Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Story in Black of Blue

Blue was my first pregnancy. My boyfriend, NAWP (for Not A Whole Person), and I were dating about two months before I got pregnant at the end of February. I figured at this point in my life (I was 33, now 34) I could handle an unplanned pregnancy. In fact, I kind of wanted one. That said, I wasn't trying to get pregnant, or trick him into it or anything. But NAWP didn't want one. He was 41, now 42, and I guess I just will never understand his thinking. He said he wanted kids. He said "fuck" when he saw the pregnancy test. He kept saying it was "too much, too soon" for us. I wasn't completely sure that he was the one either, but like I once told him, "You're good enough." We would make the best of it. But really only I was trying to make the best of it. Once he realized I was NOT having an abortion, he pretty much checked out then. Withdrew physically, emotionally...sometime in June told me he liked the way we'd become friends. Um, what? I didn't want to be his friend.

So, I know it wasn't going to be the sweet little life I imagined. But I didn't care. I wanted the baby SO MUCH. The thought of even a medication abortion was unbearable. Okay, so I didn't have a job or health insurance and I'd known this guy two months, but I didn't care. I was even prepared to have the baby alone. It wasn't really my first choice though, and when NAWP talked of how his "sense of personal responsibility" wouldn't let him walk away from his child, I was relieved. Even if I had had to convince him this life would be okay. Even if I had to basically beg him to have sex with me anymore. Even if I knew that other guys would have been happy even in this same situation.

I know NAWP was hoping--hoping!--I would miscarry. I told him I had a dream about it, and he asked how I felt when I woke up. This was still early enough to have the abortion. Thinly veiled! When I saw the heartbeat at 8 weeks and my doctor told me miscarriage was very rare at this point, and especially once you make it to 10 weeks, he seemed kind of resigned. So we started planning for me to move in with him in Washington, DC, and I applied for health insurance there through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program (do not get me started on how pregnant women cannot buy health insurance in most states in this country!). I didn't get any of my lab work done until 17 weeks when I had the insurance, because my doctor told me the labs were "pretty expensive." Cue ominous music, right?

Well, my first doctor in DC ordered all regular labs except one. I didn't like that practice and the hospital was not recommended by friends so I switched for the next appointment, at 21 weeks because July 4 weekend was 20 weeks, otherwise I would have tried to get back on track with the appointments happening in the right weeks. We had the "big" ultrasound and watched the little alien kicking around in my belly. It was a boy alien! And this doctor had me screened for cystic fibrosis (CF) carrier status. When she called the next week and left a message about something, I was actually hoping it was the CF result, rather than something she saw on the scan. And it was the CF test; I was positive.

Big fight with NAWP about how urgent it was for him to get his screening test. The doctor was like, "hey, whatever, don't worry, it's highly unlikely you're both carriers, it's just in case, because you're pretty far along." But since NAWP was soon going out of town for work he went for his test right away. Positive.

Now we had one in four odds the baby would have CF. I was 23 weeks pregnant. And though people kept telling me the odds were "overwhelmingly" in my favor, I just kept thinking that the possibility he would have blue eyes did not seem remote. Those were the same odds.

The amnio went fine and we got the diagnosis a week later. I had been preparing for the worst, pre-grieving as they say, but as the week went on I started to imagine the short, sweet text I would send to NAWP, still away for work--"He's healthy!"

But he was sick. Two mutations on the CFTR gene, two f508 deltas--the "regular" kind of cystic fibrosis*. We could have known about this 12 weeks earlier with CVS. I just can't get over that, whether it's pointless or not. I didn't have to love my baby so much (as if I didn't from the very beginning), I didn't have to feel him move around for weeks. The whole process of learning the diagnosis, learning about the disease, deciding whether our baby would live or was agony. It IS agony. (At least that is what I remember feeling, f'ing Prozac!)

I have the tiny comfort and luxury of believing there is nothing to indicate that a future pregnancy will be problematic. All I want is to get pregnant again soon, but since NAWP is not a whole person, I have no idea when that can happen.

It's like NAWP got what he wanted--no relationship and no baby. He cried a lot too but he didn't feel even a fraction of what I felt. And I guess that's just how it is--the guys don't get it. "I want to be there for you," he told me as we discussed whether we would stay together. "But you can't," I said.

"But I can't."

He always said "I do love you," like he was trying to convince the both of us. He didn't want to try. He thought things would just go back to "being awesome" by themselves. That we'd stop being sad one day and then we could pick up where we left off when I got pregnant. As if I would just forget everything in between. He wanted me to get a job right away, he didn't seem to want me physically around. I suppose I was a reminder that our baby was dead, and maybe even a reminder that that's a little bit what he wanted. Now that I left I feel like he's gotten his way. I don't care if it's not really true, if he's sad too. He doesn't deserve to be sad the way I am.

I am staying with my parents for a bit. My patient, loving, understanding, generous parents. I don't know what I would do without them. And I am trying to recover from this nightmare, and trying to see a way to move forward. I am trying not to miss the life I wished for, because when what you miss is a fantasy, everything you miss is so fucking perfect.

I would take the reality, the surely sometimes ugly reality, with NAWP, if it meant I could have Blue. 

* For information on CF visit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation web site at

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry that this happened to you. It is excruciating to hear that something is wrong with your baby. We heard that for a long time. Tonight I am sending you peace and I hope you can feel it.