Monday, May 03, 2010

Rare Blood

By All4Eyes 

I still remember how it all started. Saturday, April 10, sitting in the doctor's waiting room, waiting to find out why I'd been feeling so tired and bruising so easily lately. I thought maybe he was going to tell me I was anemic or something like that, but I was completely unprepared for what he did say- "You have cancer". He said a lot of other things, too, of course, about different types of blood cells and their counts, treatment options, odds of remission, but I didn't hear much after that initial shocking statement. I mean, I was only 22, in my final year of earning a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design, and I'd always been healthy apart from the usual colds and flus and really lousy (wonderful) eyesight (more on that later). I was at a point in my life where a door to a whole new world was just starting to open and give me a glimpse of the world beyond my little neighborhood and family, and here this doctor was slamming that door shut in my face!

Rare Blood

Note: This story is a little different from your regular, everyday glasses story and you're going to have to read through it a ways to get to "the good part", myopically speaking, but I assure you there is one! I have attempted here to combine my interest in glasses with my impregnation fetish and my interest in vampirism (yes, there are vampires in this story and they do drink blood, but nobody dies and this is NOT a horror story!). But be advised this may not be your cup of tea, if you are squeamish. This story is also close to my heart, because it deals with being adopted, like I was.
I still remember how it all started. Saturday, April 10, sitting in the doctor's waiting room, waiting to find out why I'd been feeling so tired and bruising so easily lately. I thought maybe he was going to tell me I was anemic or something like that, but I was completely unprepared for what he did say- "You have cancer". He said a lot of other things, too, of course, about different types of blood cells and their counts, treatment options, odds of remission, but I didn't hear much after that initial shocking statement. I mean, I was only 22, in my final year of earning a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design, and I'd always been healthy apart from the usual colds and flus and really lousy (wonderful) eyesight (more on that later). I was at a point in my life where a door to a whole new world was just starting to open and give me a glimpse of the world beyond my little neighborhood and family, and here this doctor was slamming that door shut in my face!

When I finally managed to collect myself and attend to what the doctor was saying, he was talking about a bone marrow transplant.
"We could try chemotherapy, but in patients with this particular type of cancer that you have, the success rate for chemo is very low. But if we do a bone marrow transplant, the odds are definitely in your favor, assuming we can find a good match, of course. I'll need to see as many of your first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, children?) as possible to see if we can get a match and then-"
"Oh, no, Doctor" I interrupted "I'm afraid none of my relatives is going to be a match for me. You see I'm adopted and I have no idea who my birth-parents are or how I might find them."
"Oh, dear" said the doctor, suddenly looking grave. "That's very bad news indeed, as you have a very rare blood type. The chances of finding a non-related donor are incredibly slim. Well, I'd like to check all of your relatives and anyone else who might be willing to donate, in the rare chance that we may get lucky and find a match. I'll put you on the Bone Marrow Registry waiting list as well, but I must be honest and tell you that on average they only get a donor with your rare blood type once every 18 years and I'm afraid you don't have that long."

I knew my next question was the stereotypical disaster diagnosis question, but, let's face it, it's what everyone who's received this kind of news wants to know.
"How long do I have, Doctor?"
"Well, your cancer appears to be relatively slow-growing, and being as young as you are and otherwise in good health, with proper support you could have as much as another ten years. That's a pretty long time and you never know what can happen in ten years, we may very well be able to find a donor for you by then."
He went on to say that I could finish this last year of school and that it was a lucky thing I decided to go into graphic design, as this was something I could do from home, setting my own schedule and taking breaks during the day and longer time off whenever I needed to. He prescribed some medication and warned me to take it easy and "get things in order", "just in case".

I remember walking out of there into the glorious sunshine of a bright, warm day in April, the classic "flowers-and-young-lovers-in-bloom" sort of spring day. Just that morning I'd felt I was a part of that energy of youth and beauty and fullness of vibrant life, but now suddenly I felt old, tired, done-in, over. Breaking the news to my family was incredibly hard. Part of me wanted to tell my mother, wanted to have it be like when I was younger and would go to her and say "Mommy, I'm sick" and immediately be comforted by her loving embrace and soothing "It's OK, Mommy's here". But the other part of me knew how devastated my whole family would be and hated the thought of bringing them pain, plus I really didn't want to be the object of pity, however well-intentioned. But I knew it was inevitable.
To my surprise, they took it pretty well, saying things like
"I know one of us must be a match, I'm sure of it!"
"You can beat this, you'll see!"
"Yeah, you're too stubborn and hard-headed to die!".
And Mom did wrap her arms around me and say "Don't worry, honey".

My family were eager soldiers declaring war on my cancer, confident that we would emerge victorious. Looking around the room at 6 dear faces, all full of love and support for me, I felt my own confidence beginning to grow.
We were all brought down to earth a few weeks later when test results came back revealing that none of my 9 relatives (Mom, Dad, a Grandma, an aunt and uncle, 3 brothers and a sister (all of us adopted, the boys are biological brothers adopted as a set, but my sister and I are not related by blood to anyone in our family) ) were a match for me. Next came the search amongst friends of the family and my own personal friends. Few were willing to undergo this type of procedure (I guess this is one of those times when you find out who your real friends are) and amongst those who were willing, there were some with medical reasons for being unable to donate. Of the handful of people we knew who were willing and able to donate, none of them were a match. This is one of the things that sucks about being adopted, there's never a good blood-type match when you need one! Of course, I'd also always been curious about what my biological parents were like, who I resembled more, where I got certain features, like my honey-blonde curls, short, slim build and golden brown, seriously short-sighted eyes.

Not that I'm mad at whichever of my parents I may have inherited my myopia from, although there was a time in my early childhood when I was. As the only little girl entering first grade in glasses, I felt "different" and endured some teasing from the other kids, though nothing too traumatic and it did stop as I got older and more of my fellow classmates became bespectacled. As I got older my vision deteriorated a little more and my glasses got a little thicker with each passing year. I guess I must have been 10 or 11, just starting sixth grade, when I looked around and realized that, although there were now many other kids in my school who wore glasses, mine were stronger and thicker than most. But instead of this making me feel "different" in a bad way, it made me feel special, and I thought my glasses looked so much better than the flimsy little window-panes everyone else wore. I came to really enjoy my identity as "the girl with the glasses". Of course, now I was also wondering from whom I'd inherited my weird blood. I'd already been told my cancer wasn't hereditary, so my future children were in no danger. If I lived to have any, that is.

That saddened me deeply, thinking I might never have children. Another part of being adopted was, I had this idea that there was a connection between people related by blood, especially mothers and the children they bore, that no other type of bond, no matter how close, could ever quite replace. Don't get me wrong, I love the mother who raised me, but there was always a part of me that longed for my birth-mother, the woman whose genes were half mine, who conceived me in her womb, carried me as a part of herself for 9 months, and then pushed down in pain and blood to give me my life and bring me into the world. I wonder what it was like for her to give her baby up (I knew she had signed away her rights to me before she left the hospital, an unmarried 15 year old with no other options). Had she touched me at all in those first few minutes of my life, did she not even look at me, preferring to get the whole unfortunate episode behind her as quickly as possible? Or had she held me snug in the crook of her arms, like mothers of wanted babies do and maybe, just maybe, even let me suckle for a moment at the breasts that had spent 9 months preparing for a child they'd never feed? I wanted to nurse my child someday, too, to give him or her what I'd been deprived of and also to feel that wonderful sense of bonding that I'd heard so many mothers talk about. I'd hear them talk about how their breasts would start overflowing with milk every time they heard their babies cry, even from another room! What a powerful connection that must be!

I was near tears thinking about the child I might never bear when suddenly I remembered something I'd seen on the news about a woman who needed a transplant (I can't remember now if it was of bone marrow or something else) but couldn't find a matching donor, so she eventually decided to get pregnant so she could hopefully "grow her own donor". Luckily, the child matched and they were able to do a successful transplant and save the woman's life. At 22 I was still a virgin, being one of the few remaining old-school romantics who thought that losing it to my life-partner-for-life on our wedding night (and hopefully getting knocked up with the first of many offspring) was not only the most morally correct but also the most romantic and sexiest thing I could do, but if it could save my life... But how, I wondered? I decided to call my doctor and ask about the possibility of this method of treatment.

