Gabriels redemption, p.73
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       Gabriels Redemption, p.73

         Part #3 of Gabriels Inferno series by Sylvain Reynard
Page 73


  “You’ll be back at the university soon enough. Rebecca and I will help. ”

  Julia hummed in response.

  “I know it was too soon. ” He brought his mouth to her ear. “I’m sorry. ”

  “We talked about this. Sometimes surprises are the best things. ”

  “I’ll do whatever it takes to make it up to you. ”

  “Having a child with you isn’t a hardship. Except for the pain. ” She grimaced.

  He pressed his lips to her brow. “I called my dad. He’s going to speak to your dad and Diane. I doubt they’ll be able to drive up with Tommy, but he’s going to offer. ”

  She nodded but didn’t open her eyes. “Good. ”

  While Julia was sleeping, the obstetrician attempted to reassure Gabriel that the transverse positioning of babies was not uncommon. A baby would sometimes reposition herself during labor or the obstetrician would simply turn her. It was nothing to worry about.

  Gabriel was grateful for the doctor’s encouragement but still anxious. What gave him strength was his hope for the future—the knowledge that soon he would meet his daughter and he could begin being a father.

  As Julia lay in her bed half-asleep and dreaming, he paced the room. She looked so small in the big hospital bed, so fragile.

  So young.

  Chapter Eighty-three

  Julia?” Gabriel held her hand as the next contraction gripped her. He kept a watchful eye on the monitor so he could announce when the contraction was beginning to subside, and then afterward he would gently stroke her knuckles or her forehead, praising her.

  “You’re doing so well. ”

  Gabriel was not. He was disheveled and nervous and, if he were to take the time to think about it, extremely concerned. Despite the fact that they were in a well-respected hospital in Boston and enjoying excellent medical care, he was terrified.

  He kept his fears to himself, silently praying over and over that Julia and Spring Roll would be all right.

  Shortly before nine o’clock in the evening, Julia began to run a fever. By that time, Dr. Rubio was on call. She examined Julia and ordered an antibiotic added to her intravenous drip.

  Gabriel chewed at his lip as he watched the nurse hang the bag next to the other fluids that slowly dripped into his wife’s arm.

  Dr. Rubio broke Julia’s water and encouraged her to begin pushing. Her epidural succeeded in taking only some of the pain away, and much of it remained. Julia still had feeling in the lower half of her body.

  Nurse Susan held one of Julia’s legs while Gabriel held the other. She pushed with each contraction, and although Dr. Rubio and Gabriel cheered her on, very little happened. Eventually the obstetrician admitted what Gabriel had been afraid of—Spring Roll was stubbornly maintaining her transverse position, and she was situated too high up to be delivered with forceps.

  Julia groaned weakly at the news, collapsing back on the bed in near exhaustion.

  “What does that mean?” asked Gabriel quietly, his hands folding into fists.

  Dr. Rubio pursed her lips.

  “It means we need to do an emergency cesarean section. The baby’s heart rate is beginning to increase, your wife is running a fever, and it’s possible there’s an infection. I’ll assemble my surgical team, but we need to do this right away. ”

  “That’s fine with me,” said Julia. She was tired. Oh, so tired. The idea of having an end to labor brought welcome relief.

  “Are you sure?” Gabriel nervously clutched her hand.

  “There really aren’t any other options, Mr. Emerson. I can’t deliver this baby in the position she’s in. ” Dr. Rubio’s voice was firm.

  “As I told you before, it’s Professor Emerson,” he snapped, his frazzled emotions getting the best of him.

  “Sweetie, relax. We’re going to be fine. ” Julia smiled thinly and closed her eyes, willing herself to outlast the contractions that continued wracking her body.

  Gabriel poured his apology into a chaste kiss and a few whispered words of comfort before Julia’s room became an epicenter of activity. The anesthesiologist arrived and asked a series of questions. The nurse asked Gabriel to follow her so that he could change into surgical scrubs.

  He did not want to be separated from Julia, not even for an instant. He’d spent hours at her side, feeding her ice chips and holding her hand. But since he wanted to be with her in the operating room and it was a sterile environment, he agreed to go.

  Before he left, Julia extended her hand. He took it, pressing his lips to her palm.

  “I don’t regret this,” she whispered.

  He pulled back. The pain medication seemed to be affecting her thought processes.

  “What don’t you regret, darling?”

  “Getting pregnant. After this is over, we’re going to have a little girl. We’ll be a family. Forever. ”

  He gave her a tight smile and kissed her forehead. “I’ll see you in a few minutes. You stay strong. ”

  She returned his smile and closed her eyes, adjusting her breathing in order to deal with the next contraction.

  Chapter Eighty-four

  In his absence, Julia simply closed her eyes and focused on her breathing—that is, until she was lying in the obstetric operating room and Dr. Rubio began touching the area that had been prepped for incision.

  “I can feel that,” said Julia, clearly alarmed.

  “Does it feel like pressure?”

  “No. I can feel you pinching the skin. ”

  Gabriel sat at Julia’s side, above the screen that blocked her lower body from his view.

