The clouds were grey. The weather outside was chilly, mirroring the harrowing experience that she was going through. The medication was wearing off, and she came to after several hours of induced sleep. Her eyes felt puffy, and her throat was dry like someone who had been crying and wailing. Crying- then it all came back to her.
“My baby, who took my baby?” Jennifer asked. “Nurse, nurse where have you taken my baby?”
“Calm down madam, what’s the name of your baby?” Asked the nurse in training.
“Amanda, her name is Amanda. I gave birth to her last night,” Jennifer responded.
“Just wait here, let me check for you,” the student nurse said reassuringly.
Jennifer waited as she paced around anxiously.
It was the student nurse’s first day. She had waited to start helping patients since the day she decided she wanted to be a nurse. Having lost her parents at a young age, she was brought up by her grandmother. However, as fate’s cruelty has no bounds, her grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when she was eight. Seeing her grandmother in pain and watching nurses tend to her made her want to show the same kindness. Her career was decided, and she worked hard in school to achieve her dream. Finally, she was now training with actual patients. The first day was in the maternity block. It was supposed to be easy, or so she thought.
Her trip to ask the nurse in charge about baby Amanda was cut short by an ear-piercing scream.
“No, you’re lying. The other nurse has gone to get my baby. Stop lying. Ask her; she’s there,” Jennifer screamed, pointing at the nurse in training.
A group of older nurses all turned to look at the young nurse. One of them approached her.
“What’s your name? I haven’t seen you here before.”
“Jane, ma’am. It’s my first day of training.”
“What did you tell this woman?”
“She was asking for her baby and I couldn’t see another nurse around so I told her I would check for her.”
“Who gave you permission to interact with patients?” The older nurse asked furiously.
“She was in distress; I was trying to calm her down,” she responded in confusion. Secretly, she thought, “Isn’t that what we’re doing here?”
Meanwhile, Jennifer was getting more aggressive.
“Give me my baby back. I know how you people pretend they died and then sell them. We know you. Give me back my baby.”
Jennifer’s yelling was attracting attention and is the norm in the social media age, and people started recording.
Several nurses tried to pull her into a room as the rest called the doctor handling her case. Although they managed to get her into a room, the walls were insufficient to keep bystanders from hearing her screams. The maternity block was in chaos.
The doctor who had delivered her baby had left after the shift and wouldn’t be back for another couple of hours. Jennifer’s husband was yet to arrive as the baby had come three weeks earlier than anticipated. He had travelled for business but started the journey back as soon as he got the call.
The head nurse and another doctor tried calming down Jennifer, but she was too hysterical, so they had to sedate her again as they waited for the husband to arrive.
The women in labour and some of their family members started asking questions. The video of Jennifer claiming they had stolen her baby had begun circulating. The hospital’s reputation was already tainted due to previous cases of mishandling patients.
Public opinion was forming. Some people in the hospital who asked the nurses what had happened gave context to the video. At the same time, people who’d had a terrible experience with the hospital crucified the hospital claiming the personnel were capable of switching out babies for profit.
The calls started coming in, and the hospital’s management got involved. Jennifer was not getting better, the only time she was not wailing was when sedated, but they could only sedate her for so long. Her husband couldn’t get there fast enough.
The hospital tried calling the other person on Jennifer’s contact list, her sister. Jennifer’s sister was two hours away. It was now a waiting game on who would get there first to help them resolve the crisis.
Some of the other patients were in distress, they’d heard Jennifer, and she sounded convincing. Something must have happened to her child.
Jennifer’s husband finally arrived.
” Where are they? Where are my wife and child?” He asked.
“Take a seat, sir,” said the doctor who had delivered the baby. By now, she had been called back to the hospital. In the room was the head nurse, someone from management and a lawyer.
The doctor explained to Jennifer’s husband that there were complications and the baby died shortly after birth. They showed him the documentation of the events and then took him to the morgue where their child lay. Jennifer was still sedated at this point. Although Jennifer’s husband was in denial, he acted calmly and followed them. Every doubt he had about losing their child was erased when he saw the birthmark on the child. It was the same as his. Even without further genetic testing, he knew what had happened.
When Jennifer woke up, he was there. She cried when she saw him.
“They took our child, babe,” Jennifer told him.
While he held her tightly and kissed her forehead, he whispered to her, “No, they didn’t, babe. Our child died.”
She held on tightly as though she had been waiting to hear it from him to believe it. Then she let go of him and went on her knees, crying, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t give you a child. I’m so sorry.”
Her husband joined her on her knees and held her close as they both cried.
It was their third attempt at having a child through IVF, and they were so close this time. They’d had miscarriages the previous times. They both knew they couldn’t afford to try it again without voicing it. They had depleted their savings and taken out loans. To almost hold their child in their hands and then lose her, they wept.
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