By Denise Sebastian
The room was plain and white. It had a cold blank feeling to it like a canvas waiting for an artist to create their masterpiece. No light except a small floor lamp next to the gray steel grey chair. A woman with no idea of who she is walks into the room. She sits in the chair looking around in wonder, but yet she has a knot growing within her. To her right she sees a glimpse of color flash on the wall. She turns to see herself enjoying a day at work. I am a computer programmer and teacher. Today it is snowing so hard it feels as if I am walking through a shower of goose down. My husband is waiting for me. He has decided to bring me lunch and drive me back across the street to the office. It was an amazing day. I feel as if nothing can ruin my elated mood.
I’m sitting at my desk discussing the day's issues with my friend and the phone rings. It is an unknown number. This usually means someone is calling about my kiddos. I answer the phone, “Mirror Lake Agency, this is Diane.”
“Yes, Mrs. Halls this is Amy with Child Protective Services.” She paused and my heart began to race. “Diane I am here with David and need to speak with you. When can you be home?”
I had a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach. I thought for sure I would drop the phone.
“Amy, may I ask what this is concerning?” I replied.
“Yes, David has disclosed information about your husband.”
I immediately become defensive. David had been trying to get out of the house for a year and I figured this was another ploy.
“What has he said? He has been attempting these pranks for some time.”
“I cannot say on the phone but it is of a sexual nature.”
My heart seemed to stop. My mind said NO, but my gut knew it to be true.
“Amy, he will say almost anything to get out.”
“We realize that Diane. That is why we also interviewed your other two children. Jake is also stating similar incidences.”
Jake had been in a catatonic state for months. It took everything I had to not yell at this woman on the other end of the phone.
“Who was with you when you asked my children these questions?” I barked at her.
She replied, “The school officer and Jake's teacher.”
I did not know the officer so I needed to talk to Jake's teacher. My kids are not like other kids. You can lead them to say almost anything. I had to be sure.
“Diane we need you to come home. We cannot leave the boys with your husband.”
“I will call Jake’s teacher and then I will be on my way.”
My feelings were nonexistent. It felt surreal as if I were watching a movie and I was the main character. Every emotion fear, anger, disbelief were pulsing through me. I phoned the teacher and found that Jake was lucid and aware when he answered the questions. I sank deeper into a hole of sticky molasses holding me in slow motion. I turned to my friend who had been listening.
“Diane do you need a ride?” she asked.
“David is saying sexual abuse. What have I done? I brought him into our lives. It canbe be true. It just can't be. I have to go!”
I got up grabbed my bag and walked to my bosses office. In one motion I opened his door and told him I had to go and why.
The next few minutes felt like an eternity in a realm of disbelief. Is it true? I got to the elevator and called my mom. She picked up, but I could not breathe. It felt like the entire Empire state building was on my chest. I told her what happened through sobs.
I got in my car and drove home. Im not sure how I got here, but I made it. There are three cars in the driveway and people standing at one. My husband, an officer and a women. I can only assume that is Amy. I park the care. All I can do is think what have I done. I compose myself and climb out of my car.
By this time everyone had walked down to my car.
My husband was stating he had no clue where David had come up with these allocations. The only thing he had done was help him learn to masturbate.
I wanted to yell at him, but I knew if I said anything I would lose my composure. It all feels so wrong. This is not me. It can't be me Amy started to say something, but after that everything just blended together.
What was I going to do? What could I do? I could not think. I want to crawl in a corner and hide. I wish I was magical so that I could wish it away, but I have to face it. This living nightmare is just beginning.
She sits in the chair watching as her life unfolds once again. Reliving each moment as it happened.
On the other wall another painting of her life begins.
I have been waiting for Troy, my husband, to get home. I cooked dinner and have all of it set at the little table in our little kitchen. When we got this place I was excited because the kitchen was so small. A person only has to stand in the center to cook or clean. On one end of the room there was enough room for a very small table for two. Some people would call it a shoebox apartment, but I think it's perfect for two almost three.
