I’m going to be a father. Those words had been cycling through Huan’s mind since Lynne told him at the end of last week.
Once she left him by himself, he had begun his research on all aspects of first pregnancies in women in the 25-30 year age group. Digging through the extra room which he used as a combination office/storage space, he pulled out all his old med school textbooks, notebooks, and any medical journals he could find on pregnancy. By the time she texted him to let him know that she had arrived back at her duplex, he had gone through the last of the callaloo in the container leftover from their dinner the night before and had compiled a list of all the possibilities of what could happen in this pregnancy both positive and negative. After some careful thought as to her current mental status, he decided not to share it with Lynne. But I will run the possibilities by a few colleagues in the hospital’s OB/GYN department.
Walking into his kitchen and pouring himself a glass of whiskey, he stood in front of the refrigerator where his copy of the ultrasound photo was taped next to an array of special photos taken over the years: a family photo with him at five-years-old sitting on his mother’s lap with his father standing behind them, twelve-year-old Huan and his father standing outside his uncle’s store, him and Lynne in their matching gold cap and gowns at High School graduation making goofy smiles at the camera while holding their diplomas, his 21st birthday with his male cousins and roommates where Lynne sent him a golden money shooter with $288 in singles to spend at a strip club, college graduation with his parents standing on both sides of him beaming with pride, another college graduation photo this one with Lynne jumping on his back having driven straight from her own graduation in Michigan to NYC to surprise him, him holding his younger cousin Rose in his arms when she was a toddler, him and Lynne at a Yankees game where she showed up in head-to-toe Boston Red Socks gear to taunt the crowd, him and his parents at his White Coat Ceremony, him and his mother at his medical school graduation, and a picture of him and his entire family (biological and acquired over the years) at his medical school graduation party. A small smile had appeared on his face. At that moment he knew that their baby didn’t know how lucky it was already. It would be surrounded by family and love its whole life.
And now, he was spaced out at the Nurse’s Station thinking about the baby when he should have been focused on his charting and prepping the afternoon’s surgery, a repair and reconstruction on a 39-year old man’s leg that had been run over by several motorcycles. Huan let his mind drift to the very real fact that in several months time, he would be blessed with a child. A child that he would be responsible for and would love unconditionally. Perhaps a son with his love for baseball and his mother’s flair for numbers? Or a little girl with her mother’s organizational skills and his love of science? Or would their child be completely unique and love the arts? Maybe a professional musician or dancer?
“Dr. Zhang. Dr. Zhang!”
He was brought back to reality when a slender, brown-haired nurse in purple scrubs appeared in front of him. “I’m sorry, can you say that again?”
“Dr. Levater needs you to change the dressings for the gunshot wound patient is room 2109 and then do the check on Mrs. Karenna in room 2120 she told him with a huff in her voice.
“Thank you for letting me know.” He offered up a smile as she nodded and walked off. You need to focus, Huan. Get it together.
Would the child favor his looks or Lynne’s? The vivid image of a beige-skinned son with Lynne’s freckles across the nose of his face smiling at him with caramel colored, almond-shaped eyes akin to his own as he ran around a park danced in his mind. My son. His heart leapt at the possibility.
Nonetheless, he would love his child regardless of whether or not it was a son or daughter. If he or she wanted to be a firefighter or a physicist. No matter what this child did, he would be its protector, advocate, cheerleader, and any other role it would need him to be.
Shaking his limbs loose, he grounded himself by methodically rotating the string of brown mala beads he wore wrapped around his right wrist. You can think about that later. Realigning his focus, he finished typing up his notes and went about the tasks that he was assigned before heading to the scrub room. He needed to stick to his current path to become the most sought after trauma surgeon like he promised his parents years ago.
Five hours later at the end of his shift, Huan found himself wandering the halls of the hospital in his street clothes with his messenger bag slung over his shoulder. Eventually, he wound up on the maternity floor looking at the newborns. While he was staring at the new little lives, he is joined by Dr. Ryder Zolle, the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellow that started at the same time as him. Dr. Zolle is a six foot six tall, blonde haired, gray eyed man of Swedish and German descent. He looked more suited to be gracing the cover of a magazine then to be walking the grim halls of the Oncology Ward.
“If it isn’t the other Dr. Z. Funny seeing you here, Huan. I thought I was the only one who came here at the end of shift.”
