Chapter Three Excerpt: Sea To Shining Sea

This second novel will delve into more socio-political issues, reflective of the awakening of grassroots conservatism taking place throughout the country. As demonstrated by this next excerpt describing Madeline’s visit with a Canadian doctor, special-needs babies, abortion and socialized medicine will be paramount among them.

Chapter Three

“I’d advise a termination right away.”

The cold, clinical words hit her like a bolt out of the blue. She was seated across the desk from Dr. Harper, where blood test results had just confirmed the accuracy of the three home pregnancy tests she’d taken the prior evening. It was nearly 3 p.m. Vancouver time, and the long delay in being summoned to the doctor’s office had only intensified her anguish.

She couldn’t remember a time when she’d felt so alone, save for all those years ago in Florida when she’d let a newly engaged Ken simply walk out of her life, falsely believing she’d happily moved on. It felt like déjà vu all over again, except for the exacerbating facts that she was now pregnant and alone in a foreign country.

“I-I’m sorry. What did you say?” she asked, praying she’d somehow misunderstood.

“Mrs. Lockheart, you are 42 years-old, and this is your first pregnancy – one that was never supposed to happen in the first place, given your medical history. We’ll need further analysis to know for sure, but I suspect that testing may reveal some abnormalities. You did tell me you have an older brother with Down’s syndrome, right?”

A shaken Maddy was literally sickened by the direction in which this conversation was so obviously heading, as she summoned as much inner strength as she possibly could to fend off her visceral reaction to his unwelcome advice.

“Is that your way of telling me there’s something wrong with my baby?”

“I’m saying,” Dr. Harper continued, “that you are a lucky woman, compared to your mother. Unlike today, 50 years ago we didn’t have these kinds of diagnostic tests; parents were just stuck with whatever they got after labor and delivery. At least now you have the luxury of knowing about potential abnormalities ahead of time, so you can prevent another life from coming into this world at a disadvantage.”

“A disadvantage? I can’t believe what I’m hearing!” she exclaimed, palpable anger usurping every other emotion as she fully absorbed the implications of his “counseling”.

“Let me assure you, Dr. Harper, my family considers my brother Louis to be a blessing from heaven, not some unbearable burden whose life should’ve been snuffed out for the crime of so-called imperfection. Even if these wonderful diagnostic tests had existed in 1959, neither my mother nor my father would’ve ever entertained the idea of killing their child—not for one second! And no, they’ve never considered themselves stuck, as you put it. How dare you make such an insulting assumption about my family or me!”

“Mrs. Lockheart, please calm down,” the doctor advised in a tone that was bordering on impatience and condescension, “I am simply laying out the facts as I see them. I wouldn’t be practicing responsible medicine if I didn’t advise you to make the right choices.”

“Tell me something, Doctor,” she pressed him, “have you ever even known a child with Down syndrome? Are you even aware of the incredible joy they bring to people who are fortunate enough to know them? If you did, maybe you wouldn’t be so blasé about advising me to have an abortion—something I am never going to do regardless of what the test results might show.”

“Do you really think that would be fair to your husband, a rising star in the business world? Think about it, Mrs. Lockheart. He already has two healthy children from his previous marriage. Why would he want to take on these kinds of problems now?”

A flabbergasted Madeline suddenly felt a renewed appreciation for her own mother, and a never-before-experienced sensation of truly knowing exactly what she went through as a young mother in her late-20s, when that insensitive attending physician walked into her hospital room uninvited. It had been mere hours since Louis’ premature birth, and upon closer examination, also been determined that the fuzzy-blond-haired baby boy was not the picture of health he’d initially appeared to be.

The doctor had entered Monica Rose’s hospital room for the express purpose of badgering her to put the child in an institution, lest his very existence taint her husband’s promising medical career. Though utterly devastated by the news, Monica nevertheless had the presence of mind to angrily throw him out with a stern warning to stay away from her child.

Still, as outrageous as that doctor’s behavior had been, at least Louis had actually been born. How incredulous that—without even knowing for certain if there were any physiological problems—this doctor would automatically pressure her to murder the unborn life in her womb, simply because of a possibility, a mere suspicion of abnormality. And though Maddy was literally in it for life no matter what, the least this guy could do was pretend to be optimistic.

“I can’t believe this,” she muttered under her breath, as she placed a hand over her stomach.

“Well, there’s actually more news to tell you,” the doctor matter-of-factly continued. “Your blood tests also revealed elevated HcG levels, which indicate a high probability of twins.”

Madeline braced herself as another tidal wave of emotion overtook her.

“T-twins? Are you certain?”

“Well we won’t know for sure until you are into your second trimester, assuming you decide to continue with the pregnancy. From what we can tell so far, you’re most likely about eight weeks along. Whether or not you decide to have an abortion, you will need to see a gynecologist to have the necessary follow-up tests to confirm the presence of twins. If that is the case, you are at even greater risk of genetic abnormalities. That’s why, all things considered, if I were you, I’d definitely end the pregnancy.”

“Well, I suppose it’s very fortunate for my unborn children that you are most definitely not me,” Madeline retorted, rising up out of her chair. “Thank you for your time doctor, but I won’t be needing your services anymore.”

With that, she turned on her heel and strode out of his office, restraining her tears until safely inside the luxurious confines of the waiting limo.


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Filed under Pop Culture, Professional Experience, Sea To Shining Sea, Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal

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