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Dr. Salaam agreed to meet me for coffee at this little spot around the corner from my condo to discuss all the shit I missed when I blacked out in her office.  I decided to write down some questions, so I don’t forget to find out the important things, like I did yesterday. I intend to leave this meeting knowing everything I need to know about my stolen eggs, and my daughter. I had about 50 questions when I started writing, somehow I managed to narrow it down to just a handful, but that’s subject to change as the conversation unfolds. I know she couldn’t possibly have answered all of those questions anyway, because some of them were silly. I was going to ask her if she knows what Davinder’s favorite food is. What does she eat for breakfast? Does she have a best friend?  But, how in the hell would Dr. Salaam know any of that? People love to say there’s no such thing as a stupid question, but I completely disagree with that. I’m going to try to act like I have some damn sense; however, given the circumstances, she should cut me some slack no matter how stupid my questions are. My stomach is in knots right now. I don’t know if it’s because I’m nervous, or just hungover.

Dr. Salaam is running late again. The last time she was late she gave me life-changing news. I hope that doesn’t happen again. I honestly don’t think I can handle anything else.

Here she comes bouncing down the sidewalk. She looks very chipper for someone who is indirectly responsible for the chaos in my life. I know it’s not technically her fault, but when the team loses, the best player gets all the blame. She was supposedly the best player on the Windham team, so this is on her. I still can’t understand how she could not know what was going on right under her nose. Obviously they did a terrible job of keeping inventory. Did they not have routine audits? Perhaps I’ll add that to my list of questions.

“Hi Ms. Hammonds, how are you doing today?”

I’m okay, all things considered. Thanks for meeting me on such short notice. I know you probably have a million things you’d rather be doing on a Saturday.

“Well, actually I have a lot of free time on my hands now.”

Yeah, about that… How in the hell did this happen? How did you all not know this was going on for years? Did you guys never take inventory? The office supply closet at my job is more secure than Windham Fertility Center. It’s appalling that a group of supposedly intelligent people could allow something like this to happen!

“I understand what you’re going through, Ms. Hammonds.”

Oh, shit! Were your eggs stolen and used to create a child for random strangers too? Tell me all about it!

“No, they weren’t. I just meant I understand why you’re so frustrated.”

Forgive me. I didn’t mean to give off the vibe that I’m frustrated. I meant to give off the vibe that I’m pissed.  My bad.

“I’m sorry about that, Ms. Hammonds. First things first, let’s see if I can answer some of your questions.”

How did you discover that all of this shit was happening?

“We found out because a patient came in to use the eggs she’d been storing only to find out her eggs were missing. Obviously we had to figure out what happened. We brought in a team of investigators, and they found out exactly what I told you yesterday.”

I don’t remember anything you said yesterday, so tell me again.

“One of my colleagues, Dr. Halyard was performing procedures for couples at a much more affordable rate. I can’t tell you too much because it’s still an ongoing investigation, and there are privacy laws, but that’s the most important thing you need to know.”

How long had he been doing these discounted procedures?

“He’d been doing them for at least 6 years, as far as we can tell. You’re not alone; there are several other victims, Ms. Hammonds.”

Is that supposed to make me feel better? Should I be thankful that I’m not alone in this shit show? Maybe I and the other women who have been violated can form a support group. We could have monthly meetings, or play dates with our new, children. Imagine it!

“Are you going to try to get custody of this child, Ms. Hammonds?”

Call me, Eve. I think we’ve been through enough that you don’t need to be so formal. I’m not sure. I can’t even think about that yet. I still have so many questions.

“I’m sorry. Please continue.”

How can you be so sure that Davinder is mine?

“As it turns out, even though Dr. Halyard was an unscrupulous son of a bitch, he was still very organized and detailed.  He kept immaculate records for the procedures he did, and I’ve seen her. She looks just like you! She has beautiful thick hair, and the same deep brown complexion. She even has a mole over her right eyelid, and big brown eyes exactly like you. You can always have a DNA test to ease your mind, but once you see her… you’ll know.

I definitely think that’s something I should do. I need to be absolutely sure.

“That’s understandable, Eve. This is a lot to process.”

That’s an understatement Dr. Salaam.

“Call me Staci.”

Do you know Davinder’s parents? Were they your clients, or patients, or whatever?

“Yes, I actually do know them. They were desperate to have a child, but I never would have guessed they’d do something like this. Believe it or not, they’re not bad people, Eve.”

I find that incredibly hard to believe. They’re thieves! What if those eggs were my only chance to conceive a child?  They didn’t think about me, or my desire to have a child of my own. Only callous, cold hearted people would do something like that. There’s nothing you can say to make me believe otherwise.

“Again, I understand why you’re frustrated.”

I guess you didn’t hear me the first time I said I’m pissed, not frustrated. Anyway, I read in your notes that the husband is the biological father. So no matter what, he has just as many rights as I have to her, doesn’t he?

