A Dark Secret

I have a secret.  It’s buried deep within me.  I don’t want it out.  But I think you’ll understand.

When I decided to get pregnant, I spent months agonizing over the decision.  I weighed the pros and cons.  I knew I wanted another child.  But was it practical?  Was it a need?  Was it a smart decision?  We’re in a rental home, and The Husband is rebuilding his business in a time of economic down turn.  I had my hands full with the boys.  I had other issues that I should be deal with.  But I still wanted that child.  It didn’t seem logical.  In fact, it was quite illogical.  Stupid as I made my list of cons.  I hate doing something stupid.  But there it was a calling to have another child.  A strong desire that I had only felt once when working towards college and picking the unpractical degree of Creative Writing.

So then I asked the really hard question.  Did I want another child or just a daughter?  If it was a daughter, then I might as well start saving for adoption.  I began research over adoption, foreign and domestic.  I continued to analyze my want.  In the end, I realized I wanted another child.  I be perfectly happy with another son.

So after months of praying, thinking, meditating, I told The Husband, who had no idea I was going through such a mental crisis, that I truly wanted another child.  He was already on board.  But since I couldn’t deny a little girl would be nice, I decided to naturally switch the odds in my favor.

Tomorrow I’ll find out if I did.

And I’m nervous.

What if I wasn’t really honest with myself after all that soul searching?  What if I truly wanted a daughter so bad my heart bled with want?  What if I’m disappointed that it’s a boy?

I wasn’t disappointed with the first two pregnancies.  I thought I could always have another.  With Tornado E, we found out the moment he entered the world and the doctor checked.  My mom and The Husband were so sure he would be a girl, but he was a boy.  I was so excited that I kept saying “it’s a boy” over and over again.  With Tornado S we decided to find out just so we could have everything ready.  The Husband, Tornado E, and I stared at the screen as the technician rolled the instrument over my belly.  She announced, “It’s a boy.”  The Husband asked if she was sure.  She was very sure.  I said, “We’re still buying a play kitchen.”  The Husband was worried I would be disappointed, kept watching for signs that I didn’t love the baby enough.

Any mother would find that preposterous.  How could I not love my baby to the fullest extent of my heart and beyond?  Boy, girl, it doesn’t matter.  It’s my baby.  So I know that if the little bean is a boy, I will love him to the point of breaking my heart.  And thanks to Raising Boys Without Men, I feel more comfortable with the thought of raising men who won’t run off and forget their mom.

But what if tomorrow there is just a moment of disappointment?  Just a slight part of a second where I realize I won’t have a daughter.  I think I will cry for that moment of doubt.  But to make it worse, what if The Husband sees that flicker of disappointment across my face?  Because he won’t understand.  He’ll always wonder if I don’t love my third son as much as the other two because he was another boy.

This is why I hate opening up presents in front of people.  Sure, there are things I truly want, sometimes expect to get.   But there’s that brief moment of empty disappointment over realizing you didn’t get what you want.  Sure, you’re extremely ecstatic that you got this awesome present from people who thought about you and love you, but it wasn’t really what you wanted.  Your voice sounds fake to your own ears as you thank them.  The disappointment fades off as you brag about the gift to other people, but you always wonder if the givers ever knew you weren’t really excited those first few minutes.

Part of me doesn’t want to know tomorrow.  There’s a chance hope will die.  But in its place will be love and excitement.  I wish I could know without anyone there, without worrying about what I feel or say or think or look like.  I just want to absorb the fact.  If I thought The Husband would understand, I would ask if they could just put it in an envelope for us to look at later, and then I could open it without anyone there.  But The Husband is super excited.  He hated waiting to find out Tornado E was.  I don’t think I could sell him on the envelope idea.

Doubt about God, Heaven and Hell, the brilliance of Shakespeare, I can handle.  I don’t know if I can handle doubting myself.

 
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Leaking Out the News the First Time.

When I first came out of the bathroom when I was pregnant with Tornado E, I kept my head bowed.  I dragged my feet.  I walked slowly into the family room, where The Husband watched TV, waiting for the news.  He jumped up and hugged me.

The Husband: I’m sorry, sweetheart.  We’ll try harder next time.

