When I was a kid I got suplexed.
My buddy and I were wrestling and he wrapped his arms around me, his chest to my back. He locked his wrists and flipped me backwards, crashing my noggin into the floor of his parents’ messy trailer home. My bottom tooth smashed into my top tooth and shattered the corner. If you look at my broken, mangled smile you can actually see the culprit and the victim on the left side, trapped forever standing next to one another in an awkward silence.
Today, however, is not about awkward silences. Today is about SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY! Today the missus and I are going to the fertility clinic to remove my wife’s sweet, sweet eggs. They go in with a vacuum, dig around and extract. It’s sort of like an abortion in reverse.
We only wait a few moments before they call our name and take us into a room that is entirely white. The black nurse sticks out like a sore thumb and tells Jade to put on some sort of strange magic lotion that will numb her skin, making it painless for when they put in the IV. After battling cancer and having some 37 injections and IVs combined I’m wondering just where this stupid potion was about a year ago. Truthfully, I think it was just a placebo. Jade covers the back of her hand with it while the nurse, who’s name was Denise Crist (pronunciation on that last name, Jezuz-Please-Us) tells my Zygote Momma to put on her Egg Makin’ Uniform. Some people say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. I say that hospital gowns are the windows to the butt. Jade double knots the belt and puts the gripped hospital booties on OVER her “Lucky Socks”.
Denise asks if she’d like her to take a picture of the three of us. I look chubbier than I do in my head, Jade looks like she doesn’t fully grasp the purpose of the hairnet and June (Jade’s mom) looks like her anxiety pills have just started to wear off.
Jade says, “Just push the button to take the picture” and Denise says, “This one? This one?” and Jade says, “Yep – that one right there”. My first thought is, “Why does everyone have such a hard time operating cameras?” My second thought is, “Is it strange that my mother-in-law is present at the conception of my children?” I pinch myself to make sure I’m not having some dream that is about to go down a very bad road.
Someone takes a photo of us, maybe it’s Jade. Someone says, “How do I do it?” Someone else says, “Just push the button”. Every time I hear the shutter click I wonder if this will be The Photo that I will look at years from now and remember this moment by, here and gone. I look around the room and wonder if this is how I pictured it all. It’s not but it’s still very cool.
I wonder about people having children “naturally” and I wonder about accidental pregnancies and I start to wonder about all the things that can go wrong and I start to get scared that something horrible will happen, that something will go wrong. I start to think about how it’s a miracle that anyone survives past infancy. My mind starts to go koo-koo-bananas when I notice that Denise has left the room and Jade is applying more Magic Cream to her hands. She sees me watching, shrugs and says, “Better safe than sorry”.
Denise enters back into the room. Jade sees her and throws the tube back onto the silver tray with a clatter and starts to whistle, gazing out the window.
Denise opens up this door and says, “Here’s where it happens”. I take a step too near, over a red line and she says, “STAND BACK! STAND BACK! YOU CAN’T CROSS THAT LINE! THAT’S THE DIRTY LINE! THAT SIDE OF THE LINE IS DIRTY AND THIS SIDE IS CLEAN! YOU STAY ON THE DIRTY SIDE! DIRTY SIDE!”
I leap back, suddenly terrified that The Hand of God was going to strike me dead for entering the Holiest of Holies without a proper invitation. We start talking to Denise about restaurants, which happens to be something she loves. She tells us that she’ll never start smoking but she can’t say no to a stick of butter. She tells us that one of her favorite restaurants is Homestyle Buffet (which is pretty much every food you could ever imagine served on three Power Buffets). Jade and I tried it once and couldn’t go back. Denise says it’s like eating at your Grandma’s house and I refrain from asking her if her grandma resides in the Bog of Eternal Stench and if she boils her bacon until it’s done just right. Jade politely says that she didn’t really like it. Denise just laughs knowingly and says, “Girl, you’re the wrong demographic”.
I’m pretty sure she was implying something about race, about black people loving Crappy Power Buffet but I’m too afraid too ask for fear of sounding racist. I’m always afraid to even MENTION race because I don’t want to sound racist. Sometimes I just ignore people’s race altogether. If someone says, “Hey, you know that Puerto Rican guy?” I’ll just say, “Puerto Rican? Hmm, I guess I didn’t notice.”
