“Oh my Gawd, Meg!” my little sister said in her deeply toned, and dramatically incredulous way, eyes popping out in all their sixteen year-old intensity.
“What is it, Kate? I'm rather indisposed. Seriously, electrostatic forces and magnetism are teasing me rather cruelly. You know Payne assigns the worst Physics homework…”
“Um ok, you are soooo weird,” she interrupted, plopping down on my bed. “But your homework can wait. This is definitely worth listening to!” Before I could even say anything in response, she practically popped a tendon in her neck as she squealed, “They found a baby in the school bathroom!”
“What?!!! Who is `they'? Which bathroom, the upstairs or the… Are you sure?” I immediately followed up. Surprise had initially jolted through me, but Katie was a mischievous trickster from the day she was born, and she loved to howl at my gullibility whenever an opportunity presented itself. I was determined not to be so easily baited. “Yes I'm sure! I was getting some books from my locker after soccer practice and the deans and the janitors were all talking over by the downstairs bathroom!” she defensively replied with her know-it-all eyes and impertinent chin sticking out at me.
“Alright, alright, pardon me for being a little bit skeptical, Kate. Geez. It wouldn't be the first time you tried to trick me” I felt the need to point out. “So anyways, tell me all you know, I must admit I am intrigued,” I said with conciliatory smile.
“Well I don't know much,” she offered, “but, what I really want to know is, who could be that dumb?” she said with a rather condescending and wry tone.
“You mean who could be dumb enough to jeopardize her future by getting pregnant in high school, or who could be dumb enough to give birth in the school bathroom?” I clarified with a sad sort of smile.
“Both, I suppose” Katie shrugged. “But honestly, don't you want to know who the girl is?”
“Yes I want to know, but for probably different reasons than your own,” I added wryly. “So the baby was alive, right?” I asked as Katie hoped off the bed to drag out last year's yearbook, obviously immune to my chastisement of her gossip-prone nature.
“No. I don't think so. I overheard Sister Dorothy say that the baby was `preterm' or something” my sister said, distracted by the sea of smiling faces on the page, involved completely in her rather childish guessing game. “Hey, what about Callie Durham? Yup, she definitely gets around…Especially with the public school boys. Hmm. Do you think Maddy Bueller could be the one? She's one of those attention-seeking girls, you know what I mean, and she has been kinda getting chubby…” she continued, very engrossed.
“Wait let's back track for a second, what time did practice end?” I said trying to get a picture of what Katie was choppily retelling.
“Well if you are going to insist upon being so detail obsessed!” she groaned and looked up before continuing, “Alright so practice ended at 5pm. And I suppose you'll also want to know that the baby apparently wasn't aborted or anything. According to Ms. Gil, it looked like the girl might have had a messy miscarriage or something.”
“Well, Kate, you're right, I did want to know that” I said trying not to be irritated with her attitude. She got an F in 1st grade for attitude from Mrs. Marseilles and it had been the same story ever since. However, what Katie said really did have a lot of significance. Ms. Gil was the Biology teacher and a former nurse; she would definitely know what she was talking about concerning the nature of the delivery. The baby being found in the bathroom certainly could have very easily been first seen as a desperate abortion attempt, what with the nature of our school's culture.
Katie and I attended St. Francis High School, an all-girls Catholic school, complete with a convent on campus for the Sisters of St. Joseph, some of whom were teachers and administrators. There were no habits for the nuns, though we students did wear uniforms. Even though this was the 21st century and the world around us was blasé about rampant sexuality and promiscuity, here at St. Francis we were stuck in the age of no ankle-showing, modesty and repression. A girl who got pregnant would be asked to leave school and try her luck at the public school across town, (or as archaic as it might seem, join the convent or some other equally pious looking alternative). An abortion might have seemed easier to all these repercussions, but apparently that was not the case here. Which made sense, the school bathroom wasn't the most discreet of places.
As for when Katie's soccer practice ended, that was important too. School got out at 3pm, and if the baby had been there before that time, the mad rush of girls that always bombarded the bathrooms when school got out, (to apply all the makeup that was finger-wagged at by the deans) would have forced the discovery of the baby earlier than 5pm. It must have happened a little after school then.
“Again, I hate to interrupt your fun, but if you give me a few more details we might be able to circumvent looking through the whole entire yearbook.” I paused for a breath. She really didn't seem to see how potentially serious this all was. “So, did you get to see how big it was?” I asked, trying to remember all those medical facts learned while volunteering at the hospital.
