To get the most of this story, please begin with the Prologue, then on to Part 1 and 2 of Chapter 1
My mother went with me to what I had hoped would be my last OBGYN visit. I was almost three weeks overdue and miserable. My weight had gone well past what was recommended. I had gained a total of seventy-five pounds but my doctors assured me with my past eating disorder, this weight gain was merely a safety precaution. They were positive that I would have no issues losing any of the weight. Boy, I proved them wrong! They encouraged me to eat whatever I wanted during the pregnancy and well, I did.
“Things look great, Mrs. Bloom. Nice strong heartbeat. Are you sure you don’t want to know the sex of the baby?” The nurse asked as she ran the wand over my stomach. What would be the point now? Everything we had purchased for the baby was yellow and mint green.
“No, I want it to be a surprise.” I smiled at her, “When can I talk to the doctor? I am so ready for this to be over with. I am way overdue.”
“He should be in shortly. I bet you are excited?” The nurse wiped the cold gel off of my stomach and slid the blood pressure cuff onto my arm, “Have you decided on any names?”
“A few, but none of them sound right. I guess I can’t get used to the idea that I have to give someone a name they will have forever. I just want to make sure it’s a good one.”
“Yes, a name is important; but what really amazes me that we can bring another human into the world. So naming it is the easy part.” She checked a few items off her clipboard, “Okay, I’m all done with you. The Doc should be in shortly.” She closed the door behind her as she left. I reached down and absently rubbed the still prominent knot on my leg.
“What happened there?” My mother asked lifting my pant leg. “Good God Tessa, what did you do?”
“It’s nothing Mom. You know how clumsy I am.” No, she didn’t know, but it sounded convincing when Nicky said it to his parents.
“Did you have a doctor look at this?” She asked still examining the busted blood vessels and the brownish edges that surrounded the deep purple bruise.
“No, I put some ice on it when I banged my shin. It hardly hurts at all anymore.” I lied. “Nicky said if it still looks bad in a week or so, we’ll see the doctor.” I lied again.
“Have Dr. Kirkson take a look at it when he comes in.” She encouraged as I pulled my pant leg down.
“Mom, no, really it is fine. Just let me get past giving birth and then I will worry about my little leg bump.” Just as I finished the sentence, Dr. Kirkson knocked and entered the examination room.
“Good morning Tessa, how are you feeling? Ready to get this baby out I bet?” That was an understatement.
“Yeah, you think it will be soon? I can hardly breathe. The baby is taking up every inch of space.” I stretched my back to emphasize my statement.
“Well, how about today?” He said writing in the clipboard and not looking up. That got my attention.
“Really? That would be awesome! When? Now?” I wasn’t about to give him a chance to change his mind.
“As soon as you can get over to the hospital and get checked in and start the inducement.” He finally looked up and smiled at me.
“Okay!” We finished up the details of what I should expect. How the inducement would proceed, how long I could be in labor and so forth. Reality was beginning to sing in that I could be a mom in less than twenty-four hours.
“For God’s sake, how long is this going to take?” Nicky paced the floor next to my bed. For someone who didn’t think this baby was his, he was certainly anxious for its arrival. “Can’t you do something to speed this up?”
The nurse looked at Nicky as if to ask, “Are you serious?” I looked at the nurse as if to say, “Yes, he is.” She shook her head and left the room.
“Will you sit down Nicky, you are making me nervous.” His mother chastised him. He was making me nervous too. The shot they had given me was working, the labor pains intensified and since we never bothered to take Lamaze classes (that would require me to leave the house in be in the presence of men), I wasn’t sure how to breathe to ease the pain. I was so ready for the epidural.
The room was full of people. My mom, my sister, Nicky and his mom; Kip and Paul came in and out, my obvious pains made them uneasy. On occasion everyone would be asked to leave the room when the nurse would come in to check my dilation; but for the most part they were all there.
The on-call doctor, Dr. Russell came in the last time to check my dilation before he announced that he would be breaking my water soon. I was very disappointed that he was here and would be the one to deliver. He had no bedside manner and he was very rough when examining me. Even through his gloves I could tell he needed to trim his nails. Every time he got near me I wanted to kick him when he scratched me.