"Yes, that does sound like an idea that might work" the doctor said. "But you will probably have difficulty finding a suitable sperm donor; because the genetic pattern for the rare blood factor that you have is recessive, in order for your child to have a chance of having it as well, the father must at least be a carrier for the gene that causes it, if not someone who actually has it. If the father is a carrier, the odds of your child being a match are about 50/50. If the father has this factor himself, then the child will definitely have it, too, though of course, if we found a sperm donor with the proper type, he most likely could serve as a marrow donor himself, doing away with the need for producing a baby."  
Yes, doctor, doing away with YOUR need to produce a baby, I thought.
"And the most difficult part of that is, that sperm banks do not test for this particular blood factor, only the traditional ABO and Rh factors. I can test a particular sample's DNA directly prior to inseminating you, but it would already have to have been bought and paid for before I could do that, and since we would probably need to go through hundreds, if not thousands, of vials before we got a match, it could quickly become very expensive experimentation."
"Oh" I replied softly. That was a huge problem, as my family and I were already struggling to pay the medical bills I'd racked up thus far and were trying to save up for the transplant.

Once more I left the doctor's office in deep despair. As I gloomily made my way back home, a gorgeous sun-kissed, blond Adonis happened to cross the street in front of me, and instantly I felt that funny flushed-and-foolish feeling that exists to remind us of the way babies are SUPPOSED to be made. Could I...Oh, but it'd be so wrong! But my imagination was getting the better of me and I found myself thinking what it would be like to lie in bed, knowing I was at my peak time of the month for conceiving, with a ripe egg just released from its ovarian prison, waiting to be united with a sperm with all the eagerness for mating of any newly released ex-convict. Knowing that everything in my body and mind and all my hormones are perfectly geared for breeding, for procreation. My whole body warm and giving off pheromones designed to make anything with balls want to jump me, my vagina dripping with lubrication to ease the entry of a hard, throbbing dick attached to balls loaded with potent, virile baby-making sperm, thrusting in-and-out, in-and-out in perfect rhythm to my own pelvic thrusts, urging him to go deep and deeper still, until the head of his cock is aimed straight at my cervix, our bodies humping and pumping away in a fierce, sultry, mad frenzy of instinctual, animal mating, until he explodes inside me and fills me with jet after jet of hot baby-making cream, full of strong, active sperm finally freed to swim on and compete to fertilize my waiting egg... *BEEP! BEEP-BEEP-BEEP!!!* Oh, my goodness! I'd gotten so caught up in my fantasy I had completely forgotten where I was, stopped at a light, which was, as the car behind me so kindly informed me, no longer red (unlike my face).

Ahem, well, getting back to being practical, surely I should try to find someone to marry first? But that would be a difficult thing in itself, for I had some, er, shall we say unusual requirements in a marriage partner, and I wasn't willing to back down on them, having seen too many marriages fail due to incompatibility of interests. For one thing, I had a fetish. For eyeglasses, of all things. It wasn't just my own glasses I enjoyed, but also other peoples', especially cute guy's. And not just any glasses, either, only the strong (AT LEAST -8 diopters was what I preferred, my own being -10), concave lenses used for severe nearsightedness, the kinds of lenses I (happily, for there is an autoerotic aspect of my fetish, as well as the feeling that my glasses make me special) needed myself. Yes, I could get aroused thinking about things other than glasses (impregnation, for example, evidently :-) ), but it wasn't just about pure raw sex; for me, it was almost less about the glasses themselves than it was about the knowledge that my man was a serious myope who really needed his super-strong specs to see anything past the end of his nose, that vulnerability aroused such deep feelings of love, understanding and tenderness, as well as eroticism, that I knew I could never truly love a man in the way a man and a woman were meant to love, if he wasn't highly myopic. Oh, I had tried, in all my years of dating, I'd seen several 20/20 fellows, low myopes and even the occasional hyperope and while many of them were compatible with me on one or more levels, something was missing and I knew what it was.

As if this wasn't freaky enough, I had also discovered many years ago that my blood had another unusual property-it was absolutely delicious! And so was my friend Ashlee's, as we found out messing around in the kitchen one day when we were about 13. We were making sandwiches, big, thick subs that had to be cut in half with a sharp knife, and while Ashlee was cutting her sandwich, the knife slipped and cut her hand.
"Ouch!" she cried, bringing the injured hand up to her mouth and sucking off the blood.
"Mmm, blood doesn't taste half bad, really. You should try it."
With that she held her hand out to me, still oozing a fair amount of blood, and almost before I knew it my mouth was where hers had been, lapping it up, and oh, was she ever right! It was a strange mixture of sweetness and salt with a vaguely metallic tang, completely unlike anything I'd ever tasted before, yet I felt like I had been waiting for it my whole life.

In that moment that I was sucking Ashlee's blood, I had this almost transcendental feeling of losing myself to her, nothing existed anymore but her hand and my mouth drinking the potent elixir of life from it. The entire world just melted away and dropped back into blackness, until I nearly felt that I, too, would faint with the dizzying pleasure rushing through me.
As I finally drew back and looked up into Ashlee's eyes with what I know must have been a dazed expression, she said "Pretty good, huh?" with such a mischievous grin that I had to wonder if this wasn't something more than just a little teenage curiosity, if she knew more than she said (though I hadn't a clue as to what that might be).
"Shall I return the favor?" I asked, provocatively scraping the knife across my own skin. Ashlee's eyes lit up.
"Please" she said, looking almost frighteningly eager to taste my blood. In one quick motion I slashed the knife across my palm.
"You got first dibs on your own, so I get first dibs on mine" I told her.

My own blood tasted wonderful, but it wasn't quite the intoxicating knockout Ashlee's was. I then held my hand up for her and she began to take the blood, first in gentle little licks, like a kitten, then finally starting to really suck. I remember a lovely sense of warmth and relaxation washing over me as she drank, a blissful trance that was almost, but not quite, as good as the feeling I'd had drinking from her. The rest of the day, even after Ashlee left, I spent walking around in a happy, hazy cloud, like the combined feelings of confusion upon half-awakening from a dream and the feeling of being in love. Only I wasn't in love with Ashlee, I was in love with blood. Or more specifically, with drinking it and being drunk from. Ashlee and I never repeated this act, nor even discussed it (for some reason, I felt embarrassed to, though I longed to taste her again) and it wasn't long after that her family moved away.

I thought about it all the time, though, maybe fantasized about it would be the better word. I replayed every detail of the experience in my mind over and over again, I had dreams about it (sometimes I woke up from these dreams literally with the taste of Ashlee's blood in my mouth. Creepy, I know, but at least I never forgot how wonderful it was), I even began looking around at other people and wondering what their blood tasted like (strangely, I found myself being more drawn to guys in this respect, not sure if that was due to an erotic component of my blood-thirst or some other reason. Also, I was never too keen on the idea of taking blood from an elderly person or from a little kid, that just really turned me off somehow). Sometimes I couldn't even watch anything on TV that showed people bleeding (like a bloody, violent movie or a realistic depiction of surgery on a medical drama) without getting these very strange and disturbing feelings and having to fight an urge to go up and lick the TV screen! I wondered sometimes if I was some kind of crazy, but I seemed reasonably sane in every other aspect of my life, so I tried not to obsess over this one quirk (I've since realized that everyone is "some kind of crazy" and that that's OK, it's one of the main things that makes life interesting).

I never told anyone else about my new, twistedly carnivorous cravings, but I satisfied them myself every so often (as I did the other, more traditional bodily desire I'd started experiencing). But I couldn't do this very often (the blood thing, I mean, the other I did constantly, thinking of being knocked up by my dream guy-"have high myopia and sperm count, will travel") as I didn't want to be all scarred up and hated the idea of being a "cutter". Plus, my own blood just wasn't as good. I wondered if other people had that super-special blood taste, or if that was an Ashlee original? I sometimes wished I'd gotten up the nerve to ask her to let me drink from her again. Oddly, it wasn't until years later that I realized what I was doing and wanting to do was vampiric behavior, thus (duh) making me a vampire of some sort. I just didn't make the connection, to me vampires were these mythical creatures who lived in dark, dreary castles in Transylvania, turned into bats and had long, pointy fangs, wore nothing but black (like any girl, I loved my little black dress, but also had a rainbow of colors in my closet, my favorite being red, blood-red, actually, but anyway...) and perished with the slightest hint of sunlight (I DO sunburn easily and my prescription sunglasses got more wear than my regular clear ones in the summer, but I never felt I was going to drop dead because I stepped outside in daylight). Much of my teens was spent solitarily struggling to figure out what my feelings really meant and if they were OK and if I was OK.

But by now I'd come to the conclusion that this was just another part of who I am, albeit a part most people wouldn't understand. But that was all right, I didn't need everyone to understand. But I did feel that I needed my husband to understand and had even decided that part of what I wanted to do with my husband was engage in blood exchange with him. I felt it was an intimate act, not necessarily sexual per se, in the sense of eliciting genital sensation (though emotionally I did find the feeling of orgasm rather similar to the all-encompassing high I had taking Ashlee's blood that I could never quite recapture on my own), but sensual, certainly, and not something that would be advisable to do with just anyone, for emotional or physical reasons (blood is a bodily fluid, after all, and can transmit viruses).

