Newborn Love 14 DJ Corisis

Newborn Love

The front door of room number 137 of the apartment building swung open heavily as a man stumbled through, struggling to carry his briefcase and an armful of groceries.

"Hello dear!" a voice called from the kitchen in a room around the corner, "how was your day at work?"

The man stumbled into the kitchen and hefted the full paper bags onto the counter, returning a grumbled, "same as all the other ones Karen. They say there might be even more layoffs coming soon with this economy. Do you realize that this would be the third time I have lost a job in the past year? And don't even get me started on that traffic. An entire forty five minutes that blasted problem ads to my commute!"

"oh, sweetie…" his wife cooed as she set the wooden spoon down to let the homemade soup simmer, walking over to her husband and embracing him from behind, "I know that the job market has been frustrating. But I know that you will find just the right job soon Derek! They may not even lay you off at this one!"

"Yea, yea… I've heard the same pep-talk many times before," her husband sighed as he took out all the grocery items and set them on the counter, "why did you have me run to the store for all this Karen? You know we can't afford it… Crab might as well be a king's dish in these times!"

"Well, just seemed like the night to indulge a little!" she said, reaching her head around to his and giving him a kiss on the cheek. The man turned around to face his wife and embraced her back, holding her close. He released his grip on her a little and the two of them looked at each other for a moment.

"What's going on here Karen? A special dinner we can't afford, I come home to you in a great mood, and your face even has a glow about it." Derek said suspiciously.

"Oh, it's nothing dear! I just felt like giving you a little treat is all! With you working so hard lately, I figured you could use a little pampering!" Karen said, smiling at her lover with her eyes twinkling.

"Wait a moment…" Derek said, pulling back a little more from the hug, "in the five years we have been married I can never mistake that look."

"What look?"

"I know it's around your time right now Karen. If I have told you once I have to tell you again the same night in bed; we simply cannot afford a baby right now. I know you have really wanted one since our first year of marriage, but we both agreed; no children until we know we are financially stable and we know we can support them! I know you really want a child, but we're just going to have to wait until this economy gets better."

Karen backed away fully from his arms, and after giving him another small kiss on the cheek, reached into her apron pocket and placed a small object in his hand saying, "no need to wait…"

"What is this?" Derek asked.

"Pregnancy test…" his wife said back.

"It says positive… Are you pregnant Karen?"

Karen sighed and said, "Yes Derek, I am pregnant."

Derek ran his hand through his slicked back hair and said, "how did this happen? We were being very careful! Didn't you know?"

"It came early Derek… I wasn't able to tell it was here. I would have told you if I had, Derek, honest."

"How do I know that? Five years you have been wanting a baby, that time would have been your perfect chance!"

"I honestly didn't know Derek. I want to bring our first child into the world with a stable life as much as you do! I swear to you I didn't know about this." She said, going over to hug Derek. He hugged her back, taking her tightly in his arms.

"So what are we going to do? We both know that we can't support this baby… This apartment is barely big enough for us two alone!"

"There's always adoption…" Karen said, burying her head into his chest.

"But we can't have you missing work because of maternity leave… We're barely sliding by on our bills as it is."

"There's always the other option…"

"No… no, I couldn't do that with a good conscience. Just because we can't support her doesn't mean her shouldn't live."

"Her?"

"I have always imagined our first child as being a girl, haven't you?"

"I guess, now that you mention it… Wouldn't that be nice?" Karen said, imagining the idea.

Derek smiled at the thought and said, "I'll bet it would be. She would be sweet, probably have my eyes and your nose."

Karen laughed and added, "Any nose but my dad's! No girl should have to go through life with a thing like that on their face!"

Derek laughed with her and said, "You're just lucky that you didn't get it!" he said, grabbing playfully at her nose and holding her close, "I can't imagine having that thing on our baby!"

The married couple sat there for a moment enjoying the company of three, feeling happy and carefree for the first time in weeks. Then after a moment of sadness, Derek said with a sigh,

"Karen… we can't support a child. You and I both know that…"

The smile faded from Karen's face and she said in reply, "Look at us though… fantasizing about the gender and what she will look like… You can't deny the fact that you like the idea of a baby girl running around the house, no matter how small." She said, looking around at the cramped environment of the apartment.

"I know, I can't deny that… But we just couldn't afford to give her the quality of life she needs. Adoption seems like the only logical choice for us."

