I didn't know what he was talking about.
"What?" I asked.
Dr T blew me off. He pressed buttons while staring intently at the screen.
"Hold on, hold on...let me see.." he trailed off into silence.
I lay back and closed my eyes. My nights had been broken up by frequent trips to the bathroom, and now, sleep came easily.
The dream materialized quickly, and I recognized it as a memory:
On Tuesday nights we took alone time. Dwayne would go bowling with the guys, and I'd hang out with the girls, dancing at clubs. But on this particular night in August, the rain tapped at the window gently, hypnotizing us into forgetting our plans and focusing on each other. I watched him, bent over in the closet, searching for his bowling ball, until he felt me waiting. Words were secondary as our chemistry charged the air, summoning him to hug me. Sweet pecks and gentle touches turned serious, and before we knew it, we were tangled up on the bed, looking into each others' eyes.
"Do you want to try?"
"Yes. Do you?"
When I told him that I was pregnant, he was overjoyed. We saved, we planned, we moved into a new home.
My eyes flew open and my dream was shattered when the cold speculum touched my skin.
"Scooch down a little", Dr. T insisted.
My stomach fluttered faintly. I knew I had to ask.
"Dr T? What do you mean by 'the date has changed?'"
"Your due date. It changed from May to June. That's strange."
He spoke in choppy, distracted sentences that intimidated me. I stared at the screen instead of talking. This was supposed to be a sonogram, but it was still so early in the pregnancy that it couldn't be done on my belly, so Dr. T used a wand inside of me. I could see my baby nestled peacefully in my stomach. My heart swelled for just a second before I cried out in pain.
"Ow!", I called out, "That wand thing hurts! Can you do it more gently?"
"I'm sorry", Dr T said, "I don't mean to hurt you. I'm just trying to get the baby to move." He pushed it again. "See? It should be squirming all over when I wiggle the wand up and down, but it doesn't. And the heartbeat should be right here, but there's nothing."
He pointed at a large black spot in the middle of my baby. It sat motionless, empty, blocking me from connecting with my child. I looked away before the void could swallow me up.
"No", I argued. The wand was still in me, but I ignored the sharps stabs that radiated through my thighs when I sat up and jabbed a finger at the screen. "Look! It's moving! Right there!"
His face softened and he finally took it out, placing it quietly on the metal tray next to us. My arms were folded on top of my belly, both defiantly and protectively.
"Honey, I am so sorry, but the arm is very flaccid. What you're seeing is involuntary movement in the fluid. I'm afraid the baby has died. That's why your due date has changed."
He put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed it, but I shook it off and turned away from him.
I've never been able to stomach that word ever since.
CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States.
You can now order SUKI in paperback at http://hopress-shorehousebooks.com/cf-winn/ or at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Learn more about SUKI at http://bookrevue.com/localauthors.html.
Her blogs have been syndicated on multiple sites including The Masquerade Crew. More humorous posts can be found at Humor Outcasts and The Patch where she is a regular contributor.