"That's not fair! You can't just grind and then leave me here with nothing but a fast Internet connection!"
"Oh, stop your whinging."
"Come on. Five minutes. You'll hardly notice."
"I'd better notice," she replied as she undressed. She didn't really have to be in the office before noon.
Pregnancy sex is great sex and we're in love so it's that much better. We've also found a particular position which ensures a good time is had by all. And we carried on like a teenaged couple whose parents have left the country for a week. And when it was over, it wasn't over; we went straight to round two. She later went off to clean up so that she could sit in her boss' office comfortably.
"There's blood." In and of itself that statement from RIG is no big deal as it usually refers to my poor, scarred back and is generally followed with a meek apology and some laughter. But not this time.
OK, I thought, we'd been rather vigourous. Despite her loathing of the acknowledgment of most bodily functions she was willing to pat with some tissue and show me, in part because this was stuff that I'd given her half an hour prior.
Blood is strange stuff. The first time you've ever seen a real accident or murder scene where the subject has bled out you tend to be astonished just how much blood there is. Conversely it's equally amazing how much blood can leave a body with no need for even an IV to hold up the person's blood pressure, let alone how much of a mess it can make. I figured this to be a total of less than a drop, but RIG insisted there'd been more. It was bight, bright red, a shade you just don't get when lots of blood is involved but she was more than a little concerned. Only three days earlier the doc had warned that there was a 20% chance of miscarriage as there almost always is in the first 12 weeks.
RIG had to go to the office to hand in a presentation and have a meeting with her boss, "Sparky". I said I'd call for an appointment in the afternoon and if she wanted, I'd come with. RIG kissed me goodbye and left for the tram as I dialled the doc's number.
"She can come in straight away," the secretary told me.
"Erm, no she can't. She's on her way to work. How about 3pm?"
"Normally yes but it's Friday and we're only open until 12."
"OK, I'll grab her. We'll be there soon."
I grabbed my shoes but RIG had been gone for a couple of minutes and I could hear the trams rolling by outside. I called her cell and sure enough, she was on the tram which was now passing by my flat. I told her the situation and we agreed to meet at the transfer U-Bahn station one stop away from her doc's. Ten minutes later I arrived. She stood there uncharacteristically silent, sort of introspective. We hugged tightly, then walked hand-in-hand into the depths of the Max-Weber-Platz station where we'd just missed the train. Ten more minutes would slowly tick by.
"Your rock when you need. Your support," I told her as we sat waiting.
"But who's there for you?"
I repeated more of what I'd said when I proposed: "I choose to want and be wanted. I choose to need and be needed. I choose to love and be loved." Her need is what's there for me. I've been slacking off on a lot of things lately. The need to get things done is what drives me to do them. If it's important I do it. I explained my dealings with my mother's estate. It had to be done -- by me -- and so it was. She held me even more tightly.
We sat for an interminable time in the waiting room, perhaps 15 minutes, before being called in. She asked me to come along. RIG went behind the screen to undress and came back out into the cavernous room still wearing her blue thermal shirt, thigh-high socks and nothing in between. I'm going to hell for this but she looked hot. I walked up to the contraption as she hopped up onto the table and put her legs in the stirrups. The doc put a condom over the probe and a drop of lube. I fought back the desire to tell him that the latter was probably unnecessary. I really don't have a deathwish.
RIG and I watched the screen as the doctor probed and went straight to the implantation point, nothing but a dark spot on what looks like a grainy picture of the surface of the sun. He checked the dimensions of the spot just as he'd done three days before, saved the pics and pulled out the probe. RIG got dressed as the doctor removed a very bloody condom from the probe while cleaning up. His utter lack of reaction to the blood and failure to even hesitate, much less inspect it, gave me some relief. RIG didn't seem to have noticed.
The implantation point has doubled in size, a good sign, but the bleeding is a bad sign made worse by the continual cramps. I asked a couple of questions in German to ensure no ambiguity in the answers and as he answered, I translated simultaneously so that RIG knew everything. Her doctor found this a bit odd at first but quickly became comfortable with the idea. "Are you a professional translator?" he asked? No, but I've done this before. I can usually do it for 20-30 minutes in a stretch before my brain starts hurting. It needed to be done.
RIG needs to rest. She is not flying to the UK today. She is not handing in her doctoral thesis in Ireland next week nor is she visiting her ex-boyfriend there. The chances of keeping the kid are 50-50, not so hot when it was 80% on Tuesday. Another vial of blood could be taken to check for her βhCG levels. It had been 4800 and should now have doubled. I low-balled the number we were expecting as I translated.
We thanked the doctor and went for a quick blood draw; RIG wouldn't let me stick the needle in her arm despite her difficult-to-find veins and my assurances of hitting one on the first go. The nurse managed it. Unfortunately the lab pick-up had been an hour earlier. Before the nurse could finish asking me if I'd be willing to take the sample directly to the lab I was asking her where the hell the place was. Right on Marienplatz, as it turns out, smack dead in the city centre. She labelled the vial and I put it in my pocket; no special handling was required.