“Every now and then it doesn’t hurt to remember where it all begins, Ryder.” He replied, not taking his eyes off the rows of bassinets. Only five were currently occupied with swaddled, wriggling newborns of several different ethnicities.
“I feel the same way, especially dealing with sick kids all day. It’s nice to just soak in the sunshine that the little buggers give off.”
“Isn’t just fascinating how we start off so small, cute, and fragile. Dependent on other people to provide us with what we need to survive. And we just give that trust so easily, not knowing if our parents actually know what they are doing. Our genetics are programmed to let us know that we are safe with them.”
“Hey man, that’s part of the whole ‘mysteries of life’ package, nature vs. nurture, and all that jazz. Pheromones play a large part of the whole thing, I guess. Where is all this coming from?”
“Just thinking.” Huan took a step back from the glass, looked over at Dr. Zolle, opened his mouth to say something, then deciding against it, shut it. “See you around, Ryder. One of these days we’ll have to get a coffee or something.”
“You sure you’re ok, man?”
“Yes. I just need to go to see Dr. Foster. Have a nice day.”’ He gave a small wave in Dr. Zolle’s direction and headed to the office of the Head of the Obstetrics Department, Dr. Clarissa Foster. He had an appointment scheduled with her that he did not want to be late for. Arriving outside her office, Huan rapped on the closed door.
“It’s open!” A clear voice with a hint of a Boston accent rang out from within the closed room. Huan let himself into the office. Dr. Foster was a short, wiry, auburn-haired woman in her mid-fifties with warm green eyes and a patient countenance. She was currently sitting at a dark wood desk, typing away on a computer. Behind her was a shelf of books and medical journals, some she had published herself. On the walls around the room were her various diplomas, certifications, awards, and honors. “Ah, Dr. Zhang, come in. You’re right on time. Just let me finish responding to this inquiry. Please sit down.” She raised a hand off the keyboard to point to a leather chair opposite her desk. Huan took the seat, shrugging his messenger bag off his shoulder and retrieving a folder, notebook, and pen. Finishing, Dr. Foster pushed her keyboard to the side of her desk. “I have to say, when I received your email, I was surprised that a male third-year trauma surgery fellow, who hasn’t set foot in my office since his rotation back as a resident, wanted to schedule a meeting with the Head of Obstetrics,” she informed him over the top of her white-rimmed glasses. “It’s a little late in the game to be thinking of switching specialties, don’t you think?”
A small breathy laugh escaped Huan’s lips. “You are right, if I had been planning a switch, it would be a bit eleventh hour of me, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes, it would. Well then, what is it in the fascinating world of Obstetrics that brings you to my office?”
Huan cleared his throat, “I have a friend who recently found out she was pregnant and is looking for the best options for her OB. I have a copy of the list of doctors she is looking into and wanted your professional opinion.” He handed over a copy of the list of doctors that he had tweaked after Lynne sent it to him.
Skimming the names on the list, Dr. Foster regarded Huan with an amused gaze,“this friend of yours must be rather close for you to be doing this for her.”
“She’s practically family. I’ve known her most of my life. She’s been there for me for the most important parts of my life and I want to make sure she gets the best care. I know we have one of the best Obstetrics and Maternity Units in the country and I wondered if you could give me your honest opinion so I can relay it to her?”
“Alright, anything else?”
“Actually, yes. Being that this is her first pregnancy, she is in the 25-30 age range, works full time, and has a family history of hypertension, diabetes (type two and gestational), and anemia, what are your recommendations for her diet, exercise regimen, and supplements?”
“Hmm. I’d forgotten how thorough you were when it came to patient advocacy. Alright, give me some time and I’ll email you my suggestions,” she told him with a smile, subtly dismissing him from her office.
“Thank you so much for your time, Dr. Foster.” Huan rose from his seat and shook her hand. “You don’t know how much this means to me.” Placing the folder and notebook back in his bag, he headed toward the door.
“Yes.” He paused, turning back to face her.
“When you can, I’d like to meet this friend of yours. She must be pretty special to you.”
Lynne’s grinning face flashed through his mind as he answered, “yeah, she is special. And I will make sure to bring her by soon.”
“I look forward to it,” she told him as he exited her office.
A/N: Hey there lovelies! Isn’t Huan the cutest, overanxious, daddy-to-be already? Like what you’re reading? Don’t forget to like the chapter, write a comment, and share it with your friends! See you all for Mr. Prentice's Birthday Celebration in Chapters 11 and 12.