*WARNING* This is a tangential piece, but it IS headed somewhere, so bear with me...
The rest of this story can be found here, and then here.
I think we were married for about four years before we really got going on the having children thing. Four glorious years. Bea (Bee-yah) had graduated from college and moved in with us. Then we got evicted from our rental for having too many cats and a roommate, and ended up buying a house of our own. (Don't even GET me started on that landlady and her crazy shit! I will tell you that she got hers later on, when it came time for her to replace all her heating and cooling systems in her rental houses. The company she went through was the company Bea worked for and let's just say she didn't get a lick of special treatment, or special pricing, and she knew who was on the other end of the phone. Its rare and beautiful thing when you get to see karma in action, up close and personal.) With Bea living with us, we all had extra money to spend. We went to kiln openings regularly, and amassed the foundations of our pottery collections during this time. Ah! I could wax quite nostalgic for those easy times. 1996 was a very prolific creative period for me. Long days into night to paint, both canvas and walls. Following my personal muse, and the budgetary flexibility that allowed us to buy beautiful old things to fill our new house.
In the spring of 1996 we began to try for a baby in earnest. I really liked the trying part - I could always blame my randy demands for extra boot knocking on our mutual effort for a child. (I know - I read all the time about other wives who don't want to have sex, but their husbands do, and I am so sorry, but I ain't one of them - I need my weekly (more if I can get it!) dose of progesterone to keep me on an even keel!) By mid-summer I was nauseous and tender and well, you know what that means. That's right - the end of the love fest, dammit! But on the other side of that coin - Mission Accomplished!
My first OB/GYN appointment was in early September. There was a hurricane by the name of Fran churning its way up the east coast, and it was expected to turn and make that once-in-every-fifty-years trek inland towards Raleigh. The last hurricane to do so was Hazel, back in 1954, and disastrous as it had been, it had been a long time since and no one was really prepared for anything of that caliber. I was anxious about the hurricane, but relieved that I would at least get to see the doctor and get things rolling medically, before the storm hit and possibly made it hard to get around.
Imagine my shocked surprise at my appointment when my OB/GYN of over 17 years told me that my insurance wouldn't cover having a baby with them, and I would have to find another doctor, thank you, have a nice day, fuck off, etc. Wow. I came out of there reeling, freaking out over where the hell I was going to find another doctor my insurance would take, and how long was it going to take to get an appointment. Meanwhile, we had about 6 hours to batten down, get all our kitties in a row before the storm hit. Yeah, no pressure. I went home, combed the yellow pages and the insurance directory until I found a doctor, and set up an appointment for two weeks later.
Fran's eye passed squarely over Raleigh, and a healthy portion of the entire state was declared in a state of emergency afterwards. Were we prepared? Hell no! We made ice, and froze some milk cartons of water. I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and some kind of pasta dish that could be eaten cold, but that was the extent of our preparations. Bea was working that night at the tin box that was her heating and cooling company's office. About the time the gale force winds were beginning to pummel the area, they finally closed up shop and let her begin the 25 mile commute home. There are a multitude of things I could say about that company, but let it suffice to say they were damn lucky no one was injured by their stupidity, and they weren't the only business guilty of that kind of myopia. It was typical of the kind of apathy the entire area showed during the pre-storm preparations.
Bea got home, and we hunkered down. At first we sat in the dining room, looking out the picture window at the storm. Then Bea said, "You know, if this was a movie, we would say those people are too dumb to live, sitting in front of that big glass window during a hurricane." We laughed, but we moved into the living room, and sat rigidly, listening to the howling of the wind around the house, and the sound of every branch in every tree near us falling on the roof and our cars outside. We marvelled that the hubby-man was able to sleep through so much noise and implied destruction, though shortly afterwards, he did awake and came out to the living room as well. By this time, around 11:00, the wind had (if you can even imagine it) become an intruder at the door, pounding on all sides of the house, looking for admittance. It was stomach-clenchingly terrifying, to sit passively, while imminent disaster prowled outside, huffing and puffing like the biggest baddest wolf of all. As we huddled in the living room, trying to bolster each other's spirits with jokes, we heard a very odd, very ominous sound. There was a metallic scraping, and a kind of groaning, combined with a swooshing of many branches. The rafters groaned and we wondered if we would have a ceiling there much longer. Then it stopped.
The power having long since given out, we took our pitiful, cheap-o flashlight into the dining room. Water was beginning to leak from the ceiling near the front door. Perpetually jiggling the flashlight up and down, to keep the light to shining, we peered out the tiny front door window into a tangled mass of branches and oak leaves dripping with rain. Afraid to go outside into the maelstrom, we re-situated ourselves in the middle bedroom, and waited out the night in a weary jitteriness, waiting for the other big tree to drop, or the creek to flood the house, until the eye passed and the storm began to wane.
When we went outside the next morning, the carnage all up and down the street was unbelievable. Mercifully, we only had one tree come down on our house, and it missed the picture window. Luckily, we still had water. What was harder to endure was the almost 6 days of no electricity in post-hurricane tropical heat. I stood in my yard and wept when the power trucks finally came. Add on top of all this my concerns about my diminishing pregnancy symptoms. My doctor's appointment had been further delayed by the havoc of the hurricane and I was convinced something was wrong with the baby.
To be continued.