StatCtr

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Book V - Chapter I - Christian and Anastasia Fan Fiction

A NEW LIFE JOINS

CHAPTER I

You know, there was a time when childbirth was possibly the most terrifying thing you could do in your life, and you were literally looking death in the face when you went ahead with it. And so this is a kind of flashback to a time when that's what every woman went through. Not that they got ripped apart, but they had no guarantees about whether they were going to live through it or not.

~Twilight Saga


Pella is beside me quickly and aiding Taylor to make way. The security amazingly creates a free corridor of passage to help us exit as well as shield us from prying eyes. I would be impressed if I wasn’t seven shades of Sunday kind of nervous with my wife in labor pains in my arms.
“Call the Doctor!” I bark an order.
“Already done sir.” Sawyer is already on the ball. “She’s on her way to the hospital!”
“Bag?”
“We’ve had it in the SUV for the last 3 weeks sir,” Melissa says as she closes the door.
“Aaaaah!” a painful cry escapes Ana’s lips.
“Get us to the hospital, now!” Taylor puts the car in drive and I hear the tires screech as he accelerates the SUV into terminal velocity which still doesn’t feel like fast enough to get us to proper help for my wife.
I can see and feel the contractions through Ana’s dress. Each time it comes, she arches her back in pain, and tightens her grip on my hand.
“Christiaaaaan!” she shouts with one particularly long contraction.
“Breathe baby! Remember our breathing exercises? Breathe deep,” I say, but the first deep breath she takes makes her feel pained again.
“Okay! Okay, baby! Let’s try light breathing…” I emulate light breathing patterns with her to get her to a less pained state.
“How long is it gonna take to the fucking hospital?” I shout.
“We’ll be there in sixteen minutes, sir.”
“Sixteen minutes?”   
“Christian, don’t shout,” Ana says trying to breathe. “Amplifies my pain,” I feel the water on my lap as well. Each time there’s a contraction, the flow of water increases, along with it my anxiety. When we reach at the hospital’s Emergency entrance, there’s already a gurney and medical staff waiting to receive Ana. She’s rushed into one of those prepping rooms. A nurse whose name tag reads Brandy who looks like she just graduated from high school hands me a hospital gown to help put on Ana.
“Ties in the back. Take off everything and please help her put this on. Then have her lay on this bed. I’ll be back in a few minutes to take her vitals and hook her up to monitors to observe the baby’s well-being. Dr. Greene should be here shortly. She has called and said she’s on her way,” she says as she turns to walk out. 
“Are you even qualified to be a nurse?” I ask.
“Yes, sir,” she answers proudly. “I’ve been a maternity nurse for three years. I’ll be back in a few minutes if Mrs. Grey wants some privacy to change.” Ana grasps my hand as hard as she can, waiting for a contraction to pass through.
“Oh, God! I’m leaking, Christian!” The nurse stops and but then turns around to leave.
“I know baby, let’s get this dress off of you. Nurse, my wife is still losing amniotic fluid!”
“This is normal, sir, since her water broke. I’ll help you dress Mrs. Grey in the hospital gown,” she says forgoing the privacy of my wife the nurse worried over a few minutes back. We take the Matron of Honor dress off Ana, I undo her bra then the nurse helps her arms through the hospital gown.
“Mrs. Grey, I will lay you down here,” she says patting on what looks like a giant pad on the examination table. As we lay Ana down on the table, there’s a knock at the door. Dr. Greene walks in her scrubs and a mask hanging from her neck.
“Hello Mrs. Grey. You’ve decided to have the baby early after all,” she says smiling.
“It was the baby’s decision. Not mine,” Ana puffs her answer.

