“Looking good! I’d put this little nugget at about 12 weeks now.” The same obstetrician who got me through my last pregnancy beamed at me from across the room.
My smile in response felt so fake I felt horrible trying to attempt one at all.
It had been four weeks since I even found out I was pregnant. A month. It’s been a whole month now.
“Heart sounds good, development looks great. Any symptoms?” Dr. Goldman looked over my charts in her lap as she spoke.
“She barfs a lot.” Allyson chipped in from her seat in the corner of the room. Trevor was in her lap playing games on her phone and not paying attention to anything around him.
“Um, yeah. I didn’t throw up with Trevor like at all. But I can’t seem to keep anything down with this one.” My hand rested on the small bump trying to make itself known on my stomach.
“Nothing unusual about that. Each baby is going to be different and so will the side effects of each pregnancy. But Trevor came out healthy and you’re looking good now. I wouldn’t worry about it.” The older woman smiled warmly at me and it only made my chest tight.
“I don’t think I was this big so early with the first either.” My stomach was starting balloon so much faster than it had when I carried Trevor.
“Oh, yeah the second will show faster and you might even feel movement sooner too. Don’t be surprised if you start feeling those baby flutters in the next week or so.” She beamed at me like the brightest possible headlights on a pickup truck.
I wanted to look away.
“Yeah, she looks pregnant as hell.” Allyson chuckled.
“Hell!” Trevor picked his head up to repeat the one word he seemed to have latched onto.
“Allyson!” I seethed at my best friend and she turned with the laughter she was trying to hold in. Like a balloon of laughing gas about to pop.
Even the doctor bit the inside of her cheeks and looked down at her charts to hide her snickering.
“Trevor, please don’t say that. Bad words aren’t for good boys, right?”
“Right. Sorry Mommy!” He went back to the phone like he hadn’t just cursed.
“That’s all I have for today Ms. O’Sullivan. Unless you have any questions for me?”
“No, Dr. Goldman. It was great seeing you again.” Once again, my smile didn’t reach my eyes.
I buckled Trevor in his car seat and then settled into the passenger seat of Allyson’s bright blue car. My son sang along to the radio even though he didn’t know the lyrics and Allyson kept looking over at me.
“Are you sure you want to go? You know we could just have a lazy night together? Watch a movie and order a pizza?”
“No. He might wake up.” My tone was harder than I intended it to be. But I couldn’t quite express just how badly I needed to be at his side.
“Has the neurologist said anything about waking him up?” She countered.
“Well, not yet. But what if…”
“Ronia, you take Trevor to the hospital every single day after work and you’re there all weekend long. You need to be resting more in your condition.”
“Please, Allyson. Just drop us off at my place. Thank you for coming with us.” I clenched my fists so hard in my lap I could feel my nails about to pierce my skin.
“Of course, Rony. Do you want me to watch Trevor overnight? He doesn’t need to be stuck at the hospital on a Friday night.”
“He’s still coming to terms with Charles being his dad. He needs to be there.”
“Has your dad opened up at all?”
That question made my heart skip a beat and caused a nasty shiver to run through me.
“Not since that night. He’s throwing the equivalent of a grown man’s tantrum just like he did the last time I got pregnant. He still sees Trevor, but he doesn’t really talk to me anymore.”
“This time you aren’t nineteen and in college!” Allyson ranted. We’d already had this conversation several times the past month. “This time you have a steady job, and your own place. Not to mention you actually know who the father of your kid is, and you guys are in love!”
She huffed and her nostrils flared, but her pale blonde hair and bright eyes didn’t help her look any angrier. Even when she was grumpy my best friend looked dazzling and happy.
Although her boyfriend wasn’t currently laid up in the hospital in a coma.
“Dad feels betrayed because he worked with Charles. In his eyes he trusted a man who couldn’t actually be trusted. Even though my meeting with Charles five years ago was a complete coincidence.”
“I’m the one who encouraged you to go with him! If anyone, your dad should be upset with me. I’m like the matchmaker from Hell.” Allyson snorted. I finally smiled at the goofy grin on her face.
“Dad might think so, but I certainly don’t.” It might have taken us five years to reunite but the passion and love between us was out of this world. Charles was it for me, and I needed him to wake up.
“Alright, girlie. Let me know if you need anything else please.” Allyson gave me a hug before leaving as she dropped me and Trevor off at my apartment.
“Of course. You know I will.” I watched her leave feeling a stone sink in my chest as she walked away.
“Alright, Trevor, let’s get ready to go see your daddy at the hospital!” I clapped my hands together and put on a chipper face.
“Yay! Daddy! I’ll wear my new jacket from Auntie Allyson!” I watched my baby’s hazel eyes light up. The spitting image of his father, a man he didn’t know the first four and a half years of his life. His fifth birthday was soon, and I desperately hoped Charles would wake up in time.
Although the doctor hadn’t given a set date when they reduce the medications keeping Charles under, I figured it would have to be soon. His brain injury had been almost fatal and this time for him to heal was necessary. Even if it was the worst time in my life.
A month ago, I had seen Charles in his office planning on dinner together as a family. After I left his office, I went in for a routine checkup at my general practitioner only to find out I was pregnant. Apparently birth control and antibiotics don’t mix.
