Disclaimers: See Part 1
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Karen went for a checkup every single month. Everything was going according to plan. The sonograms showed a perfectly healthy baby. On the 8 th month visit, Tiffany spoke to them.
“Okay, guys, everything is looking good. The baby is looking great. It's gotten big this last month in fact, Karen, this is what's going on.”
Karen looked panicky already. Addy was a bit anxious.
“I know that we are going for a natural birth here but, your birth canal is a bit narrow and I think we should be prepared in case we need to go with a c-section.”
“The better! I'm not too thrilled with the ancient method of pushing. Tiffany, I really don't care how you do it, I just want this baby out!”
Addy was a bit surprised as to how Karen had taken the news of a possible c-section. A c-section was a major surgical procedure no matter how you looked at it. On the other hand, she also knew that Karen was already reaching that stage in the pregnancy when you just want it out no matter how.
Addy was pretty quiet. She wanted to talk to Tiffany but not in front of Karen. Both she and Tiffany left the room while Karen got dressed. Outside they spoke. “Tiffany, are you telling me everything?”
“Yeah, the baby is a little low, but I'm not worried about that. If by any chance she has any spotting, call me immediately so that I can examine her. It will all be okay, Addy. You need to remain calm. You know how these things go. Karen is going to panic if you don't keep your cool. So you have to be the supportive one.”
“I'm trying, but it's not easy seeing her so uncomfortable and desperate.”
“I know, but it will all soon pass.”
Karen was coming out of the room, as Tiffany said goodbye and went into another examining room.
“Ready to go?”
“Want to get ice cream?” Karen gave her the killer look.
“I want to go home, take off everything and sleep until this is over!”
Early in December, the realtor called. “Addy, I can't find any rentals near the hospital, but there is one fantastic flat for sale. It has three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. It's a beautiful, spacious and it's in a great location. Two blocks from the hospital. When you don't need it anymore you can rent it, or sell it. It will go fast. It's not even listed yet. It's going in three days as soon as the paperwork is finalized. It's a great location and the building is really nice. It's a good price too, all things considered. It's a great investment. At least take a look at it, you'll like it.”
Addy went to see it and liked it. “How much?”
Addy replied immediately. “Okay. Make the offer.”
“Are you sure you don't want to think about it a bit longer? Talk to Karen?”
“No. The place is very nice and it's in a great location. It should sell or rent well. Didn't you say so?”
“Yes. I don't think you will regret it. This is a great buy.”
She didn't even ask Karen. The matter was resolved. It was already December, the weather was bad and they had the money. There was no reason to risk Karen or the baby. This was a no brainer.
Over dinner that night, she informed Karen of the purchase of the apartment. Karen nearly choked on a piece of meat when she heard the news.
“But I thought we talked about renting.”
“We did, baby, but there are no rentals and I need to resolve this matter. Look how bad the weather is turning. I can't sleep at night worried about what happens if you get sick or of the baby decides to come sooner. I'm sorry this cannot be postponed.”
On that she had a point. Addy informed her of all the details. “Addy, so much money for a place we are only going to use for a few months!”
“Well, I was planning on staying there even after the baby is born also. It's good to be close to the hospital when you have a newborn. We can move back to the cottage when the weather gets better and the baby is a couple of months old.”
“Are you really losing sleep over this?”
“Yes, Ker, I'm worried. I don't want anything going wrong at the last minute. I panic thinking that we need to get to the hospital and that the weather will be bad and that we won't make it. Do you remember how bad it was when we took Sarah's son to the hospital? I don't want to be in that situation with you. There's no need to take any risks. We can afford it and we are doing it. I don't want to leave anything to chance. Your task here is to have the baby, mine is to facilitate and stand behind you 100%. So, in order to do my job well, I need to do this, so I'm calling the shots on this one. Good or bad, I'll take the wrap.”
“Alright, so be it, crazy woman. Have it your way.” Having said that, she went to the living room and sat on the sofa.
Addy smiled from the kitchen. Wow! Either I make sense or those hormones are working for me!
She later came carrying a bag of healthy snacks and sat next to Karen. Karen twisted her mouth and looked at her sideways. “Squanderer.”
