Eliza had been pregnant enough times that she could tell when something was wrong, and something was most certainly wrong. Considering her age and the fact that the doctors had told her after Lizzie that she would probably not be able to conceive again, finding out that she was pregnant at all had been a shock. But now...Eliza placed a hand on her belly. Something was wrong.
"Alex?" Eliza went to go and find her husband, "Alexander?"
She found his home office empty. The last she remembered was that he had been working from home, but then she'd started reading and the rest of the world has dropped away, only becoming real again when that sense of wrongness had overtaken her. Eliza moved to the kitchen and found a post-it note stuck to the fridge. She couldn't help but smile fondly at it. It had taken her some time to train Alex to not just disappear without notice, but nowadays he always left her notes.
My dear Betsey,
I have been called upon to come into the White House despite the glorious warmth of this sunny day. Undoubtedly, Jefferson has ruined something yet again. I should be back after lunch.
Eliza's smile grew. Trust Alex to be verbose on a post-it note. The smile flickered into a frown as that wrong feeling returned, punctuated by a sharp pain and a trickling feeling between her legs. As quickly as she could, Eliza made her way to the bathroom. The trickling feeling revealed itself to be a few drops of blood staining her underwear. Eliza's heart was pounding in her chest.
There was no denying it, something was very wrong. She didn't want to disturb Alex at work but she didn't know what else to do. Eliza tried to steady her breathing as she went to get her phone, she knew he wouldn't answer his cell so she called his assistant Bethany.
"Office of the Secretary Treasury," Bethany's voice said over the line, clipped and professional, "How may I help you?"
"Bethany, it's Eliza," Eliza replied, letting out a small gasp as another cramping pain filtered through her.
"Good day, Elizabeth."
Bethany had a thing about calling people by their full names all the time. Despite that, her voice became warm and friendly.
"I need to talk to Alex."
"I'm sorry Elizabeth," Bethany responded, the frown evident in her voice, "He's in an important meeting with the President and the Chief of Staff."
"Bethany, there's something wrong," Eliza pushed out, "with the baby. There's something wrong and I'm frightened."
"I can't get to him," Bethany said, "They close off the phone lines except for the one for dire emergencies when they have these meetings."
Eliza felt herself panicking and again forced her breathing to slow.
"Okay, okay," she breathed, "I'm going to go to the hospital. Please tell Alex when he gets out of the meeting."
"Of course," Bethany agreed.
"And could you please call our babysitter?" Eliza continued, "Her number should be in Alex's address book, even if he doesn't know it. Tell her to pick up William and Lizzie from daycare like usual, but do let her know that I won't be home so she'll have to make them lunch and stay with them."
"Alright Mrs. Hamilton," Bethany replied.
"Thank you," Eliza hung up, she then grabbed her purse and went to drive herself to the hospital.
It probably wasn't the safest decision she could have made, the occasional stabbing pain coming in such intensity that it was difficult for her to resist the urge to just close her eyes and breathe. Instead of dealing with finding a parking spot, Eliza pulled up to the front of the hospital and allowed the valet to take charge of her minivan.
She walked in to start making her way to the ER, she figured that was her best option but she was stopped by another sharp burst of pain.
Eliza looked to see nurse looking at her with concern, "Thank god," she muttered, "I need to go to the ER."
"What's wrong, ma'am?" the nurse asked.
"I'm just about in my third trimester," Eliza explained, "There's something wrong. It hurts, I'm bleeding, I-"
She cut herself off with a whimper. The next thing Eliza noticed was that she was being wheeled down a bright white hallway. She couldn't remember getting into a wheelchair.
"Ma'am? Ma'am, are you back with me?"
"Yes," Eliza ground out."
"Are you a patient here with us?" the nurse asked, turning another corner, which caused the red emergency room sign to come into view.
"With Dr. Harron," responded Eliza, "This is my third pregnancy under her care. My name is Eliza Hamilton."
"Okay," the nurse nodded, "I'll check, but Dr. Harron should be here today."
Eliza could barely muster a nod at this point as her pain increased.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, she was in an ER bed with some intern checking her vitals. He was biting his lip in concentration as he wrote notes on a clipboard and Eliza focused on that in order to take her mind off her fear.
She just wished that Alex would soon get the message from Bethany, Eliza did not like being here alone.
Dr. Harron arrived, pushing the curtains around the bed aside with a flick of her wrist, her eyes dark and serious.
"Eliza, you're having pain? Bleeding?"
"A lot of the first and a little of the second," relayed Eliza.