“Circumvent?...”she answered Katie's eyes now pulled from the glossy pages, squinting at me as if I were a bug. “Whatever, Smarty Pants. The baby was big enough to be recognizable, obviously. Yet small enough to fit in the palm of your hand; I saw Mr. Cardoza carrying the small bundle to the police outside near the parking lot when I was walking home.”
“Interesting” I mused as I got up to seat myself before the computer. Mr. Cardoza was our Vice Principal, the only man on our campus actually, but for all that he was rather effeminate, hopeless consequence of his surroundings I suppose. I wanted to double check, but I was pretty sure that this information meant the mother was either late in the second trimester, or early in the third trimester. “Wait Katie; was the fetus smaller or larger than Mr. Cardoza's hand?” Mr. Cardoza was a big guy, maybe his hand was seven and a half inched long.
“Um…maybe a little bigger, oh I don't know… why?” She asked suddenly realizing I wasn't beside her.
“Well,” I began, “If we can somewhat estimate how big the fetus was we can get an idea of when the child was conceived. And then maybe that can narrow our search for who the mother is.”
“Well, Miss Scientist, sounds like you're really invested into this case now” she said in a funny blasé manner it was hard to reconcile with her chirpy ponytail and ribbons. “I didn't realize you were gonna get so into this whole thing…you don't actually think you'll figure it out before the deans and police do, do you?” she queried me with a condescending smirk. It never ceased to amaze me how uppity she was for being my little sister. Whatever happened to respect?
“Well, I don't know. Maybe I can figure it out. You could help too, you know. You are probably one of the most popular sophomores at St. Francis. You could find stuff out from your little cronies” I said half derisively and half seriously.
“True,” she said in a completely unintentional display of arrogance. “Ok, so let's hear your theory on when the kid was created,” Katie said with a cocked brow and a smile. Apparently I was forgiven for being a boring, science minded-older sister, and it looked like we had a partnership. Mom would be happy we weren't fighting for once.
So that night we determined that the fetus was approximately 24 weeks old since it was slightly bigger than a man's hand, so 8-10 inches depending. 24 weeks came out to about 6 months. So, it was November now, meaning the conception date was sometime in June. Well for tonight the case would have to lie aside at that. After all, I had Physics homework due, not to mention a calculus quiz to do study for, and for all I could see I would have to wait for more information.
The next morning I pulled on my white and blue plaid skirt, my white polo, my socks, some oxfords, and grabbed my navy V-neck sweater and raced into the bathroom before Katie even rustled for her alarm clock. As I was finishing with my mouthwash I noticed two slanted brown eyes glaring at me to get out of the bathroom. “Morning, Kate” I said as I grabbed a hair tie just past her. I bustled out and before she could slam the door in sleepy, bitter silence at the dank foggy morning and my pulled-together presence, I rushed out “Don't forget to find out what you can today about…”
“Yeah, yeah, let me get ready, ok?” she said before the door barked in its hinge.
I raced down the stairs and grabbed an oatmeal bar before swinging up the egregious load that was my backpack and drove to school. Katie would follow later; she practically ran to school because she got up so late. I'd often offer her rides, but she refused to get up with more than 15 minutes until school began. I, on the other hand, liked to get to school early so I could chat with my fellow academically-minded friends, and compare problem set answers. I soon met up with Lauren and Roni in the senior hallway, each with their equally massive book bags.
“Did you hear?” Roni asked with her quick and harshly flowing intonation, “I mean this is ridiculous, can no one keep their legs together around here?” Roni was barely five feet tall, and always gave an intensely shocking and funny commentary on the state of the world. “I mean, I am pretty sure mother dearest and father wouldn't want to continue donating money to a glorified whorehouse!” she added with a cynical giggle.
“Veronica!” Lauren said in mock disapproval, “That is no way for a lady to talk!” she averred, mimicking Sister Mary with deftness. “I am sure your parents would object to such improper topics as finances, as well as your choice of descriptors for this fine institution” she further quipped.
“Hahaha. Yes well I am sure everyone agrees that finding a baby in the bathroom is a shocking and a rather sad sort of confirmation of the whole `Catholic School Girl' idea” I added. “But yeah. I am sure everyone has heard. Gossip runs like wildfire around here. Do you think any of the teachers or staff will mention it?” I had wondered last night as I was trying to fall asleep if the nuns weren't going to try and give us some painful seminar on virginity and sin.
