It had been two weeks since Grace had been told to take it easy. She had just finished dinner when Ben got home.
“Grace! I told you I would do that when I got home. You should be resting.”
“I am going crazy Ben. I had to do something.”
Ben kissed her on the cheek. “Baby, I know, but it is just 8 more weeks. Promise, when you get home you’ll not do anything.”
“Okay, oh…I need to go to the bathroom. I have to pee every five minutes. Cole is sitting right on my bladder. Go ahead without me.”
Ben sat down and started to eat when he heard Grace calling out from the bathroom. “Ben! Come here! Hurry!”
Ben’s heart jumped in his chest and he bolted into the bathroom. Grace was sitting on the toilet white as a sheet. She pointed to her blood soaked panties lying on the floor. He suddenly got weirdly calm, like he wasn’t in his own body anymore. “Any pain?” he heard himself ask.
Grace shook her head no. Ben began to breathe again. “Okay, good.” He reached out to gently help her up hoping she couldn’t feel him shaking. “You need to lie down. I’m calling an ambulance.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ben sat by Grace’s hospital bed and watched her sleep. Even in sleep she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Her bleeding had stopped and she hadn’t gone into labor. Two good signs. He was so scared he was going to lose one or both of them. His family. They were his everything. He didn’t know what he would do if anything happened to Grace or their baby.
Grace opened her eyes and looked around. “You’re in the hospital sweetheart,” said Ben as he squeezed her hand. Her other hand quickly went to feel where the baby should be. Ben grabbed it and placed it so she could feel that the baby was still there.
Grace was visibly relieved.
Ben scooted closer not wanting to let go of her hand. “You are okay. So is the baby. They just want you to stay tonight for observation. The nurse said the doctor would be here in a few minutes to talk to us.”
“I can’t believe I feel asleep. I was so worried he was going to be born early,” said Grace.
“They gave you something to calm you down,” said Ben. “You don’t remember?”
Grace shook her head. Just then, the door opened and Dr. McKinley walked in.
She strolled over to end of her bed. “Hi Grace, Ben,” she said smiling, “You gave us a scare. Fortunately Ben, you did the right thing by lying her down and calling an ambulance rather than driving her yourself. Getting the pressure of the baby off of her helped a lot. The paramedics also know what to do so, yes, good move Ben.”
“You’re scaring me now,” said Grace sheepishly.
“Well, the bleeding isn’t a good sign. But the baby’s heartbeat is strong and your vitals are all good. We didn’t need to give you any blood. It looked worse than it was. So not all bad. We are going to keep you overnight just to be sure the bleeding doesn’t start again then you can go home tomorrow.”
She turned her attention to Ben. “When you get her home, she is to have complete bed rest. She can only get up to go to the restroom. We need her to carry this baby a little longer. She is only 30 weeks and ideally we want her to get to at least 37 weeks which is essentially a full term baby, although he may be small. We can take him a little earlier if we have to, but would prefer not to. Any questions?”
“What if he were born now?” asked Grace.
“He would be a very sick little boy. We need to keep him where he is as long as possible. Call when you get home and schedule an appointment for two weeks. After that we will probably do weekly. We want to keep a close eye on you. Don’t worry, it’s going to be okay. We just want you to go as long as possible and bed rest is what we need to do at this point.”
After the doctor left Ben scooped Grace into his arms. “You okay Babe?”
She tried to smile as a tear ran down her cheek. “I’m so sorry Ben. This has been so difficult. The medical bills are piling up. If the baby comes early, it will be even worse and now I have to quit school. I can’t be alone for the next two months. What are we going to do?”
“Grace…you know Audrey had some babies…and they are producing. Austin’s been buying everything. I think he is reselling it. Regardless, we will just see if he knows anyone else in the market or maybe he’ll buy it himself. I’ll have to quit my part time job to be with you and this will bring in way more anyway. Then once the baby is born and the medical bills are taken care of, I can give the plants away and get a real job.”
Grace looked away. “I don’t know Ben…”
“Grace, it’s temporary and I want to be sure you don’t worry about money. You need to focus on yourself and the baby. And besides, think of the story we can tell Cole when he gets older about how we had to make ends meet.”
Grace’s eyes grew wide with horror, “You will never tell our child this, or anyone else for that matter!”
Oops. “I’m only kidding. Relax, sweetheart.”
“Ben? What about your folks? Maybe your mom could come live with us until the baby is born. Then you can stay in school and keep your job.”
“Babe, that’s not going to happen. My mom and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms. Besides, it’s a dead end job so it doesn’t matter. I just need to keep growing Audrey and her babies. They bring in much more than I do. The new plants are maturing and will more than make up for my lousy part time job.”
“I guess,” she said a bit deflated. “Promise me we will get rid of them after the baby is born.”
Ben wiped her tears. “I promise. Now, I’m going to go home and shower and pick up some clean clothes for you. I won’t be gone more than an hour. Try and sleep some more, okay.”
Grace cupped her round belly protectively, closed her eyes and sighed. “Okay. I love you Ben.”