poured out before bed
The steadily increasing pains have reduced her to breathless whimper, the cheerful jesting of latent labor long forgotten. She gestures for her boyfriend’s arm, clutches at my hand as another contraction seizes her, panting as tears squeeze from her big brown eyes. Her boyfriend is completely engrossed in his texting activities. Her mother sits sullenly across the room, having muttered something about loose women and painful labors a few moments before. Her brother and father have gone down to the cafeteria for hot dogs. I squeeze her hand to the slow beat of my heart and encourage her to breathe, focusing my prickly annoyance at her relations on supporting her.
The labor is grotesquely long, tiring even to follow. The epidural fails; she feels no relief despite the best efforts of the anesthesiologist. She pushes for hours, sobbing between desperately long contractions, sweating through her thin hospital gown and trembling with exhaustion. When her big, beautiful little boy is born, and as his skin colors from a ghostly lavender to a fresh, clean ebony, there is no one from her family to praise and welcome. When she begins to hemorrhage, there is no well-loved face to calm her, worry for her. They’ve gone to dinner at the Olive Garden. She should call when she’s done.
– Step 2 CK Throw Back, From Obstetrics