He told me that if I did not “get on the stick” and “soon” that I would have to consider a hysterectomy as the only option.
I was only twenty-five years old. I worked hard and had not planned for this to be an option now. I ran my own business’. I had an art gallery and a small printing business. I worked every day, my daily routine flashing through my head. Finally, the words actually leave my mouth. I work every day, I am no longer in a relationship, and I am not ready to have a baby. What other options are there? Doctor Finnigan stared at me, waiting for a respectable pause and answered, there are none really.
“If you want to have children, ever you better plan on it soon.”
I walked out of his office with slips of paper that ordered me to go to other offices to get my blood drawn, to schedule surgery and one that explained why I needed to find a way to have a baby or be childless.
I was single because I had broken off a five and a half year relationship with a man who finally had told me he did not want children, and I knew I always did want children. I felt this was the deal-breaker, so I went my own way.
I did not feel it was right to have a child in a home where they may learn they were not wanted and wished for by both parents. It was about a year ago now that I told Steve, I needed to leave because deep down, I knew I would never be happy without children. He asked me to stay and said we could work it out somehow, but I felt at that point it was him giving in to a child like I was holding my ground for a favorite movie or restaurant.
It took me exactly the amount if the time to consider my choice in leaving Steve as it took for me to reach my Toyota 4-runner. Like a zombie, I opened the door and climbed inside. I went to the first of my errands before going to work. I needed my blood drawn and results needed to return before my scheduled surgery the day before my twenty-sixth birthday.
I showed up at the art gallery a bit out of sorts I am guessing the situation was showing on my face as my employees seemed concerned. Each asked if I was ok, feeling well. I decided to call a meeting and locked the door after placing a “be right back in 15 minutes” sign on the door.
“Ok, here is the scoop, I am going in for a simple surgery on the eighteenth and will be out for a few days”.
I explained it was supposed to be a simple process where the surgeon pumps your stomach up with gas like a bloated frog, cuts a small hole in your belly button. Through the small hole, the doctor will insert a hose with a camera to find renegade bits of tissue that has somehow gotten lost; its, “not a bid deal, really.” I say.
I see one of my friends at the door as we are finishing up with the gallery business and excuse myself to let him in. I tell Daniel to hold on. I was just finishing up a meeting. HE agreed and started playing with a kinetic sculpture that was designed to be fine and frivolous with brightly colored cartoon characters of cowboys and Indians on horseback rocking back and forth.
“Ok Guys,” I say, “any questions or comments? “
There was in unison a unanimous sigh of relief and a no, we are all good, and with that, I said: “good, let’s get back to it.”
Daniel walked over and asked what the meeting was about; he said: “it seemed kind of heavy.” I told him about the doctor appointment I had and that I was faced with some decisions.
Daniel cocked his head to one side, squinted, and said: “why?” “What is the big deal, what is the problem?” “Just go to a bar and BOOM, their problem solved.”
“What,” I say, “I am not going to a bar to find some guy to donate, gross.”
“Why?” “Why won’t you go to a bar and get it over with?” Instead of explaining every detail to Daniel and going down a path, I really did not feel comfortable with him, I just looked at him and rolled my eyes.
Daniel just stared at me with a deadpan look, until he could not hold it any longer then burst out into a laughter that was way too loud for the gallery to be discrete. He then proceeded to giggle and laugh nervously for what seemed far too long.
After he collected himself, he said, “why don’t you find a friend to help you out?”
“I don’t know, maybe because its kinda creepy, oh yea, hey, I need a stud service, please.” Daniel looked at me and said, “I am your friend.” Then let out a never-ending smile.
I responded to that smile, trying to object to his suggestion that he was a friend I may be able to lean on for this special favor. I said but, “I would need to find a man who had hair kind of like mine, skin tone and all I would not want this child to wonder where they came from. “I explained I would need to know that he understood this child is my choice, and whoever helped me in that area would not be required to raise or stick around either of us.
These are the things I thought about when my twenty-four-year-old son and I found his father. We had agreed to go our separate ways for eighteen years and even signed an agreement. That agreement to stay apart even as friends is why I still hold onto guilt after all these years. This is what I thought about when my son, Daniels’s father, asked me what I named his son.
I named my son Daniel, after a friend, who gave me the best gift of my life. This is what I thought about when Daniel said, “I have been writing and sending letters for years.”
I never received a single letter; I was thinking about what could have been in all those letters when Daniel told me, “If I knew then what I know now,” things would been different.