IMR: Prologue: June 19, 1997 -- 8:09 p.m.
The Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i
Jen called. She was upset. She was scared.
She was feeling down; the changes in her body were making her feel ugly. Her skin was oily, and she was breaking out. Her hair was a "bird's nest." Her lips were dry and peeling.
Given how sensitive she had always been about her appearance, this wasn't something to be taken lightly.
I told her, "I'd love you even if you somehow managed to lose an arm up there."
She asked if I was positive; she asked if I had any idea what'd happen to her if the pregnancy played out. "Do you really want to come home after a long day to a fat, ugly cow?"
"Hey, I've always said you'd be as big as a house," I said. "You thought I was kidding?
"I see me coming home, you slouched on the couch, spread-eagled, bottles of Coke on the floor, empty potato chip bags all over and your hair falling out of your showercap... and I'll still love you. You'll still be my beautiful, pregnant wife."
She was worried about prenatal care. About finding a doctor, and affording vitamin and other pills. She said she needed an ultrasound, that her doctor in Florida had found some blood on her cervix, and didn't know if it was a sign of something more serious.
We talked about getting her a job. She wanted to go back to Tower, but the only requirement, we agreed, would be a full-time job with benefits. Health care and maternity leave. Tower had both, but it takes three months to earn. And it isn't clear whether they'll take her back.
She was also starting to have second thoughts about wanting to keep the child.
"I know we'll make it," she said, "I guess that's something to be thankful for. But I don't know if we can give our kid what he deserves... doesn't a kid deserve parents who can afford to give him toys?"
Our hearts are in the same place. We want to keep this child; we can be good parents to this child. But hearts don't run the world, pocketbooks do.
It's a decision that overwhelms me, and yet I know I only grasp a small fraction of what it entails. Jen and I are scared as hell. And we know it gets scarier even after The Decision is made. Whichever one it is.
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