Friday, September 10, 2004

Part Nine: Emily

This series is taking a lot longer than I anticipated, but I’m going to try to make this the last post on this subject (warning, it may be long). I don’t know about you guys, but I’m just getting bored with it.

If you need a reminder of where we are & what happened up to this point, here are some handy links to the earlier segments:
Part 1; Part 2; Addendum to Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8

Sometime in mid-September of 2000, Eric broke up with Becky and started spending a whole lot more time with me. I’m a little fuzzy on the details of what happened when, but I know we were together a lot—we did a lot of “couple-y” things with other friends.

On October 13th, he sent the following email to our mutual friend, Tiffany:

"Eric" 10/13 10:07 AM
Okay, so I am sitting here at my new job, going through old emails and
writing to people I haven't heard from in a while. And lucky you, you get an
email. Not much is going on in my life. Mostly just waiting around for that
bundle of joy to show up. I am going to school and loving my classes (well,
there was one class I didn't love, but I dropped it, so maybe I should say I
am loving all my *remaining* classes). I just got a new job earlier this
week. I am working part time as a customer service rep. One of the great
things about this job is that if the phone doesn't ring, I have nothing to
do and the powers that be know that. So if they see me writing novel-length
emails, they do not get pissed off. Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, so that is the news in my life. Just been hanging out, spending a
lot of time over at my brother's house playing with his kid, watching TV
with my brother, doing not much of anything. I am thinking about moving back
to Sonoma fairly soon, but certainly not until after December when classes
end. But having that baby up there is certainly going to be a strong draw
(besides, just between you and me... and I mean that, I haven't told anyone
yet.... I think I am falling in love with Aimee. I am afraid, though, that I
will end up hurting her if I am wrong. But I miss her very much, I never
want to leave when I am hanging out with her, and I know that I will never
find anyone that I love as much as her, and will love me as much as she
does, and will treat me as well as she would.)

So, that is pretty much my life ion a nutshell. What about you? How are
things going? How is life? I love you and miss you, Tiffanator.


To which she replied,

From: "Tiffany"
To: "Eric"
Subject: Re:
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 16:11:04 -0700

Hello Pumpkin Butt,
I am terribly sorry about not getting back to you sooner. I don't have the luxuries you have, you lucky dog.
Now that would be great if you moved back to Sonoma county, because you wouldn't be sooooo far away. I will be at the shower this Sunday for Aimers. So many babies!
As for you and Aimee, I think you two are special together. You both need some one like each other. That's what I think. As long as you two are always yourselves, never undermining your each other's values and morals, then you will always be happy. I can never seem to take my own advice though.... someday I will...
Bah, back to work...

(Thank you, Tiffany!!! For the record, she’s the one getting married this October, so she has obviously begun to take her own advice finally.)

The following Sunday, on the morning of my baby-shower, he called me on the phone and told me that he was in love with me. He said he wanted to come live with me and the baby when his classes were over in December and that he wanted us to be a family. I was absolutely beside myself with joy.

So the last 8 weeks or so of my pregnancy were about as normal as I could have expected, certainly more “normal” than the first 7 months had been. At my doctor’s appointment following the shower, I had my first weight-gain of my entire pregnancy. I gained one pound.

On Friday December 15th, Eric took his last final at the Jr. College in San Jose. As soon as it was over, he hopped into his already-packed car and drove up to my place. He moved right in. My due date was December 31, so we figured we had a couple of weeks together to get used to living with each other again (you know, because first babies are always late and all that other mythical nonsense). That evening, to celebrate our new family, we went out to dinner & to a movie. Neither of us could sleep when we got home, so we stayed up to about 3am playing video games (I don’t remember which, probably “Jeopardy” on the Play Station).

The next day, we went for a walk in a quaint neighboring town. We walked for hours and it was hot, hot, hot, so we stopped for ice-cream. I couldn’t have any (gestational diabetes), but Eric thoroughly enjoyed his! Then we went home and took a short nap. When we awoke, we showered, dressed & went to a Christmas party at the home of our friends Crissy and Art. As was our habit, we stayed out very late, then stayed up even longer after we got home.

Again, about 3 in the morning Saturday night/Sunday morning, we finally crashed out. A mere six hours later I woke up to pee and thought “Hmm, my bladder just isn’t that big!” Oh Damn! I wobbled back to the bedroom, grabbed Eric’s toe, and very quietly said, “Honey, my water just broke.” I have never seen him move so fast from a dead sleep in my life!

I barfed, gave myself an insulin injection, ate some breakfast, showered, barfed, dressed, called my mom at my sister Kate’s house, barfed again, and then around noon we went up to the hospital. Eric’s jobs at that point were to (1) call his mom & dad, (2) get me to the hospital, and (3) call my best friend Kimberly—she was supposed to be one of my birth coaches.