Addy grinned. “Anything for you, my dear! Not cutting any corners.”
Karen bit her lip to control her smile. Addy leaned over and held her. The next minute Karen was all smiles.
“Anyways, the realtor said it would make a great rental property because it's so close to the hospital. Once we rent it, it will pay for itself.”
“Ha! The realtor would say anything to make a sale, Addy.”
“No. We discussed it. I saw the numbers and it made sense.”
Karen chuckled. “Is the building a pretty color?” Addy grimaced. She knew exactly the double meaning of that question. Karen had always claimed that Addy based her business decisions on ridiculous things such as the color of the building or some other silly totally unrelated business reason. While Addy always claimed that she had done ‘extensive research' on the matter.
“Ha, ha. Very funny, Ms. Larsen. And, yes, it is a pretty building, by the way.”
So, the apartment was purchased and furnished immediately. Karen also liked it when she saw it. She had to admit that Addy had good taste and that it was a good place in a great location. There was no time to shop for furniture so everything was ordered by catalog by Sandy and Cindy the former designers of the Inn, who by now had a booming business and did all the work for free for Addy and Karen. They had also decorated the baby's room. They considered it a gift for the little one and the loving moms. Sandy and Cindy were forever grateful to Addy and Karen and nothing was ever too good for them. They had given them the opportunity of a lifetime that that no one had given them and that opportunity shot them to stardom overnight. Addy spoke to them and the apartment was ready to move in by the following week. They had worked day and night. Addy wanted to be there right after Christmas, and they were. “Wow, those gals did a great job. And so quick also. I can't believe they took care of everything. The baby's room is beautiful. I think I'm going to talk to them about some changes in the cottage.”
“What?! More changes? I don't want to hear about that, Adriana! Please, one thing at a time.”
“Okay.” Addy didn't want to push it. They were almost at the end of all this and the more delicate times were fast approaching. So she decided that, for now, it was better to focus in the imminent. Shortly after, they moved to the apartment.
That evening they sat in the living room to read as they normally did. Addy was reading a hospital newsletter they had gotten in the mail. “I think we should register for Lamaze classes. They have several sessions to choose from at the hospital.” Addy suggested as she finished browsing the hospital newsletter.
Karen looked at her in amazement. “You are kidding, right? Is there any more humiliation that I would have to endure? Must we go through that?”
“Ker, why do you think it's humiliating?”
“Addy! Because I don't want to be pregnant anymore! Look at me! I look like an elephant. Like a balloon. Look at my tits! I feel like a cow waiting to be milked!” She was upset and after she vented she got all teary again. “I'm sorry, Addy. I just can't wait for all of this to be over!”
Addy knelt in front of her and held her hands. “It's okay, baby. It won't be long and when you have that little one in your arms you will forget about all that you went through. I think the Lamaze class will be good. It will help you relax and you'll feel better because you will see other people going through what you are going through.”
“And how is seeing other cow-looking women supposed to make me feel better? Beside, I've also heard that the breathing stuff is just a bunch of crap and that when push comes to shove, everyone asks for drugs and forgets about all the lessons. Did you do it? Did it help you any?”
Addy chuckled. “I don't know. Maybe it did. I think it was worth it though.” In truth Addy thought that it was a bunch of crap as well, but she was trying to find ways to entertain Karen and going to Lamaze was comparative to going to a sort of support group for pregnant women and their partners to commensurate. Addy thought that, at least, as psychotherapy, it would be good.
“And what if people look at us funny because we are two women?”
“I don't think that will happen. I think it happens a lot. Sometimes men don't want to be present or can't and women have their mothers, sister or best friend with them. If it would make you feel better, no one has to know that we are a couple.”
“Addy! You know that's not a problem with me. However, I think that we should refrain from kissing in public.”
“Yeah, like we always do. I mean, it's really going to be tough having you lying down on a mat and me not being on top of you!” Addy was smiling very naughtily as she spoke. “In fact, I might just do exactly that! Maybe I will create a scandal! I can just see the headlines in the hospital newsletter. ‘Lamaze classes canceled due to wild lesbian sex.'”
