Chapter 32: Northern Lights
"You don't have to give me an answer right away, but you know what I want," Danny said before kissing me and rolling over onto his side. Even after my prodding and interrogations about marriage for the last few days, I was still shocked. Within the past hour, I had maybe said three words to him. I was just so shaken up. I was contemplating the idea of marriage, but I never thought how I would react to his proposal. As anxious as I had been, I was mostly surprised that I didn't beat him to the punch.
Within a few minutes, he was snoring and I was left laying there curled up on my side, staring a hole into the wall and replaying the events over and over again in my head. So much in my life was changing and while one minute I was terrified and struggling to keep up, now I was willing to pull in all of the new feelings and adventures that life had to offer me. I was finally able to pull my mind together to imagine what my life would be like after high school. At this point, it was beginning to look pretty fucking fantastic.
“Alright. One hundred and eighty pounds,” Bre said as she squinted her eyes to see the numbers on the scale. I wasn’t happy about this, not in the least bit, but at least gaining all of this weight had its perks. My boobs were fuller and my ass was rounder and these new hips could have stopped traffic. Slowly but surely, I was coming to terms with the fact that I was no longer going to have the tiny frame of a seventeen year old. I couldn't fit any of my clothes anymore. Even my over-sized t-shirts were beginning to feel a bit snug. I hadn't forgotten about the events from last night, but right now I was on the verge of a breakdown just from seeing the numbers on the scale jump up three pounds from what my weight was last week.
“This scale is going to make me hate you,” I said with a giggle. “I know. But at least you’ve gained the body of a stripper. You’ll be another Kim Kardashian once that baby comes. Plus I already hate you. You don’t have a single stretch mark on your belly,” she laughed. “I’m down for the whole Kim Kardashian deal,” he said raising his hand. I threw him a wink and waddled into the examination room. "Belly, no. My ass is covered with them," I groaned. "With the added weight and curves!" she cheered, throwing her arms into the air. Conversations like these often left me wondering if we'd actually hit it off as friends outside of these appointments. She was definitely someone that I could relate to and she had left a mark on my life.
“You only have a week left!” Dr. Carter said cheerfully. Honestly, a week couldn’t come fast enough. For some odd reason, the temperature outside was too damn high for it to be March. Being pregnant and being in the heat fucking blows. If I could get away with it, I would stroll through the apartment with not a stitch of clothes on. Danny always fussed about it though.
“What if someone sees you naked through the window?” he growled at me one morning while we were having breakfast. “I’m gonna tell you like you told me about these damn windows. We live on the fifth floor. If somebody climbs up that high to look at all of this,” I gestured to my body from head to toe, “then they deserve the best peep show known to man,” I said with a chuckle. He didn’t think it was very funny, but I nearly fell off of the bar stool when his facial expression changed.
“It seems like your little lady is doing just fine, but we do have one problem,” Dr. Carter said after measuring my belly. Shit. We had made it this far without a problem and now with only a week left, we were having technical difficulties. “What problem is that exactly?” I sat straight up and then quickly wished that I hadn’t have. My heart was racing and my head was spinning. I was silently praying to God that nothing was wrong with her. “Well, next week marks you as thirty-nine weeks, which means that we can go ahead and induce you, but the baby is turned face up instead of the favorable position, face down.” I didn’t realize that I had been holding my breath and that I had squeezed Danny’s hand so hard that it was beginning to turn blue. A weight was automatically lifted off of my chest. “We would have to perform a cesarean section in order to deliver the baby if she doesn’t turn.”
A C-section scared me even more. Having to have a surgery like that meant that I couldn’t get up out of the bed right away in order to get my baby and do things for myself. I would have to press a call button and wait for a nurse to respond before I could do anything. I knew that I would have plenty of help between Mom and Danny, but Fauna was my daughter and I wanted to be the first person to do everything for her and I had had enough of being treated like I was handicap. Once this pregnancy was over, I was going back to my independent ways. I had always fought with
other people about being able to do things for myself. Having a C-section to me felt like I would be giving up all of my independence.
“I’m sure there are ways to make her turn,” I said, looking at Bre for answers. “Of course. Maybe you could try a position where you get on your hands and knees and rock your pelvis forward, kind of up toward your head. Usually, a lot of women have a lot of success when it comes to that method.” The doctor pulled our picture from the machine and placed it in my hands. “We’ll see you Monday
and hopefully we can get this show on the road,” he said before smiling as he slipped out the door.
It took every ounce of strength inside me not to fly off the handle. By the way Danny was clenching his jaw, I could tell that he was thinking the same thing. “Just one more week baby,” I said to him as I slid off of the exam table to put on my pants. Even though we hadn’t received the best news, at least it was a start. “I know. After we get her out safely, fuck him and fuck this hospital.”
I could sense that he had been aggravated from the time the doctor stepped in the room. “I know.” Fauna would be in my arms by next week. Hopefully it wouldn’t take as long, but they gave me the whole ‘it’s your first baby, so your labor is going to be no less than twelve hours,’ lecture. I highly doubted that. From all of the research that I had done, the duration of your labor all depended on how active you had been throughout your pregnancy. I had gained a ton of weight, but I had still been pretty active. If sexually active counted. “I can’t believe it. We’re finally going to be parents. I’m finally going to be a daddy,” he said happily. I was glad that the mood had lightened a little bit. I smiled and stood up on my tip toes to kiss his cheek. “Absolutely. Let’s just hope the labor process
isn’t horrible.” We gathered my things, including the appointment card for next week, and we headed out the door.
