Disclaimer: I'm borrowing Saban's characters once again, and
once again, I'm butchering Ranger continuity with everything that happens
after "There's No Business Like Snow Business."
For my child who will never be born. CR Jan 2000
The little pink wand trembled in Kimberly Hart's shaking hands, but her eyes remained glued to the little window with its bright blue line. Her knees suddenly felt wobbly, and she slowly sank down onto the porcelain lid of the toilet seat, without truly realizing she had done so.
A host of emotions careened through her at this moment. She felt them all at once and individually, but towering high over every other feeling inside her was boundless joy.
There should have been worry... concern for what was going to happen to her... what this would mean to her future... her chance to pursue gymnastic gold. But those feelings would be for later. This was the time for wonder. A hand drifted down to her abdomen and rested lightly on the flat surface. Flat and tight... but not for much longer. In a few months, she would be round with a new life... a new life that was inside her right now.
Oh, God, I'm going to have a baby... his baby... Tommy's baby!
Her thoughts drifted back to her visit at Christmas and the special present the two had shared up in the mountains at his uncle's cabin. In front of the fire, they had made love, and in that instant as their bodies became one, Kim knew that there would never be anyone for her but Tommy. Someday, she would be his wife and the mother of his children.
She just hadn't expected someday to come so soon.
They had used protection... but nothing was 100% safe, except abstinence. Still, an accident on their first time...?
No, Kim chided herself; This baby was no accident. What Tommy and I did wasn't an accident, and this baby was created by an act of love.
There was so much to think about, so much to do. But she didn't have to face those decisions alone. Tommy would be with her every step of the way. She couldn't wait to tell him! First, though, she should go to the doctor for confirmation, then she'd call Tommy. She wouldn't tell anyone else until she told him.
Tommy pulled his 4x4 into the parking lot and double-checked the address on the envelope on the seat next to him... an envelope containing a letter that had turned his world upside down and broken his heart. After days of wandering around in shock and his friends' well-meaning attempts to cheer him and heal him... I can't believe I actually let Kat try to fix me up with another girl! I don't want another girlfriend; I want Kimberly! ...Tommy decided to talk to Kim about what she had written. While the others thought a conversation was in order, they weren't so sure a face-to-face confrontation was wise. However, he needed to see her face. He needed to read the truth of her feelings in her eyes: did she truly love somebody else? He didn't believe it... he wouldn't believe it. Not after what they'd shared at Christmas. Fortunately, his parents understood and supported his decision.
You didn't drive all this way just to sit in a parking lot staring at the stupid building!
The truth was, Tommy was forced to admit to himself as he climbed out of his vehicle, he was scared --scared that Kim really had found someone else. He hadn't exactly been very attentive over the last month or so, but Kim knew why. He had tried to make it up to her, and she said she understood. However, he could also see her point of view: all alone in a strange city, no family or friends... and Kim, being the social person that she was, wouldn't just sit in her apartment waiting by the phone. She had a way of making friends easily, and Tommy wouldn't have begrudged her the opportunity to do things with a friend, be it girl or guy. He trusted her.
So what happened?
The only way to get his answers was to go inside and find the young woman he still loved.
He went in the main building, and was totally lost. Where was the best place to find Kim? He knew Coach Schmidt wouldn't exactly be happy if he came barging into the gym, so he decided to see if there was an office or something. Looking about, he spied a receptionist's desk just down the hallway.
"May I help you?" the woman asked pleasantly at his approach.
"Yes, my name is Tommy Oliver, and I'm looking for Kimberly Hart. I'm a friend of hers from back home," he said. Something in his gut twisted into a tight knot as he watched the secretary's face. At the mention of Kim's name, the cheerfulness faded to be replaced by a profound sadness and sympathy.
"Let me call Coach in the gym for you," she said hurriedly before Tommy could ask what was wrong.
It took all his force of will not to pace, but his fists were clenched at his sides so tightly that his knuckles were white. Something was very wrong; he could feel it, and he was more scared now than he had been before. He tried drawing in a few calming breaths as he scanned the hallway for Gunther Schmidt. He felt sure the man would remember him from the Youth Center and hospital in Angel Grove. However, the only person he saw coming towards him was a pretty African-American girl no bigger than Kim. No bigger than Kim, but packing the muscle of a well-trained athlete and the grace of a gymnast.
"I'm Sarah Johnson, Kim's roommate," she introduced herself.
Tommy was suddenly reminded of Aisha, except that the bubbly personality was missing. Sarah looked far too serious.
"I take it you're Kim's Tommy."
"I am." He noted that the gymnast glanced at something to his right. Looking down, he saw that he had Kim's last letter clutched in his fist. The missive was thoroughly crushed.
"If you love her, Tommy, don't believe a word of that crap she wrote," Sarah advised. "She was just hurt and scared when she wrote it, and now the damn thing is only making things worse for her."
"What happened to Kim?" Tommy demanded, the coldness inside him growing.