“Well, of course. We need to do damage control!” Roni exclaimed with eyes bugged out in sarcasm. “Actually,” she said, returning to her usual tone, “Sister Kathy has already planned to have a prayer service this morning, followed by a talk.” Sister Kathy was our principal and she wasn't such a bad old girl, except she was extremely naïve to the ways of the world.
“I can only imagine that the talk will be suitably guilt-inducing enough to loosen the lips of the guilty” Lauren said with a shake of her head.
“Unless of course the girl doesn't come to school today,” I added in a somber voice.
“Are you sure then the girl goes to school here?” Lauren asked with wide blue eyes.
“Of course!” I laughed, “And not because I have so little faith in the virtue of the St. Francis girls either. It is simply that no one can get on campus without having a parking card or a visitor pass to get past the gates. That coupled with the fact that seven hundred girls attend this school, I'd say the chances are high that the baby was a student's” Roni and Lauren both nodded their heads in agreement.
“Yeah, you are probably right, not just about it being one of us, but also that the girl might not come to school today” Roni offered. “I mean the girl is probably embarrassed for one thing and she's definitely sore. Hey, we should get Clarissa to show us at break who didn't come to school. She works at the attendance office for her free period!”
“Excellent idea, Roni” I smiled back, “and I bet most everyone else will try to come to school today, you know how gossip flies around in this network. This is pretty big news, so we will really have a short list of suspects!” I added excitedly.
“Ok you two,” Lauren interrupted in amusement, “This all sounds good but we need to get to class so we won't get marked as absent. Plus we have an oh-so thrilling prayer service and talk with the Principal to get to.” With that we hustled ahead to our World Religions class with former nun, Dr. Fox, who had left the convent to marry a rabbi. She was black sheep and we all admired her small rebellion.
So the prayer service for the baby had been sincere, but I couldn't help feeling conflicted by the motives of St. Francis administrators. Obviously on some level there was a little PR rebuilding going on, but there was also an emphasis on praying for the baby and the mother. I began to really empathize with this girl; chances were good that I knew her well. So with a renewed sense of purpose I headed over to the attendance office in silence with Roni and Lauren. They were also very affected by the service and the talk, which had left us all feeling guilty for being so secular and over-sexed, which really we weren't but that's Catholicism for you. Sex and St. Francis just weren't meant to mix. We finally came to the attendance office.
Roni spoke up first, “Hey Clarissa how was the morning?”
Clarissa was a mousy, twitchy girl who spoke in a monotonously nasal voice that was condescending and loaded with gloating authority, `”Fine, I suppose. Rather eventful though, since some reporters kept trying to take photos of the school through the iron gate. I saw them and had Mr. Cardoza chase them off.”
“Well I am glad you took care of them, then again you're so competent I am not surprised.” Roni said in the sweet sycophant tone she used when trying to ply people to her will. I was always surprised it worked. She sounded so obviously mocking, but then again I was one of the privileged few acquainted with Roni's sense of humor. “So,” Roni continued, “everyone showed up today, right, to attend the prayer service. I mean, it is so important to attend such things, they bring St. Francis together, don't you think” Roni finished brilliantly.
Clarissa, a staunch believer in the credo of St. Francis, “uniting girls of faith to become all of which woman is capable,” immediately warmed up, “Oh it is important, indeed!” “Unfortunately three girls are absent today; they missed out, truly” Clarissa divulged.
“Who could such girls be?” I said in mock disapproval.
“Chelsea Newman, Amanda Belzer, and Rita Estacio,” Clarissa sniffed.
“For shame!” Lauren said to Clarissa, barely suppressing a giggle, as we quickly slipped away, having gathered what we needed. We all rolled our eyes at Clarissa's calling out to us something about keeping that information confidential.
“Ok, we need to find my sister” I announced, “She knows everyone and can give me the scoop on Chelsea.”
“Why even bother, it will probably end up being Amanda Belzer!” Roni said with an exaggerated shake of the head. I could understand why she thought that, Amanda was rather well known for being a “fast girl.”
“Well, Roni we wouldn't want judgment to cloud the truth,” I said with a good natured laugh.
“So you really think Rita might be the potential mom too?” Lauren asked incredulously, “I mean she's the senior class's token sanctimonious choir girl and valedictorian runner-up.”
“I would be surprised if it was her, but we shouldn't discount her simply because we can't imagine her being pregnant” I said even though I really couldn't believe Rita, whose over-achieving antics grated on everyone, would ever even let a guy hold her hand if she thought it would upset her very Catholic mother or jeopardize her chances at getting into Berkeley. “Ok, let's find Katie, she's probably hanging out over in the amphitheater” I directed. We walked out of the large double story brick building, past the white columns, over to the wisteria trellis-encircled amphitheater. The amphitheater overlooked the beautifully manicured green lawns that stood between us and the iron gates leading to the outside world. Our school was a gilded cage. “Hey, Kate.” I greeted.