Karen chuckled. “If they published anything like that, they wouldn't have enough teachers for the sessions they'd have to open to accommodate all the people that would come to register from the seven corners of the country!”
They laughed. They also registered. Karen considered the classes to be a bunch of crap, but still she registered to please Addy. Addy seemed concerned that if they didn't go through the classes they would be missing out on something and they would be at a disadvantage as compared to other couples who took advantage of the classes and made the experience a positive one.
After their first class, on the way home, Addy smiled in the car as she heard Karen's comments. If nothing else, the classes were taking Karen's mind off herself to criticize others and the classes. “Oh my God, I can't believe some of those women! Did you hear the one who said she was going to do it the natural way? Let me just say this for the record, I want drugs, all of them! I want no pain whatsoever. Is that clear Ms. Addy? I don't want you there preaching natural birth to me! If it's true what they say about women turning aggressive at that certain stage, you better look out if you dare to mention ‘the natural' way to me!”
Addy laughed. “No problem. I totally understand. I'm not against any of that.”
“Good, glad to know we are on the same page. And did you hear all that crap about breastfeeding? What is it? Like there's a shortage of milk in this country! Haven't they been to the countryside and seen all those cows? For God's sake, those women need to get a life! Do you think anybody is going to remember all that breathing and that shit when the thing is ready to pop out? No way!”
Addy laughed and drove as she listened to Karen's comments as they made their way home from their Lamaze class. Karen continued to blast everyone and make fun of the whole thing all the way home. The minute they got inside the house, she took off her clothes and went to bed. She removed her garments and walked to the bedroom. “Aaah, flesh freedom! I hate clothing. We should all walk about naked!” Addy chuckled in the living room. She knew how good and comfortable it felt to remove all tight stuff from you oversized body
Karen was asleep within five minutes of getting in bed. This was a repetitive happening every time they went to Lamaze. At this point in the pregnancy, she was always tired and sleeping a lot. Addy knew that sleeping was also Karen's way of coping with a situation that was beyond her control. She would make sure that she was well tucked in and would kiss her, spooning her in bed. “Good night, baby.
Addy would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. The birth was fast approaching and she was already nervous about it. Of course, in front of Karen she was like a brick wall but she was worried. When she woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep, after she had already surpassed her anxious moments, she would regain her peace by just looking at Karen and enjoying her angelical face. She also wondered whether the baby would be as beautiful as her. It was a silly thing to do but she enjoyed it, it gave her peace. A couple of times, Karen woke up, maybe sensing that she was being watched and caught her looking at her. She smiled, came closer and kissed her. “You love me.”
“Umm.” Karen snuggled into her as best she could with her huge belly.
“You are my beautiful love.”
Karen held on to her. “And you, mine.”
They'd cuddle and went back to sleep with a smile on their faces.
The end of the 8 th month and 9th were awful. Karen was still working for Phillip and for most of the time her mind was in financial deals, but at the end of the 8 th month she was coming to the realization that the baby's birth was imminent and also of what the exit route was. She was a pack of nerves. “Addy, this kid is not going to fit, you heard what Tiffany said. Tiffany said the baby is going to be over six pounds. Honey, I'm very familiar with the area, not particularly with mine, but I'm pretty sure a six pound anything cannot fit through there! I think we should talk to Tiffany and set a date for a c- section. Also, what happens after? Is all going back to the way it was? Assuming, of course, that the kid comes out the normal way. I'm really worried about that and you should too, because what happens in that vicinity may have an impact on your happiness, you know!”
Addy laughed at Karen's absurd comments. However, she knew that Karen was frightened to death and that it was her duty as her partner and as a woman who had children to ease her fears.
“Ker, c-sections may seem easier, but it is a major surgery and harder to recover from. If we need one, Tiffany will be the one making the decision. It will all be fine, don't worry. We have gone over the entire process a million times and you know the drill. Giving birth is a miracle. And everything will go back to normal and we will be fine, and I will be very happyyyyy!”
The truth was that Addy was also worried with what Tiffany said about the birth canal being narrow and the baby maybe being too big and of the possibility of a c-section. If that was the case, it would take longer for Karen to recuperate and to go back to the normality they both wanted. Karen seemed to be more worried about the natural birth than the c-section.
