Dixie sighed, depressed, as she joined her husband in bed. "Kel...I'm turning 65 at the end of the month...why couldn't I have stopped at 30?"
"A question women throughout the ages have asked," Kel quipped. He looked at Dixie. "Sweetheart, why is your age bothering you so much? Is something wrong?"
"No, it's more the age itself, not getting older. 65...senior citizen..."
"I happen to think you still look incredible." Kel smiled, trying to reassure his wife.
"Thanks...but I feel old. I'm gaining weight...I haven’t felt like myself in ages...."
"So do something to change it. I don't know... Not to sound like a cliché, but try a new exercise program that sounds interesting, buy a new outfit a size smaller so you have something to aspire to, join an exercise club. Take action. The Dix I know isn't the kind of woman to worry and not try to change something she doesn't like."
"Yeah...I just haven’t had much energy lately."
Kel frowned. "Maybe you're a little anemic?" he suggested.
"Maybe." She closed her eyes and put a hand on her stomach.
Kel studied his wife intently, feeling concerned.
Her eyes widened as she noticed something else. "Kel...I felt this fluttering...I've had it for weeks, just like butterflies in your stomach, but...feel this..."
"What do you think it could be?" Kel questioned.
She took his hand, looking shocked. "Feel." She put his hand on her stomach, pushing in gently.
At first, Kel didn't feel anything. He frowned slightly as he looked at Dixie. "I'm not feeling it... wait... What is that?"
"I don't know."
"I think you should get this checked out..."
"I'm too afraid of what it'd be..."
"Dix, think about it. If it's something serious, would you rather catch it now and be able to cure it or wait until later when we possibly couldn't save you?"
"Okay." Dixie nodded.
Kel smiled. "Don't worry, though. I'm sure it's nothing."
"I hope you're right."
In the middle of the night, he heard her moaning in the living room.
He headed out to the living room. "Dix? Sweetheart, what's wrong?"
"Cramps," she gasped. "Bad ones."
"Sit down and relax. Try to calm down."
"God, it hurts...."
"Cancel the sitting. You're going to the hospital."
"KEL!" She doubled over, every instinct in her body commanding her actions now. "Something's...wrong..."
He reached for her. "You. Hospital. Now. No arguments."
"I can't stand up."
"Then hobble. We'll get you to the car."
She screamed...as she delivered the tiniest baby they had ever seen.
"What the hell?" Kel gasped.
The baby was far too early to survive...his mother had passed out.
"Real helpful, Dix," Kel muttered as he reached for the phone.
Blood was flowing out of Dixie's body at an alarming rate.
All Kel could do was call 911 and pray to God that his wife would be all right.
She came around in the ambulance, the bleeding had almost stopped by then. The baby she'd delivered was wrapped in a blanket...he'd never even drawn his first breath. "Kel...?"
"Just stay quiet Dix. Just lay still and relax."
"I know it does, Sweetheart."
"You... You had a baby," Kel said softly.
"You had a baby. You know, the small creatures that eventually turn into us."
"I don't know..."
She groaned again. "Feels like twins, then..."
"What?" It was his turn to sound shocked.
"I...oh, my,,," She moaned. "I...feel like another's coming...now."
"Are you sure?" Kel asked, then instantly flinched. "Stupid question. Never mind." He was babbling; he knew it. But what else could he do? He looked at the paramedics.
At the hospital, they stopped her labor and got her on a second IV to replenish fluids. Dixie looked to Kel as he came in. "How's the first baby?" She assumed he'd been taken care of since Kel hadn’t said anything.
Kel bit his lip and looked away, not sure how to say it.
He looked up at her.
"Tell me the truth," she pleaded.
"The little guy didn't make it," Kel said softly.
Dixie began to cry.
Kel leaned over and hugged her gently.
"How could I possibly have been pregnant??"
"I don't know, Dix. I wish I knew the answer to that question."
The doctor came in to explain. "Well, sometimes...it's rare...but sometimes after menopause, an egg or two can remain...they usually die off, but since your menopause was later than average, they might have held on for awhile....eventually slipped down and you got pregnant. You've been taking hormone therapy treatments, right?"
Dixie nodded. "Yes."
"That explains how your body was able to support the pregnancy this long. We've placed you on more hormones..." He sighed. "This could be a media circus if it got out...lie low if you can."
Kel looked at the doctor. "How do you expect us to lie low? We do have lives to lead."
"This is an extremely dangerous pregnancy for your wife, and media attention won't help."
Kel nodded slightly. "True... but keeping this quiet isn't going to be easy for anyone."
"Well, she's almost 5 months now...."
Kel looked at Dixie, curious as to how she was taking it all.
She looked shocked, her hand on her belly.
Kel reached over and rested a hand on top of Dixie's. He gave her a soft, comforting smile.
Dixie nodded as the doctor left the room. "Thanks."
Two months later, she was nearing her seventh month and was huge--this baby had thrived.
Kel looked over at Dixie. "How're you feeling?" he asked softly.
"Well, yeah. How else is a sixty-five-year-old pregnant woman going to feel?"
Kel frowned. "Dix...we need to talk about that Cesarean again. I know you don't want it, but it's really safer...."
"The pregnancy's been going really well, considering everything. There's no reason why, if it doesn't continue to go well, I shouldn't be able to deliver naturally."
"Because it's a miracle it's gone this well!"
"Well, excuse me for having faith that the miracle's gonna continue!"
Kel glared at her, his temper and his worry taking over. He spoke in an even tone. "You'll have it, Dix...one way or another." With that, he shoved her down the flight of stairs without thinking.
