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  1. I hate hospitals. They are creepy and way to white. The smell is awful too. An odd mix of urine, disinfectant, and, depending on what floor your on, blood.
    It's no wonder that just about every decent horror movie/game involves a hospital at some point.
    And that's exactly what I was thinking when I went in for a routine check up 9 months ago.
    I was about 40 weeks pregnant. My hair was messy. I hadn't showered that day. I would be home later on, so what did it matter?
    My doctor had been concerned. That bastard. He looked me in the eye and lied to me to my face.
    Concerned. I almost laughed in his face. He didn't really care about me or the welfare of my child.
    But it was his job to pretend.
    My ankles had been swollen for months, my blood pressure dangerously high.
    preeclampsia, is the term.
    I was being 'carefully monitored'.
    And by that he meant I had to pee in a bucket that looked like an apple juice container, then store it in the fridge.
    A strange, horrible part of me always watched my room mate every time he went to get something out of the fridge, half hoping he would get the sudden craving for 'apple juice'.
    He never did. I would have stopped him any way, but it would at least have made me laugh.
    I was nearing the end of my pregnancy. It couldn't end soon enough. It was almost 9 months filled with anger, frustration, depression, self loathing, etc.
    The baby had not been part of my plan. It was clear that it had not been part of Tom's plan either.
    For the first few months, I know he hated me for it. We went on, back and forth. First I was going to get an abortion. But then I decided, well, why shouldn't this child have his chance? It's not fair that it should miss out on all the good suffering that life has to offer.
    Then it was adoption. Perhaps to a nice gay couple? Give him a decent chance at being a respectable human being. A child with a much wider world view.
    Then I thought,
    But if that's what I want for it, then why shouldn't I raise it?
    Tom hated me once again. He'll never admit to it, but he did.
    I told him to leave. He wouldn't. Stubborn bastard always has to be the good guy. So what if I'm his first 'love'? He could have found another.
    But he just kept saying that he didn't want another. Idiot.
    But I was grateful. Selfishly, selfishly grateful. I have never seen someone so dedicated to anybody. It is a very strange thing, love. Makes people do very stupid things.
    After we agreed to stay together and raise the child, he was at my beck and call. I had only to snap my fingers and he was there, ready to kiss my feet if I asked. I didn't, but I have to admit, I was tempted.
    He warmed up to the idea of fatherhood near the end, and by the time I went in for that examination, he had already grown out the mustache.
    It was a boy. I was pleased. I always wanted a son.
    Naming him was hard. We went though so many idea's, each more absurd than the last.
    It was while I had been examining my book shelf that the perfect name came to me.
    After Isaac Asimov who was, and probably always will be, my favorite author.
    For hours I lay in the examination room while various monitors picked up the babies movement's, heart beat, etc. It was boring. My sister was with me, but she was always texting. I hated it, so I pretended she wasn't there.
    There were other young mothers there as well. One was a ridiculously young girl, about fifteen. It was her second child. I hate to admit, but I was a little judgmental, Even more so when she answered 'yes' to the question Have you been drinking or smoking during this pregnancy?
    In any case, it was none of my business. I was only 20 years old myself. Still pretty young by today's standards.
    It had been three hours. My back hurt. Wasn't the nurse coming back?
    Four hours. I was thirsty. Still no nurse.
    Four and a half- Finally. She looked so pleased with herself. I wanted to strangle her with the monitor cords.
    "Good news! I just talked to Dr. Coleman. Your having this baby today!"
    Now I really wanted to kill her.
    Now? After all this nonsense? I couldn't go back home first?
    No. I was lead to a room.
    It was lovely. I was shocked. Hospital rooms were supposed to be terrifying.
    The only thing I found objectionable was the bible and the cross hanging above my bed.
    While I was in bed I was attached to various machines. I didn't bother to ask what they did. I didn't care. I had a needle in my arm. It made me sick. Or maybe the labor inducing medicine made me sick? In any case, it was not pleasant.
    I couldn't eat or drink. I had a needle in my arm at such an angle that I could not bend my wrist. The contraction were also quite exhausting.
    Tom arrived... and so did everyone else I knew and barely knew.
    I was tired. Every time I got to sleep, I would wake up thinking I had been asleep for hours only to find that it had only been 5 or six minutes.
    I stared at the clock. tick tock, tick tock. Where is the bloody doctor?
    I was thirsty. I was told I could not have water. I demanded a cool wet cloth. When nobody was looking, I sucked water from the cloth.
    Almost instantly I was throwing up.
    Awful. I can't even describe my thirst. I would have tried to drink my own vomit, if that helps to paint a picture.
    My Doctor arrived.
    I was dilated only five inches. It had been hours. I went in there at 9 A.m. and it was now past midnight.
    That nurse lied to me. I would not have my baby on July 17, but July 18.
    It was a long night. Tom slept. I didn't.
    Now I was tired and thirsty.
    I called for the nurse.
    I couldn't take it any more. I wanted my god damn epidural.
    I got it, and then, that's when the nurse gave me some of the best damn drugs ever.
    I was happy then, and apparently, quite hilarious. I don't remember what I said, but I do remember feeling like I owned the sky. I loved everything. The floor, the ceiling, the hospital bed, you name it, I loved it.
    The downside was that it wore off quickly and I was always left with a numb empty feeling.
    After being in active labor for a full 24 hours, it was decided that a cesarean section was the only option.
    I was pissed. Was all that suffering for nothing?
    I wanted something to drink. No time. I was rushed away without a second opinion.