But even if it weren't for all of this, how could I find someone to marry me on such short notice? OK, the doctor did say I had possibly as long as 10 years, but I didn't want to test my luck any more than I had to. I decided I'd start off by letting it be known around the College that I had cancer and needed someone with my same rare blood type for a bone marrow donation. That might bring up either a suitable donor or a guy with the right type who could father my child. I was surprised that after I did this nearly 100 students presented themselves to my doctor to be tested (because of the highly unusual nature of my case, Dr. Ohms insisted on cross-matching my blood with all potential donors’ himself). But, not so surprisingly, none of them was a match. However, there were 4 people who carried the recessive gene for it, although 1 was a girl.

So that left me with 3 potential partners. One was a fellow senior, a guy I knew, but who was also a first-class jerk. No way I would want him to be the father of my child. The other 2 were complete strangers to me, but they both appeared to have excellent prospects-one was a sophomore in Pre-Law and the other a freshman in Pre-Med. I decided I had to handle the situation delicately, I mean, you can't just go up to a guy and say "Hey, you wanna get me pregnant?" Well, I guess you could and some girls would (like the kind of girls Mr. Senior Jerkwad hung out with), but I couldn't. So I figured I would try dating both of these guys (thank goodness a girl can ask a boy out these days, I'd have hated to have to go through all the silly little games of subtly hinting to him that I wanted him to ask) and then if I got close to one of them, explain the situation I was in.

The lawyer-to-be was named Gary and, to be completely shallow about it, he was the better-looking of the two, not that Nathan (the doctor-to-be) wasn't, but Gary was a gorgeous golden blond, not unlike the young man I found myself fantasizing about at the red light, with stunning sky blue eyes and he also had a good half-foot in height on poor little Nathan (though being 4'11" myself, I really have no right to talk like that!). There was no sign of either specs or the slightest squint from either of them, though 8-(. But, just because I hadn't found a 20/20 man I felt really attracted to yet, didn't mean there might not be a first, especially considering my life was riding on it. I tried to go into it with more of an attitude of "Would this man make a good father for my child?" rather than simply "Will this man fulfill all of my emotional, physical, sexual, vampiric, affectional and companionship needs?"

But in spite of my best efforts, it was quite clear by the end of our third date that Gary and I had virtually nothing in common, plus he was a terrible kisser, plus in talking to him I discovered that all manner of mental and physical illnesses ran in his family, it seemed that relatively (so to speak) few of his relatives made it to the age of 60. While Gary himself seemed perfectly healthy, his family history would definitely have given me pause to think about having his baby, even if I had been madly in love with him (though again, I'm one to talk, since I'm adopted I don't even know my family medical history. But I figured that's all the more reason to be sure my future child's father has a good background). I tried to break it off with him as gently as I could, considering the fact that things might go even worse with Nathan and Gary would be my only hope (perhaps that sounds selfish, but it was a matter of life-and-death).

Now, Nathan was, as I said, quite short. I still had to look up at him, but for most of the girls, he was eye-level or lower. Nevertheless, he was rather handsome and with his long dark hair, smoldering brown eyes and penchant for silk shirts and ties, he had a polished, sophisticated, almost decadent air about him that made him surprisingly popular with the ladies for a little guy. As for me, my preference was more for the rough-around-the-edges types: your sun 'n sand, surf 'n turf beach boys, your ripped jean, leather boots, cowboy hat rodeo riders, even the odd (and I mean that 8-) ) cute, little mopey Goth guy (as opposed to the angry, headbanger ones). I admit, I mostly went for the Goths cause I figured I might have a better chance of finding a vamp there, though it turns out the guys who love to talk about it get totally freaked once they figure out you're serious. And the Goths seem more likely than others to wear specs, too, but never strong enough for me, naturally, and while I've caught an occasional surfer dude thinking he had a cover in his rx shades, I've yet to meet a four-eyed cowboy. No glasses for Nathan either, but I supposed I'd try to make do. I had a hope that maybe he'd understand and be willing to wear glasses for me anyway, but I knew that wasn't likely, and even if he did agree, he couldn't wear the strong lenses I wanted him to (unless he didn't mind spending his days in an artificial hyperopic haze!).

It turned out my first date with Nathan was a lot more promising and more revealing than I'd imagined. We had agreed to go see a movie on Saturday afternoon, I not even knowing what was going to be playing, so I was certainly shocked to discover it was a vampire movie! Not your typical one, either, where the vampire is portrayed as a murderous, bloodsucking monster and it's the hero's job to slay him. No, this movie was actually written from the vampiress' (for it was about a female vampire) perspective and was quite sympathetic of the plight of someone who craves the life-force of others to make her whole. There were also some scenes which definitely eroticized the act of bloodletting and feeding, during which Nathan really got excited and showed me he was not only a way better kisser than Gary, but better than anyone I'd ever dated.

After the movie Nathan and I sat in his car and talked for a while.
The movie and the excellent necking(!) it inspired had me feeling brave, so I said "That was really interesting. I've never seen a movie about a woman vampire before, or one where the vampire wasn't made out to be a bad guy."
"Yeah, I know." Nathan replied, then took a deep breath and appeared to be getting psyched up for something. "But, you know, they really do exist, female vampires. And male ones, too, I mean, and they're not like you see in the movies, either."
"Really?" I asked, wide-eyed. "You mean, there really are people who drink other people's blood?"
He smiled a bit, I suppose he was proud of teaching me something (or so he thought). "Yes, there are people who do that, but like I said, they're not what you think. They're not monsters, they're people just like you and me, except they have this one extra thing that they need in their lives."
"Just like you and me, huh?" I mused. "So then, how do you know if someone is a vampire?"
"You usually don't unless they choose to tell you. Most vampires feel it's a very personal issue and something that could be misunderstood, so they don't let people know unless they really trust a person."

OK, my turn for a deep breath, the $64,000 question. "And what would you think if someone told you she was a vampire?"
"Well, I certainly wouldn't be scared or disgusted or anything. But I would warn her not to just go around telling everybody she meets, either, because some people would be and might cause trouble for her. Believe me, I know from experience."
As soon as the words left his mouth, he shut it fast and his eyes widened into that "Uh-oh, I've blown it now!" look.
Now it was my turn to gently smile. "So you're a vampire, then?"
"Yes" he said, hanging his head slightly.
"Look, you don't have to be embarrassed. I had this friend in Jr. High and we used to drink each other's blood, too. And I liked it. A lot. And I miss it."
"Well, now, is that right?" he said, sounding for a minute like the cowboy of my dreams. "Well then, how about after dinner we go back to my place for a little..."(he now leaned over to whisper in my ear) "liquid dessert? And I don't just mean wine or coffee."

For a moment I just sat there speechless, while a voice in my head kept screaming Say something quick, before he gets scared and withdraws the offer!!!
Then, like a miracle, this other person I had no idea lived inside of me took control of my mouth and said "Well, at least I know you're my type" (the doctor found we were both O positive, a perfect match except for my one weird blood factor).

So after a nice dinner we went back to his place.
"So, how did you and you're friend do it?" he asked casually, as I sat on his bed and he went into the bathroom to get a razor.
"Well, actually we only did it once" I replied, telling him about what happened.
Then he sat down next to me, cut his arm with the razor and offered it, saying "Ladies first."
Seeing the red river running down his skin, I suddenly remembered that what we were about to do was in fact exchange bodily fluids and I also remembered my vow to save myself for marriage.
"Oh, Nathan, I'm so sorry, but I can't do this."
He smiled a bit bitterly. "OK, sure, I know how it is. A lot of people THINK they want to be vampires, but when they actually see the blood, they chicken out. I get it. Do you mind if I clean this up, then?"

"No. But I don't think you understand. Honestly, I want your blood, it really is hard for me to say no, but you see, I'm saving myself. I feel that the exchange of blood is a very intimate act and I would like to save it for my future husband."
He stopped licking his wound long enough to say with a grin "I guess I'll just have to marry you, then."
"Don't you think you're jumping the gun a little?" I asked, though of course, marriage was ultimately what I was after. "Oh, right, how could I have been so stupid? A girl like you, who's saving herself, you probably want a big, church wedding, don't you? Flowers and candles and organ music and all that?"
"Well, actually, I'd always pictured a garden wedding, under a little white canopy in the shade of some big, tall, 200-year-old trees, with a gentle breeze wafting through, carrying the scent of wildflowers..."
"OK, I'll go along with that. Just hope it doesn't rain. Seeing as how you're waiting until you're married to exchange blood, I don't suppose there's any chance we might-"
I cut him off "Not tonight, Nathan, but do keep your hopes up" And not just your hopes, I thought, looking down and remembering the old saying "Sometimes small things come with big packages". Or something like that.

