While driving to get the information to hopefully save our baby’s life my mind was startlingly clear. Philip could not know why I wanted the information. Yet a direct question would surely make him wonder and even ask. How to get the answers was going to be difficult, yet that tiny person I already loved so much depended on me, I just had to find a way.
I kept praying that a way would make itself known to me.
I realised I no longer had Philip’s telephone number in my phone, so I had to enquire where the embassy was situated. When I finally reached there, people were leaving for the end of the day. I parked and when I enquired with security they said they could not give out any information. I felt despair creep up on me.
I had no real plan for getting the information about his family’s medical history in the area of infant deaths. But I so desperately needed it to save our baby that I was prepared to do anything to get it.
Then a nice looking man who had been waiting for something at the security desk, turned and looked at me, and said “Where did you meet Philip?” So I answered “On holiday in Italy last summer”. He then said, “Come with me”.
In his office he told me he thought he recognised me from holiday pictures Philip had shown him. Philip was off for a few days, and David (who was his friend) gave me Philip’s number and address. It was not far from Lisa’s old apartment, so I drove there, hoping to catch him at home. As I pulled up, there he was coming out of an apartment block, accompanied by a much older woman.
I got out and called to him. First he looked irritated, then he smiled when he saw me. He came over and gave me a hug and kissed my cheek. Then he introduced me to the woman, his mother. My heart soared, if anyone would know about early deaths for babies it would be she. Then it sank, how could I ask her without arousing her suspicions and Philip’s?
We got chatting and I said I’d finished with something and was wondering where to have supper in the area. They were off to have supper at a local restaurant and invited me to join them.
So far, so good. Maybe I could somehow ask in a general way. My mind racing over how to start the subject, I came up with a story of someone else to raise the subject.
Over dinner we kept the conversation quite general. Philip kept staring off into the air. His mother and I chatted. I gathered something had really upset him.
So I risked it! I said to his mother that I had also been to see friends here whose baby had suddenly died at about a week old. How sad it was.
She said, she remembered one such case, a neighbour when her children were young. The woman never recovered from it. I said I hoped my friend would be stronger.
Then I stepped right in and asked if it had ever occurred in their family. She checked that Philip wasn’t really listening then replied, “Yes, my sister and I each lost one within a few days of birth. We don’t ever talk about them in the family, it is too painful, even now”.
Philip absentmindedly excused himself for a few minutes, so I plunged on into the issue. Did she know why they died? She replied that they just seemed to fade away, getting weaker every day, unable to feed after the first few days and died.
Philip returned to the table, so we turned the conversation to a recent sporting event scandal, and moved on with the evening.
As we were leaving Philip’s mother went off to the ladies room, and he took the opportunity to ask if I wanted to stay with him for the night. I declined, saying I had to get back to my hotel and do some work for an early meeting and leave there very early too. I implied that I was very sorry about that, and he said “Phone me soon then.”
I rushed off, found a quiet spot and phoned Lisa and the specialist. I gave them the details and the doctor said it would be worth the danger of running the tests as, once proven; the condition could be resolved, usually very successfully these days.
I found a hotel and checked in for the night. When I reached my room, reaction set in and I sat shaking for a while. I had risked Philip guessing, and had been lucky enough to get the information I needed without him even being aware of it.
I phoned Lisa again to say goodnight and tell her how I had done it. We chatted for a while, just hearing her voice made me calm down and know that our love could conquer anything. Then I fell into bed and slept for a few hours. When I woke it was still dark, but I knew I needed to be back with Lisa, so I checked out and started driving back.