    I don't remember much after this.
    It's a blur. I was on a table. It was cold. Lights. Bright. Men in masks. They were talking about Facebook. I had a breathing mask on over my mouth.
    Tom held my hand. Truthfully, I didn't want him to.
    The first incision.
    I was told it wouldn't hurt.
    It was another lie.
    The anesthetic didn't cover the area. It was too high.
    If you have ever had your abdomen cut open while you were fully conscious, with no pain killers, then feel men stretch the cut open with their hands, reach inside of you, move things around, place internal organs on your stomach, suction unheard of amounts of blood out into a container right beside your head, then you will understand the agony that came with this lovely experience.
    I was told they were reaching up towards my lungs. The baby was too high.
    I passed out.
    I awoke again. More pain. They were talking about status updates.
    Everything was too bright. My eyes hurt.
    I shut them.
    Awoke again. Someone was touching my face.
    My eyes opened.
    There were deep blue eyes staring back at me. They looked about as confused as I was.
    My eyes focused. It was a large head covered in thick black hair attached to a blood covered body.
    My son.
    He was shivering. He blinked. Sneezed.
    I passed out again.
    When I woke up, I was being patched up. Tom was sitting in the corner whistling to the baby in his arms. Who's baby? I had forgotten already.
    It hurt so much.
    One final tug.
    It was dark again.
    When I opened my eyes next, I was in a room full of people. There was a baby being held next to my face.
    I didn't understand. I wanted them all to go away. Let me sleep.
    There were bright flashes. They needed to stop. Too bright. And this baby kept making noise. It needed to go away.
    No. Leave me alone. I don't want to hold it. Let me sleep.
    I still hadn't quite made the connection. The drugs had affected me after all, but not to dull the pain. They worked to dull my mind.

    Back in my room, I was recovering.
    I had went into the operation with half the recommended blood glucose level. Apparently, I was in a very dangerous state. I was given blood immediately.
    This did not concern me half as much as my thirst.
    And as if on cue, I was handed a cup with the sweetest tasting ice water I have ever swallowed in one go. It was an hour later that Jello, particularly lemon jello, became my new favorite hospital food.
    I would recover. I was already able to eat and drink. It would take a few days, longer than normal, but I would be fine.
    Apparently, things had not gone smooth.
    I could not hold my baby, at least not until the third day. My scar was horrifically painful. The pressure of my hospital gown was enough to bring on tears.
    I got to watch other people hold my son, and oh how they did. It was like I was being taunted.
    He was a lovely child. I had always thought babies were ugly, but this one, my baby, was delightful. He has the biggest boldest blue eyes. They were like looking at the night sky. A cliche comparison, yes, but an accurate one. His hair was the best part. It was thick enough that I could run my finger through it. Even as a newborn he was beautiful. The birth hadn't been a natural birth, so he didn't have the misshaped head that the other babies in the nursery had.
    When I finally held him, I was surprised at how very little it affected me. I hadn't held him in days, and I thought I would be much happier.
    I wasn't. I was happy, yes, but mostly I was tired.
    On the fourth day, I managed to stand. On the fifth day, I was given the 'okay' to go home-
    But I had to go home without Isaac.
    That's when it all hit me.
    I went to the nursery to say my goodbyes. He had been diagnosed with jaundice, a treatable condition that was non life-threatening. Even so, seeing him under the lights was too much. I spent my first night back at home sobbing, I'm afraid to say. I think it was hormones, or so I like to think. Considering it now, I don't think it was just hormones. I had been attached to him for almost a year, non stop. Even when I couldn't hold him, I was still near him. It was a shock to be so far away.
    We visited him the next day first thing in the morning. He was looking better, but still not quite ready to go home.
    Tom went to school. I went to visit him later that day with Tom's Mother.
    That was when we were given the go ahead to take him home.
    I held him, bundled him up and silently compared him to the other infants in the nursery.
    I couldn't help but smile.
    Those babies may have been 'pretty' in their parents eye's, but my son was radiant in comparison. Even the Nurses agreed.
    Next to all the other 'pretty' babies,

    Isaac was beautiful.