You’ll Thank Me Later

They are here because of preeclampsia. Lauren is a type 1 diabetic, and at 37 weeks, her blood pressure has gone up, and protein has been found in her urine. She called Gordon away from work that afternoon, Lauren’s mother, Marti, met them at the hospital, and they have been preparing for a C-section all afternoon. Lauren is on magnesium sulfate and feels miserable: it gives the feeling of having a virus and a fever.

The anesthesiologist has just been in to explain the epidural procedure. They give Lauren’s mother and the man a pair of scrubs and a mask to put on, and they take Lauren to the operating room. Once changed, they are directed to a hallway leading to the OR. The man sits in a chair, and the weight of the moment is suddenly upon him. This is their first child. For all he knows, it might be their only child. And they are here at this moment because things are not right. It should be okay, but there are no guarantees and diabetes presents a lot of unknowns. Preeclampsia is serious, diabetes is serious, surgery is serious.

He puts his head in his hands wishing Lauren were with him and he were with her, wishing his own parents were here, muttering a silent prayer. Then he says aloud to his mother in law, “There goes my whole life. Lauren. The baby. Everything I have is in that room.”

He is looking at the floor as he says it. Then he hears a click. He looks up. Marti is holding a camera. “Good lord,” he says, “did you just take a picture?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Why on God’s green earth did you do that?”

“I don’t know. It seemed like a good moment.”

“It’s a terrible moment. I’m terrified of everything and feel like everything hangs in the balance and I look like hell, and you just snap a picture.”

“It will be a good memory.”

“I’m gonna burn that picture. I can’t believe you did that.”

“You’ll love it. You’ll thank me later.”

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