The Honeymoon Period

By: C.J. Fallowfield


It had been five days since I’d found out that Gabe had been rushed to hospital and straight into surgery, and I never wanted to experience the pain I’d felt in that moment ever again. I could recall watching every house and hedge flash past as Doug raced Lexi and I to A&E. I’d paced for hours waiting for him to come out of surgery and the recovery room. I remembered that feeling of complete exhaustion and fragility, but I’d refused to rest until I’d seen him, touched him and told him how much I loved him.

From what the paramedics had been able to deduce, from Gabe’s incoherent ramblings, was that he’d apparently thrown himself out of the way of an oncoming car, onto the kerb of the pavement. He’d suffered a nasty concussion, laceration to the head, severely bruised ribs and hip, a broken collarbone and a bad rotator cuff tear, which had required immediate surgery. I was told he’d been lucky, had the car have actually hit him he may not have made it at all. I was still annoyed that that this major fact had somehow got lost in translation, Doug, Lexi and I had been under the impression that the car had actually struck him, there again even with the knowledge that it hadn’t, I don’t think I could possibly have been any less stressed or worried.

The memory of seeing him lying in that hospital bed made me shudder. He’d been propped up with his eyes closed, an IV running into his left arm, blood matted in his beautiful blond hair and he’d ugly scrapes down the right hand side of his handsome face, some of which were covered in dressings. He also had butterfly stitches, just like I’d had for my operation the week before, along an ugly gash over his eyebrow. His right arm had been put in a sling and he looked so pale. I remembered sitting at his side, my head in his lap waiting for an eternity for him to wake up. The joy I’d felt at feeling his fingers move through my hair as he woke up and hoarsely moaned my name was indescribable.

‘Mia … Mia … where are you? Come back to me baby, you’re dreaming again,’ he whispered. I opened my eyes and looked up at him and gasped, realising I was in the present, he was here with me now, recovering back in my old room at Riverdale private hospital. I stood up and grasped his face and kissed him.

‘O God Gabe, I was there again, seeing you after your operation.’ I let out a breath that I hadn’t realised I’d been holding and he cupped my cheek with his left hand.

‘Mia I’m ok, don’t look so sad. I’m being discharged today and we can go home.’

‘I know. I just can’t stop reliving it Gabe. I could’ve lost you and I love you so much.’

‘You didn’t lose me Mia, I’m right here and getting better for you is what’s keeping me focussed. I can’t believe you’ve spent all week here with me.’

‘Where else would I want to be, Gabe?’ I asked as I looked around the twin bedded room we’d shared since he was transferred here on Monday. Much to the annoyance of the nurses, we’d insisted on pushing the beds next to each other every evening, so we could hold hands at night while he slept.

‘I know baby, that’s how I felt when you were in here. It’s just not how I planned your last week of recovery.’

‘What did you have planned?’ I asked as I gently swept his hair off his face and kissed his forehead, taking my time to plant tiny ones over his stitches.

‘I was going to spend every free moment in bed with you, making up for lost time,’ he whispered.

‘Well we’ll have a lot of time to make up for, Gabe. The world is against us having sex.’ I remembered the last time we had, it was after our date on Saturday night. I could recall his touch, his sighs and moans, the heat, the passion and the complete and utter contentment of lying in each other’s arms, exhausted and covered in sweat, trying to catch our breath afterwards, it seemed a lifetime ago. Since then he’d undergone major surgery on his shoulder, given police statements to tell them what little he remembered of his accident and we’d spent every waking moment together, with me tending to his every need, cutting up his meals, helping feed wash and dress and shooing away the abundance of keen nurses who’d tried to take over from me.

We’d watched movies, studied, had twice daily visits from Lexi and Doug and even from his dad, who’d flown back from New York. We’d talked a lot too, discussing some of our fears and insecurities. Pretty much everything but the last conversation we’d had before he was hospitalised, the one where I’d asked him to move in with me. I was convinced that I’d scared him, after all I’d scared myself when the actual words came out of my own mouth. We’d only met four weeks before, but had both fallen for each other so hard, we couldn’t bear to be apart, at least that’s what I thought.

