Emily: Chapter Nineteen

Untitled

PICKING UP THE PIECES

Emily slowly began trying to put her life back together. It was a much more difficult task than she felt up to on most days. Every time she caught her mother-in-law’s eyes, she thought that she saw disappointment there and it made her both sad and angry at the same time.

Anything Emily touched reminded her of her pregnancy. What was hardest to do was – everything. Nevertheless, life had to move on. The first thing she decided to do was return the crib and pram that she had bought for the baby. She had caught hold of the notion that if it was out of sight it would somehow make all of it easier to deal with. Abbey offered to do it for her. Emily refused, telling her that she had to do it herself to get closure. She stood about two feet from the exchange counter with the bills clutched tight in her hand, lips trembling for almost half an hour before her mother and Abbey couldn’t watch any longer and took over the awful task, finishing it on her behalf.

Some days later, while searching for something at the back of her cupboard, she found a box of baby clothes Mummy had packed away probably to save Emily the heartache of doing it herself. It hadn’t worked. Emily cried for almost the whole day – thinking of herself as a failure both as a daughter-in-law and as a mother.

A while later she turned on the radio, hoping that music would soothe her aching soul. It was retro hour and they were playing Johnny Cash. ‘You are my sunshine’ came on.

‘…as I lay sleeping,
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken,
So I bowed my head and cried…’
 

Emily, in near hysterics, pulled the music system from its socket and threw it as hard as she could. How could the world send her such brutal reminders of Grace and plunge her back into the cold swirling vortex just as she was trying to resurface and breathe again?

Emily wanted to talk to Ethan but every time she looked at him, her eyes would fill up and she would turn away. She was so very sorry she hadn’t been able to keep their daughter safe. She didn’t know how to apologize and Ethan was giving her limited opportunities to try. It seemed as though he was spending more and more time at the hospital. She wanted to be able to grieve with him, but she felt so guilty that she needed a little more time before she could ask Ethan to share some of the intense weight of the sorrow with her.

The day before her mother and Abbey were leaving, Emily caught them whispering about something for what felt like the millionth time since they had been at her flat. Exasperated, she shouted, “What are you two always whispering about? Mad Emily? Crazy Emily? Emily needs to see a shrink? Has Emily’s lost her marbles because she can’t stop crying at everything??”

“No, Emily. It’s not like that.” her mother said, as soothingly as she could.

“Then what is it? Why are you two always whispering and then turning into stone the second you see me coming?”

“It’s…it’s…” Abbey began, tears welling up in her eyes.

“You’re crying?” Emily shouted, laughing like a maniac. “It’s WHAT Abbey?”

“I just found out that I’m expecting…” Abbey mumbled. Mrs. Vaz took hold of her hand and Abbey squeezed it.

The air had been sucked out of Emily’s lungs. No. She hadn’t heard right. Not now. Not when she had lost Grace only days earlier. She stood there immobile. She told herself to breathe. She knew what she had to do if only she could make her body do it.

Emily swallowed. “That’s…that’s amazing Abbey…I didn’t know you guys were trying again…” Emily somehow managed to say in an unnatural shrill voice, forcing one foot in front of the other till she was standing in front of Abbey. She raised her arms and gave her elder sister a stiff hug.

“Yeah…” Abbey replied uncomfortably, not knowing if she could ever tell Emily, who had been on such a rough road, that it was an unplanned pregnancy.

“I’ll…I’ll get something to celebrate…” said Emily, going to the kitchen so that they wouldn’t see her cry.

She needed to yell at someone. But at whom? God? Clive? Abbey? At whom? She felt hot tears streaming down her face and it was a while before she was able to stop sobbing and reappear in the hall with some cookies and juice. Her eyes and nose were red, but she had managed to stop crying. “Sorry I don’t have anything more celebration-y.” She said, trying to sound excited.

Abbey smiled and squeezed her hand. “Are you alright?”

The brown eyes met the black and Emily knew that there would be no point feigning happiness with her sister. Abbey knew her better than she knew herself. So she said softly, “No. Not really. I’m sorry. I am happy for you…at least I’m sure I am somewhere deep down inside. It’s just…I…I’m…”

Abbey held her in a warm, long embrace. “I know Emmy…I know…”

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Thanks for coming back today! If it’s your first visit, you can read the previous chapters here.

UBC: Post 23

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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

Growing Up

When I published that little post the other day after all those months of…hibernation?…Yes, I think that’s probably the best way to describe my state of being…I realized just how much I have missed writing/blogging regularly. Moving to a different country brought with it change of proportions that I didn’t expect to encounter so quickly and for a while I was almost struggling to cope. My “home” here was the last thing on my mind. You see, when I first moved to Bahrain in July 2014, the husband and I thought it was time we took the “We two, Our one” (for the time being at least) plunge and try to extend our little family of two. Never did I expect to see those positive lines on the home pregnancy test just a month after we made that decision. I couldn’t digest the fact that at that very moment, I was already playing host to a baby and would be for the next nine months! Could I really be that lucky? I wouldn’t allow myself to believe the test. Truth be told, I think I only accepted that I was going to be a mother when my doctor pointed out the tiny little speck that was to be our child at my first ultrasound. (I needed her to show me where the baby was twice, because I couldn’t spot the baby the first time. I am hoping that is no gauge for how I will fare as a parent…sigh…)

I spent a lot of the first few months of my pregnancy like most other women, with my head bent over a toilet unable to tolerate the smell of food let alone eat it and shed weight so fast that at any other time in my life, the weighing scale and I would have been friends for the very first time. But, I was not in the mood to make friends and instead anxiously worried about the baby. I was also really lonely because since it had been just a month that I was in Bahrain before the onset of the morning sickness, apart from the husband, there wasn’t anyone else who I had the time to get to know well enough in the country to even spend an afternoon with to take my mind off things. Being at an emotional and physical low point (and being allowed to be extra fussy since I am expecting), I convinced the husband to let me have the delivery in India; in surroundings I know and with more people I love close by. So, here I am…back in the settings I ached for when I was all those miles away.

I didn’t write…couldn’t in fact…for months and months, but now, having reached the stage where my belly has begun to enter a room before me and people no longer just ask how I’ve managed to put on so much weight, I feel the need to get back to writing. In a little while, if everything goes well, the husband and I will become completely responsible for another human life. Am I excited? Of course I am! I adore children and knowing that I have one of my own on his or her way makes me thrilled. Am I also scared? No…I’m plain old terrified! I am after all the woman who for the longest time truly believed her baby’s movements were just gas… When I think of that part of me that wants to write, I wonder if I will be able to sit at a laptop or desktop and have the time to write what I feel. Somehow I don’t see that as a sure thing in the near future. But, I’ll never know if I don’t try.

I suppose it’s time for me to accept that the girl looking back at me from the mirror has grown up and a new chapter is about to begin – motherhood…won’t you wish me luck?

UBC3: We need to talk

She said they needed to talk. Dreading what it could mean he rushed home.

She was on the couch; flushed, her eyes wide. Worried, he asked her what had happened.

“We need to talk…”

She held out a stick with two lines on it. He laughed. She smiled.

He was going to be a father.

The Test (google images)

Positive! (Google images)

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