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There were two assistant nurses, the delivery doctor, Donna and myself in the delivery room. Donna was beside me in her white and blue dotted hospital robe. She looked uncomfortable they way she was half lying down and half sitting up on the single mattress. Her feet were locked into this foot holder at the bottom of the bed.
She seemed to be struggling with the baby delivery. Some strands of her dark hair were beginning to stick to her face. She was making noises I’d only dreamt she’d make. I had to continuously remind myself that the noises that escaped her mouth weren’t exactly because she was having fun giving birth.
At that moment of realization Donna squeezed my hand and let out an ear bleeding high pitched cry. The sound was painful to me and I winced as the hairs on the back of my neck grew taller. I knew she had to be in unspeakable pain, “Honey, you’re doing great,” I encouraged. I didn’t learn much from those How-To-Be-There-For-Your-Wife-During-The-Delivery classes that I took and right now I felt as if I didn’t learn anything at all. I guess you can’t really get yourself prepared for the actual event.
While I held her hand I grew curious at what our baby, the part that’s out already, looked like. I soon snuck a peek. There was a ton of blood in that area, too much for my liking. Other than the blood I saw of what appeared to be the top of the head of our new baby girl. I almost smiled and nearly vomited. I quickly got off of my tippy toes and looked back at Donna. Of course fainting or vomiting right now would be in no way helpful with this delivery so I stopped thinking about what my eyes were just exposed to and I focused all of my attention on Donna.
“Ah,” she moaned as she bit her bottom lip and gave another push.
With my free hand I pushed the hair that had made its way to covering Donnas’ eyes back to where they should be. I wanted her to feel like she had control. The control that she’d showed at home.
“Push,” The doctor directed.
Donna turned to me, “I hate you for putting me through this,” she grumbled like a mad women. Her offensive words were followed by a loud cry.
I winced again, “Don’t say that. We’ve created a baby!” I tried to cheer her up. I wanted her to be my wife: Donna Joe, my one beautiful wife who loves me more than life itself.
She screamed again.
A machine that was concentrating on Donnas’ heart beat began to beep rapidly. I grew anxious. “What’s that mean?” I asked.
“Doctor,” one of the nurses said, “her heart,”
I looked down at Donna. With the way she was, out of breath and ready to pass out, I knew she was exhausted. I panicked at the sudden thought of losing her. “Donna,” I whispered. My lips were at her ear. “Calm down,”
The doctor said, “Deep breaths, Donna.”
I squeezed her hand and was about ready to turn watery eyed. “Breathe, baby, breathe,” I said into her ears. Her breathing slowed. Her skin lost some color. I pushed the hair out of her face once again, “You’re going to get through this,”
“Donna, stay with me. Stay with me,” the doctor checked her pulse even though the beeping machine was clearly doing that. “She’s losing energy, we’ve got to do a sea section or we’re going to lose them.”
“I’m sorry sir but we’re gonna have to ask you to leave,” the nurse that was silent until now came over to me.
“No, I’m not leaving my wife.” I looked down at her. She seemed so helpless. I had to be by her side. I had to be holding her hand. I couldn’t leave her like this.
“I’m sorry sir,” she tugged on my arm pulling me away from Donna. “You may wait in the waiting room.”
“I don’t want to wait in the waiting room. I want to be with my wife!”
“Well, that is not possible at this time. Everything will be just fine. Please, just go wait in the waiting room.”
I was now out of the door. It was a swinging door so it swung closed by itself. I was capable of going back into the room without a sweat, but I didn’t. Instead, I watched from the little window at the center of the tan door I was standing in front of. I watched as the two nurses squirmed back and forth on either side of Donna. I didn’t completely understand what they were doing. It was all happening too fast for me to put two and two together. But once Donna was moved onto a portable bed I knew they were moving her into a different room.