We continued dating through the summer, even meeting each other's families (his consisted of just his Mom and little sister, both of whom were also tested as possible donors for me. Apparently Nathan's recessive gene came from his father, who died in a car crash when he and his sister were young). My family didn't know I was in a hurry to get married and then get pregnant. I figured I'd tell them of the possibility of using the baby as a donor once there actually was a baby. During the summer vacation from school (Nathan's vacation, that is, I had graduated and was preparing to start working from home in the fall), Nathan loosened up, ditching the lush silk outfits (which I was actually starting to like) and regularly appearing in jeans, sometimes cut-off, and t-shirts or even better, no shirt at all! He also had a collection of sunglasses, which, while not what I was hoping for, were interesting anyway.

One week in July we stole away to a little cottage at the beach. We had a room together but with separate beds. I had a feeling Nate thought we'd end up pushing them together and part of me hoped so (though I usually try to keep that part zipped up, so to speak), but the other part of me wanted to stick to my beliefs and knew our first time having sex (and other things) would have so much more meaning if I showed I respected it enough to wait. I guess that's the price you pay for letting your brain "wear the pants" instead of the part that actually does. I arrived a little late to find rose petals strewn about the room, lit only with the warm, seductive glow of candlelight, and Nate stretched out across one of the beds in a burgundy silk bed jacket (I swear, some slippers and a cigar and he'd have been the spitting image of Hugh Hefner), the sash tied in a neat bow, like he was a present waiting to be unwrapped (which, I guess he was) and... DYED BLOND HAIR!

Now, I like brunets, redheads are fine and blonds are very hot, but nothing gets me going like a dyed-blond brunet, the golden strands all shot through with dark roots is just so devastatingly trashy-sexy, especially with shoulder-length hair and long, side-swept bangs falling in the eyes, like Nathan had. Kinda like Keith Urban, but better. And the best part was, I hadn't even told him this was what I liked, he'd done it all on his own!
The only thing that could have made it better was... "Well, I certainly hope you appreciate this, Jasmine (did I mention my name is Jasmine? Oops, my bad). I've been laying here all this time waiting for you to make your grand entrance and now my eyes are killing me from leaving my contacts in since 6 o'clock this morning when they should have come out 4 hours ago, but I had to be able to see your reaction and all you can do is stand there and stare!"

And I thought I was speechless before! Why had I not even thought of that?!
My next words were brilliant "C-C-Contacts?" I stuttered.
Was it suddenly hot in here or was it just Nate?
"Yeah, you gotta problem wit dat?" he asked, gangster style.
"Oh, n-no. Quite the o-o-opposite really. I, um, I, uh, reallylikeguyswhowearglasses."
There, I'd said it. Somehow I felt calmer having it out in the open, even before I knew his reaction.
"Hmm, how convenient! It just so happens I like girls who wear glasses! Speaking of that, I've been dying to ask since I met you, what's your prescription? Minus 12, 13?"
I laughed "You flatter me, Nate. I'm only -10, 9 if you don't count the astigmatism, but I always do, sounds more significant that way. What's your prescription?"
"Why don't I go take these killer lenses out, get my glasses and show you?"

With that he got up and went into the bathroom.
I started to follow him in (I love watching someone handle their contacts), but he shut the door, saying "Look, like I said, you kept me waiting a long time, so I've kinda got something else I need to do here, too, OK?"

So I sat on my bed and listened to him pee for what seemed an eternity (evidently he didn't want to go only to have me arrive while he was in the bathroom and miss my reaction to his romantic set-up); no wonder he was pissed at me (so to speak!). When he finally emerged, I couldn't help but gasp. He had taken off the robe, and stood before me in nothing but a pair of blood-red silk boxers and MAJOR COKE BOTTLES in a round, black wire frame!

Still staring in awe I asked "So what are you, about minus 20?"
"Now you're flattering me, Jazzy. My exact prescription is R -15 -0.75 L -15.50 -1.00 ADD +2."
"ADD?" I said. "As in, bifocals? C'mere, lemme see."
"Can't you see from there?" he teased.
I frowned and squinted at him. "Now that you mention it, I haven't had my eyes checked in awhile. I could probably do with a little more power."
"Oh, I know how we can check that." he said. "I've got a bunch of my old glasses with me. You can try them on and we'll see how much you can see with them."

He walked over and pulled a bag out of his suitcase, then sat down beside me on the bed. He dumped the contents of the bag (several pairs of glasses!) onto the bed and started going through them. Looking at him close up, I could see he did indeed have bifocals, the kind with a big wedge on the bottoms of the lenses shaped like a sideways capital D. And you never saw such power rings! Watching him with his head down, looking through the glasses, seeing row after row of white rings, the sharp sparkle at the bifocal line, the sides of his lenses showing off their massive bulk, it took all my restraint not to jump him and try to get his baby in me right then and there!

He picked up a pair in a rectangular silver frame and said "Here, these are R -11 -0.50 L -11.25 -0.50, if memory serves. I wore them about 3 years ago. They might be a bit strong for you and the cylinder probably isn't what you're used to, but see what you think."

I tried them on and saw surprisingly well, though things were a bit distorted. Even though I had the same amount of cylinder as the glasses, it must have been on a much different angle. Of course, I also had to see what I looked like in these glasses, so I leaned over to the side to see myself in the mirror hanging across the room. Not bad, but I'd always preferred the bold, chunky plastics. I told Nathan this and he pointed out a pair of ovals in blue plastic, still on the thin side as plastic frames go, meaning of course that the lenses (which were also tinted blue) stuck wayyyy out, but then at his rx...

"Those are my last pair before the ones I've got now. They're R -14.50 -0.50 L -15 -0.75. I usually don't go for the thicker plastic frames, I'm more of a lens guy and prefer the thinner frames that really show the lenses off. These are also a product of the tinted lens craze I've gotten into lately. I think the tinted lenses look cool and I really like seeing the world in different colors, having a blue day or a pink day or a yellow day, whatever fits how I feel. That's what started me wearing contacts, even though I love glasses. I just got so frustrated with how expensive it is to buy several pairs of rx shades in different colors. That, and all my friends were doing it, which I know is a lame excuse but...Hey! Would it be OK with you if I just ditched the stupid things? My eyes never really liked them, anyway."

"Oh, you are gorgeous in your glasses!" I said. "But will you miss your sunglasses?"
"Nah, I've got photo-reactive lenses in these, so they turn gray outside, these blue ones aren't too far off if I'm having a blue day and don't need super-sharp vision. And then there's these."

He then picked up a pair of retro black horn rims, like the frames I have now, with red lenses. "These are in my current prescription. I originally tried on this frame cause it was the current trend (I guess you could say I find myself playing follow the leader sometimes) but I actually like this frame better than I thought I would. And the red lenses are way cool".
"Oooo, I wanna see!" I said, putting them on. "Wow, this is cool! I can see OK, too, except up close they're definitely too strong, even through the bifocal part, which is extra-awesome with the tint! By the way, I noticed none of your previous pairs have a bifocal. I'm guessing all the extra reading in college isn't helpful, but I never needed bifocals all the way through school."

"Well, I probably wouldn't need the bifocal either if I were wearing my true prescription. You see, I'm not really quite as nearsighted as I seem to be. Don't get me wrong, I AM nearsighted, but my real distance rx is probably closer to what I have in my bifocal segment right now. I'm not sure, I've been tricking the eye doctor into giving me a little more than I need for so long now I don't know for sure what my "honest" rx is. I've always been able to accommodate enough to read with my bumped-up rx before, but this time it was just too much strain and I had to tell the doctor. I was afraid he'd find out I actually needed a weaker rx, but thankfully he just prescribed the reading add. I'd have hated to go back to a weaker lens."
"Because you like thick lenses, with lots of white rings?" I asked.
I'd thought about tricking the doctor into giving me stronger lenses many times, but I always chickened out. "Exactly. I think it's just amazing that you understand this weird fetish of mine. Did you know I've met more girls who understood my being a vampire than I have ones who understood my interest in glasses? Because nobody makes movies or writes novels about us OOs, I guess."
"OOs?" I asked.
"OO stands for Optically Obsessed. It's a term that people in the online glasses fetish community use to describe themselves. I'm guessing you've never been to Eye Scene?"
"I Seen" what?" I asked. Nate laughed. "No, Eye E-Y-E, Scene S-C-E-N-E. Here, let me fire up my laptop and show you."

