I'm driving Erin to the hospital for the second time in as many days. Last time, they confirmed her miscarriage.
We sit at a red light. I'm trying to look calm, for her.
She's pale. I should have taken her in an hour ago.
She tries to make a joke. To reassure me.
I should have called an ambulance. Why do these lights take forever to change?
She's sitting in a wheelchair in triage. The nurse is taking her information, asking her for the third time why she's here.
Erin: I'm having a miscarriage. I've lost a lot of blood.
The nurse writes something down.
Erin: I'm feeling faint.
She slumps over the bags on her lap.
Me: Erin? Erin!
The nurse leaps up. He is pushing her into the emergency room.
Nurse: I need a room. Now!
A dozen faces look up.
Woman: I think they're all full.
Nurse: I NEED A ROOM, NOW!
Erin is still slumped over. I try to hold her up as the nurse wheels her from room to room. Finally, he finds one. It is instantly filled with people lifting my limp wife from her chair.
Doctor: Get a line in! I need vitals. As soon as you have them, shout them out.
I don't hear a lot of what's going on. I'm standing useless in the hallway.
Doctor: Sir! Are you the husband?
Doctor: I need you to sit right here and tell me exactly what's going on.
They're sticking her with needles, attaching monitors, and shouting impossibly low blood pressures and pulse rates. They're preparing to resuscitate.
That's my wife.
The woman you're cutting the clothes off of.
Nurse: She's trying to speak!
I look, and see her mouth making silent movements beneath her breathing mask. It occurs to me she's either trying to express concern for someone other than herself, or attempting to make a bad joke.
Minutes later, in critical care.
She has stabilized, but is still quite weak. She's being prepped for surgery. This, apparently, requires being asked six times if she's wearing jewelry or nail polish.
I stroke her hair. I don't care that I'm mimicking a bad TV hospital drama.
Me: You scared the crap out of me.
Erin: I know. I'm awesome.
Hours later, in her room, which because of someone's sick sense of humour is in the maternity ward.
Me: I love you.
Erin: I love you, too. I'm so sorry.
Me: Don't be silly.
Erin: I can't help it.
We're quiet a long while.
Me: In the emergency room, there was a moment in the middle of the chaos where you tried to say something. Can you remember that?
She thinks, then smiles.
Erin: I woke up and was vaguely aware that someone was cutting my clothes off. I was trying to say that it's a good thing I shop at Value Village.
Me: I knew it!
Erin came home the next day. She lost a lot of blood, and is very weak. I've been home taking care of her and the kids since then. I return to work tomorrow. Imagine how many times I'll be calling home.
We're obviously sad about the baby, but happy to have Erin. It has been a comforting experience having a normally silent community speak to us about their similar experiences. Life, as they say, goes on. Thank-you, everyone, for your love and support.