Everything stopped. I felt it stop. All the weight of the world came closing in on me, and I felt crushed under the mass of it, like I couldn’t breathe. Was I still breathing?
The cold hospital floor was under my feet, but I couldn’t feel it. The weight of my body was gone, as though I was no longer tethered to the Earth by gravity. It was the strangest sensation. All of the agonizing pain that I felt what seemed like moments ago was no more.
With my eyes wandering I could smell the antiseptic air of the hospital. It was confining, and strained. I could feel the chill all around me, but I wasn’t cold. That was when my eyes landed on the most horrendous sight. My body was unmoving on the hospital bed, tubes breathing for me, and the baby bump prominent underneath the hospital gown. Reaching out I felt the fabric of the blankets that encompassed my body, but I couldn’t move them. Couldn’t even pull them slightly.
Panic surged through me, especially when I heard the doctors mentioning that I was brain dead. How could I be brain dead, when I was right here? I could hear them, and see them, but I couldn’t communicate that I was alive, and I was right here. My spirit is alive.
Tears welled in my eyes, but no matter how I panicked, or what I screamed no one could see me, or hear me. And I couldn’t connect with my body—not anymore.
Aggravation flooded through me, and I saw Eli, but I couldn’t speak to him either. I wanted to tell him that I was having twins, and that I wasn’t mad anymore. That if he didn’t want to help me raise them he didn’t have to, but I was keeping them. The precious children.
But I couldn’t speak so that he could hear, only listen. His eyes held such torment written within. I could feel my own heart go out to him. Settling on the edge of my hospital bed I listened to everything he said to me. But it wasn’t just one day he came.
One day in particular the regret was even more clear. Oh, how I wish he knew that I wasn’t mad at him, that I didn’t blame him for using me that night. I had used him too. I had known Belle loved him, and he loved her, but the alcohol had made it seem like a sound idea to sleep with him. I had known which buttons to push, because I had seen Belle with him. I had watched them once, together. Peaked in when they were immersed in one another.
I had heard the soft little whispers she would coo into his ear, felt the rush of yearning when he had entered her. Their love was something I had known I could never compete with.
Although it hadn’t stopped me from having him, just that one night. But I could see the regret that laid within, and I could hear the sound of his voce, as it cracked with tears.
“Eli, you did nothing wrong.” I spoke softly, and rested my hand on his shoulder, but I could do nothing to make him hear me. So I listened.
I kept my hand on his shoulder, and kissed his cheek, feeling the skin with my lips, but knowing that he could not feel me in turn. I could feel my spirit weakening every single day. It was growing harder to focus, less essential to cling on to this plane. Something was calling me elsewhere, even though I wanted to stay.
Time was progressing, my belly was growing larger, and my family gathered around me, more and more often, each in turn saying their goodbyes. My little sisters whom I had taken for granted, my big brother who I hadn’t seen in a few years. My little brother. The faces grew more, and more depressed with each passing day . And my heart broke when I looked upon them.
I wanted to hug each of them, but every touch I attempted went unnoticed, and I would grow weak with despair from the reality that my body had released me. That I couldn’t return to it, no matter how desperately I wanted to. I spoke to the babies inside of my belly. Every single day, even if I doubted they could hear my voice, I wanted them to know I was there.
I was beginning to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to watch my children grow up, because I am never going to wake back up again. The realization hit me when the doctors mentioned that they would follow through with my parents’ wishes, and disconnect me from the machines keeping my body alive after they delivered my children.
I don’t know what will happen once my body no longer lives, but I was terrified to find out. I was tethered to my body, and of that I was certain, because I couldn’t venture far from my room. I couldn’t go back to my house, or anywhere else.
Listening to my children’s heartbeats as the final ultrasound was done I couldn’t help but to cry, my heart was broken, as was my soul. A boy, and a girl. Neither of them would know me. Not as anyone other than the woman that carried them for nine months. As the cesarean was set, I knew it was my only chance to see my children.
Following my body down to the operating room I stood alongside Eli as the surgery began. Slicing into my skin, I watched as one baby was brought into the world. Unconscious, it took little time to wake him up, and he began crying. Eli cut the umbilical cord, and I watched as the screaming bundle of joy was handed over to my mother.
But before I could blink my little girl was being pulled out, her frame much the same as her brother’s. Pink, her skin slimy, and coated. Her mouth wide open as she cried, and the cries matched her brothers in tandem.
Those beautiful, screaming bundles had grown within me, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. How could something so wonderful, so pure have been grown inside of my body?
I was stitched back up, and sent back to my room. My babes were planted on my chest, placed there by the hands of my parents, then Eli. I spoke to them, and whispered how much that I loved them, and sometimes I believed they could hear me. They would look up at me with those big, rounded eyes, and coo with a smile.
“I love you. Mama loves you…” I whispered to them, touching each of their heads, with my ghostly white hand. Because I knew that this was goodbye. The machines were being shut off, my breathing came to an end, and the last thing that I saw before the white light came for me, was the faces of my children, and then nothing else.
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