Before going home we first had to stop off at RIG's office where I finally met her minion and officemate. My attempts to speak to him in his native Spanish were met with harsh protests I dared not challenge. RIG handed in her sick note which should get her the vacation time back that she's not taking on account of being under doctors' orders, yet another benefit of the German system.
We hopped the tram back home and I started playing the What Might You Like For Lunch game. Noodles? A sammy?
"No sammy. Noodles sounds good."
"Sauce? Tomato? Creamy? Veg?"
I slowly zeroed in on what was to be penne al'Arrabiata with extra garlic, but first I had to drop off the blood and go shopping for the noodles and other items.
As I cooked the pasta she called her ex- to explain she wasn't coming. She'd wanted to break the news of both the marriage and pregnancy in person so she had to skirt both issues and just explain that she was sick and under doctor's orders not to fly before next week.
The whole flat still smells of garlic now, some 14 hours later. "Fresh parmesan?"
She wolfed it down, a good sign I thought. Then came the call to the parents. This was going to suck. Our plan to "discover" her pregnancy once in Liverpool now lay in ruins. Having only last week told them on the phone of our intention to marry, we were phoning again with even more important information... information which could very well confirm her father's belief that I may have made a "shotgun" proposal though little could be further from the truth.
She rang. Her father picked up. Her mum wasn't there and wouldn't be until around six. She tried to avoid outright telling her father but as he kept asking questions RIG was forced to say that she can't travel but explained that we'll be coming in together which may increase my chances of not being denied entry at the border (a subject for another story). She needed to talk to her mother first.
Afterwards, the waiting game. RIG reads quickly, the result of years of academic necessity. She needed some recommendations from my library. On deck are a few books about the Apollo program and then the entire series of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe books about life during the Napoleonic wars. Those ought to last through the weekend. After that perhaps the Pratchett collection and then Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey and some other Florida fiction.
"If this doesn't happen are you still going to marry me?" I asked. She probably should've hit me for asking such a stupid question but RIG just hugged me again and held me tightly. And we waited some more.
At twenty to six RIG was napping. I called the lab. "Hello, I'm calling for the results of the test number 1704509," I said in the most professional-sounding voice I could muster. My heart was racing. The woman confirmed the patient name and test number and gave me the answer. I thanked her and got up to go get another cup of coffay. As I walked by the bedroom I saw RIG was sitting upright and I went in. She'd heard me on the phone.
Looking at me intently she demanded to know the answer. I climbed into the bed. "What was the result?!" I held her and tried to smile. "What was it?" she insisted. "You needed over eight thousand, ninety-six hundred actually. You're at fourteen hundred fifty. We're over fifty percent." We were both near tears and hugged each other tightly.
And then it was time to call mum. RIG broke the news and I stuck around for that call, too, hearing bits and pieces of her mum's words. At some point she handed me the phone and I briefly talked with my future mother-in-law. Thank you, yes, of course I'm taking good care of her, yes, we'll be there soon, yes, I'm still cooking xmas dinner (and every other fucking meal as long as I'm in that house, lady!), and so on. Her father talked again to her briefly and was understandably not thrilled. If he wraps his hands around my throat in two weeks I'll bear him no ill will. His little girl is shacking up with some Yank, has decided to marry him after only nine weeks, and now it turns out that not only may he have been right about it being a shotgun proposal but she wouldn't even tell him when she'd had the chance earlier.
I won't let him strangle me but I certainly understand why he'd want to.
RIG wanted just a simple frozen pizza for dinner, made better with extra cheese and fresh mushrooms. Unfortunately I didn't notice the damned thing had blue cheese on it which, due to her allergy, could kill. It being five minutes past 8:00p.m. and all stores officially closed, Pizza Hut it was.
I went out for a cigarette, sitting in the garden in back rather than streetside to observe the usual circus. As I lit up Jürgen and Renate walked by, Renate's small suitcase in tow. Jürgen at least said hello, Renate only nodded. Three minutes later Ingrid came out of their apartment, said hello and then dropped a bombshell.
"You know what? I also have breast cancer."
"I was in Frankfurt visiting my sister and went in for a test and I have the same thing. Operation last week and chemo next."
"We can talk some time."
"I have some nice wine.
"OK, some time later," and with that she was off.
I'm worried about creating a new life figuratively as well as literally, and downstairs are two 40-year-old sisters trying desperately to save theirs. I came back upstairs with the feeling I'd been kicked by a donkey, glad that I didn't moan about RIG's trouble or I'd've really felt like an ass. I mentioned the incident to RIG.
We then curled up tightly and went to bed. It was only 9pm which is why I'm up at 3 now writing this. She's sleeping soundly despite the cat's best efforts to meowl her awake. There's more waiting. At the end of next week a rudimentary heartbeat should be detectable which will put us right back to over 80% chance of success. I ought to be shitting myself. Instead I'm just hopeful, and happy, and loved. I'm a bit disappointed that she doesn't want to read the Pratchett books, though. They're fucking brilliant.
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