Danae looked at the test, not believing her own eyes. Two pink lines. With two children under the age of three, the last thing she and Andy needed was another baby, and she wasn’t terribly sure how she felt about it. At least, she thought, it explains why I’m sicker than a cat with hairballs.
The soccer season was winding down, and the Llamas were in playoff contention. It was great for business and the team, but it meant games on the road and time away from Andy. Once a week during the regular season, he was away overnight while the team played. Danae was getting used to him traveling, but she was ready for his post-season vacation.
She agonized over how to tell him about the baby. Now that Eamon was a year old, and Elyse was almost 2½ years old, she was looking forward to easing away from diapers and midnight feedings. And her time in the spa room working out paid off handsomely. Her pre-baby body was back, and she was positive she didn’t want to do that again.
His limousine pulled up in front of the house, and he walked in as though he was exhausted, dragging his overnight case behind him. Elyse was waiting for him to come through the door, her stuffed doll hanging out of her hand. Andy opened the door and spotted his baby girl, and beamed a huge smile.
“There’s my little sweet pea!” he cooed at her as he knelt down to her level and caught her in his embrace. “Where’s Mama?” Elyse pointed toward the bathroom door.
“Mama pook,” she said seriously.
“Is she sick, Elyse?” Andy asked her, not sure he’d get a good answer.
The little girl nodded. “Mama pook.”
He carefully opened the bathroom door and found Danae sitting on the floor, her face on the toilet seat. “Oh sweetie,” he remarked, concerned. “What happened?”
“I’ve been sick all day,” she lamented. “Taking care of Eamon has been a challenge.” She started weaning him after his first birthday, but he was still wanting to nurse. If she wasn’t pregnant, she would let him for another three months, but things were different now.
“I bet so, darling. You poor thing.” He helped her up and splashed some cold water on her face. “I’m surprised you didn’t call Leslie, honey.”
“She has finals this week. I didn’t want to bother her.” Danae still felt woozy, but okay enough to sit down.
“Well, I’m home now. I’ll call in sick tomorrow and take care of you until this passes.” He walked her to the sofa in the living room and sat her down, leaving a bucket nearby.
“You might not want to do that, love,” she countered. “It’s going to be awhile.”
“I don’t mind at all. I have some vacation time—”
“Babe, I’m pregnant.” She didn’t want to just blurt it out, but he left her little choice.
“Really?” Andy smiled brightly.
“Ugh, yes.” A wave of nausea swept over her, but she fought the urge to throw up.
“This is awesome, you know that, right?”
“For you, yes. You don’t have to carry it.” She felt like crying.
“Aww sweetie, you’re not excited about this?” He hugged her shoulders and kissed her forehead.
“Not yet, no.” She reached for the bucket and threw up. Elyse heard her and walked over.
“Yes, sweet pea, Mama puked.” She tried to eke out a smile, but she couldn’t. Andy lifted her and put her on his knee.
“Ucky,” Elyse exclaimed, as she looked into the bucket, grabbing it before Andy had a chance to stop her.
He laughed. “Yes, sweet pea, that was yucky.”
“The timing on this is bad, babe. You’re never home.”
“The playoffs won’t last forever, and I have a week’s vacation right after the last game, whether we win the championship or not. The whole team gets a week.” He snuggled up close to her. “This was what keeping our options open was about. I was never sure I wanted to stop at two.”
Danae couldn’t hold the tears any longer. “I don’t know how I’m going to handle three kids under three, baby. I’m only one mama.”
“We could always get a nanny or a butler if you need help, sweetheart. It’s not a problem.”
“I know. I hate the thought of it, though.” She dabbed her eyes on her shirt. “I always want to be enough for these kids. I feel like, if there is one more, my time will be stretched too thin, and I won’t be as good a mother as I can be right now.”
“It’s natural for you to feel this way, baby. But you’ll see. It will grow on you, and you’ll love it, just like you love these two adorable munchkins.” Andy kissed her, very excited.
“I know, babe. It’s going to take some getting used to. I thought we were done with all of that.”
“Well, sit down and let me take care of the babies. Who needs to be fed? Changed? Snuggled?”
“Eamon is napping, but I was going to get him up, or he won’t be able to sleep tonight. Elyse is good for now, aren’t you sweet pea?”
