Dear readers, this particular chapter deals with the sensitive issue of baby loss.
It’s a topic I have personal painful experience with (if you feel up to it, here is my post from last year about it, keep tissues handy) and when I realised this was where Selina and Donovan’s story was headed, I didn’t shy away from it.
Pregnancy and baby loss happen, and they happen a lot more often than people think. Once you start talking about it, people will tell you that it’s either happened to them or to someone close to them.
Last week our children asked about rainbow babies and I did a post about it on Facebook. Two friends left comments saying they’d lost a child many years ago. It’s ten years for me next month.
Losing a child is not something you ever forget. You just learn to live with the grief.
Just like Selina and Donovan are going to learn to do (and yes, you can count on the happy ending!)
I wash my hands and my face and rinse my mouth for the third time and take a deep breath before I open the door. My friend looks very worried about me and I can’t blame her. I’m worried about me.
“You ok?” she asks again and I shrug. I don’t know if I am but I know that eventually, I will be.
She puts her arm around my waist and we walk back into the restaurant. There is no sign of the bitchy blondes, some good looking bald guy is standing next to London by our table and I feel like everyone in the restaurant is looking at me. I turn to Lace.
“Oh,” she says as we reached our table. “He is making sure Naomi is really gone.”
“Thank god. What happened out here? I heard a lot of screaming.”
“Don’t worry about that,” London tells me with a smile. “How are you feeling?”
“Like I could sleep for a week and still be tired. I’m sorry for ruining lunch. I think I’m just going to go see Mum now.”
“You are not driving in the state you’re in. One of us will take you and the other one can drive your car there,” Lacey says in a tone that brooks no argument.
I nod, feeling the nausea return. “Ok. Do you know what happened to my bag?”
London hands it to me, I guess she picked it up the floor after I dropped it earlier.
“Thanks.” I smiled at her and I must really look like shit because she gives me the most careful hug ever.
Chris comes back and checks on me quickly before going back behind the bar. I wonder who the guy standing next to London is, he is totally checking her out and I wonder if she is aware of it.
“You take her to your car, I’ll go tell Chris we’re coming back and follow you in hers,” Lacey tells London before turning to me. “Gimme your keys, lady.”
I rummage in my handbag and give Lacey my keys then we start walking towards the door.
“Drive safe!” the good looking bald guy calls out and I wonder why he was here and if he knows Chris.
London turns back to look at the guy with a little smile that tells me she might not be too upset about Photographer Guy anymore. “Always.”
Lacey leaves us to go talk to Chris and it occurs to me that we haven’t paid for the food we barely got to eat before that bitch interrupted us. I stop in my tracks halfway to the exit. London stops with me.
“We didn’t pay for our meals.”
“Oh, crap, you’re right.” London calls out to Lacey. “Hey, Lace, give that boyfriend of yours some money for the food, will you? We’ll pay you back later.”
Lacey nods and shakes her head and we’re on our way. Once we’re on the road and I have my window open a bit to get fresh air, I once again feel the need to know what happened with Naomi.
“So, are you going to tell me what happened with the stick insect?”
London looks briefly at me then back at the road and sighs. “She went on and on about how you stole Donovan from her. I told her she was just a distraction to him because he thought you weren’t interested and it was just a matter of time before he came to his senses and you two ended up together like you’re meant to be.”
“Oh god. Why did you say that to her?” I lean back in the seat, concentrating on my breathing once again because I’m starting to feel sick.
What a mess. When did everything get so complicated?
“Uh, because it’s the truth. Anyway, Lacey said we should go check on you and that the stick insect wasn’t worth our energy. She really didn’t like that, attacked Lacey–”
“OH MY GOD!”
“Yeah, so I pulled her off Lace and then she attacked me so I slapped her. God it felt good!”
“This is so fucked up!”
“Eh, it is what it is.” London shrugs. “She brought in on herself, calling people names and spreading rumours about you, even if we didn’t get to that particular subject.”
“I know you really don’t feel like it, but I think you need to talk to Donovan, hun. Face to face. You owe him that much,” London says, caution tinting her tone and I know she’s right. I’ve avoided him long enough.
“I know. I just… it hurts so much to look at him.” I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.
London gives me a sad smile as she parks in my parents’ driveway and stops the car. She takes her seatbelt off and turns towards me.
“I know you’re hurting a lot right now and I can’t do anything about that but me and Lace are here for you, ok?”
We hug and then get out of the car. I see the front door open at the same time I hear a car slowing down. It’s Lacey in my car; she parks it on the street and locks it before walking up to us and handing me the keys.
“Thanks, Lace.” I give her a hug and London gets in on it too. I’m so grateful for my friends having my back.
“Honey? What’s wrong?” Mum asks as she reaches us. I turn around and I must look a fright because she immediately wraps her arms around me and holds me tight.
A bit too tight.
“Mum…” I push her away and make a beeline for the bushes lining the driveway. I hear the girls tell Mum what happened earlier and I hope she can forgive me for throwing up on her precious azaleas.
Once I’m done I rejoin the group to find Lace and London about to leave.
“We’re gonna go now, sweetie,” Lacey says and I nod. I’ve taken up enough of their day as it is.