Circle of Life

After hooking her up on monitors with belts, IV hooked on her arm and several other gadgets I’m not familiar with, Dr. Greene warms her hands up and puts her gloves on. Then pouring some warmed gel into her palm, she instructs Ana to scoot down the table, put her legs up on the stirrups and relax. She’s going to examine her cervix. Relaxing proves to be difficult for Ana with the relentless and painful contractions.
“You’re only at five centimeters so far, Mrs. Grey, but since your water is broken, we need to speed up the process. You need to dilate to ten centimeters and since the baby has little amniotic fluid left inside, we need to rush the process once you get to a certain level of dilation. So far, you’re progressing normally.”
“Can’t we just do a C-section and save Ana from all this pain?” I say. It’s been an agonizing hour for her.
“No!” both Ana and Dr. Greene shout back.
“I don’t recommend C-section unless the baby is in trouble. I can feel his head down. This is the first baby Mr. Grey. He isn’t going to come out right away. It’s just the way it is,” she says trying to be reassuring.
“I will let Mrs. Grey rest a little bit, but after a certain time, I’d like her to walk so we’ll let the gravity do some of the work for her.”
“Walk? She’s in pain? How can she walk?” I say as Ana squeezes my hand with another death grip. “Don’t you have something to give her for this pain?”
“I recommend Epidural, but it’s not the right time for it yet. We’ll get our window of opportunity for this in a little while,” then without bothering to explain, she turns to two of the nurses who are now in the room and instructs each of them with some tasks.
“Mrs. Grey, I need you to take ice chips if your mouth feels dry, and the IV line will keep you hydrated and nourished. I have some pain relief in your IV but we don’t want more than necessary for the baby’s well-being.”
“I don’t want Epidural, Dr. Greene,” Anastasia says as she grunts through a contraction.
“What?” we both ask. She shallow breathes several breaths. The pain is evident in every breath, every muscle, every gesture, and the shaky voice.
“Christian, I want natural birth!” she groans followed by a painful scream. “What if it harms the baby?” she says with less conviction.
“Mrs. Grey, it’s completely hogwash. Epidural doesn’t slow the labor; it’s the least intrusive than other meds. But if you insist on it, I’ll give you a few hours to decide. This is going to be a long day for you without the pain medication, Mrs. Grey. We’ve seen that your threshold of pain is very low which means you will feel the labor pain for hours on end.”
“How long do you think… aaaaaaahh!” blood curdling scream comes through Ana as a particularly long contraction hold its death grip on Ana’s womb. Once it’s over, the beads of sweat is cover her hair and she makes a conscious effort to try to breathe.
“Mrs. Grey, the average first time labor takes about eight hours which could go up to eighteen hours if not longer. I don’t recommend it longer than eighteen hours because it could put the baby in distress.” Then she lowers her voice in a soft, soothing way, adding, “Ana, you have a breather for a few minutes. For a first time mother, decision making could be especially difficult during labor. If your mind is wrapped around the pain, you may not have the right mind to make choices should there be any complications. We’ll revisit your choice when you dilate 8 centimeters. It will still give us a window of opportunity for you to get some pain relief.” Then she turns to me, noticing I look helpless not able to ease my wife’s pain.
“Mr. Grey, you could help Mrs. Grey walk and we’ll let gravity help to speed up the labor process.”
I walk Anastasia along the corridor, she holding onto the IV stand, and me trying to find a way to ease her pain. I notice that my extended security details are strategically placed along the way and outside. Both Welch and Taylor had made an agreement to have security details placed around the maternity ward with the hospital for the due date, but we are two weeks early and we have way more men at hand than we had anticipated. Taylor and Melissa approach. He nods at Ana trying to smile, not knowing what to say. He clears his throat. Looks at me with his, ‘we have a problem at hand,’ look. I raise my eyebrows.
“Melissa, help Mrs. Grey walk,” I order. “I’ll be right back baby,” I say with a smile. She squeezes my hand with a painful fervor, gritting her teeth. Michelle immediately runs to her side, and does something to her back, running her finger on her lower back. I can see that this eases Ana’s pain. I want to ask how she managed to do that, but something in Taylor’s face distracts me.
Walking far enough away from hearing distance, he stops and turns.
“Sir, the hospital administration just informed me that other expecting parents started complaining about extra security here because clearly, our men have to stop the non-medical personnel from entering into the maternity section. But, I think they stopped one expecting father and he had a fit.”
“Why would they stop an expecting father?”
“Sir, he punched Sawyer because 'he eyed him with scrutiny'," he says with air quotations. "When Sawyer was punched, the other security helped him subdue the man who was screaming and shouting that his wife was,” he cleared his throat, “ ‘fucking havin’ a kid while rich pricks got all the perks from the hospital!’ he was shouting.”
“Why would he say that? Did Sawyer identify himself to the guy?”
“No, sir,” he said decisively.
“Then how?”
“The hospital’s own security has been making sure that only those who had immediate family at the maternity ward were being allowed. This is not a regular protocol of the hospital; the only reason they’re doing it today is because Mrs. Grey is here. It’s not hard for other patients' families to come to that conclusion that a V.I.P. is involved. That’s what he was told. Apparently, this first time father forgot his ID at work in his hurry to get to the hospital and when the hospital security couldn’t verify who he was, he was being turned away. So, he just rushed the security guard and ran in. At that time, Sawyer just got radioed that a possible intruder was running in whose ID had not been verified…” I groan finally getting the picture.
“And, now?” I ask.