I put dinner on the table when I felt the first twinge of pain. It feels like my insides want out. My mind began to race she is too early. Brittany is not due for another month. She can’t come now I’m not ready.
I started timing the contractions. Five minutes apart. She is coming. My husband isn't here what should I do.
I picked up the phone, “Mom, I think it’s time. The pains are about five minutes apart.”
“Sweetheart, how long have you been timing?” Mom asked.
“An hour, they have been consistent for about a half hour. Troy is at work.” I replied.
“I will pick you up and take you, Sweety. I will have dad pick up Troy.”
It took mom about five minutes to get here.
“How are the contractions?” she asks.
“same, no change” I replied.
We drove for fifteen minutes to the hospital. Troy opened my door. i guess dad drove fast and got there first. We walked into the hospital. It was bright and cheery entrance. Baby pictures hung all over the walls. Plants of red, blues and pinks littered the waiting room. This did not feel like a hospital. It almost feels like a luxurious hotel.
They showed me to my room and hooked me up to a bunch of noisy machines. Every contraction the machine to my left would print out this slip of paper with lines.
“Nurse, what is that paper for?” I asked.
“Miss, that is your baby's heartbeat. It is strong. Do you know what you are having?”
“Yes, we are having a girl. Her name is Brittany Lynn.” I replied.
I feel like I have been here for an eternity. I am tired, so tired. I think I got here at six. I ti snow eleven.
“Miss” a deep male voice called out.
“I'm Dr. Zelous. I have been monitoring your progress. It seems as if you have been in the same place for some time. I think you can do this at home and be more comfortable. Does that sound like a good idea to you?” he asked.
“Oh doctor that would be nice.”
I grab my stuff and head out the door.
She was watching in excitement. She remembers this happy time. The birth is always a new beginning. Thus begins a new adventure--becoming a mother. A smile gently appeared on her face as her heart warmed the rest of her soul.
As she relishes in this amazing joy she notices a flash of color on the other side of the last image. She turns to see herself in a room with chairs lined up.
The waiting room was plain like most waiting rooms. The chairs were a hodgepodge of colors and styles. No one chair was alike. Posters of children playing on the walls.
Across the room was this little boy. He has dark messy brown hair, big puppy dog brown eyes, and a smile that could melt your heart. He came over to us. He had drool coming down his face. I reached over to the little table between two of the chairs and grabbed a tissue.
“Young man, may I wipe your face?” I asked.
The little boy smiled even bigger and shook his head yes. I wiped his face and he asked me, “ Are you my new mommy?”
“I hope to be.” I replied.
He grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug. I felt the warmth of tears forming in my eyes.
I held this boy and wondered what his life has been like. What had put him in the state's custody? Child Protective Services told me he was autistic and had some other issues. All I see is this adorable loving bundle of joy.
The woman sits back in the chair and wraps her arms around herself and squeezes hard. Her eyes close and she begins to shiver from the memories of this little brown eyed angel. Tears flow heavy from her eyes. This memory had brought back feelings of loss and yet a positive love that is never ending.
On the same screen another scene begins to play out. I’m standing next to my husband and there is this chubby young thing running around this man. The boy looks up at me and his big sea blue eyes reached out and grabbed me. His hair was short, but long on top. I could not get past those golden curly locks.
He was amazingly sweet and scrumptious. I could have just eaten him up.
As we stood there talking about what was happening in this little cherubs life he ran around the man’s legs. Slap here, slap there. The man picks up this bundle and placed him on his shoulder.
The boy whose name is Tommy began pulling the man's hair. I thought for a moment, “What are we getting ourselves into?” The little boy looked at me and smiled. I was hooked. I didn't care what happened from here I knew he was meant for me.
We took in this amazing little man and it made five in this amazing family. God had blessed us.
The woman watched each screen and each memory flowed into her making her remember and understand what was in the beginning. Now, she still was not sure who she was, but a warm ember began to form within her soul.
A glimmer of movement from the screen to the right caught her attention.
I went home from the hospital hoping to get some sleep, but very disappointed that my baby girl had not come. Troy opened my door and helped me into our small apartment. All I could think about was that my next month was to be sitting and doing nothing. God help me I will go insane.
