#58 Epilogue: It’s a boy
Nine months after the wedding
“It’s a boy,” the nurse says over Tracy’s pained grunts. She’s been a trooper all day, ever since her water broke this morning.
“Packards never stop fighting,” she has been telling herself every few minutes, trying to breathe through the pain of her contractions, and then labor. I expected her to curse at me, scream bloody murder, and be horrible to the hospital staff, but she’s not. According to our OB-GYN, who seems very relieved not to be yelled at by my feisty wife, Tracy is one of those women who doesn’t want to show her pain, and who doesn’t go off on anyone to relief some of it. She thanked the nurse each time she came to check on her, even when she kept having to tell Tracy she wasn’t dilated enough to labor to start.
The hardest part for me was not being able to help. I could feed her ice chips, hold her hand and wipe her sweaty hair out of her face, but that was about it. At one point, the nurse gave me this plastic thing to massage into her back, or more like press really hard against her or something, to relieve some of her pain, since she was so overwhelmed by it. That happened for a bit, but still, I felt so stupid. Men are so useless when it comes to making babies. We fuck a woman, and then she’s in for nine months of hell while we just… go on with our lives, I guess.
Okay, fair enough, it’s not like I left her to fend for herself or anything. I work from home and Peter managed to get the new clinic built pretty damn fast, so by the end of her pregnancy, Tracy worked just a few yards away from our house. I was there to hold back her hair when she threw up, to rub her back and position her pillows in a way that would allow her to get some sleep, I ran to the store to get the weird-ass things she was craving all the time, I was every single test, sonogram, check-up… I did it all.
It’s the least you can do when your wife is literally creating life.
And now… now it’s over. And it’s a boy.
He’s perfect, but also really gross. I get to cut the cord, which is pretty weird, and I try not to look too closely at the warzone that is now Tracy’s vagina, since she told me to stay the fuck away from there.
“Want to meet your son?” the nurse asks while her colleague keeps working on Tracy, since I guess there is a bunch of other stuff that needs to get out of her… or something? I swear I hear the word staples behind me, but I try not to listen to that. Not because I don’t want to know every single thing about my wife, but because if I was to ask a question right now, Tracy would start yelling at me, telling me stay the hell away from her poor, mistreated cunt and to not talk about it or even think about it.
“Yes,” I tell the nurse, following her to the small table where she puts down the baby – my baby, our baby, our son – and cleans him up. I put my hand don’t next to him, scared to touch him since he’s so tiny, and he grabs my pinky with his tiny little hands.
“Oh God,” I breathe, tearing up. I’m a dad now. What the actual fuck?
The nurse checks his vitals and when he starts wailing even more loudly than he already was, she picks him up, wraps him in a blanket and hands him to me. I’m holding my son in my arms.
“Hey Alex,” I whisper hoarsely, overcome with emotion.
“Alex?” the nurse asks. “That’s a great name for a boy.”
“It’s unisex,” I can’t help but explain. We picked out a name that would work for both a boy and a girl. We never found out the gender during sonograms, wanting it to be a surprise, but mostly just not really caring. We bought clothes and toys in every color of the rainbow, and the nursery is yellow and green, so it’s not like we needed to know in order to decorate. If this was my daughter in my arms right now, she’d be called Alex as well.
“Thom?” Tracy asks, her voice betraying how tired she is.
I walk over, the nurse sticking close to me, and I slowly lower Alex onto Tracy’s chest, so she can see and hold her son. It’s kind of unfair that I got to meet him first, really. She was the one to actually grow him in her body, yet the useless sperm donor – which is what I’ve been feeling like all damn day – is the first one to hold the baby. Well, technically the nurse got to hold him before that, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad.
“Oh, he’s so beautiful,” Tracy sniffles. “Hi Alex, I’m your mom.”
Alex looks up at her with wide blue eyes, his little fingers curling and uncurling like he wants to hold something. I give him my pinkie, which he grabs onto, and I feel so blessed to have a beautiful baby, with my lovely wife. Who looks like she needs to sleep for a year, so she’s not that pretty right now, but I still love her more than anything. And now there is this tiny little human in her arms that I can already tell I love even more than I love her, which I didn’t think was possible.
When Tracy opens the millionth present from my mother, I can’t help but laugh. The last ten gifts were stereotypical boy stuff – blue clothes with pirates and cars on them, a big toy tractor, a stuffed blue bear – but now Tracy is holding up a pink hat with little white hearts on it.
“I know you want to raise the baby without gender constricts or whatever you call it,” Mom says, looking down at Alex with so much love in her eyes that I hate to take him away from her in a moment so Tracy can breastfeed him. “I bought pink and blue things, so he can pick whatever he wants.”
“That not quite how-”
Tracy silences me with a single look. “That is wonderful, Debrah. Thank you so much.”
My wife is right. This is my mother trying really hard to be okay with us doing things our own way. Besides, when Alex gets older, it’ll be good for him to be able to pick what he likes. If he wants to only wear blue and play with cars, then I’m perfectly happy with that. If he wants to run around in a princess dress and wear heels, that’s fine too. Maybe he’ll do both.
“I asked a child psychologist online, on this great website I found, if the way you’re doing things could make Alex gay,” Mom says to my complete and utter horror. But then she goes on, and my heart melts a little. “He said that there is no such thing as making someone gay, and that the way you are raising Alex is actually really good for a kid, because he will have all paths in life open to him.” She smiles up at me. “I like that idea. That he gets to choose what he wants.”
