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I'm Not Letting Go

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I walk the corridors in a daze, somehow making my way to where the others are waiting.

“Mark?” Erin says, but it's distant to me.

When I don't reply, she gets up & crosses to me. She places her hands on my arms & the world around me snaps into sync again.

"Mark?” She asks again, her concern written on her face.

I wrap my arms around her, burying my face into her left shoulder as I cry. She holds me tight.


Lauren & I sit down either side of Mark, having decided we should find out what's going on without overwhelming him with too many of us. He's leaning forward, elbows resting on his thighs & he's struggling not to cry. I put my hand on his back & rub in small circles.

“She gave birth to one,” he says. “A boy.” The slightest smile appears. “But then she was tired… So tired… And I had to talk her into finding the strength to keep going.” He sighs heavily, rubbing his hands over his face. “I should have seen the warning signs.”

“It's not your fault, Mark,” I reply, still rubbing his back.

“An hour ago it was just our son & daughter who would be fighting for their lives,” he says. “And now Paige could die too!”

He breaks down & I pull him against me, holding him tight as I fight my own tears.

“I wanted to stay,” he says. “But they pushed me out. Something drew me back here.”

“You probably just wanted to be around us,” Lauren says.

We sit there in silence for a moment. Lauren looks at the others. She points to them & I nod- they should know. Lauren stands & I watch her cross to them.

“I can't lose any of them,” he whispers to me.

“I know,” I whisper back. “Paige is a fighter. And so are your son & daughter.”

He sits up & I lower my arms. He nods.

“I hope so.”

“Why don't you focus on the fact that you have a son & a daughter?” I ask. “I think it's pretty cute that you have one of each. And you were right! You have a daughter to spoil!”

I give his arm a light punch & he smiles a little.

“I think I now know why I came back out here,” he says, looking at me. “A part of me knew you’d find a way to give me hope.”

I smile. “You already had it,” I reply. “I just helped point you in the right direction.”

He smiles as he pulls me in for a hug, pressing a kiss to my temple.


It's an anxious wait, but finally Karl walks into the waiting area. I rise to my feet as he crosses to us, everyone else following suit.

“Hi Mark,” Karl says. “Everyone.”

“Tell me you have an update,” I reply.

He nods. “Both babies have been taken into the NICU,” he says. “They're stable for now, but as expected, they're looking at at least a month’s stay.”

“See, good news,” Erin says, rubbing my shoulder.

I nod. “And…” I choke. I swallow hard. I try to get the question out, I need to know the answer. But it sticks in my throat. The only thing I manage to get out is a whispered “Paige?”

“It's suspected she suffered a cardiac arrest,” Karl says & my chest tightens, fearing the worst. “But Dr Brooke & the Nurses were able to get her heart beating again.”

There's an audible sigh from our group, but none as much as me. Erin rubs my shoulder again & I smile as tears fill my eyes.

“I suggest you all go home & get some rest,” Karl says. “Except you, Mark. Paige is in the birth suite. She's unconscious at the moment, but I’m sure you’ll want to be there when she wakes up.”

I nod. “Would it be alright if Erin stays for a while? I don't think I can be alone right now.”

Karl nods. “Of course,” he replies.

We say goodbye to the others & then follow Karl through to the birthing suites. Erin links arms with me as we walk.

Karl takes us to one of the suite’s door & then leaves us. Erin quietly waits next to me, letting me make the call when we go in. I suck in a deep breath, preparing myself for what I’m about to see.

I open the door, Erin staying back to let me enter first. I stop in the doorway, hit hard by the sight of my beautiful wife lying in bed. She's unconscious, like Karl said, but thankfully she appears to be breathing on her own.

I fight back tears as I cross to her. I lean down & kiss her forehead. Erin pushes the visitor chair closer & I smile in thanks as I sit down. I take hold of Paige's hand as Erin gets a chair for herself & brings it over next to mine.

“She's going to wake up soon,” Erin says.

I nod. “I hope so.”


I force my eyes open, feeling that they're heavy. The room is blurry at first, but focuses & I see I’m in a birthing suite. I sigh as I turn my head to my right, my eyes instantly falling on my gorgeous husband & I smile as I watch him sleep in a very comfy looking chair. He looks so cute- his hands resting on his chest, head turned towards his left shoulder. I wish that I was curled up next to him in bed.

