Chapter 12

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At the hospital, Grace had just come out of surgery. She was still unconscious when we arrived in her room. She had a bruise on her left cheekbone. Seeing her that way broke something inside me, and I crumpled into Adam's chest. Her foster parents were on their way, but they had been out of town for the day, visiting a friend. They were still about an hour away.

Kylie had informed me on what happened. Grace had been shopping for baby stuff, but on the bus trip home she fell asleep and missed her stop. She got off as soon as she realised, but was completely lost. She wandered around asking for directions and bus times, but instead ran into her rapist. Discovering that she was pregnant, he punched her and said he was going to kill the her and the babies. He had dragged her down an alleyway and started kicking her stomach when a lady found them. The rapist ran away and Grace was taken to hospital in an ambulance, where she had emergency surgery to save the babies. They seem to be fine for now, but are unstable and probably won't last much longer inside her. The nurses predict that she will go into labour in about two weeks time, so they plan on cutting out the babies by caesarean as soon as Grace is stronger.

I learnt that the first call was Grace, calling for directions because she was lost. The second call was from the lady who found her. After calling an ambulance, she called me because I was her most recent call and she wanted to tell someone where Grace was. The third call was from Grace herself, after she had regained consciousness before the surgery. The fourth, fifth, and sixth calls were all Kylie trying to get a hold of me so I could be here for Grace when she woke up. I was so overwhelmed with guilt, it filled every part of me. It tasted bad in my mouth and sent pains down my body. My head felt heavy, I couldn't cope with this! It was my fault, all my fault. I could've stopped Grace, helped her find her way. I could have held her hand in the ambulance, I could have reassured her before the surgery, I could have waited for her outside and prayed and prayed and prayed for her but I didn't. I missed every single one of those choices because I was having sex with my boyfriend. A fresh wave of guilt washed over me, drenching me in sadness.

Sobbing into Adam's chest, I heard a moan from behind me and my head shot up, startled. I turned around to see Grace opening her eyes and wriggling in her sheets.

"Jess," she whispered coarsely.

"Grace!" I exclaimed.

"I'll get a nurse," Adam said and left the room.

"How are you feeling?" I asked.

"Mmmmmm," she mumbled. The anaesthetic was probably still having an effect on her.

Suddenly she lurched forward and let out a bloodcurdling scream.

"Grace? GRACE! What is it? What hurts?" I shrieked.

She moaned and twisted her body in the hospital sheets. Her chest arched towards the ceiling and collapsed in a heap. I frantically punched the emergency button on the wall that would send help.

I clutched her hand and stroked her forehead, trying to calm her down.

"Grace, Grace look at me okay? Just look me in the eye....good girl," I said soothingly.

"It's going to be okay. You're going to be fine, you're babies will be fine-"

"My babies!" she panicked.

"Shhhh! No Grace, just calm down please! Their coming, okay? They'll make the pain go away, I promise."

Where were they?!

Two nurses ran in then, followed by Adam. The nurses muttered words I couldn't understand, didn't want to understand.

"Torn placenta..."

"Pre-term labour-"

"Page her OB,"

"We need her back in surgery, now!"

Some doctors ran in too, and whisked her down the hall back into surgery.

We waited in the waiting room, and time stopped mattering. At some point Grace's parents joined us, and Adam explained to them what had happened, because we all knew I was falling apart enough as it was.

"Jess, you have to stop this," Adam whispered to me.

"What?" I was confused.

"You need to calm down. You're putting too much strain on yourself, and on the baby." He reasoned with me. "Get rid of the stress, the self-blame."

"But it's all my fault!" I choked on my words.

"You're here now, nothing can be done to change what has happened. So think about how you will help Grace recover. Because this isn't good for anyone."

"You're right." I agreed.

Eventually a nurse came out to inform us on how Grace went in surgery.

"We were able to keep one baby in the womb, and hopefully she will stay there until she is full term, and Grace will be able to deliver her naturally. Unfortunately the other twin had to come out. She was small and weak, and didn't survive. I'm so sorry."

"No," I whispered.

"Grace is in the Recovery Unit now. You may go visit, she is awake."

We were shown to Grace's room and I rushed in to see her.

"Grace, I'm so sorry!"

"Jess, I don't really want to speak to you right now."

"I...I understand. You blame me, and you have every right to-"

"I don't blame you. You didn't do this to me. It wasn't your fault."

"Then, what-"

"I lost a baby, Jess. Don't throw yours away."

A single tear rolled down her cheek and she rolled over, turning her back on me. Doing to me exactly what I was doing to my baby.

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