Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)
TITLE: Love's Perfect Child
By Jacqueline Zerres
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“You told me not to say anything,” her mother said.
“I meant…I meant not to try to talk me out of it.”
“Mare, it sounds like you’ve made up you mind already. Don’t you believe God is able to bless you with a baby at your age? Look at Elizabeth in the bible… at what a special child God gave her.”
Sinking further into the seat, Mary rolled her eyes. “Mom, I’m forty-two. I’ve had three miscarriages. I know the doctor said I shouldn’t risk another pregnancy but this is my last chance.”
In a soft voice, her mother said, “It’s just that I’m worried about you, Mare. I thought you were content with the way things were.”
Well, I’m not, Mary thought. Tears welled up. She couldn’t help it. She and Jess had almost resigned themselves to converting the nursery into an office before they’d talked with Dr. Ben. This new technology gave them hope. Her arms longed to hold a precious child.
“Mare, are you there?”
Swallowing didn’t remove the lump in Mary’s throat. She choked back the flood that threatened to spill over. “We see the doctor today, Mom.”
Mary waited for the tide of words that was sure to come. Instead, her mother asked, “Mare, do you want me to go with you?”
The floodgates opened but she smiled through bitter tears. “No, Mom, but thanks. Thanks so much.”
Dressing quickly to meet Jess, Mary dreamed of the maternity outfits she saw in the window of Moms ‘R Us. Maybe this time…
In the exam room, she glanced around at the sterile whiteness of the walls. She squirmed. Under her, paper crinkled and she pulled the sheet taut as Doctor Ben entered the room.
Twenty minutes later, in the doctor’s office, Mary jumped when Jess tapped her arm. The doctor stood before them, an unreadable look cloaking his face.
“Well, Doc?” Jess said.
“We can’t do the procedure; at least not now,” Dr. Ben said.
Mary held her breath.
“Why?” Jess leaned forward, his hands clasped.
“Mary is pregnant, about three months along.”
Leaping from his chair, Jess gave a whoop and hugged his wife.
“Thank you, Doctor, so much,” Mary said, beaming.
The doctor didn’t smile. “Mrs. Taylor, I’d like to schedule a test. It’s routine for women your age. Everything is probably fine; it’s just a precaution. It’s not too late to terminate if the baby’s not, uh, perfect. In time, we can still perform the in vitro.” Doctor Ben scribbled a note and closed her file. “Make an appointment for tomorrow. Let’s deal with this as soon as possible.”
After the test, two days dragged by while Mary paced the floor. She’d wanted to phone her mom as soon as she’d discovered she was pregnant but Jess had objected. “Just in case,” he’d said. She hugged her tummy. This baby will be perfect; she just knew it.
The next afternoon her mom popped in for a visit and was sipping tea when Dr. Ben called. “Mrs. Taylor, I’m sorry,” he said. The shock drained the pink from her face.
“Mare, what is it?” Her mother reached across the table and held her hand.
She yanked it from her mother’s grasp, knocking her cup from the table with a crash. “Nooo,” Mary screamed. “Why, God? Why? Is it too much to ask for one tiny perfect baby?”
“What are you saying, Mare?”
“What I’m saying,” Mary said through gritted teeth, “is that I’m pregnant but the baby’s not normal. Dr. Ben thinks we should terminate it.”
“And what do you think, honey?”
“I know what the right thing is, Mom, but this is our last chance.” Mary’s eyes pleaded with her mother to understand.
“What if the in vitro doesn’t work?” her mother said. “Are you willing to lose this miracle child for a chance at something better?”
Long after her mother left, her words hung like icicles in the air. It wasn’t until Mary remembered her mother’s mention of Elizabeth that her resistance melted and she knew what she had to do.
‘Thank you, Lord,” she prayed. “You gave me a special child, too.”
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