This cannot be happening to me! Dana screamed inside of her head. I’m too young for this. I never meant for this to happen.
“Lisa, come here quick.” Trembling and with a shaky voice, Dana called out from the bathroom to her older sister.
“Hold on, I’m on the phone.”
“Lisa, I need you to come here NOW!”
Lisa ended her call and entered the bathroom. “Dana what’s up?”
Dana began to cry hysterically thinking of the mess that she had made of her life at that point. She backed up to sit on the toilet seat and handed the stick she was holding over to Lisa.
“What is this?” Lisa was astonished. “Why do you have this? And why is the line pink?” Lisa backed up to the wall, slid down to the floor, and cupped her forehead.
Dana stared at her big sister. She hoped Lisa would tell her what to do.
“It shows that it’s positive, but sometimes these tests are wrong. When I took one last year is showed that I was not pregnant but I have a birth certificate to prove otherwise.” Lisa refused to think about the other certificate she had for her baby. She needed to focus on her little sister’s issues now; not her own. “How late are you?”
“Let me see.” Dana began to count on her fingers the weeks that had passed since she last had her period. She paused before she held her fingers high to signal her answer to Lisa. Fresh tears streamed her face. She lowered her head.
“Two months Dana? Two whole months have gone by and you haven’t said anything to me about this?”
Dana interjected Lisa’s scolding. “I knew what you were going through and I didn’t want to bother you.”
“Yeah I’ve been going through a lot because of the baby, but you still could’ve said something to me. It was one thing for me to get pregnant right after graduating from high school, but you Dana, you’re in the middle of your seventh grade year. You’re not ready or prepared to have a baby.”
“I know. Honestly I don’t want to, but I don’t think it would be right to kill the baby.” Dana gripped her stomach as the words escaped her mouth. “But I’m not old enough to have a baby... You have your issues. Daddy is sick. Momma is so strung out most of the times she doesn’t know if she’s coming or going.” Hot streams of water found their way down Dana’s face.
“I don’t agree with abortions either, but what other alternative do we have. It’s hard for us around here as it is. Bringing another mouth to feed in this house would be too much for us to deal with.”
“So what should we do?”
“Maybe momma will stay clean long enough to handle this matter. She’s your legal guardian and there’s not too much that can be done without her consent.”
Dana and Lisa washed their faces and set out in the apartment to find their mother. Luckily for them she had not left yet. Her pusher did not accept customers until noon. She was in a lucid state of mind.
“Hey girls.” Sharon winked at her greatest accomplishments. “What are you all up to?”
Lisa did not know how her mother would respond to the situation. “Ma, Dana is pregnant.”
“Dana is what? Run that by me again!”
“Dana is pregnant. What do we do?”
“First things first is that she is going to get an abortion!” Sharon lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply from the slender cylinder. It calmed her only until she began to reflect on what she had just heard. “Dana, what business do you have having sex, let alone getting pregnant? I don’t understand. Haven’t you seen enough to know not to have sex at your age, let alone get pregnant?”
“How could she? You’re always strung out, daddy has been sick for a while, and I’ve had my issues. Who’s really here to take care of her and raise her?”
Fuming, Sharon jumped up into her eldest daughter’s face and poked her in the chest. “Who do you think you are talking to? You will not disrespect me. I am your mother. You will not disrespect me, you got that?” Sharon inhaled deeply from her cigarette again.
Lisa withdrew and retreated to the couch stationed across from her mother knowing that no matter how her mother lived her life, she still had no right to disrespect her. Lisa knew her mom meant business. Sharon sat back down. Dana sat closely to Lisa.
“I know I told you all never to get an abortion because you would be taking a life, but since your father has had that stroke he hasn’t been able to work so money has been really tight around here.”
“Yeah and you spend what’s left getting high.” Lisa mumbled under her breath.
“I heard what you said missy and you better watch your mouth before I come across this table on you.” Sharon retorted as she put out her cigarette in the ashtray. “I know I have issues, but I’m working through them. We were going to welcome Lisa’s baby into the house but she knew the baby would be her responsibility. With you Dana, a baby would be all of our responsibility and we, well I just can’t handle that know.” Sharon scooted to the edge of the couch with tears in her eyes began to speak softly to Dana. “Baby you are too young to have a baby. You make good grades. I was looking forward to you going farther in life than I ever did. That can’t happen if you have a baby now.” Sharon began to fidget and scratch her arms and thighs. “Yup, the best thing for us to do is to get you down to that clinic as soon as possible and get the procedure over with so that things can get back to normal again. Although you shouldn’t be having sex AT ALL, we’ll see to it that after you have the procedure you start birth control so that we never have to deal with this issue again.” Sharon grabbed the cigarette from the ashtray, relit it, grabbed her jacket and purse and headed out the door into the cold Chicago winter.
