Rory was nervously tapping her fingers against the side of her bed. Clad in a white hospital gown, she anxiously awaited Logan's arrival. She only hoped he wasn't too worried, but she knew not to get her hopes up given her current state. Logan had entered full over-protective father mode ever since she entered her eighth month of pregnancy.
She had to admit that she was going crazy inside; she'd been admitted over two hours ago and had had doctors come in and out of her room, performing all kinds of tests on her and her baby but no one said much to her. She couldn't help the uneasy feeling at the pit of her stomach. Her hand rested firmly on her large stomach. A baby boy. They had discovered the sex of the baby a little over two months ago. Logan had been ecstatic.
Even though she didn't have a check-up scheduled, she decided to go to the hospital, Saint Francis Hospital, due to the strange movements she had noticed since the night before. Eli Gilmore Huntzberger. That was the name they had chosen for their child.
I'm going crazy here! Rory silently thought, her eyes darting towards the door every once in a while. So far no one had said much to her. And it was beginning to unsettle her. Suddenly, Logan rushed through the door, a concerned expression on his face.
"Rory!" he exclaimed as soon as he laid eyes on her. He quickly walked over to her bed and placed a sweet kiss on her forehead, caressing her hair all the while. "I got
a call saying you were here but they wouldn't tell me why, what's going on?" he asked in a rush.
"I'm fine. We're fine," she said taking his hand in hers, looking into his eyes, trying to make sure he got what she was saying. "It's just that, Eli was kicking up a storm last night and he hasn't moved at all these last few hours; it just seemed odd to me so I decided to come for a check up"
"So, what'd the doctor say?" he asked, as he occupied the chair by her bed.
"Nothing yet. They performed two ultrasounds and ran a few more tests on me, but no one's said much. All they told me was that they had called you and were waiting for you to get here," she finished.
"I guess we'll find out soon enough, right?" he placed a small kiss on the back of her hand and smiled at her, but Rory could tell he was nervous. And she couldn't blame him. She was a basket case herself, but tried to appear calm for Logan's sake.
"Hello, I'm Doctor Aileen Callahan. You must be Rory," she said after scanning her chart and looking in Rory's direction.
"That's me," she replied somewhat nervously.
"I'm assuming the gentleman over here is the daddy." This time Doctor Callahan directed her voice at Logan and he nodded in response.
"That would be me. Logan Huntzberger," he said, smiling proudly, extending his hand for her to shake. They remained in silence after that, while Doctor Callahan went over Rory's chart.
"Doctor Callahan, I've been here for over three hours and no one's told me anything. Is there something wrong?" Finally all of Rory's fears began to take over her and she could no longer hide the fact that she was terrified.
Doctor Callahan remained silent for another minute. Then she pulled up a chair and sat, facing Logan and Rory.
"I've been overseeing your case, Rory," she said gently. Her tone was doing nothing to ease Rory's, and Logan's, fears. "I'm very sorry to have kept you waiting; we've been extremely busy these last few days, even more so than usual" she stopped for a few seconds and looked at them. Their uneasiness kept growing with every passing second.
"There is a specific reason as to why I, or anyone else for that matter, have not discussed anything with you. You see, when you first described your situation, it didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary. There are many reasons as to why your baby hasn't been moving. He could be just sleeping. However, we decided to perform an ultrasound just to make sure everything was ok." She stopped once again and both Rory and Logan felt their hearts pounding furiously against their chests.
"But we were unable to hear your baby's heartbeat. This could have been due to him being in an awkward position, so I asked for a second ultrasound, so as to get a second opinion"
"And?" asked Logan, already fearing the answer. Rory was white as a ghost.
"We were, once again, unable to find a heartbeat" she responded softly. "The medical terms for this are intrauterine death or death in utero. There are many reasons why this could have happened, but we won't be able to determine exactly why until after you deliver your baby" she spoke softly but firmly, looking at them carefully. Rory had remained quiet all the while.
"What are our options? For delivery, I mean" said Rory, speaking up for the first time in over ten minutes.
"It's up to you, really. We can give you drugs, to help speed up the process if you wish to deliver the baby naturally. We can perform a C-section, if that's what you really want, though I don't recommend it. Water birth, home birth, there are many options. You don't need to decide right now, you can take some time to think about this" answered Doctor Callahan.
"How much time do we have?" asked Logan, his voice barely above a whisper.
"I would recommend you make a decision within the next 24-48 hours. Waiting for more than a few days may put your health at a degree of risk. There is a very small risk of developing Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation if the baby is left in the uterus too long. This is a malfunction in the mother's blood clotting mechanism, due to her body reacting to the dying tissue of the baby," Doctor Callahan explained quickly.
