Boy, am I pissed! And boy, am I smiling through the pissedness!
But before I dive into smiling-rant-mode, let me start with the warm-n-fuzzy: thanks - of course - for the outpouring of support and congrats and all the wonderful things that I was hoping I'd manage to milk from the crowd. I love that stuff. I inhaled it like a cocaine-dusted cappucino cupcake. And thanks for not thinking of me as a completely insane freak, or - if you did think of me as such - withholding that information for now. I like knowing that other people have their fingers crossed for this maybe-baby. It makes me feel less alone inside my head.
You are now hoping this will now become a pregnancy-ticker kind of blog, aren't you? Complete with dancing infant-cherub graphics circling in loops around the text, and a flashing time-counter displaying the precise number of days and minutes until the due date? You want weekly (or daily!) ultrasound images displayed, specifically those 3-D kind that make a fetus resemble a Claymation alien, with genetalia enthusiastically circled in white marker. After my last post, you ran off to tell your friends and neighbors: GUESS WHAT! This blogger named Monica is this thing called 'pregnant' - it's a really unique and exotic condition that, nobody else on earth ever experiences! I hope she narrates every living second of it in great detail!
Well, sorry to be the breaker of bad news, but this isn't going to be a pregnancy-ticker kind of blog. Hell, you might not even hear a single solitary peep out of me about this "Normal Male" (direct quote from the laboratory) until he/it emerges from my pelvis in one form or another - not unless something extraordinarily interesting or hilarious happens. Not because I'm specifically avoiding the topic, but because what's there to say, really?
It's a fetus. It's a pregnancy. It's a condition that - just by being what it is - stings to hear about if you're a TTC/infertility-fighting sister. I realize that. It's a pregnancy just like any other of the godzillions of pregnancies that occur all over the world. It resulted from two people boinking like bunnies. It might result in a baby. It might not. I hope it does. I fear it won't. I'm getting fat. I eat lots of red meat and pickles. I still drink coffee, just about 1/200th of what I used to. I had a few deliciously naughty sips of Kevin's Curveball Ale in bed the other afternoon, where we were lying in a naked state after some deliciously naughty (if not slightly cumbersome) sex. I sleep during the day, and wake up fretfully at night. I get nosebleeds throughout the day. I feel flutters that could be fetal twig-limbs, or just gas from prune-overdose. That's it.
See how boring that is? There's SO much more riveting stuff to talk about, such as the fact that:
* * *
Did I mention that I'm pissed? Did I say that at the beginning of this post, or did I forget? In case I forget, let me repeat:
It it has to do with a corporate chain store, specifically this one hulking bitch called Motherhood Maternity, which preys on excited pregnant ladies ready to spend their cash. I went there yesterday, braving the Saturday afternoon mall-crowds, despite my better judgment, despite the knowledge that the employees there are ravenously sales-oriented, fake-perky, relentless about soliciting personal contact information and baby due dates so they can "keep track" of such things and send you lots of crap in the mail forever. At least they did back when I shopped there a few times in 2007, a fact about which I was grimly reminded for about 1.5 years after Zach's death with monthly formula samples and "your child just turned one! here's a 50%-off coupon for blah-blah-blah!" (I did call to stop these mailings, but was ignored - so I began using them as toilet paper and snot-scrapers).
I had a goal when I went back to Motherhood Maternity yesterday: to buy one simple item, an elastic band that you wear around the top of your regular pants when you start looking like this, and can no longer button your jeans:
I brought my elastic tummy-band to the counter and handed over my credit card. Predictably, the perky cashier asked when my due date was so she could put it "in the system."
Now, most pregnant girls, I realize, would eagerly and excitedly squeal something like: MARCH 15th! It's a boy! His name is going to be Snuffy! We're so excited! Thanks so much for asking, for wondering, for CARING about me! You must really care about your customers! I LOVE this store! You guys are like my best friend! I'll be back here LOTS of times! With my money! So we can talk about my due date again and you can help me by cute clothes!!!!
"Um, I actually don't like giving out that kind of information, " I said.
She sort of blinked at me and then narrowed her eyes a bit, probably thinking by now: ah. One of THOSE tight-assed, tight-walleted, tight-lipped customers. Not the type of gushing, bubbling shopper we like and expect in here.
"Well, I'll just pick a random date for you, then," she said, "just so we have something in the system. Have you been here before, so I can look you up?"
"No," I lied. Really, it was in the best interest of everyone to withhold the truth: her interest, my interest, and the interest of the growing line of silent women forming directly behind me. No need to bring up my prior shopping experiences there, that little reminder of a past...era, you could call it.
"Really? You haven't been here before?" She was eyeing me suspiciously. "What's your phone number?"
"I'd rather not say," I said. For in saying my phone number, she might in fact find me in the system, which would give away my bold-faced lie.
"We've moved around a lot, and we're moving again soon. So I don't, um, really have an address."
