But this was not a birthing unit, not even the hospital where I was employed. I was like any other anxious person waiting to hear how someone they love is doing. Here no one knew me. I was politely but impersonally directed to the surgical waiting area on the second floor, which was basically deserted because it was a Sunday morning. That meant there were few surgeries going on and that the emergency room here had been relatively calm on Saturday night. This was pretty remarkable since this was a holiday weekend, Memorial Day weekend.
Getting up out of a too soft chair I gazed at the pictures on the walls without seeing them, and thought back to remember other times I had been in this position. Not often, thankfully. When my husband died he had been dead on arrival in an emergency room. In that horrific scenario the staff had shown me every courtesy and consideration. Everett’s tonsillectomy did not count, nor did the fifteen or twenty stitches in my daughter Janelle’s knee. Being the mom had given me special status and the worry factor had been minor. Only my mother-in-law and my own father were hospitalized for any period of time, both in the terminal stages of their illnesses, and both had eventually died at home.
There had been sadness and concern then. Now the emotion foremost in my mind was anxiety. I admitted it and took a very deep breath as the second step in getting control over it. Everett was returning with our coffees. I could see him getting off the elevator at the far side of the corridor. He didn’t need me to lose my grip.
It was our beloved Judy, Everett’s wife. We were waiting to hear how she was doing. Judy, who had not only lost her baby, but could now lose her own life. Everett might not realize that, but I knew it.
Only two weeks earlier they called me to share the news they were expecting another child, a brother or sister for Joel. They were excited and happy and so was I. The baby would have been due at Christmas time.
Another phone call last night was not so happy. Judy was bleeding and they wanted some advice. Should they go to the emergency room? I advised them to do so if the bleeding continued, or if Judy was in a lot of pain. We all knew it meant she was having a miscarriage. A few hours more put them on the road for the forty-minute drive to the hospital, with a quick drop off of a sleepy Joel at Judy’s grandmother’s house. At five- thirty Everett called me back, as frantic as I had ever known him to be. Judy was in surgery but what began as a minor procedure had become complicated.