(This is a continuation of my last post).
I rush toward Maggie. Not wanting to believe what I know I just heard. “What do you mean, you lost the baby? What are you talking about?”
“Dennis, I lost it,” Maggie repeats, now sobbing. “I miscarried … in the bathroom … there was so much blood … I know I lost it … I’m so sorry.” She stands there, her hands covering her face and her entire body trembling. Her words slam into me in staccato bursts nearly knocking me off my feet. I don’t know what to do.
My heart is pounding as I gently guide her to a kitchen chair. Maggie almost falls into it, slumps across the table and buries her head in her crossed arms. Her entire body is shaking. I kneel next to her, placing my right arm around her waist and my head on her shoulder, trying to comfort her – trying to pull her closer. Maggie doesn’t move and sits stone rigid.
I’m lost. I don’t know what to say. Desperate to comfort her or perhaps myself, I ask Maggie “How do you know for sure? Just because you had some bleeding doesn’t mean you miscarried.” I have no idea what I’m talking about. I just know I want for that to be true. Maggie remains paralyzed in fear.
After a couple of seconds, she lifts her head slightly, “I knew this would happen. I knew it was an omen. I knew something was going to happen. I just knew it.” Then she buries her head in her arms again.
“I’m calling the doctor,” I quickly interject. “We have to get you to the doctor. He’ll tell you it’s okay. Stop thinking that way! Don’t do this to yourself!”
Maggie sits quietly at the kitchen table while I fumble through our telephone book for the doctor’s number. I can’t remember his name and Maggie’s filing system is of little help. Did she list it under his name, or his hospital, or in a totally separate category of “doctors?” My mind is racing faster than my fingers can flip the pages.
“Maggie! Who’s your doctor?”
I can barely understand her as her answer seeps through her folded arms “Doctor Perez.”
I find him under “P” and dial his number. My hands are shaking and I have to redial two more times.
The receptionist answers and tells me she’ll page the doctor and return my call as quickly as possible. I hang up the phone and kneel by Maggie’s side stroking her hair and caressing her hands, kissing her gently on the cheeks and reassuring her, “It’s going to okay, babe, I promise.”
Why am I promising? I have no idea what I’m talking about. Hell, I couldn’t even remember the doctor’s name, how can I tell her it’s going to be okay. Maggie turns her head above her folded arms just enough to show her eyes and her eyes tell me she doesn’t believe a word I’m saying.
The receptionist calls back in a matter of minutes that seems much longer. “The doctor wants your wife to go to the emergency room. Will you need an ambulance?”
I don’t know how to answer that question. I’ve never been to a doctor except in the Army. How am I supposed to know if she needs an ambulance? But I should. I’m supposed to be her protector and I don’t know how to help her when she needs me most.
“Maggie, the doctor wants us to go to the hospital. Should they call an ambulance?”
When Maggie shakes her head “no,” I tell the receptionist that it’s not necessary and we’ll be there in twenty minutes.
Maggie stares out the window during the entire ride to the hospital. She barely speaks to me, answering my petty questions with “no” or “yes.” Sometimes her answer doesn’t fit the question, but I don’t correct her – I know she’s not hearing me.
When we arrive at the hospital emergency entrance, doctor Perez or his receptionist has already informed the staff that we were coming. Maggie is immediately placed in a wheel chair and I’m instructed to go to the admission desk to complete some paperwork. Before the nurse wheels Maggie away, I hug her and again repeat what I hope is true, “You’re going to be fine. You’ll see.” Maggie just sits stoop shouldered in the wheelchair as she is rushed off.
I’ve been with the admissions clerk for thirty minutes, leaning forward on the edge of my chair, knees alternately bouncing in rhythm with my heels while my fingers tap nervously on her desk. I’m ready to leap from the chair because I can’t think of anything other than Maggie being alone in the emergency room while I’m here filling out forms and answering stupid questions. When the hospital feels that my torture has been sufficient, the admission lady tells me “You can see your wife now. She’s in ER - number 14. Go down the hall on the left, turn right at the end and...”
I jump to my feet almost knocking over the chair before she completes her directions and hurry down the hall and through the doors of the emergency room. Expecting to see actual rooms, I’m surprised by rows of curtained spaces as I quickly move through the area. Two uniformed nurses are at their station, one standing and talking on the phone, the other sitting and writing something. I can’t wait to ask where I can find Maggie and continue toward the only three spaces with drawn curtains. The middle one is number 14. Somewhat hesitantly, I slide the curtain open wide enough to enter, praying that Maggie will be sitting up, smiling.