Thursday, October 15, 2009


Her water doesn’t break in the car. It doesn’t even break in the wheelchair at the hospital entrance while he is getting them signed in. In her mind that’s the way it should happen, bit it doesn’t. He is just there for support now. Ice chips, he must not forget ice chips. An orderly wheels her into an elevator and presses 2. There are only 3 buttons to press. “Steve,” she says to her husband who is tapping his feet on the elevator floor. “Steve.” She grabs his hand and the pain hits again. She squeezes and groans. “It’s ok, hon’,” Steve says in a soothing voice. He calms his whole body in an effort to ease his wife’s anxiety. It works.
“Steve,” she says again after the contraction dissipates. “What do you need Cheryl,” he asks, the calm still present in his voice. “Did you bring the suitcase?” “It’s in the car. I’ll get it in a minute.” The doors of the elevator open and the orderly wheels Cheryl out toward a desk. The two nurses behind the desk smile at Cheryl and point the orderly to a room at the end of the hallway. They don’t look or talk to Steve. He doesn’t like them.
The orderly, a dark, bald man of size, sets the brakes on the wheelchair and gingerly helps Cheryl into the bed. Cheryl notices the size of his hands and their unexpected softness and gentility. She lies in the bed wondering when Steve will get the suitcase. She would feel so much better knowing that it was ready and available. One of the nurses from behind the counter enters the room, still ignoring Steve.
The nurse is named Sadie according to the ID she has clipped to her scrubs. Sadie looks over a clip board. She wears neon floral pattern scrubs, sensible white and purple sneakers, and a bobbed and died hairdo that was in need of a touchup at the roots. She pulls pink reading glasses out of the breast pocket and places them on her nose. “You’re not due for 3 more weeks,” she says. “This is probably nothing. We’ll just check you out and probably send you home. Has your water broken? Your mucous plug?” “No,” Cheryl answers. “But my…” “Yeah, probably just false labor,” Sadie says as she walks out of the room. The second nurse, who ID claims her name is also Sadie, enters the rooms and walks silently toward the wardrobe next to the delivery bed. Steve looks at the clock on the wall; it is 5:45 pm.

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