“He was finally allowed to go see his wife after his mother in law verified him, but clearly he was furious and was complaining very loudly that his rights have been compromised. It turned out he barely made it to the delivery. Clearly, his wife was upset he didn’t get there during the labor and so was he. The hospital is now asking to either the ease the security meaning get rid of everyone but keep only two immediate security details or get rid of them altogether. They’re basically reneging on the concessions they made after that guy threatened to sue the hospital. The hospital administrator said that with Mr. Grey’s, your, name being so big, they’re worried about a scandal should any other problem occur with another patient.”
“They’re gonna get a bigger problem if they fucking back away from the written concessions they made especially after the last fuck up with the paparazzi!”
“Who by the way are parked outside. The hospital administration can’t stop us outside the building but they may limit our numbers that we have spread inside the hospital. Mrs. Grey has been given a VIP room, and the hospital administrator is saying that for the hospital’s sake to reduce the numbers of men we have around.”
The rage I feel makes me grit my teeth, and I run both hands in exasperation.
“I’m not reducing the numbers! Let the hospital or the patients sue me!”
“I understand sir, but they can force quite a few of us out and do it legally. Based on what the hospital administrator's hints my main concern at this point is that the administration can have the additional security detail removed from the immediate vicinity of the maternity ward since there are other patients, citing we’re impeding the medical processes thereby endangering the patient lives. Pella didn’t even argue with him. He nodded and when the administrator left, he just blended some of his men as visitors or patients.”
“Well, is anyone impeding the patient care?” I look at him questioning.
“Of course not, sir.” Then he clears his throat.
“What?” I’m running out of patience.
“Their nurses were a little too enamored with the security. Our men are under strict instructions to not to fraternize with the staff and they're not. The administrator may be just looking for an excuse, sir, and he got two.”
“Where the hell is that bastard?” I ask fuming.
“Speaking of the devil… The fucker's name is Bradley Williams,” Taylor says nodding at the other side of the corridor where the hospital administrator is greeting my wife and Miss Tiber standing protectively in front of her, making sure the Mr. Bradley Williams keeping his distance. I approve. He notices our gaze nods at my wife walking towards us. He opens his mouth to greet us as he extends his hand up. When he sees the forbidding expression on my face, he lowers his hand and runs it over his pants’ pockets as if to wipe sweat away. Clears throat.
“Mr. Grey…” he begins.
“Absolutely not!”
“But, you don’t know…” then he looks at Taylor and adds, “oh…”
Clears throat again. “I’m afraid I have to insist, Mr. Grey. Too many patients and their families are complaining. We cannot close an entire maternity ward to patients’ families. We have an average of 40 newborns a day, not to mention we have the best NICU which means more infants are transferred to this hospital from other areas and patient families also come. There’s no way we can stop and vet each family especially during an emergency. Clearly, each family deserves to be with their loved one on a special occasion like birth or an emergency like an illness,” he explains. I hold my hand up for him to stop.
“I’m not trying to prevent families sharing this moment with each other or prevent infant care. God, no! I’m just trying to provide my wife proper security your hospital agreed two weeks ago and as Taylor here had explained to you once again when we arrived.”
“Yes, Mr. Grey and we would really love to cooperate. But the number we agreed upon was four security details for Mrs. Grey and you at the maternity ward. You have an army out there! We can’t give family difficulty in being with their wife, daughter, sister, or daughter in law on such a day. Therefore, I must request your men to be removed from the maternity ward except for two. Your security detail has been given a list of the employees to come to shifts for a 24 hour period even though this is totally irregular in light of the last event. But, we cannot slow the work flow here. This is a hospital after all. We deal with lives, Mr. Grey. I’m sorry, but our offer is final. Two securities in the maternity ward allowed, and the rest must be outside and not-interfering with the regular flow of our work.”
Taylor’s face is expressionless, but the dilation of his pupils tells me that he’s also as angry as I am for having been cornered.
“You’ve taken enough of my time. Original agreement holds. Four security details: Two men for Mrs. Grey, two of my personal bodyguards. If your hospital has a problem, I’ll put you through a lawsuit likes of which you have not seen! The rest of the security detail will remain outside dispersed around the hospital.”
“Of course, we’ll allow that. But those of whom who are outside of the immediate security can’t remain inside the maternity ward, because the staff complained that there’s not adequate room in this area. Naturally, additional bodies who are neither the mother nor the father are taking additional space that is reserved for patients and their families. These are all the concession I’m allowed to make Mr. Grey. Hospital rules,” he says apologetically.
“Listen carefully!” my voice is low but clear. The vibrating anger envelopes him and holds him in his tracks. “No one tries to renegotiate with me after signing an agreement. My lawyers will see to it all of the articles the hospital has agreed are upheld.”
“Yes, Mr. Grey. We’ll make sure that what has been agreed is upheld, but I have to insist that the additional bodies will have to leave.”
I take out my phone and speed dial Welch.
“Where the fuck are you?” I ask while Williams looks at me with his mouth agape.
“I’m just arriving at the hospital sir,” he responds.
“Call my lawyers. I want the security agreement upheld by the hospital within the next half hour. Their own fuck up for having inadequately trained security is not my concern.”
“My apologies, Mr. Grey. Pella already informed your lawyers and they’ve met with the Dean of the hospital.”
“Does Williams know about this?”
“Who is Williams, sir?”
“The hospital administrator.”
“A fucking hospital administrator shouldn’t have been bothering you, sir! My apologies again. We’ve got this!”  
I press the End button on my phone and look up to Williams.
“Leave.” The single word leaves my lips like an expletive making him turn crimson.


