The warm body of my child slid into my hands and I lifted her to my chest. I gazed at the perfect tiny nose, the dark blue eyes, and the tiny little “o” of a mouth.
My baby, my daughter, gasped her first breath.
My forehead rested against the sticky skin of my daughter’s warm body as I inhaled the scent of her.
“We need to wash her up now.”
I shook my head weakly as they cut the cord, severing the last connection between me and my tiny child. I resisted as the nurse tried to take her, until my baby started to cry. Tears welled up in my own eyes as I reluctantly handed her over, watching every move as the nurse carried my daughter to the sink, bathed her, and wrapped her in a blanket. As the nurse turned I reached out my arms, but she walked briskly past me, straight out of the room.
I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and tried to stand but the second nurse held me down. My fingers clawed at her hands. I was weak and dizzy, no match for the thick-limbed attendant. Blood oozed down my legs as she forced me back onto the bed.
Then I began to scream.
I screamed a scream that threatened to tear my throat. I screamed until the nurse jammed a needle in my arm.
My voice cut off abruptly as I fell back against the pillows, unconscious.
I woke in my room. The lovely big bed covered with pillows and sheets that felt like satin. I placed both hands on my belly and felt the sunken empty place where my daughter had been.
I rolled to my side and curled into a ball, hugging a pillow against my aching breasts.
Tears streamed down my cheeks. I wept as if sorrow were the only emotion left in the world.
For me, one of the few women left who could conceive and carry a child to term, perhaps it was.
This is the original end of this short story. I wrote Safe many months ago, after losing my third baby. Clearly some of my thoughts and feelings about that event were projected in this story. I thought about continuing the story, but since I’m in a different place mentally and emotionally, I felt like it would be forced. I also thought about apologizing that the story is abrupt and sad, but then I decided not to because, unfortunately, sometimes really crappy things happen. Writing through it helps.
So, what I finally decided to do was give you an opportunity to bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion. If you like it the way it is, great. If not…
Tell me how you would end the story.