Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Once again, the annual requisite time to fete our mothers has arrived, and this year my family and I will be going to celebrate by way of a ridiculous amount of beef served drenched in butter. Yes, I learned how to eat from my mother - she is a woman of fantastic appetite and I adore her for it since I'm certain that my inability to be satisfied is hereditary. I've watched her eat two lobsters and a sirloin steak in one sitting, finishing her meal with a cup of banana pudding. Good job, Mom!

Now, she'll never be reading this blog. Ever. So here I feel it's a fine time to think about the fact that I could have a six year old child. I probably shouldn't ruminate about it too much since all signs point to "GOOD THING YOU DIDN'T" as a brief examination of my current situation reveals I can barely take care of myself, let alone a child.

Yes, I had an abortion three months into my last long term, serious relationship. I wrote about the experience afterward but never felt comfortable enough to share it. But hey, time has passed and I am now ready. Below, you can read it in its entirety.

Yesterday I rose without the aid of my alarm clock, eyes snapping open every fifteen minutes to see the hazy red digital numbers across the room. If only every day I were that alert at 8am. Perhaps then my life would make some sense, and I'd at least be able to pay my portion of the cable bill without emailing my father every four weeks.

We walked in the early haze of the morning six blocks, me complaining the whole way about how hot it was already, "and it's only 9 am!" He held my hand, clutching a pinky when I slipped my palm out, claiming it was too sweaty to walk that way. A car turned the corner beside us; it was a sporty silver convertible. "That's the kind of guy who has a small dick," I muttered, glaring at the back of the driver's balding head.

The waiting room was cordoned off by a surly security guard who neglected to tell the girl ahead of me to take off her studded metal belt before walking through the detector. It was set off repeatedly until she finally slipped it off. I removed my own red leather belt and handed the guard my handbag to inspect as I walked silently through the threshold. My boyfriend deposited his keys into the basket and followed suit, equally silent.

The room was crowded with young women, some accompanied by young men. We knew they were there for the same reason we were. Other girls scrawled their names onto a seperate list, the one not marked "surgical and medical procedures." An ounce of prevention. We settled into two available corner seats, his arms snaking around mine, my head nestled in the crook between his neck and shoulder.

Half an hour later, my name was called. "Go home," I told him. "You don't need to sit here waiting. I will call you in a few hours."
"I wish I could go in with you. Are you sure you don't want me to wait for you?"
"Go home," I repeated, kissing his face. "I love you."
He smiled, lower lip catching on his fetchingly crooked tooth. "Remember," he said, "don't ask how old."
I nodded, and turned away.

A woman ushered me inside where I filled out forms, and was sent to another room upstairs where I was instructed to wait. I slumped in the chair, knees pressed tight, shoulders hunched and pulled forward, head bowed, trying to sleep. A technician called my name, and beckoned me into a room where I slid onto an examining table, the protective paper crinkling beneath my weight. The jelly was cold, and the roller ball was hard, especially when she pressed it against my uterus. I gasped and sucked in fast, the air cooling in little pools around my tongue.

I waited again in the reception area, the voice over of the nearby television instructing me how to apply jelly to a diaphragm properly. "Will it slip during sex?" a girl on the program asked. I tried to sleep, but my neck cramped. After a half hour, I was brought into another room, where another technician drew my blood, strapping a rubber tourniquet around my forearm. "Your veins have a tendency to roll," he informed me. I winced and looked away as he slid the tip of the needle into my skin.

Back in the reception area, the voice over was now discussing how to buy condoms in a drugstore. "Look at that," the male voice crowed, "I bought them and she didn't even bat an eye. She was totally cool with it!" An older blonde woman approached the receptionist and asked how long the wait would be. "About four hours," came the reply.
"So I can tell someone to come get me about four?" she quizzed, her hair as frazzled as her voice.
"That would be about right," the receptionist said, not unkindly.

I spent half an hour attempting to curl myself into some comfortable semblence of a position before I was instructed by a woman clutching a clipboard to enter another section. She was a Russian woman with unusually pretty green eyes. She introduced herself as Irina in a thick accent, and asked me to sign a battery of forms. As soon as I dropped the pen and shoved the papers back across the desk at her, she cleared her throat and said, "You are seven weeks and one day."

I immediately attempted to calculate silently when that was: June, May, April. What had we done that day? Where had we been? This was what I was not supposed to know. I bit my lip and thought, "Thursday in April."

