“Alex?…Alex, did you hear me?”
“What? Oh Walker, I’m sorry what did you say?”
“I asked if you were okay.”
“Yes…yes I’m fine. Why?”
“Well you seem a million miles away and you didn’t answer me when I asked if you were okay.”
“I’m fine. I was just thinking about the Jamison trial and what testimony was left.”
“I thought this trial was only going to last two days, but you are going into your third day.”
“And we probably won’t finish until tomorrow.”
“I’m worried about you Alex. You had a headache last night and your muscles were so tight. I don’t like you being so stressed. This is exactly why I wanted you to cut back on your caseload until after the baby was born.”
“Walker, I’m okay. I am only 6 months along so we have a while to go. You don’t have to worry. I….we are just fine.” says Alex as she pats her swollen stomach. This is my last long trial. The DA has reassigned all my cases with trials longer than a day or two. He has not assigned me any new cases and he has given me a co-counsel on the remainder of my cases so they can take over the case if needed. Once the Jamison trial is over on Thursday, I can relax and rest.”
“Alex that makes me feel a little better, but it doesn’t make me stop worrying. I will have to thank DA Moody when I see him.”
“Well, I think he had some persuasion from a certain Texas Ranger.” Alex gives Walker that smile that just melts his heart.
“Sweetheart.” he says as he takes her in his arms. “I want you and the baby to be okay. You had such a hard time with the morning sickness at the beginning, I just want everything to go smoothly the rest of the pregnancy.”
“Darling, remember Dr. Bates said that morning sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy, so this pregnancy should definitely be healthy! Besides, all my doctor’s appointments have been fine. Everything is progressing nicely.” (I definitely can’t tell him now that my blood pressure was a little elevated at my last appointment, I would never be able to go back to work. I will tell him Thursday when this trial is over)
“Walker speaking of Dr. Bates, can you call her office and cancel my appointment for this afternoon. I need to get to court and don’t think I will have time to call her office. I will call later and reschedule the appointment for next week.”
“Sure I will call Dr. Bates office. Just promise me that you will rest during court breaks and take a few days off once this trial is over.”
“I promise!” Alex gives Walker a passionate kiss then walks out to her car and heads to the courthouse.
As Alex approaches Dallas, she thinks “Man, I wish I could shake this headache. Maybe I do need a few days off. My ankles were swollen this morning and I had to take my wedding rings off. I think I will spend the weekend with my feet up and let Walker pamper me a little. He will love that and it will help him relax and not worry so much.” She smiles at the thought as she pulls into the parking lot at the courthouse.
* * * * *
“Walker, are you ready to go check out that list of addresses we put together?” Trivette asked.
“Yeah, hang on. I need to call Alex’s doctor and cancel her appointment for this afternoon since her Jamison trial has run long. I will be just a minute.”
Walker dials Dr. Bates number.
“Good morning, Dr. Bates office.”
“This is Cordell Walker. My wife, Alex Walker, has an appointment this afternoon with Dr. Bates. I need to cancel that appointment, she will be in court all day. She will call later to reschedule for next week.”
“Mr. Walker, can you hold on for a moment?”
“Sure.“ said Walker, frustrated that he had to be put on hold. After a minute on hold someone finally comes back on the line.
“Walker, this is Dr. Bates.”
“Oh, Dr. Bates. I’m sorry. I didn’t need to speak directly to you. I just needed to cancel Alex’s appointment for this afternoon because her trial is running long. She will reschedule for next week.”
“Walker I told my staff that if Alex called in to cancel another appointment that I wanted to speak to her.”
“Cancel another appointment?” asked Walker.
“Yes, this is the second appointment she has cancelled and I was concerned about her elevated blood pressure during her last appointment.”
“Elevated blood pressure?” Walker could feel HIS blood pressure rising as he clinched the phone harder.
“I’m sorry. I assume from your question that she hasn’t discussed this with you. I know how close the two of you are so I thought she had talked to you about my recommendation that she cut back on her work load. I also wanted to remind her how important her appointments are which is why I asked to talk to her if she called to cancel.”
“Oh believe me Dr. Bates, Alex and I will discuss all of this as soon as she gets home this afternoon.” Walker said with a little more anger than he intended.
“I think my patient is not going to be too happy with me this afternoon. If I didn’t consider you and Alex friends Walker, I wouldn’t have discussed this with you.”
“Don’t worry about that Dr. Bates. Her trial will be over on Thursday afternoon. Can you see her Friday morning?”
“I can work her in at 9:30 if that is okay?”
“That is fine. She….we will be there if I have to carry her in. Thank you Dr. Bates, we will see you at 9:30 Friday morning.”
Dr. Bates hung up the phone knowing that Alex would be there Friday morning if she walked in or was carried in.
Walker hung up the phone angrier at Alex than he had ever been. He sat back in his chair trying to reign in his emotions of anger, hurt and worry. Why had Alex not told him about her elevated blood pressure and her other missed appointment? Of course he knew why, she didn’t want him to worry and she didn’t want him to insist on her taking time off from work. He also knew that they would be discussing all of this tonight.
“Walker, is something wrong with Alex….the baby?” Trivette asked after hearing Walker’s end of the phone conversation and seeing the look on his face.
“My wife is the most stubborn, hard headed and independent person I know.” answers Walker.
“Well she learned from the best!” a smiling Trivette replies.