She buried her head deeper into his chest, "but she's our child. Not someone else's…," she cried.

"I'm sure she would be adopted by a nice family honey… I want to keep her as much as you do, but we just aren't in any condition to."

"We could find another apartment… One with a smaller rent…" Karen whimpered.

Derek kissed her on the forehead and said, "I'm sorry Karen… We just aren't in a place to support a child… Now let's cook ourselves a nice dinner, and celebrate that we are going to be parents, even if only for a short period of time." Karen nodded in agreement, and returned to the stove, to finish making the stew, Derek attending to cooking the crab and other parts of the meal, him noticing that his wife's hand was often placed over her belly for the majority of the time.

A few weeks later after things had been sorted out and word had gotten around to friends and family, Derek had received numerous numbers for adoption agencies some of his friends and co-workers had worked with. He called each one of them to glean the details of the process, and finally settled on an adoption agency called Fresh Hope Adoption. He contacted an agent, and after a short phone call had scheduled a meeting to take care of the paper work.

"So you're going to stop there after work tomorrow?" Karen asked later the same day.

"That's what I'm planning on. Maybe I can skip that dang traffic because of it even. Do you want to come?" Derek informed.

"N-no… I would really rather not come…" Karen replied sadly.

"I didn't think you would," Derek said, "I'm sure they will find her a good home honey…"

"I sure hope they do…" Karen sighed, placing her hand on her stomach.

"I'll be home as soon as I can tonight ok? I love you." Derek said over the phone.

"I love you to." Karen replied, hanging up the phone.

Later the same day after work, Derek arrived at Fresh Hope Adoption, ready for his meeting. He entered the office after the secretary instructed, and was greeted with a handshake from a man behind a desk.

"Ah, you must be Mr. Sproll. Please, take a seat." Derek did as offered and the agent continued with his work, "Now I understand that you have a child on its way and that you wish to put it up for adoption, correct?"

"Yes. In our current state, we wouldn't be able to fully support a child."

"Well that is part of the beauty of adoption isn't it? Certainly it doesn't seem like the greatest thing to do, but there are worse paths a couple could choose."

Derek nodded as he was handed a small packet of papers.

"This is the contract and terms of the adoption. Feel free to read it through; in summary it says that you have the right to interview any family wishing to adopt your child, to name the child if you do so wish, and of course to visit the child if the need or want ever arises. You can cancel the contract at any time also."

"Looks ok…" Derek said, flipping through the papers, reluctantly signing the contract.

"Now I have noticed that your wife isn't present, and that is a commonly seen thing for the woman to wish not to come. I assume that you also don't wish to give the child away?"

"You sure got that right… I want a child as much as she does… We both have wanted one for the longest time since we were married! I just can't seem to hold down a job well enough to provide for the two of us, much less for a third mouth to feed." Derek said with remorse.

"Adoption is a commonly chosen solution to that problem for the couples we see come through here. But, realize that for us to legally take your child that we do need your wife's signature also," The agent said, pointing to a line below Derek's signature, "you may take the contract home to have her sign it if needed. Feel free to take your time in returning it to us. We do ask however that you return it to us no later than the end of her second trimester so we can make sure to be adequately prepared."

"I understand… Thank you very much for your help." Derek replied.

"You are welcome. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call me." The agent said, handing Derek a card after the two men shook hands.

Derek 1eft the office, and returned home, thankful that he had indeed skipped the traffic because of the meeting.

"How did it go?" he heard his Karen's voice ask from the other room.

"Good… I really think she will be ok here…" Derek said, putting the contract away in a desk drawer to bring up at a better time.

"I sure hope so…" Karen said, appearing in the door way, again having her hand on her stomach, "by the way, we're out of chocolate."

Time past, and soon Karen had entered her first trimester. While among other hormonal moods, Derek was noticing that Karen seemed more and more happy than she had been before the baby. He also noticed a certain sadness that seemed to penetrate her at the same time as her happiness. He found her hand placed over her bulging belly more and more everyday also. He realized that she was beginning to already bond with their child before it was born, and he began feeling a certain sadness inside that he would never get that chance.

One night after he came home he remembered that he still had to return the adoption papers to the agency.

"Karen, they still need your signature on the papers for adoption…," he said.

"Isn't there some way this could be done without me having a part in the matter?" she cried, "why do they need both of our signatures?"

