Annabel’s cries turned to screams and pierced through the door of the birthing suite. Megan could feel them vibrate in her chest. It had been like this for the last hour
Her mouth was dry. Water. She needed water.
Like a zombie, she stood up and started walking, subconsciously looking for the nearest drinking water dispenser, wishing she hadn’t sworn off coffee.
On her return, she barely noticed that Dan hadn’t moved from the position she had left him, 5 minutes ago. He seemed to be staring into space
Another contraction. Another scream
Megan shifted in her seat squeezing her legs together as memories from ten years ago, almost to this day flashed before her
Different hospital. Different staff. Different time. A time filled with laughter and warmth and Saturday football games in the winter followed by bouts of cold
A time of chaotic mornings on the school run
“I can’t do it…I can’t do it…I just can't!” Annabel’s voice had taken on sing-song like quality tinged with desperation. It made Megan’s heart do a somersault
She looked down at her now empty plastic cup and contemplated going for another drink. Dan still hadn’t moved.
It took a moment before Dan The Statue responded. Megan was beginning to think he hadn’t heard her
Megan held back the retort forming at the back of her throat. What good would it be fighting now? It wasn’t his fault that they processed stress differently
No, she didn’t want to fight. But she needed to do something.
Another drink it was then.
“Want a drink? Water? Coffee?”
Dan’s tired eyes blinked once like even that was an effort and he shook his head once
Megan’s legs felt like lead as she went back to the water dispenser
Boy, did she need sleep. When they got the call last night that Annabel had gone into labour, they jumped in the car without a second thought. By the time they walked into the Edinburgh hospital 6 hours later, Annabel had already been taken down to the birthing suite
“Not long now” the midwife had said to them, in an accent that reminded Megan of Jamie Fraser in Outlander. That was over an hour ago.
The roller-coaster of fear and excitement was exhausting. In the 6 months since meeting 16-year-old Annabel and signing the adoption papers, they had prayed and waited for this day
And that was really all they could do now. Wait. And drink water.
She walked back to blue plastic hospital chairs in the birthing suite waiting area and Dan the Statue
She sighed heavily as she sat next to him.
“You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about Tom,” she said, not exactly expecting to get a response
Hearing Tom’s name was enough to thaw Dan a bit, it seemed.
He sighed with this pained expression on his face like he wanted to say something that would sound like a rebuke
Instead, he took Megan’s hand “Me, too”
And there it was. Their bond. In good times and double-over-and-remain-in-fetal-position-for-months times. It was unmistakable. Undeniable.
She had read of marriages breaking down due to the death of a child. For Megan and Dan, they managed to find inroads into relationship depths they didn’t know existed. As they cried out to God for strength and healing, they leaned on each other fiercely
They leaned on each other now too as their little girl was being born
They had never actually considered adoption until about 18 months ago. They didn’t think they would ever get over the death of Tom or open their hearts again to such love
But as they took each day - some good, some bad- as they came; as they slowly healed and learned to let go, they received what they could only be described as a whisper of a suggestion- in the form of a flyer left on a park bench
It was summer 2017 and the long days and unbearable heat called for long relaxing evening walks. And the park was a favourite destination
Reading that flyer sparked something inside Megan. An indescribable longing mixed with fear of what could happen if she opened her heart again. That day, she feigned indifference. They both did. Until that night a week later when Dan turned to her in bed and simply said those two words:
In the privacy of their hearts, that little spark had become a roaring flame consuming every waking thought. They talked into the early hours of the morning, sharing their excitement and anxiety for what would be a new phase in their lives—asking millions of questions: Boy or girl? Teen, toddler or baby? Did it matter?
Lorraine answered their questions in one fell swoop.
She was the social worker the Blaines at church had introduced to Megan and Dan. She specifically worked with teen moms-to-be. Dan wasn’t sure at first and for good reason. Dan was 51 and Megan turned 48 last Wednesday. How would they cope with a screaming, brand-new baby who refuses to sleep?
But Megan knew this was their path. That path led them to Annabel.
As if on cue, Annabel screamed again and seconds later there was the distinct sound of a crying baby. The soon-to-be parents stood up.
“Dan” Megan couldn’t keep the desperation from her voice “Are we ready for this? I don’t think I’m ready”
Dan took his wife’s hand and kissed it, unshed tears in his tired eyes, “We were born ready”
“Let’s go meet our little Katie”