Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lost Souls: Chapter One

Chapter One

"Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother's womb!" Numbers 12:12

Vancouver, Canada

January 16, 2000, 6:58am

“Aaughh,” Anna screamed as she pushed herself towards the end of the bed, the chaos in the room as nurses and doctors waited for her child to be born, left her dizzy from a lack of air. Her legs began shaking as she pushed against the wave of pain that washed across her stomach threatening to pull her apart. She could feel beads of sweat dotting her brow before pooling at her hairline. Squeezing her eyes shut, Anna could hear little pants escaping from her tight mouth in a futile effort to try to control the contraction.

“That’s it, Anna, keep pushing, your baby is almost here,” The doctor rested back on his stool, his appearance of calm authority grated on Anna and although she knew he couldn’t help her at this point, she wanted him to reach out and drag the baby from her. She couldn’t take the pain anymore and this doctor with his tidy mask and gloved hands, staring at her intently as he waited for some work to do, was more then she could bear.

Anna couldn’t believe how much pain she was in, and she was sure that it wasn’t normal. Nothing had been normal about this pregnancy or how it came to be. Nothing was normal or right. There was no father sitting beside her holding her hand and weeping with joy at the birth of his child. Simon was gone, along with his laughter and warmth, leaving her with nothing but pain as their child came into the world.

Anna looked to the side where Simon should have been and stared into the silly souvenir that was all he had left her. She couldn’t stop the tears that glistened in her eyes as she looked at the snow globe sitting on the nightstand beside her. Simon had been so serious when he had given it to her. “Give this to my child, Anna,” he had said and then he had walked out of her life leaving only a whisper where he had stood.

God, how she wanted to feel Simon’s whispers against her skin but a bigger part of her wanted to smash the snow globe as he had smashed her heart. Something had stopped her though, that part of her that still longed for him, the part that didn’t want to forget him. Her gaze shifted to the nurse, standing at her left knee. Her cold blue eyes, stared back at her with disapproval, and tears spilled down Anna’s cheeks, This can’t be it, this can’t be how my baby comes into this world. He needs to be surrounded by love and laughter, not the disapproving eyes of strangers.

The words never reached her lips as another contraction gripped her stomach and thighs, forcing her legs closed in an attempt to stop the pain. Anna writhed on the bed, her head tossing back and forth as she fought the contraction. The disapproving nurse pulled Anna’s legs apart until she was splayed again, her whispers echoing in Anna’s ears, “Just a little push, Anna and your baby will be in your arms.”

“I can’t, I can’t do this,” Anna moaned. She could feel her rich mahogany hair hanging in short sweaty spikes across her forehead; she groaned in her effort to control the contractions that wracked her body. With a scream she pushed with everything in her, feeling a sharp rip and a sudden loss not only in her body but also in her heart.

Squeezing her eyes tight, Anna breathed in. Her heart pounding out the time: one…two… three… waiting for the first cry from her child. Waiting for the doctors to do something, say something about the little soul that had been ripped from her. Her ears filled with far off murmurs as though the room had been cleared of people. Her heart drummed a tempo in her ears, drowning out the sounds in the room.

Four…Five… The space between each tempo was engulfed by a silence that was warm and heavy. Six… the silence splashed against her body like warm waves, flooding her veins with liquid sweetness. Seven…Eight… opening her eyes, she found herself drifting in the deep blue waters of some endless sea.

Nine… Simon swam through the tranquil waters, gliding towards her with a smile on his lips, his grey eyes bursting with light. The storm that she had often seen in their depths had parted, leaving light-kissed clouds in their stead. Simon’s smile spread through her body making her cry in relief.

Ten… her tears mingled with the salt of the ocean. She felt refreshed; the tempo that had been drumming in her ears lay silent. Anna breathed in a healing sigh and reached for Simon, catching his shoulders in her grasp, his warmth ebbing through the palms of her hands and up her arms. A blond lock fell against his forehead and Anna reached up to catch the silky tendril in her fingers.

Gazing into his eyes she found the storm again. Gold lightening flashed across them. Blood ran down his nose between his turbulent eyes and Anna realized that gaping wounds circled his forehead. The blood poured out of them and dripped into the peaceful water staining it purple.

