12 years ago today I was at Wishard Hospital waiting to have an abortion. They are the only hospital around here that will do them, and you have to bring cash. No checks. Guess they have a lot of people whose checks bounce.
I had gotten up early, taken a shower, put makeup on, did my hair. My husband (1.0, AKA Mr. Fuckball) drove me downtown and stopped at the ATM to get the cash. We had already taken our daughter to day care.
It is surreal to describe this. It was all like an out-of-body experience, where I was watching myself do the unthinkable, as if I were a dog on a leash being pulled by an angry owner. This day of the year, February 5, is one I would gladly erase from my mind if I could, whatever the cost. And maybe the five weeks leading up to it, too.
I had taken the pregnancy test on New Year's Day that year. It was positive. I'll never forget the fear in my gut when I told my husband I was pregnant and he looked at me with cold eyes and said "How. Did. This. Happen?" The fear of telling him was miniscule compared to the dread I felt when he said that. Later that same day I timidly approached him and told him I would have an abortion rather than continue the pregnancy, and he exhaled heavily and then cheerfully said, "you know, I think that would be best." Conversation over. After all, he had made it very clear to me that he had only agreed to have one child, and that was after several years of negotiation. Didn't I understand that this was wrecking his life plan?
That day as we sat in the waiting room, I felt a pressure building up inside me. They called my name and I went back to the examination room where they did an ultrasound to determine the gestation date, then sat me down to fill out paperwork. The woman at the desk looked at me and said "Girl, you look scared to death."
I went back to the waiting room. My husband was reading a magazine. I sat down, and the pressure in my chest rose to my head and burst out and I started sobbing. I couldn't read the paperwork. I sobbed quietly until my husband finally asked me what was wrong.
Let me say that again: He asked me what was wrong.
I couldn't answer. I just kept crying. I couldn't tell him that the first time I'd had an ultrasound, when I was pregnant with my daughter, that I was awed and thrilled and so happy to see that I was actually pregnant. This time it was simple confirmation that I had planted this wrecking ball in my husband's carefully calculated life.
In that waiting room, surrounded by other women, I bawled and bawled. My husband finally said, "I was afraid this would happen. You don't have to do this, let's just go."
Such was my state of mind that when we got home and I wrapped my mind around the fact that I was going to have another baby, I remember looking at my husband and thinking that he was the greatest guy in the entire world for not making me have an abortion. It was all my fault, I was wrecking his plan, but he was going to be the good guy and accept that his wife had fucked up and suffer through it.
It only took me three more years to realize that I was continually fucking up my husband's life plan and that maybe it was time for me to move on.
But I still have my son. Some years I forget this date, which is good. I don't like remembering that day. But some years, when I think about how close I came to not having this child, the light and love of my life, the sweetest boy ever born, that sickening fear in my gut comes back. He was, and is, worth everything I went through. I kissed him to sleep last night, and I kissed him awake this morning, and I will kiss him to sleep again tonight. I am his mother, and no one will ever take that away from me.