Lisa went to sleep that night with memories haunting her. Dana went to sleep wondering what would happen next.
“Dana get up. You have to get ready to go the clinic. It’s eight o’clock now, but it opens at nine. If you get there early, you shouldn’t have to wait all day. You might be one of the first ones they call.”
“Is momma here?”
“No, but she knows what time the clinic opens. She seemed so serious about you getting the you-know-what.” Cringing, Lisa could not even fix her lips to say the word abortion. “She’ll be here.”
Lisa left the room to go and fix breakfast for her bed-ridden father. A stroke six months prior had left the entire right side of his body paralyzed, and his speech slurred. She entered his room and placed the makeshift breakfast tray on the nightstand beside his bed. She opened up the curtains. It’s not like the abandoned building next door would be the best view for him, but at least it would shed some sunlight into his room.
“Good morning daddy.” Lisa always put on a cheerful façade whenever she entered his presence. So much had went on in the world outside of his bedroom that she didn’t want him privy to. She feared any other dreadful news would send him to his grave for sure. She seemed to think that the consecutive death of his mother and then the murder of her older brother had caused his stroke. She definitely would not let him in on what was going on in her life and especially not Dana’s. “Today is going to be a great day.” Lisa emptily said that phrase to him so many times that she was almost tempted to believe it, but life had proven otherwise. She was about to sit down to feed him his food but decided to empty his catheter first. The stroke prevented him from doing some of the most basic things in life like urinating on his own.
The doctors suggested that he be put in a nursing facility after they explained the severity of his paralysis, bus she refused to send him away. She couldn’t fathom abandoning her father when he had been the only constant in her life.
“Open up.” She always got choked up at the sight of Harold struggling to open his mouth to eat. She tried to engage him in conversation whenever she was in his room, but since he hated to hear the sound of his slurred speech, he opted not speak. He only smiled the best way he could. He would squeeze her hand whenever she was on his left side. Lisa finished feeding him, turned the TV on for him to watch and reminded him that the physical therapist would be there later on in the day after his nurse came to visit.
Dana ran up to her the minute she closed the door to their father’s bedroom. “Where is ma? She seemed so serious about me going to the clinic today. It’s 11 o’clock already, and she’s not here. I could’ve gone to school.”
“Come in the kitchen with me, I would hate for daddy to hear us.” Dana followed Lisa into the kitchen and sat at the small table. “So do you know who the father is? Have you told him?”
Dana hesitated before answering. “Yeah, he’s a freshman. I told him that I thought that I might be pregnant. At first he looked at me like I was stupid for thinking he was the daddy, but I stood there long enough staring at him, and I think he got the picture that he is the father.”
“So what did he say after that?”
“He said that it was my decision what I wanted to do. If I wanted to have an abortion, he would pay half on it. If I decided to keep the baby, then he would be there to support the baby.”
“Dana, I can’t judge you for what you’ve done but you do understand how difficult this will be for you? It would definitely be difficult if you were to keep the baby, but not keeping the baby will be just as rough. I know I think about all of the hypotheticals for my baby all the time. What he would grow up to be. How he would be in school. The sound of his cry. The touch of his soft skin.” Dana passed Lisa some tissue. Lisa dabbed at her eyes thinking on more things she would never experience with her son.
“I’m sorry Lisa. I know that this is hard for you. I’m pregnant, and your baby is not here.”
Lisa thought back to the worst moment of her life.
“Derrick, something is not right. We need to get to the hospital ASAP.” A nine months pregnant Lisa spoke out to her boyfriend in pain.
“Ok, just let me see if I can get my boy to come pick us up and take us to the county hospital.”
“No Derrick. This can’t wait. We can just walk to the hospital down the street. I need someone to see me now.” Lisa shrieked as the eerie feeling and pain intensified in her stomach. She hunched over for a second before the pain just stopped.
Derrick hung up his cell phone and ran to Lisa’s side to help her up. “Lisa are you alright?”
“Yeah. The pain just stopped.”
“So what do you want to do?”
“I have an appointment in the morning anyway, so I can wait ‘til then and get checked out. I heard that sometimes women have false labor pains all the time. Maybe that’s what it was.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to go the hospital?” Derrick looked puzzled. “You were just screaming like you were really in pain, bad pain.”
“Yeah, it’ll be fine bae. I’ll just take a long bath and get some sleep. I’m so excited! Only a few more weeks, and then junior will be here.”
“I wish I could stay here with you,” Derrick grumbled hoping his puppy dog eyes would entice Lisa to let him stay. He got close to Lisa and wrapped his long arms around her big belly and interlaced his hands behind her back. She locked her fingers around his neck. They stared into each other’s eyes.
“Well, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if you did. It’s not like my mom will come in, she’s only been gone for a day so if she sticks to her pattern, she won’t be back for at least another four days and sadly my dad can’t move around on his own, so he won’t know that you’re here unless you’re loud.” They kissed, tangling their tongues before she left her bedroom to prepare her bath.