Within the half hour he and a nurse returned with a rolling tray containing medical tools. He made himself comfortable at the end of the bed and was rough when he grabbed me by my hips and pulled me closer. I begged silently for him to be off duty when the time came to deliver.
He reached over to the cart and pulled out what looked like a very long crochet needle and proceeded to explain what he was doing. At this point the room was still full of relatives that also now included Nicky’s cousin Bret and his wife Amy and their two children. I looked over at my mom who sat in a chair to my right and gave her the pleading look to get everyone out. She stood up to ask everyone to leave when Fannie walked over and leaned in behind the doctor and bent down to see what he was doing. I had had just about enough!
“No!” my voice raised and everyone stopped talking and looked at me, “No! You are not watching this!” I looked directly at her and she knew I meant business, “The only people I want in here from now on until I say otherwise, is the doctor, nurse, my mom and Diana. Everyone else needs to leave.”
“What about me, you can’t kick me out.” stated Nicky.
“Oh yes I can. Everyone goes, except those four.” I stared him down. He was not going to bully me here. He stomped out of the room behind everyone else. The doctor proceeded with the procedure. My mom squeezed my shoulder to show she was glad I had stuck up for myself. I would be glad of it only for a short time. I knew the price that I would pay for my short-lived bravery.
After the procedure was done, I thought that the labor would go much quicker. It actually seemed to slow down. My little breakdown didn’t seem to faze Nicky at all. He came back in when I allowed and treated me more tenderly than he had in a long time. He sat next to my bed asking me if I needed anything. Could he get me ice chips? Did I need an extra pillow? Was my bed positioned right? Could he rub my back or feet? He was starting to freak me out just a little bit. This was not the normal Nicky I had known the last six months.
“The basketball game comes on soon, do you want to watch it or something else sweetie?” He asked looking through the television guide as I adjusted myself to a more comfortable position. The family had finally left when it got dark and the snow started falling. We were expected to get up to two inches before midnight and they wanted to get home before the roads got slick.
“The basketball game will be just fine.” I actually did like the college basketball games, considering we lived in the college town of our favorite team, it almost seemed sacrilegious to miss it.
He stayed at my side during the entire game, continuously asking if I needed anything, checking the monitors I was hooked to, asking the nurses tons of questions, like if there was anything they could give me for the pain. He presented himself as the perfect husband, attentive and loving. I was still trying to figure out if it was sincere or an act for the staff and family. Then I felt guilty for being suspicious. Maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. But I just couldn’t get over the happenings between us since right before the wedding and until now. I was torn between hoping that my husband had finally seen the light and admitting that he knew without a shadow of a doubt that the baby was his and I wasn’t a horrible nothing.
The nurse came in and woke me up around 6:30 a.m. to take my vitals and check my dilation. I looked over at the empty chair where I had last seen Nicky asleep by the end of the basketball game.
“He said he would be back in a bit,” the nurse said when she saw my wondering expression, “said he needed to make a phone call.”
I wondered who he would be calling so early in the morning. He had arranged with work to be off for the next week. They knew that I could have the baby at any time, so he requested the time off as soon as I called him from Doctor Kirkson’s and told him they were sending me to the hospital.
“Hey babe, you’re awake?” He said as he came in a half hour later and kissed me on the forehead, “How’re ya feeling?” Who is this man?
“Yeah, the nurse came in and I just figured I would stay up. They will just be back to do it over in an hour“, I smiled at him and he smiled back, “Where were you?”
“I had to call work. I forgot to tell them something about an order that was coming in first thing this morning.” He said it like it was true. So I didn’t doubt him.
“Oh, cool.” I felt a quick pain in my back and tried arching to relieve it. I reached back unsuccessfully to rub it out when my mom came in the room.
“You should see the snow out there! Everyone was driving so slowly!” She took her coat off and shook it out before hanging it on the hook by the bathroom. Noticing my discomfort she came over to my side, “Are you okay? How are the pains?” She rubbed the spot I was trying to reach and it felt amazing.
“Painful” I chuckled. I had tried to be conscious of how I talked to the nurses and everyone around me during my labor pains, but I am sure that a few times I snapped at them. My patience level went well below negative zero during a labor pain.