What Nathan showed me was a whole new world full of people who had all the same "weird" thoughts and feelings about glasses and myopia that I did! There were real-life discussions, as well as fictional stories and pictures of people wearing strong glasses on other sites that Eye Scene linked to. I don't know why I'd never tried looking for information about glasses fetish on the Web before, I guess I just thought it was too strange a thing to be interested in, so surely I must be the only one.
"Do you post to this site?"
"Not yet, I haven't. Actually, I just found it a couple weeks ago myself. I was so excited at first that I wanted to introduce myself right away, but then I thought about it and realized I want to be sure I say just the right thing. Plus, I figured it might be a good idea to read through all the old posts and archives and kind of get to know everybody." After reading through a bit, I realized that Nate and I had the relationship every OO dreams of, Mr. and Mrs. Myopia. And, I was beginning to realize, we had the relationship I'd always dreamed of. Suddenly, just like that, I knew. It was a bold move, especially for a girl, but I knew it was the perfect thing to do.

I took both of Nate's hands in mine, looked deep into those unbelievably beautiful nearsighted eyes and said "Nate, darling, I have something to ask you. Will you marry me?"
His not exactly romantic response was "Oh great, thanks for spoiling my surprise!"
Seeing my hurt confusion, he walked over to his suitcase, pulled out a small box and brought it back to me. "I had this whole beautiful moment planned, if you'd have waited till tomorrow!"
I opened the box and found the sweetest little diamond engagement ring inside!
"And I had this whole speech prepared too, about how this ring is a symbol of our eternal love, how I had such a hard time picking it out because no ring could possibly match the radiant beauty of your face-"
"Oh, but it is gorgeous, honey! I like the way the diamond sparkles and catches the light. It reminds me of your glasses."
"And it also reminds me of yours, sweetheart."

Then we started talking about our wedding. For a little while we considered just eloping then and there, but decided our families deserved a chance to see us getting married.
"Well, how about that garden thing you were talking about?" Nathan reminded me.
"Oh, yes, and this is lovely weather for it! As soon as we get home we've got to start planning. I bet if we keep it fairly simple (which I want to, anyway) we can have it all ready and be married in a month."
"I just hope it doesn't rain" Nathan said again.

Well, naturally talk of marriage led to talk of having kids and I did confide in Nathan that I wanted to conceive as soon as possible following (as in, not before!) our wedding, and that there was a possibility that our child could be a bone marrow donor for me. I didn't elaborate too much, though, because any mention of my being sick seemed to make him sad. I didn't mention that I had chosen him to date initially simply because he had a gene for the blood factor I had and thus could be a potential father of a matching child. I'd since learned we had so much in common that how we initially got together hardly seemed to matter. We decided that we would try to conceive right away and that if the first child wasn't a match , we would (my health permitting) continue having children until we got a match. And after that, well, we still decided we wanted as many children as possible (between the two of us, we were sure to have several mini-myopes and, who knew, maybe even a few baby vamps).

That first week of our engagement at the beach will always be one of my fondest memories, though I did somehow manage to leave with my virginity intact (well, by the most liberal definition, anyway, we did come awfully (wonderfully!) close to losing it, but at least I saved something for the honeymoon (besides the blood drinking)!). The next month and a half went by in a whirlwind of frenetic wedding planning activity, but at last, on August 18, we had our garden wedding, in the backyard of my parents' house. As I stood in what would no longer be my bedroom after today, with all the bridesmaids fussing over my dress and veil, I swear I could almost hear Nate in the other room putting on his tux and muttering "I just hope it doesn't rain" over and over again, like some magical incantation, which maybe he hoped it was. I remember walking out of that room in all my white wedding finery, taking a moment to say goodbye to the room I'd lived and laughed and cried and played and dreamed in for all the 22 years of my life. Silly, I know, but I guess the occasion had me feeling sentimental.

Anyway, I walked out into our backyard, now transformed into a kind of Wedding Wonderland, with my white canopy among the trees, tables set up for the reception draped in white damask tablecloths and loaded with all sorts of treats and (yes, Nathan!) candles glowing and flowers perfuming the air all around (no organ though, only a hired band). Nevertheless, the strains of "Here Comes the Bride" filled the air as I walked down the isle on my father's arm. When we reached the podium where the minister stood (yes, we had a minister and he had a cross around his neck too! Not everything you hear about vampires is true, you know!), Daddy let go of my hand and Nathan took it, looking very sweet all done up in his black suit and tie and crisp white shirt, his hair swept back from his face a bit more than usual, and his wire-rimmed bifocals now tinted gray in the bright sunshine (I myself had a brand new pair of semi-rimless, with gold arms and polished lens edges, in a -10.75 -0.75 each eye rx, with a pale amber tint adding a lovely warm glow to the wedding scene from my perspective, so to speak). Of course, I couldn't see his eyes behind that tinting, but seeing the way his lips trembled just a bit, I would almost have sworn he was trying to hold back tears. But I knew from the way he held my hand that they were tears of joy. We said our vows and exchanged rings and shared our first kiss as husband and wife *two pairs of specs clacking together in perfect matrimonial bliss!*. And then we were presented as Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Luck (I should have known he was the one as soon as he told me his last name, a good omen if ever there was one!), then there was music and dancing, cake and champagne, and then it was time for Nate to sneak me out of the party and to our surprise honeymoon destination. Well, it was a surprise for ME, anyway, but Nate knew exactly what he was doing.

We got into his car and Nathan said, "Jasmine, I have a surprise for you for our honeymoon. But you have to promise you'll trust me, OK?"
"Uh, well, sure, I guess" I said, just slightly nervous and more than a little excited about what the surprise might be.
"OK then, put this blindfold on" he said, presenting me with one.
I laughed "Nate, you know I don't need a blindfold-I can just take off my glasses and I won't be able to see a thing!"
"This is true" he replied thoughtfully. "All right then, just give me your glasses."
I did as I was asked and Nate started up the car and headed for I-Knew-Not-Where. As we drove along, we talked about our week at the beach cottage (was it really less than two months ago?) and our plans for starting our family. After what seemed to be a couple hours of this, I figured out what was going on (or part of it, anyway).
There's just no disguising that certain scent in the air that tells you "You're at the beach!" I smiled "Why, Nate, you sentimental thing you, bringing me back to our little summer hide-away!"
"Yep, you figured me out. But wait, there's more! Before we go in, I want to give you your wedding present. Close your eyes."
"Oh, Nate, we've been through this already, I don't have to close my eyes to-"
"Never mind, just do what I ask you, please. Are you forgetting the "obey" part of the vows already?"
"Oh, all right" I closed my eyes and I felt Nate put my glasses back on for me.
"OK, open your eyes!" he said. I did and found everything! Just like the one pair of Nate's glasses I'd so admired! Only these were in MY prescription!
"Wow, honey! Thank you, these are wayyyy cool!"
As I stole a look at myself in the rearview mirror (the frames were also the same heavy black plastic as Nate's red-lensed specs), Nathan said "I noticed how much you liked mine, so as soon as you had your eye exam and told me what your new prescription was, I knew I just had to get these made for you."
We got out of the car and saw that the wedding had ended just in time, as the sky had suddenly clouded and it was starting to rain. Apparently Nate's little "spell" had kept the rain away as long as we needed it to. Or were we just "Luck"y? (sorry!).

We walked up to "our" little cottage, as I now thought (and always will think) of it and wouldn't you know it...

"Room 316! Just like we had before!" I exclaimed.
"See anything else that looks familiar?" my shiny-new husband asked as he opened the door.

You guessed it, rose petals and candleglow, just like before. Except this time, the two beds had already been pushed together and made up as one big bed. The entire scene was absolutely swoon-worthy.
"There's just one thing missing" I said.
Nate frowned, asking "What's that?"
I answered "You, on the bed with those sexy, silky boxers of yours. Or even better, without them."
"Well, far be it from me to deny the bride what she wants on her Big Day." he said, closing the door behind us and removing his wedding finery.
After he had stripped and was standing there in those red boxers (yes, he'd had them on under his suit throughout the wedding!), he looked back at me staring, smiled and said "Now show me yours".
"I want YOU to take my dress off" I said.
He shook his head and sighed like it was some unsavory chore and said "Like I said, I'm obliged to do as my Bride asks. But can I get one more kiss from you in it first?"
Before I could even answer he was kissing me and whispering in my ear "I made sure we have red silk sheets on the bed so the maids won't throw a fit if we get blood on them."
At first I assumed he was referring to our imminent first feeding, but then I thought of my soon-to-be gone virginity and wondered if he might have been referring to that as well. I wasn't frightened, mind you, but I did want this first time to be as good as possible for both of us. I had a lot riding on this, so much invested here; it was what I had been patiently waiting for my whole life, everything I had ever wanted and scarcely dared to dream I'd ever find. And as if this weren't enough, let's not forget the fact that the child I was hoping to conceive tonight could quite possibly save me from death by cancer.

