“So you’ve been having some bleeding,
is that right?”
The nurse was preparing the sphygmomanometer to measure her blood pressure.
And there’s a sharp pain in my lower abdomen.”
“For how long now?”
The doctor I saw yesterday said to come in if it persisted.”
“You were here yesterday?”
The nurse asked her whilst simultaneously wrapping the Velcro padding around her left arm.
“No. Where my dad lives,
about forty-five minutes away from here.”
Her mom had picked her up this morning to bring her straight to the hospital here after what she heard her daughter suffered through yesterday.
Gemma had been replaying it all over and over in her head since it happened.
“You are very likely miscarrying.
This is normal, and happens to sixty percent
of first time mothers,
you should be happy it’s happening now.”
The doctor on call was Russian and one of the few doctors in this small town.
The words had stung like poison in her ears, and Gemma couldn’t keep her eyes from filling with tears while the Russian woman spoke.
“Well can’t we check something?
Can I see the baby?”
“Unfortunately our equipment is very out-dated
and all I have is this old fetal doppler
that might be able to detect a heartbeat if there is one.”
“Let’s do that.”
Gemma said, desperate for any sign that her baby was safe.
The machine was very old...like the rest of the hospital.
The walls were heavily chipped, the rooms very empty save for a few old gadgets
. Gemma didn’t understand why a hospital was allowed to be run this way.
All Gemma could hear was white noise.
Even when the doctor seemed convinced to have heard something,
Gemma couldn’t detect a single other sound.
“Probably nothing can be done,
but you should stay on bed rest,
avoid sex and definitely avoid stress.
If the bleeding continues and you are still worried
you can come back tomorrow.”
When Gemma told her dad and step mother they seemed to agree with the doctor’s notions and when she spoke out about Anne’s stress inducing behaviour, she was told to simply ignore her.
That’s when she called her mom who picked both Gemma and Caleb up first thing in the morning to bring them to the hospital where she lived that had just been built.
Gemma snapped out of her daze to look up at the nurse, feeling the padding around her arm compress tighter and tighter.
“I asked you what the doctor there had said.”
“Oh,” Gemma looked down at her hands,
“She said I’m probably miscarrying.”
“She’s right.” The nurse said,
“Wow, and your blood pressure is way too high.
Stay here, I’ll take you right to the back
when the next doctor’s available to check on your baby.”
Gemma was disheartened at the grating way about which the safety of her baby was being spoken, but entirely relieved that someone was going to show her if her baby was really alright.
She was soon brought into one of the examination rooms with Caleb to wait for the on-call doctor. A petite red-headed woman soon came rolling in with an ultrasound machine.
“Hi, I’m doctor Moore. I heard you’ve been having some bleeding and pains? Can you show me exactly where?”
Gemma placed her hand on her lower abdomen.
“Everyone seems to think she’s miscarrying.”
Caleb said in a voice that seemed desperate for an alternative.
“Well, it could be a number of things, including an ulcer or cist. Let’s just have a look here.”
Gemma lifted her gown so that the jelly and probe could spread itself across her belly.
“Look at that.” The doctor was smiling, “Your baby is fine. The heartbeat is regular and look at how much he or she is moving around in there.”
Gemma and Caleb both watched in awe as the tiny shape on the screen moved around, eyes watering once again.
“And I don’t see a cyst or anything like that. But I’d still consider you high risk for the time being and so I recommend you stay on bed rest until further notice, I’d like you to come in every day to have your blood pressure checked until it goes down. Again, you need to avoid stress, so try and stay relaxed in bed, okay?”
Gemma and Caleb both nodded and thanked the doctor for her help.
They decided then and there to remain living in her mother’s basement instead while Gavin found a job and they could save for a place of their own. Her father’s house was not the same healing environment while Anne was ruling it; not to mention the lack of support concerning her baby’s health was shattering to her. When she confronted her father about why she would no longer live there, he broke her heart by telling her that she was too sensitive, that she had to get over it, and that she was simply in a competition with Anne. It broke her heart because she realized in that moment that her father doesn’t know her. He too, could not understand her and painted false portraits of her as many others did.
She did not want to compete.
She did not want to quarrel.
She only ached for healing.
She supposed it was confusing because her father had been the one to try and understand and rushed to her aid in the city after she tried to end her life when her mother was not.
But she was thankful to have her mother here with her though all of this, and ultimately thanked
the creative energy that guides the stars for giving her the mother and father she needed
in a world she didn’t belong.