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Sunday, September 04, 2005

In Good Times and In Bad...

Ray awoke and sleepily turned toward Livy and reached out to draw her to him. His arm caught nothing as it searched her side of the bed for her warm body. He raised himself up and blinked as he looked in the dim light and confirmed that he was in fact alone in their bed. In the year that they’d been married, he remembered her rising before him only once and thus his concern as he drew back the blanket to rise from the bed. As he did so, his concern turned quickly to alarm as he noticed a pool of blood on the sheet where Livy had lain. He walked quickly to the hallway in search of her and noticed a light under the door to the bathroom. He knocked quietly and softly called, “Livy?” Hearing no answer, he repeated her name and gently turned the knob and peaked inside.

There he saw Livy sitting in the tub and she quickly wiped away tears as she saw him entering the bathroom.

“Oh, Livy,” he exclaimed as he saw her shivering. As he grabbed a towel he said to her, “Please come out of there, Livy – you’re going to freeze. Honey, what’s wrong?” The water had grown cold as she had sat in the tub.

He gently helped her to her feet and wrapped the towel around her as he drew her to him. In his warm embrace she began to cry again as she leaned against his chest. “Oh Ray, I think I lost a baby.”

Ray was grateful that she was not looking at him and thus did not see the shock on his face as she revealed this news. As it was he was able to soothingly offer a “Shhh, shhh Livy, it’s okay – everything will be okay” as he rubbed his hand up and down her back. “Let’s get you into something warm and get you something hot to drink before you catch a real chill.”

He led her back down the hallway and into their room. After helping her into a clean night gown and robe, he guided her to the chair and helped her ease into it. Then he wordlessly took the sheets off the bed and got a new set of sheets from the linen closet and put the sheets on the bed. Afterwards, he went over to the chair where she stared out the window and taking her hand, he led her back to bed. He tucked the warm blanket around her and kissed on the forehead as he said, “I’ll go make us some coffee and then we can talk, okay?” She looked up at him through her tears and nodded slowly.

Ray hurried down the stairs, his mind a whirlwind of unanswered questions. Livy had been pregnant? Had she known? How far along had she been? Was she sure she lost the baby? Should he call the doctor or maybe Martha? He looked at the clock and noted that it was about 5:30 and he quickly made the coffee and carried it back upstairs with him having put some bread and butter on the tray as an after thought.

He found Livy still in bed, but she’d propped herself up a bit and had returned her gaze to the window. He set the tray down on the table and handed her a mug of coffee. She tried to smile as she thanked him and he just nodded as he tried to read her face.

“Do you feel okay, Livy? Are you in pain?” he asked.

She shook her head, “Not really, just a bit of cramping is all.”

“Should I call the doctor or maybe Martha?” he asked.

“I don’t know, Ray,” she said as she dissolved into tears. “I think it’s too late. I think I’ve lost the baby.”

Ray took her hands and bit his lower lip as he hesitated, “You’re sure there was a baby?”

She nodded slowly, “I am pretty sure – I was getting ready to get the doctor confirm it and then I wanted to surprise you with the news.” Her sentence ended with a sob.

Ray reached out and hugged her. “It’s okay, Livy – it’s okay. We have plenty of time so please don’t be so sad.” He couldn’t bear to see her so upset, but his own disappointment was beginning to sink in at the same time. He continued to hold her until her crying slowed and she settled down again.

“Here, drink a little coffee,” he said to her. She took a few sips and thanked him again.

“Oh Ray, I’m so sad for you too – I’m so sorry that I lost our baby,” she said.

“Livy!” he started. “Of course I’m sad, but don’t make it sound like this is some kind of failing on your part.”

They looked at each other and while Livy bit her lip to keep from crying again as she saw the sadness in his face, she didn’t start to cry again. Instead, it was Danny’s turn to cry. Ray jumped up and got Danny from his crib – he got him a clean diaper and then brought him to Livy. Livy managed a smile as Ray handed Danny to her and she said to Danny, “Good morning, sweetheart,” and she proceeded to give him his breakfast.

Ray sat on the bed again and after a few minutes he asked Livy, “If I can’t call the doctor, at least let me call Martha. I’ve got to tell you that somewhere between Ruth and Hank, Jr. Martha lost a baby like this so she’ll know what to do.”

Livy agreed and Ray went to call Martha, grateful that Ruth had pestered her parents into getting a phone at their house. Martha said she’d be over as soon as she finished getting Hank off to work. She’d leave Ruth in charge of getting the boys ready and off to school.
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Martha was able to convince Livy that a trip to the doctor was in order, just to confirm what had happen and make sure that all is well. “It will put all our minds at ease, Livy so if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for us,” Martha said. Livy felt like she couldn’t put this beloved family through additional worry and concern so she agreed that Martha could watch Danny while Ray took her to the doctor.
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Dr. McCutcheon smiled a bit sadly at Livy after completing her exam and told her that physically all seemed to be okay, but it did appear that she’d miscarried.

Livy nodded silently, her head bowing after he broke the news to her.

“If you would get dressed, I’d like to see both you and Mr. Singleton in my office before you leave,” he said gently.

She nodded again and when he left the room she dressed while the tears ran down her cheeks.

Ray was waiting for her in Dr. McCutcheon’s office and helped her into one of the two chairs opposite his desk. She knew by Ray’s expression that Dr. McCutcheon had also confirmed the miscarriage to him. Ray continued to hold her hand as they sat and looked at the doctor.

“Mrs. Singleton,” the doctor started, “I think you’ll find your recovery from this is the opposite of the recovery from your childbirth. For that the emotional recovery was easy because you had a beautiful healthy baby, but the physical recovery more challenging. For a miscarriage, you’ll be fine physically, but you’ll have your emotional ups and downs. I can tell you that you are healthy and that I have no reason to believe that you and Mr. Singleton won’t be able to have another child in the future. I also want you to call me if you have trouble with the emotions – it is important for you to be able to talk about what happened. And if you do have physical problems you should call me as well."

Ray nodded as he listened to the doctor and looked over at Livy who was fighting the tears. He stood and thanked the doctor as he shook his hand.

“Thank you, Dr. McCutcheon,” Livy said, ever polite.

Dr. McCutcheon nodded and smiled sadly and said, “I hope the next time I see you it will be under happier circumstances – that is usually how these things turn out so don’t give up hope.”

Livy and Ray left the doctor’s office and Livy started toward the truck. “Livy,” Ray said, “Let me buy you some coffee at the diner,” and he steered her toward the diner across the street.

As they sipped their coffee, Livy said to Ray, “I had no idea in the short time I believed myself to be pregnant how attached I had come to the idea of having your baby.”

He smiled at her and reached for her hand. “We have plenty of time, Livy. We have lots of time to have as many babies as you want. Dr. McCutcheon said it usually works out that way.”

She looked at him for a moment. “I don’t know what I’d do without you, Ray. I’d never have the strength to face this if I didn’t have you.”

He nodded. “I’ll always be here for you, Livy. As long as I’m on this earth I’ll be here for you. We’ll get through this together.” After a few moments he said, “Think you are ready to head home?”

She smiled through eyes shining with tears and nodded. “We have a beautiful boy waiting for us at home, don’t we? I have no reason to feel sorry for myself.”

They left the diner hand in hand and drove back in silence, both feeling sad, but both having a sense that yet another bond had formed between them.

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