Time passed by so slow. I cleaned a little around the apartment. I watched TV, but of course nothing was on. Highway to Heaven was on its seventh rerun. I am going insane. Two weeks elapsed before I start to crack up.
I walk to the kitchen to see what my girl desires and a knock at the door stops me in my tracks. I think to myself, “A VISITOR!” I race to the door and find my friend Frank had come to visit me. A person to keep me company. I was sooo excited.
“Hey, Frank, How are you?”, I ask.
“’I'm good, girlfriend, how are you doing?”, he replied.
“I’m going insane locked up in this house unable to go anywhere. There is so much that I need to do, but I can't strain myself.”
“Sucks to be you. Anything you need?” Frank asks.
“No, I think we are ok. Wait, can you drive me to the store? I need to get some groceries. Troy has been working hard and has not had time to go.” I asked.
“Are you sure you should do this?”, he asked.
“I won’t strain myself. You will be there to help me carry or get the items from the shelf. Right?”, I imply.
“Yes, I will help you go to the store.”
“Awesome! I will get changed and we can go.”
I rushed into my room and cleaned up. All I could think was, “I get to get out of here.” This was a small trip, but after being cooped up in this small apartment I was ready for anything.
Frank and I drove to the store and got what I could afford and needed. He carried in all my groceries and stuck around for about another hour.
“Frank you are the bestest friend a girl could ask for.” I said.
“Naw, just don't like to see a good girl down.”, He replied. “I got to get going, mom needs me to pick up my brother from work.”
“Frank, thank you again.” I reached over and gave him the biggest hug I could without falling over.
Frank had helped me put away the groceries and I am now sitting on the couch exhausted. I cant wait for this baby girl to come. It has to be soon.
Troy walked in the door about an hour after Frank left.
“How are you feeling, hunny?”, Troy asks.
“I'm tired, but good. I got to go on a field trip”, I explained.
I told Troy about the excitement of my day. He sat there and laughed at my excitement about grocery shopping. I looked at him with a serious and painful look. He stopped laughing and I burst into giggles. We both laughed until I peed my pants. That didn't take much in my situation.
“Hey babe, why don't you get cleaned up and we can walk down to the cafe.” Troy said.
“I would love to.”, I replied like a child going to the candy store.
We walked the three blocks down to the cafe and had a lovely dinner. I was so excited and exhausted at the same time. I could not settle down. Troy went to bed and I am sitting here watching nothing on TV. I am channel surfing trying to find one thing to watch. I start thinking about the baby and worrying if we will be able to raise her like she should be. I grabbed my belly and began rubbing it. I whisper to the baby, “I will love you and watch over you. I will protect you from all that is bad. You are my angel that God has given me. Just know that mommy loves you.” My little girl began to kick up a storm.
“Calm down, little girl.” I replied to my stomach.
I felt like a wierdo talking to my stomach, but I knew she could hear me. I turn all the lights out and crawl into bed for a good nights sleep.
The sun has crept into my room through the small window in my bedroom. I lay there in bed enjoying the warmth when I realize it's not the sun that has me warm. My mind is racing. I'm thinking, “This is not happening.” It’s too early.
“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”, I start rambling.
Troy wakes, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” I reply
“Oh shit, Oh shit, Oh shit!” I keep rambling.
“What is wrong?!” Troy asks.
“Nothing, I’m ok.” I reply
“Oh shit, oh shit, Oh shit!”, I continue rambling.
“Diane, what is wrong?”, Troy barks at me.
“Nothing, except I think my water broke.” I told him.
Troy jumped out of bed and began to help me up. I’m thinking this is too soon. Is this going to be safe for the baby?
Troy began calling my mom. We do not have a car and it is early in the morning.
“Hi mom, her water has broken can you come get us?” Troy asked.
“Its ok, she has time. I am stuck in traffic on my way to work. Call Grandma and see if she can come get you two.” mom replies.
“Thanks mom. I will keep you informed.”