"I'm going to give you a few hours so that you can think this through. First thing you need to decide is whether you want to deliver the baby now or wait for a bit. If you've made a decision, push the call button and have a nurse page me, ok?" she asked gently. She left the grieving parents alone.
"I'm sorry," Logan heard Rory's tiny voice whisper, her head downcast and silent tears running down her cheeks.
"For what?" he asked gently, wiping the teas away with his thumbs.
"For letting you down." Logan could feel his heart breaking into a million pieces. He didn't think it'd be possible to feel even more pain after discovering his son had died.
"Oh Rory, don't say that," he said firmly. He stood up and sat back again on her bed, wrapping his arms tightly around her, while placing kisses all over her head and face. "You could never let me down, Ace" at Rory's lack of response he insisted. "Look at me" Rory slowly lifted her head and discovered tears on her husband's eyes and face. "I love you. I love you so much. And I love our son. This is not your fault, do you hear me?" he asked.
"Women all over the world give birth to perfectly healthy children all the time. But not me. I couldn't do the one thing I was born to do. The one thing every woman is able to do. I couldn't even give you a healthy baby." She broke down in sobs, her body shaking.
"Our son wasn't meant to stay with us, honey. He was meant to be angel," he whispered to her, but Rory was sobbing hysterically. It was only after an hour or so had passed that they were both able to calm down.
"We should probably start talking about what to do, right?" she asked.
"Yeah, we should," he softly responded. "Do you want to do it now? I mean, we can go back home for a day or two, if that's what you want. Whatever you want, it's up to you."
"I think…we should do it now," said Rory with some difficulty after a minute of silence. "I don't think I can't take going home right now, seeing the nursery set up, knowing the next time we leave we won't bring a baby back with us." She was struggling to get the words out. It was the first time either of them truly acknowledged the death of their son.
"Would you like me to give Lorelai a call? I'm sure she could be here for you, before we do this," he stroked her hand comfortingly. He too struggled with each sentence.
"No," she said firmly, surprising Logan. He'd been sure she would have said yes. After all, Rory was still very dependent on her mother. "I just want to be with you right now. I love my mom, but she'd never understand."
"Ok, it'll be just the two of us," he whispered.
"I don't want a C-section," Rory said. Logan and she had been discussing their options for birth for a few minutes.
"Ok. I'm going to get a nurse to page Doctor Callahan, alright? Do you need anything? Water, more pillows, anything?" he asked while standing up. She shook her head and Logan left to get a nurse.
He returned a few minutes later, with Doctor Callahan behind him.
"So, Logan tells me you've made a decision" she began.
"Yes, we want to deliver the baby now," Rory said softly, the words catching at her throat.
"Through natural labor, is that right?" the doctor asked them, she was writing some information on Rory's chart.
"Yes." This time it was Logan who responded.
"Ok," she said once she finished writing everything down. She walked over to a cabinet and pulled a pair of latex gloves out. "I'm going to do a quick examination, ok Rory? To see if you've begun labor and have dilated at all."
"Well, you're not dilated yet so we're going to give you an Intravenous oxytocin infusion. It's a drug normally used to help women start labor. A drip line is attached to a cannula in your vein on the back of your hand, or arm. The oxytocin is steadily released into your bloodstream via the drip, which is attached to an infusion pump that controls the rate of flow and the amount of medication given. The rate is gradually increased every 15 to 30 minutes, until contractions are well established. Any questions?" she asked once she finished explaining the procedure. Both Logan and Rory shook their heads.
About two hours later, Rory was being wheeled to a delivery room, as she was fully dilated and contractions were only a minute apart. Logan walked by her side, holding her hand tightly and whispering comforting words to her.
About ten minutes and only three pushes later, Doctor Callahan handed the silent baby boy to Rory. She took him with trembling hands and held him against her chest tightly, as she let out a sob. He had little hair but they could tell it was his father's hair; a very light shade of blonde. His eyes were shut, and he looked peaceful, as if he were just sleeping. Rory's body was shaking from the crying, and after a few minutes she handed the baby, who was wrapped in a light-blue sheet, to Logan. He sat in a chair nearby and stared at his son. He felt as if someone had ripped his heart out. He looked up and noticed the doctor had left them by themselves, and what was supposed to be the happiest moment of his life had turned into the most heart-wrenching experience. All of their hopes, their happiness, their joy, their fears, everything they had felt since they found out they were going to be parents evaporated. And now, there was nothing but pain there; the most excruciating pain Logan had ever known.