Thursday, March 01, 2012

The family way -- Part 7 -- Changes in plans

For Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6, scroll down the page or click on the numbers. What's the matter? Do you think a 7-part series is too much? It worked out for J.K. Rowling....

Long Suffering Spouse called me here at the Teeny Tiny Law Office just as soon as she hung up with Younger Daughter and told me the news. "She's on her way here now. With Olaf. When are you coming home?"

Oh, my. I had just confirmed an appointment with another attorney. He was coming over to talk to me about... well... about my issues. Situational depression. I'd finally worked up the nerve to reach out for help -- and the nice lady from the agency I'd spoken with had suggested therapy or group counseling as options. But I was not interested in spending more money I don't have -- even at discounted rates. Besides, I told her, I think, under the circumstances, I have every right to be depressed. I just need to be able to talk to someone confidentially, someone who understands the business (or lack thereof). I don't need sympathy. I can get sympathy at home. I need to find a way out of where I'm at before I get into professional trouble.

We do offer peer support, said the nice lady. And, over the next several days, as I moved into the Teeny Tiny Law Office, she put me into contact with a volunteer attorney who'd been trained to offer this service. He'd just emailed me that he was on his way to meet me. I couldn't leave.

I'll leave my own struggles for another story arc. Suffice for now to say that this latest news had hit me like a slap with a wet newspaper across the face.

I got through my meeting as best I could -- this reminds me, I really should follow up on this -- and hurried home.

I was the last to arrive. Long Suffering Spouse, Younger Daughter, and Olaf were waiting for me.

I admit to being a self-centered egomaniac. But even I had begun to dimly perceive that this news, however shocking it might be for me, would be really tough for Older Daughter. Here she is, trying extraordinary means to have a child, and now, leaving aside all the other problems, her sister, who allegedly was a dead-cinch certain fertility problem, was in a family way.

"She knows," Long Suffering Spouse told me. "She knew when we were down in Indy." Apparently Older Daughter had called her sister just when Younger Daughter had first gotten the news from her doctor. Younger Daughter resisted telling her sister anything, but Older Daughter could tell that her sister was distraught and Older Daughter can be quite persistent. Think Chinese water torture. Younger Daughter eventually broke down.

"You know, they're going to kill you," Older Daughter said -- referring, of course, to Long Suffering Spouse and myself. "But when they throw you out of the house, you can come down here and live with me."

Looking back, Long Suffering Spouse said, there was a verrrry long silence when she had kidded Younger Daughter at breakfast (see Part 4). A pregnant pause, as it were.

But there were more important, more pressing questions to ask and tales to tell.

Olaf had been with Younger Daughter at the doctor's office. She started crying when she got the news. Olaf said, "We're a family now."

There are few better things he could have said. In fact, I can't think of one.

Long Suffering Spouse and I had thought for some time that Olaf and Younger Daughter were headed for the altar. We were thinking more like 2013 at the earliest... you know, like, after they graduated from college and found jobs? I poured myself a drink and listened as they discussed advancing their wedding plans.

It's easy to be "pro-life" in the abstract. Here, though, was the test. This baby could not have been more ill-timed. It will make it almost impossible for Younger Daughter to find work after graduation (in May). (Thanks for hiring me! By the way, I need to go on maternity leave in six weeks.) Olaf is also supposed to graduate in May -- but he's fallen behind -- he suffers from chronic migraines and we'd been increasingly worried about him (even before this) because the medical treatment he's received has consisted mostly of drugging him up -- preventing him from getting his work done -- and not getting to the cause of his problems. And, even if he does graduate -- and we're still holding out hope -- he's going to have trouble finding a job. The media tells us the economy is blossoming; people looking for work still tell a different story. Olaf is a math major. He will be employable -- but his own health has to stabilize if he's to hold on to any job he gets. Taking on a bride and a child won't make that easier. Just thinking about it gives me migraines. It would have been easier, or some would say it would have been easier, to abort Younger Daughter's baby and just continue on as if nothing happened. The big church wedding that Younger Daughter dreamed of... getting settled into jobs... learning to live as adults before taking on the additional, and awesome, responsibilities of parenting. And it would be perfectly legal, of course.

"It's only the size of a blueberry," Younger Daughter told us that night -- but she had pictures to share anyway.

No, there was no "choice" to make here. "We're a family now," Olaf said, and he meant it. "Man proposes and God disposes," my mother used to say. "Humans plan and God laughs," says my friend Steve.

I don't know how it's going to work out. I know the wedding's in June. The baby is due in October. I know this won't be the first eight pound premature baby ever born.

I also know that "experts" aren't all they're cracked up to be.

The "experts" said Younger Daughter couldn't get pregnant -- and she is. That's a miracle. One does not spurn a miracle lightly. Olaf's parents feel the same way.

Thank God.

And Older Daughter? Remember? The "experts" told her that she had a 70% chance of carrying at least one of the two implanted ova to term. But that's all over now. It was over days after Younger Daughter told us her news.

I've cried for both of them. For what one couldn't do and all that the other must do now. Older Daughter will try again in a month or two, when the doctors tell her it's time. She has mourned. But she is again hopeful. All sorts of people came out of the woodwork to tell her, after the fact, that "IVF never works the first time." She knows what to expect. She knows what to do. And she knows not to put too much faith in experts. Long Suffering Spouse and I are hoping she may even "catch" in the meantime.

Because you never, ever know.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i love what he said to her, we're a family. great guy curmy. congratulations... and i mean that. live is a miracle wherever you find it and that is your grandchild. they are totally tits, you'll see...

smiles, bee

Kacey said...

In a few years, you will have forgotten all difficulties besetting your family right now. You will be knee deep in cute little rug-rats and reveling in your grandfatherhood. Sometimes, we are too close to the problem to stop and enjoy the moment. The husband and I had four years of fertility problems with two surgeries and lots of other fun medical stuff. But, the whole thing provided us with three great kids and eight wonderful grands. It was right that there were no children the first four years, we were not truly ready and were terribly poor. Life has a way of working out when you are not looking. Congrats to younger daughter and prayers for older daughter.