“What is that supposed to mean?” asked Walker, more than a little irritated.
“You Walker. You are the most stubborn, hard headed and independent person I know.”
“Well, Alex shouldn’t be like that when it comes to her health.” returns Walker.
“Again Walker, she learned from the best. When was the last time you followed any doctor’s instructions?”
Walker couldn’t argue. He knew Trivette was right but it still didn’t make him any less angry at Alex. This affected not only her health but the baby’s health as well.
“Is Alex and the baby okay” Trivette asked breaking Walker’s thoughts.
“Well her blood pressure was elevated last time she saw the doctor and then she cancelled her last appointment not including today’s cancelled appointment. But she will be seeing Dr. Bates Friday morning if I have to carry her in.”
“And I know you would too partner!” laughs Trivette, conjuring up a picture of Walker carrying Alex into her doctor’s office.
“Let’s go check out those addresses Trivette. I will talk to Alex later.”
In the courtroom
“Mr. Watson, is the person you saw running from the scene holding a gun in this courtroom?” Alex asked the witness.
“Can you point him out for the court?”
“He is sitting right over there.” The witness says as he points to the defendant, Michael Jamison.
“Let the record show the witness identified the defendant, Michael Jamison. No further questions your honor.”
Alex walked back to the prosecution table thankful that the judge had allowed her to call this witness later in the trial after they were able to track him down. As she reached the table, Alex felt lightheaded and grabbed the table for support. She stood there trying to get her balance before she could sit down.
“Mrs. Walker are you okay” asked the judge.
“Yes your honor, I’m sorry. I just felt lightheaded for a moment, but I am okay now.” answers Alex.
“Let’s take a one hour recess. Everyone be back here at 2:00.” orders the judge.
The judge walks down from the bench after the jury is out of the courtroom and walks over to where Alex is sitting.
“Mrs. Walker are you really okay? Would you like the clerk to call your husband.?”
“NO! Please don’t call my husband, I’m okay. I just need to eat something. I was running late this morning and didn’t have a chance to eat much breakfast. I should have known better, since I was going to be in court all day.”
“I’m sorry Mrs. Walker, I should have called a lunch break earlier.” the judge says.
“It’s okay your honor. It was my fault for not eating enough this morning.”
“Well just sit right there and I will have the clerk order you something brought up from the cafeteria.” says the judge.
“That’s really not necessary your honor.”
“Mrs. Walker, I have three children so I know what lack of food does to a pregnant woman.”
“Thank you your honor and I apologize for what happened.”
In the Ram
“I should have walked down to the courtroom and checked on Alex.” says Walker.
“No you needed to calm down first after talking to Dr. Bates.” says Trivette.
“You’re right Trivette. I should of told Dr. Bates about Alex’s headaches.”
“She had a headache last night that kept her up for a while and I know she had one this morning although she didn’t say anything. I thought it was just this trial running long but now I wonder if it isn’t something more serious.”
“Walker don’t worry. You know where Alex is concerned you get overly protective.”
“I know Trivette, I know. I just can’t help it.”
Back in the courtroom
Alex was feeling better after eating the sandwich, fruit and milk the cafeteria sent up. “I need to remember to eat something every meal. The baby is really growing and my body needs the extra nutrition.” thought Alex. She just hoped Walker didn’t find out about her little dizzy spell. He was already worrying enough about her and the baby. She also knew how things spread like wildfire through the courthouse. “Oh well, I will just have to deal with my husband if that time comes.” She knew ways to charm him out of being upset with her.
“Is the prosecution and defense ready to proceed?” the judge asked.
“Yes your honor.” responds Alex.
“Yes your honor.” responds the defense attorney, Mr. Blake.
“Mr. Blake call your next witness.”
“Thank you. I call David Sullivan.”
The witness takes the stand and the defense attorney begins its’ questioning.
“Mr. Sullivan how do you know Michael Jamison?”
“He is a business associate.” answers the witness.
“Do you know where Michael Jamison was on the evening of July 10th.?”
Alex is having a hard time concentrating on the witnesses testimony. Her headache was getting more intense and she was tired. Alex had been trying to avoid taking any drugs during the pregnancy even though she had a list of things she could take. She was only taking the prenatal vitamins. But at the next break she was going to have to take two Tylenol and see if they helped with her headache. Getting rid of this headache had to be better for the baby.
“Mrs. Walker do you have any questions for this witness?”
“Uh…oh yes your honor.” says a startled Alex.
Oh my gosh worried Alex. I have missed almost all of this witnesses testimony. What is wrong with me? Rummaging through her notes, Alex thought she could muddle through this witnesses testimony, but this is not how she did her job. She was always very thorough and on top of everything. She knew she needed to get her head together. She had put too much work into this case to lose it by missing details and being sloppy.
“Mrs. Walker?” prompted the judge.
“Yes your honor, I’m sorry.”
Alex stood up and started to walk around the table when her headache intensified and she became very dizzy. She stopped but felt her knees starting to buckle. As she attempted to get back around the table to her chair, her legs completely gave out and she lost consciousness hitting her head on the table as she went down.
There was pandemonium in the courtroom as the bailiffs started ushering the jury out of the room and the judge was yelling for the clerk to call 911. “Is there a doctor or nurse here?” asked the judge.
