The doctor turned from the screen smiling. The gel on Rita’s stomach was still cool, but she smiled back squeezing John’s hand as he sniffed back emotion.
“Here’s the heartbeat,” The doctor said pointing to a wild fluttering.
Rita gasped and covered her mouth with a free hand. “John, look. Look.” Tears welled in Rita’s eyes as she followed vague shapes on screen.
John shifted his wife’s bag on his shoulder and looked up from his phone. “Uh, doctor.” The doctor turned, eyebrows lifted. “What’s the sex of the baby?”
“It’s,” the doctor said shifting the wand on Rita’s stomach. “Right here,” they said, pointing. “It’s a boy.”
John sighed internally, a wave of relief washed over his brows and pulled his phone up again. Rita nudged him. “Sorry, honey. I’m texting dad. He’s gonna be so excited. He’s always wanted a grandson.”
The doctor removed the wand and brought a fresh towel to Rita’s stomach. “Would you two like some pictures of the ultrasound?”
Rita nodded, still holding back tears. The doctor left the room and Rita took the towel and started to wipe the goo from her bare stomach. She finished, tossed the towel to the side, and pulled her shirt down over her stomach. John shifted to put his phone back in his pocket and re-shouldered his wife’s bag.
“Hon, what’s in this thing? It’s like 20 pounds. I don’t know how you walk with this thing everywhere.”
“They don’t put pockets on women’s clothing, so I have to carry everything in there: my phone, my wallet, keys, snacks, everything.” She shot John a playful smirk. “Just be glad you’re not a woman. For that and many other reasons.” She rubbed a hand across her swollen stomach.
John laughed and helped his wife sit up. A banana– Rita’s snack for later, fell from the purse. John dug back into his pocket for his vibrating phone as Rita boosted herself off the table, her foot landing on the stray banana. It burst, spilling its contents. Friction ceased and Rita fell face first towards the doorway onto her swollen stomach. Instinctively her arms shot out, but the fall happened too quickly. Rita bounced off the hospital tile and a shooting pain reverberated up her body.
She said two words “The baby,” as she lay doubled over in pain.