“Jason?” I loudly. “Are you awake?”
Rolling over, wiping his mouth from his slumber, he mumbles a “hmmmm?”
“I’m having more pain and bleeding today.”
“Do you want me to call the nurse?”
If I wish hard enough, I hope to resolve this on my own. Denial against the progression of this labor is futile. Surpassing reality, I refute needing a nurse.
“I don’t know if that’s necessary. They’ll probably be in here soon enough anyway.” A nonchalant shrug conveys what I want to believe.
Knowing not to push too hard, Jason’s apt ability to change the subject provides momentary respite from this new worry. “How would you feel if I went out to pick up lunch today? I don’t want to eat non-hospital food in front of you, but I don’t know if I can take another mediocre sandwich from downstairs.” Jason’s face skeptically studies mine. Hiding any disappointment I feel about my limitations, a forced smile tries to convince him (and me) that he should go.
“It would be good for you to get out a bit.” Ignoring my chagrin, I believe this. Unconvinced, it takes an additional five stressful minutes of deep contemplation before he goes on another merciless journey outside the room.
Alone only moments, I barely close my eyes, authorizing thoughts to vacate my stressed, headache-riddled mind. Hearing a rustling, my groggy eyes search for the source through slitted lids. An apparition-like figure stands at my bedside, just the swishing of her white scrubs audible. Her name tag says “Angela”. How many different nurses can I possibly have? Angela’s cherubic demeanor compliments her kind face, and soft, silver hair. Sympathetic creases deepen around her gentle blue eyes. Doing her vital checks on me, her quietude brings a warm comfort to this cold, sad space. An aura of kindness trails her every graceful move, floating from one side of the bed to the other. Looking up at her, a peacefulness strangely settles the tension which previously inhabited the room.
Angela meets my confused expression as she unexpectedly sits on the side of my bed. “Do you mind if I just sit here with you?”
“That’s fine.” Concealing my surprise when my response oddly does not portray the uncomfortableness I should be feeling, I slide over to grant her more room.
“I wanted to check in with you to see how you are doing with all of this. I know it must be really tough for both of you.” Overwhelmed by her desire to connect with me beyond a cold knee pat, an unsympathetic glare, or an uncomfortable ignorance to the situation, tears replace any words I could have thought of.
Angela carefully watches over me, allowing for the minute I need to find any words. A short pause prefaces the only words I know to say, “I’m doing okay, I guess. As good as I could expect myself to be doing.” Breaking her gaze, my eyes make patterns on the off-white bed sheet, tracing the threads that bind it together.
“I know this must be so hard.” Her face confesses to a warring of words, a silent debate on what should be spoken. Thoughtfulness flows through her hand to me, as the soft, mild warmth reaches out to my tissue-clutching fist. Unbothered, her compassion cushions my achy back, my twisted gut, my frightened consciousness. Her azure tenderness watches my distant eyes.
With little resistance from me to contend with, Angela confidently straightens her shoulders, inching her leg closer to me, gently resting a hand on my arm. Waiting just long enough, but not too long, her eyes flit around the room, finding the words to go on. “Sometimes things like this happen, and we don’t know why. We just can’t understand it.” Inhaling deeply, her eyes now steady, she looks down. Her next words are hushed. Leaning closer to hear each syllable, I watch her lips intently. Barely moving, Angela whispers, “It’s hard as a nurse to see others go through this.” Pausing to gauge the usefulness of her words, she hurriedly looks at my face, studies my insatiate eyes. Nodding almost imperceptibly, my craving for what other comfort she can provide nearly escapes. “When I was younger, I had a lot of difficulty getting pregnant, and went through a miscarriage early on. I know it’s different than losing a baby at this stage, but it was still very difficult for us. We later went on to have two healthy children. I just want you to know that there is always hope, even if it really doesn’t feel like it right now.”
There is always hope.
The tears I previously held back loosen, dripping off my nose. With crackling vocal cords, I whisper, “thank you.”
Breaking her loving touch, her soft fingers pat my hand, giving a small squeeze. Leaving me to rest, she turns around just before crossing the threshold to the hall, offering one last smile. Despite her physical retreat, her soothing presence hovers. Adorned by proud, tear-filled eyes, Angela knows she has said just enough; she has done her job.