Dear readers, like the one before it, this 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.
In this chapter, Selina wakes up after surgery following her ectopic pregnancy.
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.
I hear the door open and footsteps approach the bed.
“Is she awake yet?” Mum’s voice. She sounds worried still and like she’s been crying. Her voice is all hushed in the quiet room.
“Um… I don’t know…” I feel my heart skip a beat when I realise that Donovan really is here. His voice sounds as rough as Mum’s. “I thought she was before, when she rolled over.” He sighs. “I should go. She’ll get upset if she finds me here when she wakes up and that’s the last thing I want .”
Donovan moves away and while I miss the warmth of his skin on mine, I finally feel it’s safe to open my eyes even though I’m pretty sure that I’ll start crying again when I look at him.
For a second I worry he’s leaving then I see in the semi-darkness of the room that Mum is hugging him tight. I hear sobbing and it takes me a minute to realise that he’s the one crying. I feel my heart break a little more.
“What time is it?” My voice sounds hoarse and loud in the small room. Donovan lets go of Mum, wiping his eyes with both hands as they both turn around to look at me.
Mum checks her watch. “It’s nearly seven o’clock, darling. How are you feeling?”
“Like I was hit by a train.” The pain is not too bad at the moment but I’m sure it will get worse when whatever drugs they have me on wear off.
Mum lets out a smile while Donovan is just standing there, watching me and looking worried about my reaction to him being here. Can’t blame him, really, considering the fights we’ve had lately, but I have never been so relieved to see him in my entire life.
I reach out to him until he puts his hand in mine then I pull towards the bed, my tears starting again when he wraps his arms around me and hugs me so tight I’m finding it hard to breathe.
“Don’t you fucking scare me like that ever again,” he whispers against my neck, his tears hot against my skin, and I shake my head no.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” I whisper back, putting my arms around his neck as much as I am able to with the IV still in. “I miss you so much.” The words are out before I realise I’m saying them, but in that moment, I don’t care.
He holds me tighter for a moment before pulling back; I don’t want to let go but I know I have to. He sits back in the chair by the bed and puts his hand over mine.
I look up from wiping the last of my tears to find Mum looking at us.
“I’ll go tell your father you’re awake and give you two a minute.” She gives me a tight hug then walks out of the room and I’m alone with Donovan for the first time since I asked him to leave the morning after we had angry sex a week ago.
I have no idea what to say to him, so many questions running around in my still fuzzy brain. I look down at his hand stroking mine, finding comfort in his touch and wishing he would hug me again.
“Your mum rang me just after 3pm, said you were having emergency surgery.” His voice sounds hollow and I turn my hand over so I can lace my fingers with his.
He squeezes my hand and continues. “I didn’t wait to hear more, I ran out to my car and raced here. They wouldn’t tell me anything when I got to ED because I’m not family but then your dad arrived. They told him you were in surgery and that Connie was in with you.”
He stops talking and leans forward, resting his head on the mattress beside our hands. I carefully roll onto my side and his free arm goes around my legs. I start stroking his hair and when he speaks again I can tell he’s crying.
“The two hours after that… those were the worst two hours of my life… waiting… not knowing… when your mum finally came back she explained what had happened to you.”
“What did happen? I was out for most of it so I don’t know for sure.” He looks up at me, the look in his eyes fierce and intense.
“It was an ectopic pregnancy. The baby…” He clears his throat; we’re both crying now. “The baby never made it to your uterus. Connie said that the horrible pain you felt was your fallopian tube bursting. She said you lost a lot of blood and you could have died.” His voice breaks and it’s my turn to squeeze his hand.
“But I didn’t,” I say, trying not to think about that baby we made that did die. I wonder how small it was, and whether it would have been a boy or a girl, which only makes me cry harder.
Donovan gets up and motions for me to scoot over in the bed to make room for him. Once I have, he carefully lowers himself beside me, making sure the IV in my arm is out of the way, his arm going around my waist.
We are still cuddling when Mum comes back in, taking comfort in each other. I know there’s a million things we need to discuss but now is not the time.
“Honey,” she starts, her hand stroking my foot over the blanket at the end of the bed, “the girls are here and they’d really like to see you.”
“I’ll go,” Donovan says, making a move to get off the bed and I grab his arm before he can move.
“No!” I’m not strong enough to stop him though and a second later he’s standing beside the bed again. I really don’t want him to go and I feel tears threatening again.
He smiles at me and picks up my hand, dropping a kiss on the back of it and squeezing my fingers gently.
“I’m not leaving, bub, I’ll just wait in the hallway with your dad. The nurse said they only allow two people at a time in the room with you.”
“Oh, okay,” I whisper, the little voice in my head jumping for joy because he called me bub. This particular term of endearment is not one he’s used in the past and I start hoping that maybe, just maybe, we can work through all the hurt feelings and the pain and rebuild something.
