Warning: Pregnancy loss.
Come on, come on, come on! They chanted in their head as they sat in rush hour traffic. They glanced down at their wrist and cursed at the time. Not even 20 minutes ago, they had received the call they had been waiting nine months to hear; their child was to be born.
"Come on, move it!" They yelled as they beeped their horn repeatedly. Chronically late their entire life, they had promised their partner that they wouldn't be late for the arrival of their first born child.
They glanced at their wrist again and cursed under their breath. At this point, they'll be here forever. Their heart raced in their chest, they'd be damned if they disappointed their partner again and they'd be damned if they missed their first born child's birth.
"Either drive or get out of the way!" They yelled, once again honking their horn at the cars in front of them. "I'm coming, love. I promise."
Slowly, the traffic started moving, yet they still kept their hand on their horn. Finally! They thought as they saw their exit inching closer on their right. Almost there. Please, just wait for me. I'm almost there.
As they finally reached the exit, they pressed their foot down heavy on the gas. I'm coming! They kept repeating as they raced to the hospital. Parking half hazardly in the parking lot, they rushed into the emergency room.
"Woah, what's the rush?" The security, a large and burly man asked as he stopped them just outside the front desk.
"M-My baby is be-being born," they said partially out of breath.
The security guard's eyes widened in alarm before they softened at the news. "Congratulations, but I still need to check you and have you walk through the metal detector before I let you in."
They nodded their head rapidly before they immediately started taking all the items in their pockets out and anything on their body that could set the metal detector off. Shit. It's almost been an hour. They mentally cursed as they noticed the time on their watch as they set it down in one of the bins.
They stepped through the metal detector and released a sigh of relief as the machine allowed them to pass through without a sound. They turned and immediately started to grab all their belongings.
"Congratulations again," the security guard told them as they stuffed their belongings back in their places.
"Thanks." They rushed to the front desk. "M-Mattson," they huffed. "My partner is having our child."
The receptionist looked up at the winded individual, a soft sadness in her eyes as she regarded them. "Mattson, yes." She typed on the keyboard, her green orbs briefly torn away from them and on the screen. "It says that your partner is in room 235."
Not the delivery room? They thought briefly before nodding their head and rushing away towards the room. They had spent many a moments in this hospital growing up that it was practically a second home to them. Their eyes scanned the room numbers as they continued to make their way down the hall.
231. 232. 233. 234. 235! Here! They pulled the door open and smiled softly at their partner. "I'm here," they huffed.
Broken and puffy red, hazel eyes looked up at them and they could feel their heart sink in their stomach. They've seen that look before, when their partner had lost their father a year earlier.
"I-I'm sorry," their partner's voice cracked as they spoke.
No. The heaviness in their chest couldn't be ignored and they rushed over to their partner, pulling a chair up and beside them. They looked around for a bassinet and frowned softly when they couldn't spot one. "W-Why are you sorry? Where's our child?" They grabbed their hand and gave it a soft squeeze.
Without warning, their partner broke out in sobs, fresh tears tracing the old tear tracks down their soft cheeks. They didn't need to know much else after that, the heaviness in their chest giving way to the truth they knew was there the moment they entered their room; they didn't make it.
They swallowed the sob that wanted to escape their throat as their eyes began to burn with restrained tears. I'm too late, again. "I'm sorry.I should've been here." They dropped their forehead onto their still locked hands as they repeated the phrases over and over again.
Too lost in their grief, sorrow and guilt, they didn't hear the door open and the doctor walk in. "You must be the other parent and I suppose you already know." The doctor, an older woman in her late 50s with soft grey eyes responded as she looked at the pair.
"While the delivery was successful, unfortunately, your child was a stillborn," she told them softly. "I'm sorry for your loss."
They looked up at the woman with broken eyes. I should've been here. They had to go through this alone. They glanced at their partner before they nodded their head numbly. "C-Can I see them?"
The older woman nodded her head before she stepped out of the room. A few moments later, she returned with a small, pink bundle in her arms.
Their throat closed up briefly on them as they watched her approach before gently placing the bundle in their arms. "I'll give y'all a few minutes to say goodbye." She nodded at them before quickly exiting the room once more.
They stared down at the small child in their arms. They look so peaceful, like they're sleeping. Tears clouded their vision as they gently traced a single finger across the stillborn's face. "I'm so sorry little one. I'm so, so sorry. I should've been here," they sobbed before they buried their face into the bundle.
Their partner's sob could be heard joining their own as they mourned the loss of their child together. Anger and guilt swelled in their chest but was overpowered by the grief that surrounded them. Once again, their tardiness had cost them something important.