They looked at one another and laughed.
“This isn’t normal, Andy,” Danae cried, staring at the blood that stained her clothing. “I need to see my doctor.”
He stumbled toward the bathroom and saw her sitting on the toilet, weeping in pain, large spots of blood on her underwear. “Oh my…” his voice trailed off as he ran for the phone to dial her obstetrician.
“Call Darcey,” she gasped in pain. “Have her or Clint come get the kids.”
“Darling, I need to take you to the ER.” Andy was panicked, but he called Darcey.
“Darcey, this is Andy. I need to bring Nae to the ER. Could you or Clint come get the kids? I am calling emergency for them to pick her up, and I’ll follow once the kids are taken care of.”
“What’s wrong? Is she okay?”
“I’m not sure, Darce. But we’re both pretty scared.”
“I’ll send Clint. By all means, take her!” They hung up, and Andy called for emergency.
Clint showed up nearly a minute before the ambulance arrived to get Danae. Andy had packed some clothes for them into a small case and made sure they had their favorite toys. “Thanks, Clint, you’re a lifesaver,” Andy hugged him and handed Eamon to his brother-in-law. “Go with Uncle Clint, sweet pea,” he encouraged Elyse as Clint took her hand. “We owe you and Darcey one. Thanks again.”
The paramedics stabilized Danae and took her out on a stretcher. Andy followed them to the hospital and ran into the ER as soon as he arrived. He paced the waiting room for what seemed an eternity when the doctor called him back.
Danae was on an IV pain medication and was bleeding heavily. The doctor approached Andy. “We have reason to believe this is an ectopic pregnancy, and we need to get her into surgery before this becomes dire. Do we have your permission?”
“Do whatever you need to do to save her life.” His hands shook as he signed the consent form. “Danae,” he said to her, “I’m right here. I love you with all my heart and soul. Don’t leave me!” he cried. “Come back to me.” He kissed her forehead, and they took her into surgery.
Andy called Darcey immediately. “Hello?”
“Darcey, it’s me. They just took Nae into surgery.” He knew she didn’t know that Danae was pregnant, so this was going to be a shock he couldn’t soften. “She is pregnant, but she is going to lose it. They think it is an ectopic pregnancy. She’s in a lot of pain, and bleeding heavily.”
“Oh my goodness, Andy!” Darcey cried. “Oh honey, I’m so sorry.” She wanted so badly to be at the hospital, but with four children to watch, Clint needed the help. “Call me when she is out of surgery.”
“Will do.” Andy hung up the phone and dialed Fiona’s number. It was later than he liked to call, but it was important.
“Fiona, it’s Andy. Look, Danae is in emergency surgery, and I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out yet. I need a few days off to be with her.”
“What’s going on, Andy? She was fine a couple of days ago.”
“She is pregnant, or, was I guess. The doctor is positive it’s ectopic, and she needs surgery to stop bleeding.”
“Oh, my word. Andy, I’m so sorry. I had no idea you were expecting again.”
“She only found out yesterday.” His heart was breaking for the child they wouldn’t have.
“Let me know how she is. I’m worried about her.” Fiona requested.
“I will, and thanks.” He hung up the phone and paced the floor.
Hours later, the doctor came to see Andy. “The pregnancy caused a rupture, which was why she was bleeding so badly. We got that under control, and she’s had a few units of blood. But the damage is done. She lost her tube and her ovary on the right side. If you are wanting more children, you might want to consult with a fertility specialist. Otherwise, it might be difficult to impossible. We just aren’t sure.”
“When can I see her?” Andy felt sick.
“In about half an hour, when she’s in a room. I know you realize she lost your baby. My condolences.”
“Thank you…” he knew it was inevitable, but hearing it hit him like a punch to the gut. Even though it was late, he had to call Darcey.
“Hello?” She sounded wide awake.
“Darcey, it’s me. She’s out of surgery. She had a ruptured tube, and I guess it caused some damage…” Andy tried not to cry, but he wasn’t doing a very good job of it. “She’s lost the tube and ovary on her right side.”
“Oh Andy, honey, I’m so sorry. But she pulled through surgery okay?”
