each other whenever one of us has a problem."
"I'd like to think so, too. Is something wrong? Are you ill?"
"B, I'm pregnant."
"Wow." He looks surprised. You were surprised and shocked, even with clues. "I was afraid you were ill. You've been so tired and sick. But you're sure you're going to have a baby?"
"That's what the home pregnancy test said just before I called you."
"My baby? Our baby?"
"Well, who elses baby could it be? It's yours, mine, ours. I can hardly believe it either. At my age? When we weren't even trying? Apparently we were a bit careless while we were celebrating my birthday. And the due date calculators say I'm due April 29, just in time for your birthday."
He's holding you, laughing, even crying a little. "God and I sure gave you one hell of a fortieth birthday present!"
"Leave it to you to see it that way, B." Someday you'll look back at what he said and laugh.
"So I'm finally going to be a father."
"And I'm finally going to be a mother. Whether I want to be one or not."
"What? What did you just say?"
"I ... I'm scared, B, I'm very scared. Aren't you? My God, a child is a huge responsibility. It will change my life. And your life. Days ago we were talking about going to the Rolling Stones concert and our plans to go to Mackinac Island for Labor Day weekend. But today?"
"You can still see the Stones and go to concerts when you're pregnant. Can't you?" B asks. "And we can still take a trip, right?"
"That's not my point! My life's already changing from planning for having fun, to feeling sick and tired, to being worried sick! How will I handle working and caring for a baby on my own?"
"You won't be alone, J." B keeps holding you. But you didn't seem to hear him.
"I always swore I'd never be a single mother. In eight months or so, I'll be a single mother! Whatever will my family and friends think of me? I'm so scared."
"Well, yes, I have to admit, the thought of parenthood is scary."
"See? See what I mean? For one thing, I'm 40. You're 45."
"Thanks for the reminder, J."
"Sorry, B, but 40 is old for a woman to be pregnant. The complications, the problems? We're both kind of old to get up night after night to feed and change a baby, and to chase after a toddler. We'll be retired, or about to retire, when our child's in high school! We may not live to see our grandchildren! My father died two days before his 64th birthday. So much for my still needing him when he was 64. Your mother died young. Your father was how old when he ... "
Before you can finish asking him your question, B quickly changes the track of your train of thought. "You and I may live very long lives, thanks to modern medicine. Even if we pass away in our sixties or seventies, we would still live to see our child reach adulthood."
"You are right about that, aren't you?" B smiles at you. "Okay. Back to the present: You and I are not married. You and I should know each other much better, and not just in the Biblical sense, before we can even think about getting married."
"So what would you like to know?"
"All sorts of things, B! How you feel and think about marriage, for one big thing. And how you and I feel about raising children. Where would we live? Would they even *let* you keep living here? Would you and I and the baby keep moving to different countries for your career?" Or would he want to settle down in one place, as you now remember he talked about during your first dinner together.
"That is a lot for us to discuss," he says. "I'm not sure I know all of those things."
"I'm not sure I know those things either. We may have to make it up as we go along." You hug him. "You can relax, B. I won't put a shotgun to your head and make you marry me now only because I'm, as you'd say in Dublin, 'up the pole.' Believe me, this was an accident. I'm not going to rush into marriage just because I'm pregnant. Even though I love the man, and he loves to tell me he loves me, and I believe children need both of their parents."
"Thank you. I think."
"You've told me you're not sure if you'll be staying in America for more than two years, and the most the U.S. government would let you stay under your work visa would be seven years. You told my family the same thing a few weeks ago."
"Your government would let me apply for a permanent stay if I married an American citizen, wouldn't they?"
Hey, was that a ... Maybe it was! B continues before you can decide or respond.
"Our child would also be an Irish citizen, even if it's born here, because I am an Irish citizen. You could marry me, the three of us could live in Ireland, and you could apply for Irish citizenship."
"I hadn't thought of that." Why? Maybe because you never seriously thought you would or could ever live in another country? Or have a foreign-born spouse? Maybe you didn't think he'd ever marry you?
"We could pick a third country. How about a move across the river to Canada? There's the UK, I've always loved London. Might you consider settling in Africa, or does that seem too adventurous for family life? They tell me Australia is a nice place to live. 'Course, we could always find a little uninhabited tropical island and start our own three-person country." He winks at you. For only the first time all day, you laugh.
"Funny you should mention a tropical island. Because I was imagining you'd left me desperate in Detroit with a crying blue-eyed, brown-haired baby boy. Meanwhile, they told me you'd died in a plane crash on your way to the South Sea Islands. But I could still see you, B, very much alive, sitting on a tropical island beach. Surrounded by beautiful, virginal native girls putting flowers in your hair while you sipped Guinness or white wine. I just couldn't see you ever sipping fruity tropical drinks, though."