“I want it out! I want this over!”
Addy chuckled. You and me! As time had gone by, Karen was unbearable. Also there had been very little activity in the bedroom due to many factors, among which were physical impossibilities, over sensitive body parts, Karen's thoughts that she look hideous, and her lack of sexual desire at this stage of the pregnancy. Addy knew all of these and stayed away from initiating anything, but at the same time she needed to make Karen feel good about herself and her body.
Karen would cry at night because she thought she was ugly and gigantic. Addy would hold her to comfort her and would tenderly tell her that she was beautiful and that it would all soon pass. Addy couldn't tell her that she was as desperate as her to regain some normality in their lives. She also couldn't believe how much she craved Karen. Even pregnant, she thought the woman was beautiful and she told her every night. “Flatterer!”
“Why do you say that? I'm serious! I think you are gorgeous.” Addy took every opportunity available to complement her. This helped with Karen's precarious self-esteem. “By the way, I think the enlarged northern hemisphere is awesome….!!!” Addy chuckled.
Karen knew she was teasing her. “Addyyyy! For now, just settle for the southern hemisphere and take a good look at it just in case the terrain changes after the avalanche!”
Addy chuckled and kissed her.
“I told you the terrain will go back to its regular topography, but I will definitely conduct an immediate exploration to determine whether the conditions are appropriate.” Addy kissed her way, inch by inch, over Karen's oversized stomach. Karen watched smiling until Addy disappeared behind her belly.
“Appropriate for what? What do you intend to do in there?” Karen chuckled wondering what was going through Addy's mind. At that very moment, Addy's made herself visible from the other side of Karen's humongous stomach. She smiled, winked, wiggled her eyebrows and tongue and when she saw Karen smile she went down again hiding behind Karen's belly. “Addy, you are not going to do, what I think you are going to do, are you?” Addy came back up again showing a big grin. She was teasing Karen. “Well, I was going to explore in detail the readiness of the area. But if you want something in particular, I take requests.”
“Oh, my God! I can't believe you!” Karen laughed. Addy was not going to do anything, she was just kidding and making Karen think that she wanted to. The truth was that she was afraid to arouse Karen and have her uterus contract in any way. She gently kissed her thighs. Coming up, she joked. “It all looks very good, but I think I'm going to hold off any deeper explorations until after the baby is out. I don't want to precipitate the avalanche.”
Karen nodded in agreement, but the disappointment in her face was evident to the point that her eyes welled and, immediately after, the river of tears began to flow. “Oh, Addy, I'm sorry….I so want …..”
“Oh, baby, I know! Don't cry. I also want to, but I don't want to stir things in that department now. We will soon. We just have to give ourselves a little more time. Even if it kills us! “Imagine how great it's going to be later!”
A few days later, there was a scare. “Addy! I think I feel something! “
Addy was calm. “What do you feel!”
“I think I'm having contractions!”
This became a typical every other day occurrence. A few times, Addy ran with Karen to the hospital. Even though, she knew it was too soon, Addy didn't want to take any chances. They already knew them at the hospital.
Karen was almost ‘persona non grata' there. She was at that stage of the pregnancy when the hormones take over and one moment she was Dr. Jeckyl and the next moment she was Mr. Hyde. She claimed that the hospital was not giving proper attention to pregnant women and that she was going to sue the ‘heck out of them.' Karen had practically threatened to sue everyone in her path every time they came and something was not done exactly like she wanted. Addy apologized a million times to the poor receptionists, nurses and technicians who no longer even took the time to check them in, but merely pointed to the double doors of the emergency room every time Addy came in pushing Karen in the wheel chair. Karen hated to sit on the wheel chair, but Addy would make her get on it with the pretext that they'd get there faster.
After several false alarm trips to the hospital, Addy's nerves were on the edge. Karen also was aggravating the situation talking about worse case scenarios. They had already talked about every possible contingency because Karen wanted every possibility covered. She made Addy go over her will again and discuss all possible scenarios such as what if something happened and she remained in a vegetative state, to what if she died and the baby survived, what if the baby and she died, what would Addy do? What she wanted Addy to do with the baby if she died. Everything was covered to the smallest detail. Addy hated every bit of that type of talk but she didn't object to Karen doing all that because it gave her peace of mind that she was leaving everything settled.