*****      *****

Even though we have walked through the hall numerous times, Ana has only dilated to eight centimeters and she’s been stuck at that number for the last five hours. She’s exhausted, pained and still has not given into receiving Epidural. Her pained screams rip me apart layer by layer. Worry and anxiety are driving me insane.  Dr. Greene gave her something that would slightly alleviate her pain. After she checks her cervix again, I call Dr. Greene’s attention.
“Dr. Greene, a word, please.”
“Sure, Mr. Grey,” she responds timidly.
“How long will you let Ana suffer? It’s been eleven hours! She is not accepting Epidural. She has stopped dilating for the last five hours. Either find a way to speed up the labor, or perform the C-section!”
“Mr. Grey,” she responds patiently. “The baby’s not in distress. The mother is doing well, even if you think otherwise. She’s healthy. I’d like to give Mrs. Grey every opportunity to have a natural childbirth as she requested. If she doesn’t get to ten centimeters in the next hour, I will give her Pitocin to speed up the labor.”
“No! Not next hour. Start it now. Don’t you see this is torture for her?” I shout. Dr. Greene’s lips thin.
“I will go and talk to Mrs. Grey and I’ll give her Pitocin. But, I would like to fulfill the mother’s wishes. If and when I see a danger to either the mother or the baby, I will move into the next step. But Mr. Grey, this is her first baby. What you see is not out of the ordinary. Now, please, let me do my job, and let’s respect Mrs. Grey’s wishes,” she responds as she walks back into the Labor and Delivery Room to talk to Ana.
After she explains Ana what I had discussed with her, she tells Ana that she will give her Pitocin to speed up the labor, but that she recommends her Epidural because the pain is about to get intensified. The doctor finally made a concession.
“I don’t want anything that is not natural for my baby,” Ana responds.
“Mrs. Grey, Pitocin will put your body into hard rocking labor than soft rocking labor to get the job done.”
“This is soft?” Ana asks incredulous.
“Yes, Ana. You will receive an IV solution with Pitocin in it. We’ll pump it about every 20 minutes until you’re contracting every 2 to 3 minutes for a minute or more. Considering how hard you have been experiencing your labor, I really, really, really recommend you to take some pain relief, Ana. At this point, I recommend Epidural. Your pain threshold seems very low.”
“Please, baby,” I beg her.
“Only something less intrusive for the baby than that, because I want to feel my legs when I push him out,” Ana responds.
“One of the nurses can massage your legs to help with the circulation so that you can continue to feel your legs,” the Dr. responds.
“I’ll do that. No need for the nurse’s help,” I say eyeing the newly arriving male nurse named Derick in blue scrubs after a shift change.
“Okay,” Ana concedes.
I breathe a sigh of relief. Dr. Green gives orders to get the IV going and the pain relief. When Pitocin starts pumping, the contractions start getting longer, more painful, and watching her belly contort like a wash rag when you squeeze the water out makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t help my wife. I can’t ease her pain. Even though Anastasia agreed to the Epidural, it doesn’t seem to be helping her enough. Four torturous hours pass with only another one single fucking centimeter. She’s stuck at nine centimeters and the labor is not progressing anymore.
“Dr. Greene,” I whisper. “Please. She’s suffering. I don’t know how much she can take!”
“I understand your concern Mr. Grey. I will keep monitoring the baby and the mother. She’s tired, I know, but she insists on natural childbirth. If she doesn’t reach to ten centimeters in the next hour or if I detect any distress at all with either the mother or the baby, I will take her into C-section. But I have to respect the mother’s wishes. Mrs. Grey is the one who is giving birth. This is not the first birth I’m attending Mr. Grey. Please, trust me,” she says almost indignantly.
I only trust her half as far as I can throw her which is right across the hall and I really really would love to put that theory to test since the fucking obstetrician is not cooperating with me and trying to accommodate Ana’s wishes she’s made before she was in labor and before she had felt the labor pains and now is now too afraid to alter her choices because she doesn’t know any better. She thinks that any change she might make in her previously thought out decisions due to pain, may result in harming the baby. I know my wife better! The doctor thinks she’s respecting Ana’s previous decisions by allowing her to go through this torture of a labor is not taking her fears into account and not aiding her in making the appropriate choices to ease her pain and get the baby out of her at this moment. What a fucking conundrum! I’m losing control here and losing control is not something I can deal with right now. I want her to be comfortably numb.

Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd

“Dr. Grey, you have sixty minutes. If any complication arises because you have not performed a C-Section…” She cuts me off.
“Mr. Grey, I hope you don’t intend to finish that sentence. Because, at this moment I would like to focus solely on Mrs. Grey’s and the baby’s well-being. I’m doing what I think is best for my patient with the available information on her current health respecting her wishes under her previously given detailed directives. Should the direction of her health change, then I will have to disregard her directives to do what is best for both of my patients: the mother and the baby. My first responsibility is to them,” she says. The implied ‘not to you’ doesn’t need to be said. I don’t want to spook the doctor at this crucial moment because my wife is in her hands but her services are hanging by a thread. Dr. Greene is unyielding.
“I will give you no more than sixty minutes,” I say and walk away. Oh, Ana, why do you do this to yourself? Why?
At the end of the next sixty minutes, there isn’t any further development in Anastasia’s labor, but plenty of pain for my wife. She’s exhausted; ready to pass out. She doesn’t dilate to ten centimeters and Pitocin stops doing its job other than having provided a lot of painful contractions. I look up at the Doctor with baleful eyes. She checks the monitors and notices something on the baby monitor. Teddy’s heartbeats skyrocketed as if the washing machine is in the rinse cycle. Dr. Greene knows that finally both Teddy and I have reached our limit. She nods her nurses to get ready and turns to Ana with urgency in her voice.
“Mrs. Grey, you’ve been in labor for fifteen hours now. Your contractions have slowed in spite of the Pitocin. We need to do a C-section. The baby is in distress.” There’s a hint of worry and surmounting stress lacing her tone.
“It’s about fucking time!” I bellow. That’s what I’ve been begging Ana to get for the last five hours and asking the doctor to help convince her to no avail. Dr. Greene conveniently ignores me as if this is the first time I’ve asked her to move onto performing a C-section.
“Christian, quiet,” Ana says weakly. Too weak. She squeezes my hand with delicate fingers. Her voice barely above a whisper. I’m scared out of my mind. Is every delivery like this? I couldn’t have prepared myself for this had I tried. I can’t look around; there seems to be a sea of green scrubs rushing to and fro around my wife in a nervous frenzy.