"It's the law honey…" Derek said. He looked into her eyes and saw the sadness that had over took them, and knew that she wouldn't be signing it tonight. He left the matter alone for another month, as Karen's belly continued to slowly grow along with the couple's sadness.

It was after a long day at work when Derek came home and found Karen simply lying on the couch with her hand on her rounding stomach. He entered the room and she quickly looked up and realized that she had forgotten dinner, but he motioned for her to just lie back down. A small smile came across her face as she saw her husband walk over to the couch to meet her and lift her onto his lap. The couple lay there on the couch, Karen resting her head on Derek's chest and the four of their hands pressed against her belly. They simply lay there and listened to the sound of each other breathing and feeling the heartbeat through her stomach.

It was late when Derek realized that his wife had fallen asleep. He smiled and right at that moment made a choice. He reached into his work clothes he was still wearing, and pulled out his cell phone. He dialed the number of his agent at Fresh Hope Adoption and was grateful to hear the line pick up on the other end.

"Hello?" a tired voice said over the line.

"Hello, this is Mr. Sproll. I'm sorry to bother you so late at night." Derek informed his agent.

"Ah, Mr. Sproll. What seems to be the problem?"

"I was just thinking it over, and I think I'm going to have to cancel our adoption."

"Changed your mind did you?"

Derek looked down at his wife sleeping on his chest peacefully, and at their child she was carrying and said, "Yea I did… I don't think that I would be able to give this up."

"I understand completely Mr. Sproll. I hope your wife and you are happy when your new child arrives."

"Thank you very much for your help."

"Good night Mr. Sproll."

"Good night." Derek hung up the phone and wrapped his arms back around his wife, glad that the next day was Saturday.

Months past, and Derek continued to hide his great surprise from his wife. He was waiting for just the right moment to tell her that he was going to do everything he could to keep the baby and keep it theirs. He finally found the right way to tell her on his drive home one night.

"Where are you taking me?!" Karen squealed, as Derek led her blindfolded around a building, careful not to hit anything with her enormous stomach.

"It's a surprise! We are almost there." Derek teased.

"I hope there's chocolate involved. It sounds really good right now!"

"Oh, I'm sure you'll like it more than chocolate." Derek took a key out of his pocket and opened a door in front of his wife, leading her inside and closing the door behind them, saying, "ok! Take off the blindfold!"

Karen excitedly took off the blindfold and looked around her at a small apartment, freshly cleaned and even furnished with fresh cut flowers and a box of chocolate on the coffee table.

"Honey, what is this?!" Karen asked, surprised.

"It's a little longer of a drive to work, but the rent is about one hundred dollars less than where we are now. Go check in that room over there." He said, pointing to a room on her right with a smile. She walked over excitedly and opened the door to see a fully furnished nursery.

There was a traditional baby crib in the corner, with a colorful mobile hanging over it. There was a rocking chair sitting next to it, a children's story book lying on the seat. The walls were painted a light pink, with a white trim going around the room molded with bears holding a bundle of balloons. The carpet was a soft white, and there was even a small pile of stuffed animals in the corner. Pictures of animals and colorful scenes hung on the walls.

"W-what is all this Derek?!" Karen asked, tears welling up in her eyes.

"This is my way of telling you that we're going to keep the baby. It'll be hard, but I think if I manage to find a second job and work a little later, we'll be able to afford to keep her."

Karen was overjoyed. She started weeping with joy, tears running down her face, and throwing herself at her husband.

"Thank you, Derek, thank you! I didn't want to give this baby up for anything in the world!"

"I know you didn't honey. I didn't want to either I found out." Derek said, kissing her on the forehead.

"I love you so much." Karen said lovingly hugging him as tightly as she could with her belly pushing her away.

"I love you to. I scheduled an ultrasound for you tomorrow too! As part of the surprise!"

"Really?! How can we afford that?!"

"I'll handle it… I'm going to pick you up at three o-clock tomorrow so bring you to the hospital ok?"

"Ok!" his wife said excitedly, wiping away the tears from her face.

The happy couple hugged for a few moments more, enjoying the company of the three person group, and soon returned home, both eager to move into the smaller apartment and to attend the ultrasound the next day.

The following day, Derek picked up his wife promptly at three just as he said he would. He was able to see the giddiness in her step and eyes, excited to get the first look at their child. They gave each other a kiss and got in the car, heading towards the hospital.

"Before I begin, would you like to know the sex of your child?" the doctor asked after the couple had checked in and entered the ultrasound room. Derek and Karen gazed at each other and knew that both of them wanted it to be a surprise. They shook their heads and the doctor continued on.