“Yes. I can see her in about half an hour. I’m sorry to call so late.”
“I was already awake. I am just devastated for you two. I’m so sorry.”
“Thanks.” Andy sighed deeply. “I’ll call in the morning.”
He called Fiona with the update, and he was given a week from work to care for Danae and the children. The nurse came to get him when she was in a room, and he could see her.
He walked into her room and saw her, looking pale and nearly lifeless. She had a drip of pain medication, IV fluids, and oxygen. “How is she doing?” Andy asked the nurse on duty.
“She’s going to be sore once she wakes up and that pain medication starts wearing off. But the doctor said he’s expecting a full recovery.”
“Is it okay if I stay here with her?”
“Of course. Make yourself comfortable, and let me know if you need anything.”
He pulled a chair close to her bedside and held her hand. “Baby, I love you,” he said to her as she slept. “I’m going to be here for you when you wake up, my love.”
Andy was sleeping, his head on Danae’s bed and still holding her hand when the doctor came to see her early the next morning. “Mr. Murphy, she is a lucky woman. Just another few hours later, and she might not be here right now. It was your quick thinking that saved her. So, we are expecting her to make a full recovery, and she should be waking up soon. She looks better this morning, and her vitals are stable. She hasn’t been told about the baby, we figured you might want to do that together.”
“When can she go home?”
“We’ll talk about that when we see how she is progressing. We expect her body will heal before the emotional scars will. There is help for that, too.”
“Thank you, doctor,” Andy replied, and rubbed his eyes. He hadn’t slept for more than an hour, and he felt miserable.
The nurse returned with a cup of coffee for Andy. “Here, Mr. Murphy. This might help.”
“Thank you,” he said. “It might.”
About an hour later, she opened her eyes for the first time since she was out of surgery, and she groaned. “Andy…”
“I’m here, honey.” He squeezed her hand.
“What happened? I don’t remember anything after I told you to call Darcey.”
Where do I start? He thought. “Well, you were in pain and bleeding. Do you remember that, honey?”
“Yes, I remember saying that it wasn’t normal. I remember telling you to call Darcey to get the kids. I kinda blacked out, I think.”
“Well, you needed surgery. You were bleeding internally. Sweetie, the pregnancy was inside your tube, and it ruptured.”
“How is the baby?”
“Honey, you’re not pregnant anymore.”
“I’m… what?” Tears filled her eyes.
“The baby died, my sweet.” A tear dripped from his eyes onto her hand, and he wiped it away.
“But… I wanted it!” Danae wept.
Andy couldn’t hold his tears back any longer, and he couldn’t speak. He simply held her hand, and they cried together.
Darcey was making rounds at the hospital and decided to check in on her sister before she was discharged. It wasn’t the first time she had stopped by in the three days Danae spent in the hospital. But she was feeling better, at least physically, and it was time to go back home. Andy arranged for a limousine to drive them back home so he didn’t have to worry about seat belts and cramped quarters in his car.
The limo driver dropped them off at the front gate, and Andy helped her inside. She looked around at the baby things: Eamon’s swing. The high chair. Elyse’s potty chair. The monitors. It was overwhelming for Danae. Even though she hadn’t known about the pregnancy for more than a day, she was devastated by the loss, more than she could have anticipated. Andy helped her to sit in the chair by the television, and she started to cry.
Andy didn’t know what to say. He felt the loss the same as she did, the emptiness was consuming. “I’m tired,” she finally sighed. “Take me up to bed.”
Just a week ago, that statement would have gotten a much different reaction from Andy. But now, they had a six-week hiatus on sex and two broken hearts that wanted nothing to do with it. “I will, my sweet.” He picked her up, and she wrapped her arms around his neck as he carried her to their bedroom and set her down. “Do you want help getting into your jammies?”
“Would you? I will love you forever if you do.” She smiled faintly.
“You love me forever anyway,” he smiled back, as he helped her undress.
“I didn’t know it was possible to be this sad, to feel this broken, Andy,” she cried, feeling hopeless. “I feel like someone tore my heart out and stomped on it.”
“I know, sweetie. Me too.” He held her close, and together they wept. “But you have me, and I’m here for you. I’ll always be here for you.” He laid down beside her and wrapped around her, holding her close. And he was comforted when she snuggled into his arms. He was still awake when she fell asleep, and he just watched over her, protecting her from any more hurt, any more pain.
