Primo's divorce was final in December 2007. Finally. Although we could not get married until he had been divorced for six months (dumb nanny state law), he could add me to his company's health insurance plan as a domestic partner, which seemed silly to me. That option should be available only to gay couples because straight couples can get married and I don't see why any company or government should subsidize straight folks who just want to shack up, but in this case, it worked to our advantage so whatever. At least this wasn't out of anyone's tax money. He signed me up, I cancelled my individual health insurance with the $5,000 deductible, and I threw away the birth control pills.
Not that I was optimistic because I was already 44 and that is kind of old. But my grandmother had twins at 42 and my great grandmother had her last child at 48. She lost seven children to diptheria in six days and then had eight more. Vaccines are good.
I did talk to a fertility doc to see if there was any kind of magic get pregnant right away pill I could take. The middle-aged equivalent of climbing into the back seat of a car with a six pack. Not that I have gone my whole life about to die to have a baby, but Primo really wanted one and I've always thought it would be nice to have adult children someday, although I am not sure about the steps you have to take to get there. The whole baby/toddler/childhood thing seemed kind of time-consuming to me.
The doctor was candid. We could do all kinds of diagnostic procedures on Primo and me (if I could not get pregnant), but they are invasive and expensive and what do we do with the information once we have it? Plus I was old. Biology. There is not much you can do about it once your eggs get past their sell-by date.
I shrugged, went home and Primo and I talked about getting cats.
Then came a month (I'm not going to tell you when because it is important to the plot but you will find out eventually) when I was nauseated all day long.
I never get sick.
My skin was broken out.
And I was late.
That kind of Late.
I told Primo that I thought I was finally starting menopause. Great. Early menopause. And I was still getting acne. All the disadvantages of age with all the disadvantages of youth.
"I think you might be pregnant," he says.
So I pee on the stick.
I am pregnant.
Not what I am expecting. I am thrilled but terrified. Like getting an 18-year prison sentence.*
We don't tell anyone. Because you don't tell anyone until 12 weeks. That's the rule. Miscarriages are most common before 12 weeks, so you don't tell because you don't want to untell. For ten weeks, I have all-day morning sickness. I never get a bosom, which annoys me to no end. Where are my breasts? All my life, I've wanted a bosom. Don't I get a chest? If I have to feel nauseated and tired all day long, don't I get the C, B or even full A-cups to go with it?
Then one night, I notice some blood. This is not good.
I call my doctor. Go in the next day. He tries to find a heartbeat. None. I have a blood test. Results bad. Go back in three days for another blood test. Results worse.
Go back the next day for an ultrasound. Results awful.
My options are to wait for everything to come out naturally in a day or in two weeks or whenever or to have the doctor take care of it. I opt to have the doctor take care of it.
It doesn't occur to me until after it is all over to ask the nurse, who has held my hand throughout the entire procedure, if there is a possibility that everyone was wrong and the baby could still have been alive.
"No," she says, stroking my hand. "No, honey, I'm so sorry. There is nothing anyone could have done."
* "No," said my mother. "It's more like a life sentence."