The Words of Love – David

by Claudia Ravaldi

The story of Davide, in the words of his mother.

“Niki is twenty-six and expecting her first child. She is in the eighth month of a desired pregnancy and lived serenely. Expect a boy who will be called David.

Today she got up with a strange feeling. She is tired: the brat inside her kept her awake with his movements. Moreover, the heat of these first days of June and the risings for the bathroom did not facilitate the night. A full working week awaits her for the handover before her well-deserved maternity leave, postponed until the end of the eighth month.

She kisses Gabriel, her husband, strangely sick at home, and sets off for breakfast. But it feels strange. He has a pain in his stomach, a particular pain that he cannot understand. Touching her he notices that she is having contractions.

“But how? Already? But maybe they are preparatory… Umh, but they hurt so much… ”. Without giving too much weight, he tells Gabriel, and then, intending to take a shower, goes to the bathroom, just in time to put up all the breakfast. Nausea has been a faithful companion for all those months, now she doesn’t even notice it anymore.

The pain, however, does not seem to diminish, and he realizes that he is sweating cold. Niki starts to worry. Gabriel convinces her to go to the hospital.

He accompanies her to the entrance to the emergency room, and goes to find parking as she heads for the elevator.

As soon as she arrives on the ward, she explains her symptoms. The midwife on duty makes her sit in the office, making her pass in front of the appointments already set, which give her a bad look.

They give her the entry form and send for the doctor on duty.

The midwife measures her blood pressure and reassures Niki, telling her not to worry too much because there is gastroenteritis around.

“In any case, don’t worry, at 34 weeks a baby is already formed, so even if he wanted to be born there would be no problems” says the midwife with a smile. And Niki calms down. Even if the pains don’t seem to pass.

The doctor is busy, so the midwife accompanies Niki to make a trace. Gabriel follows them. As he walks behind the midwife, Niki gets sick. She asks to go to the bathroom, just in time to put back the orange juice she drank before going to the hospital. For the midwife this is nothing more than a confirmation of gastroenteritis.

Niki has never made tracks in her life. He doesn’t know what to expect. He does not know what is normal and what is not. They put the detector on her stomach. A faint sound is heard. The midwife looks at her for a long time and sends for the doctor for a red code. But Niki doesn’t understand. After all, she has never made tracks. He senses that something is wrong, of course, and thinks that perhaps he will have a premature birth. “Damn I haven’t packed my suitcase yet….” .

They make her sit back in the office, where the called doctor arrives. But not only him. More doctors and midwives arrived. Niki is restless. “How bad will it be if there are so many people?”. He also catches a glimpse of his gynecologist entering. “Finally a familiar face” he thinks smiling at her. But just behind her enters the head physician. Niki is increasingly worried. “The primary has also arrived, maybe Davide will really be born today …”.

Everyone leaves room for the head physician, who sits next to her and takes the ultrasound. When he puts it on his stomach, he feels nothing. One does not feel that crazed horse which is David’s heart. Niki wonders why they turned off the volume on the ultrasound. She looks at Gabriel, who in turn looks at her sadly. Look at her gynecologist. Set the primary.

“Do the urgent exams, we need to understand what happened.”

Suddenly the silence is broken by this sentence. And she understands. Only then does he understand.

And then, with all the strength he has inside, he asks the question he never wanted to ask: “Is he no longer there?”. Her gynecologist takes her hand and shakes her head. Niki looks for Gabriel with her eyes and with a broken voice she begins to say: “But how? I heard it tonight! Should we have come first? Tonight he was there, tonight… ”and before finishing the sentence, Gabriel holds her tightly to him. Niki is silent and the tears begin to gush silently.

Then it all happens …

They visit her, and notice that the cervix is already shortened. Labor is in progress.

They assign her a room and explain that, since labor is in progress and the baby is in position, it is best for her to deliver naturally. “But how? If it’s no longer there, doesn’t it go away by itself?!? ” Think then of the dumb fool.

Usually they do not have an epidural, but in his case they have already alerted an anesthetist.

Niki nods, but only hears voices in the distance. She only feels his breath rumbling in his head.

Gabriel looks at her. He understands. On the other hand, he knows it very well. Says nothing. He simply takes her in his arms but she struggles after a few seconds. He is afraid of letting go. And now he needs strength. He reflects.