"It's a shame I don't have real fangs or I could take you just like this, like they do in the movies" Nate breathed against my neck.
Suddenly I sank into a deep place inside myself I'd never been before and there was a new, harsh urgency in my voice as I said "Get the blade. I'm ready."
"But, baby, I haven't gotten your wedding dress off ye-"
"Never mind!" I snapped, then, feeling contrite but no less desperate, changing to a pleading tone "Just get it now. Please. I'm ready."
"Alright" he answered and went to fetch it, serious now. While he was getting the razor, I was frantically undoing what seemed to be the hundreds of little buttons on the front neck of my dress.
I hadn't gotten very far when he returned, but I put my hand over my exposed collarbone and said "Here, do it right here, please."
This time he said nothing, but got right down to business and made the first cut.

When I felt his lips closing over my skin and his mouth beginning to suck my core-energy for the very first time, I literally lost my mind. He says now that I cried out and that he stopped to ask if I was all right and I begged him to keep drinking, but I don't remember any of that. All I remember is being blinded by brilliant fireworks and feeling like I was on fire, filled with radiant heat, and it was all being pulled towards the cut on my chest and I was almost certain I could actually see and feel the heat-energy being transferred from my body to Nathan's.

The next thing I knew I was listening to my own rapid, ragged breathing and Nate was holding a tissue to my wound and saying "Oh, no! Look what I did to your dress! Can you ever forgive me, Love?"
I looked down and saw that there was a good-sized, deep red stain on the fancy lace neck of the dress.
"Oh, darling, it's wonderful! I'm sure it would come out with dry-cleaning, but I'm going to keep this dress always just like this, stain and all, to remind me of this night."
"Oh, Jazzy, if you think this night is good now, you haven't seen anything yet!"

He quickly helped me out of the dress and seemed pleased to see that I also had red silk underwear on.
He asked me to just stand there for a moment "So I can drink you in" he said and I said "I thought you already had!" and we had a good laugh.
Then he held me close and removed my bra and started kissing my chest again, this time just taking gentle, kittenish licks at the no longer bleeding cut and at my breasts. I'd done my share of fantasizing in my 22 years of virginity, and had even had my breasts groped through my clothes a few times, but this, this was making me more aroused than I would ever have imagined I could get from only being touched above the waist. I finally got so excited that I pushed Nate down onto the bed and began frantically, mindlessly kissing him all over and humping his thigh (this was what we had done on our first visit here, though it was a thousand times better with neither of us wearing pants). I could feel how much he wanted me, as well (that old saying apparently is true 8-) ) and it was driving me insane, even our glasses (which, of course, we were wearing) were hot and (honestly, I swear!) getting steamed up!

I was just starting to feel the explosion beginning to build in the pit of my stomach when Nate said "You know, we can lose the underwear whenever you're ready".
I was more than ready, so I yanked off my panties and then started on Nate's shorts, which stuck a little on his long, hard rod. The second his shorts came off, Nate seemed to undergo the kind of sudden switch to serious desperation in regards to sex that I'd so recently felt regarding blood. He pulled me back onto him and I could feel him at my entrance.
I said "Hold on, sweetie, you're supposed to be on top, remember, that's the best position for concep-"
Just like I had done, Nate snapped "Never mind! Just do it. Now. I'm ready."
He smiled a little at this joke, but even I could tell it was the tense, pained smile of a man trying desperately to hold back and hold onto his sanity at the same time.
"OK" I whispered, sinking down onto him as he pushed up into me. This time I do remember crying out as he once again drew blood from me, this time not to taste (at least, not yet).

In spite of my previous excitement, it did hurt now as he worked himself inside me, but it wasn't unbearable and I knew the next time would be better and as the pain subsided I reveled in the feeling of being closer to any human being than I had ever been.
Breathlessly, Nate gasped "My dear, *huff-huff* sweet *huff* Jasmine. Now that I've *huff-huff* taken blood from you *oh!* twice, it's *Ummmm!* your turn. Here."
He handed me the razor and put his hand over his own collarbone.
"Here." he said again. "Now, *OH-MY-OH!*" he yelled as I made the cut and started drinking.
At that very same moment that I felt his blood flowing into my mouth for the first time, I also felt his seed spurting into my womb for the first time! I felt as though I were rocketing skyward, body and soul shooting up into the blissful nothingness of Eternity, his blood was so sweet it made me forget Ashlee's. This time I felt that transfer of searing life energy going from his body to mine, above and below. And then he pulled out and I lay there, dazed and barely coherent.
"Oh, that was incredible, darling! But you didn't come, I'd have felt it if you had."

For a moment I didn't understand what he was saying, but once I regained my senses I realized he was right-I had had a climax of sorts, emotionally, but it was more from the taking of his blood than from the sex and my pelvis still had the deep throbbing ache that told me it wasn't satisfied.
"Not to worry, Love" Nate said. "I've always wanted to taste the most precious blood a woman can give a man" and with that I saw his beautiful head go down between my thighs and within seconds I was seeing fireworks all over again, intensified by the knowledge that with every contraction I was sucking his potent seed further up into my waiting womb.

Afterwards we lay snuggled up together, listening to the rain and talking about our future plans.

So when one morning a few weeks later I suddenly received a vivid and unpleasant reminder of what I'd had for supper the night before, I was not surprised and was very happy (not to be sick, of course, but because of what I knew the sickness meant). The morning sickness phase passed pretty quickly and after that I felt wonderful, even better than I had before I got pregnant, even though I had to quit taking my medicine and the doctors (I now had a team of them) were worried that my cancer might progress more rapidly due to my pregnancy, but it seemed that what happened instead is that I was getting a bit better, as if my child's immune system was somehow helping my own. The tests showed that she was girl and would probably be due around April 25, but the obstetrician warned us neither of these things was guaranteed, as many babies are born behind or ahead of schedule and it's not unheard of for a "girl" to be born with some extra equipment. We knew we wanted one of our daughter's names, probably the middle name, to be Rain, after the circumstances under which she was conceived, but we couldn't decide if her first name should be August after the month of her conception or April for the month of her birth. We finally decided April sounded better. April Rain Luck, well, at least our last name wasn't Love!

The months flew by as Nate returned for his 2nd year of Pre-Med (his goal was to become an ophthalmologist) and I started up my work in Web page design. We were renting a small 2-bedroom house and were busily converting the spare bedroom into a nursery. It was so much fun, planning for the baby, buying baby clothes and baby toys and baby furniture, all the cute little things I'd always wanted to go look at, but felt silly about because I wasn't really expecting a baby. Nate wouldn't feed on my blood during the pregnancy, he said it felt weird, like he was taking blood from his child, but he did allow me to feed whenever I wanted, and of course we kept right on having sex, mostly with glasses, sometimes without, sometimes with one in glasses and one bare-eyed, we even tried it with Nate in contacts once, but it just lacked something and we never felt moved to do it again.

The only "bad" thing about my pregnancy was that it seemed to cause a huge leap in my myopia, I had to have new, stronger glasses twice during the pregnancy. Well, actually, I only got them once, at four months along when my rx had jumped to -12.50 -.75 in both eyes (curiously, the pregnancy only changed my myopia; the astigmatism stayed the same throughout). An exam at 7-and-a-half months showed I now needed an astonishing -15 and -15.25, nearly matching Nate's rx when we first met (he had managed in the past year to progress to R-16.75 -1 L-17.50 -1 ADD +2.50), but the doctor advised me that a lot of that extra myopia might be temporary and would go away after the baby was born, so I'd be getting new glasses that would be obsolete in a few months. But being almost -3D under-corrected got to be a pain, and I often found myself borrowing old pairs of Nathan's; even with the different cylinder angle, they were better than the current ones I had (needless to say, I wasn't driving at this point).

And then, amazingly, on April 10, one year to the day after I received that terrible news from my doctor, I went into labor with my first child. I'd gone through a phase early in my pregnancy when I was enchanted with the idea of "natural" childbirth and was actually curious about what giving birth felt like, but by now I had decided that there is enough pain in life as it is, there's no need to endure it if you have the choice not to. And having gone through several hours of contractions before reaching the hospital (I'd been told to wait until they were 5 minutes apart and they took their time getting there), I was a most grateful recipient of an epidural. After 13 hours, which felt more like 13 weeks, of labor, April Rain Luck (yes, a girl!) finally arrived, weighing a respectable 7 lbs, 9oz despite being 2 weeks early.