Katie was herself encircled, but by a gaggle of girls, much like a gaggle of geese, and just as loud and obnoxious. I was always disappointed at Katie's indiscriminate friend choices. “Oh hey Meg, what's up?” she said nonchalantly, as if she wasn't at all aware of why I'd brave her glossed up, gossipy set of friends.
I decided to let her playing dumb slide, for all I could see, she was probably just suffering the consequences of her company. “Kate, what do you know bout Chelsea Newman?” I asked without any preliminaries. She gave me an irritated look and walked away from her group, Lauren and Roni followed as I followed Katie.
“First of all, you could pretend not to be so socially weird and start by talking about something normal, instead of just blurting stuff out!” she said as if embarrassed. High school girls are too easily embarrassed in my opinion. “And to make this quick: Chelsea Newman is a basketball player, a junior; she had practice yesterday after school same time as we soccer girls did. I saw her in the locker room. She wasn't the one” Katie rushed out.
“Wow Kate, and here I thought you didn't know why I'd come over to talk to you, but you're smarter than your friends make you look” I said teasingly. I could see the fire jumping into her eyes so I jumped in, “so you're sure Chelsea couldn't be the mother? I mean she didn't come to school today, maybe she didn't want to face Coach Turner, and maybe she was embarrassed…” I pressed.
“Yes, I'm sure! She isn't here because she is getting her knee looked at by specialists, she tweaked it in practice yesterday. Geez!!!” Katie protested, “Stop going all mock trial on me!”
“Sorry” I said sincerely. Truth be told, I've always been pretty intense. “Ok so it wasn't Chelsea, we have two other suspects then, Rita Estacio and Amanda Belzer.”
“I'd put money on Amanda” Katie said matter-of-factly.
“HA!” blurted Roni, “That's exactly what I said!”
“Well, think what you want, the truth isn't always intuitive” I said quietly. I glanced over to Lauren. She was giving me a sympathetic look, but suddenly she waved to someone behind me. I instinctively turned, it was Ms. Gil! “Ms. Gil! Wait!” Ms. Gil besides being the Biology teacher was also the Mock trial moderator and Lauren and I were both members. Gil, as we called her, was more friend than authority figure, she could certainly shed a little light on this whole baby ordeal.
“Hey girls” she said with a sassy smile, “keeping your noses down today?” she added with a wink.
“Gil! You can't think any of us is the mother!” Lauren said with a laugh.
Gil immediately sobered, “No, you couldn't, thank God. Whoever that poor girl is is in a lot of trouble.”
“Yeah, Sister Kathy will have her head on a platter!” giggled Roni.
“No. I don't mean that,” Gil said with an appreciative half smile, “No, the girl who went into preterm labor yesterday didn't deliver a placenta, or at least not here at school. She could get really sick from infection if she isn't seen by a doctor” Gil informed us.
“Oh you're right!” I said eagerly, “When I was volunteering on the Labor and Delivery unit at the hospital I heard about that!” already I could see that discovering the girl's identity was becoming more imperative.
“Yeah, I think something like that was why the early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft died” added Lauren, concerned.
“Gil, do they know who the mom is yet?” I asked intently.
“No, the authorities and the administration are hoping she'll come forward soon” said Gil sadly, “I'm hoping for her sake she gets to a hospital soon if she hasn't already.”
“Yeah” we all said in unison, feeling the weight of Ms. Gil's words.
I realized I had dashed away from Katie sort of rudely so I told Lauren and Roni I'd see them in class in a minute. I ran back over to her to apologize. “Hey Kate, sorry I left so abruptly, thanks for you help” I called out. Katie sauntered back over to me.
“No prob. Oh and I was just talking to Erica Martinez. She said Amanda couldn't be the mom. She said something about Amanda being on Depo. Looks like it might be Rita, I guess.” Katie said dryly.
“Kate, keep that to yourself, ok?” I said seriously. I needed to think this over. I felt bad how gossipy things were turning, but I now saw just how urgent it was to find Rita or Amanda. “I'll see you at home after my hospital shift,” I called out as I jogged to my next class, break being over. Phew. I had learned a lot. I needed to synthesize. As soon as I got to AP English I gave Lauren and Roni a quick smile than skipped up to Sister Joanne.