But that fateful night, Charles got into an accident when he was seconds away from arriving at my place. So close that I heard the crash outside my window.
Charles Dillon had been in a medically induced coma ever since. And every day had been absolute hell for me.
Most of the day I was either nauseous or throwing up. I was constantly on the verge of falling asleep at my desk at work. In the afternoons I sat at Charles’ side with Trevor and tried to hold my heart together while it was on the verge of shattering apart.
My cousin Seamus did end up coming to town, but dad didn’t want to talk to me about that. Howard O’Sullivan picked up and dropped off his grandson for visitation without hardly saying a word to me about what had happened.
It made me sick to my stomach. As did everything these days.
Even now thinking that my dad had threatened Charles’ life made me see red at the edge of my vision. I would beat the shit out my cousin on sight if he showed up anymore near Charles.
I had to take a deep breath. It wasn’t going to do me or Trevor any good if I thought about all of that now. We needed to dress down from our busy days and get to the hospital before visitors’ hours were over.
All of the snow had melted on the roads, and by now traffic was somewhat light for a Friday afternoon. I took a few backroads and soon enough I was parked at the hospital. Trevor was in the backseat finishing the last bites of a happy meal I had gotten him on the drive here.
“Let’s go, Mommy!” He struggled against the bonds of his car seat as soon as the last chicken nugget had been inhaled. Trevor’s excitement made me feel just a tiny bit better.
We held hands and braced for the cold as we entered the hospital. After a month of this, we knew exactly where to go. The same stark white halls and stringent smell of antiseptic greeting us as we followed our path.
As we walked into the room my heart lodged in my throat. He hadn’t moved, of course. But each time I hoped he had.
That maybe while I was gone, he would magically wake up and be waiting for me with that charming smile and darkened eyes. Instead, he was on the bed with the same tubes attached to his body and the now familiar beeping of monitors greeting us.
Trevor was still so young. He didn’t really know what to do when we were here. He stood next to the hospital bed now, just staring at Charles.
I wondered if he was also wishing for his dad to wake up.
We got ourselves settled into the uncomfortable visitor’s chairs we usually did. Trevor did his online lessons on my phone and mostly ignored the noise of the room around him.
Charles. Please come back to me.
I held his cold hand and laid my head against the side of his chest just listening to his feint heartbeat.
I know you’re in there, Charles. I need you. We need you.
“Our new baby is about twelve weeks now.” I started talking to him, like I usually did. “That’s about the size of a lime. I look a lot bigger now than I did with Trevor. None of my pants fit anymore.”
I sat up to look at his face, feeling the tears that were silently making their way down my cheeks.
His beard had grown out and it only accentuated this permanent frown that Charles now had in his unconscious state. I missed his smile. His laughter. His warmth.
I had to fight back my sniffles, gripping his limp hand tighter.
“Oh, sorry!” My body jerked and I quickly wiped my eyes as the neurologist suddenly sprang through the doorway. “I should have known you would be here, actually.”
Swallowing through my anxiety I smiled nervously up at the doctor. My worst fears always assaulted me when he was here after a month of no good news.
I almost pissed myself.
The older man took a seat on the swivel chair in the room and scooted towards me with a grin. Now Trevor had finally looked up and was watching me and the doctor.
“So?” I urged as gently as I could, but my entire body was tense. A new wave of nausea was rising up my throat and I didn’t think it was the baby’s fault this time.
“Mr. Dillon is looking great lately. The swelling in his brain is completely gone and his vital signs are very impressive.” His eyes were wide, but I waited for the rest of his news with bated breath.
“That’s wonderful. And?” I was nearly shaking on the edge of my seat.
“We’ve started to take him off of the sedatives.”
My eyes welled with tears so fast I couldn’t see the room through them anymore. I might have been squeezing Charles’ hand so hard that lone could have woken him up.
“When will he wake up?
“I don’t have an exact timeframe. It could be anywhere between a day to a week, but not much longer than that.” His smile was warm and comforting. I lowered my head and let myself cry freely into the sheets on the side of the hospital bed.
“You ready to say hi to your dad little guy?” The doctor asked Trevor on his way out.
“Yes!” Trevor shouted and raised his arms in the air as if in victory.
“Great. I’ll leave you guys, but we’re here if you have any questions.”
“Thank you,” I choked out through my sobs.
I stood up and leaned over Charles handsome face and pressed a gentle kiss to the side of his mouth.
He’s going to be okay. He’s going to wake up.
Charles will be here for our second baby and we can finally be a family again.
“Is my dad gonna wake up?” I turned to Trevor who had set the phone down and stared at me with his big, round eyes.
“Yes, baby. Come here. Talk to him.” I settled in my seat again and pat my lap for my son to come sit with me. The little boy climbed up and huddled into my side, watching out for my new bump and began telling Charles about his day. I kept my hand on Charles’ as Trevor spoke about Pre-K.
My heart was beating erratically, and I couldn’t seem to stop the onslaught of what was now a free-flowing river of happy tears.
As Trevor went on and on about his day to Charles in the hospital bed, I felt something move against my hand. Startled I looked at the bed where I was holding Charles’s hand.
And then his fingers twitched again.
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