“I’m a nurse your honor.” replied a lady in the back of the courtroom as she is making her way to where Alex is laying. There were already several people around Alex with one person hold a handkerchief over the laceration on the right side of her forehead.
“Martha, call Ranger Headquarters and have them contact Ranger Walker immediately.” the judge tells the clerk. “Also Martha call the DA and advise him what has happened. Never mind about the DA, he just walked in the door.”
DA Dan Moody runs over to where Alex is laying on the floor of the courtroom. “Is she okay? Where did all this blood come from?”
The nurse answered the DA. “She has a small cut on her forehead that doesn’t look too bad but will probably need stitches. Head wounds always bleed a lot. Her heart rate is a little fast. I have elevated her feet. She has quiet a bit of swelling in her feet. What worries me is that she hasn’t come around yet.”
As she says that the paramedics come through the door. As they start assessing Alex, the DA asked in anyone had called Ranger Walker. The clerk tells him that she called Ranger Headquarters and they were contacting him.
The paramedics start taking Alex’s blood pressure, heart rate and listening to the baby’s heart beat. “Does anyone know how far along Mrs. Walker is?”
“She is due in late February, so I think that she is about 6 months.” answers the DA.
“Do you know her obstetrician’s name?” asked the paramedics. “We want to have her doctor standing by when we arrive at the hospital.”
“I can call her secretary. I’m sure she will know.” replies the DA. “Where are you going to take her?”
“Methodist Hospital.” answers the paramedic.
DA Moody dials the number to Alex’s office. “Amy, Alex collapsed in the courtroom. What is her doctor’s name?”
“Dr. Bates at Methodist Hospital. Oh my God. Is Alex alright?”
“I don’t know Amy. The ambulance is getting ready to take her to Methodist Hospital. I’m going to follow in my car. Call my office and let them know. Also Amy, give me Ranger Walker’s cell phone number.”
“The number is 555-3482.” Amy complies.
As the paramedics are getting ready to take Alex out to the ambulance they ask if anyone knows if Alex had been ill or had any complaints before this incident.
“She has had some headaches recently. She never said anything but I could tell during several meetings we had.” says the DA.
The judge adds, “About 1:00 she felt lightheaded so we broke for lunch. She said that she had not eaten much this morning and thought that was the cause. She ate a sandwich and some fruit and seemed to be feeling better.”
“Base we are transporting a 34 y.o. unconscious female, approximately 25 weeks pregnant. Good pulse, BP is 180/90. Increased edema on the legs and feet. Complaining earlier of headache and dizziness. We have a good fetal heartbeat. Her OB is Dr. Bates.”
“Start a glucose IV and keep me posted on her BP and the fetal heartbeat.” orders a doctor over the radio.
Outside the courthouse/In the Ram
DA Moody starts dialing Walker’s cell phone.
“Walker!!” answers Walker when his phone rings, anxious to know what in the world is going on after receiving a message from Headquarters that something was wrong with Alex. He had not been able to reach anyone that could give him any information and he was frantic.
“Walker this is Dan Moody.”
“Dan what happened? How is Alex? Where is she?
“Walker take it easy. The ambulance is taking her to Methodist Hospital. They have called her doctor to meet them there as soon as Alex arrives.”
“What happened?” asked Walker again.
“From what I can piece together, she was feeling lightheaded earlier so the judge recessed for lunch and had the cafeteria send up a sandwich and some fruit for Alex. She ate and seemed to feel better. However, shortly after the trial resumed, she stood up to question a witness and passed out. She hit her head on the corner of the table. The cut on her head seems minor but it did bleed quiet a bit. Her blood pressure as high but the paramedics said the baby’s heartbeat was good. However, she was still unconscious when they were taking her out to the ambulance.”
There is dead silence on Walker’s end of the phone.
“Walker? Walker? Trivette is calling as the Ram starts to swerve on the road. “Pull over and let me drive. If you want to get to Alex you have to let me drive. You’ll never make it.”
“Walker?” says DA Moody.
Trivette takes the phone from Walker. “DA Moody this is Trivette. Walker is not doing too good at the moment. Do you know where Alex is?
“The ambulance is on the way to Methodist. I am following in my car. We are about 5 minutes away.”
“We are almost there. See you there. I know Walker appreciates you calling.”
In the ambulance
Alex starts coming around a few minutes before the ambulance arrives at the hospital. She is disoriented. Her head is hurting but different than a headache. She has an oxygen mask on and can feel she is strapped down. Realizing she is in the back of an ambulance, she starts to panic. “My baby.” she cries. “Is my baby okay?”
“Mrs. Walker, you need to calm down, breath slowly. Your baby is fine.” replies the paramedic.
About that time Alex felt the baby kick and she calmed down some. “What happened?” she asks.
“You passed out in the courtroom. You hit your head on the corner of the table. The baby’s heartbeat is good. Do you feel dizzy now, do you have a headache?”
“I don’t think I feel dizzy. I do have a slight headache and my head also hurts on the right side but not like a headache.”
“That is from the laceration on you forehead. It will be sore for a while.”
“My husband!! Someone needs to call my husband.” cries Alex.
“He has been contacted and I believe he is in route to the hospital. Dr. Bates has also been contacted.”
