She looked at him. “I don’t think I can do this. I’m not strong enough, Tommy,” she whispered. ‘Whatever you think; you’re wrong.” She looked at him, “I want to induce now.”
“No, we can’t do that. I won’t listen to you talk about this,” he stood up and faced her. “We need to wait.”
“I won’t terminate this pregnancy. I want to deliver her alive,” she said softly.
“She won’t survive. Why would you put yourself through that? Why would you put her through that, or me?” He yelled at her, desperate to get through to her.
She stood up and turned to walk out but he moved and stood in front of her. “Please just let me go. I just need to go away. I just need to stop.” She yelled at him. “You can’t fix this. You can’t save me and you can’t save our daughter. Please leave me alone.”
He shook his head. “I can’t do that. You want to induce? You could die. I guess that’s what you want, but it sure as hell isn’t what I want. I know what you’re thinking and you’re wrong. You don’t have to punish yourself. This isn’t your fault.”
She looked at him with a strange expression on her face. “Tommy, we need to go to the hospital.”
She sobbed, “My water just broke.”
Tommy paced in the hallway as Brittany was being admitted. He was numb and he didn’t know what to do or think or feel. He was petrified of losing her and he couldn’t even think about what was going to happen with their baby. He looked up as his four best friends came down the hall.
Jack walked up and hugged him. “Where is Brittany?”
“They are admitting her.” He looked at all of them. “You didn’t all have to come,” he spoke gently.
Julie walked up to her brother. “We had nowhere else to be,” she hugged him.
Tommy felt like he was going to lose it and he couldn’t. He had to be strong for Brittany. He looked at Bill who nodded and put his arm around Julie, holding her to him.
“Can we do anything for you?” Stephanie asked him.
“I don’t know what we are supposed to do. I don’t know how we are supposed to get through this. I don’t know how to help her.” He turned and walked away, never one to show emotions and not wanting to fall apart.
Jack went after him and Stephanie stayed back with Julie and Bill. He put his hand on Tommy’s arm and the friends looked at each other. “Can you try dialysis?”
“If there is no kidney development at all, there is no hope. If she has any kidney function, we can try immediate dialysis and wait for a transplant, but only if her lungs are developed and her respiratory system can support life.” He wiped his face; “But Brittany isn’t going to make it through this delivery. She is going to bleed to death,” he sobbed and Jack hugged him.
“We have to do something,” Julie cried as she watched her brother fall apart. “I can’t watch him go through this and not try everything.”
Bill looked at Stephanie, who was watching her husband intently. “Is there anything we can offer?”
“There are a lot of questions. We need to know if there is any kidney development at all. The most immediate concern for Brittany is bleeding. As a doctor, Tommy knows the chances of both of them surviving this are low.” Stephanie said sadly. “That’s what he keeps thinking.”
Dr. Lacey rushed out and Tommy ran over with Jack. “You need to come in so we can discuss things.”
He nodded and followed her into the room. He saw Brittany in the bed, hooked up to numerous machines and a fetal monitor on her stomach. She had her eyes closed and he walked up and took her hand. She looked at him and touched his face. Tommy leaned down and kissed her softly before sitting down next to her and looking at Dr. Lacey.
“You are in active labor and are dilated to 4 centimeters. Although the baby is small, it is still going to be a very taxing process for you and your system. On the other hand, doing surgery is a last resort because of your bleeding history and the fact you have been on the blood thinners until yesterday,” she sighed.
“What about the possibility of transmitting HIV to her? I don’t want her to be at risk.” Brittany said.
“The chances are low, and despite all of your issues, your viral load is extremely stable. Assuming everything goes according to plan, the HIV transmission risk is the least of our worries.” Dr. Lacey stopped when she saw a contraction coming.
“Oh God,” Brittany closed her eyes and squeezed Tommy’s hand. She tried to breathe and concentrate on counting while the pain went through her. She exhaled as the feeling subsided and looked at the doctor. “Okay,” she said weakly as he smoothed her hair away from her face. “I want a peritoneal dialysis machine standing by to use after she is born.”
Dr. Lacey looked at Brittany. “It is very likely she will not have sufficient respiratory development to support life.”
“We want the machine ready and we want the NICU on standby,” Tommy said.
“Of course. I will leave you both alone for a bit while we wait for you to dilate more,” she stood up and walked out.
Brittany leaned back and took a deep breath. Tommy wiped her forehead and smoothed her hair off her face. “We need to discuss some things,” she said.
He held her hand and kissed her fingers, “Okay.”
“You need to write some things down,” she said as she closed her eyes for a minute.
“What are you talking about?” He couldn’t do this, he just couldn’t.
“Tommy, I need you to understand what to do in the event I can’t tell you,” she said as she held his gaze.
“Please don’t talk like this. Please don’t do this to me,” he whispered as he looked at her and his chin quivered.
She reached up and touched his face. “I’m not leaving you. I am going to get through this, but I am an obstetrician and I know what should happen and what might happen to Naomi after she is born. In the event I am too out of it, I need you to know what to do and what to ask for. I need to make sure we give her every chance possible.” She began to pant as another contraction took over. “Shit,” she said and groaned as the pain came over her body.
He didn’t think there was ever a time where he felt more helpless. “You’re doing great baby. Just breathe.”
She looked at him and smiled. “I love you. We both do.”
He swallowed a sob. “I love you both with everything I am.”
“We know that. Now if you would prefer I talk to Stephanie and tell her these things, I will do that. It’s okay if you need a minute.” She felt her heart break for his fear.
“No. I am Naomi’s father and if there is something my baby girl needs, her mother or I will take care of her.” He said. “Tell me what I need to know.”