“Mark,” I say, finding my voice croaky. “Mark.”

He stirs, eyes slowly opening a few seconds later. I smile as they lock with mine.

“Hey sleepy,” I croakily say.

“That was my line,” he replies, leaning forward.

He presses a long kiss to my lips, & I moan into his mouth.

“You gave me one hell of a scare,” he says.


He smiles. “I'm just glad you're okay.”

I look around, realising our babies aren't here. I frown as I push myself up.

“Hey, hey, don't,” he says, placing a hand on my shoulder to stop me.

“Where are they?” I ask.

“Both are okay,” he says, giving me a reassuring smile. “Karl said they're in the NICU.”

My frown deepens. "You haven't seen them yet?”

He shakes his head as he sits down on the edge of my bed. “I’ve been here ever since Karl came & got me,” he replies, his right hand coming to rest on my left hip. “It didn't feel right seeing them without you.”

I fight back tears, but it's hopeless. He leans forward, pulling me the rest of the way & wraps his arms tight. I hold tight onto the back of his police uniform as I cry against his chest.


Dr Brooke gives me the okay to leave my bed. It's already after normal visiting hours, but this part of the hospital are more relaxed with their visiting hours, so Mark has stayed. Dr Brooke brought me a wheelchair. Initially I refused, trying to walk out of my room on my own… But the pain in my chest & between my legs is too much by the time I cross to the door, & I grip the doorframe. Mark wraps his arms around me for support as I cry.

Mark wheels me down the corridor to the NICU. Dr Brooke went ahead of us to ensure that our babies would be close enough to the window so we could see them.

“There they are,” Mark says, pointing to two side-by-side cribs near the other end of the window.

I push myself up, tentatively rising to my feet. I wobble & Mark’s hands suddenly rest on my hips. I summon my strength & take a step forward, eyes focused on our son & daughter. I hold onto the window sill with my left hand, Mark’s hands never leaving my hips as we slowly walk the width of the window.

Seeing them is heartbreaking. Both are in closed off cribs, hooked up to machines monitoring their vitals while one helps them breathe. Both wear no clothes, just a nappy & a little beanie- one pink, the other blue. I place my right hand on the window, fighting back tears.

Mark wraps his arms around me, stepping closer so his chest is pressed against my back. I relax against him, letting him support me up, & turn my head to look at him over my right shoulder, only to be met by his lips as he presses a kiss to my cheek.


We stand there in silence for ages, watching our little ones. Our family is broken & I can't do anything to fix it. I just have to hope that both make it through the next six weeks.

“They're so tiny,” She says.

“I know, babe,” I reply. “But they're fighters like we are.”

She fights back tears. “I just want to hold them.”

“Me too,” I reply. “But Dr Brooke recommends that we wait until at least tomorrow.”


“Give their immune systems a chance,” I reply. “Or something like that.”

She fights her tears, taking in deep breaths. “I don't want to wait.”

“I know, babe, I want to hold them so bad too,” I reply, giving her cheek a kiss. “But you need to get better too.”

“Can't we just go in? We’ve come all this way…”

“We can't, Paige.”

“This is so mean!”

“I know.”

“How are you so calm about this?” She asks. “Why aren't you angry, fighting to get in there & see them?”

“Just think about it this way,” I reply. “When we do finally get to hug them, it's going to be worth it.”

She shakes her head. “I can't wait.”

She steps towards our right, for the door, but I stop her with my arm. She tries to push past, tears streaming down her face.

“Shhh,” I whisper, resting my head against her.

I feel her start to fall, so I wrap my left arm behind her back. I slip my right arm behind her knees, lifting her up into my arms. She rests her head on my left shoulder, & I press my lips against her forehead in a kiss. I walk down the corridor back to her room with her in my arms. She snuggles her face into my neck.


He helps me back into bed. He presses his lips to mine.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” he says.

He stands up & turns to leave. I grab his hand & he turns back to me.

“Stay,” I plead. “At least until I fall asleep.”

He smiles & then nods. I turn onto my right side & he lies down behind me. He shifts closer, leaving no space between us. His arm bands around my waist as he kisses my shoulder.

His warmth is comforting, & for a while I forget the toll this afternoon took on us. I fall asleep quickly.