Alex relaxed and tried to remember what happened. She knows Walker is really going to be upset and realizing now that she had let some symptoms go, she deserved whatever she got from him. She had put herself and their baby at risk. Would he ever be able to forgive her? She started to cry as the ambulance got closer to the hospital. “I love you Walker. Please forgive me. God, please let our baby be okay. Please don’t let anything happen to the baby because of my stupidity. We want this baby so much.” Alex starts sobbing.
At Methodist Hospital
Walker jumps out of the truck even before Trivette is able to stop it in front of the emergency entrance. Running up to the desk and skidding to a stop the clerk looks up at him as he asked, “Alex Walker, can you tell me where she is?”
The clerk starts looking at her computer. “An ambulance is bringing her from the courthouse. She is 6 months pregnant.” says Walker frustrated that it is taking so long to get an answer.
“Oh, the ambulance is on its way, it should be arriving shortly.” the clerk says realizing this is Ranger Cordell Walker.
“Is Dr. Bates here yet?”
“Walker?” he looks up to see Dr. Bates walking toward him.
“Dr. Bates is she going to be okay? I should have checked on her before leaving my office. She had a headache last night and this morning that I forgot to tell you about when I talked to you.”
“Walker I really won’t know what is going on until Alex gets here and I can assess her. I want to get her hooked up to some monitors to check the baby. There are several things it could be but I just don’t know yet. When she gets here we will take her back, but it may be a while before I can come out and tell you anything.” explains Dr. Bates.
“Just tell her I am here and I will see her soon.”
“I will tell her Walker, but you know she will already know you’re here.” Her response got the smile she was hoping for. “Try not to worry Walker. Alex is strong, healthy and has had a normal pregnancy. You know I will take good care of her. Here is the ambulance now. I’ll be out as soon as I can.”
“Thank you Dr. Bates.”
As Alex is wheeled into the ER exam room she is still sobbing. “Where is Walker? I want him with me."
There is a flurry of activity as the ER personnel and the paramedics move her over to a hospital bed from the ambulance gurney. She can feel her clothes being cut away. Someone removes the bandage covering the cut on her forehead. She can feel belts being tightened around her stomach. At that moment she hears the familiar sound of the baby’s heartbeat, which calms her some. She can hear Dr. Bates giving orders as she continues to focus on her baby’s heartbeat. People are still running around, she can feel a stick in her arm, assuming they are drawing blood. She winces as someone else starts pushing and pulling at the cut on her head.
“Sorry Mrs. Walker, I need to check this laceration to determine if you need stitches.”
“It’s okay.” is all Alex can manage to say.
“Alex? Can you tell me what happened?” asked Dr. Bates as she stands next to the hospital bed.
“Oh Dr. Bates.” Alex starts to cry again. “Is the baby okay. Did I hurt the baby in anyway?” she asked crying harder now.
“Alex the baby’s heartbeat is good and strong. So far everything looks okay. I am going to do an ultrasound in a few minutes and we will know more then. Tell me what happened or what you remember.”
As Alex started explaining what she could remember, she started sobbing again. “Oh Dr. Bates, I let my job become more important than my baby. Walker is going to be so angry with me. He will never forgive me if anything happens to this baby. I don’t think I will ever forgive myself.”
“Alex I saw him right before you were brought in. You know that he loves you. I wish all my patients had the same level of love the two of you share. He is very worried about you. But you can’t worry about the unknown right now. I don’t think you intentionally let your job become more important than your baby. I know your personality and your reputation. You just don’t know when to slow down and relax. You have a hard time doing that when you are not pregnant much less when you are.
Alex started sobbing again. “I need to see Walker. I need to talk to him.”
“It will be a little while Alex, but I will go out and talk to him.”
“NO!! I need to talk to him. I need to see him.” Alex starts sobbing louder and her body starts shaking. “Please, I need him. I need him here. Please? Please? Please?”
Dr. Bates looked up at the monitors and sees Alex’s blood pressure rising as well as the fetal heartbeat. “Alex you have to calm down. I will go get Walker, but you have to promise me that you will calm down and rest.
In the waiting room
Walker is about to wear a hole in the floor of the waiting room pacing back and forth, running his hands through his hair. “What is taking so long? I know Alex needs me.”
“Walker man, you have got to settle down or they are going to have you back there with a heart attack.”
“Trivette, Alex needs me. I can feel it. She is calling me and all I’m doing is standing here.”
“Walker you know I don’t ever question the connection you two have with each other. How one knows when the other needs them. Dr. Bates will be out soon and let you know what’s going on. Come sit down and relax for a minute. You are not going to do Alex any good if you don’t settle down.”
“I know Trivette, but if anything happens to Alex I just couldn’t….and if anything happens to the baby, I don’t know if Alex could get over it, I don’t know if I could.”
As Dr. Bates walks towards Walker she sees his face and doesn’t know if letting him go back is such a good idea after all. But she does know that if anyone can calm Alex down he can. The most important thing right now is to get her blood pressure down and for her to rest.
Seeing Dr. Bates, Walker jumps up, “Dr. Bates how is she?”
“Walker we are trying to get her stable right now. The baby’s vitals look good. I am going to do an ultrasound shortly which should tell me more. Alex has a cut on her forehead where she hit the table. A plastic surgeon is going to come in and put in about 5-7 stitches. She may have a mild concussion but that is okay. Her biggest problem at the moment is her blood pressure. We need to get that under control. She is extremely upset and panicky. She thinks you are mad at her and she thinks you won’t forgive her for what has happened.”