He walks over to my mum and gives her a hug. “Thank you,” he tells her before they walk out the door. I only have a minute to wonder about all the pieces of the puzzle I seem to be missing when Lacey and London walk in the room.
They look worried and now that I know the full story about what happened to me today, I really can’t blame them. I give them a little wave.
“Hey sweetie,” Lacey says as they walk over to the bed and take turns hugging me. “Chris sends his love.”
“How are you feeling?” London asks, before shaking her head. “God, London, what a stupid thing to ask. But really, how are you feeling?”
I laugh then start coughing because my throat feels so dry. Lacey pours me a glass of water from the jug on the bedside table and that goes a long way to making me feel better.
“I feel like I was hit by a train but I think I’ll be okay. So glad I was with Mum when it happened because I would have freaked out even more if I’d been home by myself, or at work,” I say, realising how lucky I was that my nurse of a mother recognised the signs and acted quickly. “Donovan said she told him I’d lost a lot of blood and I could have died.”
“Oh my God! Connie never mentioned that when she rang us!” London exclaims. “But then she didn’t mention that Donovan was here either.”
“He said Mum rang him a bit after 3pm and I guess he’s been here since then. Dad was with me when I woke up in recovery but I went back to sleep after that. Donovan was in here with me when I woke up before. I have no idea how much I’ve slept today but it feels like that’s all I’ve done and I’m still tired.”
“After the day you’ve had, I’m not surprised you need to sleep. I’m so sorry, sweetie,” Lacey says with a sad smile and I can tell she’s trying not to cry.
“I’m sorry too,” London says and we share a group hug.
“You know, I had no idea losing a baby I didn’t know was inside me would feel this painful. I mean, I didn’t even think I might be pregnant until the two of you mentioned it at lunch.”
“How are things between with you and Donovan?” London asks once the hug is over. I look down at my hands and I shrug, not sure what to answer, because I really have no idea.
“All I know is that we’re both hurting about the baby right now. I told him I don’t want him to leave and he said he wouldn’t but I don’t know what that means in terms of, you know, us.” I sigh. I wish, not for the first time, that things would be easy between us, like they used to be, before…
“I guess you guys haven’t really had a chance to talk about things,” London says and I get the feeling that there is something she’s not telling me. I vaguely remember having that feeling in the car when she drove me to my parents’ house as well.
“No, not yet. I got him to tell me what had happened because I was not sure and I haven’t seen a nurse or a doctor yet. That was hard enough. We cried and we hugged and he called me bub.”
Lacey lets out a little excited squeal and London grins at me before saying, “Sounds promising.”
“I don’t know… It could just be because of the baby… and… oh God, what if the stick insect finds out he’s here with me and shows up again? I don’t think I could take it. Not now.” I nearly start crying at the thought of that bitch screaming at me while I’m stuck in a hospital bed and Donovan leaving with her because hey, girlfriend.
“No,” London says, her tone fierce. “There is no fucking way that skank is going to show her face up here.” I wish I had London’s confidence.
The door opens and it’s Mum. She’s by herself and I feel my heart starting to race. Did Donovan leave even after promising me he wouldn’t? I try to look behind her before she closes the door but all I see is the wall on the other side of the corridor.
London and Lacey decide it’s time for them to leave and they promise to come back the next day. Before they run out the door, I ask them what their plans are for the evening and London blushes before revealing that the good looking bald guy is indeed a friend of Chris’s who just got hired at the restaurant as security. She tells me she and Lacey are going back to the Rucking Maul for dinner and I am a little bit jealous.
Mum walks the chair next to my bed and takes my hand in hers. My heart is still racing, I can’t decide if she’s looking tired or worried. It’s the first time I’ve really seen Mum since she found me bleeding in the bathroom earlier that afternoon and as hard as the day has been on me, I know it’s had to be just as hard on her.
“You okay, Mum? Where’s Dad? Where’s Donovan?”
“I sent them to get some dinner because I needed some time with my baby girl. I’m tired and worried but you’re going to be okay so I’m okay, just glad you and Donovan are talking again,” Mum replies, with an odd look on her face. “Even if it took you losing a baby and nearly dying for it to happen.”
“Mum!” I can’t believe she just said that. “You make it sound like I planned this! I know I’ve been avoiding him but I had very good reasons!” Reasons I’m struggling to remember right now, but one of them is called Naomi.
“I know, honey. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…” Mum sighs. “He rang me this morning, you know. Donovan, I mean. He told me you hadn’t been answering any of his calls all week and he really needed to talk to you. He wouldn’t tell me any more than that, just asked me to see if I could get you to at least hear him out.”
I sigh. The nurse comes in and checks my stats, which gives me a minute to think about what Mum has said.
Mums aren’t the only ones who want answers… Part 13