"She needs to be the one to tell you," Sarah replied, placing a hand on his arm. The gesture was meant to offer comfort and reassurance. "She's in our apartment --the building right next door. Five A. Here's my key. I don't think she'll answer the door. She's hurtin', Tommy, bad, and you're probably the only one who can help her."
"I'll do everything I can," Tommy replied.
"Just so you know --not that it's the important thing here-- Coach has been more than patient with her. He's let her take off all the time she needs, and hasn't said anything when she runs out of practice in tears. But I don't know how much longer he'll be able to keep her on the team unless she starts showing signs of pulling out of her depression."
Lose her place on the team? But Kim had sacrificed so much to be on the Pan Global team! What could be so terrible that she'd jeopardize that?
"Thanks," Tommy mumbled, staring blankly at the key in his hand. With mounting trepidation, he headed for the front door.
He found five-A readily enough, but he felt a little awkward just letting himself in. Still, Sarah had seemed certain Kimberly would ignore the knock. Without really knowing why, he let himself in very quietly.
The small apartment was neat and tidy and dark; all the curtains and blinds had been drawn. It was also silent --eerily so. Maybe Kim was asleep. If so, he'd just have a seat on the couch and wait until he heard signs of life.
Then, his ears picked up a muffled sound... on that always made his heart feel tight: Kimberly's crying. He padded softly down the hall towards her cries, and he found her curled up on her bed, wrapped around her favorite stuffed bear. His heart seemingly climbed into his throat at the sight. Kim only did that when the pain in her soul was more than she could bear.
"Kimberly?" he began. A few long-legged strides later, he was at her bedside.
"T-Tommy?" she gasped in astonishment, not believing her ears. He couldn't be here! Not after she'd stupidly sent him that letter! Yet, when she peered up through teary eyes, she found him standing over her, looking down with those velvety soft brown eyes full of love and concern. She struggled to uncurl herself and sit up, wiping at eyes that wouldn't stay dry. "W-what are you doing here? Didn't you get my l-letter?"
"As far as I'm concerned, you never wrote that letter," he answered and sat down next to her. She shifted away from him fractionally.
"B-but I did write it," she insisted hoarsely, knowing that she'd never forgive herself for doing so.
"But did you mean a word of it?" he challenged.
His gaze held hers, and in spite of the overwhelming pain in her heart, Kim's resistance crumbled. As much as she thought she couldn't bear seeing him again, she was wrong.
"No!" And with that heart-wrenching cry, she flung herself into Tommy's arms and sobbed until her eyes burned, her throat was raw and her chest ached with the force of her gasping breaths.
Tommy's arms tightened around her, saying nothing, letting Kim vent her emotional storm. But with every wracking cry, he felt as if someone were ripping out a piece of his heart. He always seemed to feel her pain. This time, though, he had the sense that nothing he could do would make it go away.
"I-I didn't mean to send that letter," Kim hiccuped at last. "It's just that after what happened, I didn't think I could face you ever again. Because I was afraid every time I saw you I'd remember and...."
She was lost to further tears, and Tommy forced himself to wait the agonizing minutes until the tempest subsided.
"Kim, what happened?" he asked at last.
"I lost the baby, Tommy. I had a miscarriage," she sniffled. "I'd just found out I was pregnant... I was so happy... and then...."
Tommy was stunned as he held her closer as she cried anew. Kim had been pregnant? Why hadn't she told him? When... it must have been Christmas. How long had she known?
Yet, for all his questions, it never occurred to him to wonder if the child wasn't his.
"It was Christmas, Tommy," Kim began again, trying to find the courage she had lacked when she sent that letter. "You gave me an extra present that night in front of the fireplace.
"I'm always so regular with my period... maybe only a day or two late, so when it was pushing ten days I started to wonder. I went to the drug store and bought a home pregnancy test. It turned out positive. I was pregnant."
Tommy couldn't believe it, and a warm rush of pure joy swept through him. Kim had been pregnant --with his baby! Then, the words hit him in the face like an icy slap. Had been.
"I was so excited and happy," Kim went on, her face brightening for a moment. "I didn't care that we weren't married or that we're both so young and that it would cost me my chance at the Pan Globals. All I cared about was a new life inside me. Your baby! I wanted to call you right away and tell you, but I figured I should check with the doctor first.
"I was lucky enough to get in the next day, and the doctor confirmed it. We set up an appointment with the obstetrician, and I was all ready to spread the good news.
"I wanted you to be the first, but I couldn't get a hold of you. I kept getting the answering machine, and I didn't want to put something like this in a cold, unfeeling recording. I had to tell Coach, though, and he excused me from practices until I saw the obstetrician. Even though it meant I couldn't compete, everyone was so happy for me."
Then, Kim's face fell, fresh tears welling in her eyes. Tommy could feel his own gathering as well. He knew what was coming.
"I found out for certain on Monday; Wednesday night something happened." Kim's voice quavered so badly she wasn't sure she could go on. Tommy didn't press her, however, and she was able to collect herself. "I was doing the dinner dishes, and I noticed I had that really yucky, bloated feeling I get whenever I'm about to ¬start'. I didn't pay it any attention at first because I knew it couldn't be that. But it didn't go away. Later, when I was in the bathroom, I saw the blood... it was just like I had my period.