“I love her more than life itself Dr. Bates. While I am not happy with some of her actions and the way she handled some things, all I care about right now is that she is okay and the baby is okay.”
“I am going to take you back to her. We usually don’t allow that at this point, but my concern right now is that her blood pressure come down and that she starts to relax and rest. If anyone can get her to calm down I know it is you. Try to get her to stay quiet and just reassure her that you love her and you are there for her.”
“Oh I can do that Dr. Bates without any problem.”
“I know you can and that is why I am letting you go back there now. Walker you do need to know that if her blood pressure gets too high and we can’t stabilize it I will be forced to deliver the baby and the chances of survival for a 26 weeker is low. I don’t want to scare you, but I do need you to be aware of what we are facing. Delivering the baby takes the pressure off of the mother and lets the blood pressure stabilize. I really want to get Alex to 30 weeks or more where the odds of the baby surviving increase.”
Walker takes several slow deep breathes and tells Dr. Bates he is ready to go back. He turns to Trivette. “Can you find the DA, he is here somewhere and let him know what is going on. I think he has to let the court know what is happening. Call C.D. and Alex’s dad and anyone else you think needs to know.”
“I will Walker. You just go back there and take care of our girl. Tell her I love her and I will see her the first chance I get.”
“Thanks for being here for us.”
“You are family, where else would I be?”
Back in the ER exam room
As Walker enters the ER exam room behind Dr. Bates he stops as he sees Alex. She is crying and shaking, both her arms have I.V’s, she has blood in her hair, and her stomach is exposed with what looks like belts strapped across it. There are all kinds of noises from the machinery in there. He as to take several deep breaths and his legs feel like bricks. Dr. Bates turns around and can see the panic on his face.
“Walker. Alex needs you to be strong. I know everything looks overwhelming, but I will explain what everything is.”
“I can hear Alex’s hearbeat.”
“No Walker, that is your baby’s heartbeat. I know it sounds a little different than the Doppler I use in the office.”
The sound of the baby’s heartbeat resounding in the room calms Walker tremendously, more than he could imagine. As he walks over to Alex’s side her cries rip at his heart. He just wants to take her in this arms and hold her. His focus and determination is to get her calm. “Alex” Sweetheart? You have to calm down.”
“Walker? Oh Walker….I’m so sorry. How can you…….”
“None of that is important now baby. All that matters is that you stop crying and relax. I am here now.” Taking her hand and rubbing the back with his fingers he can feel her body starting to relax.
“But Wal….“ Alex starts saying but Walker puts his finger over her lips. He then removes his finger and leans down placing a gentle kiss where his finger was.
“Shhh, just close your eyes and relax. I’m staying right here. Do you hear the baby’s heartbeat? I love that sound.”
Alex nods and smiles.
Dr. Bates watches the exchange and knows she made the right decision bringing Walker back. Alex’s blood pressure is coming down and the baby’s heart rate has leveled out. She gives them a few more minutes then walks over to the side of the bed. “Alex, Walker? The plastic surgeon is going to come in and stitch your head. Then I am going to have the nurse clean up the cut and try to get the blood out of your hair. Then if your blood pressure stays down and the baby’s heart rate stays level, I am going to do the ultrasound.
When the surgeon is finished stitching, Alex is still calm. “You’re doing good sweetheart. Close your eyes and rest. Dr. Bates should be coming in to do the ultrasound. Just think good thoughts. Everything is going to be fine. Jimmy said to tell you he loves you and will see you soon.”
Alex nods her head. “Why do I have to have this oxygen mask on?”
“Dr. Bates just wants the baby to have some extra oxygen until she determines why you fainted.”
At that moment Dr. Bates walks into the room. “Okay let’s take a peek at this baby. You didn’t want to know the baby’s gender at the last ultrasound. Do you want to know now?”
Walker looks at Alex as she looks back at him. “Well sweetheart, that’s up to you.” Walker says.
Alex tries to decide if knowing what the baby is would be harder or easier on her if something were to happen and the baby died. At this thought Alex starts to cry again. As if knowing what she is thinking Walker says, “Sweetheart the baby is going to be fine. I know it. It’s the “Cherokee thing” as Trivette would say.”
Alex stops crying and smiles knowing that Walker’s “Cherokee thing” is always right. “Yes I want to know.” Walker leans down and kisses her. “Thank you.” he says. “I wanted to know too but I wanted it to be your choice.”
Dr. Bates squirts the conduction jelly on Alex’s stomach and the baby kicks. As she runs the wand across Alex’s stomach, the baby’s imagine comes up on the screen. Walker and Alex watch in awe and both have tears in their eyes. “Wow the baby has grown so much since the last ultrasound several months ago. Everything is more defined.” says Walker.
“Look right here Alex and Walker. You should be able to tell for yourselves what this baby is.”
“I think I know, how about you Walker?” Alex says with a big smile on her face.
“Me too. Is it a girl?” asked Walker.
“That’s what I think too.” says Alex.
“Yes, you are right. Congratulations you are having a girl.”
Alex and Walker both have tears in their eyes. Is she okay Dr. Bates? Does everything look good?” ask Walker.
“She looks great. No areas of bleeding. The heartbeat looks good. The measurements are good. The machine is estimating 26 weeks, which is what I have estimated.”