Troy hung up with mom and called Grandma. Grandma said she would be right over. All I could think was we need to do something. I am all wet.
I put on a pair of pants and a pad. A few minutes later I was all wet. Ok, so pants are a no go. I get a skirt on and my shoes. Instantly there is a gush of water and my shoes are full of water. Next idea, sandals. I'm finally dressed when Grandma knocks on the door.
“Hey, Grandma, how are you?” I ask.
“I’m good, hunny. The question is how are you?”, Grandma asks.
“’I'm fine. Just all wet.” I giggle.
“That is normal, sweety. Lets run to the house and finish up some stuff for Grandpa and then we will run you up to the hospital,” she says.
“Thanks Grandma. Do you think we have time?”, I ask.
“Are you in any pain?”, Grandma asks.
“No, none at all. Is this normal?”, I reply
“Yes, hun, don't worry. We got time. When we get to the house call your doctor and see what he wants to do.”
We get into the car and head over to her house. I call the doctor and he tells me to come in and we will see what our next steps are. Grandma finishes up what she needs to do. She gives me a towel to use for the water. I think how amazing she is. She knows just what I need. I love my Grandma.
Grandma is ready so we all pile into the car and drive to the hospital.
I'm now in the room and the doctor walks in.
“Diane, it looks like your water has broken, but you are not in labor. What we need to do is induce you so that the baby will not have a dry birth.”
“Will this be dangerous?”, I ask.
“No Diane, it will not. It will just move things along so that there will not be any complications.”
“Ok, let's do this. I cant wait to see my baby girl.”, I excitedly answered.
As I lay here I think about what everyone forgot to tell me about having babies... First no one told me I had to have an enema. Oh my goodness, what an experience. Second, I'm terrified of needles and I have an IV. Third, they cannot define or explain the pain that a baby can cause.
It's been four hours since I got to the hospital. I have had an induction of labor and an epidural. I'm glad I did not see that needle. My husband almost passed out from the site of it. They say I'm almost there. We are heading into the delivery room and I'm terrified. A little baby girl was coming and I would be responsible for her. A rush of blinding fear came to me leaving me numb. Or was that the epidural.
I look into the mirror on the ceiling and see the doctors head. My husband is watching and is changing many different shades from white to green. I wonder if he will make it through this whole exciting journey.
“Diane, I need you to push.” the doctor said. “And keep pushing until I tell you to stop.”
“Ok, I will try.” I wasn't feeling much pain or anything. It feels like I have gas. The next thing I hear was a small amazing cry.
My husband looks like he saw a ghost.
“What is wrong?!” I ask.
“She has a penis!”, my husband replied.
The doctor held up this amazingly beautiful baby boy. The wrapped him in blankets and placed him in my arms. I was in shock. He was not a she. Those pictures are never right...
We had talked about boy names, but never decided on just one. As I looked at my little man he was David Nathaniel. He has the most amazing ice blue eyes and is as blonde as can be. He has ten toes and fingers. He is perfect.
David is just a bundle of joy. Being a mom is a whole new journey. Five months have gone by and he is so happy. I couldn't have asked for a better baby. Dad is playing with him in the living room and I’m sitting with mom going over plans for Easter Dinner.
“Diane, there is something wrong with David’s eyes.” Dad hollered out.
I ran into the other room. “What is wrong?”, I replied.
“He is not seeing the lighter.” he replied.
“What are you talking about, Dad?”
“I noticed he would not look at me when I was playing with him, so I took my lighter near his face and he did not grab for it. I think you need to take him into the doctors.” he explained.
He then took out his lighter and showed me what he did. David did not see the flicker of the flame from the lighter. He did not even try to grab it. He just laid there giggling and enjoying all the attention he was getting.
A knot of fear began to well in my gut. What was wrong with my baby boy?
The woman began to cry as she sat in the room. She could feel the knot of fear in her stomach. It grew and grew until she bent over in pain and agony. She did not want to remember this anymore. She did not want to know who she was. The room was still for a moment. The only movement was the woman in the hard cold chair.
To her right the wall flickered with movement.
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