Sometimes after some of those sessions with Karen, Addy would go in the bathroom and cry. She had to have her release, but didn't want Karen to see her. Karen would drive her up the walls with all that negative talk, but she had to endure it just as Karen had endured the pregnancy.
At the beginning of the 9 th month, Karen went to the bathroom in the evening and called for Addy.
“Addddyyyyy!!!!!” Karen was almost screaming.
Addy ran in almost panic, she knew that something was wrong.
As Tiffany had mentioned, there was some spotting of blood in Karen's panties. Karen was near panic. Addy hugged her to calm her down, as her own heart raced. “Calm down, baby, let's call Tiffany. She said this could happen.”
“Yes, Addy we talked about this. Bring her in and I'll examine her. I'll meet you at the hospital.”
Addy had the taxi company number in her phone memory and had them on alert also. She had covered all the possibilities. The taxi was there in two minutes and within the next five minutes they were at the hospital. Addy even had the cab company on retainer. All was paid for. Addy had even had practice runs with the taxi drivers. Some thought she was nuts, others understood and catered to her.
They went in through the emergency room. They were already expecting Karen and Tiffany was already there. Tiffany examined her and explained the situation. Everything was fine but Karen needed to remain in bed-rest until the contractions began. After the big scare passed, they returned home and Karen went to bed.
“Don't people get pneumonia and have muscle problems when they are too long in bed?” Hypochondria 101!
“Karen whatever it is that happens to people when they are too long in bed it's because they can't move because they are paralyzed or in a body cast or something like that. You can get up to go to the bathroom and you can also move in bed. That is not your situation.”
They were both lying in bed resting, holding each other. “Addy I'm scared.”
“Don't be. Everything is under control. I think this was a good drill.” Addy was trying to be positive. “It will soon be over.”
“Not soon enough!” Karen started to cry.
Addy rubbed her back and comforted her in whatever way she could think of, but Karen was so worn out already and so tired that nothing was sufficient anymore. Addy was a pack of nerves and although she was trying to hide her emotions, Karen knew her too well and probably detected her preoccupation as well.
Two weeks passed and Karen remained on bed rest. All sorts of things were purchased to entertain her, movies, Sudoku books, ebooks, all sorts of foods and desserts were ordered, but time ran very slow when they were just waiting. Finally after two weeks, the contractions began and they went to the hospital at the first sign. Again, nothing would be risked. This time it was for real. Karen freaked when her water broke. She was in the kitchen when it happened.
Addy ran. When she met Karen she saw the face of panic. “I peed in my pants!”
Addy looked down to her pants. “No, baby, your water broke.”
Again, Karen was on panic mode. “Oh God! It's happening! Addy, what do we do?”
“First, I'll call the cab.” She was dialing as she spoke and holding Karen in her arms at the same time. “Second. I need to get you a pair of pants and your coat and we'll go downstairs. She brought the pants and helped Karen to change. The minute they got downstairs the cab was already there.
She helped Karen to the cab and spoke to the driver. “Hospital, and this is the real thing.” The cab driver opened his eyes and began to drive. They were at the hospital in five minutes. The hospital was just two blocks away. Easy to walk, but not when you are pregnant.
The plan was still to go for a natural birth, of course with all the corresponding drugs to suppress pain. The contractions increased and Karen was not having fun. Addy stood by her the whole time holding her hand, rubbing her back and doing whatever she could to comfort her. Karen's temper flared as the contractions increased. However, everyone there knew that at that stage of labor, when the contractions are hard and frequent , pregnant woman turn wild and even violent sometimes. So, everyone dealt with her very nicely.
Karen was going wild. “Did you hear her asking me to pee in that little plastic cup? Is she crazy or just plain stupid? Doesn't she know that I can't even reach down there? And that I don't even know if I'm peeing or if it's that water thing? Is that the water leakage thing?”