“Let me get your stomach cleaned up her and let me go check on your blood work. I will come in as soon as I have all that information and talk to you about what I think is going on and where we go from here. Okay? Now don’t worry Alex, I think everything is going to be fine, but we need to discuss some things.”
After Dr. Bates leaves the nurse comes in and helps Alex get more comfortable. She removes one of the IV’s , the oxygen mask and cleans the blood out of her hair. When the nurse leaves, Walker leans over and kisses Alex. “I love you darling. Everything is going to be alright. You gave me quiet a scare today.”
“Walker I am so sorry. I made some really bad decisions. I should have…..”
“Stop Alex. Not now sweetheart. We can talk about it later but right now I just want you to relax and rest.”
Dr. Bates returns to the room. “Alex how are you feeling?”
“I feel pretty good. My head is sore and I am a little tired, but I feel okay otherwise. Do you know what happened and why I passed out?”
“Yes Alex. You have a condition called preeclampsia, also known as toxemia. It is a very serious condition but it can be controlled. You have what I consider a mild case at the moment but we are not going to take any chances of it getting worse. The high blood pressure, light headedness/dizziness and the swelling in your feet are all indicators. I will level with you Alex, I have already told Walker this. If your blood pressure gets too high and I can’t stabilize it, I will be forced to delivery the baby. The chances of survival for a 26 weeker is pretty low. Each additional week you can get to increases the baby’s chances. I would like to get you to 30 weeks or better. I am going to admit you for approximately 2 days so that I can monitor you and the baby constantly. I will be checking your blood pressure, the baby’s heart rate and checking for any signs of contractions. “
Walker can feel Alex’s body starting to tense up. He knows she has to be told what is going on and how serious this is, but he wishes he could take all her fears away.
Dr. Bates continues. “Once you are released you will be on total bed rest for two weeks. After the two weeks I will determine where we go from there. You will probably deliver by c-section at a scheduled time depending on your blood pressure. But we will talk about all of that later. Right now I want you to get settled in a room and I want you to rest. I want you to sleep as much as you can. If you have any headaches, dizziness, nausea, cramping or bleeding, I want you to notify the nurse immediately. Do you understand?”
“She understand Dr. Bates. I will make sure.”
“Yes, I understand.” Alex says as she cuts her eyes at Walker and smiles.
“That smile will NOT work this time Alex. “ laughs Walker. Alex and Dr. Bates laugh both knowing how Alex can charm Walker with her smile.
“Stay strong with that resolve Walker. We both know how stubborn and strong willed Alex can be.”
“Not this time Dr. Bates. I think we both learned a very hard lesson today. We will follow all your instructions and Alex will be at EVERY appointment. Right sweetheart?”
Both Dr. Bates and Walker look at Alex. There are tears in her eyes. “Yes you are right darling. I promise I won’t take any more chances with this precious angel’s life.” Alex says as she rubs her hand over her stomach.
“Good.” says Dr. Bates close to tears herself. I will check on you this evening before I leave the hospital. You get some rest too Walker.” Dr. Bates walks out the door.
Later in Alex’s room
Once Alex was settled in her room, Walker left to go out to the ranch to pack a bag for the two day stay. Trivette and C.D. had come to stay with Alex while he was gone.
“Alex don’t you ever scare us like that again. I don’t know if I could take it or Walker for that matter. I think you are going to have to pay for the hole Walker paced in the floor of the waiting room.” Trivette laughed.
“Jimmy’s right darlin. I don’t think this old ticker can take another scare like that.” said C.D.
“I’m sorry you guys. I think I scared a lot of people including myself. I regret my bad decisions and I can promise I will be following orders from now on. No more putting me or this little one at risk.” Alex says as she places her hand on her stomach.
“Alex what is that drumming sound?”
“It’s the baby’s heartbeat Jimmy. Pretty neat isn’t it?”
“Oh man Alex. Are you serious? That is the baby’s heartbeat? How is that done, if it’s okay to ask?”
“It’s fine Jimmy. There is a belt sort of thing across my stomach with a monitor on it that picks up the sound and sends it to that machine over there.” Alex points to the machines beside the bed.
“That is just so cool. I bet Walker gets a kick out of that.”
“Yes he does. He loves to just sit here and listen to her heartbeat.”
Her? Did you say her? Ya’ll
found out it’s a girl? Oh man a little girl?”
asked Trivette anxiously.
“I just ruined our surprise. Yes we found out this afternoon we are having a girl. We wanted to surprise you. After this scare, I decided I wanted to know now. Walker was happy I wanted to know. “
“Well little lady what does Walker think?” asked C.D.
“He is thrilled. He is so excited that it is a girl. I thought he would want a boy, but he said he wanted Daddy’s little girl.” beams Alex. “When Walker gets back from the ranch ask him about it. Just watch his face.” Alex starts to cry.
“What’s wrong darlin. The doctor said the baby is okay didn’t she?”
“She did C.D. It’s just that I can’t believe how stupid I was to put her life at risk. I let my job become more important than my baby.”
“Alex we all know that you didn’t intentionally do that. You and Walker are both so passionate about you jobs that neither of you take the time to relax and rest even when you have time off.” C.D. replied.
Walker walks into Alex’s room and sees her crying. He drops the bag he had brought back from the ranch on the chair and walks quickly over to her side. What’s wrong sweetheart?” He looks up to check her blood pressure on the monitor. “Honey you know you have to stay calm.”
