A Child's Heart by Rhonda Marks
What would you do if your child was suffering from a life-threatening condition?
The child that Nitika Walsh dreamed and hoped for lay in a hospital bed, her tiny body battling leukemia. With all hope fading fast, the doctors advise her that a stem cell transplant may be necessary. Nitika is not a match, nor is anyone else in the system. That leaves the father as a possible donor, but the problem is she used an anonymous sperm donor to become impregnated.
In college, Javier Crespo did what other students did to scrounge up a little money: he became a sperm donor. But he never imagined that his identity would be revealed or that he�d ever meet any of the children his gift made possible. But that�s what the doctors are asking him to do.
Will Javier agree to be tested? Is he a match? Can the child be saved?
�Mommy, I don�t feel good.� Little Tesia Walsh gripped her mother�s hand tighter and pinched her mouth closed.
�The medicine will make you feel better real soon, okay. The nurse just gave it to you.� Nitika Walsh gave her daughter another fake smile, all the while dying inside. This round of chemo was taking a toll on her baby, and there was nothing she could do to help, except hold onto her tiny hand and pray that the leukemia would be cured soon.
The oncologist said Tesia�s red blood count was not increasing as fast as he�d like. Which meant a stem cell transplant was needed as soon as humanly possible.
Nitika casually turned her head and wiped away another tear before Tesia saw it. She had to remain strong for both of them. Crying had to be done at night or those rare times she could step away from her daughter�s bedside.
�Mommy, I�m sleepy,� yawned Tesia.
Nitika let out a silent sigh of relief. The nurse had given Tesia the meds over half an hour ago. Why it took so long to take effect, she had no idea, but right now she was happy her baby would be able to get some rest. Then maybe she�d have the opportunity to shut her eyes for a couple hours too.
Was it only a month ago that her adorable five year old ran roughshod over the other children in her daycare class? So energetic and full of life. Now, she lay in a hospital bed, her body full of drugs. How could things have changed so quickly?
Thank God her best friend was available to hold her hand and keep her partly sane. Having no relatives sucked big time, but especially now. No one to rely on. No one to break down with. No one to ask for help.
A shiver shot throughout her body thinking back to that horrible day the pediatrician gave her the diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She had no idea Tesia�s recent fatigue and unexplained bruising were indications of such a serious disorder. It took several minutes for the words to sink in and for her to understand what she was saying. Next came the breakdown, with Nitika crumbling to the floor of the doctor�s office. Since that day, she vowed to keep herself together. Tesia needed her to be strong.
�Everything okay?� The nurse ducked her head inside the room and gave her a half smile.
�Good now,� she confirmed, watching her daughter�s chest rise and fall evenly.
�I�ll check back in an hour or so.� The nurse exited as quietly as she arrived, leaving Nitika alone with Tesia again.
Other than one or two co-workers and her best friend, Elise Nivens, few people visited her daughter. This was one of the few times she wished for more family. Strike that, any family. Being an orphan really sucked.
But what really drove her crazy was the fact that she was not a match for Tesia�s stem cell transplant. And since she had no relatives that she knew of, they had to rely upon the donor list. The problem with that was very few African Americans offered themselves as resources, and the best matches were between people of the same race.
Nitika expelled a loud breath thinking about the oncologist�s latest suggestion. Tesia�s father would be a possibility, her best bet for a match. But Nitika had no idea who the man was since she was impregnated with sperm from an unknown donor.
At the time, she believed this was the best option for her. The best of both worlds: she�d have a beautiful child all her own, and no man with whom to butt heads. Now she seriously questioned that choice. Seriously.
With no other choices, she gave the oncologist permission to speak with the clinic director, to ask for the donor�s contact information. It�s been three days, three whole days since he supposedly made contact with the man. Why was it taking so long for him to get an answer?