The cramps woke Morgan at 3:30 a.m.,
startling her out of a deep slumber. She'd been immersed
in a dream about a little girl on a swing set, her long
brown hair flowing on the breeze. She knew without a
doubt that the child was the baby she was carrying.
The cramps offered a stark warning, as if her anxiety
had shaped into a blunt instrument that bludgeoned her
She sat up, her hand pressed over her flat stomach,
and looked at Jonathan, who slept peacefully next to her.
Should she wake him to tell him she was cramping, or just
be still and wait for it to pass?
She had taken the home pregnancy test yesterday
morning, then followed up with a blood test at her doctor's
office that afternoon. Jonathan sat in the examining
room with her, fidgeting and chattering to pass the time.
When the nurse came back with the verdict, he sprang to
his feet, muscles all tense, like a tiger tracking a gazelle.
"Before I tell you the results, I need to know if I'm bearing
good or bad news."
Jonathan glanced at Morgan, and she knew he was way too
close to calling the woman a smart aleck and warning her not to
toy with them. "Come on, just tell us."
"But do you want to be pregnant? Is good news a yes or a no?"
Before he could grab the nurse by the shoulders and shake
the playfulness out of her, Morgan blurted out, "Yes! More than
"Are we going to have a baby or not?" Jonathan asked.
"Congratulations!" The word burst out of the nurse's mouth,
and Morgan came off the table, flinging herself into his arms, and
they yelled like kids as he swung her around.
They agreed not to announce it until today, so they could
share that first night of giddy excitement, crushing the secret
They waited until Caleb, their eighteen-month-old foster
child, was sound asleep, then went across the street to Hanover
House's private stretch of beach. They giggled and danced under
the May moonlight, to the music of the waves whooshing and
frothing against the shore. When they'd finally gone to bed, they
lay awake until close to midnight, wondering if it would be a girl
or a boy, and how soon they would be able to see their child on a
sonogram. Jonathan held Morgan and whispered about soccer
games and ballet, piano lessons and PTA.
Finally, they had both fallen asleep, and now she didn't want
to wake him. It was probably nothing. Just something she ate last
night. She would have to be more careful now.
But as the moments dragged on the cramping grew worse,
and she couldn't ignore it. She folded her arms across her stomach
and slid her feet out of bed. She sat up and realized it was
worse, even, than she thought. There was blood.
"Oh, no." The words came out loud and unbidden, and
Jonathan turned over and looked up at her in the night.
"Baby, what is it?"
She turned on the lamp. "Oh, Jonathan ."
He looked at her with an innocent, terrible dread, expecting
something, though not clear what. Slowly, he sat up. "What?"
A sob rose in her throat as she pointed to the mattress.
For a moment they both just stared at it, the blood-spot of a
Their unformed, barely real, secret baby dying.
Then he jolted out of his stunned stupor and sprang out of
bed. "Are you okay?"
"I'm losing it." The words bubbled up in her throat.
"Jonathan, I'm losing the baby!"
"We're going to the hospital. Maybe it's not what you think.
Maybe they can stop it." He pulled on the jeans hanging over a
chair by the bed.
Maybe he was right. Maybe the baby was still there, nestled
in its little sac, unscathed by whatever thing had broken loose in
her. Or if not, maybe the medical staff could ward off danger, stop
the impending doom, give her some magic pill to make it hang on.
She quickly got dressed while Jonathan woke Sadie-their
seventeen-year-old foster daughter and Caleb's sister-to tell her
of the emergency and ask her to listen for her little brother in case
they weren't back when he awoke.
Then Jonathan helped Morgan out to the car as though she
were a sick woman who couldn't walk on her own. She tried not
to make sudden moves, not to walk too hard, not to cramp so
But it all seemed out of her control.
"It's okay, baby," Jonathan said as he drove at breakneck
speed across the island. "We'll be in Savannah in no time."
Was it already too late? The drive from Cape Refuge to the
closest hospital was too far. She cried quietly, staring out the windshield,
praying that God would intervene.
"God's going to save her," he muttered as he drove. "He
Morgan's face twisted. "Her . you said her." She looked
over at him and saw the tears on his face. "You think it's a girl?"
He didn't answer. "God, please ."
She sobbed as he drove, her hand pressed against her stomach.What kind of mother am I? I couldn't keep it safe for a day?
Her tears were cold against her face in the breeze of the airconditioner.
Jonathan's lips moved in some silent monologue-a desperate
preacher's prayer of faith and hope-or the angry railing
of a seaman who saw terror coming and believed he could head
it off with enough threats. His hands clutched the steering wheel,
and occasionally he reached over to touch her with fearful reassurance.
Finally, they reached St. Joseph's, and Jonathan pulled up to
the emergency room door. He got out and ran to Morgan's side,
helped her out. There was blood all over the back of her robe, and
some of it had soaked into the seat.
"I need help here!" Jonathan helped her through the sliding
glass door. "Please, someone help!"
But Morgan knew there was no help for her baby. It was
already too late.
Two hours later, they rode home in silence,
each mired in their own despair. As she'd known he would,
the doctor confirmed her fears. She had miscarried her
Guilt and anguish ached through her body.
How would Jonathan ever forgive her?
They both wept quietly as the sun rose over the
Atlantic, heralding a day that others would find beautiful
and welcome. But she would do anything to turn the clock
back to this time yesterday.