Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Late afternoon, early morning phone calls shatter your nerves as well

It is always a nervous time in the Curmudgeon home, don't get me wrong. A young Woody Allen would complain that we're all too neurotic, even for him. A young Robin Williams would complain that we're far too manic for him to be comfortable.

But we have been even more on edge than usual for the past several weeks because Older Daughter has tried her luck again with IVF -- a different doctor -- different medications -- same old roller coaster ride (for more about Older Daughter's past IVF experiences, click on the IVF tab at the bottom of this post).


Except maybe -- this time -- there may be a different outcome.

No, I haven't written about this latest attempt before. I've written about others and they all turned out badly. I won't write about the details now. I don't believe in tempting fate. But I have to mention -- to tell this story -- that, despite an inauspicious beginning, and some very dark moments along the way, things had progressed, as of yesterday, to the point where an ultrasound was scheduled and it was anticipated that a heartbeat would be clearly visible.

Older Daughter is in Indianapolis; the rest of us are in Chicago. We had to wait for her report. Nervously.

She got hold of her sister first. "Hello?" said Younger Daughter. "What's the news?"

There was silence on the end of the line.

"Hello?" repeated Younger Daughter. "Are you there?" (She wanted to ask, are you OK? but there was no way to frame that question in a way that would get a 'yes' answer if the news were bad -- and the continued silence was really getting to her.)

"I'm really pregnant," came the response, finally. Oh, so softly.

So understated that Younger Daughter had to consider an extra second or two whether the news was good or bad.

Long Suffering Spouse later reported a similar lull at the outset of her eventual conversation with Older Daughter. "I couldn't tell if it was good news or bad at first," she told me later. "But she's so happy -- and I'm so happy for her -- but, I have to tell you, if she said 'it's surreal' one more time, I was going to reach through the phone and strangle her, happy or not."

No, she wasn't really threatening her child; she was venting pressure. We all were. Older Daughter called six more times or so. Long Suffering Spouse had her on the speakerphone at one point as Older Daughter was talking about really wanting to eat salty foods and drink milk.

"Pretty soon you'll want pickles and ice cream," I said. No, Long Suffering Spouse never had bizarre cravings like that, but I've watched my share of sitcoms, back in the day.

"They both sound good," Older Daughter said, "but maybe not together."

"So is it official?" I asked. "Can I start drinking for two?"

"Well, my husband is," she said. "I bought him a bottle of 10 year old Bushmill's this afternoon on my way home from the doctor."

Older Daughter had told her husband she'd buy him a bottle of good whiskey when she knew she was pregnant. This was actually bottle number two -- she'd bought another one a couple of weeks ago when a prior ultrasound demonstrated a fetal pull (the precursor of a heartbeat). In her excitement at the time, she'd confided all this to the salesman who waited on her in the liquor store. She saw the same salesman yesterday afternoon, she told us.

"And he said 'so this means things are going well?' and I said 'you remembered?' and he said 'I told you I'd be praying for you.'"

"You have no idea how many people have been praying for you," Long Suffering Spouse interjected at this point. "So many."

Yes, there was a general lessening of tension in the Curmudgeon household yesterday evening -- great happiness and joy (and relief) for Older Daughter and her husband Hank.

And, then, this morning, at about 6:40 or so, the house phone rang. Long Suffering Spouse was already downstairs; I was still getting dressed. She beat me to the closest phone. I had no doubt about who was calling; I ran down the stairs half-dressed. Fortunately I did not trip on my untied shoelaces.

Long Suffering Spouse heard me coming and met me in the dining room.

"She's going to kill me," she said.

"What's wrong?" I asked. I didn't really want to know, but I knew I would have to listen.

"Nothing," my wife said. "She just called to say she hopes I have a nice day. I almost had a heart attack there."

"Me too. Was there anything else?"

"Well, yeah, she said she must have been so stressed yesterday that this morning she could hardly move."

"I'll just bet."

Younger Daughter stumbled down the steps a moment later. "Who was that, as if I didn't know? What happened?"

"Everything's fine," Long Suffering Spouse and I said at once. Long Suffering Spouse continued to explain about how Older Daughter complained about being unable to move this morning."

"At one point yesterday," Younger Daughter told us, "she told me her co-workers must all hate her. She kept looking at the clock. Six hours to go, she'd tell them. Five and a half hours to go. If even she realized that she was making everyone around her crazy, it must have been awful."

"How are we going to survive until May?" asked Long Suffering Spouse, but neither I nor Younger Daughter have an answer to that one.

Calls after midnight are the ones that are supposed to scare us, right? Nothing good happens after midnight? But now, we see, calls in the middle of the day -- and certainly first thing in the morning -- can be just as frightening.

And that was just the beginning of my day.

Tomorrow's post will cover the next crisis that arose -- all before I got into the office....

1 comment:

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

i found myself holding my breath as i read this! best wishes curmy, for all....

hugs, bee