Room For More(2)By: Beth Ehemann
I figured Zach would eventually share my excitement and feel the same way.
My first hint should have been halfway through my pregnancy when we received the news that we were going to be blessed with two girls.
Immediately, I started picturing two little girls in matching pink outfits with bows in their hair, asking me to paint their nails when they were old enough. And how lucky were they going to be to have each other? Built-in best friends. I was elated.
Not so much.
“Seriously? Shit. If I have to go through this, I was at least hoping for boys. Fuck,” he mumbled on the way home while I sat in the passenger seat rubbing my protruding belly with a smile on my face. I just knew that as soon as he held them, he would feel the way I was feeling.
They were born eighteen weeks later, weighing in at just five pounds each and absolutely perfect. Zach was as supportive as I expected him to be during delivery, at least in the moments he wasn’t busy texting on his cell phone. My picture-perfect fairy tale was quickly shattered. Our first fight came when the girls were only eight hours old.
“You want to what?” I scowled at him. I could feel my face turning red with anger.
“Calm down, Kacie! It’s no big deal. The guys just want me to come out for a few drinks to celebrate becoming a dad.”
“But they were just born!” I hissed back at him, trying not to focus on my mom in the background, shaking her disapproving head at him. “I was hoping you were going to stay here in the hospital… with us. I thought that was the plan.”
“Babe, I’ll only be gone an hour or so. Then I’ll come back and stay here with you tonight,” he responded, flashing that mega-watt smile that I swear got me pregnant in the first place.
“We’ve waited nine months to meet them. How can you leave now?” I looked down at the two little pink bundles sleeping peacefully, one in each arm. Tears started to well up in my eyes, but I was determined to keep them there.
“Jesus. They’re not going anywhere, Kacie. They’ll still be here when I get back. I just want to see the guys, have a cigar, and celebrate, okay? Come on, just for a little bit,” he cooed, turning on the charm. “Then, when I get back, it’s just you and me and them. We can sit and talk about how awesome our future is gonna be together.”
He knew just how to get to me. “Fine, just for a couple hours. When you come back, you’re here with me one hundred percent, okay? No more phone, no more distractions, just us. Right?”
“Sure thing, babe!” he said as he kissed my forehead. He was out the door before I could say anything else.
I spent the rest of the evening trying not to make eye contact with my told-you-so mom, who hadn’t been a big fan of Zach from the moment she met him. I was going to great lengths to sugarcoat things to make it seem like he was as excited as I was about starting our own family. I obviously couldn’t lie anymore, nor did I need to. She could see it.
Zach never came back that night.
Instead, he showed up the next morning, still wearing the same clothes and smelling like he slept in the bottom of a beer bottle. I made him run in and shower in my bathroom while my mom was downstairs in the cafeteria getting herself some coffee.
I should have known right then that it was the beginning of a very dark, lonely road.
But I didn’t.
Call it denial. Call it stupidity. I put my blinders on and pushed through, determined to do everything in my power to keep my family together. I was hopeful that he would eventually fall as deeply in love with Lucy and Piper as I did and want to be with us forever. When the girls were only a couple months old, we looked at engagement rings. My stupid, naive self thought he had secretly bought one and was paying it off, when in reality he was planning his escape. I felt like such an idiot.
The baby monitor lit up on the kitchen counter, bringing my trip down memory lane to a screeching halt. I walked over and turned the volume up. The girls had woken up from their naps and were babbling and giggling to each other. The sound of their sweet voices usually made my heart swell with joy, but right now each little cackle coming from their bedroom was another blow to my already weak heart. What was I going to tell them when they were older?
Tears slid down my cheeks and the stream quickly turned into an ocean. Sinking to the floor in my kitchen as the world below me fell away, I sobbed and sobbed until I couldn’t cry anymore. I leaned against the cabinet for what felt like hours, wondering what my life was going to be like from this point on. I made a silent promise to myself and to my daughters. I would never go through this again. They deserved better; so did I.