The hospital room was darker than the hallway, the shades drawn so that the brilliant afternoon sun could only peek in around them. The woman lay on her side in the self-inflicted dusk, curled into a ball with her back toward the door.
The room was totally quiet.
Her husband slowly opened the door, momentarily flooding the room with the harsh hallway lights. Seeing her try to dig deeper into the hospital linens, he quickly stepped inside and closed the door.
She didn’t acknowledge his presence, so he walked around the bed and took the chair he had left a few minutes before. His breath escaped in a rush as he slouched into the chair, and he looked at his wife. She was watching him, her face drooping, her eyes still red from the most recent wave of tears. She sniffed.
For minutes, neither moved nor spoke.
“How are you feeling?” He reached across to move a piece of her hair off her face.
She shrugged, but said nothing.
“I talked to the doctor.”
Her eyes flickered to his face and stayed there.
“He says that you should totally recover. We should be able to start trying again in a couple of months. He said…” the man sighed.
“Said what?” Her voice sounded tired and empty.
“He said these things just happen sometimes.” The man turned to look at the numbers on the machines monitoring his wife as he spoke. After a moment, he looked at her again. Her lip was trembling, and the tears had returned to her eyes.
“These things…” she whispered, curling tighter into a ball.
Sensing her need, the man moved next to his wife on the bed. Pulling her up against him, he held her close as her tears began to stream again.
Finally, her sobs lessened. He reached for the box of tissues and handed her a small stack. She chuckled sadly at his offering and took them. He hugged her tightly, and she wiped her face and the wet spot on his shirt with the roughly-textured tissues.
“We’re going to survive this.” He spoke into her hair, reassuring her with his touch.
“I wanted our baby so much.” Her lip quivered again.
A quiet knock signaled the entrance of the nurse just beginning her afternoon shift. She checked the woman’s vital signs and charts, but quickly left the couple to return to their obvious grief. At the nurses’ station, she spoke with the another nurse who was pulling on her coat to leave.
“Hey, Liz…what’s the update on the couple in 154?”
The departing nurse glanced toward the closed door as she answered. “Their first baby was stillborn last night. They’re taking it real hard.”
“What a shame.”
Liz agreed as she slipped her purse onto her shoulder. “It doesn’t seem fair sometimes.”
“Well, I’m sure they’ll be okay next time.”
“Yeah…I hope so.” She picked up her lunchbox and threw a final glance at the closed door. “I think they will be really good parents.”
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