Jade’s mom shouts, “PICTURE TIME!” and Jade sits on my lap and in my head I laugh about her beanie / hairnet again. I do this a lot, laugh inside my own head without actually laughing out loud. Sometimes people say something and I just smile and they go, “Don’t you think that’s funny?” and I say, “Yeah, I laughed inside my head” and they think I’m insulting them.
I have to keep pinching Jade’s leg and saying, “Look at the birdie” because her eyes keep drifting back to the Magic Cream. She asks me if she could put that stuff on her face and I just shrug, smile, laugh in my head.
We have to take this picture six times because I keep blinking. Have you ever noticed how often newsreporters blink? All the time.
Denise brought in one of my sperm. She said this was the one they chose based strictly on it’s size. I tell her that the head-to-body proportion seemed to be squed and that I’m concernced that those attributes may carry over to the finished product. I tell her I don’t want some “damn Quosimodo hunchbacked big headed monster”.
Jade insists on taking our first ever father / son photo.
One topic that seems to be playing on repeat is the “Will you promise me that you’ll stay Above The Blanket when we’re in the birthing chamber? Jade tells me that I don’t want to see The Man Behind the Curtain. She tells me that that much knowledge could kill a man. She makes me pinky promise with my little toe.
Denise leaves again. We’ve now been waiting in the Heaven Room for about 90 minutes. Jade starts to slowly reach for the Magic Cream again, mumbling something about, “……never have too much….” I slap her hand away and she tells me that once the eggolas go back in that she can’t pick up dog poop.
That just sounds disgusting and demeaning.
She says there’s something in the bacteria or aura of it. She says she can’t pick up dog vomit. She says dog pee is off limits. I catch onto her little game and ask if she has to stay away from laundry detergent, dish soap, olive oil and making the bed. She says she’s serious. I tell her that I bet she is.
Then, suddenly, things start to happen. Things start to move. A woman, an old woman, a doctor, Mother Time, steps around the curtain. She is from Mother Russia and was probably a young woman sometime during the Great Depression. You could get lost in her wrinkles. I mean that literally, like, “HEY! I’M TRAPPED!!!”
She introduces herself and says that she’s the anastesiologist. She says she’ll be doing the IV. She smiles and leaves, disappearing behind the curtain and out of the room. Jade twists her head towards me, pinches a nerve in her neck and shout-whispers, “SHE’S giving me an IV?? Nononono – SHE CAN’T HOLD A NEEDLE STILL! SHE’S GOING TO BE LIKE THIS -” Jade then proceeds to wobble her hand from side to side drunkenly.
I tell her to relax.
Mother Time comes back into the room with an IV and steps up to Jade’s left side. She picks up her hand and Jade starts to hyperventilate. I squeeze her hand and imitate casual breathing. June takes a few pictures and giggles, examines some rubber gloves.
Mother Russia pokes a vein and says, “Zees von eez gewd. Vee veel pokey zees von.” She rips open the needle. Jade turns her head and looks at which vein Doc Oc is pointing to. June blows up the rubber glove and laughs again. I say, “Jade, look here” and I keep breathing casually, loudly, just as Jade starts to scream, “I DIDN’T PUT THE MAGIC LOTION THERE! I DIDN’T PUT IT ON THE SIDE OF MY HAND!! NOOOO – oh, that wasn’t so bad….
Denise and Wrinkles ask us to go back to the waiting room. They are ready. Jade comes over to kiss me on the cheek and I give her a big hug. This. Is. It. The beginning of the beginning. She walks into The Big Room with them and the last I see of her, she’s chatting about roadtrips, IV in tow, lucky socks leading the way.
As June and I enter back into the waiting room, we find ourselves surrounded by hopeful couples and I can’t help but wonder if they all think that June and I are “A Thing”. I want to make this as uncomfortable as possible so I set my coffee down, take June’s purse for her. I lean in and say, “They think we’re together” and she says, “uh-UH!!” and I say, pretty loudly, “That’s right, Babe” and then I put my arm around her and laugh.
Thirty minutes later we’re back with Jade and she’s groggy but good. I give her a copy of Pregnancy for Dummies. At the bookstore when I bought it, the lady says, “Oh, I bet this is good.” I laugh and say, “Yeah”. I point to the word “Pregnancy” and say, “That’s my wife” and then I point to the word “Dummies” and say, “And that’s me”.
I leave the bookstore excited about the day when my kid will be old enough to have a sleepover, stay up until 3am drinking Root Beer and getting suplexed by his buddy.