They pushed through the door and I moved out of their way. The doctor was ahead of them rushing into the room that the nurses, and Donna, were headed to. As Donna passed me she waved and I stole her hand from the air, “I love you so much. I can’t wait to have you and our baby in my arms again,”
“I love you, too,” her voice was weak and it shook but the smile that she flashed me took my worry away and sent me down a road trip to happiness.
In the waiting room I couldn’t sit down. I paced the floor thinking about Donna. I was praying that she was alright. I was praying that the baby would be alright. I was praying for their survival. This was her first child, why is she having these problems? She has a strong soul, yes, but what about her body? It wasn’t fair for her to be in such a horrible situation. I feared for her terribly but at the same time I feared for myself. Having Donna out of my life was something I just couldn’t think about, it brought too much pain to my heart.
“Oh, dear,” Mary said as she entered the waiting room along with her husband, John. They were Donnas’ parents.
When I looked at her I put on a brave face to try and hide the pain that I felt. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to worry them by the fear that would’ve been loud in my voice. She held onto her husband and they kept silent, too.
When my parents arrived I was still mute. Mom, being one to know how I feel even when I don’t say anything, came to my side. “Jason,” my mother said, “She’s going through surgery for the baby. You need to wait, be patient.”
I hugged her. “I know, it’s just that I’m scared, Mom, I’m scared for her, I’m scared for us!” I was close a thread closer to sobbing.
I turned to see the delivery doctor at the door way and ran to him, “How is she? How’s the baby? Are they ok? What’s going on?”
He held up his hands as if he were talking to a cop and was about to be arrested. “The baby is fine. She’s being weighed and getting cleaned up as we speak. You’ll be able to hold her soon.” He looked away, “As for your wife,”
“Donna! How is she?!”
Before speaking he took a deep breath and his words were let out in a sigh, “She didn’t make it.”
“No. No. No. No!” I wouldn’t believe it.
“I’m sorry. We tried everything we could to keep her with us but her body was too weak to help win the fight. I’m sorry for your loss.”
Donnas’ mother let out a familiar cry and I wanted to do the same.
“Where’s she? Can I see her?” I needed to get one final look at my wife. I ran towards the room, where I had previously watched them rush her into, without waiting for a response.
“Mr. Longfellow, you can’t go back there!” the doctor called.
I barged into the room. “Oh, no, no, no, no,” I went to Donnas’ side. I pulled the white blanket, which was covering her entire body, from covering her face. “Oh, Donna,” I sighed. Her face was paler than I’d remembered. Her lips had some color left in them but I knew that the color would be gone soon. A wet droplet splashed onto her cheek, which still had a rosy color to it. I wiped my tear from her cheek with my thumb, “Good-Bye, my love.” I whispered. I kissed her lifeless lips, which were still warm, and completed my goodbye to her.
I was exhausted on my way back to the waiting room. Both sets of parents were in tears and holding one another as I came in. Mother came to me as soon as she noticed I had entered the room. She hugged me without a word. I hugged her back wishing that I was six years old again. Those were the days when one of moms’ hugs and little kisses would make anything all better. “She’s gone, Mom,” I whimpered, “Really gone.”
A nurse interrupted our moment of sorrow. She pulled me away from the family I had left to tell me about my baby being healthy and just about ready to come home.
I followed her into the maternity ward.
The nurse stopped at a baby who was bundled up in a pink blanket. Her skin was light, as was mine, and she carried a few dark curls atop her head, which were similar to the ones her mother had carried atop her head.
“She’s yours,” she said. The nurse scooped her up and handed my baby to me.
I was stunned that I actually knew how to hold a baby. It came natural. I guess that’s the kind of instincts you gain from becoming a father.
I looked at my baby’s’ face and smiled. “Hello,” I said to her. She giggled at my words. The smile that grew on her face brought a million and one memories of Donna and me to my mind. She reminded me of Donna all too much. Soon we were smiling at each other.
Without another thought I kissed my daughters’ forehead and got ready to bring her home.
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