Jared nodded again, not trusting himself to speak at the moment. “Okay, you’re going to put the end of the stethoscope there. Now you'll tighten this screw here and then squeeze the bulb until this gauge is about 160, or about 10 above the last time you heard my last heartbeat. Then you’re going to slowly loosen this screw and let the gauge drop. When you hear the first beat, remember that number, and when the sound stops, remember that number too. You got it?”
It felt like he was watching a movie as he saw the doctor cleaning out his son’s mouth and nose. Jason beamed as their little boy, Jackson was almost certainly going to be his name, was nestled into his arms by a grinning nurse. Distantly, he wanted to hold him too but the mere seconds of relief following his exit had disappeared and the pain was back with a frightening intensity.