“Thanks, Mom,” I say, smiling. “I think that’s the first compliment you’ve given me in years.”
“No, it’s not,” she says offhandedly. “I’m always saying how proud I am of you. Just look around, Thomas. You’ve got a lovely wife, this beautiful house, a successful business you started from the ground up, and a beautiful baby boy. You did amazing.”
“He sure did,” a voice says behind us. I recognize my best friend immediately, and I turn around with a grin on my face.
“Dylan,” my mother says in greeting, and then I realize that this is the first time they’ve seen each other after she called him names. Well, this is going to be interesting.
“Hi Debrah,” he says, not letting on that this is stressful for him, although I know it must be. My mother may be a cunt sometimes, but Dylan and I spent so much time at each other’s houses when we were younger than we feel like we’re all family, for better or for worse, and with his mother being gone, I know it hurt Dylan way more than he let on for my mother to tell him he’s unnatural.
I take Alex from my mother and hand him to Tracy, who pulls her tit out of her shirt without even blinking, and tries to get Alex to latch, which always takes a while. She has to pump a lot and we feed him extra from the bottles, because for some reason he doesn’t seem to like drinking from her breast and feeding him from a bottle helps us know how much milk he’s gotten in his system. Tracy has been trying all kinds of things to get him to latch on easier, but the harder she tries, the less he seems inclined to latch, so she tries to just stay relaxed on not try a million things each time he needs to be fed.
“Wow, boob alert,” Dylan says, winking at Tracy. “I’ve never seen so much of you than I’m doing now that Alex is here.”
My mother actually laughs at that, and she asks Dylan what he would like to drink, moving to the kitchen to make him a cup of coffee.
“Did you mother have a stroke?” he whispers to me, shaking his head. “Did she just laugh at a joke I made? One that wasn’t even funny?”
“So you admit you’re not funny?” Tracy shoots, wincing when Alex latches onto her nipple. She’s bleeding and sore more often than not. Poor thing. If things keep going the way they are with breastfeeding, I think we should consider stopping it earlier than we planned, because it’s so hard on Tracy. I know she won’t want to hear it, but formula might be a good back-up plan.
“Here,” Mom walks back in and hands Dylan his coffee. “I take it you will be the godfather?”
“We’re not doing the godparent thing,” I tell my mother. “We’re not religious, more… spiritual, I guess.”
“I’m not spiritual,” Tracy cuts in, laughing at me. “You’re the one who believes in faith and shit. I don’t. But I don’t see the point in godparents either.”
“What?!” Mom exclaims, gasping loudly. “But… Dylan is your best friend! He’s been there since you were a little boy. He kept your business up and running while you were taking care of your pregnant wife. He should be Alex’ godfather!”
We all stare are her, and then Dylan breaks into a huge smile that light up the whole room. “I agree with you, Debrah. I feel so offended!” He doesn’t, of course, but he has a field day talking to my mother about how ridiculous it is that Alex won’t have godparents.
My mother is trying so hard to be okay with Dylan being bisexual, bless her. She even asks him about his love life, and she tries to hide it when she winces at some of the things he says. I still feel disappointed my mother doesn’t just automatically accept Dylan, all of him, but she is trying. I don’t know where her beliefs come from, since she wasn’t raised overly religious or anything, but I guess you don’t need to be all into God to think being different is a sin. I love that she is trying, and I know I need to give her time to truly be okay with it. She’s Alex’ only grandmother, and she’s my mother, so I want her in our lives. If she keeps trying to be okay with everything we are and do, I will try not to be so hard on her when she says things that are a little outdated or even just plain wrong.
My dad and Peter show up shortly after, coming back from a fishing trip. They’ve become good friends over the past couple of months, which is great for both, since Dad is still getting used to life without Mom, and Peter has always been a bit of a loner, so it’s nice for them to both have a single friend to hang out with.
“Gimme my grandson,” Peter says, taking Alex from Tracy when she’s done with feeding him, he’s been burped, and her tits are back in her shirt. “Ahw, what a little cute. Yeah, you are, aren’t you, Alex?”
“I’m gonna lie down for a while,” Tracy says, yawning. “Sorry to be so lame.”
“Go with her,” Mom tells me, giving me a sweet smile. “You look tired too, Thomas. We will take care of Alex. You take a nap.”
“A nap?” Dylan jokes, laughing. “You’re sending them upstairs, to crawl into bed together? Last time they did that, Tracy ended up giving birth to this little fellow here.”
“Trust me, sex is not on my radar whatsoever,” Tracy grumbles. “If you so much as touch me, I will kick you out,” she warns me.
Laughing, I follow her upstairs. Together, we undress and slip under the covers. I miss sex with her, but I know she needs time. I can wait as long as she needs. She gave birth to Alex only a few weeks ago. I’m not a total pig, expecting my wife to bounce right back and take care of my urges. I’ve got my right hand for that. All she needs right now is sleep.
“Come here,” I murmur, spooning my body around hers and kissing her neck. “I love you, baby.”
She sighs and relaxes in my arms. “Love you too, Thom.”
We drift off only a minute later, and wake up hours later, still wrapped around each other. Mom brings Alex to us in bed, so Tracy can feed him again, and as I watch my wife with my son, I can’t help but feel like life has been good to me. It can’t possibly get much better than this.