Bon Jovi – Always

“I wanted to push him out myself,” Ana manages to whisper, stubborn as ever.
“Mrs. Grey, please,” Dr. Greene pleads. Even she reached her limit of concessions for Ana. “C-section.” This time the doctor looks at me for support.
“Please, Ana,” I beg.
“Can I sleep then?” she asks. Thank God.
“Yes, baby, yes, sleep as much as you want,” my voice breaks, and I swallow back my sob. I lean down and kiss her forehead. I don’t want to lose my wife in labor because the fucking doctor had to yield to Ana’s unreasonable wishes. But then again, even I can’t resist her wishes. I’m ready to do everything she asks for.
“I want to see Lil’ Blip,” she says wishful. Why didn’t I think of that before? Meeting our baby would be the biggest incentive for Ana to agree to the C-section hours ago and her pain would have been over by now and she could have been cuddling Teddy. 
“You will see him soon.”
“Okay,” she finally whispers her acquiescence.
“Finally,” Dr Greene mutters. Why didn’t she try to persuade her before? “Nurse, page the anesthesiologist. Dr. Miller, prep for a C-section. Mrs. Grey, we are going to move you to the Operating Room.” This is news to me. My security has been guarding this section and it had been an uphill battle to get this little concession. They’re never going to let the O.R. area to be guarded because of health hazard issues and there’s hardly any time to inform anyone of the change.
“Move?” I hear the word spill out of my and Ana’s lips simultaneously in complete surprise.
“Yes. Now!” Doctor Greene commands with urgency.
Without another word, they’ve mobilized Ana’s bed and moving her out of the maternity ward. Dr. Greene turns to me and orders.
“Mr. Grey, you’ll need to change into scrubs.”
“What?” What are all these additional rules for and why have we not been informed of what to expect?
When Dr. Greene sees me in my frozen state, her voice gets three octaves higher.
“Now, Mr. Grey!” The urgency in her voice conceals the panic she’s feeling. I know the feeling because I have the same ominous feeling in me as well. I squeeze Ana’s hand as they’re trying to wheel her out.
“Christian,” she call out to me panicked, but she’s been wheeled away as two male nurses have stopped me and pull me into what looks like a changing room. I hear Ana’s distancing weak voice calling after me, completely panicked.
“Christian?”
“He’ll be with you in a moment, Mrs. Grey,” someone else answers and the voices as well as the footsteps taking my wife is receding and finally gone.
“We need you to get into these scrubs,” says one of the nurses after eyeing me for size, “and put this cap as well as the face mask on please. We’ll wait outside to give you privacy, Mr. Grey,” he says and they both vacate the room. I put the blue scrubs on the nurse handed me faster than anything I have put on to get back to Anastasia who sounded very distressed with my absence. She needs me! When I get outside, I say, “Let’s roll,” as I’m tying up the bottom of the scrubs. The OR is not on the same level I notice. The nurses lead me to the staff elevators without going out of the double doors we came in when we first arrived to the maternity. Does my security know we’re changing levels? When the elevator doors ding open, any thought of the security detail slip and the concern for my wife and child fills every crevice in my mind. We walk through the corridor when the nurses reach the operating room they’re supposed to have relocated Anastasia. There’s already a frenzy of activity and if my wife wasn’t the person in the middle of the room on the operating table… The operating table… I take a few deep breaths. She looks so small and weak. There is a big blue drape like setup below her chest. She’s hooked up to her IV line again and meds are running as well as the numerous monitors beeping.
“Christian, I’m so frightened,” her voice is barely a whisper.
“No, baby, no. I’m here. Don’t be frightened,” I murmur rubbing her hair. “Not my strong Ana,” I lean down and kiss her forehead. I can’t get over the fear. The frenzy, the concerned glances doctors exchange wordlessly with one another. Fear looms over me like a dark cloud. Even in her medicated state, Ana doesn’t miss anything from my expression.
“What is it?” she asks.
“What?” I pretend not to understand her meaning.
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing is wrong. Everything is fine, baby. You’re just too exhausted.” I try to keep my voice level, but my eyes burn with fear. Where the hell is the anesthesiologist to stop her pain? She doesn’t even have the strength to squeeze my hand when a contraction comes through. The contractions are still present and painful, though they’re not productive.
The doctor whom I assume is the anesthesiologist runs into the OR and gets the rundown quickly. Dr. Greene gives a sigh of relief.
“Mrs. Grey, the anesthesiologist Dr. Miller is here. He’s going to adjust your epidural and then we can proceed.” At that moment a long contraction gets its death grip on Ana’s womb.
