Playing Cards, Ch.6 - Gas and Air

Why the hell do women put themselves through this much pain?” I moaned, “I’m starting to wish I’d just got the abortion.”

     “Don’t talk like that, darling,” Teresa soothed, “it’ll all worth it when you have your little baby in your arms for the first time.” I’d been pacing backwards and forwards for the past four hours in a musty hospital birthing room wearing nothing but a backless dress. My contractions were minutes apart and extremely painful.

     “Well remind meneverto have another babyeveragain!” I gushed, arching my back and placing my hands on my knees for support, holding in my screams of pain. Where was the doctor with that epidural? Surely I was dilated enough to be pumped up with more drugs than just gas and air!

     “How are you feeling, Case?” came Mum’s voice. I looked over to the door and saw her and Jerry entering the room. Finally, they’d arrived back from shopping and found the note Teresa had left them. I couldn’t believe Mum had left her phone at home; it wasn’t like her at all.

     “How am I feeling? I’m in shocking pain, mother, can’t you see that?” I cried. Mum shot to my side and hugged me tight. I wanted to cry, but I was too scared that it would hurt more.

     “I’m sorry we took so long getting here. Jerry’s GPS gave us the wrong directions to a totally different hospital, and he couldn’t find his map so we had to ask someone for directions, and then there were no parking spaces when we finally got here andthenwe struggled to even find the right room.” Mum apologised, rubbing her hand up and down my left arm.

     “We got you a chocolate mousse dessert, though. I thought you’d like it.” Jerry mentioned. I stared at him, as if he was a mad man, and lashed out at him:

     “Chocolate mousse? I’m in labour and you thought I’d be in the mood for a chocolate mousse? Are youcrazy!?” I was the mad person now… Jerry looked hurt.

     “Take no notice of her, dear, she’s just a wee bit tired,” Teresa began, in attempt to reassure her husband that I hadn’t intended to hurt his feelings on purpose. But, the truth was, I was just that…tired… tired of waiting for the god damn epidural! I was starting to get impatient then, and the pain was gradually getting worse.

     “I hate this…” I murmured, “I hate thispain…”

     “It’ll go away when the baby’s born.” Mum reassured me.

     “But how long is that going to be? An hour? Two hours? A day? It’s too much!AAHHH!” I screamed, “Get me that doctor!” I ordered. I didn’t take notice to who had followed my command but just clung onto the side of the bed, squeezing Mum’s hand tight.

    A doctor, Dr. Rushmoore – who’d examined me four hours ago – strolled through the door then, smiling as if he’d just popped out for five minutes the last time we’d spoken. I exhaled gruffly, my body overcome with pain. You’d have thought with a name like his he’d be a bit quicker of his feet.

     “How are you feeling?” he asked with a faint Irish accent, hands in pockets and tie done up extremely high – wasn’t he choking? But I couldn’t concentrate properly.

     “If anyone asks me how I’m feelingone more time…” I threatened. He didn’t move, just kept smiling. I cooled my voice down a degree, “when can I have this epidural? The kid’s killing me here!” I held my breath throughout the next wave of contractions. He finally broke his pose and edged to my side, prompting me to lie down on the bed.

     “We’ll see how far along you are, shall we?” I screwed up my face and let him do his job. I felt like my personal space was being invaded, but I knew it was necessary in order for him to do his job.

     “Hmm…” he muttered… not a good sound, “the last time I checked you, you were four centimetres dilated. You now appear to almost fully dilated.” That was quick but… oh my god! It was time. Baby was really coming…

     “Okay, well get me the epidural and then I can get myself ready for delivery, right?”

     “I’m afraid it’s too late to give you an epidural.”

     “What!?” I yelled, leaning aggressively in the direction he stood in front of me, with all support on my wrists behind me, “What do you mean it’s too late? I’m in pain here!”

     “If we give you the drugs, serious harm and stress will come to the baby causing the pregnancy to be difficult; and much more painful than you’re already in.”

     “How do you know that? You’ve never had a baby to prove it!” tears were pricking in my eyes.

     “I’m sorry, but I cannot possibly give it to you. I suggest you continue taking gas and air.” He shot out of the room then, terrified that I might disconnect a limb from some part of his body. I wailed, overcome with pain. Why was this happening to me!?

“I’m here, darling, I’m here.” Mum comforted me, holding onto my hand tight. There was a team of midwives around ready to bring my littlepainfulbundle of joy into the world. How a mother grew to love something that caused her so much antagonising pain was beyond me… I just wanted it to be over and done with.

     “I want you to push on your next contraction” a kind midwife asked me softly. I’d been pushing on my contractions for the last half hour and, apparently, the top of the head could be seen… I waited and pushed down as hard as I could, beads of sweat trickling down my forehead; I wouldn’t have been surprised if the blood circulation in Mum’s hand had cut off in the sharp, tightness of my grip.

    Teresa stood on my other side, wet flannel at the ready to wipe my forehead free of perspiration during every interval of pushing. Feeling awkward and out of place, Jerry had removed himself out of the room and waited in the corridor outside.

    I couldn’t breathe. I stopped pushing and gushed for air.

     “One last push, honey,” the midwife chimed, “one last push and baby’s here.”

    ‘One last push… one… last…’ I pushed down hard, screaming at the immense pain. But when a new scream filled the room, mine stopped.

    The midwives in front of me were cooing and fiddling with a mystery bundle. One looked up at me, grinning from ear to ear, bringing the tightly wrapped bundle to me. I held my arms out and cradled the little pink creature covered in blood and goo… I had done it… this wasmy baby.

     “Is it a boy or a girl?” Teresa asked anxiously, peering closer to have a look. My shaking hand tugged on the fleecy off-white, blood stained towel covering my baby’s body. I looked, and smiled.

     “Well?” Mum urged, wanting to know if she had a granddaughter or a grandson. I looked up.

     “James…” I stated.

     My James… my littleboy…

The End

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