Dixie let out a bloodcurdling scream as she fell, twisting and trying to protect her stomach as much as possible.
Kel raced downstairs. "DIX! Oh, my God...I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to...Dix, talk to me! Are you okay?!"
Dixie's eyes were dull and unfocused as she tried to look at him. "What...?"
"Hang on, honey." He put a hand on her stomach.
Dixie fell silent, letting unconsciousness lay claim to her.
Kel rushed her to the hospital, beating himself up the entire way. He'd never forgive himself, never.
Dixie was unconscious the whole way.
He leaned over her as she came around in the ER. "Dix? Honey?"
She blinked, trying to clear her head. "What happened?"
"I'm so sorry...I pushed you and you fell......" Kel wiped a tear from his cheek.
Dixie stared at him. "Why did you do that?"
"I don't know...I didn’t think....I never wanted to hurt you."
Dixie looked at him, the faint shadows of slowly retreating fear still in her eyes. "Just leave me alone, Kel."
"I'm so sorry..."
"That doesn't change anything, Kel..."
"I don't know what I was thinking..." Kel sighed, tears in his eyes.
"Well, that's pretty obvious," Dixie muttered.
Kel shook his head. "I'll never forgive myself for this...I'm just glad you and the baby are ok."
"You're not the only one who's never forgiving you," Dixie informed him coolly.
"What do you want from me?"
"Just leave me alone."
He nodded, slipping out of her room.
Dixie sighed, a lone tear slipping down her cheek.
Kel came by to see her later, looking rather pathetic.
Dixie just looked at him, not saying a word.
"I came to say goodbye."
She arched her eyebrows. "Oh?"
"It's obvious you don't want me around...so I'll be staying out of your life from now on."
"That's probably good."
"Good luck." He left the room--a moment later, a single gunshot was heard.
Dixie let out a startled cry as she heard the shot.
A crazy patient had snuck in a gun, and now he was running with security after him. Kel was lying on the floor, bleeding from the bullet wound.
Dixie wanted to know what was going on.
She overheard a couple of nurses chattering about it.
She listened in.
"I don't know if he'll make it...he's hurt pretty bad...I know they're doing what they can, but...."
"The poor guy," the second nurse said. "I hear he has a family, too."
"Yeah...wife's pregnant...though at their age, I don't know how..."
"That's just... I mean, if it floats their boat, but it just feels wrong, ya know?"
"What, you mean bringing a kid into the world when they're that old?"
They were actually talking about someone else, but Dixie didn't know that.
Tears slowly started to stream down Dixie's face.
She realized she'd been wrong to throw Kel out.
She wondered if there was any way to make amends for what she had done to Kel.
Kel walked back into the room a few hours later, his arm in a sling. "You said you wanted to see me?"
"I'm so glad you're all right," Dixie said, looking at him.
"I'm fine...just a flesh wound. How are you?"
"As good as can be expected."
"How's the baby?"
"The baby's good."
He put a hand on her stomach. "Don't give your mom any trouble now..."
Dixie smiled proudly.
Dixie was released from the hospital the next morning. Kel was glad she hadn't been hurt worse. He still blamed himself, even if she'd forgiven him.
Dixie smiled over at Kel.
"What is it?!" He was curious.
"What about us?"
"Oh, just how good we are together."
"I'm no good for you, honey."
"Are you kidding? You're perfect for me."
"Looks what I've done to you!"
"Okay, maybe not perfect. But you're still good for me."
Kel left the room, not wanting to fight with her.
Dixie was confused as he left the room.
Kel ran into the room later when he heard her moaning. "The baby? Is it time? It's early, still..."
"Try telling that to the baby!" Dixie yelped.
"How far apart are the contractions?"
"Not far enough!" she snapped as another contraction hit.
Kel drove her to the hospital and they got her on a monitor to watch the baby's heart rate--when they realized suddenly, that the baby was in the wrong place for where its heartbeat was...there had to have been another. She must've been carrying triplets originally.
Dixie gasped softly as the realization hit.
"There's two babies, but only one heartbeat." A nurse whispered.
The doctor nodded. "I only got one heartbeat when I examined her after her fall...she must've lost the one when she fell."
Kel overheard all of this.
Dixie looked at them. "What? What's going on?"
"It looks...like one of the babies...died..." a nurse said, holding her hand. "We only have one heartbeat..."
"No!" Dixie said softly, denial hitting hard. "No..."
Kel looked horrified. "This is all my fault..."
Dixie glanced over.
"Well, it is!"
"But I don't blame you... I should, I suppose, but for some reason, I don't."
"I'm so sorry, Dixie."
"I know you are."
Suddenly, Kel woke up, and glanced at his wife. She was just waking up still...she was very pregnant with their first baby...it was 1975 again. None of it had happened.
Dixie looked around, startled, still half asleep.
"Hey...you wouldn't believe my dream."
"Twenty bucks says mine has yours beat," she said as she struggled to sit up.
"You were having a baby...but you were like 60-something." Kel laughed.
"And you shoved me down a flight of stairs," Dixie said.
"I didn't--hey, that's weird, that happened in my dream too."
"In mine, I turned out to be having triplets..."
"Only one of them survived in mine..."
"Mine, too. But I started out with triplets. One came super early... one died in utero, and then the last one..."
"That sounds like my dream!"
"But it was all a dream..." Dixie smiled in relief.
"Yup." Kel frowned. Too strange that they'd had the same dream...but possible...weirder things had happened.
Was he dreaming now or then? Could he ever find out for sure?