Lauryn Lee, five lbs., eight oz. She had ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes. Ashland Rae, five lbs., four oz. Slightly smaller but just as perfect. The two of them lain side by side only inches from my hospital bed. Tevin ran out to get a cup of coffee from the vending machine, leaving me with the both of them. I pulled the carts that held them closer. I wanted to study them. They were like jigsaw puzzles without an image key. How would I ever tell them apart? The precious creatures were more like my lifespan counters. I gently caressed their faces, trying to see past what I knew. Ashland began crying immediately. She must be the one, I thought.
“Don’t let her cry! Daddy’s coming my Angel baby.” Tevin said entering in from the hall.
“Now don’t you go spoiling them already. She just started crying.”
“How could you refuse the raisin nugget? They remind me so much of my other children.” He carefully picked up Ashland to soothe her. “We better calm her down before she wakes her little sister.”
I sat back in admiration of the instant love he had for her. He was able to divide his love evenly to each of us in the room. It was as if his heart grew to accommodate for the two of them, in order to not take away any love he had specifically for me. My heart was weak. It remained the same size and had made no room for anyone else. It shouldn’t have been that way. I suppose I was a bit jealous of the bond they will build without me.
“You want to try to feed her?”
I pulled down my gown to expose my breast, ripe for the taking. I wasn’t producing milk yet. The nurse called it colostrum. I snuggled her between me and an extra pillow for additional support. The moment she started suckling I was pulled to another vision.
I stared her down. It was a standoff and only one of us would come out alive. I was at a disadvantage as it was her who held the knife. Something was different. A smile crept along her face as she cocked her head to the side. She wasn’t looking at me. I turned about myself to find the other one standing behind me. I succumbed to the fear, causing my heart to react and thump against my chest. The other one was holding a gun.
What do I do? Should I try to knock it from her hands? If I do, the other will surly run up and stab me.
Realizing that the child holding the knife was no longer in my line of sight, I turned back around to make sure she hadn’t moved. I locked eyes with her once more. She swung the small blade casually. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was taunting me. Deafness fell on the room, only to be followed by the echo of a gunshot.
“Mrs. Jones? Are you alright?” An unfamiliar voice spoke to me.
“Where is she? Where are they?” I responded, realizing my baby was no longer cradled in my arms.
“They are in the nursery. We need to focus on you mom. Do you know where you are?”
“I’m at the hospital. I just gave birth yesterday and you will bring my babies back in this room!”
I snapped. I’m not sure why I suddenly became protective over them. I had no reason to connect with them, yet and still, they were taken from me and I wanted nothing more but for them to be within my sights.
“Courtney! It happened again. They need to check you out. The girls are safe, but you might not be.” Tevin pleaded with me. “I told them what happened at our first appointment and the doctor wants to check you out before you can be discharged in another day or so.”
There was no point in me fighting. If I refused, questions would ensue. I couldn’t risk them not allowing me to be discharged later, or worst, to be taken to Psych. I reluctantly gave them permission to do their exam. I answered their questions the best way I could and steered clear from the truth. I would harbor that secret a little while longer. After the thorough and invasive exam, the doctor found nothing wrong. Science wasn’t going to figure this one out.
“We will check on you a little later. Get some rest and the nurse will take you to the nursery soon enough.” The OB physician instructed.
The room cleared. Tevin sat in the chair to the left of my bed. He held his head low, face hidden by his hands. I could feel his frustration growing.
“I told you I’m fine.”
“You aren’t fine. You know damn well you aren’t fine.”
“Oh, so are you my new doctor? I don’t know if you are qualified.” I joked.
“Don’t be like that. I’m lost here and scared. I’m going to have to find a way to care for these babies and you. You literally had an episode that lasted two days. I didn’t even notice the switch that time.”
I knew hiding behind humor wasn’t going to fix the problem. He had every right to be upset. With the uncertainty of my illness, when I disappeared into myself, could prove difficult when raising our girls. Especially with him being in the dark of what was to come. ~
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