I looked over at the monitor that Nicky and I had both been watching with great interest all evening. My vital signs were on top and it would spike up whenever I was having a labor pain, the baby’s vital line were below mine and would peak similarly but not as much. Another labor pain came on and I noticed that even though my line spiked the baby’s line went way down. I panicked a little.
“Nicky? Come look at this?” I motioned him over to the machine. He picked the paper that was slowly coming from the printer and studied. “What do you think that is?”
“I don’t know. Are you in bad pain?” He asked still looking at the paper.
“No more than usual. Can you go ask a nurse?” I sat up straighter in bed. He nodded and started towards the door. Suddenly the door opened and several nurses rushed in past Nicky. He stumbled back as the nurses talked hurriedly amongst themselves and the orderlies.
“What’s going on?” both Nicky and I asked repeatedly. No one answered us. Three orderlies quickly lifted me from the bed using the sheet corners, slid me on a gurney and began pushing the gurney towards the door. I repeatedly begged for them to tell me what was happening.
“Tessa, the baby is in distress. We need to get him out at soon as possible” Dr. Kirkson thankfully appeared next to the gurney as they rushed me down the hospital corridor. I was so happy he made it in time. People who were in the halls jumped back making room for us to get through when the gurney suddenly slammed into a ladder in the hall almost sending maintenance man to the floor.
“Whoa!” yelled one of the orderlies, “keep it steady!” I could hear my sister Diana asking the nurse medical questions and telling Nicky to calm down, it would be fine. Forever the nurse, even when she’s not on duty. I wondered when she had gotten here. My mind was racing with all kinds of questions. Where is my mom? I want my mom! Will they let Nicky in the room with me? Why is the baby in distress? They shouldn’t have let me go so long, they should have done this a week ago! I watched the fluorescent lights on the ceiling whiz by as we rushed down the corridor.
I was pushed through double doors and I heard an orderly tell Nicky, “Sorry Mr. Bloom, no one past this point. Someone will be out soon to give you an update.”
I was lifted off of the table and laid on what looked like a cross. They strapped my wrists to the table. I begged them not to do that; it scared me to not have that mobility of my arms. They didn’t seem to listen to me, but kept working around me. No one explained anything to me. I could hear Dr. Kirkson’s gentle voice but couldn’t see him.
“Dr. Kirkson? Dr. Kirkson? What’s happening? Please tell me.” I was crying hard and I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate. I felt his hand on my shoulder and he looked down at me. I could only see his eyes through his glasses, his face was covered with a surgical mask, but his gaze was kind when he explained what was happening.
“Tessa, dear. The baby’s heart rate has gone way down. Dangerously down. We need to get him out right now. He is just worn out; the labor was just coming along way too slow. He just gave up. We are going to get him out now, it won’t take very long. But I need you to be calm and trust me okay?” His words calmed me, but only a little, “Pretty soon you’ll be waking up to a beautiful son or daughter. Do you trust me?” His eyes were so kind, I believed he wouldn’t lie to me. I nodded my head and let the anesthesiologist place the mask over my mouth and nose.
“Okay, Tessa, count to ten for me…” One…two…three…
“Mrs. Bloom? You have a beautiful baby girl.” I couldn’t open my eyes, but I am fairly sure I heard an angel say it.
“Oh Tess, she’s so pretty.” My sister gushed over the baby as she held her. She was a big baby, weighing in at nine pounds, ten ounces and she was twenty-one inches long. Her face was round and pudgy. She wrinkled her forehead like she was in deep thought. Her eyes were the clear blue color of Nicky’s and she had his chin. He couldn’t deny her if he wanted. She had my bow lips and my flaxen hair. She was perfect.
“You should have seen him, Tess. When those doors closed in his face, it was awful. He just dropped to his knees. He cried.” She ran her finger down the baby’s nose and lips as she retold the story of when the orderly wouldn’t let Nicky follow me into surgery.
“Cried? Nicky?” I felt horrible. Maybe he really did love me.