“Yeah, yeah, I'm sure it was her mistake. She probably has never been pregnant, or maybe she's new.” Addy would say anything to calm Karen down.
“She's an idiot! That's what she is! And Adriana Marcos, if you ever even suggest that I go through this misery again, I'm going to throw something at you! Because I will never, ever, ever go through this again!!!! Do you hear me? Is that clear? I still don't know how it was that you convinced me to go through with this!! This was the craziest thing I've ever done in my life! And now look at me stuck here with all these idiots and this God forsaken pain!!!”
“Yes, baby, I know. I will never ask you again.” The contractions came and she grabbed on to Addy so hard that she was leaving marks on Addy's arms. She had even stuck her short nails into Addy's skin and ripped the flesh off. Addy took it all like the trooper she was.
“Why don't we try a little bit of the breathing?”
Karen looked at her with menacing green eyes. “ Adrian , you have obviously forgotten the pain I'm going through here!!! Do you think that crap is going to help?”
Addy opened her eyes big and stared at Karen.
“Oh woman, if you knew what those big brown eyes do to me!! That's why I'm in this precarious situation! Those big brown eyes!”
Addy chuckled. “Let's do some breathing, baby, come on.”
After some breathing and more contractions Karen didn't want to do it anymore. “I knew all that breathing shit was a bunch of crap! I don't even know why I went along with it. What a stupid thing to do! I think it's a way to mock pregnant women! I'm going to write a letter to the hospital and tell them to stop bullshitting women!” The nurse handling the baby monitor bit her lip to avoid laughing and looked at Addy who immediately looked the other way to avoid the nurse's face.
Karen continued. “Where is the guy with the drugs? I thought we asked for drugs? I thought this was the no pain option? If he doesn't show up immediately, I'm suing the hospital for its last syringe!!!” Here we go again! The nurse was tapping her arm trying to soothe her and Addy was holding on to her other hand.
Just then the anesthesiologist came and started the epidural block. “I'm here, Ms. Larsen. I'm going to make you comfortable in just one minute.” Her IV had already been running.
“About time!” The anesthesiologist smiled. He was accustomed to the rough treatment of pregnant women having contractions.
Tiffany came and checked her, amongst hearing all of Karen's complaints. There was not enough dilation yet. She was hooked to monitors and other machines. The ultrasound technician came to take a sonogram. Karen was not in pain anymore but was a bit overwhelmed by all the people in the room and all their doing. So was Addy, but Addy was hiding it well. She continued to hold Karen's hand. When the sonogram technician gave Tiffany some data, Tiffany gave the order to move Karen to the OR. Karen was distracted by all the comings and goings in the room, but Addy was aware that this was taking another route.
She pulled Tiffany to the side. “Tiffany what is going on?”
“Addy, I'm having her moved to the OR. I'm going to do a c-section for several reasons, one the baby is too big for her, two she's not dilating even when we have already induced labor, and three the baby is breeched and may have the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. The baby may be in distress unless we move quickly. ”
Addy's heart sunk. “Tiff. You remember what we talked about, right?”
Addy had specifically talked to Tiffany about life priorities.
“Yes, Addy. Stay positive, I am.”
Addy was petrified. Her heart sunk. She was sort of prepared for this but thinking about something does not really prepare you for when the real thing happens. The baby might be in distress! Did Tiffany say ‘she?'”
“Addy, I do c-sections all the time. It will be fine. Do you still want to be in there, or would you rather wait out here?”
“No. I'm going in. I promised to be there all the time. Are you putting her out totally?”
“Not at first. She'll know you are there. Come on. You have to dress up in scrubs.”
Addy came over to Karen. “Addy, it will be okay. It's better this way.” Karen noticed Addy's anxiety and was trying to calm her. Karen was no longer in pain due to the epidural block, fortunately because Addy could see the monitor reading the huge contraction, though.
“Baby, I need to get some scrubs to go in with you, give me a sec.”
Two minutes later Addy was back all in green. “Green has always been your favorite color.” Karen was trying to make Addy smile. She could see the tension in her face.
“Yeah, especially the green in your eyes.” She came down and kissed her on the lips. “I love you, baby”
Karen's bed was being moved to the OR with Addy walking next to her.
