Four days after my surgery, we found ourselves at a beach house on the water, on a night that a full moon overlooked Koko Head Crater. It was night, we were surrounded with a few of our closest friends, and we were grilling steaks. And we were having a wake.
Was it strange that we were celebrating the short and brilliant life of our baby?
There was a bottle of vodka, two bottles of tequila, one bottle of bourbon, one bottles of wine, and a twenty pack of Bud Light. There were seven people, six steaks, and lots and lots of cookies made from expensive Valhrona chocolate. If a zygote hadn’t just died in my uterus, it would have been an awesome party.
It seemed that we were coping the way my generation did – alcohol. Copious amounts of booze flowed down our gullets. By 2am, the girls and boys had retreated to separate parts of the house. Gossip about ex-boyfriends was interrupted by screams of “I’m an ASSHOLE…Asshole…asshole…I’m an ASSHOLE!” My attempt at videotaping them singing Britney Spears was a failure. We horrified wealthy neighbors who didn’t know who were the obnoxious people that were house sitting a multi-million dollar mansion. We finished all the booze and cookies. We left, and my girlfriend and I watched our men pass out on the ground, finished my 100-proof bourbon and watched the sun rise.
I like to think my zygote would have been pleased.
Three weeks later and I was back in stirrups, watching the seriousness of my doctor’s face. I had taken to avoiding the screen, and focused instead on her face. The screen was a mass of waves and loops. Her face gave away so much more.
Her face was serious, and I got a little worried. “You seem to be healing fine, but it seems like your uterus is still a little large. Though I can't see really well right now - everything's sort of inflated.”
Note to self for next exam: Do not drink half a bottle of vodka the night before. Half a bottle of vodka makes for abnormal inflation, makes for unnatural ultrasounds, makes for another follow-up appointment. Half a bottle of vodka also makes for a hangover and delirium tremens. None of the above is pleasant in general, but especially not when there’s a wand in your hooha.
Large uterus. Pregnancy test still positive. My boobs were still big, and I was still spotting minute amounts of blood. Every time I would exercise, I would spot a teeny tiny amount. There would be nothing there and we’d woop for joy that things were going back to normal then...never mind! Not done yet! You’re still broken! This meant, per my doctor’s instructions, no sex, no beach, no sex, no swimming, no sex, no pools, and no sex.
No sex = irascible husband = more vodka. It was a vicious circle.
One week later (and a temporary ban on vodka) my body seemed ready to go. It was a fantastic realization that we could have sex…then we realized we had to buy condoms. We hadn’t bought condoms in over eight years; we didn’t even know what the brands were anymore. There were some that vibrated, some that glowed in the dark. They were categorized by thin, ultra thin, super thin. There were magnum ones, super magnum ones, extra super magnum. There were warming ones, icy ones. The last time I had bought condoms, there were Trojans in a blue box that fit pretty much every penis I had ever come across. It seemed that in eight years, penises had evolved to include Icy! Raspberry! Flavor! I remembered when penises were fleshy things to play with. Now, I guessed, they were popsicles.
“Hey look! A condom carrying case for your wallet!”
“Well, when I decide to have an affair I’ll be sure to buy one of those.”
We were at 7-11, staring at condoms. If we had to buy condoms, we were going buy them with porn magazines and 40’s of Mickey. 7-11 was the place to be.
“We should get the ultra tight fit one!”
“Honey!” My husband looked at me, horrified.
“It’s for guys with small cocks! You think I have a small cock?!? Jesus Christ!”
Condom buying was pretty complicated. Luckily, we didn’t go to a regular drugstore where the variety would have been at least five times what we saw at 7-11. If we had, I probably would have ended up with a divorce.
Forty buying, on the other hand, was easier. “Mickey’s?”
“Maybe Steel Reserve?”
“Mickey’s. I think Mickey’s.”
“We need a paper bag to drink it out of.”
Life, it seemed, was going back to normal. Most importantly, we could go back to start and try for a baby again. Except this time, it was without the excitement and thrill and easy happiness of the first time around. This time, we were tainted with the memory of our lost zygote.
“I can’t be as naïve as we were before. I can’t go back to how happy and innocent I felt when we began, and as much as I want a baby, it seems like we’re always going to be looking over our shoulder for our next tragedy,” my husband told me one day. I knew the feeling.
Could we ever be innocent again?