Lily wakes up in the hospital confused. It takes a few minutes for her thinking to clear. Her eyelids are heavy and she does not feel like expending the energy necessary to open them any further. She is not in any pain, but she cannot feel her legs. The plastic tubing dripping liquid from the IV is her first lucid observation.
Lily grabs onto the bars of the bed and tries to sit up. This turns out to be a mistake. She feels a stabbing pain in her abdomen. She falls back on her pillow after the sudden onset of dizziness and nausea. Her movement triggers an alarm on her bed. Two nurses rush in to find Deborah already tending to her daughter.
“Just take it slow, honey. Everything is fine. Ease your head back, I got you.” Deborah fluffs up the pillows—slightly propping Lily up to see around the room. Her father stands nearby looking concerned.
“Hello, honey. How are you feeling?”
“Really tired. I must be on some good meds because I keep hearing myself speaking words about two seconds before my conscious mind thinks to say them.”
Bruce laughs. “That’s completely normal, baby. I remember that ‘brain-to-mouth delay’ after I had my knee surgery. Your brain and mouth will line up soon.”
“So, how’s the baby? Is she okay?”
Deborah decides to answer this one. “We have been told she is doing very well.”
“Told? Didn’t you see her?”
Bruce jumps in. “No, we haven’t seen her, Lily. There was a change of plans. The scientists and doctors at Humanetics don’t think it’s a good idea for the three of us to see the baby.”
“But you saw her when they took her out, right?”
“No. We were asked to wait here for you.”
Deborah sits down on Lily’s bed so the nurses cannot hear her. “Your father is sugar-coating it for your benefit. I will give it to you straight. The hospital personnel strong-armed us when we refused to step away from the delivery room door. Someone purposely locked the doors from the inside to keep us out.”
“Wait. I remember seeing who did that. It was Lucie.”
“Who is Lucie?”
“It doesn’t matter. I had an epidural so I could be awake for the birth. Why won’t they let me hold her?”
Bruce clears his throat—as is his habit when he is about to lay heavy truth. “Honey, I think it’s time to realize this baby belongs to the scientific community and her parents. Until she is an adult, she will probably be tested and monitored constantly. She has a very big life in front of her. You’re an important part of her story. Even so, I believe the doctors and attorneys now consider the three of us to be unnecessary.
“Someday—when the story breaks—everyone will know you did this noble and brave thing. Adrienne was here recording with her camera. She’ll share your story with the world. We all know you felt responsible for this baby and you sacrificed a great deal to get her here. I believe she’ll remember all the songs you sang to her while she was growing inside you. Especially, ‘You are My Sunshine.’ I heard you singing it to her every time we visited.”
“Dad, I appreciate the sentimental insight, but it looks like your hormones got messed up instead of mine. I am not ready to talk about the mothering part yet. For the record, I am finished with talking about the science part. I know the two of you supported me in doing this because it is an important advancement of science. I did it for an entirely different reason—a reason that should allow me to stay in the baby’s life. I told you from the beginning God wanted me to carry this baby. Anna belongs to God, not to the scientists.”
“Well, yes, we all belong to God, Lily.”
“No, you are not getting it. There was an angel, Lucie, who talked to me in Centennial Park. She said this baby was on a special mission for God. She was here today in the delivery room. She was in your lab building at Humanetics the day the other surrogate died. She told me to do this. She told me to carry the baby. She’s the one who locked the doors. She was the tall nurse with the long black hair.”
“Lily, you have to calm down. You have a lot of medication in your system. It causes us to see and think things that didn’t happen. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens to everyone.”
“So, you don’t believe me? If you don’t believe me—no one will believe me. I want to go home, now! I don’t mean to the underground hospital apartment where they have been keeping me. I mean home home. I want to go back to Washington. I want to go now!”
Deborah tries to calm her daughter. “Lily, you can’t be moved for a few days. Dr. Abscom told you this. Cesareans are serious surgeries, plus you had the cosmetic abdominal surgery.”
“I don’t care. I don’t want to talk to you right now. I don’t want to stay another minute in this hospital with the baby I cannot meet. No one believes me. I want out of here now!” Lily digs her head deep in her pillow and sobs uncontrollably. A nurse enters the room and calmly walks to the far side of Lily’s bed. She pulls a syringe from her pocket and inserts its contents into the IV line. Lily goes limp.
Bruce screams at the nurse. “What did you just give her? What is going on around here? Who are you?’
“There is no need to raise your voice, Mr. Parker. We don’t want Lily getting upset so soon after the surgery. She needs to sleep. My name is Lucie.”