Here is what I came up with:
The Day the Old Me Died
We had spent the last 8 months going to Stanford University hospital, to see the specialist that my wife needed. After what had happened 2 years prior, we were both more than willing to make the almost weekly trips there. We were both fresh into our 20’s.
It was on a visit to see the specialist on the 8th month that we received the news, the baby might be in trouble, all I could think was not again, I couldn’t go through all of that again, I couldn’t sit by helplessly while we lost another baby so close to full term. We lost Samantha on the 9th month, what they called a still birth. We sat in the labor room for over 36 hours, listening to her heartbeat slow, then eventually stop within the first hour. My wife’s diabetes kept the doctors from performing a Cesarean section on her to save our little girl. Helpless, that’s the only way to describe how I felt that entire time.
This was our second chance to start a family, we were so close and that awful night 2 years prior came rushing back all at once. My mind went numb as the doctors at the Stanford hospital rushed her into an emergency labor ward. They had the ultrasound technician there in the room every hour, to make sure that there was movement, and a nurse to check the baby’s and my wife’s vital signs.
The doctor came in and reassured us that everything that could be done, was being done. We would get the best care in the entire Bay Area and we would be bringing our baby home. They must have said that a few times, but I never really understood what they were saying at the time. My mind playing over and over again the events of Samantha’s delivery, praying that I wouldn’t have to go through that all over again.
The time that it took to go from the day’s scheduled appointment to the doctors giving us the news to my wife being admitted felt like it took a lifetime, but the time was actually less than an hour and it was still in the early afternoon, just the beginning of our long night. We looked at each
other and both started to cry, we were both a couple of kids who were looking at dealing with a very unpleasant event that no parent should have to deal with, for a second time in the same number of years.
As the afternoon slowly turned into evening, we were visited by the doctors and nurses in what would soon turn into a parade of optimism. With the ultrasounds starting to show promise, and the baby’s heart beat continuing to beat strong, our emotions and hopes started to rise. The parade continued on through the night, and around 4 o’clock in the morning I realized that the doctor that admitted my wife, had been there to check on us the entire night, he told us he wasn’t going to go home until our baby was born and in our arms.
I stayed next to my wife the entire time, My brother-in-law showed up and told me that I looked like junk. Then my wife told me that I should go get something to eat in the cafeteria, just to get out of the room and stretch my legs. I protested, I didn’t want to miss anything or go any where. The more I protested, the more she insisted until I finally relented. I stood and I could tell that my body was sore from atrophy, but my mind was still numb.
As I walked out of the maternity ward, I noticed a yellow line painted on the floor. I followed the line, whether out of boredom or out of sleep deprivation. I followed it down the long hallway, to an elevator, down 2 floors and then back out into the hallway. I followed that line for almost 10 minutes and realized that I was in the basement of the hospital. I turned around and noticed a robot coming towards me, following the yellow line. That was me too, a robot on auto pilot following a yellow line painted on the floor.
I had to get some food and try to get myself back. I stood to the side and let the robot pass, then followed the yellow line back up out of the basement to the main floor. I wandered around the main floor until I finally followed my nose to the cafeteria. I ordered a sandwich and something that looked like a pudding, found a table away from other people so that I could try to clear my head a little. I failed miserably, I didn’t see the neurosurgeons on the other side of a low wall, they were deep in conversation about the infected brain that they had just operated on. The pudding suddenly took on a rather unappetizing pall. My brother-in-law saved me from having to listen to the rest of the conversation.
He came into tell me that my wife was going into “hard labor” and that I had better get back up to her room. I don’t think that I touched the ground at all the entire time as I made my way back up the 2 floors to the maternity ward. As I entered my wife’s
room, it seemed that every nurse and every doctor in the ward was in her room. My heart skipped a beat, but I was whisked to the bed side and was told to help with the birth.
It took a little over an hour, but our daughter was born, we started to cry again, but this time we were crying because our daughter was born. She was alive and crying, that was the most beautiful sound that I had ever heard. She was born with a few problems, and was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but we were able to bring her home after a weeks stay.
My marriage to my daughter’s mom didn’t last, but we did create one of the most beautiful things in our lives. Our daughter stays with me, she’s a teenager now, and I couldn’t imagine life without her. She was there the night the Old me died, and was replaced with something better.