?My life has changed,? she murmured.
His lips remained against her skin. ?For better.? He pulled her closer. ?You and I have changed. We needed to change.? He placed a kiss on her nose. ?You need to rest. I?ll check on dinner?make sure they know we want to eat early.?
?Stay here. It?s nice to hear the ocean. It?s nice to have your undivided attention.?
Grissom needed no further encouragement. He settled his head against her chin and in minutes he slept. Sara waited until he was asleep and reached for a stack of papers beside the bed. Her life had changed, taken a new direction in the years since she left Las Vegas. For months, she drifted in temporary research work which suited her at the time. After Grissom joined her, they volunteered for several projects until the pending arrival of a baby put them in one place. Grissom found it easy to become involved in entomology as a published author and local beekeeper; occasionally helping the local police department with a seminar or an insect-involved case. Sara found other interests.
The papers she read were her own?radiation physics?a topic so specialized that few people knew it existed. While teaching part-time at the local college, a publisher had sent her a list of subjects in development and when her eyes found this one, she remembered a term paper on a similar topic. This was the second draft of her work. She read and made notes and when finished, she remained in bed, content and relaxed and let her thoughts drift?
?Four months ago, in the midst of preparing dinner, intense pain in her abdomen caused Sara to stumble and fall in the kitchen. When her eyes focused, two faces were above hers.
?Eli, go get Daddy,? Sara said as she tried to move before pain in her side caused her to grab her abdomen.
?Mommy hurt,? Bizzy said as her small hand touched her mother?s face.
Sara tried again to roll to her side; the small voice of her child causing her to attempt to hide the pain. ?I?m okay. I just need Daddy.? She watched Eli run out the door. The sharp stabbing pain worsened as she made an attempt to sit up. Her stomach contents reached the back of her throat and she fought back the urge to vomit. She swallowed. ?Could you get me a towel, Bizzy?? The child ran to the cabinet and returned with a small kitchen towel. Sara pressed it to her mouth and slipped back to the floor. She heard her daughter?s footsteps running away and returning.
Small hands tried to lift her head. She opened her eyes to find Bizzy with a pillow. Sara smiled. ?Thank you, Sweetie.? The child folded legs underneath her and took her mother?s hand.
?Mommy is sick.? She leaned over and pressed her lips to Sara?s cheek. ?Be better soon.?
Another sharp pain shot through Sara?s abdomen. She suppressed a groan as she pulled her knees upward. After two uncomplicated pregnancies, Sara knew this was not supposed to happen. She was barely five weeks?nothing should hurt like this.
Noise invaded the house as a door slammed and confused voices came to her. Sara tried to lift her head as Bizzy ran to meet those coming in; her voice joining the others. Sara recognized the female voice of one of the neighboring nuns and the high-pitched voices of her children.
Grissom was beside her in seconds. Concern and alarm etched across his face. His arms lifted her. She knew she would be fine?until pain hit her again.
?Sharp stabbing pain. I think I fainted.?
He got her to bed, followed by two small children who crawled onto the bed beside her, their eyes wide with fear.
?Eli,? said Grissom, ?would you get a wet washcloth for Mom.? Both children scrambled from the bed heading to the bathroom. ?I?ll call the doctor?thank you.? He wiped Sara?s face with a cold cloth. ?You are white as a sheet.?
She nodded. ?I?I know I?m bleeding. Early miscarriage, I think.?
In minutes he had Eli and Bizzy in the kitchen with promises of ice cream and cookies, returning to the bedroom with a phone to his ear. ?Sister Marie is taking care of things?she?s called the others.? Sara curled into a ball as pain stabbed across her belly. After a brief conversation with a nurse, he said, ?Hospital?ER. She thinks it may be an ectopic pregnancy.? He began to wrap a sheet around her before she stopped him.
?I can walk, Gil. Just help me get to the bathroom first.?
?Sara?we need to go?now?she stressed the need for speed.?
?I?ll walk. I don?t want my kids to see me being carried to the car. Help me to the bathroom; let me change my clothes?clean underwear, that kind of thing.?
Grissom knew not to argue. He did not add other details of the nurse?s directions, snatches of ?internal bleeding? and ?impaired fertility? and ?hysterectomy?. He helped her change and held her up as she walked through the house.
Sara hugged each child, explaining to Eli and Bizzy that she needed some medicine to feel better, to help Sister Marie, to be very good. She collapsed in the car as Grissom latched her seatbelt.
?Childbirth is nothing compared to this,? she whispered. They met the neighbors arriving who quickly understood the nature of the emergency and waved them on.
Hours later, Sara shivered trying to pull a blanket around her.
?You?re awake.? The reassuring voice of Grissom came to her as his hands tucked a blanket around her. ?You are fine?you will be fine.? She felt a moist cloth touch her lips. ?You had surgery?laparoscopy?that removed the?the??
She nodded, understanding his difficulty in completing his sentence. ?Wrong place,? she whispered, sounding raspy and realizing her throat hurt.
?Yeah.? His hand brushed her face. ?You are fine now?rest.?
?Gil,? she struggled to ask another question. ?He didn?t?I didn?t have anything else removed??
?No, no, Honey.? He smiled. ?Everything is fine. We can go home as soon as you feel better.? She talked the doctor into discharging her that day.
It had taken weeks to recover; her strength ebbed away as low tide. For several days, her children sensed a need for quiet and talked in hushed voices until an afternoon nap turned into giggling play that spilled onto their parent?s bed. When they saw their mother?s smile, their subdued play erupted into the familiar sounds of their usual life.
Grissom worried and cared and hovered over his wife for days. Her neighbors brought food and bathed, fed, and played with the four children. Their housekeeper stayed longer than usual as a pale and shaken Sara slowly recuperated. Gradually, when she began to complain, those around her hoped she was recovering.
?It?s worse than having twins,? she told their housekeeper, Lilly.
She said to the neighbors, ?I feel like I?ve been hit by a truck.?
?Stop hovering, Gil. I can do this,? she snapped at her husband as he attempted to help her one night. Seeing the expression on his face made her stop. ?I?m sorry.? She turned to him, and for the first time in days, she let him take care of her as she cried.
?It?s grief, Sara. It?s okay to feel this way,? he told her in the darkness.
That night Sara resolved to step back from the dark edge of this void of melancholy that draped her thoughts and actions. In the days that followed, she ate more, napped with her children, laughed at their playful silliness, and made herself feel excitement in whatever they did. She joined Grissom as he worked in the garden and in his office. Days passed until one afternoon she realized she no longer felt the depression or sadness or sorrow of losing a baby that wasn?t really a baby, just a part of her, a part of her husband, that would never be. The next day, she wished for a trip to the beach?