It couldn’t have been gestational diabetes. Tom was convinced of that. Eleanor continued to get worse and worse over the next month despite following her strict diet and exercising every day within her means. Many nights went by with Eleanor gripping him under their bed sheets like a vice, sweating and crying. He would run his fingers through her matted hair because he didn’t know what else to do. “Shh, shh, it’s okay.”
The next time they visited the doctor, they were warned that this pregnancy might be fatal...they needed to consider their options. Tom could only blame himself. It was he who had gotten her pregnant--he who was supposed to protect her no matter what. Yet here they were. And here he was, so powerless against the tiny child forming in his wife’s womb.
“I don’t want to terminate,” she told him on the car drive home. “No matter what.”
“If it’s your life or the baby’s, it has to be yours. I want you to live,” he said.
She shook her head. Tears spilled down her face and they rode in silence.
For the first time in weeks, Eleanor rested. Tom slipped out of bed and watched her for a long time. She looked so frail lying there under the pale moonlight. Her quiet vitality had kept him motivated all this time and now he saw that she had been drained of it. She’d sacrifice herself for the baby, he thought as he looked upon her. That thought and the ghostly visage before him made him think Eleanor was already lost to him. There was only a tenuous connection keeping her rooted to the world of the living, and it wasn’t Tom. It was her desire to give birth to their child.