Despite all my years of dreaming of this moment, I still wasn’t prepared for the way it felt to hear my first baby’s first cry, to know that there was now a person in this world who wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Nate and I. It hadn’t been comfortable to wear my glasses while I was delivering April, so I didn’t get to see her before the nurses took her away to clean her up. When I finally did get to see and hold her, though, it felt like an absolute miracle, in some ways she seemed almost too lovely to be believed. She already had her father’s deep dark eyes. Were they her father’s eyes in other ways? I wondered. But even if they were mine, we would surely be shopping for children’s frames before too long. It made me happy to think of that, but then I felt guilty for feeling glad that my child probably had bad eyes. Was it terrible of me to enjoy such a thought? It was good that Nate and I had started visiting Eye Scene and made some friends there, I could use some understanding guidance on this one.

Anyway, the really important question was, Did she have my blood? and even that made me feel a bit guilty-Would I love her any less if she didn’t? But I knew that was impossible, I was already hopelessly smitten. All it would mean is that Nate and I would get to have another chance. Not an especially thrilling thought in my current state, but I knew once I healed we were going to have some fun with this.
One day a doctor came in and said "I have good news and bad news. The good news is that April is 100% healthy and both she and you are ready to go home. The bad news is, I'm afraid April does not have the rare blood factor needed to be your bone marrow donor."
I'll admit, I was disappointed, but I was not devastated. There was still time. I asked how soon it would be safe to try again and was told that most women are advised to wait 2 years between pregnancies, but given my circumstances I could try again in a year.

So we took our baby girl home and continued on with life, feeling a little more like a real family now. I also went ahead and bought new glasses, since my prescription had gone up even further to -17 and -17.50 (surpassing Nate's and making him a little jealous, I think), so obviously I just couldn't manage with my "old" (less than 6 months!) -12's. The optician asked me if I wanted myodiscs this time, but I liked the look of thick, biconcave lenses, though I was somewhat curious about myo's and said I'd consider them next time, if my rx increased again (if my eyes responded to every pregnancy as they did to this one, I was half-seriously afraid I might end up blind before I had a donor!). I was told some of the myopia might go away after I finished nursing, but they told me the same thing before, that it'd get better after I gave birth, so I wasn't inclined to believe them.

I did nurse April just as I'd planned and while I won't say it wasn't tiring, even exhausting at times, it was definitely the right decision for me. I felt an extremely close bond with her and as the months progressed and she grew and grew, I started seeing more and more of Nate (she had his straight, dark brown hair) in her and even a bit of myself, too (she had dimples when she smiled, like me and even had a habit of cocking her head to one side when she was puzzled, like I do). As for her eyesight, I asked her doctor if she should see an ophthalmologist, even at this tender age, because of Nathan's and my vision, but he said a lot of nearsighted parents have children with normal vision and that there was no need to worry unduly about her eyes, though it'd be a good idea to keep an eye on her (of course, with Nate's bifocals, we have 10 eyes between us!) and we should probably get her eyes checked before she starts school. She seemed to respond visually as babies her age should, though at that age there wasn't much demand on a child's distance vision.

Everything still appeared to be fine when she reached her first birthday and I decided to start weaning her so that we could work on having a brother or sister for her. Just like the good baby she was in all things, she took to the bottle readily, which made me feel a bit rejected, because now that she was drinking from a bottle anyone could give her, she didn't need my body anymore. But at least Nathan still did. We had been intimate while I was breastfeeding and he had started taking my blood again, but I felt he was holding back in some way, ever since he learned I was pregnant. Maybe he was afraid of hurting me or the baby, or maybe he'd begun to see me as the mother of his child first and his lover second, or maybe he just wasn't as excited without the thrill of knowing he could knock me up.

Anyway, once I stopped nursing and we decided to try for baby number 2, all the passion of our beach-house days came back. In fact, I'd love to give you a steamy, erotic, detailed story here of how our second child was conceived, but the truth is I can't because we were constantly at each other that summer, some days we had sex more times than we ate! By that I mean food, we were pretty wild about the blood-feedings then, too, probably more than we should have been, but Nate was really expert at controlling the blood-letting procedure, so nobody bled too much or got permanently scarred (he taught me how to do this, as well; the only scar I left on him was the one over his collarbone from our honeymoon, but he says he treasures that scar like I treasure the bloodstain on the neck of my wedding dress). The nearest we can pin it down to is sometime in late June or early July, since our second daughter was born on March 26, just a couple weeks before her sister's second birthday.

This pregnancy was harder for me, I got very sick and had to spend a lot of time in bed. I was told that I had better wait the full two years before trying for a third time (I had had a feeling all through this pregnancy that this baby wasn't going to be the one, either, and unfortunately I was right). We named her Merry Hope, to remind us that we should always try to be happy and have a positive, hopeful attitude, no matter what. Merry, however, took no heed of the meaning of her name and was a rather difficult baby. But she was beautiful, a warm golden blonde, like me, with blue eyes, believe it or not (Nate jokingly said that if we hadn't been so "busy" during the time she was conceived, he would have sworn I must have cheated and had her by another man! The doctor helpfully informed him that it is genetically possible for a brown-eyed couple to have a blue-eyed child, but that if we'd both had blue eyes and Merry'd had brown, I'd have had some explaining to do!).

I nursed Merry with just as much dedication as I had April, in spite of the fact that I felt really lousy. The only consolation was that along the way I had acquired still more myopia and was enjoying seeing the world through -24 myodiscs. My poor husband had only managed R-18 -2 and L-18.50 -1.75 with a +3 add by ordering his glasses online with a phony rx, since his latest eye exam revealed no change since his R-16.75 -1 L-17.50 -1 exam, except that his astigmatism had increased and his accommodation had decreased. When April was about 3, I noticed her squinting and seeming less aware of things around her and a trip to a pediatric ophthalmologist confirmed my prediction, made on the day of her birth, that she had inherited our myopia. I must say she looked darling in her little -4's, not much by her Dad's and my standards, but I knew, and the doc confirmed, that this was only the beginning.

By the time we were contemplating conceiving our third child, April was 4 (and wearing -6), Merry was 2 (with her new -2's with an equal amount of cylinder; if it hadn't been for that I might have not put such a young child in glasses with so relatively little myopia), my work-from-home business was going well, Nate was in his 2nd year of Med School, and I had known I had cancer for 5 years. I began to feel an increasing sense of urgency about having a child with the right blood, since I was now halfway through the 10-year life expectancy my doctor had originally given me if I couldn't get a transplant. I was also now beginning to really feel like a sick person, in fact, even though I knew that now more than ever it was important for me to get pregnant, I had little interest in sex and began to dread my ovulation days, which I dutifully marked on my calendar. Nathan again stopped feeding from me, fearing it was sapping my strength, and our nights together became more like a tense scientific endeavor, filled with fear that we would yet again fail to produce a proper donor, than a passionate exchange of pleasurable energy.

Not surprisingly, under these conditions it took us several months to conceive. What was surprising was that in spite of this we had somehow managed to produce twins! I was hoping they would be non-identical, so we would have 2 chances of matching, and the ultrasound showed that they were indeed, a girl and (Yay! At last! Not that I don't like girls, but I wanted some of each) a boy. This third time around I was thankful that I started feeling better again and I had a relatively easy time with the birth, although the babies didn't; like many twins they were born 2 months premature on November 8 (it'll be different having birthday parties in the fall, I thought, since April, Merry, Nate's and my birthdays all fell on March or April) and had some breathing problems at first. I didn't hear them cry before they were whisked off to the incubator and it worried me, but I was assured that with a little oxygen and time in a warming box, both girls would be just fine.

Wait a minute, BOTH GIRLS? Yes, it seems the ultrasound tech had goofed and now it was also still up in the air as to whether the twins were identical or not. I was hoping for not. This time my doctor came in smiling a most peculiar smile and said "Well, this time I have some good news, something we thought was bad news, and some more good news. The first good news is, the babies are both doing well, the "bad" news is they are identical, but the good news is, THEY'RE BOTH A MATCH FOR YOU!!!" I can't tell you how happy we were to hear that! Nathan and I both literally wept tears of joy. Which is what we named one of the twins, Joy Scarlet Luck, in full. We knew it could come off as a bad pun (anyone remember The Joy Luck Club?), but it was exactly how we felt about her and her sister's birth, and the Scarlet was our way of commemorating the blood that was such a big part of what had brought us and kept us together.