Dr. Harron snapped her fingers impatiently and the intern scurried away to retrieve a portable ultrasound unit. Eliza flinched as the cold gel touched her skin, but Dr. Harron didn't notice, swiping the ultra sound wand over and around Eliza's belly. Her brow furrowed.
"Okay, we need to get you to the OR right away."
"Can we wait for Alexander," Eliza asked, "I'm sure he'll be here soon."
Dr. Harron sighed, "I wish we could, but this is urgent."
"Alright," Eliza sighed, knowing as soon as Alex found out it was likely he would panic. "When he does come I want someone to tell him what's going on... Please?"
It was the least she could do Eliza figured, she wished she could see him but Dr. Harron made it perfectly clear that now was not the time.
"So... What is wrong with me?" Eliza asked with a hint of hesitation present in her voice.
"The bleeding is not a good sign," Dr. Harron said seriously, "It's possible that the placenta has torn away from the uterine wall or something else of that nature. The good news is that you're far enough along that if we need to do an early delivery the baby is highly likely to survive."
Eliza breathed a small sigh of relief, laying back in the bed. At least Dr. Harron wasn't overly concerned. Yes, there was worry in her eyes, but they had discussed the possibility of problems considering Eliza's age. She absently signed the consent forms and listened to the anesthesiologist's rehearsed speech. She still wished that Alex was by her side.
Soon, they were wheeling her out of he main emergency room. She was struggling to keep her eyes open, the anesthesia tugging at her.
The pain was soon forgotten as was everything else as around her.
Everything was blurry when Eliza's eyes started to flutter open. There was no pain, just a light and floating sensation. Something had happened, she felt so empty for some reason. An odd sort of emptiness. Alex's concerned face appears above her, just as blurred as everything else.
She slipped into unconsciousness once more. When Eliza awoke again, everything was clearer but still a little fuzzy around the edges. She tried to shift in the bed, but a gentle hand on her arm stopped her and Alex's face appeared again.
"Are you awake this time?"
Eliza nodded her head, the words simply not coming to her. She remembered coming here and Dr. Harron rushing her into the OR, but she had absolutely not idea what had happened after that.
"The baby..." She looked at her husband, "where is he?"
Alex, who's face had been so bright, became pinched and closed off. He took her hand between both of his. Eliza felt her heart sinking.
"Is he okay," she whispered, "I know it's early, but it's not that early. Please just tell me he's okay."
"Eliza," Alex said breathed, brining her hand to his lips and placing a tender kiss to the palm of her hand.
"Just say it, Alex," Eliza begged, squeezing her eyes shut.
"It was," Alex started, then paused and took a deep breath, "He was still born, they don't," he took another breath, "Dr. Harron said that they don't really know why."
Alex squeezed her hand, Eliza shook her head, "No..." She didn't want to believe it. She had seven beautiful children and while each pregnancy had not been exactly smooth sailing nothing like this had ever happened. Eliza didn't want to believe it, it couldn't possibly be true.
Alex reached out to brush the tears from her face, Eliza hadn't even noticed that she'd been crying till that moment.
"How could this happen?"
There was the sound of a clearing throat from the door.
"Dr. Harron," greeted Alex softly.
"Can you tell me what happened?" Eliza asked, tears still slowly falling down her cheeks.
Dr. Harron sighed and pulled over a chair, seating herself with the legs crossed at the ankle.
"You developed a condition called placenta increta," the doctor explained, "The placenta penetrated the muscle of your uterus. It didn't go all the way through, but the damage was quite severe. I'm afraid this is one of those conditions of which we simply do not know the full cause. There's a higher risk of developing this condition after a c-section, but it's so rare that it wasn't a concern we could have anticipated."
"So the baby didn't survive," sniffed Eliza.
"I'm afraid not," Dr. Harron confirmed, "I'm also sorry to tell you that the damage to your uterus was too severe. We had to perform an emergency hysterectomy."
Eliza furrowed her brow, a hysterectomy? Granted, after this she and Alex had decided they weren't going to be having anymore kids... But a hysterectomy? This was something she had never anticipated happening.
She was in shock, the pain in her heart was greater than any sort of physical pain that she felt.
"Eliza? Betsey, answer me."
He must have been calling her name for quite some time, Eliza realized, noticing the slightly frantic edge to Alex's tone.
"Sorry," she said, suddenly hit with a wave of exhaustion, "I just want to sleep."
Eliza exhaled and settled into the bed, her eyes eventually closing. Better to sleep than to think.