Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Short Story - My Baby Left Because I Cried

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By Kem Nathan-Gaul

That baby meant so much to me. Luke and I had tried really hard to have a child. We had been married for three years and had two miscarriages in that time. We called them accidents. Maybe Luke felt that by calling them accidents, they would feel less real to me and therefore, less painful. Not true. I smiled and said, “Yes, the accident…”, only because I wanted him to move on and change the subject. Perhaps talk about hockey or one of his patients at the hospital. Finally, that one month when we didn’t hope, pray and wish; it happened. I got pregnant.

We decided not to announce it. Maybe if we kept it quiet she would stay. I felt it was a girl. My little baby girl. Months passed and the excitement grew. Luke painted the room and we shopped and shopped. We wanted her colors to be purple and yellow. Luke’s brother, Jason, did a wonderful job on her room. He painted the skies on her ceiling. When you turned out the lights, the stars glowed in the dark. It was so beautiful. Her walls had on one side a sun rising above a hillside and on the other little cherubs in what looked like heaven. I made Jason, a huge cup of French vanilla, his favorite, and gave him a huge bear hug. That was his present to his little niece. Luke kept urging me to check the baby’s sex. I refused. My heart told me it was a girl and my heart never lied.

The doctors said she was growing well and everything was good. You see, I had more frequent follow-up because I was living with epilepsy. Also, one of the Epilepsy foundations in Canada was studying pregnant women with epilepsy to help in their research. They wanted to find out what drug combinations were best to control seizures during pregnancy. I signed up for that, to help other women and maybe help myself too. I was placed on Keppra 1000mg b.d and 8mg of folic acid as opposed to the regular 4mg. Everything was going well and I looked great.

Luke was so supportive and he was making sure I was eating well, exercising and resting well. However, sometimes when we lay in bed at night talking, he would fall silent and the look in his eyes when he looked at me was filled with fear. “What are you afraid of?” I asked him one night. He looked at me and with all sincerity he replied, “I don’t know. Sometimes, fear doesn’t give us an explanation. We just fear”. In my head, I thought, “What rubbish!” I was not ready for negativity or crazy philosophies, so I just murmured, “Good night” and I turned on my side and went to sleep.

My marriage was a strange one. I was very happy and so was Luke. We were two troubled souls who found each other, and our greatest gift was silence. We both were not great talkers but in our silence we communicated beyond words. Our minds communicated with words our mouths couldn’t speak. I had been abused as a child; Luke’s parents were abusive alcoholics. We had our demons but together we found peace and happiness. There were many things I wanted to say to him and many things I knew he wanted to say to me as well. Words failed us. When I felt love, I reached out my hands and he held me, tight. When I wanted to be loved, I hugged him and he held me close, knowing and sensing my desire. When he looked into my eyes, I saw all the words his lips would never speak.

It was 5 am when I felt something wet between my legs. I smelled it, it was not pee. Gosh! My water had broken. I tapped Luke, “It’s time. She’s here”.  I had packed a hospital emergency bag and was ready to go in no time. It was a good thing I got Luke to shave me down there the day before. I did not want the nurses doing more than they had to in my vagina. I was ready and excited.

We got to the hospital and by then I had started having frequent contractions. She seemed real eager to come into the world. Things went pretty smoothly and I didn’t even take the epidural. I was exhausted from the pushing that once I heard her cry, I passed out.

When I came to, Luke was holding my hand and he had a strange look on his face. It was not sadness, or disappointment, it was a sickening emptiness. He just stared at me, more like he stared right through me.

“Where is my daughter?” was all I could say. “I should get the doctor”, he replied and left the room. Dr. Rufus came in with his fatherly smile and gentle hands. I wondered why Luke called my neurologist. “Where is my daughter?” I asked again. Just in case he didn’t hear me right the first time. Dr. Rufus started saying something, “…I don’t know how they missed it…” “…The scans should have shown something…” “…clear case of spina bifida…” He went on and on and I said it again, “Where is my daughter?”

I was discharged the day after we had the baby. I had to leave my precious baby at the hospital. I still refused to believe that something was wrong with him. How dare Dr. Rufus? And Luke just stared. Why couldn’t he tell the doctor to stop saying those things? Our baby could not have spina bifida. I took my folic acid religiously; I ate fruits and vegetables, exercised. I did everything the doctors asked me to do. Why do bad things happen to good people? Maybe at the end we get what we deserve. Luke had been looking at me strangely. I knew he expected me to cry. I could not cry because I didn’t even believe it. I felt like a stranger in my own body. Like a visitor in my house. I wanted to cry but the tears would not flow.

The next morning I woke up and Luke had gone for his run. I felt so alone. Like a part of me was missing. Yes, my baby. We hadn’t even discussed boy names. My heart told me she’d be a girl and we planned to name her Keira. Now, I wondered what we would call him. Then I remembered. My baby would be different. Other kids would make fun of him. I would always fight for him, protect him. I would love him fiercely. At that moment, something inside me broke and I wept. I wept for shattered dreams, I wept for my little boy. I wept for his struggles, his pain, my struggles and my pain. I wept for every sick child out there and every mother who had to deal with raising a child with disabilities. I just wept.

We got to the hospital and I was finally ready to hold my baby. I had decided to name him Simon. Luke said it was a strong name. I liked that. We got to the ICU where he was being monitored and the friendly nurse who attended to me the day before said the doctor would like to speak with us. Everyone looked at us with pity. I hated being pitied. People had children with disabilities everyday and they braved it. I would be no different.

The doctor was friendly but direct. He didn’t dilly dally. He said Baby McLeod, that’s what they called him, was gone. He was born with spina bifida and developed respiratory complications. They tried their best but they lost him a few minutes before we came in. I hadn’t cried and the morning I cried for my Simon, was the morning he left. I went hysterical. I was screaming incomprehensible words and crying. The nurses tried to hold me down to sedate me. The last thing I heard Dr. Rufus say was, “I’m sorry, Helen”.

Sorry? Sorry was what you said when you misplaced a pair of shoes? You were sorry when you lost my wallet, my purse, my phone. You don’t say sorry when I ‘lose’ a baby! I screamed for the last time from a place of guilt. My baby was like Luke. He had read my mind. After he saw my thoughts, felt my tears, he decided to leave without even saying hello.

Kem Nathan-Gaul is an aspiring writer who dreams by day and counts sheep at night. She likes to make funny faces, read mystery novels, listen to love songs and watch tear-provoking dramas. She is a die-hard lover of Sex and the City, Criminal Minds and Dexter. She is married to Art Director and dog lover, Nathan, whose heart she conquered and who helped her conquer her dog phobia. They live in what she calls, “the little house on Hastings”.


  1. Kem succeeded in doing the one thing --Capture and keep my interest water-tight! A beautiful read truly.

  2. Aspiring writer? This woman is pro . Great story!

  3. Such a sad story. Kem is quite versatile, this is so different from the other story on love and sex.

  4. Sigh!!!! I love her writing, it captured my heart

  5. Aspiring writer my foot. Woman write a book already. This is beautiful,its ... WOW!


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