“I know it's just after break, but can I got to the bathroom…please? It's kind of an emergency” I said in my sweetest voice. All you had to say to get your way around here was “emergency” and all the teachers assumed it had to do with your menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle was the king and life force of an all-girls school.
“Oh yes, dear, of course. Don't worry, come back when you're ready,” Sister Joann said in her gentle, concerned way.
I gave her weak smile, feeling bad to deceive such a nice woman, but I needed to think away from all the distractions. I walked down the hall, passing the infamous bathroom where the baby was found, feeling it would be rather dramatic and television-esque to go and think in there. “Oh who cares” I whispered to myself, I walked into that bathroom and entered the first stall. I put a toilet seat cover down, just because even through my skirt germs might get on me, and sat down. Yes, I am obsessive compulsive. If I were going to really go to the bathroom I might put down three of those seat covers. My OCD nature comes in handy though, academically I can't rest until something's perfect, and the hospital staff all appreciate my attention to hand washing and proper nursing barriers when I volunteer.
I started thinking about the hospital. Strangely, Amanda Belzer's mom was an ob/gyn there. I had worked with Dr. Belzer; she was a smart and really approachable doctor. That would be so weird and ironic if Amanda were the mother of the preterm baby. If she had been pregnant it must have been obvious to Dr. Belzer, and she would surely have been monitoring her daughter carefully….agh! It didn't fit. Then there was Erica Martinez saying Amanda was on Depo-provera, the 3 month birth control shot. How long had she been on that? She would have needed to be on it at least in May, because the conception was approximately in June…May, May, May. Hmmm. That was when I had my hospital training for becoming a volunteer. Oh my God! Amanda was on Depo in May.
How could I have forgotten that ridiculous scene outside Dr. Belzer's office? Amanda had shown up with her much older boyfriend demanding her mother give her another prescription for oral birth control. It had been awful and embarrassing, but Dr. Belzer had grabbed her unruly daughter by the arm and hoisted her over to nurse saying, “Stick her.” She must have meant that the nurse should give Amanda a Depo-Provera shot. I hadn't understood it at the time, it had all been so ridiculous and shocking, but that must have been it. If that were true it meant that the mother was probably Rita.
I really couldn't stomach that one. She seemed too driven to be so careless as to get pregnant. Maybe the girl who went into preterm labor hadn't skipped out on class and I was wrong. No, but then the girl would still be feeling the severe effects of a messy miscarriage; it would be obvious something was wrong, and she would be found out. No, it had to be Rita. I decided I would stop by her house before my hospital shift right after school. I would pretend to bring over her homework as a ruse to get an opportunity to talk to her. I needed to convince her to come with me to the hospital, something in me was sure she hadn't been there yet.
I realized I had been gone for awhile and probably had Sister Joanne worried that I was also giving birth in the bathroom. As I walked out of the bathroom I found Lauren walking toward me. “Sister Joanne worried about more fetuses?” I joked.
“Yeah probably,” she said with a smile, “She sent me to `check that you were alright.'”
“It's Rita, I'm sure of it” I blurted out. I needed to tell someone. For some reason I was all emotional about it.
“That brain of yours must have been working hard in there,” she joked, “Yeah, well if you're right, which you most likely are” she added with a gallant bow, “Rita needs our help. Even if she is rather a difficult person to sympathize with”
“Haha, my ego was not involved in the deductive process, I promise, but I appreciate your confidence,” I laughed. “And yes, Rita needs someone to support her right now. You want to come with me to her house after school?” I asked hopefully. I didn't really want to awkwardly confront a possibly emotionally unstable Rita on my own.
“Sure. Sounds like a plan,” Lauren said with a knowing smile, “I wouldn't want you to deal with Rita-possibly-ripping-out-your-throat drama on your own.”
So that was that. The rest of the day passed rather uneventfully, well, accepting a rather arduous calculus quiz and a contentious physics class. In Physics we learned all about mass velocity relationships that allowed us to chop wooden blocks with our hands if we moved our arm fast enough. The contentious part was when Stephanie Bailey started tearing up with what we first thought was pain, but then discovered was a chipped acrylic nail. Ah, girls! Sometimes I really wished I could escape the estrogen majority. However, it was all distracting enough to keep my mind off poor Rita.
After school, Lauren and I dashed off in my `96 Toyota Camry, (so at odds with the BMW's, Jettas, Mustangs, and SUV's dotting our parking lot) while Roni went to orchestra practice. As Lauren and I drove over to Rita's house, I asked her, “so who could have been the dad? Tell me that please,” Rita rivaled me in intensity and shot beyond us all in moral righteousness.