This was beginning to feel like a police interrogation session, not a shopping experience at the mall. You know, the big goof-up that interrogated criminals always make in movies is that they say too much, and then they end up saying something that contradicts something they said earlier, getting themselves deeper and deeper into a web of lies. I should have known that, but instead, I muttered: "Last time I did that, you guys sent me junk mail and baby formula samples for like...a year and a half. Anyway, what's the total? I'm kind of in a hurry."
"So you HAVE been here before!" she said. "I knew it!"
She ran credit card through the little machine, and I heard a little affirmative beeping sound, cringing at the sound of it.
"See? You're right here! Monica LeMoine. You came in here...let's see....2007 with a baby due in October. So this is your second child! Your other one must be...what...just two years old now? How exciting is that!!!"
Well, fuck. ExACTly what I was afraid of, that it would lead to this awkward and staticky moment, the women behind me silently waiting and overhearing our every word, not even any background music to talk beneath. Didn't I call it? So what do ya do? You have four options.
1) Grin and lie, just to save everybody face. "Yeah! The kid is fine! Just turned two! This is my second kid I'm pregnant with now! You're so right! It's like, so exciting I'm about to shit my motherfucking pants! WOO-HOO BABY!"
2) Get a steely look and hit her with the truth: the hardcore, sludgy, emotional, gloppity-gloop truth. Just put it right out there for everybody to feel awkard about. She sort of deserved to have that particular mudpie thrown in her face, wouldn't you say?
3) Pretend to have a seizure and suddenly collapse on the floor so the mall security has to come and cart you away. That way, you get to avoid answering her question. You don't get your muffin-top stopper, but no big deal - they have them at Target.
4) Change the subject abruptly to something completely random. "Oh, by the way, do you have any advice for excessive vaginal discharge? I mean, I know you're a sales associate and not a doctor, but I thought that...since...you're like my best friend all of a sudden, you might be able to give me some girlfriend-wisdom."
* * *
I went with option two. I hindsight, I wished I'd had the ingenuity and/or calmness of spirit to go with 1, 3, or 4. But two was the one that happened.
"Um, that kid was stillborn. Which is why I don't like giving out my mailing address - because you kept sending me stuff for a like eighteen months afterward even though I called to have that stopped."
And ya know what? She reacted the way I guess any old schmuck might have:
SHE LAUGHED!!! Kind of a smirky chuckle, rather, and said: "Noooo."
It was the sort of "noooo" you say when someone tells you something and you can't tell if they're being sarcastic, or you flat-out think they're pulling the wool over your eyes. As if you're listening to someone who lies and jokes about stuff all the time, lying as I'd lied just now, so you don't trust them to tell the truth. Or, perhaps it was it just too much for her little pea-brain to handle, the brutal notion that something *bad* might happen (gasp!), even in the midst of the happy bouncy fluorescent retail lighting and the happy bouncy maternity clothes and posters of happy bouncy pregnant women gracing the walls! Even in happy bouncy Motherhood Maternity land, where EVERYone yammers about due dates and stocks up on clothes and is just thrilled to be a part of this awesome world!
"I'm serious. He died."
The quiet line of ladies behind me suddenly got quieter, and somebody coughed. The lipsticked cashier kind of looked at me in this strange way, as if seriously debating whether to believe me or not - I could see this little mental machine behind her narrowed eyes, ticking away.
"Well, okay then. That'll be $16.99, please." (overpriced, yes, but a necessary accessory)
And it was all business from there on out. Print receipt, sign, simple nod of "thanks," and then "NEXT PLEASE!"
As I was scurrying out of there clutching my bag, I hear her ask perkily and with great hopes for a return to normalcy: "So! When's YOUR due date?"
* * *
It was one of those experiences that felt like I'd been sucked up into an alternate universe, forced to engage in awkward discourse with a stranger who spoke a totally different language, and then spit back out into the mall parking lot. I guess she had a right to laugh disbelievingly, for I was being a bit of a pill, after all, what with all my cranky withholding of personal information AND straight-up lying to her face. I cranked up the hip-hop station and jammed to Jay-Z on my drive home, and it wasn't until I pulled up in front of our house and turned off the engine that it came, as it sometimes does: an awareness.
Awareness, suddenly, of something not being there. Hollow shell of a child, invisible yet with a glassy outline like Wonder Woman's cartoon airplane, toodling around my feet and cramming Cheerios into his mouth. A two-year-old, not there. You'd think you wouldn't notice somebody not being there any more, two years later. I mean, it's not like I still miss my Smashing Pumpkins Gish CD years years after I accidentally tossed it into the garbage pile when we left Arkansas. But I guess CDs are babies are different. Who knew.
Fortunately - happy ending, happy ending! - my muffin-top is now happily contained, and last night I hit a night club with my brother and a gaggle of friends. We shook our booties to a hip-hop DJ, and - the best part - even Kevin made it out to the dance floor. After a few shots of tequilla, that is.
Who said mommies of invisible glass-outlined kids who aren't really there can't dance! :-)