The date hadn’t been set except I was two weeks overdue. I had been able to balance the book I was reading on the hard lump under my ribs for a month by then. Weekly visits for a sonogram doubled. As unpredictable as March could be, that day was definitely bleak and damp, and as windy as any other day of the year.
First one doctor did the sonogram, left the room and in walked the other. Then they both left me deeply concentrating on the pattern of the ceiling tiles. Returning in tandem the doctors filled the room. One thought the other had told me. What I hadn’t been told was that they were leaving town in the morning. One of their young friends from medical school who was soon joining their practice had instead died from a heart attack while doing surgery. My doctors were leaving for his funeral. Usually they presented kind and cheerful countenances but today the skin was drawn tightly on their faces. They wanted to induce labor and both agreed that they’d be doing surgery in the long run. Only it had to be done today. They were concerned about many issues I’d faced during the term and both wanted to be present for the delivery. Tonight.
In a shiny, dim operating room I listened to the local radio station piped into the room. Each doctor, one tall and blond and the other short and dark stood on either side of the gurney. The anesthetist was subdued, listening and charting the event. Sweet Audrey, as cool as a thawed turkey, was placed next to my face, her black eyes searching the lights. Later in my room, flat on my back, waiting out the spinal’s slow retreat from my body only one doctor came to see me. He said the other was on his way home to pack. He sat on my bed sounding cheerful once again but looking forlorn and exhausted.
The day our children are born is never forgotten. Likely these doctors still remember their friend who was almost their partner on that day in March.
From a prompt for Sunday Scribblings.
[painting entited Peasants Bringing Home a Calf Born in the Fields / Jean François Millet French, 1814-1875]