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“What’s wrong with our baby?” Julie asked her husband as the doctor whisked the little one away.
“I’ll go find out.”
Justin Kirkpatrick raced after the doctor to get an explanation. He took a deep breath to calm himself and the smell of sterility flooded his senses. He hated hospitals. People only came here for only two reasons. To live or to die. He side stepped several nurses and was blocked when he tried to follow the doctor into the operating room.
“You can’t go in there Mr. Kirkpatrick. I’m sorry but you’ll have to wait outside.”
He shoved his hands through his hair and forced a breath out of his nose. “Will somebody please tell me what’s going on with my baby?”
The nurse placed a hand on Justin’s shoulder and said, “Wait here. I’ll go find out.”
Justin paced up and down the hallway. How could this be happening? What was supposed to be a joyous and momentous occasion was quickly turning into the worst moment of his life. He checked his watch. Two minutes. What was taking so long?
The nurse pushed through the operating room doors and he rushed to her attention.
“What’s wrong? What are they doing to her?”
“Mr. Kirkpatrick, let’s sit down.”
“I can’t sit down. Would you please just tell me.”
“Your daughter has a condition called Gastroskesis.”
“In English please.”
She took his elbow and guided him to a small conference room off of the hallway. Closing the door behind her she continued.
“Her intestines were on the outside of her body. There’s a procedure we can do that can temporarily hold the intestines until her body cavity grows large enough to put everything back into place, but there is a complication.” She met his eyes and found stability so she pressed forward. “Your daughter had meconium in her body cavity due to the stress she was under in the womb.”
“What is that? And what does it mean?”
“Basically she had a bowel movement before she was born and all of those bacteria were in her body cavity. It is very likely she’s developed E. coli and she will be touch and go for the next few days. The doctor is giving her antibiotics, but her body will have to fight off the infection on its own. The doctor is doing all he can to stabilize her and he will come speak to you when she gets out of surgery.”
He nodded. And the nurse stepped out leaving him alone. His balance faltered and he collapsed into the chair next to him. His shoulders shook as he gave into the reality of what was happening to him. To his little girl.
The tears streamed uncontrollably until he thought of Julie. He lifted his face from his palms. Julie. How was he going to explain all of this to her? He swiped his cheeks with the back of his hand and stood. Regaining his composure he opened the door and headed back to Julie’s room.
His heart pounded like the beat of a drum as if counting down to his daughter’s final breath. When Justin entered the room his blue eyes met her brown. He lost control and Justin embraced his wife as fear and uncertainty took them over.
“We have to pray.” Julie grabbed a tissue out of the box sitting on the bed tray. “It’s her only hope.”
Of course. Why wouldn’t they pray? Praying gave them to chance to petition God for what they wanted the outcome to be in this situation. He took his wife’s hand and poured his heart out to his Father.
When they had finished praying Julie raised her head. She looked straight past Justin and into the eyes of the man standing in the doorway. “Doctor? How is she?”
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Wow you really took me on a roller coaster ride. As a former OB nurse I can empathize with your characters. You did a great job with your dialog and descriptions.
Gripping drama and suspense! I was on the edge of my seat. I love the way you ended this story.
As someone who has lived this nightmare (different diagnosis though), I truly felt for the main character. I want to read the next chapter...what happened to the little girl? Great story and I hope to read more from you in future challenges!
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