November 11, 2009

October's Baby (A Short Story)

I sat in the bathroom counting down the months with my fingers. February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September…October. October!

“Aw honey, she’ll be here in October!” I yelled out to Jonathon while walking into the bedroom.

There he was, my husband of five wonderful years, sitting at the edge of the bed. He did this every morning before heading to his job over at the hospital. I noticed a change in Jonathon’s behavior three weeks ago when I told him I was pregnant. Ever since he has been somewhat distant - always in his head. One morning I asked him what he was doing sitting there looking into space, and he said “Nothing. Just thinking”.

I jumped back under the warm covers and made myself comfortable next to him.

“I’m due in October! That means we could have conceived on our Valentine’s Day getaway or the night you made that beautiful dinner”.

I chuckled, “Or the weekend we were at your parent’s house…”

I waited for a response. Nothing.

I look over to him. Jonathon was staring down at his shoes.

“Are you ok?” I asked while putting my arms around his chest.
I love the way he smells after a shower.

“Liza, I’m fine”. He stood up and left for work.

I knew he wasn’t fine. Every time I mentioned the baby, Jonathon would purposely change the subject, or leave the room. It was around this time last year that we found out we were pregnant with Alyssa. I remember the day he came home from work and walked into the bathroom. Three pregnancy tests in the sink all displaying little pink plus signs. I’ll never forget the look on his face - he was so happy. We were trying for so long. The pregnancy was a breeze. We did everything right – prenatal vitamins, frequent doctor visits, healthy diet, and I even delivered on my exact due date. But there were complications during the labor. As soon as the doctor slipped her out of me I knew something was wrong. All of the sudden, everyone in the room got really quiet. Our baby girl laid lifeless between my legs. Stillborn. The umbilical cord was entangled and had stopped the flow of blood to her body. The nurses tried to take her way, but I didn’t let anyone touch her. I just held my baby in my arms and rocked back and forth. Her tiny lips were so blue. Jonathan couldn’t even look at her.

Losing Alyssa was probably the worst period of our lives. I resigned from my job at the elementary school. I couldn’t go back to teaching knowing that my Alyssa was gone. Being around children was too hard for me. Jonathan could only afford to take a week off from the hospital, but he spent every minute of that time comforting me. We didn’t try immediately for another baby. We thought it would be a while until we try, but sure enough we were pregnant again. I was accepting this baby as a second chance for the both of us. We needed this. Jonathan’s attitude towards this pregnancy put a strain on our marriage. As if he is afraid to love this baby; to feel joy for this new life we were given. He was scared to feel anything for fear that it would be taken away again. But you are safe inside of me.

I began planning for our little angel’s arrival even though Jonathan told me not to. After he left, I spent the rest of the day shopping online for the baby -buying a new crib for the nursery, clothes, toys, the works. He didn’t want me buying things, so I would sneak around. Sometimes I found myself feeling anxious for him to leave so I could go online and browse the internet for baby things. It’s ok. Daddy’s gonna be happy again when he sees you. I didn’t want her feeling any of the negative energy. I kept thinking maybe once the baby was here, healthy, he will change. We will be a family.

I wrapped up my online shopping session and headed to the bedroom to gather the laundry. I passed the nursery and smiled. I went rummaging through the closet for Jonathon’s scrubs when I came across a duffel bag stuffed with clothing. I felt light-headed. Is he leaving us? He’s leaving me to take care of you all by myself.

It was close to dinner time when Jonathan walked through the door. Behind him was a woman – young, tall, with curly brown hair. This is the woman he is leaving us for.

I ran to where they were standing.

“Who is this? And explain to me why I found this duffel bag in the back of our closet?”

His face was pale.

“Liza, this is Dr. Lozada. She is…..a Psychologist at work. She’s here to help you.”

“Help? Jonathan, I don’t need the help! You’re the one who needs help!”
Tears were coming down my face.
“Ever since I got pregnant you’ve neglected me. And the baby. You act as if you don’t want her!”
He gripped me by the shoulders.
“Liza, there is NO baby!”

“Yes there is! You don’t have to be afraid, Jon…don’t you see this is our second chance.”

He broke down onto the couch, hands over his head.

“You can’t have children, Liza! You lost a lot of blood with Alyssa. They had to remove your uterus to stop the bleeding. It’s impossible for you to be pregnant. I’m sorry.”

I put my hand over my stomach. My heart was beating so loud I think the doctor heard it from across the room.

“You’re lying,” I cried out.
“She’s right here Jonathon…” I said pointing at my stomach.

He stood up to hug me; the smell of his after-shave still fresh on his neck.

“Baby, you’re sick. Dr. Lozada thinks you might be suffering from a type of post-partum depression or…..or trauma. I can’t help you. But you’re going to go with her, and she’s going to give you the help that you need.”

He walked over and handed Dr. Lozada the duffle bag.

“Hi, Liza. We’re going to take good care of you” she said.

“No! Jon, please I don’t want to go…PLEASE!”

I was on my knees when two gentlemen in uniforms walked in. Each one lifted me up by my arms and we walked out the door.
I looked back at my husband, and with saddest face I had ever seen, he said “I love you” and closed the door behind me.

The gentlemen in uniforms helped me into the backseat of the car. One sat on each side. As we drove way I felt a small flutter in my belly. I told her we will be ok.

I promise.

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