The room is full of medical staff. The organized frenzy is scaring Ana, and worrying me.
“Let’s get the mayo stand ready!” says one of the nurses. “Two knives with #10 blades, Scissors: metz, curved mayo, suture and bandage. Rolled towel with four hemostats, 2 Kockers, 4 kellys, 2 Allis, 3 cord clamps, 4 pengtons, pratts, sponge sticks…” other voices drown hers. Ana’s eyes are first wide but then her hand weakens inside mine and gets colder. I look at the monitor displaying Ana’s pulse and I see that it is low.
“She’s having another contraction,” announces one of the nurses. Ana’s hand squeezes mine furiously. Somehow Anastasia’s effort to seek relief from pain or her acceptance of me lending her strength to ride out her pain gives me the infinitesimal control I crave. Feeling her pain delivered to me through our connection even as a minuscule reflection is welcome. Dr. Miller is efficient. He doesn’t waste time. He briefly explains the drugs he’s going to use for the surgery in rapid fashion while he’s delivering the drugs to her body. I can see the numbing relief spread through Ana’s body. She can finally manage to concentrate on my face rather than her pain.
I hear the words ‘baby’, ‘distress’, ‘time is running out’, ‘window of opportunity is gone’, ‘immediately’ in whispered tones between the doctors and the nurses. The grim looks on their faces worry me, but I can’t ask anything, not now, not when Ana is awake and when she needs my support.
“Dr. Miller, how long?” Dr. Greene asks with much meaning.
“No more than two minutes,” he responds.
“BP is low,” I hear a nurse inform the doctor.
“Show time! Has Doctor Hansen been paged? I need him and a medical team put together for the baby asap!”
“Yes, doctor! He’s been paged. But, I’ll have to page for the medical team,” says a nurse and scurries out of the OR.
I keep holding Ana’s hand, and try to keep an awkward smile for her, but it’s a pained look at best. The medical team prepped Ana for the surgery, and the doctor finally started to cut her. I can’t watch this. I focus on Ana’s face. Somehow I keep thinking of piranhas feeding on a sickly creature. The table shakes with one of doctor’s moves.
“Christian, I’m scared!” Ana whispers, holding my hand tighter, yet still weak.
 Dr. Greene doesn’t waste her time with a response. Instead, she turns to Anastasia and asks: “Can you feel this, Mrs. Grey?” I hope she isn’t trying to cut her before the meds fully get into her system.
“You can’t feel it.”
“No,” Ana responds.
“Good. Dr. Miller, let’s go,” Dr. Greene says. When I peek behind the drape, I see that the doctor is now making the first incision. Seeing my wife’s protruding belly cut makes me sick. The worry is surmountable. Not only because this is a surgery, but the doctors are frantic and they’re constantly eyeing the monitors as if they’re in a race to save someone. The beads of sweat collect on my forehead.
“I love you,” Ana whispers. She’s the one who is comforting me. Her strength is what breaks me down.
“Oh, Ana,” a sob breaks loose. I bury my head to her neck. “I love you, too, so much, baby.”
Ana’s lips whisper soothingly. More people fill into the OR and in about fifteen minutes, I hear Doctor Greene’s sharp voice to a nurse.
“Suction!”
“What’s happening?” Ana asks.
“Good…” Dr. Greene responds someone else. They’re ignoring Anastasia as there’s a hectic movement behind the veil. The word, ‘not breathing’ is almost a whisper. I’m not called to cut the baby’s umbilical cord.
“Dr. Hansen!” someone shouts and a doctor who is in blue scrubs and blue apron scurries to the area behind the drape with his team of nurses who are equally covered up as if this is the CDC clean room and they’re fighting a deadly infectious disease.
“Make room!” says a masculine voice behind the mask.
I look up to see the activity and see a purplish little body, body of my son covered in white vernix and blood and some green substance. He isn’t crying! That means he isn’t breathing. Doctor Greene, or at least the person I hope is Dr. Greene is delivering the afterbirth while Dr. Hansen and his team trying to revive our son! ‘Umbilical cord wrapped around his neck’ is whispered. What if … I can’t entertain such horrible thought.
“Let’s clear his lungs,” Dr. Hansen’s voice commands. He murmurs “under stress”. The activity increases and Ana looks beyond exhausted. I can’t blink. I watch the doctor and the nurses work on the little body of my baby while the others are still working on Ana’s open incision. Then the loud sound of a healthy, angry cry breaking through the medical staff's murmur is the most welcome sound in the world. Our son! Theodore Raymond Grey! His cry fills his lungs with oxygen and his face is flushed pink. Ana’s face liven up when she hears my sigh of relief. The tears that had been dammed up finally run in strings of beads on their own volition. For the first time since we’ve been in the operating room, I let go of my wife and stand up to meet my child. They’re still measuring him and weighing the little body. The nurse jots on the little white board above.