“God, no, no,” Anna thrust her hands against Simon’s forehead while her body shook in desperation. Anna gagged on her cries as the blood shot from between her fingers. “Simon,” she gasped in horrified confusion, “What’s happening?”

Simon shook his head, sadness pulling his wonderful lips into a frown as he did. He leaned towards her and Anna thought he meant to kiss her but she pulled back, afraid of what was happening. Her hands slipped from his face and Simon entwined her fingers with his. He began pushing her away from him, her body sliding easily away in the water. Pain shot up her arms as he pushed but it didn’t compare to the pain shooting towards her heart. The pain took root as he said, “No Anna, it’s time for you to wake up. It’s time for you to go and meet our son.”

Anna jerked forward, her eyes shooting open as she did. The room that had been a quiet and orderly chaos was now at full-scale war. The lights were glaring; the peaceful little birthing room of dull blues was now an unsettling mass of cloaked figures draped in blue. The harsh buzzing of alarm bells echoed through the room as hands pushed her back onto the bed. Her body felt cold and clammy, her hospital gown clung to her body, strangling her, and her arms fell limply to her sides. “Doctor, her pulse is stabilizing.”

A blinding light shone in first her left eye and then the right. A nurse fumbled with wires and tape above her. I’m so cold, Anna thought as she tried to relax her racing heart, and calm the tremors that wracked her body. Her hands quivered as she flexed them, trying to encourage warmth back into them.

The doctor murmured to her as he worked, “You gave us quite a scare, Anna. Where did you go?”

Anna stared at him, startled by the question. She licked her dry lips as she tried to focus on the thoughts flooding through her. Where had she gone? Smiling wistfully, she answered in a frail voice that didn’t sound like her own “I was with Simon.”

The doctor paused in his examination, focusing on her eyes as he weighed what she had said. His hands tightened painfully on her wrist in an involuntary spasm making Anna gasp in pain. “I’m sorry, Miss. Torrez,” he murmured breaking contact with her but Anna wasn’t sure if he was apologizing for her wrist or for the fact that she was obviously ill, “Let’s get you checked out.”

Backing away from her, he turned his attention to the nurse near the bed. “I want a full set of blood tests. Blood Sugar, CBC, and check her O2 stats. Get that mask back on her and get an EKG. Keep her monitored for 24 hours to see how she is doing and then we’ll decide if we need to do a CT scan. Notify me immediately if anything else happens with her.”

The nurse nodded at his instructions as the doctor gave Anna one last look before moving away to write his orders in her chart. Her mind reeled at his words, not able to close around the growing worry that she had been close to death.

My tranquil swim with Simon was nothing more than a dream turned nightmare. That’s all it was. The fatigue of labour had induced a partially sub-conscience hallucination, making me think that I had fallen asleep. My stress had changed the peacefulness I had been feeling into a nightmare. Anna comforted herself with those thoughts but another question drifted in the air before her, Are you sure it wasn’t more than a dream?

Anna left it hanging there like a thick black spider dangling on its silken thread, turning her attention instead to the line on the monitor that was happily displaying her heart rate instead. Whatever happened, I’m here now. I’m here for my son, she thought, My son!

Peering through the mass of bodies, Anna could see her son’s small face turned towards her. His eyes were wide open and blinking, and Anna was sure that when she got close enough she would see his father’s eyes staring back at her. For all his awareness, not one sound issued from his frail body. He lay there with a patient expression creasing his brow as the doctors prodded him with their instruments, taking their measurements.

The tone of their voices, gave a certainty that they were worried about the small infant on the table. Outside of his lack of crying, he seemed perfect, his skin was the red shade of all newborns, and his limbs were slowly starting to move as the cool air washed over him.

“Doctor, his heart rate is one fifty. His Apgar score is at a six."

The doctor’s terse reply was lost to the noise of the room but the tone made Anna’s heart skip a beat. She could hear Simon’s words echoing in her ears, “Meet our son, Anna, meet our son…our son.”

“Doctor, what’s wrong with my son? Why isn’t he crying? Let me see him, Oh God, please let me see him,” she cried as the nurse leaned over her to place the oxygen mask on her face. Her sobs went unanswered as the doctors worked on her son, leaving Anna to do nothing except pray.


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