She tells Gabriel to call her parents for her, call the office, and go home to get the supplies. Necessary that is not ready yet, since he has bought only a couple of clothes for Davide, “there is a lot of time …”.

Before long her mother is there beside her, her eyes shining. He hugs her but Niki can’t even cry anymore. You feel too bad.

After a while, they call Niki back to the clinic. During the visit, they realize that the cervix is completely shortened so, without saying anything, they break her waters. Niki screams for the first time. The evil is so much, so suddenly. But he realizes it wasn’t going to be the worst.

At 11 they transfer Niki to the labor room. She is an automaton. She does what they tell her to do. He does not cry. Does not speak. She can’t think of anything but the pain she feels in the back of her stomach, for the contractions, and in the back of her heart, for that unnatural situation that seems like a nightmare to her. After half an hour, thanks to the epidural, the pain disappears.

They make her sit in an armchair. Gabriel is always next to her. He caresses her, kisses her. He repeats that he loves her.

At 1 pm everything is going well.

The staff often leave Niki and Gabriel alone. Who look at each other and caress that belly that no longer moves. Tears flow as Niki thinks “they were wrong, now Davide is born and cries, I’m sure of it”.

Two hours later Niki begins to feel pain. Begin to be afraid. He would like to escape from there. He doesn’t want to feel the contractions. Contractions that tell her that her son will soon be born. But he won’t cry. The heart hopes but the mind already knows.

What happens next is all so confusing, it’s all so fast …

Pain, contractions, thrusts and arms on the belly. And more pain and crying. After a few minutes, which to Niki seem interminable, Davide is out. It is 4.15 pm. Gabriel cries and looking at Niki whispers: “it’s beautiful”. Niki has no strength left but she hears herself ask “what happened?”. The gynecologist takes her hand and tells her that Davide had 2 turns of umbilical cord around his neck, one of which was tight.

Then the midwife asks Niki “do you want to see him?”.

She doesn’t know what to answer. He can’t think. Look at Gabriel who repeats “it’s beautiful” with tears in his eyes. Then accept. They put it on his stomach, wrapped in a green cloth. Niki looks at him, and really, really beautiful. A little angel sleeping, with black hair, perfect features and closed hands. She strokes his cheek but is afraid of destroying that little perfection. He would like to take his hand, but he is inside the cloth. The midwife notices this and she herself pulls out Davide’s hand, clenched into a fist.

Davide is baptized there, in that small delivery room, with the obstetrician and the gynecologist next to them crying together with their parents.

And then the tears begin. And then the emptiness begins. And then the journey begins …

2 MONTHS LATER

Even though it is August, the weather outside is not the best. It thunders and rains and Niki can’t help but think of her baby “out there”.

So he takes a pen and paper and writes.

Dear Davide,

It has already been two months since you flew among the angels.

Some people say to dad and me that we have changed. I think it is true. I can never be the same again.
In six years of love, your father and I have changed a lot, but it has been a slow and not perceptible change, one that you only notice if you start thinking. This pain, on the other hand, has suddenly changed us.

And the river came to mind.

Water, like love, smoothes the rocks day after day, forming its bed, forming its path that will lead it to the sea. Then comes a flood. Your death for us was the flood. The flood comes suddenly and sweeps everything away. The banks break and the river overflows and runs away from all sides. When the storm passes, the river must gather all its strength to recompose its waters, and seek what remains of its bed. The path he knew before no longer exists, swept by the flood. It is often interrupted, so the river has to start all over again, digging a different path, which it hadn’t even contemplated before, because in any case it knows, that sooner or later it too will reach the sea.

Here is David, your father and I are now gathering our waters. The path we had traced so far was destroyed in the blink of an eye, but we will slowly build another one, because we want to get to the sea anyway. And sooner or later I’m sure we will. So, my angel, since you certainly see us from up there, and you can also see the sea, which seems so far and unreachable to us, help us to chart the right path, help us to understand which direction to take to get to the sea …

With infinite love

Your mom

Extract from “Davide, Amato da Dio”, work selected for the Anthology “The songs are angels” from the literary competition “The words of love”, 2010.

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