Lisa was eighteen and pregnant; she did not think that her daddy would mind the father of her child, the love of her life spending the night in their house.
Normally Lisa was awakened by the baby kicking her frantically, but that morning she felt nothing. She was somewhat nervous but figured everything was okay and her checkup in an hour would prove that she and her baby were fine.
“Hi Dr. Sullivan.” Lisa exclaimed.
“Hi Lisa. How are you and the baby doing?
“Oh, we’re fine. I had some weird pains last night. I was going to go to the hospital, but the pain stopped and I figured I would just stick to my checkup today and you would update me on our status.”
Dr. Sullivan looked worried. “Weird pains? Can you describe them more for me?
“I’ll try. It was kind of like someone was stabbing me over and over with a long sharp knife in my stomach, but when the pain stopped I just figured it was those fake labor pains that I’ve heard about before.” Lisa smiled. Dr. Sullivan didn’t.
“Anything else happened?”
“Well, I felt the baby kicking before the pains started. I haven’t felt him kick me since then. That’s kind of unusual because his kicks me awake every morning.” Lisa noticed the pensive look on her doctor’s face. “Is there something wrong?”
“I’m not sure, but I think that we need to do an ultrasound.” Dr. Sullivan signaled for the nurse to come in and set things up for him.
Michelle rubbed the cold jelly on Lisa’s stomach and stepped out of the way to let Dr. Sullivan takeover. Using the ultrasound and his stethoscope, Dr. Sullivan immediately identified the problem. He did not know how he would break the news to Lisa. He had been her doctor from the very beginning of the pregnancy, and he knew how ecstatic she was to bring the baby, her son, into the world.
Lisa sensed Dr. Sullivan’s tension, but feared asking him questions because of the answers he might give. She reached her arm out and Derrick was immediately at her side. He sensed her fears. “Doc, my baby’s fine right?” Lisa’s lips quivered.
“Well Lisa, you’re right, the baby is not moving at all and I can’t seem to find a heartbeat. I think that we should perform an emergency C-section to determine if the baby indeed is still alive.
Lisa bucked her head and her mouth flew open. “What do you mean to see if the baby is still alive? I just felt my son kick last night. He is definitely alive! Oh, you can perform the C-section as long you don’t hurt my son. It’s fine. I’d love to meet him sooner than expected.” Lisa silently prayed to the heavens above that her baby would be alright.
Lisa woke up from her emergency C-section hoping to hear her son cry, but the look in Derrick’s bloodshot eyes as he stood next to her bed let her know something wasn’t right. “Derrick where is junior? I want to see my baby.”
“Lisa, they took him away. He was a stillborn. They say he took his last breath last night.” Derrick crumbled to the floor in tears.
“No Derrick. You’re lying. Where is my baby? Where is my baby?” Lisa screamed frantically trying to get off the operating table. It took several nurses to subdue her.
Dr. Sullivan approached her with compassion in his eyes. “Lisa, I’m so sorry. There was nothing that I could do. The baby was a stillborn as I suspected.”
Tears clouded Lisa’s vision as she tried to focus in on Dr. Sullivan. She hoped what he was saying was not true. “Where is he? Can I see him?”
Dr. Sullivan did not think it was best for Lisa to see the baby but decided to grant her request anyway. He instructed the nurse to get the baby prepared for Lisa before they took him away to the morgue.
Michelle the nurse brought the baby to Lisa and gently placed him in her arms. Astonished, Lisa sat up and tightly embraced the lifeless body she had carried in her womb for nine months. She did not know how she would live without him; she did not want to.
“Lisa, do you hear me talking to you?” Dana could tell that Lisa had drifted off to that sad and dark place she had visited often since her baby had died. She handed Lisa more tissues and rubbed her sister’s back.
“What did you say?” Lisa spoke trying to contain the sobs that desired to erupt from her soul as they did nightly. “Don’t worry about me Dana. I don’t know when and if, but I hope I get over this soon. It hurts so bad though. Maybe if I wouldn’t have been so caught up in my sorrows and paid more attention to you, then you wouldn’t be in the situation you’re in now.”
“It’s not your fault. I knew better; I just didn’t do better. He was paying lots of attention to me, and I liked it.”
“If momma paid more attention to us then maybe we wouldn’t be where we are in life.”
“You can’t blame her Lisa. She had it hard growing up.” Dana always took up for their mother.
“That’s all the more reason why she shouldn’t want us to experience what she experienced. Look I don’t want to talk about her anymore. It’s after noon now, and I don’t think she’ll be back for a couple of days. Since you can’t get it done without her consent, we’ll just have to wait until she returns. In the meantime, since you’re home lets go spend some time with daddy.