  “Are you hurt?”

  “No,” she said, sounding panicked. “But I can still feel pain. I’m afraid that I’ll feel the incision. ”

  Dr. Rubio repeated her test, pinching and twisting at Julia’s skin, and Julia insisted with increasing anxiety that she could feel every pinch.

  “We have to put her out,” announced the anesthesiologist, moving swiftly to prepare a general anesthetic.

  “It’s hard on the baby. Give her something else,” Dr. Rubio objected.

  “I can’t give her any more. She’s had an epidural and a top-up. I’m putting her out. ”

  Julia looked up into the kind eyes of the anesthesiologist.

  “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

  The anesthesiologist patted her shoulder. “Honey, you don’t need to be sorry. I do this all the time. Just try to relax. ”

  Gabriel began asking questions as the surgical team buzzed around him.

  Julia squeezed his hand as if willing him not to lose his temper. She needed him to be calm. She needed him to watch over her while she slept.

  She barely noticed what the doctors were doing, or the anesthesiologist’s instructions. The last thing she heard before she drifted into the darkness was Gabriel’s voice in her ear, assuring her that he would be with her until she woke up.

  Chapter Eighty-five

  Damn it. ” Dr. Rubio released a current of rapid-fire demands and instructions, and her team sprang into action.

  “What’s wrong?” Gabriel’s grip on Julia’s limp hand tightened.

  Dr. Rubio jerked her head toward Gabriel, without making eye contact. “Get the husband out of here. ”

  “What?” Gabriel stood to his feet. “What’s happening?”

  “I said get him out of here,” Dr. Rubio barked at one of the nurses. “And get the surgeon on call down here. Stat. ”

  The nurse began herding Gabriel toward the door.

  “What’s going on? Tell me!” He raised his voice, directing his questions at the medical team.

  No one answered.

  The nurse took his arm and tugged.

  Gabriel took one last look at Julia, her eyelids taped shut. Her skin pale. Her body still.

  She looked as if she were dead.

  “Will she be all right?”

  The nurse led him through the
swinging door and out into the surgical waiting room.

  “Someone will be out to speak to you soon. ” The nurse nodded encouragingly at Gabriel before returning to the operating room.

  He slumped into a chair, his mind spinning. One minute they had been preparing for the cesarean section and the next . . .

  He pulled the surgical mask from his face.

  Panic and fear raced through his veins. All he could see was Julia’s face, her arms stretched out from her body as if she were on a cross.

  In Gabriel’s mind he was in the backyard of his house in Selinsgrove, walking toward the woods. He’d trod that path a thousand times. He could navigate it in the dark. Now it was daylight.

  As he approached the woods, he heard a voice calling his name.

  He turned around to see Grace standing on the back porch, beckoning him.

  “Come back. ”

  He shook his head, pointing in the direction of the orchard. “I have to go get her. I’ve lost her. ”

  “You haven’t lost her. ” Grace smiled patiently.

  “I have. She’s gone. ” Gabriel’s heart rate quickened.

  “She isn’t gone. Come home. ”

  “I have to go and get her. ” Gabriel scanned the trees for any sign of Julianne before entering the woods. His steps quickened until he was running, branches snapping and scraping at his clothes and face. He stumbled to his hands and knees just as he entered the clearing. He scanned the area quickly, and an anguished cry escaped from his lips as he realized Julianne was nowhere to be found.

  Chapter Eighty-six

  I can’t believe we lost one. ”

  “Neither can I. Two emergency c-sections at the same time. At least only one went south. ” The voice sighed. “I hate nights like this. ”

  “Me, too. Thank God our shift is over. ”

  It took a few minutes for Gabriel to open his eyes. Had he been asleep or . . .

  He rubbed at his chin. He didn’t know. One minute, he was in the woods behind his house, the next he could hear nurses talking.

  His head began buzzing as his memory of Julianne lying on the table, pale and unmoving, came back to him.

  The nurses must have been talking about her.

  I can’t believe we lost one.

  He fought back a sob as he heard footsteps, his eyes focusing on a pair of ugly shoes. It was grossly inappropriate, he knew, but he couldn’t help but notice how thick and unflattering they were. As if they were made of wood.

  What a waste of a perfectly good podiatric opportunity.

  He lifted his head.

  The nurse, whom he hadn’t seen before, gave him a restrained smile. “I’m Angie, Mr. Emerson. Would you like to meet your daughter?”

  He nodded and stumbled to his feet.

  “I’m sorry you were sitting there so long. Someone should have brought you to her before, but things have been really busy and we’ve just had a shift change. ”

  She led him into an adjoining room, where a bassinet was situated. Another nurse was standing nearby, writing on a chart.

  Gabriel walked over to the bassinet and looked down.

  A little bundle of white lay motionless. He saw a reddish face, and black hair that was partially covered by a tiny, purple knitted cap.

  “She has hair. ”

  Angie stood next to him. “Yes, lots of hair. She’s almost nine pounds and nineteen inches long. She’s a good-sized baby. ”

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