Emily: Chapter Twenty

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CHANGE

Emily hated being alone in the still, silent house that should have been full of laughter and baby babble so she spent long hours in the park, trying to walk her sadness away. The fresh air did her good and some nights when she got home, she felt more like the old Emily. One evening, she bumped into someone she was least expecting.

“Oh my God, Emily! It’s been years!! Look what’s become of me!”, Leanne, now with hair as black as it was the day she was born, pointed at the small, spit-bubble blowing, baby boy she held in her arms.

Emily swallowed.

“I heard you were pregnant too? Already out and about without the baby? I wish I could get this one, off of me! Wish I was you!” Leanne continued giggling.

Emily looked at her for a long minute, her hands on her sagging belly. “I lost her…” she whispered. “Still wish you were me?” She was unfairly enraged with the happy woman standing in front of her.

“Oh! Oh my God! Emily, I had no…I’m so sorry. I…Emily, I’m…” Leanne stammered.

Emily dismissed her and turned the other way. The conversation had made her so uncomfortable, she was sick in a trash can on the way out of the park. She couldn’t handle another chance meeting like that. She wasn’t strong enough yet. She wondered if she ever would be. So, she gave up her walks in the park and remained within the confines of the house once more.

Emily had finally reached a stage when she felt ready to share her heavy load with Ethan, but it seemed as though she was too late. It appeared that he had found consolation in his research and didn’t need to talk to her anymore. He had thrown himself into his work and was spending long hours at his lab. He was hardly ever at home and whenever Emily tried to talk about their loss, he would quickly change the subject.

Emily made several attempts to bridge the gap that had come up between Ethan and her. Out of character, she initiated physical intimacy with him. If Ethan seemed like a man who didn’t think sex was important before, now, whenever she gave it a shot, Ethan would say he was too tired and head off to their bedroom to sleep leaving Emily alone with her thoughts again. His complete lack of interest in her made her feel worse about everything that had happened and finally one evening, frustrated and spiralling deeper into depression, she shouted, “I need a change. I think I’ll go to my parents’ place. Not sure for how long. I need to go.”

Ethan who had been on his way to the bedroom whipped around and said, “That’s a good idea. I think the change will do you good. You should leave as soon as you can. Do you need me to book your tickets?”

Emily shook her head and clenched her fists. She would not let him see how much his apparent indifference was affecting her. She watched him walk into the bedroom and cried softly as he closed the door. She thought about staying where she was and wondered whether Ethan would be forced to talk to her eventually if she remained in their flat. On the other hand, if she wasn’t there Ethan would possibly miss her and want her again.

There was no other way. She didn’t want to go. She needed to go. She had to get out of the house that had once held so many happy dreams.

The next day, she packed the few clothes that still fit her in a duffel bag and took the bus home.

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Another chapter today. If you’re new here and what to know what’s going on, please click here.

UBC: Post 24

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Emily: Chapter Eighteen

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GRACE

The doctors at the emergency ward rushed Emily to the labour and delivery room where they tried to find the baby’s heartbeat.

The silence was deafening.

Everything after that was like a nightmare for Emily. The nurses prepped her for an emergency cesarean section. Emily wished they wouldn’t give her the anaesthesia. She felt like she needed to feel the intense pain to cope. That she had to endure physical agony in preparation for that which was to come. It couldn’t have been very long after the surgery began, yet it felt like several agonizing hours had passed before a perfectly formed baby girl was placed on Emily’s chest.

Through tears, she said, “Hey there, Sunshine. Do you want to open those beautiful eyes for me? Mama loves you so much. I…I…I’m so sorry I couldn’t keep you safe. I’m so sorry I couldn’t do the one job I was supposed to do. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m…”

As she broke down into hysterical sobs, one of the nurses gently eased the sleeping baby away from her and the anaesthesiologist gave her a sedative. The last thing she remembered was watching the nurse take her baby away.

She never saw her child again.

