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He smiled, and I closed my eyes again. Mother of pearl, I was tired. It felt like I’d taken enough Xanax to put a horse to sleep. “It’s all going to be all right now,” Jamie told me in an unbearably gentle tone. “Don’t panic. You’re in the hospital, and—”
With a gasp, I lifted my head off of the pillow. “Jamie! The baby! I had a… there was…” I shut my eyes and tried to rub them, realizing that I was hooked up to an I.V. “I’m pregnant,” I said feebly, my words slurring. What was I on?
Flashes of the last few things I could remember popped into my mind. Feeling the tendons in my abdomen stretch and ache at work. Going home and starting a bath without waking Jamie. Hemorrhaging in the bathtub, and the water going pink. Slipping on the tile floor.
My IV tubes pulled when I reached up to touch my head. There was gauze wrapped around it, with a large patch of cotton pressed tightly to my temple. “What’s going on?” I asked, trying to focus on Jamie’s green eyes. Over his shoulder, I saw my mother in a chair, crying. “What happened?”
Jamie’s face dropped. It was then I realized his eyes were circled, and his skin pale. The crying I’d heard in my sleep wasn’t just a bad dream. “You fell getting out of the tub. Hit your head on the corner of the countertop, and cut your temple open.” He forced a smile that did not meet his eyes. “It’s okay now, though. They stitched it shut. You’ll have a cool scar to brag about.”
I pressed my hands to my belly and yelped in pain. My insides felt like they’d been removed with a garden rake, and everything felt oddly hollow. “What about the baby? I… I didn’t tell you. I wanted it to be a surprise.”
He pressed his lips together and shook his head. “The pregnancy wasn’t viable.”
Anger flooded my foggy mind. I hated it when Jamie used clinical terms like that. He started that habit after our fourth miscarriage. Instead of calling them what they were—babies—he called them embryos, cells, viable, aborted… words that made the loss, the deep, seemingly never-ending loss feel clinical and impersonal. And above all else, losing pregnancies was really damn personal. It was as personal as something could get, for hell’s sake.
I closed my eyes and held my breath. For five seconds, then ten, trying to gather my tsunami of thoughts. That was the last time Dr. Felgenhaur was willing to work with me, so we would have to find a new reproductive endocrinologist. Then, judging by the IV and level of pain I was in, I’d clearly had another dilation and curettage procedure, so we were going to be forced to wait another nine to twelve months before a new doctor would be willing to inseminate me again. Which meant I would be thirty-seven when it happened. My head swam. There was so much to do, and I wasn’t getting any younger. Time was no longer on my side.
“It’s okay,” I finally told him, my voice tight. “We have two more embryos. We’ll have them transferred to the new practice, and—”
A line appeared between Jamie’s eyebrows. “Molly—”
“We might have to sell the house,” I told him quickly, my words all mashing together. “We’ve got equity because we finished the basement—”
“—we won’t have to pay for another retrieval—”
“Molly, stop!” Jamie squeezed my hand. “You need to listen to me.”
I rested my head against the scratchy white pillow. My mother stood up and excused herself from the room, and dread settled over my body like a lead blanket. My mother never missed out on a dramatic moment if she could help it. “What’s going on, Jamie?”
He closed his eyes and drew a shaky breath. For the briefest of moments, his lips started to tremble, but Jamie cleared his throat fiercely. Then he opened his eyes and focused on the wall behind my head. When he finally spoke, he slipped into his role as teacher, making his tone businesslike and void of almost any emotion. “Your uterus ruptured, and there was three and a half liters of blood pooled in your uterus. The doctor on call couldn’t control the hemorrhaging, and the uterus couldn’t be saved. They were forced to remove it.”
The blood rushing through my IV suddenly ran cold. “They took it?”
Jamie didn’t meet my eyes. “Yes.”
“All of it?” My voice cracked. “Fallopian tubes, ovaries, all of it?”“No. Just the uterus.” His fingers gripped mine so tightly it hurt.