“I know darling. I just started thinking about what happened today and…I guess I am just tired and my hormones are working overtime, but I am fine. I think I spoiled our surprise though.”
“Yeah congrats Walker man. A little girl. I can’t wait to see two women that have you wrapped around their fingers.” Trivette says as he looks and winks at Alex.
“A little granddaughter.” adds C.D. “You sure are making this old man proud.”
“Thanks guys. I am very excited about having a little girl.” Walker says beaming. “And for your information Trivette, Alex does not have me wrapped around her finger.”
“Yeah right partner.” Trivette says and everyone starts laughing.
“Okay, now everyone out. Alex needs to rest.”
“Alright, alright we can take a hint. We will see you tomorrow darlin and I will bring you something good to eat Cordell.”
“Thanks C.D. I will talk to you both tomorrow.”
* * * * * * *
The two days actually passed quickly without any problems with Alex or the baby. Walker and Alex played lots of chess, talked about baby names and talked some about what happened and why. They agreed not to worry about what happened and Walker assured Alex he forgave her for not telling him about the high blood pressure, the cancelled appointment and the headaches. He agreed to lighten up and try not to worry so much about her. (Of course she knew this would never happen.)
Dr. Bates finally came in to release Alex and give them instructions. “Okay Alex, are you ready to go home?”
“Well after you hear my instructions you may not be so happy with me.”
“Maybe I don’t want to hear this.”
“ALEX!! Go ahead Dr. Bates. She will follow every instruction to the letter.”
“Well Walker, I don’t know if you will be too thrilled with me either.” Dr. Bates could see the puzzled look on Walker’s face.
“Okay the instructions are as follows. You will also get a written list of these instructions.
#1. Total bed rest. You can move from the bed to the couch, the couch to the bed and from both of those to the bathroom and back. If I remember correctly, you have a two story house, so no stairs as well.
#2 I’m sure I don’t have to say this but I will. No work, just rest and relaxation. Read, watch TV, sleep, etc.
#3 Try to eat as little salt as possible. Lots of fruit and vegetables. I know this will probably be the easiest instruction for you to follow since I know how well you eat.
#4 Keep all your appointments with me. No vehicle rides except for coming to my office and going back home.
#5 No sex of any kind for you Alex. I don’t want any stress or stimulation of your uterus, cervix or pelvis.”
“All of these instructions are carved in stone for the first two weeks. After the two weeks I will reevaluate you and see where we are. At the end of these two weeks I will also decide about delivery and when. I will probably schedule your delivery whether we do a c-section or not just so I can control the whole delivery. I don’t want you to go into labor without me being able to monitor your blood pressure. You probably won’t go the whole 40 weeks. I have no doubt you will follow these instructions. You both went through a very scary experience, but we can get through this and have a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Any questions?”
Walker and Alex look at each other. “No Dr. Bates. We can follow all your instructions without a problem. Whatever it takes for Alex and our daughter to be healthy I am willing to do it.”
“Me too.” adds Alex.
“Good. Some people have problems with the last instruction. Dr. Bates smiles. “I say it’s good practice for the 6 weeks of celibacy following the delivery.”
Alex can see the red blush rising on Walker’s neck. He always did that when intimate details of their life were discussed. Walker stayed red for more than a week when they found out they were pregnant and that it happened on their honeymoon. Trivette teased him continually about taking 7 years to marry her but only 7 days to get her pregnant. Alex smiled just thinking about that week. She loved that Walker wanted their relationship to be private. She knows their relationship was special to him and he didn’t want to share her with anyone in any way.
“Well if you don’t have any questions, you’re ready to go. Walker if you will stop at the nurse’s station, sign the release papers and then pull your vehicle around, I will have the nurse bring Alex out in a wheelchair. If you have any headaches, dizziness, nausea, cramping or bleeding I want you back here immediately. Call my office from your cell phone on your way in. I want to see you in my office on Thursday at 9:30.”
“Thank you Dr. Bates. We appreciate everything you have done.” says Alex.
“You take care and I will see you next week.”
In Alex’s car
“I decided to bring your car instead of the Ram because I thought it would be easier for you to get in and out of.” says Walker
“Thanks for being so thoughtful sweetheart.” says Alex
They drove for a few minutes with Walker thinking how beautiful Alex was and how lucky he was to have her in his life. He also started thinking about the baby girl they would soon have. What a gift Alex was giving him. He hoped she had blond hair and beautiful blues eyes like Alex. He couldn’t believe that his life was finally including a family. He never thought he would be lucky enough to have a wife and kids. He thought that had all died with Ellen, but then Alex walked into his life and captured his heart. He had come to realize what he had with Alex he never would have had with Ellen. He now knew there was such a thing as a soul mate and truly knew what that meant.
“Are you okay Walker?” Alex asked after looking at Walker and seeing him staring out the window as if in a daze.
“Uh…yes sweetheart. I’m sorry. Are you okay? Is something wrong?”
“No, I’m fine. Walker you just seemed like you were in a daze. I just wanted to know if you were okay.”
“I’m great Alex. I was just thinking how lucky I was to have you in my life and how much I am looking for to holding my baby girl in my arms. I hope she has your blond hair and your blue eyes.”