‘I promise to make it up to you when I can.’

‘Sorry what was that? Make what up?’

‘Sex baby. Were you daydreaming again? You look really distant.’

‘I just can’t wait to get you out of here, Gabe. It’s starting to feel like a prison and I want to be able to share a bed with you and put my arms around you without feeling like I might be chastised,’ I grumbled. He tugged my hair back to make me look at him and sealed his lips over mine kissing me gently, making my stomach do somersaults.

‘Mia, we’ve a lifetime together to make up for it. Right now, we need to move. Your follow up with Dr. Wells is in ten minutes.’

‘Are you sure you should be getting out of bed so soon?’

‘Mia, it’s my shoulder, not my legs.’ He released me and swung himself out of the bed and I heard him take a sharp intake of breath.

‘Your ribs still?’

‘Yes, but they’re getting better, so come on, stop stalling.’

We held hands as we slowly made our way down to Dr. Wells’ office for my ten day post op consultation, after the laparoscopy, to diagnose my endometriosis and infertility. I felt on edge since the last time we’d broached the subject, Gabe had made it clear that children were in his future. I didn’t see them in mine and it almost led to us separating. He squeezed my hand and smiled at me, as if he knew how I was feeling. We were ushered in and spent the first five minutes discussing what had happened to Gabe. Dr. Wells then asked how I was progressing while carrying out an examination of my stomach to see how my incisions were holding up.

‘Everything seems to be healing really nicely Mia, hopefully in time you won’t even be able to see the scars. So, now we’ve diagnosed you, I’d like to discuss how we move forward treating you. I’d like to try stopping your periods for a minimum of a year, which should reduce your pain and stop the condition from progressing further.’

‘That sounds great. Can we do it for longer than a year?’

‘We could do it for up to three years with an implant, but I’d like to just give it a year initially on tablets and see how you’re doing. I know it was a lot of information to take on board last week, so I’m wondering what thoughts you’ve had with regards to the issue of your fertility?’ she asked. I stole a quick glance at Gabe, but he just looked straight ahead at Dr. Wells without flinching.

‘To be perfectly honest Dr. Wells, children aren’t something I’ve ever envisioned wanting, but I’m aware that I may change my mind one day in the future, so I’d like to know what my options are.’ I felt Gabe’s thumb stroke the back of my hand and knew it was his way of thanking me.

‘Mia, I think our only option is to look at IVF. We’d have to try and remove some eggs from your ovaries and fertilise them with either a partner, or donor’s sperm. We’d then re-implant them in your womb to see if they’d take and if you could carry a pregnancy to full term.’

‘And this is something that could be left to many years down the line?’ I asked.

‘If we can keep your condition under control and prevent further scarring and adhesions, in theory yes, but I do have to advise against that Mia. To harvest your eggs, we’d need to allow you to have your normal cycles and stimulate your ovaries into production, which will give you more pain and discomfort and with each period you have, the risks of further damage and re-occurrence of the painful cysts increase.’

‘So what are suggesting, Dr. Wells?’ asked Gabe, as I sat there silently, trying to understand what she was saying.

‘I’d suggest that the younger Mia can do this, the better. Even for someone who isn’t fertility challenged, as they get older the production of their eggs reduces. We could look at harvesting them while Mia’s still relatively young, fertilise them and have them frozen until you make the decision that you’re ready to have them implanted. Obviously, this is also time sensitive, the longer the embryos are frozen the more risk of them not taking. Either way, if you did decide to try IVF in the future and the implants in Mia fail, you do have a fall back option of looking for a gestational surrogate, someone else who could have your embryos implanted and carry a pregnancy to term for you.’ She smiled kindly at me and I dropped my head into my hand and rubbed my forehead. We were talking about me pre-meditating a pregnancy, a pregnancy I didn’t even bloody want.

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