“Welcome Baby Grey
Born on: May 6th 2012 at 6:21 a.m.
21 inches
8 lbs. 7 oz.”

Masked faces of the doctors and the nurses do not hide the relief, and joy when they hand my son to my arms. This wiggling, living miniature human is part of me, part of my wife. He’s ours! I’ve never been this overwhelmed in my life in meeting someone… someone so small, yet so impactful. My tears are accompanied by a small smile. He’s here. I extend my index finger to him and he captures it and holds onto it with all his little might.
“I want to see him…” I hear Ana whisper. Of course she does. He’s the one she protected all this time, loved and fell in love without even meeting him. I take him to her.
“Here’s your son, Mrs. Grey,” I whisper. How could I ever not give anything she asked for? I dedicated my life to give her anything she wants and he’s what she wants right now.
“Our son,” Ana corrects me as always. Teddy instinctively reaches out to Ana’s face. I hold his body supporting him while his head lies right over Ana’s chest. Little hands reach to her face, fiercely desiring to be connected with her. “He’s beautiful!” Ana’s whispering voice gushes.
“Yes, he is,” I whisper back. I lean down and plant a gentle kiss to his forehead beneath a shock of dark hair. This little baby has some hair. Then I kiss my wife’s forehead.
“Let’s close her up,” I hear Dr. Greene still working on Ana’s belly.
A small cough escapes Teddy’s little lips. It’s followed by another. A green drop appears at the corner of his mouth. Dr. Hansen appears next to me right away, and without a word, he takes the baby to the back of the room as if his life depends on it.
“What is wrong with our baby?” Ana’s weak voice cries out.
“It’s meconium aspiration syndrome,” Dr. Greene says behind the drape still suturing her up.
“What?” I ask fear striking deep. "Is this an illness?"
“No, Mr. Grey,” responds Dr. Greene behind her mask still busy with treating Anastasia’s sutures with a red substance. “The baby passed meconium while he was still inside the uterus.”
“Why?”
“I’ll explain after I take care of Mrs. Grey,” she responds while the pediatric group is feverishly working on our son. Ana’s tears run through her face, she’s getting distressed.
“Mrs. Grey, he will be fine. You need to relax.”
“I can’t! I want to hold him!” Ana tries to raise her voice but it’s barely audible among all the commotion. She’s exhausted, and doesn’t even have the strength to protest.
“There,” Dr. Greene says as she finishes Anastasia up. “Mrs. Grey,” she says gently looking around the nurses in scrubs and masks working and cleaning or doing something in a rapid manner. Then focuses her attention back on my wife’s slipping consciousness.
“Your labor and delivery has taken about eighteen hours. That’s a very long time for such an exhaustive process. You need to rest. The process was even harder for the little baby’s system. Because he was under stress during labor, he passed meconium while he was still inside the uterus which in return decreased his supply of blood and oxygen not to mention made him breathe in the meconium. Once meconium passed into the surrounding amniotic fluid, the baby breathes it into the lungs and it can block the infant’s airway right after birth.  We’ve tried to clear it out of his lungs. Now, Dr. Hansen and his team will have to work on him to prevent swelling of the baby’s lungs and monitor him. When you wake up, he should be right by your side. But right now, he needs observation,” she explains.
Ana’s bloodshot eyes brim with tears.
“Did I cause this by not opting…” a sob breaks.
“No, baby, no! You were his champion. You did what you thought was best for him!” I say feverishly, giving the doctor a sharp reprimanding look.
“Mrs. Grey, your meds will take effect and it will put you to sleep. You need the rest for your recovery. We’ll take you into the recovery room while the baby is going to go to the NICU for twenty-four hours for close monitoring and observation, so that we make sure his lungs don’t get inflamed and he’s able to breathe well,” she says.
Ana’s eyes close despite her fighting against the pain medications and sleep aids given to her.
“Mr. Grey, may I have a word with you?” Dr. Greene says. When I look reluctant to leave Ana there who has fallen asleep, she says, “I promise she’ll be here when we get back. She’ll have to be prepped and moved into a recovery room.”
She walks me right outside the OR door away from the ears of room full of nurses and other doctors.
“Mrs. Grey has endured a difficult labor,” she starts.
“What the hell was that back there?” I shot back.
“The facts, Mr. Grey. She is the mother and she has a right to know what is happening with her child.”
“Did you have to say it as if it was her fault that our baby was in distress?”
“Mr. Grey, in no time back there, I blamed my patient. I had stated the causes and results of choices with the given information we all had.”
“I asked you… No, I begged you to get her into the C-section and not listen to her. She is no doctor. She was under duress with her pain and worry that she might be harming the baby’s well-being. She was thinking of the baby’s health! You screwed up!” I accuse.
“Mr. Grey, had I given Mrs. Grey a C-section without due diligence and her consent, it would be unethical for me as a doctor to go against my patient’s directives, not to mention she would have had every right to come back and sue me. It’s the mother’s choice how she wants her delivery to occur unless it becomes a health hazard for her and or the baby. I must by law follow the patient’s written and verbal directives which I did to the letter. Had she become unconscious and she had no directives, then I would have applied to your directives, but she was conscious all the way. She had made choices to the best of her ability which were for the well-being of the baby. I can’t disagree with Mrs. Grey’s choices. She was still well informed. The birth process is not easy for any baby and yours is not an exception.”
“Now the baby has to be in the NICU because of those well-informed choices which you endorsed! Ana could not have made those choices had you informed her of the prospective dangers the baby could have had. Now, she’s going to worry herself sick because she made those choices!” I can’t have Ana’s health deteriorate because the doctor enabled her to linger on natural birth and she’ll blame herself for it!
“The NICU is only a precaution Mr. Grey. This is not uncommon. The meconium problem is easily treatable. The baby and the mother will be reunited within twenty four hours. Mrs. Grey needs the time to recover herself. She just had a surgery,” she responds calmly as if she’s explaining a hard concept to a three year old.
“We’re all very tired Mr. Grey. The mother is doing exceptionally well, just exhausted. She needs time for recovery from the C-section, and the baby would have been naturally put under observation because all mothers who just went through such a birth would need the time for healing. Now, I’m sure you’d like to go with Mrs. Grey into the recovery room and Dr. Hansen and his team will take baby Grey into the NICU. You can visit him once you settle Mrs. Grey into her room. I’m sure your family would like to know about the delivery,” she says reminding me we left my brother’s wedding to make it to the hospital on time. It had been a very stressful day and we’re all under pressure including the doctor.
“Thank you,” I say closing my eyes.
“For what?”
“For doing what Ana asked to do,” I say surprising her.
“Let’s rest and regroup tomorrow Mr. Grey,” she responds with a smile.