Two weeks later, Andy was back at work, and Danae was doing better. Having Elyse and Eamon at home in her care was helpful. With her surviving children to care for, her mind had little time to think of the baby they had lost. Andy, on the other hand, was the target of harassment at work from his brother-in-law.
“What’s your problem?” Devin was snide and condescending as Andy returned. “I heard you and my sister are having marital trouble.”
“No, despite your best efforts, we are happy.”
“You sure look sad for a happily married man, Andy.”
“Leave it, Devin,” Andy warned him.
Devin couldn’t help himself. “Was the baby yours?”
That was the tipping point. Andy lost his cool and cornered Devin in the locker room. Picking him up by the shirt collar, he threw Devin back into the wall, his blood boiled with rage. “Say that again, and your other sister will have to repair the damage I inflict on your sorry little—”
“Andy!” Aaron shouted to him, walking quickly to dispel the situation. He put himself between the estranged brothers-in-law, and it took every ounce of strength he had to keep Andy from him.
“Let me beat the snot out of him, Aaron. You and I both know he deserves an ass whipping.” Andy was seething.
“He isn’t worth it, Andy. Think of your kids. Of Danae.”
“I need to call Fiona. This is out of hand.” Andy spat. “We aren’t done yet, Jones.” He stomped away to his office and slammed the door.
Aaron knocked quietly and stuck his head in the door gingerly. “Andy? Are you okay, dude?”
“No,” he shook his head. “I’m not okay, Aaron. I’m done with that kid. Either he’s gone, or I’m gone. It’s up to Fiona. But I can’t deal with him one more day. I’m sick of him talking about my wife and nothing is being done about it, and I’m tired of him playing head games with me.”
“Whatever you do, calm down before you call Fiona. Don’t do something you’ll regret.”
Andy started to shake, and sobs followed. “I never thought losing a baby would be this hard. I mean, it wasn’t really even a baby. It was just a teeny little thing. But it would have been our third child. A very wanted, very loved child.”
“I’m so sorry, man.” Aaron tried to console him, but he really had no words. “Why don’t you split early? It’s obvious you’re back too soon, Andy. Take the time you need to heal.”
“I would have been fine if Doofus hadn’t started with me. He had better hope he doesn’t pull this with Danae, or I will not hold back. She is in no state of mind to handle his abuse, but I will set him straight, and Darcey will be stitching his sorry ass back together at the ER.”
“I get it, Andy. But please, this team needs you. Please don’t do something you’ll regret later.”
“Oh, I’m calling Fi. I don’t think she will choose him over me, and if she does, then I don’t belong here anymore. We can go somewhere else.”
Aaron sighed. “I’ll miss you, buddy.”
“What, do you really think she will choose him over me?” Andy couldn’t believe his ears.
“I don’t know. A team manager seems replaceable, whereas a star soccer player might be a little harder to come by.” Aaron clapped him on the shoulder. “Just think about it before you do something impulsive.”
“Well, I do think I’ll take the rest of the day and rest. Maybe I’m not ready to come back yet.” Andy picked up his briefcase and phone. “If you need me, I’ll handle it from home. I need Danae.”
She was playing with Eamon when Andy walked through the back door, five hours early from work. “What are you doing home, babe?”
“I had a run in with your brother. It made me realize I’m not ready to go back yet. I’m not done grieving.” He sat on the floor with Eamon and picked up his son. “This is harder than I thought it would be, Nae.”
“It is,” she agreed. “It’s been very tough. These two are the only reason I’m still sane, babe. Well, them and you.”
“I need you, sweetie. Badly.”
“I can’t for another four weeks, love.”
“I don’t have any restrictions. I really need you.”
“Can’t we wait until I get the kids down for a nap?”
“No, I can’t. You know what? Never mind.” Andy grabbed his phone and walked back to the door.
“Where are you going?” She called to him.
“I don’t know,” he sighed, frustrated.
“Please don’t leave me,” Danae begged him.
“I’ll be back for dinner.’
“Andy!” she called to him, but he walked out the door toward the garage. She ran after him, but he was already in his car, and halfway down the driveway.