"Now here, you can see the heartbeat," the doctor said, pointing at the screen, "and here are the hands and feet!"

"Aw, look at our child Derek…" Karen cooed, reaching for her husband's hand.

"Now, while everything does appear to be normal with your child, there is something I should tell you." the doctor said worriedly. Both Karen and Derek quickly looked at the doctor, a problem the last thing they needed.

"Your wife appears to have a condition in which her contractions are more violent than usual. And, if left unchecked for too long at the time of labor, could cause the loss of your child."

"W-well what can we do?! Is there a medicine? Exercises?" Derek asked worriedly, feeling his wife's hand grip tighten.

"We recommend keeping her here in the hospital until after the labor. Here we have the ability to safely deliver your child and preventing the contractions from causing damage."

Derek gulped and asked shakily, "how much will it cost to keep her here?"

"According to your papers, more than your insurance is able to cover. Do you have any money saved?"

"Not enough if our insurance won't even cover it," Derek said, lowering his head in despair, "would we be able to get her here in time from our house?"

"You could… but it is incredibly risky to the life of the child. If the contractions are left affecting the child for too long, there won't be anything we can do."

"We can't afford to go into debt… Is there another option?"

"We do have a clinic across town that holds rooms for patients in your financial condition. Your insurance will cover it, but you still have the risk of getting her here. You will of course have the advantage of an ambulance however for transport."

"That's the only choice we have then."

"Very well then. I will call and have them arrange a room for you there. We expect your wife will go into labor in about a month. My best of luck to you both, and best wishes." The doctor said, shaking both of their hands and leaving the room.

Derek looked into his wife's face and saw that sadness and worry had overtaken it.

"I'm sure it will work out honey…" he comforted.

"But what if it doesn't? This is our child Derek. I couldn't stand to lose her…" she cried.

The two comforted each other and soon a nurse informed them that their arrangements had been made and that Karen may be admitted to the clinic at anytime. The following day, after packing Karen's belongings, the two drove together to the clinic, and after a sad goodbye, Derek rushed to work, ready to come back to the clinic to be with his wife everyday for the next month.

As the month past, Derek visited his wife as often as he could in the clinic, often sleeping on the couch every night to provide comfort and just talking to her and keeping her company in the evenings. He did not spend as much time as he wished with her due to his second job, but Karen was grateful for whatever time they were able to have together. They often talked about what it will be like to be a full family with a child, and what they would do for fun. And soon, as expected, Karen went into labor at the end of the month.

As soon as Derek got word of it, he rushed from work and straight to the hospital where the ambulance would arrive. There he waited for what seemed like the longest wait of his wife. With each passing moment, his anxiety grew and grew as he wondered where his wife and child were. He began to realize that it was taking too long and rushed to the counter to ask the nurse.

"They appear to have come across severe traffic sir…" the nurse informed, "the ambulance is passing on the shoulder where it's able to, but at some places it just can't get through. They are expected to arrive in twenty to thirty minutes."

Derek pounded his fists on the counter in frustration as his awful luck. The very thing that he despised for so many years could turn out to be the thing that kills his first child. He waited anxiously at the front door of the emergency room, pacing back and forth hoping every ambulance that arrived would be his. He started to imagine what could happen and he felt tears well up in his eyes. He began to silently pray to himself, wishing with all his might things would turn out ok.

After thirty five minutes, sirens were heard in the distance. Derek looked up hopefully and as the ambulance pulled into the hospital, he saw two men jump out and open the back doors to the vehicle, his wife inside lying on a stretcher, in obvious pain and discomfort.

They wheeled her into the emergence room, where they rushed past the nurse, Derek following alongside the stretcher, grasping his wife's hand, talking to her and encouraging her, both of them praying to themselves it wasn't too late.

As they entered the delivery wing, they found their room and entered into it, immediate action being taken to deliver the baby in crisis.

"We're going to have to have a C-section," the doctor said, "We can't afford to wait through the whole delivery." They immediately began work, Derek by his wife's side the entire time, telling her it will be ok and to not lose hope. Karen continued to cry out in pain as her contractions continued to worsen and grow more violent, both for her and her baby.

It wasn't long before crying was heard in a delivery room, applause and cries of joy emanating from it. But in the room next door, only silence could be heard, as the only crying to be done was by Karen and Derek.