August: Dog Days of Summer

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Story Part 2

OK-I promised "my story part 2" for tonight, so here goes...
In the summer of 1996, I moved out to New Mexico from Boston. I didn't know anyone here, nor did I really have any kind of handle on what part of town to live in, so I rented an apartment in a very new, very large apartment complex right up next to the mountains. It was the kind of newly developed apartment complex in which people rented for short-term, or visiting situations. Not exactly the type of place families were settling for years on end. Generic, white-carpeted places with a central "clubhouse" and pool- sort of a long-term mid-level hotel. NOT my kind of place. A few months after I had been living there, (by this time I had made some friends, and even managed to establish a casual affair) one of my closest girlfriends from Boston decided to "follow me" out west, and moved out here to be my roommate. We switched to a larger apartment in the same complex shortly before Thanksgiving in 1996. In the spring of 1997, she decided it was time for her to go even further west, and she and I drove all her belongings and her cat, out to L.A. That was a really great trip and worth its own post or two entirely, but not tonight....
When I got back from this road trip, I immediately began looking for some kind of small house or condo to buy- this time, in the exact opposite part of town. I wanted something old, adobe, wood floors, in the Valley, surrounded by big trees and cozy. The antithesis of where and in what I currently was. I found exactly what I was searching for- a small older adobe condo which had one shared wall with another- really a "casita" (small house) in a well established adobe condo complex. Lots of big, old cottonwood and elm trees, near the river- perfect. Almost. It was dark and dated, and had awful old brick floors. But it had good bones and I saw its potential. Plus I got it for a steal!
I had some friends through work, who were also good friends with an independent contractor who would do all the work I proposed to bring the place "up to scratch." Which was a LOT. I pretty much gutted the place and started over. One of the workmen on this job, was a cutie-pie who I "took up" with. This was a very weird relationship (and I use the term relationship VERY loosely). It was really more of series of getting drunk in various bars, then going home and having lots and lots of sex. Really stupid, immature and irresponsible. And did I mention really drunken?  Sometime in the late winter of 1998, we made a big mistake. We had always used something, but one night (isn't it funny how things always seem to happen the 'ONE TIME' you're not careful!?) when I had a nice fire going in the fireplace,  we laid out blankets and pillows on the floor- all very romantic, we decided not to use anything. Well, a few weeks later- you guessed it- preg-o.
When I called to tell him, the immediate response was, "You connived and planned this"... along with a further abusive barrage. Nice. Really nice. I can't even remember what my reaction was. There was a great deal about this time that I do not remember. It was pretty traumatic. I do recall deciding that perhaps I might keep this baby. I had a good job, I owned my own home, had health insurance, and I was going to turn 30 in a few months. Seemed like an OK time to be a single mom- I could do it. I called my parents to talk to them about it, and my Mom (who had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer only a few months previous) sobbed into the phone that "I was killing her." Great. Let's add a large helping of guilt with guilt, shall we?
I do not remember how I came to the decision to not take the pregnancy any further, but somewhere along the road about a week or two later, I did. I never had any sickness with this pregnancy. My breasts became larger and tender, and darker. I developed a very early ligna-negra that stayed for a long time. I never threw up or had any real nausea. I did have a very heightened sense of smell, but no odd cravings of any kind. Somehow, the "guy" (who I'll refer to as TM), decided maybe he should step up. On the day we were to go to my doctor's office for an abortion, I drove over to his apartment to pick him up, as he said he'd go with me. Sitting in his small living room, he looked at me with sheepish shame, and asked if I would drive him over to a clinic "after" so he could get an STD and AIDS test. Apparently, the entire time he had been seeing me, he had also been "taking up" with a woman he had said was "his Ex," who, upon hearing that he had gotten me knocked up, insisted he go get a bunch of tests, assuming I was some nasty Ho. When I heard this, my initial instinct was pure fight-or-flight and I jumped up and ran out of his apartment and into the street. It was like a bad movie. A really bad movie. When I stopped running to catch my breath, he came trotting up behind me, and said to come back in, not to worry about it, that he would figure something else out, etc. He did come to the doctor's office, though I never spoke another word to him. When they did an ultrasound, they would not let me see the screen, or hear anything (along the lines of a heartbeat.) I have no idea what was seen on that imaging. The doctor came back into the room and told us that they couldn't do the abortion that day. That I wasn't FAR ALONG ENOUGH to be sure to "get everything out." I honestly can't remember where I dropped TM off after that- probably back at his apartment. I never spoke to or heard from him again. Good riddance.
My Mom and I had never had a very great or close relationship growing up. Her reaction when I told her about the pregnancy of "you're killing me" was pretty typical of her self-centered attitude toward me. I'm not "mom-bashing" by any means. I loved my mom, and our relationship was really not that out of the ordinary as far as mothers-and-daughters goes. But I called her. Because I really needed her.  For the very first time in my life, my mom came out to be with me- just because I really needed her. I picked her up at the airport a couple of weeks later. I had just gotten a new SUV, and I had to help her climb up into it (she was already going through her own cancer treatments.) 
On the morning we were to go back to the doctor's for the abortion, I started bleeding. Heavily. I had started to miscarry. When we went in, the doctor confirmed that I was already or had already lost most of the pregnancy, but she would do some precautionary "clean up" by performing a D and C. Right there in an exam room. No novocaine. Of any kind. Mom had to throw her entire body over mine, to hold me down on the table while this doctor yanked my cervix- my non-numbed cervix, open. Open enough to get a large syringe into, to "suck out" whatever was left inside my uterus.
When we got home, I was shaking so badly, mom had to lay on my pulled-out sofa bed with her body mostly over mine again, to help control the shaking. I remember for the next few days just hibernating on that sofa bed, ordering Chinese take-out, watching movies, drinking wine, talking and laughing. It was one of the best times I ever spent with her, after the worst time of my life.
For many months after this, I developed recurring uterine infections and complications- heavy bleeding, pain, passing huge clots, fevers, intermittent periods, you name it. My body was a mess. My uterus must have been a mess. My psyche was a mess.
This experience sparked a time to follow, of intense inner turmoil, along with revelations and epiphanies. It was my bottom. I definitely came out of it much wiser and more cautious. But it was a rough go for a while.

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