“Mama, what did you do when Daddy almost cheated on you? Because I’m afraid!” She yelled through the house, as though Charlotte could hear her. She collapsed on the floor, sobbing.
Andy got into his car and drove into town, stopping at the first bar he came to. There was always a woman looking for a one-nighter in any given place, and Andy was hungry for affection. He walked into MN8 and to the bar. He threw down a few dollars and got himself a cheap, sweet glass of wine. A Simfest was going on, and he watched the show, drinking the wine, but not enjoying it. And not very long after he sat down, a young woman with red hair spotted him and waved, flirting with him. And at first, he flirted back, enjoying the attention of a pretty redhead. After the magic act that had been on stage was finished, she walked toward Andy, carrying a glass of red wine.
“Is this seat taken?” she asked him.
“It is now,” he replied. “I’m Andy,” he said.
“I know who you are,” she replied. “I’m just wondering why you’re here? I mean, everyone in town knows who your wife is. You couldn’t possibly be out looking for someone else… right?”
“No, I’m just out to get away. But if something happens, I might not refuse.” Be careful, son. She is a jewel of great value. Don’t take her for granted, like I did with her mother. I almost lost the best thing I ever had because I was stupid. Travis’ words repeated in his head, almost as if they were on instant recall. Andy shook his head, growling at the voice that stuck in there.
“Did I say something wrong?” the young redhead asked, seeing the tortured look on his face, and hearing his growl.
“No, it’s not you, my sweet.” Andy cringed. I don’t call anyone ‘my sweet’ but Danae. And then, almost as if on cue, Travis’ voice rang out in his ears: Don’t do what I did and throw a tantrum in a restaurant, go out and get drunk and nearly cheat on a perfectly good woman. “Oh my word, Travis, get out of my head!” he said out loud, and the redhead looked at him as though he was crazy.
“Maybe I should be going,” she said, suddenly uneasy.
“No, don’t go,” Andy replied. “I’m sorry. It’s just that, we’ve had some trouble. We recently lost a pregnancy. I’m not handling it well.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” she answered. Andy’s phone rang, and he looked at it. Danae. “Aren’t you going to answer that?”
“No, it’s not important.” He put his phone back into his pocket and ordered another glass of wine. “Make this one dry, please.”
Back at the house, Danae’s phone call went unanswered, and she truly began to panic. She opened her family app and checked his location, and then checked the address on her phone. MN8. A bar. She knew that she couldn’t leave the children alone, unattended, even if she went for a few minutes. There was no telling how long she would be. Darcey and Clint were both working, and her usual babysitter was in school. She had one last idea that might get him home, or it might work against her. She wasn’t sure, but she decided to take the chance anyway.
Andy, I need you home. You’re so sexy, and I want you.
Two lines of text could change her life. It was really her ace in the hole, as she waited for a reply. But nothing came.
She helped Elyse up the stairs and walked with Eamon on her hip as they went to the nursery. Each of them had a sippy cup of water, and she put them in their beds with their cups, their favorite stuffed toys, and a kiss. Quietly, she closed the door and tiptoed down the hall. Just in case, I’ll be ready, she thought. She went to their bedroom and stripped naked, and laid on the bed with a book, reading, waiting. But there was still no reply. So, she typed another message to Andy:
Andy, I’m waiting for you. Naked. On our bed. You’re so darned sexy. Come home and love me.
Patiently, she waited, but still no answer came. And with each minute that passed, his assurance that he would always come home to her grew less and less sure.
Andy had turned his phone off after Danae’s phone call. He didn’t want her tracking him, and he didn’t want to deal with her complaining, either. The redhead was cute, and she seemed willing to give him what he needed. He was just putting his phone into his pocket when he thought of Danae. What if she needed him? What if one of the kids was sick? Or worse, what if she was sick again? Quickly, he turned it back on and saw two text messages from her. He read the first one and felt guilty, but the second one had her desired effect on him. “You know what?” he said to the redhead, “I really should be going. The kids are going to need me soon.”
The girl nodded. “Of course, Andy. I’m glad we met, and I hope to see you again.” She handed him a slip of paper with her phone number and address on it, and slowly walked away. He finished his glass of dry white wine, threw away the slip of paper and left the bar, got into his sports car and drove home.