"Oh, God, Tommy, I was terrified! I knew something was wrong. You're not supposed to get your period when you're pregnant! I called the doctor... he asked me a lot of question --I can't even remember what all he said; it was just a blur. Finally, he told me to stay in bed and rest and get to the obstetrician first thing in the morning.
"I think he knew then what was going on, but he didn't want to scare me further. He knew that going to the E.R. wouldn't have helped.
"I was scared anyway, though. All night long I prayed and prayed that my baby would be all right. I even had dreams of the doctor telling me that my body was doing something weird but the baby was okay.
"I spent the better part of Thursday being poked and prodded and examined and praying. The pregnancy test was slightly positive... not like it had been on Monday. Dr. Matthews said there was too much blood for him to do a pap, but it looked to him like I was miscarrying. He asked if I was feeling nauseous or if my breasts felt tender.... I hadn't been nauseous at all yet, but my breasts had been very sore --until that Wednesday night. He said that when someone knew they were pregnant but didn't feel pregnant, it was a good sign they weren't any more.
"The ultrasound showed nothing inside me. I'd completely miscarried. I didn't want to, but I just broke down in the doctor's office. I was five and a half weeks...."
And she broke down again, only this time, Tommy cried with her, holding onto her as tightly as he could. The pain he had felt upon reading Kim's letter paled in comparison to the sense of loss he felt now. It was funny how quickly he had gotten used to the idea of being a father... how much it hurt to lose that would-be child. It was like a part of himself had died... and in a way, a part of him had. From the moment of conception, that child had been alive, and now it was gone. And he knew he would never forget. Never ever forget.
Feeling the shudders convulsing Tommy's body, Kim looked up into his tear-streaked face. She had known that he would care as deeply as she, that he would hurt as much as she did. That was part of the reason she hadn't thought she could face him ever again. She had let him down. She had lost his child.
The doctor had told her that it wasn't her fault. She hadn't done anything wrong... but she couldn't help feeling that way. There had to be some reason why she miscarried. There had to have been something she could have done to save her baby.
And yet, for all she had thought she couldn't handle seeing Tommy, she was so glad he was here for her right now... holding her... sharing her pain... mourning the loss of a child neither of them were, in truth, ready for.
"Are you okay?" Tommy asked at last, setting aside his grief for the concern he felt for the woman in his arms. Yes, he may have lost a child, too, but he didn't have to endure the physical trauma as well as the emotional.
"Physically... I'm fine," she assured him with a heavy sigh. "There was no scarring or cysts... the doctor says that I'll be able to try again someday and that I should take comfort in the fact that I was able to get pregnant at all. It means everything was working fine. Really, the only physical discomfort was the bleeding.
"Emotionally..." She drew in a steadying breath and wiped at her nose, trying to regain her composure. "Every time I saw that damned blood, I got so mad! I hated it because it had taken my baby away from me! I've been a wreck since that Thursday. Dr. Matthews cautioned me that I'd heal rapidly physically, but the emotional scars would be bad. He also warned me that I might go through a sort of post-partum depression and that my hormones would be out of whack for a while.
"I guess that's what was going on when I wrote that letter. I did it on Friday... I just felt so horrible and helpless and useless.... Disappointed... ashamed... I couldn't put it out of my mind and all I wanted to do was just runaway."
"Kim, no one expects you to get over this right away. You can't," Tommy insisted.
"I know, but when the doctor released me to return to practice on Monday, I felt like I had to be better by then. But I wasn't. I wasn't ready to face everyone in the gym and their sympathy. And I still break down and cry at the drop of a hat.... Will it ever stop hurting, Tommy?"
"I suppose it must, eventually," he mumbled, still at a loss how to help her. He'd give anything to be able to make her pain go away.
"It's helped some telling you about it," she admitted.
"I'm glad." He'd been so worried that his presence was doing precisely what she'd feared when she sent the letter, and he'd rather never see her again than hurt her anymore than she already was.
"What'd I do wrong?" Kim asked suddenly, hanging her head.
Tommy tilted her chin up so he could meet her eyes. "Kim, what happened wasn't your fault. You have to believe that. You didn't deliberately do anything to make you lose that baby. I know from my mom that when a baby miscarries, there's always a reason for it. Something just wasn't right for the baby."
"Your mom had a miscarriage?" Kim asked.
"A couple," he confirmed. "That was before they found out that there was something wrong and she'd never be able to carry a baby to term. At least you know that you're healthy and we'll be able to try again someday."
"We'll?" Kim's smile was hopeful as she put the question to him.
"Of course, Beautiful. I love you." And Tommy sealed his promise with a gentle kiss. "And when we're ready, we will try again."
"Thank you, Tommy."
The two sat wrapped in each other's arms for a long time, mourning a child who would never be born and planning for the someday when one would.