Addy was a pack of nerves, but she was concealing it well. As Karen was being prepared for the surgery, Addy's phone rang. “It's Laurie, she probably wants to know how you are doing. I'll tell her that I can't talk now.” As she said this she stepped away to the other side of the door where James was waiting for JP.
“Hi Laurie, listen baby, I can't talk now….what?” Addy stopped talking and closed her eyes as she listened. James was standing next to her. After a few minutes, she opened her eyes. “Laurie, I can't go. Karen is going into surgery right now, they are doing a c-section and I need to be there, the baby is breached and the umbilical cord may be around her neck. I'm sorry, honey. I would go if I was not under these circumstances, but I can't. He will be okay, he is a strong man. I'll give you a call later. Bye.” Addy stood in silence for a minute. When she turned around, she found James.
“Is everything okay with Laurie?”
“She's fine. It's Luke. He had a heart attack. He is in the hospital. She thought I should go, just in case. I told her I couldn't.” Having said that, she walked into the OR and assumed her position next to Karen. “Is Laurie okay?”
“Yeah, she just wanted to know how you were doing.”
James remained outside waiting and when JP arrived he told him about Laurie's call.
“Poor Addy, what a terrible moment to get that call.”
James smiled. “She's an awesome woman, JP. She didn't waiver for a second, though. She knew exactly what she had to do.”
Addy held her hand and kissed it. Karen was awake. Addy brought her face next to Karen's and kissed her gently as she continued to hold and later kiss her hand. She remained in that position though the entire surgery. Her face pressed agains Karen's cheek. The surgery began. Addy could hear all the surgical talk. Karen was dozing off, the anesthesia was kicking in and soon she was pretty much out of it, thankfully, because what transpired was frightening. Addy could hear the talk as she held on to Karen's hand and prayed. She closed her eyes and prayed to God, the Virgin Mary and all the saints she could remember from her Catholic upbringing.
She pleaded with God for Karen's life as she had frightening thoughts of losing her. She pleaded for the baby's life as well because she also had frightening thoughts of losing it after loving it and wanting for so long, and then there was the terrifying thought of losing both. She was in terror, in pure agony and all she could do was pray. She promised and made all sorts of arrangements with God and in the depth of her soul she cried and she begged. Her heart ached. She even offered her own life in exchange for Karen's and the baby's.
The baby was breached and the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. A few minutes more and they would have lost the little one. That was the main reason for speed with which the decision was made for the c-section. Tiffany lost no time once she saw the ultrasound. Her decision was wise and definitely reflective of her experience.
When the baby was removed from Karen's uterus, it cried immediately. Addy closed her eyes and a sea of tears fell, but she remained still in prayer. She felt Karen's kiss on her forehead. Karen couldn't see her face but she could sense her. She could feel her. The connection between them was so strong that they didn't have to see each other to know what the other was feeling. They were one. They would always be one. Karen whispered. “I'm fine, baby, I'm fine.” Addy couldn't speak. The knot in her throat was choking her. She just nodded and kissed Karen's ear. Addy's eyes were red from trying to contain her crying, as her mind agonized. She didn't want Karen to see her like that, she had to portray herself as strong and confident when in fact she knew that the gray in her hair had probably gone up considerably since they had gone into the OR, She was trying by all means to keep her face away from Karen and silently tried to compose herself.
After the baby was removed from Karen, the neonatology group was in the room and took immediate control of the baby. At that moment, Addy raised her head, she couldn't help it. She had to see her. Addy saw the moment Tiffany passed the baby to the neonatologist's team. The baby was crying and that filled Addy's heart. From her sitting position Addy saw the little one being raised and passed on to the doctors and somehow at that very moment she knew that the baby was fine.
