Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
About This
How to Submit

Gone Lawn 14
Spring, 2014

Featured Novel Excerpt
New Works

Jane Biral

Having My Baby

She felt the tiny flicker of movement. Then a hard kick. How lovely. She cherished every assault from the tiny seed growing inside her. She thought it might be twins. Nice to have two of them to love and care for. Doctor said no. Too bad.
Maybe she'd have another one sometime. See how this went and decide later. She liked to sit in her rocking chair with her fingers laced over her swelling belly. Sit there and imagine rocking her baby to sleep every night.
Had to be careful not to get fat. Slim all her life. No time to start putting on weight. Only had to come off after her baby was born. Lucky she wasn't the type to dream of food all day and think the baby was an excuse to eat twice as much.
Not her she knew better. She read all the books on how to do it. She was careful about everything she put in her mouth.
The fall. Tough luck. She could have lost the baby. Stupid to walk around in her socks. She knew that. Should have been more careful. Precious cargo on board. Silly phrase. Where had she seen it? The black car with the baby seat in the back. Before she knew about her sprout. Waited by the car to see the baby. She loved babies. Loved to take care of them. Waited and waited. No baby came. Too tired to wait any longer.
Better to have her own baby. Fractured hip, they said, but the baby was fine. Before the accident, she hadn't even known about her. When she woke up after the operation, she felt the first tiny movement. Helped to take her mind off the pain.
The nurse wouldn't answer when she asked if the baby was okay. She was still moving. Wasn't that a good sign?
She didn't want to bother them. Probably a lot of people were sicker. She waited. Maybe someone would come by and ask her how she was doing.
No one did.
She couldn't stand it. Pressed the bell. Nothing happened. The pain was getting worse. If only the baby was all right, the pain would go away. Why didn't they come? She buzzed again. This time someone answered. What did she need? To know her baby was okay.
Long silence. The phone clicked in her ear.
Why were they being so mean? If the baby was gone, she had a right to know. She'd deal with it like she had with everything else. It wasn't like the first baby she'd lost. That was a long time ago. She'd never forget it.
Even though she hadn't wanted to, she left it in the hospital. They said they would take care of it and make it better. She could take it home in a few days. He told her to do what the doctors said. They knew best what it needed.
How young she had been. Still she held out. Until they said she had to leave. He had stood with them. Encouraging her. Doctors always know best. They'd take care of it. Not to worry. Time to go home. Two little ones at home missed their mommy.
Two weeks and they always told her the same thing. As well as can be expected. Monday morning she made up her mind. When he got home, she'd make him take her to the hospital to pick up her baby.
Standing at the window looking at the funeral procession driving by her house to the cemetery down the street. A very long procession. Must be someone important. She remembered the phone ringing as the last car was passing.
Sorry for your loss. Everything possible had been done.
The doctor came in that night. The pain was unbearable. Was the baby all right?
Thank God. To lose two children. Her fault. She never should have listened to him. She had plenty of chances to marry someone else. Why didn't she? When she told him, he looked at her like a hurt dog. It wasn't meant to be.
She should have spit at him. He had killed it. No, both of them had killed it. She never let him touch her again.
After he left, she raised her babies all by herself. She had been a good mother. Pretty babies with their fine, silken baby hair and their perfect little faces.
No one told her how it would be when they weren't her babies.
She had been glad when they left. The Christmas cards stopped exactly three years later.
She'd do better this time. God had given her another chance.
She tried very hard with her exercises. Doctor told her it was good for the baby. The lady who helped her noticed the cough. She didn't know how long she'd had it. The kicks were getting stronger. Being careful what she ate was paying off. Except for a little mound on her belly, she was like her old self.
Doctor told her. Pneumonia. Common after hip surgery. What about the baby. The baby would be okay. She did everything they said. One day she didn't cough. They told her she didn't have pneumonia any more.
She was walking around the hall when she met her. She didn't really like her. Though it was nice to see a familiar face. Why didn't she ask about the baby? Jealousy. She'd never had any.
She was shocked when she told her. Then she smiled. How blessed she was. A good friend who shared her joy.
Her secret. Twin boys crying in the nursery. Her twins. Even her stroke hadn't hurt them. She had worked hard with the exercise lady to keep them healthy. It worked. Couldn't she hear them? Be quite a handful when she took them home. Okay with her. What she was born to do.
Nice to be happy. That last kick was the hardest yet. Soon hers would be crying in the nursery. Crying for her.
The doctor was in her room with the nurse she didn't like. They didn't see her standing there. She heard 83 before she fainted.
She felt good. Didn't need her stick to look for her bathing suit. Today was the bus trip to the pool. Where was her bathing suit?
They were sitting at the edge dangling their feet in the water. Why hadn't she remembered it was her friend's birthday?
90 years old. Looked good. Lucky lady. Stroke and all.
They slid into the pool together.

Jane Biral believes in justice, fairness and lost causes. All of which she writes about.