"Ooooh! J, I must call my travel agent and book a ticket to the islands. Where's my cell phone? Did I lose it again? Kidding, kidding! Ow!" he says as you take a playful swat at his arm.
"Try that stunt and you'd better fake your death very well, Mister Hewson."
"Well, those virgins wouldn't stay virgins for long around me, would they? They'd be young and fertile and having my babies. Then I'd be building a raft to get myself back to civilization and to you and our baby. So I'll stay here with you. I don't want to leave you, J, I love you. I want to be with you and make this work."
B puts his hand on your abdomen. "Yes, this is sudden and it's going to be scary, J. Yes, you and I will have to be responsible grown-ups. But c'mon, J! It's not all bad! What about all the fun things about babies? Don't you think babies are cute? Every woman does! Don't you think baby pictures and baby clothes are cute? I know you think so; I saw you coo over baby shoes the other day while while we were at the store."
"You've got me there, B. Yes, babies are adorable. So are baby pictures and baby clothes. For some reason, I have always thought baby shoes are especially cute."
"They probably even make baby sunglasses! Can't you just see my baby wearing little sunglasses?"
Now that's funny. And sweet. You can just see B, holding a baby. His baby. Father and child both in dark sunglasses. Someone probably does sell baby sunglasses on some Internet site. What a great Christmas or Father's Day gift for B! Maybe even for Sweetest Day in October?
B's on a roll: "What about all the fun we'd have watching a baby -- our baby -- discover the world? Playing peek-a-boo? Splashing in a bath? Trips to the park and the zoo and the beach? Rides in the car? Singing lullabies? Visiting Grandma Joan and Great Aunt Jo and Aunt Sue? Seeing cousin Emily at school? Seeing Ireland and my family? First Christmas? And think of all those classic children's books you can bring home! Bedtime stories! Told by a mom who's a librarian!"
"And by a dramatic and silly dad who loves to read. Say, B, I'll bet you've never slept with a pregnant woman before. No, wait. You could have, you almost have. Sorry I turned you down the other night. I was feeling queasy and tired. I'm hoping to get back in the mood as this goes on."
"So we still can?"
"They say we still can. It's one of the first things I checked on the Internet and asked my doctor's office. I just wish I felt up to it."
"Still want to go to the concert?"
"I searched the Internet and asked my doctor's office that too. No one gives a definite yes-or-no answer, but it looks like I could get away with one loud rock concert."
"And our weekend trip?"
"I don't know ... I was looking forward to it weeks ago, but now I'm just tired. I may do a lot of sleeping and I may need to take pit stops. Maybe I should ask my doctor first? I'm seeing her on Friday morning."
"Would you like me to go to the doctor with you?"
"Yes, that would be nice! I think she would have some questions about your health and your family history, things I can't quite answer. Although you're very energetic for a man in his forties -- and I'm not just talking about bed, B." Half the men you know who are in their forties like to complain about their aches and pains. Not B, even if he has aches and pains. He just keeps on going and going and going through life like the Energizer Bunny on fresh batteries. Where does the man get his energy? (Maybe from Guinness?) You wish you still had yours, and you know he's going to need his even more now. You hope your child gets his energy, his spirit.
"And she could answer your questions too, since you're always so curious." You hold him closer. This may work out after all.
"You're pretty curious, too, J."
"Maybe that's what got me into my current condition?"
"J, it'll be okay. We'll be okay. Remember, I love you."
On Friday morning, B drives you to Doctor Raphael's office.
You're called into the examining room shortly after you arrive. Which is okay. You can read the old copies of Parents magazine and all the pregnancy magazines during your other visits. You exchange the urine sample you brought for the paper gown the nurse gives you.
"Don't look, B. I don't want you to get excited here and now," you tell him before you disrobe. B closes his eyes and turns his head as you undress in the small room.
"Who'd want to do it in a doctor's surgery anyway?" he asks, eyes shut.
"It's okay, you can look now," you tell him as you sit in the ill-fitting paper gown. Those things are always short on you.
"Oh, yeah, love of my life, come here, I must have you now," he laughs. "Those gowns are ghastly, aren't they?" He kisses you.
The nurse comes in, takes your vital signs, draws your blood, asks you for the date of your last period. "Doctor will be with you shortly," she tells you.
