“Seth, I’m bleeding again.”
Seth Young looked up at his wife, Ellen, in the kitchen of their small home outside of Boston. “A lot?” he asked, looking at his watch. It was after eight and they’d just put their three-year-old daughter, Adele, to bed.
“More than last week,” she said.
Ellen was seven months pregnant with their son and in the past eight weeks had started to bleed slightly on and off. Her doctor said it can happen, but after the second time, Ellen was in the office in a panic where the doctor discovered she had placenta previa and told Ellen to try to take it easy while they monitored things.
Seth felt her doctor wasn’t doing enough to relieve their concerns. “Why don’t you call your doctor’s office now and tell them,” he said. “It can’t hurt to get it on record.”
“It’s after hours. It’ll go to whoever is on call,” she argued.
“If you don’t do it then we are going to the ER. This isn’t something to take a chance with.”
“I know. But I just got Adele down and it’s not that bad.”
“But worse than last time, you said.” He hated arguing with her, but sometimes she could be so stubborn in not wanting to put others out. He suspected it went way back to being the only child of divorced parents as they remarried and started new lives.
“Yeah. Okay, I’ll call now.” He waited while he listened to her talking to the service. “They said someone will call me back within thirty minutes.”
He wanted to grind his teeth over that. Thirty minutes was too long in his head, but then he’d told himself if it was an emergency they’d just go to the ER anyway.
And twenty-five minutes later, Ellen’s doctor called her back, asked a few questions, then Ellen hung up. “She said if it’s not nonstop then to rest and put my feet up and call the office to come in in the morning. If it starts to flow like a period, to go to the ER right away.”
Which Seth could have figured out on his own. “Then go lie down for the night. I’ll take care of the dishes when the dishwasher stops. Better yet, why don’t you get ready for bed? We can watch TV early together.”
“That sounds good,” she said, her voice a little shaky and he wondered if it was worse than she was letting on.
He pulled her into his arms to hold, then reached down and put his arms under her knees and carried her to their room and put her on the bed. “What do you need? Something to sleep in? Don’t do anything else right now until I get back.”
She laughed. “You take such good care of me.”
“That’s a husband’s job,” he said, going to the kitchen. The dishwasher would be done drying any minute and Ellen liked the dishes put away at the end of each night so that the day could start out fresh.
He wasn’t even halfway through when she started to shout his name and he went running to see blood on the bed.
He picked up his phone and called 911. There was no way he could get her there fast enough and he wanted her to have help immediately.
By the time the ambulance arrived, he had a neighbor at the house to stay with Adele. No reason to wake and worry his daughter.
The minute Ellen was loaded in the ambulance, he jumped in his car and followed them racing to the hospital, and prayed his wife and son would be okay.
He didn’t get that prayer answered when he had to return home the next morning in a haze of disbelief and confusion, wondering how he was going to break the news to his daughter that it was just the two of them now.