“Well, at the end of last year school year wasn't Rita sort of talking with that Mormon kid from Cathedral?” Lauren said as she tilted her head racking her brain.
“Hey! You're right! You don't think though…”I wondered aloud.
“Well, I don't know what to think anymore, truth to tell!” Lauren said with an overwhelmed sort of laugh, “It would have to be someone though!” She had a point. As I had so aloofly pointed out earlier, “the truth isn't always intuitive.” Honestly who cared who the dad was? I just hoped Rita was ok and this could all work out rightly.
When we got to Rita's house I was relieved to see her mother's large van was gone. This would be better without the ever-pushy Mrs. Estacio. I rang the door bell as Lauren and I waited expectantly. Finally the door was opened by a little girl with dark brown braids, Rita's little sister surely. “What do you want, please?” she asked imperiously, she couldn't have been more than seven.
“Hi!” Lauren said cheerfully, “We're here to see your sister Rita, we have her homework.”
“Ok, but she's not feeling good. She's upstairs in bed” the little girl said letting us in, and turning back to her own homework at the kitchen table. We went upstairs, there was door that said Rita in curly cursive on the front; we gently knocked. I opened the door when no answer came, I was scared, the lights were low and there was little movement coming from the bundled lump curled on the bed. “Rita? It's Megan and Lauren. We brought your homework from today” I said as I inched closer to her face, which was peeping out from amongst many blankets. She looked very pale and wan. She had lost a lot of blood that was obvious, which also explained how cold she was. “Rita?” I whispered. She rolled over and looked at me and we both knew what the other knew. She looked away.
“Please go away” she said rather strongly. I was encouraged, if she could be rude, she wasn't knocking at death's door!
“No, Rita, not until you answer some things first, and maybe not even then” I said rather flippantly. Hey, maybe I needed to use her temper against her.
“Fine, what?” she said angrily and suspiciously.
“Did you deliver your placenta?” I said as calmly as I could.
“What?,” she said obviously unprepared for that question.
“Because, Rita, if you haven't you could get really sick, even die. You need to see a doctor.” Lauren interjected. There was a thick silence of several seconds.
“How did you figure out it was mine?” Rita said her eyes crowding with tears, “I swear I didn't try to kill it, you have to believe me,… it all just started coming out…I thought I just had a stomach ache…” She was starting to sob, but then checked herself. I really felt bad for her, but we needed to get her to the hospital.
“It doesn't matter how we figured it out, Rita. The truth would have come out soon anyway, you have to see that” I looked over at her and she was mechanically nodding, “but” I continued, “you should come with us now to the hospital.”
“What sort of message do you want us to leave with you little sister?” Lauren asked quickly before Rita could protest.
Rita ended up coming with us and left a note for her mom to meet us at the hospital as soon as possible. I was proud of her bravery, but she was a smart girl and knew she needed to explain things, and it was best done sooner rather than later. When we got the hospital, Dr. Belzer was about to give me a hard time about being late but then saw Rita and immediately set her attention on the new patient.
Rita actually had a complication in the conception of the baby that lead to the miscarriage. Dr. Belzer later explained to me that it's called placenta accreta, and it occurs when the placenta attaches to the cervix as opposed to the uterine wall. Rita went into surgery immediately to have her placenta removed. It was all extremely surreal. Lauren's mom came to the hospital to pick her up in the middle of my shift. We promised to have a three way call with Roni later that night; a de-tox conversation would definitely be needed.
The rest of my shift was dizzyingly short and I had to leave before Rita could see visitors. I couldn't believe how whirl-wind the whole day had been. I was about to check out at the desk when Dr. Belzer came up.
“Megan that was really being a good friend to bring that girl in today” she said as she filled out some paperwork. She looked up at me from her work, “if ever there was an excuse for being late, that's it.” She had a proud half smile on her face as she turned to go talk to the some nurses, “I'll see you next week, good job.”
It was all strange and anti-climactic. I didn't really feel like going home to Katie's demands for an update. It was amazing that everything looked like it was going to be relatively resolved. Today happened…! I got back into my car and turned up the radio. The drive home could be quick, but I decided to take the longer route. I could use a little breather before jumping into an essay on Byron. Girls, Sex, St. Francis, homework. Geez, the jumble of the day made me see for just a moment what was so alluring about the cloistered existence of our naïve little nuns.