“Yea.” She patted the baby and rocked her when she started to fuss. She put her nose to Addison’s head and breathed in, “oh, I love the smell of babies. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
“Good morning Mrs. Bloom. We need to get you up and walking around.” The nurse came in to help get me mobile before I could go home. She helped me swing my legs off the side of the bed and put slippers on my feet. I slowly put on the robe that my mom brought me and pulled myself into an upright position using the IV pole, “Now take it slow, and don’t overdo it the first day.”
She smiled at me and went back to writing in the chart at the end of my bed. I took steps towards the window to look out at the snow that had fallen the night before Addison was born. My room looked out over the visitor parking lot. Large mountains of snow stood on each corner where the snow plows had kept busy clearing the lot. I caught sight of our car, a red Honda Civic sitting close to the entrance.
Nicky’s here? I wondered to myself. I could tell that the car was still running by the exhaust coming from the pipe in the cold winter air. Why is he just sitting out there? A grey jeep pulled up next to our car and I saw a small blonde with hot pink earmuffs and a neon green parka vest jump out of the driver’s side door. As she was walking around the front of the jeep, I noticed Nicky get out of our car and met her in front of both vehicles. They stood very close to one another. She talked with her hands. They never stopped moving, and she touched him often when she spoke.
Her head went back in a laugh and I could see her breath in the cold air. She laid her hand on his chest and he put his hand over hers. His next action made my stomach come up into my throat. He put his hand on her face and pulled her to his mouth. It was a passionate kiss. Not a peck, but a deep passionate kiss. Right there in the hospital parking lot of the hospital where I just gave birth to our daughter, the same daughter that we almost lost.
When I woke up from the surgery, Dr. Kirkson came in to assure us that Addison was just fine. That they got to her just in time. When they delivered her she wasn’t breathing and had no signs of a heartbeat; but they managed to bring her to and that only time would tell if there were any lasting effects of the lack of oxygen. But as far as they could tell, she was very healthy.
I had to look away from the scene transpiring in the parking lot and turned towards the nurse who was straightening the bed.
“Are you okay sugar?” My paled expression must have alarmed her, “Do you need to rest?” I hadn’t gone far enough to rest, but I did have the urge to crawl back in the bed and never get out.
“No, no, I’m fine. Do you think it would be okay if I walked in the hallway just a bit?” I said walking in that direction before she had time to answer.
“Sure, just let me follow you with a wheelchair”, she grabbed a chair and followed me out the door. I got halfway down the corridor when I saw my Mom, Diana and Chris getting off the elevator. I smiled at them.
“Hey, hey! Look who is up and at ‘em!” Chris said carry a big stuffed rabbit in his arms.
“Nice bunny you have there,” I said and tweaked the bunny’s nose.
“Yep, you think she will like it?” He turned the rabbit to look at it and straighten the big pink bow around its neck.
“Sure, when she can focus her eyes, I am sure she will love it.” I laughed and realized I no longer wanted to walk. I turned and my Mom and the nurse were talking about the perfume my mom was wearing and where the nurse could buy that particular brand. “I think I better sit down.”
“Sure, sure! Here have a seat and we’ll get you back to your room. Maybe you could just sit up in the chair for a while. Okay?” Diana took over the chair so the nurse could get back to her station and pushed me back to my room as the rest of my family followed.
Chris walked over to the window to sit the rabbit amongst the balloons and vases of flowers that had trailed in since I checked in to the hospital and flooded in once Addison arrived. I felt the need to keep Chris away from the window, I didn’t know if Nicky and the mystery lady was still making out in the parking lot.
“Hey! Chris, dude!” Nicky strolled in at that moment carrying a bouquet of pink carnations. He walked over and shook Chris’ hand, “How’s it hanging?” What a jerk. I rolled my eyes and looked towards the window.
“Hey Bloom,” Chris could never get used to saying ‘Nicky’. Who could blame him really?
Nicky went through the motions of the loving husband, even after everyone who had visited throughout the day had left. He continued asking if I was comfortable, if I needed anything, he kept acting perfect. But this time I didn’t feel guilty for wondering if he was sincere. I knew that it was an act and in this play, I was playing the fool.
CLICK HERE to continue to Touching Trees ~ Part 2, Chapter 2
Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.
By posting content to this blog, you agree to transfer copyright to the blog owner.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
© 2013 Copyright Tracy L Lady, Touching Trees. Includes all pictures and text within.