Doctor Raphael comes in, asks you both about your medical history. You remind her of yours and your family's, B tells her his and his family's. You did tell him to expect this, asked him to please be honest with you and your doctor, asked him to tell you anything really big, shocking, or embarrasing first before he tells it to your doctor. There wasn't really anything. No horrible genetic diseases. Some history of cancer and heart disease and Parkinsons Disease in both families. B had the usual childhood diseases. He tells your doctor he's finally learned how not to drink too much. He smokes a few cigarettes or cheroots or a cigar every week -- but he wants to quit smoking.
After the health history, your doctor addresses B. "I'd like to talk to Jo alone for a few minutes, Mr. Hewson," Dr. Raphael tells B. He takes a seat in the waiting room.
"It's good he came with you, Jo. But I asked him to leave for an important reason. I need to talk to you about your relationship and how pregnancy might affect it. I understand you're not married?"
"Yes, we only met at the beginning of summer. We have fallen in love, but I am concerned that this happened so suddenly and we haven't known each other for very long. This was accidental. I didn't do it to trap him. I hope he's not trying to trap me. He's not a U.S. citizen, he's Irish, and he's only here for a few years on a work visa. But he has a very good job, and I think he'd like to go back to Ireland at the end of his work assignment. He's not an illegal immigrant who has to get married to stay here. He seems supportive, and he mentioned wanting children when we met. But neither one of us has ever had children before, and neither one of us has ever been married."
"You're right to be concerned. You may not like this question, but I need to ask it: Has there ever been domestic violence in your relationship?"
"No. We've had one fight, a few weeks ago. It wasn't violent, and we settled it almost as quickly as it started. We hardly ever disagree about anything. I don't know whether that's because we haven't known each other long. Or whether it's because we really do get along well with each other."
"Pregnancy is a stressful time for couples. Unfortunately, many pregnant women are battered by their husbands or boyfriends. Some are even murdered by the men in their lives. If things change between you and your boyfriend, don't allow yourself or your child to be abused. Call the police and press charges, even if it means he could be deported. Go to the county women's shelter immediately if you're in danger. Get a personal protection order or a restraining order." She gives you pamphlets on domestic violence. "Put these in your purse. Read through these and keep them. Even if you don't need them, maybe another woman you know will."
Next, she examines you. How you hate these exams. At least B will be there to hold your hand afterwards.
"Yes, you appear to be about five weeks pregnant," the doctor tells you both after she finishes the exam and the test results come back. You're back in your regular clothes and B is back in the room, sitting next to you again. Your due date is the same as the Internet calculators: April 29.
"According to the Internet calculators I tried and the times we had sex, the conception date would have been August 6? Would that be right?" you ask your doctor.
"That sounds about right." She glances at your chart. "That's your birthday, isn't it? Sounds like someone did a little celebrating."
"Why, yes, we did." You squeeze B's hand. He squeezes back.
"And now you're going to have a baby. I know you didn't plan this. I know you haven't known each other long, and it won't be easy for either one of you. But if you want to have this baby together, you can make your relationship stronger. Be supportive of each other, be kind to each other. You do have eight months together before the big event. Talk about your future with the baby and each other. Take baby care and Lamaze classes. Talk things over with a counselor or a minister. Pregnancy is a stressful time for every couple, but it's also exciting and rewarding. Enjoy it together. Now that I've said that to you, we have a lot of other things to discuss. You said you've been tired and you've been having morning sickness?"
Your doctor discusses morning sickness, how to get rest, how often you'll be seeing her, the risks of pregnancy at your age, when your ultrasound will be, when you'll hear the baby's heartbeat, special tests, and when B should come back with you. She suggests a few books and Web sites for you and B to read, gives you prescriptions for prenatal vitamins, tells you about morning sickness remedies (small and more frequent meals, crackers, and good old Vernors ginger ale). Working at your job should be fine for most of your pregnancy. Yes, sex is fine whenever you feel up to it again. A weekend or week's trip together is a very good idea. But you may want to wait and take it during your second trimester, when you should be feeling much better. And it's up to you to decide when to tell your family and friends and employer; you may want to wait until after your 12th week, when most of the risk of miscarriage has passed.
"What about going to a rock concert? We have tickets to see the Rolling Stones next week, and I wondered about the volume being harmful to the baby," you ask.
"I know, it's only rock and roll." Dr. Raphael smiles at her joke. "One concert this early in pregnancy shouldn't make a difference. Go, have a good time. I may even see you there. I'm a fan of theirs too."
You soon leave, take the prescription to your drugstore, and go back to work. You go to the concert the next week as you planned, and have a good time with your aunt and uncle. You resist the temptation to tell your aunt about your pregnancy. And your doctor's seats were only two rows away from yours and B's.
And after talking it over, you and B decide to postpone your trip until the fall.
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