I know what I really want to ask her, but I know she doesn’t have the answer. I want to say: I don’t think I’m supposed to be here. I’ve lived a healthy life. I’ve followed all the rules. Why am I being tested for Multiple Sclerosis?
I thought moving back home would resolve my indecision. But as I continue to run, no matter where my feet land, I’m still here. For the first time in my life things aren’t happening in planned succession; the next thing doesn’t feel proximate. As a child I hurried into being a grown-up. Now I feel less like the adult I’ve always been and more like the child I never was.
My body tightened. I was exhausted. We’d wasted all his sperm over the past week. Why didn’t I wait for the stick to say I was ovulating? My mucus told me I was fertile four days ago. My body doesn’t work.
“Babe, we need to have sex,” I called from the bathroom.
Hunched over the toilet, I rock back and forth in excruciating pain. I use the contraction timer I have at births. My contractions are two minutes apart, hard and fast, and they last around one minute each. I am sweaty and naked in the pitch black, silently crying between breaths.
He cried. He cried so much. He wasn’t gaining weight as he should have been. He spit up all the time, sometimes in a long projectile. I breastfeed and bottle fed and nothing soothed him for long. Soon his knees were at his chest and he would start crying again.
I knew something was wrong. I knew in my gut, as a mother knows. Any time I brought up my concerns people told me that babies cry and babies spit up. I was brushed off and ignored. No one knew that I was drowning. That I would daydream about taking him back to the hospital. How I wished I could put him on my doorstep so a neighbor would take care of him just so I could get a break.