I was in the lobby of the hospital waiting for clearance to go upstairs and visit B and the baby.
She’d had a baby girl early in the morning. I looked at her through the glass window for a few minutes before my mother decided we both had to go home, get a few hours of sleep and pretend we weren’t insanely aware of the decision that B was about to make. She would go to work, I’d go to school, and after I got home my sister was going to bring me back to visit B and the baby.
The father had been there the whole time, helping B through her labor. I wondered what that meant. Was she going to live with him and raise the baby? He was older than her, and lived on his own in an apartment.
My mother encouraged B to tell her parents, and apparently at some point that day, B called home and told them the news. That she at age 19 had just concealed a full term pregnancy from them. That the real reason she’d dropped out of school was the pregnancy and that she’d been living at our house in an attempt for them to never know. She’d been scared of their reaction and afraid and worried about the father and so she’d kept it all from them.
Apparently they reacted with love and compassion and were now fully aware of everything.
Which also begged the question, what would she do?
I finally was brought up to her room. She was alone. She looked the same, her belly still not very noticeable under the covers and loose hospital gown. She told me she’d named the baby girl, and how the girl looked like both her and the father. She’d ordered the baby pictures, even though she wasn’t sure what she was going to do. She had a few days, until she left the hospital, before she was going to decide.
She looked peaceful. Happy, even. She loved the baby, and after we talked a while, the baby was brought to her to feed. I was surprised; I thought with a possible adoption they would not let her see the baby. She told me that things were more open now, and that it was all up to her on how much she thought she could handle. Apparently, she’d taken what my mother had said about her own experience, and clearly was relishing every minute she had with her little girl.
I looked at the sweet, tiny bundle in B’s arms and ached. I knew it was the wrong thing altogether, but the baby…she was amazing. I wanted her to bring that baby to our house, and I wanted her to let us all help her raise it.
Two days later, B left the hospital, alone. She decided that with the relationship between her and her own parents not being ideal, her and the baby’s father being ideal, and her own age and inexperience were just not the best things for the baby. Not when Catholic Chariities had a couple that had all of the things that qualified people to be great parents waiting in the wings.
I couldn’t imagine how she was ever going to fill the hole that that tiny little baby left.