As nearly every woman will tell you, I do not remember most of my labor, but I do recall some really specific details. My younger sister arrived with us at the hospital. I’m not sure how that happened. She lives at least 2-1/2 hours south of me, but I know she was there because she went home to get me some dry clothes (apparently when the waters break, they will continue to leak or drip or gush—if the baby moves—until the child is actually born. Who knew?!).

My mom made record time driving to our town. She made a 6 hour trip in 5 hours. Way to go, rock ‘n roll mama!

Eric’s folks and his brother also arrived fairly early. I remember all of us sitting around the labor room playing, “Who Am I” for what seemed like a very long time—it was dark outside, but it was also December, so it could have been as early as 5:00. Sometime around 10:00, people started leaving, searching out hotels for the night. This baby wasn’t coming anytime soon.

Sometime during the night, maybe around 2 or 3, someone must have called the Doula (professional birthing coach), because she slept in a chair in the room with us at some point. Where the heck was Kimberly? Why hadn’t she come yet?

The next morning, my dad flew up in his little Citabria with a friend of his who is also a pilot. I don’t remember seeing my dad at all, but I know he was there.

Throughout the day, I recall snippets—Teri (my younger sister) had slept at my house, so she grabbed my delivered copy of the San Francisco Chronicle before coming back to the hospital (thank you, Teri!). She read me crossword clues. If I was contracting, I would sign the answers to her until she got snippy and told me she didn’t know sign language. So then I’d wait until a contraction ended before shouting out my guess for an answer. I think if you knew our family and our sick addiction to crossword puzzles, this wouldn’t sound like such an odd thing to do during labor. Then I would barf again.

By 7:00PM on Monday night, a full 34 hours after my water broke, Emily still hadn’t made her appearance. The doctor on call came in the room and asked me if I could push for another thirty minutes. “Thirty minutes. Yeah, I can do that, but not for ONE MINUTE MORE, you fuck-nut!” I know how doctors are—he thought I’d lose track of time and keep going until she came out, but I’d already been pushing for two hours and vomiting for nine months, and I was sore and tired.

Thirty-four minutes later, as I was vomiting yet again, I looked up at the clock, realized half an hour had gone by, and yelled “Someone get the doctor!” Now mind you, all I was doing was reminding him that 30 minutes had passed. What my family saw, however, was me vomiting and hollering for a doctor. I didn’t know until days later how much I had freaked them out.

The doctor returned and I told him this had to stop NOW. I was done. Finished. Not pushing anymore. Make it end. After far too much deliberation, he began to prep me for a cesarean section. Finally. At 8:54 on Monday December 18, 2000, Emily Antoinette finally joined our little family. She was beautiful!

…but she wasn’t easy. It took us about two months to settle into a comfortable routine with her. At about six weeks, she started getting colicky. Fortunately, that only lasted for 6 weeks, but that was enough. Eric couldn't handle the stress, the lack of sleep, the VERY small apartment suddenly crowded with baby paraphanalia, and the tears and vomit. I stopped throwing up daily when Emily was 5 days old, but didn't really stop altogether until she was almost 4 weeks old. And I cried incessantly. Post partum blues are a big ol' downer. By February, Eric began sleeping on the couch, and by April he had moved out.

There’s really nothing more to say. He broke my heart for the third time, so I shut myself off to him completely. There have been times when it’s been hard; there have been times when I’ve wanted to kill him. Those can be addressed in specific, shorter posts.

Kimberly was, as always, there for me. Thank God. It was hard for us for a while; it took us almost a year to realize what happened during my labor and a little more time to get back to normal. It turns out, no one ever called her when I went into labor, and when she figured it out and called us at the hospital, someone told her she wasn't needed. That hurts. And it wasn't true. Despite that, she was with me nearly every evening after work and every day of the weekends/holidays when Eric left.

By May of 2001, Jessica and I had become roommates again. We are still roommates, and since October of 2002, my mom has also lived with us. In October of 2003, we bought a house together not far from the home where I lived with my ex-husband for almost 10 years. Funny how the more things change the more they stay the same.... Emily is being raised by me as well as two other funny, vibrant, smart, loving women. We have a great home and an unusual but wonderful family.

Emily will be four years old this December. I haven’t been with anyone romantically since Eric broke up with me on my birthday four years ago, but one of these days Mr. Wonderful will come along. When he does, I still firmly believe Eric will finally realize what he’s walked away from. He’s going to open his eyes and say, “But I love you!” and I’m going to have the ironic pleasure of saying to him, “Huh. Too late.”