“You take it easy, hun,” London adds as she gives me a goodbye hug.
“Thank you two so much for today. And for getting rid of that skank because I couldn’t do it myself.”
“Told you, we got your back,” London says and then they’re off.
I briefly wonder if that guy who was checking out London will still be there as Mum takes me inside the house and tells me to sit on the couch while she makes us a cup of tea.
“Honey,” Mum calls out from the kitchen. “I’m getting the idea you haven’t been entirely truthful about how rotten you’ve been feeling.”
“Mum…” I sigh. She’s right of course. “I didn’t want you to worry.”
“You know me,” she says as she walks in with two steaming mugs she puts down on the coffee table before sitting on the couch next to me. “I worry anyway.”
“I’m sorry.” I put my head on her shoulder and close my eyes. Damn cramps are getting worse, surely I’m allowed more painkillers by now.
“Obviously your nausea has progressed. Any other symptoms?”
“Just the world’s most painful cramps ever.” I’d had painful period pain before but never on that scale and never before my period actually started.
“That’s odd. You don’t usually have cramps, do you? Any pain anywhere else?” She sounds really concerned now and it’s starting to freak me out. What is Mum getting at?
“My left shoulder is a bit sore but it’s the one I sleep on so…”
Mum sits up so quickly that I fall behind her and have to scramble back to a sitting position. She’s looking at me weird.
“Mum? You’re scaring me.”
“I don’t think the doctor can wait until Monday.”
“What? Mum, come on, I’m fine, I swear. Yes it’s been a stressful couple of weeks between work being crazy, getting my heart broken and avoiding Donovan but—”
“No. You need to be seen today.”
As much as I don’t want to move off the couch, I know not to argue with Mum when she’s switched to nurse mode.
“Fine. Can I go pee first?” She nods then gets up and heads to the kitchen where I know she keeps her handbag and her keys.
What the fuck is going on? She’s looking spooked and it’s starting to worry me. I know I haven’t been feeling all that well this past week but surely it can’t be that serious.
I’m nearly in the bathroom when I feel something trickle between my legs. Great timing.
I hope I don’t end up with a stain in my favourite jeans. I make it to the toilet and that’s when I start thinking that maybe Mum is right and there is something majorly wrong with me.
I’ve had heavy periods before but this is next level bullshit. It just won’t stop coming.
Blood is pouring out of me, the cramps have kicked up another notch on the pain scale, my shoulder is now killing me and I need my mum.
“MUUUUUM!” I scream for her because this is scaring me and I hear her running down the hallway. The door opens and she rushes to me.
“FUCK! I thought we’d have a bit more time.” She gets some towels and we put them between my legs like the biggest sanitary pad ever.
“Mum, what’s happening to me?” I’m crying now, so glad my mum seems to know what to do.
“Honey, is there any chance you might be pregnant?” How can she sound so calm?
“I don’t know! Maybe, I guess. Lacey and London think I could be.” Great, I’m feeling dizzy now…
“We need to get you to the hospital. Can you walk?”
I nod, bad idea, makes me dizzier. “Think so.”
“God, of all the times for your father to go to that stupid hunting and fishing show!” She helps me pull my pants up enough so I can walk and we start the slow trek to the car.
I’m vaguely aware of her getting her bag off the floor then calling my dad to meet us at the hospital while we walk to the car. She does my seat belt up for me, telling me to concentrate on breathing and nothing else.
Easier said than done, I’m in so much pain and the wetness between my legs is getting worse. All I can think of is that I’m in the process of losing the last little bit of connection to Donovan I didn’t know I still had.
Mum tears off down the street like she’s an extra on Fast and Furious and I close my eyes.
I must have dozed off despite the pain because next thing I know we’re outside the hospital, I’m being wheeled into ED on a gurney and Mum is telling someone it’s an ectopic pregnancy.
“Mum…” I can barely hear myself but she hears me and squeezes my hand.
“I’m here, honey. I’m not going anywhere. They’re going to take you into surgery and I’m coming in with you.”
“Okay.” I feel something sharp in my arm then things get all floaty. “Mum… Donovan… don’t…” I’m trying to make words but the world is growing dark.
I’m being moved, the room is cold and the bed they put me on is not very comfortable but I feel Mum’s hand in mine again and a man asks me to count backwards from ten.
When I open my eyes I’m in a different room, I know it’s late because I can see the street light filtering through the window. The pain in my belly has dulled down and I can feel the IV still in my arm. I feel someone squeeze my hand and I turn my head, expecting my mum but it’s my dad.
He smiles sadly at me. “Hi sweetheart.”
“Dad.” My voice is all croaky and I feel this immense unstoppable urge to cry. I let it happen, Dad hugs me while I bawl.
I’m still a bit spacey but I know in my heart that Mum’s assessment of the situation was correct and I don’t quite understand how I can feel so much pain about losing a baby I didn’t even know was there.
The nurse comes in to check on me and tells me they’re moving me to a private room soon. I nod, exhausted from the crying and when Dad tells me to rest I decide to do just that.
I wake up to the delicious familiar smell of the man I love, his hand gently stroking my arm. I keep my eyes closed because I can’t conceive of a reason why he’d be here. I must be dreaming and I don’t want the dream to end.