The days that followed were no better than that early morning on which little Grace Mendonca said goodbye to this world before she had a chance to say hello. Emily tried to show courage and strength but it was beyond her to do so. In her hospital room where she spent three miserable nights in order to recover from her physical injuries, her eyes kept darting to the side of her bed where a baby crib should have been. Every time a nurse or a doctor or Ethan entered the room, she involuntarily glanced at their arms hoping that were carrying her little girl and they had decided to put an end to the cruel joke life seemed to be making at her expense. She couldn’t believe that her Grace was gone.

Reality hit her like a brick when the hospital administration staff  handed her the baby’s death certificate as they were being discharged from the hospital. She collapsed into unstoppable tears and had to run out of the hospital to draw in some fresh air to breathe again. It didn’t help that when she got into their car, the blood stains were still visible on the car seat. She noticed that Ethan, or somebody, had tried to scrub them away and had been unsuccessful. The large brown patch brought back the horrors of their drive and Emily almost couldn’t breathe again. She slammed the front door shut and got into the back seat shivering. She began to hyperventilate and Ethan handed her a paper bag in which to breathe. He tried to put his arms around her to help calm her down. She pushed him away. Silently he got back into the driver’s seat and took her home.

Emily had hoped that when she got home, things would get better. They didn’t. When she walked into the bedroom, she was greeted by the baby crib she had ordered. It stood there fully assembled, waiting for a baby that would never lay in it. She felt irrationally angry at Ethan for being so insensitive to her feelings and leaving the crib there in full view. She crawled into bed, drew the covers over her head and cried until there were no more tears left. Then she fell asleep.

When she woke up the crib was gone and her family, as well as Ethan’s mother, had arrived. Emily, who could barely pull herself out of bed, found that she had lost the will to talk or eat and wanted to be alone, in the quiet dark world into which she had gone.

She would need time, and lots of it, to heal. Her world had been shattered and she felt as though she had been left there, alone among the million fragments. She would have to pick everything up and fix all of them together again. It had to all fit together if she was to go on. But, how could it when one of the biggest pieces of all had been lost forever?

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You can read the earlier chapters here.

UBC: Post 22

Emily: Chapter Seventeen

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WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING

Pregnancy was not the wonderful journey Emily hoped it would be. For the first few months, she spent a fair amount of her working day in the restroom vomiting or retching, never quite being able to decide which was worse. When she went home in the evening, the kitchen which was once her sanctum caused her nothing but distress. The aromatic spices and flavourful masalas made her insides churn. She was forced to abandon cooking for some time and lived off crackers, pickle, and salted buttermilk. Unfortunately, Ethan who had grown accustomed to Emily’s good cooking suddenly found himself subject to a similar diet and chose to have most of his meals at the hospital canteen. She was exhausted all the time and was envious of women who glowed during the forty weeks they played host to another living being while she lost so much weight so quickly that she looked like she was suffering from a major illness. It was only when the morning sickness, which is the most misleading terminology for a nuisance that exists all the time, subsided fully, more than five months into her pregnancy, that Emily began to enjoy being pregnant. She revelled in feeling her hyperactive baby twist, turn, dance and buckle around inside her.

Sadly, after her initial rotten mood, thanks to always being sick and tired, Ethan had buried himself in work and was rarely at home. Most of their conversations happened via text messages and only occasionally was he around to share a meal with her and bond with their baby as it grew in her womb. So although Emily was happier than she had ever been before, she was once again lonely, like she had been those first few months after she got married.

Since she had her baby to think of and having been advised to walk to help have an easier labour and delivery, she spent her free time strolling leisurely in the old park where she had once found solace. Leanne and the others with whom she used to play basket ball had moved on with their lives – some had got married, some had children in school and others had moved away. Although she ached for the old familiar company, she was not disappointed for too long. She met and made friends with a few other mothers-to-be who were also following the same advice she had been given. She enjoyed being able to discuss pregnancy related ups and downs with them and was able to take her mind off of swollen ankles and the ever-threatening-to-return morning sickness in their company. When she was at home alone, she read stories and sang songs to her belly in her tone-deaf voice. Her favourite song was ‘You are my sunshine’ and she hoped to see some sign of recognition in her child’s eyes when she sang it to him or her.  She was astounded by the depth of her love for her child. The sheer intensity of it often caused her heart to ache and she couldn’t wait to meet her little one to smother him or her with that very love.

