Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CALENDAR (10/20/16)
TITLE: Hanging on to Hope
By Belinda Peoples
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Across the room, muffled voices approached the inside of an office door. Celeste drew in a sharp breath as a new stab of nerves pierced her stomach. It was her turn next.
As the door opened, a young lady exited, followed by her doctor. Celeste experienced the odd sensation she was looking in a mirror as the girl made an enquiry of Dorothy. Soft, brown, shoulder-length hair fell haphazardly out of her messy bun. A wad of tissues hastily chased tears from her swollen, dark eyes, as if in catching them she could erase the sadness painted across her blotchy complexion.
Doctor Harvey whispered something to Dorothy as he picked up Celeste’s file from the document tray. He read it briefly, then met Celeste’s gaze.
“Celeste,” he smiled softly, moving to the office door. “Please, come in.”
“Um, Todd was supposed to meet me here, but hasn’t arrived yet from work,” Celeste replied, hesitating. She glanced towards the building foyer, willing Todd to appear.
“I’m so sorry, Celeste, but I have caesareans scheduled from midday. Dorothy can send Todd straight in when he arrives. Do you think we could start?”
Celeste looked into Dr Harvey’s kind face as he patiently waited. Framed with salt and pepper hair and underlined with a classic brightly-coloured bow tie tucked neatly under his shirt collar, his face never betrayed hurriedness. It matched his manner perfectly.
“OK,” Celeste submitted and was ushered by Dr Harvey into his consulting room. He closed the door gently and cleared his throat as Celeste took her seat.
“I understand you’ve had bleeding,” he prompted, making his way around the mahogany desk to his high-backed leather chair. “Dorothy left a note on your file after your phone call this morning saying you’re quite sure you’ve miscarried again.”
“Yes,” Celeste sighed, suddenly deflated. Hearing someone else say it made it horribly real. The tiny bubble of hope that she could still be pregnant had, at last, burst, shrouding her instantly in devastation. “It’s like the time before last. I started bleeding yesterday and had some cramping and then …”
Celeste’s voice caught in her throat as it swelled with a new surge of emotion. Dr Harvey gave her a minute to recompose herself.
“Alright,” Dr Harvey started, “we’ll do a scan to be sure, OK? When did your last period commence?” he asked, picking up his spherical calendar that paired dates with gestation.
“September 2nd,” Celeste replied. “My first appointment should have been next Tuesday. I think I would have been 8 weeks tomorrow.”
Dr Harvey twisted the months around the dial and found it reflected Celeste’s information.
“Yes, that’s right,” he agreed and made a note in Celeste’s file. “An ultrasound” he said, standing, “will confirm what’s happening. Come and lie down over here and lower your waist band on your jeans.”
Celeste climbed on the gurney just as there was a soft knock at the door. Pulling the curtain around for Celeste’s privacy, Dr Harvey answered it.
“Hi Doc Harvey,” Celeste heard. “I’m Todd, Celeste’s husband.”
“Of course, I remember, come in. We’re about to do an ultrasound. Take a seat on the chair by Celeste.”
Todd kissed his wife and held her hand in his. Dr Harvey manipulated the probe over Celeste’s pelvis. A few minutes silently passed as he adeptly surveyed her uterus.
“Hmmm,” he finally murmured.
“What is it?” Todd asked. Dr Harvey was not one to beat around the bush.
“Celeste,” he began, “unfortunately, you have miscarried. Here,” he pointed to the screen, “is where the gestational sac was until this morning.”
“Oh.” Todd answered sadly. He brushed a strand of hair lovingly behind Celeste’s ear.
“However,” Dr Harvey began again, “you’re also pregnant, measuring 7 weeks and 6 days gestation.” Dr Harvey showed them a second gestational sac. He switched on the audio, filling the room with the unmistakable sound of a foetal heart, beating strong and fast.
“Celeste, Todd, you’re having a baby, due …” Dr Harvey spun through 40 weeks from September 2nd, “on June 9th. Congratulations!”
Confusing waves of grief, shock and elated joy enveloped the couple. Months and years broken by painful loss had already begun healing through fresh hope in the unfathomable miracle of life.
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