The nurses had placed a divider-like device over Karen's belly, so that neither she nor Addy could see what was going on at the other end. Addy didn't want to look on the other side because she didn't want to see Karen's belly open, nor any of the surgical stuff going on. Karen was groggy, pretty much unaware of what was happening. Even in her state of grogginess, she was trying to focus on Addy's face. Addy was undergoing all sorts of emotions and she continued to try to hide her face from Karen and she buried it on her neck. As she did this, Karen turned slightly and caressed her face. “It's okay, baby, it's okay. I'm fine. I love you more that life itself, Addy.” Addy broke down and sobbed. One of the nurses gave her some tissues and tried to remove her form Karen to comfort her, but she refused to move and stayed right where she was.
Once the little one was cleaned up and thoroughly checked the nurse brought her over and put the baby on Addy's arms. “Oh Lord, thank you!” Prior to the birth, they had asked them what the name of the baby would be. So, as the nurse placed the baby on Addy's arms she said. “Here is your daughter, Ms. Alexandra Marcos Larsen.”
Addy held the baby adoringly, and as her eyes welled with tears, she placed the baby on Karen's chest. The little one immediately cuddle to the sound of the heartbeat she knew so well. “Ker, she's beautiful! Thank you God!” Addy was literally trembling. Karen looked at her with that look of adoration she always had for her. When Addy saw Karen's face, the torrent of tears turned into a flood and Addy had to once again sit to avoid falling. “We are okay, Addy, we are okay.” Addy nodded amidst the flood of tears, unable to speak at all. They kissed, a loving kiss. It was a blessed moment.
Karen had gone through all her pain and then the surgery, but for the most part she had been under anesthesia and out of it. Addy, on the other hand, stood by her looking at the monitor registering the contraction level knowing that if Karen had experienced the pain of the contractions she would had been screaming her lungs out. She also had to deal with Tiffany's decision to perform the surgery and the agony of knowing that the baby might not make it, something of which Karen was not aware of. Not to mention the fact that all of a sudden a natural birth had turned into a major medical procedure. In addition, Laurie's call had not helped. In truth, all of that was put aside when faced with the surgery and the baby's imminent viability. Addy felt like a train had run her over.
The little one was taken away again to be reexamined by the neonatologist and to be taken to the nursery. Tiffany finished up the surgery. Tiffany came over and told them that all had gone well and that they were going to keep her there the required amount of time for recuperation. There were no complications, so in a few days Karen and the baby would be released.
The neonatologist informed that the little one was 7 pounds and that she was 21 inches long. A good size baby, Addy thought, not huge, but not tiny either.
As soon as the surgery was completed, Karen was moved to the recovery room. She was given some sedation so that she could rest. The baby was taken to the nursery and Tiffany took Addy outside. “Lady, you need to get some rest. It's been a long, tough day for you. Also the surgery and what transpired took a toll on you, so I need you to find a bed somewhere and sleep. She's going to be out of it for a while and well looked after. You are not allowed in there anyways. So make the most of these next few hours, so that you can resume your post later when she's up. All went well, and I'll be in the hospital for the next few hours. When they move her upstairs and out of recovery, I'll be going home and will be on call. I expect all to continue well. Also the baby is doing great. Please, get some rest.”
JP and James were there waiting. They saw Addy come out, but since Tiffany was talking to her, they gave her some privacy and waited for the conversation to end before they approached her. They already knew that all was well from one of the nurses. Tiffany saw the men and approached them. “Please, make sure she eats something and gets some rest.”
As soon as Addy saw them she crashed into James' arms and began to sob. “Oh, sweetheart! I'm so glad all went well. I was out here praying. We saw the little one already in the nursery. She's the most beautiful baby ever!” Addy smiled and nodded. She had already stopped crying.
JP was right there also with his hands clasped together after he had also engulfed both Addy and James with his arms. “Honey, I'm so happy! Congratulations! She is a little doll.”
“Thanks, guys. I'm sorry I'm not talking much. I'm exhausted.”
James noticed Addy's drained look and was resolved to do something about it. “Addy, let's go get you something to eat or drink, okay. The cafeteria is right around the corner.”
“Yeah, but I want to be right back. I need to be there.”
“Yeah, we will be back in a minute.”Addy ate some. Not much because she claimed that her stomach was shut. “Guys, thank you for insisting on me eating, but frankly, this soup is the only thing I'll be able to put down. It was so intense in there that I don't think my stomach can take much more.”
To be continued in Part 8
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