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Some weeks hum right along like you and the universe are in perfect tune. Your harmonic divergences are pleasing to the ear with no discord.

This has not been that week.

In fact, most listeners would clap their hands over their ears while shrieking, ďwhat the fuck is that noise?Ē I know we are aesthetically disgusting right now, the universe and I, but I seem to have lost my sheet music and am just making up the tune as Iím going along.

To start, the Hub is in technical rehearsals this week, which means that he has disappeared into the bowels of the theatre and will not emerge for seven more days. And when he emerges, blinking in the harsh light of day, if he sees his shadow, we will have six more weeks of discord. Personally, I blame him for this current spate of strange life events Ė and I feel free to do so mostly because heís not here to defend himself. Itís always best if your scapegoat doesnít actually know heís the scapegoat.

The week started with me pouring a quart of boiling water onto the tops of my sock-covered feet. I did not do this on purpose. I would like to say that I was being heroic, saving the Diva from near-certain scalding by sacrificing my own flesh. Truth be told, I was alone in the kitchen with a pot of potatoes just off the boil. Rather than do the sensible thing and grab a colander, I blithely stepped to the sink with pot and lid in hand. My mind was clearly elsewhere, since I missed the sink itself by mere millimeters and, instead, dumped the water on my own toes. Five days after the fact, I still have some impressive blisters, which itch, and, given the way this week has gone, will probably get massively infected. But, really, this is minor.

Also minor, if slightly less so, is the Divaís rash. Like a bad B-movie creature, it came out of nowhere. On Wednesday, which just happened to be picture day (of course) at the Divaís day care, she woke up from nap with a blazing red, bumpy rash all over her face and her neck. By 5 p.m., the blazing red part had disappeared, but the bumps remained. They donít itch, nor do they seem to bother her in any way. They are just there and look like little spider bites. Every day, they fade a bit more and, hopefully, by the start of next week, theyíll be gone. Whatís weird is that Iím at loss to know what to do about them. I hesitate to take her to the doctor for something that isnít causing her any grief. Iíve drug her into the office one time too many for things that have turned out to be nothing and always feel like an idiot. I know, I know. This makes me a bad mother because I should have her in there no matter how foolish I feel. If she had a raging fever or couldnít stop scratching, weíd leave a trail of dust as we flew to the docís office. But my impulse is to just give it another day, despite the warnings of my mother-in-law, the nurse, who mentioned that all kinds of wonderful diseases start with an innocuous rash. Like I said, Iím at a loss.

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Again, however, the rash is (right now, at least) relatively minor. The biggest series of wrong notes started with a call from my OB, also on Wednesday. Of course, by the time I got the message, which was about 12 seconds after she left it, since I was coming in from the outside and couldnít make it to the phone on time, it was after office hours. I could not convince her answer service that she must clearly still be in the office if she had literally just called. No amount of pleading nor explaining that I couldnít possibly do anything until I knew why she called Ė she only calls if thereís a problem Ė would sway the answering service automatons. So the evening was spent convincing myself that, given the bloodwork I had just had done, I must be anemic, which would a) explain why Iíve been so blessedly tired lately and b) not be life-threatening and easily dealt with. I also spent the evening watching the Diva for further signs of disfiguring disease. Good times. After most of a day spent not being able to concentrate on a damn thing, I made contact with my OB, who informed me that one test indicated that the baby-in-waiting has a slightly increased risk for spina bifida, based on the most recent blood screening. She assured me that she is unconcerned; that this test has a fairly high rate of false positives and that the odds are still greatly in my favor. The only thing we can do at this point is schedule a Level 2 ultrasound (Iím not sure what that exactly means either).

The problem, however, is that the only place they can do such a thing is in Albany, a good hour-plus drive away. Which is fine, on some level. Albany isnít that far and I can use it as an excuse to go to a real mall, one that has a Pottery Barn, a Godiva Chocolates and an Apple store. But the bigger issue is that it will take a whole day to get up there, get the thing done and get back home. And, given the Byzantine way in which these things are scheduled, I have zero control over when it will be. 

Intellectually, I know that the odds are overwhelmingly good that there is absolutely nothing wrong. But, still, the odds were also overwhelmingly good that the test wouldnít show a negative result, so Iím not quite able to put my faith in odds right now. While Iíd like to say that it just doesnít matter if the baby-in-waiting has spina bifida, I can honestly admit that it does matter because Iím not sure that I, personally, have the moral rectitude to deal with it and that I would always feel that it was my fault because I took this pregnancy for granted or didnít eat enough folic acid or something. Deep, deep down, I am not a saint, nor do I have any faith in God, much less reassurances that ďHe has a plan.Ē I just donít know that I have the strength to incorporate a diagnosis into my life. Hell, I can barely deal with a rash and I have been known to pour boiling water on my own feet. I am not a mother to be trusted. Waiting is, a wise science fiction writer once assured us. But waiting also sucks, mostly because I have lost control of this process. If Iíd had my druthers, Iíd be having the Level 2 ultrasound today, simply so that I could know one way or the other and get out of this limbo. My druthers are irrelevant. There is now a process, one that involves faxing pieces of paper between offices. My one phone call to the lab in Albany was met with the icy statement that my doctorís office would be informed of when it was scheduled and that, no, I couldnít have any input in the scheduling myself. My local doctorís office, while friendly, isnít all that helpful. The woman who handles all of this is out until Monday and that Iíll just have to cool my heels until then. With any luck, which seems unlikely, I should know something by April, by which point I may have gone completely insane with concern. And, yes, Iím aware that serene moms build the best fetuses and that worried moms are paving a path for future illnesses. Trust me Ė I am completely aware of this, yet canít help myself. If Iím not bonkers by the time I have some hard data, I will weight about 400 pounds, simply because a gallon of cookie dough ice cream is all that keeps me from chewing my nails to their nubs. I wonder if I should smear some of this miraculous frozen dairy elixir on the Divaís rash. It certainly couldnít hurt.
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About the Author:
Adrienne Martini has been a theatre technician, apprentice massage therapist, bookstore bookkeeper and pizza joint waitress. Eventually, someone started paying her for her words and an editorial mercenary was born. She has written theatre reviews and features for the Austin Chronicle, blurbs about tofurkey and bottled water for Cooking Light and a piece about knitting summer camp for Interweave Knits. She is a former editor for Knoxville, Tennessee's Metro Pulse and recently picked up an AAN award for feature writing. During the day, she fields freelance gigs and crams knowledge into the heads of college students in Upstate New York. At all hours, she is mom to Maddy, and wife to Scott.



 

I I I I I I I  

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