*****      *****

The nurses settle my sleeping wife into the recovery room and there’s a couch that is going to be my bed for tonight or morning. I don’t even know what time it is. When I observe my wife breathing with oxygen delivered to her nose through a small nozzle, her steady heartbeat observed on the monitor and her blood pressure slowly rising up to the normal levels, I can finally let go and fall onto the couch. I take my Blackberry out to find 59 missed calls and over sixty text messages. Most of them are from my family, Taylor and Pella. Trying to locate our whereabouts in the hospital as well as trying to see if the baby is born. No one had informed them. This delivery was harder and I have an inkling that it was more difficult than Dr. Greene let out. I call Taylor first.
“Sir!” he responds.
“Where are you?”
“We have been renegotiating with the hospital where we can be stationed since we were not informed of Mrs. Grey having been taken to the OR. I’ve informed your family of the changes. No one was allowed or no information was given to anyone because we were not next of kin which immediately made us think that there was something wrong with Mrs. Grey or the baby. We’ve called you, but…”
“I know. They were supposed to allow you to follow me.”
“Not to OR, sir and we weren’t even informed that Mrs. Grey was in the OR. We were kept outside of the delivery area. Pella had to break in to hospital computer system to find out her location. Because the NICU is a clean environment, they’re not letting any of us near it. We’re barred. Pella is looking for a way to bypass that without putting other infants in danger just in close vicinity that we can keep an eye on him. But we are by the recovery room, no thanks to the hospital. In fact, I’m outside your door, sir.”
“My family?” I ask.
“Your parents and sister came here a few hours after you did, but had to go back to the wedding. After the wedding was over, your parents called and asked me if the baby was born and asked to inform them as soon as he arrived. I had just called them about it. They will allow you to sleep a few hours before they come to see Mrs. Grey and the baby.”
“Okay…” but I don’t get to finish my sentence.
“What?” Taylor’s voice is sharp as an expletive to someone who must just arrived to our door.
“Mrs. Grey is resting and Mr. Grey is tired. What is it you need?”
“For heaven’s sake Taylor! The nurses are supposed to come…” I say over the phone as I open the door.
“You’re not a nurse,” I say surprised to the man in the expensive suit. He clears his throat. He’s accompanied by a hospital security.
“I’m sorry Mr. Grey.”
“What?” I ask alarmed.
“The baby… Your baby…” he says emphasizing.
“What about my baby? Is he okay?” My hands are on his lapels, Taylor is breathing through his nose and I drop my phone to the floor.
“What the fuck happened to my baby??” I shout.
“He’s gone!”
“He was just born! Your pediatric staff took him to the NICU. My security wasn’t allowed in the vicinity of the NICU. How’s my baby gone? He couldn't have just walked out!”
“The nurses who were stationed at the NICU were drugged. Two nurses in the station were found with needle marks on their necks so are the two in the NICU caring the babies.”
“When?” Taylor asks. “Any video feeds, descriptions?”
“We don’t know yet. We, I’m sorry, we wouldn’t have known until the shift change but your man broke into the NICU and he’s the one who discovered the empty bassinet of the Baby Grey,” he says.
“Pella!” both Taylor and I shout. “Where is he?”
“In the security office going over the video feeds to identify the kidnapper,” says the head of hospital security.
My head is about to explode. My baby is gone. My baby! I only held him once! Ana only got to touch him! She didn't even get a chance to hold him after eighteen hours of labor!
We’re distracted by Taylor’s phone. The voice on his phone is booming.

“Taylor! Pella. I need you and all the security staff immediately. White male. 6’2”, military cut hair, 30s, accompanied by a female in a wheel chair who looked like she just gave birth with a baby in an infant car seat coming out of the NICU. He's still dressed in scrubs. Melissa and Sawyer are in pursuit of the vehicle; a silver SUV with darkened windows. I’m getting eyes in the sky in a minute. I have the staff texting all security the relevant information. We don’t have any time to lose! I need you at the security office ASAP!”

My world collapses around me. But, I can't break down right now. I need to find Teddy before Ana wakes up.

“Let’s fucking roll! Someone's going to die in my hands today for this!” I shout, my eyes blinded with rage and anguish. My enemy broke through my gates. He will pay dearly for this. We run.



Muse - Uprising