“I can’t really speak to the legalities of this, but, that sounds about right”

Ugh, I can’t believe the father of my child is a liar, and he’s broke. I should have just had a child by Cris before he accidentally walked into the Grand Canyon while trying to record a video for Instagram.

“That’s awful, Eve! I didn’t realize you were going through all of that.”

Yeah, it’s unbelievable. Anyway, tell me more about Davinder’s broke ass daddy.

“As I was saying…He has some very good qualities. For instance, he’s really smart, and attractive. I can’t divulge too much of their information, because they were patients of mine, but I can tell you he probably did this for his wife. He really wanted to make her happy. It obviously didn’t work, because they’re divorced now, but that’s not important.”

He sounds like a real diamond in the rough, but I wish he could have found a way to fulfill his wife’s dreams without potentially shattering mine. Can you at least tell me their names?

“That’s confidential information, Eve.”

You owe me at least that much. I wouldn’t even be in this situation if not for the short comings of your center. Just tell me their goddamn names, Staci!

“Their names are Vincent and Seana. Eve, I know this is not an ideal situation, but don’t lose sight of the big picture. You have a daughter! It really sucks that you didn’t get to carry and birth her yourself, but she’s still your daughter. That’s an amazing thing! Please don’t think of her as a disaster. She doesn’t deserve that, and if you’re going to have a healthy relationship with her in the future, you have to stop looking at her like she’s a mistake.”

You’re right, Staci. She didn’t ask for any of this. I don’t mean to make it seem like I regret the fact that she’s alive. I just wish things could have been different. I didn’t get to experience Davinder as a baby. I’ve missed so much of her life. I know labor pains and sleepless nights don’t sound very appealing, but I wanted all of those things.

“Only a woman who has never been through labor pains and a screaming baby that won’t sleep would long for those things, but go on.”

 That’s part of the process of being a parent, and I didn’t get to experience any of it. They got to decide all the little things. I don’t know what kind of values these people have. They’re obviously okay with cutting corners and stealing. I don’t want a child of mine to grow up thinking that shit is okay. What if they’re super religious, or extremists, or survivalists, or vegans? What if they’ve been raising her to believe things that I vehemently disagree with? It’s not fair. I wanted to have a baby on my terms.

“What if they’re good people who didn’t think they’d be hurting anyone? I know you’re angry, but I know them. They’re not bad people; they just did a bad thing. Also, becoming a parent almost never works out how people think it will. You can plan, and plan, but babies always chart their own course for how they’re going to get here, and once they arrive…nothing is the same.”

I know. I already feel different, and I’ve never even met her.

“As I said yesterday, we hope to handle as much of this internally as we possibly can. I’ll make an open appointment for you at Jackson’s Diagnostic Testing Center so you can provide a DNA sample, and we can confirm that Davinder is your child. They’re located in the same building as our center, on the 4th floor.”

What happens now?

“Go get the DNA test, and when the results come back, we’ll meet again and figure out how to resolve this. Try to enjoy the rest of your weekend, Eve. Nothing is going to happen today.

After I returned home from coffee with Dr. Salaam, I had to respond to the 6 missed text messages from Ashley. She’s been texting me all day. Thankfully she went to get my car from the bar so it wouldn’t be towed.  I don’t know what I’d do without her.

I’m so glad she isn’t the type to overreact when I don’t respond to her text messages. I wish my Mom could show that kind of restraint.  I know I need to call her, but I definitely can’t talk to her until I know everything.  I don’t have it in me tonight. I’m going to text Ash, then go to sleep.

Hey, Ash.  Sorry I have been M.I.A. all day.  Thanks for getting my car. I’d completely forgotten about it. How are you?

“Heeeeeeeeeey, Eve! No problem. I know you’d do the same for me.  I’m good, just sitting home already deep into my Saturday night ritual of watching Netflix and eating popcorn. What have you been doing all day? Are you still hungover?”

No I actually slept it off. I went to meet Dr. Salaam for coffee this afternoon.

“How did that go?”

It went okay. She made an appointment for me to go have a DNA test to confirm Davi’s mine. She also tried to convince me that Davi’s father isn’t a bad person, and she said he’s fine.

“See, I told you! Maybe he just made a bad decision.”

Whatever. You know how I feel about that. My mind hasn’t changed.

“What else did she say?”

She said that I’m not the only person this happened to, and even though it’s not an ideal situation, I should be happy that I have a daughter.

“She’s right, Eve. I’ve been thinking about this all day, and I think it’s a wonderful thing. You get to be a mother without having to go through all the weight gain, labor pains, and the sleepless nights. That part kinda sucks, but there’s still a lot of childhood left for Davinder. She’s only four years old, so you can still have a tremendous impact on her life. Also, don’t forget… she has your DNA! She’s probably as awesome as you are.”

I just hope she’s healthy and happy. That’s all that really matters. I think I’m going to lie down now. I know it’s early, but I’m exhausted. All of this is emotionally draining. Plus, I need to rest because I HAVE to call my Mom tomorrow. I can’t go the whole weekend without talking to her, she’ll have a fit. I’ll text you later.

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