We also loved the tradition of "virtue names", we had started with Merry Hope and Joy (except Chastity, you don't get many babies or much fun out of that one!), but decided we were due for something a bit more serious, and we wanted to commemorate our OOness as well, so Joy's twin was named Justice Myopia Luck, and her pet name in the family came to be Just My Luck. Because the twins were preemies and small (Joy was just 5 lbs and Justice a few ounces less), we couldn't do the transfusion right away, but when they were big enough we would do it, taking half of the marrow I needed from each twin. It took 2 years before the girls were deemed large and healthy enough to donate, and it had now been 8 years since my diagnosis. I had been forced to quit even my at-home work in the past year, because my health had begun to rapidly deteriorate. Nate had gotten his MD and was in his first year of internship for his ophthalmology specialty and was doing GOC to allow him to match my -36 myodiscs (I tried to beg him not to, as I loved his bifocals, but he loved my myo's even more and insisted).

April was doing well in 2nd grade with her flat-fronted -9's (no cylinder so far, but other than that almost the same rx I had when her father and I met) and even appeared to be showing early signs of being "of the blood"-she was hopelessly nocturnal, acutely attuned to the moods and energies of people around her, and on one occasion when her glasses had fallen off and shattered on the pavement, she bent down to pick up the pieces, accidentally sliced her hand on a broken shard and promptly began sucking at the slash with what appeared to be great relish. I asked her why she did that and was told "because it feels good". "Do you mean, it makes your hand feel better, or do you mean it feels good in your mouth and tastes good?" I asked and April replied "Both." I warned her that she shouldn't go cutting herself in order to do that and she promised me she wouldn't, but I knew I'd need to have a real heart-to-heart with her soon. *Sigh* vampires grow up so quick these days.

Merry, on the other hand, appeared to be your typical, beautiful, blonde and blue-eyed, -7.50 x -3.25 myope 5-year-old. She did have a little trouble seeing even corrected, because she has so much astigmatism, but the eye doctor said it'd be easier to get the cylinder exactly right when she's a bit older and more able to co-operate, and happily, both she and April appeared to have no difference between their left and right eyes. As for the twins, they were lovely as well, with dark hair like their oldest sister and Dad (though he sometimes dyed it for me, I'd come to really like his hair natural as well), but curly, like Merry and I, my lighter, golden-brown eyes and very strong glasses for 2-year-olds, even in our family (perhaps partly due to their prematurity) at R -16.50 L -14.25 for Justice and R -15.00 L -10.00 for Joy, and they both had lazy eye problems due to the difference between their eyes, with Joy's being worse (now you know why I said the older girls were lucky to have both eyes the same), so they each had a frosted-over left lens to try to encourage use of the right eye (I'd always heard identical twins were supposed to be "mirror-images" in such things, opposite sides on each twin, and often one right and the other left handed, but they both have a worse right eye, and are right handed just like their Dad and 2 sisters (nobody's left handed like me, yet 8-( ), go figure).

When the day finally came to do the transplant I was definitely excited at the prospect of being cured, but also worried for my babies; donating bone marrow is, after all, a serious procedure. But we did it and it turned out it was very good that I had twins, because that gave us twice as much marrow to work with and with their being so young, their marrow (both that which remained inside them and that which was transplanted into me) replenished itself quickly and 1 year later we were all in perfect health. We had to move to a bigger place when the twins came along, and so we got a 5-bedroom house, with April and Merry each having her own room, Justice and Joy sharing a room (not at our insistence, mind you. We did start them off in the same room as young babies, but as soon as they were old enough to talk we told them we had enough room for every girl to have her own, but they are the sort of identical twins who love being twins and aren't keen on being separated), and the remaining bedroom being made into a nursery for our soon-to-be-born fifth child (the ultrasound said we were finally having a boy, but then, that’s what they told us last time).

I'd hoped it was a boy, though, because as much as I love making and raising babies, with an rx of -40 in my sixth month, sure to climb higher still by the time I'd given birth and finished nursing, it would be like asking for blindness to have another child. I was already having trouble seeing small details and my night vision was gone (rough on a "creature of the night") and Nate (who just started up his practice specializing in high myopia and is now my eye doctor as well as my husband, and still gorgeous, I might add, despite losing his contact lens tolerance completely and being forced back into his -18 ADD +3 bifocals) had advised me that my retinas are very thin and fragile and likely won't withstand another -10D pregnancy increase without detaching completely (I'd had 3 tears in my left eye and 2 in my right since the twins were born. I'd also lost too much vision to do my work as a graphic designer, but with my husband earning a doctor's salary, we'll be pretty well-off once we get his student loans paid off (and as a brilliant student with help from scholarships, he doesn’t have as much debt as most med students do) and it gives me more time to spend with the children, anyway.

April is now 8 and we have told her, as best we can with a child, about our family history of vampirism. She seemed to understand immediately and, far from being frightened or attempting to deny it, as we'd thought she might, she seems proud of her vampiric nature, though we have told her that this is something private, not because it's wrong, but because some people might not understand. She had also progressed to a -13.50 rx, which I was pleased with, though I honestly hope none of the children's eyes get as bad as mine. Merry at 6 still showed no signs of vampirism. Her rx is now -10.25 -4.00 and she still can't see better than 20/40, though Nathan isn't sure if it's because of her astigmatism or if her retinas simply don’t have good resolving power. We're thinking when she's a bit older we may see if contacts can help her see better; although we love glasses, we also feel that everyone should have every opportunity to see as well as they can and if that means contacts, then so be it.

As for my life-saving 3-year-old twins, Justice's lazy eye had gotten better and she no longer needs to have her R -17.50 L -15.25 glasses frosted, but Joy's problem has persisted and she now has to wear a patch over her R -16.75 L -13.00 specs. But Joy is true to her name and tolerates the patching well. One of the things I regret a bit now about how we named the twins is that they both seemed to have taken their names to heart, Joy is a very happy, if sometimes over-exuberant, child, while Justice tends to be much more sober and very finicky about everything being "just" as it should be. We have been asked about her middle name, as well, but we just say that we liked the sound of the word "myopia" and if they say anything more about our naming our child after a disease, I just remind them that Candida (perhaps you've heard the Tony Orlando and Dawn song of that name?) is a yeast infection. So far no one seems to have caught onto the Joy Luck thing, but I'm sure they're bound to when she starts school, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there (btw, I'm glad neither of the girls has crossed eyes, despite their being lazy (the eyes, not the girls!) ).

And so, this brings us to today. Our son(!) Dale Patrick Luck (since we knew this would be our last child, we named him after each of us; Dale is Nathan's middle name, Patricia is mine) arrived right on schedule last September 14, all 8 pounds 6 ounces of him! He just turned 1 this year and is already following in the Luck family tradition, with R -12.25 L -13.00. April is now in grade 6 and wearing -14's, in bifocals so hopefully she won't have a huge surge at puberty and end up with very poor eyesight like mine (-50, counting astigmatism, appropriately enough after our fifth child, and with a BCVA of 20/70, I'm now classed as partially sighted, and while I can't say I don't often miss good corrected vision, it's worth it when I think of my five beautiful children).
Merry is in grade 4 and neither she nor the twins show the vampiric signs April does, but this doesn't mean much, since April's awakening happened unusually early (it usually occurs in the teens, as Nathan's and mine both did). Nate did finally get a better correction for Merry at -11.50 -3.50 (turns out she needed less cylinder at a different axis) and -11.50 -3.25 (slightly less cylinder and completely different axis for left eye), so no contacts unless she decides she wants them when she's older, and he decided to put her in bifocals, too (both girls took to them surprising well, probably because Daddy wears bifocals, too (I told you that was best, Nate!) ).
Joy and Justice just started kindergarten this fall, Joy in R -17.50 L -13.75 and a patch (her right eye is finally improving, but Nathan wants her in the patch until we're sure she won't just start ignoring it again with her left uncovered) and Justice in R -19.00 L -17.75 myodiscs (it's already too late to put her in bifocals and Nate didn't bother prescribing them for Joy, either, since she will probably need myo's at her next lens change and in fact is less upset about having a patch than she is about not getting "glasses with the neat little bowls" like her sister has). Whew, these last ten years of my life have really been an amazing ride! I've been diagnosed with and cured of cancer, worked for a few years, become so myopic that I couldn't work anymore and found the love of my life and had five great kids! I don't know if it's right to say I'm glad I had cancer, but I have to admit, the life I have now, which is more than I ever could have imagined, would never have happened if it hadn't been for my illness. And my rare blood.

The end

April 2008

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:47 am

    Very nice Story, i couldn´t stop reading until the End...

    Thx a lot !