It was an extremely surreal moment knowing that the pregnancy was almost over and reality was about to hit. My thoughts of Danny changing his behavior toward me once she got here resurfaced again. It made my stomach turn from thinking about us going back to fighting all the time and ending up with the two of us going our separate ways. After the past nine months, I didn’t think I
would have been able to do all of this without him. He had truly been my rock. When he told me all those months ago that all I would have to do is sit back and relax and take care of his baby, he meant it. It had been a hard uphill battle, but I made it through. I was preparing to deliver a healthy baby girl. Danny could tell that I was deep in thought the entire ride home. He didn’t ask questions though. He just sat there quietly and held my hand, probably deep in thought himself.
“You know we still haven’t packed a hospital bag, right?” he said when we pulled up in front of the apartment. My eyes grew wide and I turned my head slowly to stare at him. “Oh my God! We’ve been slacking!” I shouted, grabbing my head with both hands.
Danny chuckled and got out of the car to come over to my side and help me get out. The rest of the day, we spent our time playfully packing everything that me and the baby would need at the hospital.
After an hour, I was exhausted and my back was killing me. I rolled my exercise ball out of the laundry room and lowered myself onto it carefully. It had honestly become one of my most favorite things about being pregnant. The way the bouncing took the edge off of the pressure in my pelvis was unreal. I steadied myself on my feet and started bouncing intensely. The more I bounced, the more relieved I felt.“What about a video camera?” Danny asked while he was flipping through one of the pregnancy magazines I had picked up from the hospital. I stopped my vigorous bouncing on my exercise ball and I glared at him. “If I catch a video camera anywhere near me while I’m in labor I’ll kill you,” I said through gritted teeth.
“Hey, we need to record the birth for memories!” he replied. “Yeah, a great memory of why my vagina will never look the same,” I said sarcastically. “Very funny,” he said as he put down the magazine, “now let’s head to bed.” I looked over at the clock and it was only 9:30. “Whoa Papa Bear! It’s not even ten yet. You can’t hang?” He smiled at me and then reached out for my hands. “I can’t. Nine months of late night trips to gas stations and restaurants have me all wore out.” He wasn't wrong. I had went as far as begging him to drive to Bluefield in the middle of the night just to get something from Sheetz.
I hauled myself onto my feet, belly and all, and it took a minute for me to catch my balance. My belly bumped into Danny a little bit and it caused him to giggle like a kid at Christmas and Fauna stuck her foot straight out. “She’s saying watch where you’re going,” I said as I placed both of my hands on my stomach and looked around for more activity. He placed both of his hands on my belly and lowered his head to talk to her. “Daddy’s never gonna give you any space. Not now and not ever,” he said sternly. The tiny flutters in my stomach made my heart kick into overdrive. “I can’t believe we’re going to have a daughter soon,” Danny said quietly, seeming focused. “I know. You’ve changed so much since I met you.” And suddenly I was taken back to what seemed like so long ago.
It brought back memories of standing nervously in the corner at Rachel’s with Danny standing across the room from me staring and making it feel like we were the only two people in the room.
After crawling into bed, I snuggled down into my favorite place in the world: next to Danny. My body had had it for the day and I was ready to fall asleep. Unfortunately, being pregnant meant you couldn’t be comfortable in the same position for long. I tossed and I turned, hating Danny for being able to sleep so peacefully. Even when I got in a good position, my mind started racing.
I thought about everything from the time a kid puked on me when I was in the first grade, to the time that Danny and I spent together when we were at the beach. By the time my mind was able to settle down, it was well past 3 in the morning. That aggravated me even more. I looked over at Danny, sleeping like he was the poster child for a good nights’ sleep, and I decided to just crawl out of bed and see what needed to be done around the house. I had this strange feeling that something needed to be cleaned or organized which was extremely rare for my lazy ass. I was nowhere near organized on a good day.
I pulled my big pink robe off of the back of the door and wrapped it around me the best I could to cover my belly and not be tied too tight. I tip toed out of the room with my mind set on going into the nursery first. I knew Danny would scald me like I was a small child if he caught me awake at this hour, especially if I was fixing stuff up in the nursery. But being as big as I was and trying to sneak around the house was like being an elephant trying to walk through a china shop. Oh well, if he did catch me, I could just dive over onto the couch and pretend that I was sleeping.
I couldn't keep my mind off of what my life was becoming. I just kept imagining the sad shell of a person that I was almost a year ago. I was the type of person that refused to smile or see the silver linings on any cloud. I was angry and spiteful and entirely too afraid to step out into the world to find something that made me truly happy. I never would have thought that all I needed was a little push in the right direction and Danny was exactly what I needed. Sure, my friends were often up front about how they felt about things and they acted like they never had a problem with telling me the truth, but in the back of my mind, I knew that there were plenty of times when they held back.
Danny was everything I needed in order to change all along. This life that I was living now was simply beautiful. I was happy and away from the toxicity that existed in my past. Of course there was room for things to go sour and fall apart, but with him, I knew that I would survive and live to see it get behind me.