“Oh Walker, don’t make me cry. I feel like I am the lucky one. I have a wonderful husband who cares so much about me and he has given me the greatest gift of all, our child. OH!! Well your daughter must have liked that statement because she just gave me a good kick.”
Walker reaches over and places his hand on Alex’s stomach. As if on cue, the baby gives another good kick right into Walker’s palm. This brought tears to his eyes and he was very confident at that moment that both Alex and their daughter would be just fine.
At the ranch
After arriving at the ranch, Walker picked Alex up out of the car and carried her into the house and to the couch.
“I will start bringing everything we need down from our bedroom and set us up in the guestroom down here. Is there anything you need right now? Do you want some tea or something to eat?”
“Maybe a glass of tea. I will probably need to eat something in a little while. If you could bring me my book from the bedroom, I think I will be fine for now. “
“Okay. Remember do not get up. I will be right here in the house if you need anything just call me. “
“I know darling. I promise not to get up. This might be fun letting you pamper me for a while.”
“I love pampering you Alex if you would just let me and stop being so independent.”
“Yes sir. I understand and I will do better from now on.”
“Wow now that was too easy. It is almost scary.”
“Well darling I had a heck of a wake up call. It kind of helped put things into prospective.”
“That it did Alex, that it did.”
* * * * *
The two weeks went by uneventful. Slow and not real fun, but uneventful. Walker had taken off the first week. The second week Josie and C.D. had stayed with Alex during the day. Both had been like drill sergeants. Alex was sure that Walker had something to do with that. It was just a little embarrassing having C.D. stand outside the bathroom door every time she went to the bathroom, but Walker had insisted that someone help her to and from the bathroom.
After her appointment with Dr. Bates at the end of two weeks Alex was able to be on modified bed rest. She was able to walk to the kitchen to get whatever she needed and walk to and from the bathroom by herself. She was also able to go out and sit in the porch swing during the day. Walker forbid her from going upstairs or from standing in the kitchen to cook dinner. He had made sure she had easy things to fix for her lunch during the day. C.D. had brought out a lot of things to eat that Walker could fix when he got home at night.
That first week after the two weeks were up proved to be very hard on Walker. Alex had insisted that Josie and C.D. did not need to be at the house all day. Since Dr. Bates had modified the bed rest she didn’t need someone there getting everything she needed. She had promised Walker that she would spend a majority of the day in bed or on the couch and would only get up to go to the bathroom or to the kitchen. He had called almost every hour that first week so she never did get much sleep during the day. C.D. did come out once a day to check on her. She was never completely sure if that was C.D.’s idea or Walker’s.
They made love on several occasions which both enjoyed but Walker was so nervous it was almost comical. Alex had to laugh thinking about it. She had made sure she took care of Walker’s “needs” in that department but he felt bad that he couldn’t reciprocate every time. She assured him that he would be making up for lost time 6 weeks after the baby arrived.
Dr. Bates decided to deliver the baby by c-section the last week of January. That would be 4 weeks early. She assured them that the baby would be fine and things should go smoothly. She didn’t want to take the chance of Alex having blood pressure problems during a normal labor.
The last week of January--Methodist Hospital
Alex had been in her room about 30 minutes after her c-section delivery and her recovery room stay. The nurses had just brought the baby in.
“Oh look at her Walker. She seems so tiny weighing 5 lbs 8 oz. She has strawberry blond hair and if she would open her eyes I could check to see if they are blue. Maybe you will get both of your wishes. Blond hair and blue eyes.”
Walker watched with tear filled eyes as Alex cradled their newborn daughter in her arms. Alex had spent the last few minutes checking out every inch of the baby to make sure she was completely okay, although Dr. Bates had assured them that she was perfect. Her entrance into the world 4 weeks early had not affected her at all. She definitely had a good set of lungs. She had started crying before Dr. Bates could get her completely out of Alex’s womb. The pediatrician had checked her and found her to be completely healthy.
Walker reached over and rubs his finger across the baby’s cheek. She instantly turned her head and started trying to find his finger.
“Whoa little one. Alex I think she is looking for something I can’t give her.” Walker said.
With that Alex brought the baby to her breast and she immediately started nursing. “Walker look at that. Oh my gosh. She already knew exactly what to do. Isn’t it amazing? She is less than 2 hours old and she already knows to look for her food and knows what to do.”
“Yes Alex it is amazing and so are you. Have I told you how much I love you and had much I appreciate this beautiful gift you have given me?”
“Yes darling. You have told me many times in the last few hours, but I will never get tired of hearing it. I love you too and I also thank you for this beautiful gift. Maybe I will be thanking you for a few more tiny beautiful gifts in the future!”
“Maybe so Alex, but let’s just be glad we made it through this one as good as we did before thinking about anymore little Walkers.” Walker laughs.
“Well sweetheart what are we going to name this newest little Walker? Alex asks. “We never did settle on a name.”
“I have been thinking about that Alex. We both believe she is a wonderful miracle from God and you have been calling her our little angel. So how about the name Angela?”
“I love it. It is like we will continue to call her our angel. How about Angela Elizabeth? After your mother?” Alex hands the baby to Walker and sees the tears in his eyes. “Angela Elizabeth Walker “
Walker takes his daughter in his arms and sees a beautiful set of blue eyes looking back up at him from inside the pink blanket. He turns his head and looks down into another set of beautiful blue eyes and thanks God for giving him two of the most precious gifts a man could ever receive.