At about thirty-two weeks pregnant, Emily began looking at baby furniture and clothes, placing orders for all the baby essentials – a baby crib, a pram and some clothes for the little one. When the clothes arrived, Emily was beside herself with excitement. She hand-washed them, something she never did, and hung them out in the bright summer sun to dry. The mere sight of those soft pastel coloured onesies fluttering in the gentle breeze gave her an inexplicable amount of happiness. She began counting down days to her due date when she would be able to dress her baby in them.

As Emily rounded the corner of thirty-seven weeks, Ethan began to come home early again and had requested the hospital to be relieved of night duty till the baby came as well as a few weeks after. Emily was grateful that he was around because it was becoming more and more difficult to manage things on her own.

Then one night, when she was only a few days away from her due date, Emily went to bed to the bouncing and dancing of her baby in her belly. A few hours later, she woke up feeling wet. Thinking that her water had broken, she shook Ethan awake to tell him it was time to go to the hospital and turned on the lights. What she saw next took her breath away – and not in a good way. There was a large pool of dark red blood in the place where she had laid. When Ethan saw the blood, he muttered, “Placenta…” at a decibel that was barely audible and shot a worried look at Emily. Throwing her house-coat to her he shouted urgently, “We’ve got to move quickly. Now Emily! Let’s go!!”

At two-thirty in the morning, there wasn’t any traffic on the road and Emily and Ethan reached the emergency ward in about ten minutes. Emily sat in a little puddle of blood and wondered why there was no pain. She prodded her belly trying to get her baby to move. The absence of an answering kick or punch terrified her. She feared the worst, but she wouldn’t allow those terrible thoughts to take form in her head.

The baby was almost due.

The baby only had to be born into this world.

Nothing could go wrong now, so late into her pregnancy.

It just couldn’t.

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Keeping my fingers crossed for Emily. Read the earlier chapters here.

UBC: Post 21

Emily: Chapter Fourteen

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…THEN COMES MARRIAGE, THEN COMES…

Days passed by in a calm happy manner for almost five years, by which time, aunties with noses much too long for their own good began asking Emily why she hadn’t had a baby yet. It annoyed her at first. Then as she thought about it, she realized that she was ready to have a child. Perhaps Ethan was too. So, one evening, with no preamble what-so-ever, she sat down with Ethan after dinner and said, “E, I think we’re ready to have a baby.”

Ethan, who as usual had been reading something on the computer about the newest advancements in surgery, looked up a little startled and ran his fingers through his wavy hair. “Say what now?”

“We’ve been married a while. I’m ready to have a child. Aren’t you?”

“Erm…”

“Look, there is never going to be a perfect time to have a baby. Something is always going to be wrong with the world and we can’t wait for everything to be all peaches and cream. If we do, that baby isn’t coming. We’ve got to have her and raise her right, so she can grow up and make the world a better place. Or he can; whichever it turns out to be.”

Ethan looked at her and opened his mouth to ask her where the desire for a child had suddenly come from then shut it abruptly, changing his mind. Instead, he began mentally calculating the possible expenditure a child could bring with it. As the numbers grew, almost as if she could read his mind, Emily said, “I know it costs a bomb to have a child, but we can afford a baby. We don’t have to give her the world, just lots of love, care, and joy.”

Ethan smiled a closed lipped smile and thought to himself that it was exactly like Emily to naively ignore the financial aspect of having a child. They could perhaps afford one child. If they had twins it would be a financial nightmare. Plus, most women wanted to be mothers. He also thought about how he would have to rework his schedule to fit a baby. It would not be impossible, just extremely difficult.

He sighed.

Out loud he said, “Sure Sweetie, let’s make a baby.”

Emily threw herself into his arms and after years, the two of had another night to remember.

******

Emily’s back today. Hope you’ve been following along! To catch up, please click here.

UBC Post 18!!!