"What is your reason for being here today?" she asked me.
I waved my hand dismissively. "Oh, you know, the usual. finances. bad timing."
She nodded. "Do you need to know about birth control?"
I laughed. "I've been on the pill for almost ten years. I have a case of OrthoTricyclen at home. I just missed a month and wouldn't you know it..." I muttered.
She brought up the topic of anaesthesia. "Twilight," I bleated. "I was told by my roommate who is a nursing student to get twilight."
"That's sedation with local anaesthesia," she replied. "Is that what you want?"

I looked across Irina's shoulder, watching the older blonde woman from the reception area on the telephone. "I have no money," she bawled. "Can you come and pick me up?" She ran a hand through her mess of frizzed curls, listening to the other person's response. "I can't do that. You want me to call my sister? You want me to bring my family into this?" she sobbed and hung up the telephone.

Irina stood up and handed me a clear plastic bag, instructing me to disrobe and place my belongings inside the bag. I was also given a robe and paper slippers to wear. I asked irina for latex gloves to remove my tongue ring, and she obliged. I twisted off the bottom ball and placed the barbell into my wallet before slipping out of my skirt and tee shirt with the sleeves cut off. The paper slippers crinkled as I crossed the floor into the last waiting area.

Six or seven girls watched "The Maury Povich Show" with disinterest. The topic: determining the paternity of children. Commercials bleated on about the beauty of motherhood. Toddlers crawled across the screen. I balled my fists and pressed them against my thighs. Next it was "Springer" where we were amused as a collective audience over the shenanigans of transsexual adulterous affairs. We watched, we waited.

"You look scared," one girl accused me. "What is this, your first one or something?"
I nodded.
"You have nothing to worry about," she said. "The first time, everyone's scared." She laughed. "Just ask to be knocked out with the local anaesthesia. You won't see or feel nothing."
"I asked for sedation," I quivered.
Another girl nodded consolingly. "Well you'll be all high. It'll be okay." She smiled at me. "I saw you with your man downstairs. You guys were real cute. A lot of girls don't even have a man like that."

One girl clutched her abdomen and announced she was five months. Another girl chimed, "At five months you know if it's a boy or a girl."

We waited.
We waited.
The doctors were out to lunch.
We waited.
We waited.

A nurse came in and suggested that we all emtpy our bladders. I obligingly went twice before being led into small operating room. The walls were salmon pink, and classical music was playing softly. "Lie down and legs back," the nurse said, assisting me by hefting my lower body up and onto the oversized stirrups.

The doctor snickered when she saw my arm full of tattoos. "Just use the other arm," I said, trying to be nice. "You can see the veins better there." She shook her head and jabbed me once. "I don't want twilight," I blurted nervous.
"There is no such thing as twilight," she responded nastily, pressing my wrist for a vein. "It's just sedation with local anaesthesia. You're conscious throughout the whole procedure."
"I want general," I stammered.
"Are you sure?"

She flicked a needle and plunged it into my wrist. I could feel the heavy weight, like lead, pulsing through my arm, and congealing into my throat. I coughed violently twice, my body heaving off the table.
I was about to shout out, "stop" when someone tapped my face gently.

"You're done," she said. I was sitting in a generously spaced leather chair, a maternity pad tucked between my thighs. I peered down at it and saw the tell-tale drops of blood spread across the downy absorbent pad. "Did you stain?" she asked. "Yes," I mumbled. She steered me over to a table where I poured myself a cup of apple juice and opened a packet of saltines. I'd been instructed to not eat or drink since midnight the previous day, and it was 3pm the next. The crackers balled into a paste between my teeth; I dislodged it by slurping more juice.

Another aide walked me to a desk and signed off on a prescription for the "morning after" pill. "Just in case," she told me. Then she handed me a packet of OrthoTricyclen. I tucked it into my handbag. "Do you have someone to pick you up?" she asked, and gestured to the phone.
"Yes," I said. "My boyfriend."

The elevator wasn't working, and I stumbled down the flight of stairs, my hand clenched against the railing, other hand bracing myself against the wall. Outside, It wasn't as hot as it'd been earlier. My boyfriend pulled up in my roommate's car.

"I love you," he said.
"They told me," I said. "but I won't tell you."
"I love you," he repeated.
"I love you too," I said, gazing out the window at CBGB.
June, July, August, September, October, November, December.