My wife Axton and I had been in Hong Kong only a year when, on a Saturday night after the Dragon Boat races in 2015, Axton had to be rushed to Canossa Hospital for internal bleeding.
At the time, we believed she had severe cramping caused by her participation in the boat races earlier that day. At 1.15 on the following Sunday afternoon – after several hours of doing tests and waiting all morning for an explanation for my wife’s intense abdominal pain – the doctor entered the room and explained how Axton needed an emergency surgery to stop her from bleeding to death from the inside. The surgery should’ve happened hours ago. I kissed my wife’s hand and thought it was far too soon to lose her. We’d only begun to share our lives together. After all, she’s my dream girl. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Later, I found out an ovarian cyst had ruptured, which caused the internal bleeding in her abdomen, but the doctor had one more thing to say:
“The blood and urine samples came back positive. You’re pregnant.” “What?” My wife and I said. We honestly had no idea she was with child. Turned out, she was four weeks pregnant at the time of her surgery.
“I’ll leave you two alone,” the doctor said. “To talk.”
My wife began to rub her belly and cry, “My baby. My baby. Oh, my baby.”
Powerless, I responded, “It’ll be okay. It’ll all be okay,” and I rubbed her forehead and kissed her hand, “It’ll be okay.” What else can a husband say to his dying wife?
The chances for both the mother and child surviving the surgery brought a pang to my heart and tears to my eyes. “It’ll be okay,” I said. The doctor believed Axton had a ruptured fallopian tube or an ectopic pregnancy, where the egg becomes stuck in a fallopian tube and begins to grow. Either way, the bleeding needed to be stopped.
I never pray, but when the nurses wheeled Axton out of the room, I leant down, kissed her forehead, and said a prayer for her and our baby growing inside her. I’ll never forget the moment when we had entered the hospital, at three in the morning – Axton all hunched over grabbing her stomach as I carried her – and we saw dozens and dozens of white butterflies (my wife said they were moths) flitting peacefully as though we had walked unexpectedly into an arboretum.
A thousand things could have gone wrong, but not a single thing did.
Two years later, Axton and I are as happily in love as the first day we met on Christmas Day years ago. We’re so thankful for everyone at Canossa Hospital for saving Axton’s life, and the life of our son, Thor, who is as strong and healthy and beautiful as a working mother and a stay-at-home father could ever wish him to be.
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This article first appeared in the April/May 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.