At the house, Danae was cried out. There wasn’t a tear left in her body to shed, and she was quickly falling asleep, feeling like death warmed over. Only two weeks ago, he was tending to her, helping her to heal and loving her. Now, he was out who knows where with who knows whom.
Andy parked in the driveway crooked, surprised he got home safely and without incident. Feeling little pain, he stumbled up the stairs to their bedroom. And right where she said she would be, she waited for him, sound asleep, her tear-stained face buried in a pillow.
“Sweetie,” he cooed. “I’m home.” He carefully stripped his clothing from his body and approached the bed. “Honey,” he said in a sing-song tone of voice. And when she didn’t wake from her sleep, he curled around her, kissing her shoulders, neck, and back.
She opened her eyes and almost jumped, seeing Andy in her bed. She was not expecting him home, and she certainly wasn’t expecting to find him naked behind her. And suddenly, he felt her shake and heard sobs of heartbreak escaping her lips.
“What’s the matter, honey?” he asked, holding her tightly.
“Where did you go?”
“I went for a glass of wine. I didn’t even enjoy it.”
“How much did you have to drink?”
“Just two glasses.”
She took in a deep breath and exhaled. “Did you sleep with her?”
Andy recoiled at the accusation, and suddenly felt stone cold sober. “Who? My goodness, baby, I wasn’t gone long enough for that.”
“You once made love with me in ten minutes. You had plenty of time. And I smell her perfume around you.”
“I sat and talked with a young girl for a few minutes, but that’s as far as it went, honey.” He felt her sobs shake her, and then she sighed.
“What made you come home?”
He brought his phone from his pocket. “This message right here.” He showed her the text she had sent him. “Baby, there is no one else for me but you. Look, I know I’m not handling this miscarriage thing very well. Your brother got under my skin at work, and I am discovering there is not a thing I can do to get rid of him.”
“What did he say?”
“He asked me if the baby was mine.”
“How did he even know?”
“I guess it’s me. I’m a celebrity, baby. Nothing stays secret when you manage the best soccer team in the country, I guess.”
“There is really nothing you can do about him, love?”
“Aaron seems to think if I give Fiona an ultimatum, that she will pick Devin over me, and that I shouldn’t chance it.”
“I don’t understand it. It’s not fair.”
“I know. But it made me realize that I’m not done grieving for this baby yet. And I need you, I guess, more than you need me.”
“That’s not true,” Danae countered. “I just can’t do anything about it for four more weeks. Well, I’m not supposed to. But I’m willing to try, consequences be damned.”
“No, sweetie, that’s not going to happen. If I end up hurting you, I’d never forgive myself.”
“Too late,” she cried.
Ugh, Andy thought to himself. She’s right. “Baby, I am so sorry. I know you didn’t need me acting like a jerk today. And you really didn’t need me to go stomping out of here, acting like I was on the prowl. I can’t even imagine the hell I put you through.”
“No, baby, it’s not okay. Danae, I love you more than I can tell you. And I’m sorry. For everything. I don’t deserve you.”
“Oh babe, I shouldn’t have refused you. I really do want you, but I don’t want to end up back in surgery again, either. But I know it’s not fair of me to withhold affection from you, just because I feel broken, or I’m not in the mood. I know you have needs.”
“I do, honey. I mean, I could take care of it myself, but it’s not nearly as satisfying as when we’re together.” Andy held her close and whispered in her ear. “And I have been needing you for a week, baby. Even if we don’t wind up with the desired end result, just being with you is all I ever need.” Gently and sweetly, they loved each other.
Afterward, they were cuddled in bed together. “I’m sorry, love,” he said remorsefully. “I will never do that to you again.” He kissed her neck and buried his face into her hair.
“Leave here acting like I’m going looking for love somewhere else.”
“You’re forgiven, babe. I lured you home, and that’s all I care about.”
“You know how to get me, every single time. Oh Danae, I love you.”
“Andy, I will love you forever.”
Together, they rested on their bed, snuggled up together, not sleeping but simply being in love. That was the day they knew for certain that life would go on, and that they would heal and be whole again.
Up Next: Chapter Thirteen, Generation Five