Me: We don’t have to.  I’m pregnant.

I smiled at him.  It took half a second to sink in.

The Husband: You’re pregnant!  That’s great.  (We hugged again.  We kissed.)  Call your mom.

I grabbed the phone and dialed.

My Dad: (sounding groggy) Hello?

Me: Dad?  Is Mom there?

My Dad: No, she’s out with her friends.

Me: Really?  She’s out on a Friday night.  After you had surgery yesterday?  How are you doing, Dad?

My Dad: I’m ok.  These pain pills work wonders.  Whacha need, Fae?

Me: Oh, nothing.  It’s just that I’m pregnant.

My Dad: (pause) Is this a good thing?

Me: Yes.

My Dad: Well, then I’m happy for you.

Me: Thanks, Dad.  Dad?

My Dad: Yes?

Me: Get some rest.  You sound like you need it.

My Dad: Ok.  I love you.

Me: I love you too.  Goodnight.

My Dad: Good night.

I hung up the phone and turned to The Husband.

The Husband: There was a lot less screaming than I imagined.

Me: My mom is out with The Council of Women.  She left my dad alone.  He’s still out of it from surgery.

The Husband: Huh.  Well, it’s still early.  You want to go see a movie?

Me: No, I have to open tomorrow.  Let’s just watch TV.

An hour later the phone rang.

Me: Hello?

My Mom: Your dad said you needed to tell me something.

Me: You left Dad alone after his surgery?

My Mom: It was Friend’s birthday!  We’ve been planning this for months.  Besides your father was just fine when left him.  He said it was fine if I went.

Me: Fine, Mom.  I’m just surprised.

My Mom: Is that what you wanted to tell me?  To scold me for leaving your father helpless?

Me: No.  I wanted to tell you I’m pregnant.

My Mom: You’re pregnant!  I knew it!  That’s wonderful, baby!  Congratulations!

Me: You, too, Grandma.

My Mom: I’m going to be a Grandma!

Me: Yes.  Mom?  It’s late.  I have to be at work at 6 tomorrow.

My Mom: Oh.  Right.  Well, call me tomorrow when you get off.

Me: Fine, Mom.  I love you

My Mom: I love you. Good night, dear.

Me: Good night.

***

The phone rang just as I peeled out of my work clothes.  Working for the benefits.  Working for the benefits.

Me: Hello?

My Dad: Your mother told me I have to apologize.

Me: For what?

My Dad: For not being enthusiastic enough last night.

Me: Oh.  Well, you did better than The Husband’s Dad.  His first words were “Oh no.”

My Dad: (Laughter) I’m happy for you, baby.  I really am.  If you’re happy, than I am.

Me: Well, as soon as I stop feeling to nauseas, I’ll be happier.

My Dad: Then I’ll be happier then too.

Me: Thanks, Dad.  Um, should I talk to Mom now so that you don’t get yelled out for hanging up before she talks to me?

My Dad: Yup.

***

That weekend I made The Husband promise not to tell anyone until we know for sure that we were pregnant.  He ended up telling J and his girlfriend D, who happened to work for a great OB/GYN.  She insisted I call on Monday to get an appointment, promising me that she would get me in.

Monday I called.

Front office: Hello?  Dr’s office.

Me: Um, hi.  I need to make an um appointment.

Front office:  Oh?  And what can I do for you?

Me: Uh, I think I’m uh pregnant.

Front Office: Ok.  Well, why don’t you find out for sure and call us back for an appointment?  Ok?

Me: Um, ok.  Thank you.

Click.

Hmmm.  That went less well than expected.

The phone rang.

Me: Hello?

D: Faemom.  (sigh) You’re pregnant if you have a positive on a pregnancy test.

Me: Oh?  They’re that accurate.

D: (sigh) Yes.  I’m transferring you back to the Front Office.  Tell them you got a positive on your pregnancy test.  They’ll take care of it all.

Me: Oh.

And as for that promise.  By the end of the week, everyone knew.  EVERYONE.  To this day, I’m sure The Husband put a billboard up on one of the major freeways in Orange County.  The best part was the hurt and nagging that came from friends who heard it from their husbands.  Thanks, The Husband.

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