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Spectra 7.11

This post will contain no pictures. It might become a little too graphic that way lol

That morning, I awoke, vaguely aware of an ache in my back.

I went about my day as normal, making food for Paradiso and mom. Took a shower, did some laundry, cleaned a bathroom or two. The usual.

I even did a quick workout.

“Sweetie, look at you! You’re as big as a planet!”

“Thanks mom.” I winced.

“You know I didn’t mean it like that.” She gave me a reassuring smile. “I just meant that the baby should be coming any day now. When is the due date again?”

“Not for another week and a half.” I dabbed a bead of sweat tickling its way down the back of my neck.

“Plenty of time. Although, I’ve been thinking about the baby clothes…”

“What about them?”

“They’re all for boys! What if the baby is a girl? Are you going to make people think she’s a boy until she’s four?”

“Mom! There would be plenty of time for shopping!”

“Mint, I’m talking from experience here. There will be no time. Why don’t we go today?”

“But mom!”

“No ‘buts’ young lady! Better to get it out of the way now than later, right?”

“…Fine.”

So that’s how I ended up here, a 9-month-pregnant woman in a packed mall that even Paradiso had to squeeze past people. The stress was enough that even the baby was upset. I could feel him kicking, and the pain in my back grew ever more severe. My stomach was clenching with every spike.

“Grammy, can we go home now?”

“Not yet, dear. Mint, look at this bonnet! How do you like it?”

“Mom, I don’t think that I want-”

“Hush now, it’s lovely. It’ll be a little gift from grandma, what do you say?” She coo’s at my belly a little.

“Ow!” I put a hand on my belly.

“What is it, sweetie?” Mom asks, concerned.

“I’m not sure. My stomach has been aching. I’ve been putting it off to Braxton-Hicks, but- Ahh!” I clutch my belly, that one was a big one. I look up at Mom. She stares at me, open mouthed and frozen. Someone pushes me forward, muttering an unapologetic “Sorry.”

“Grammy! Grammy, what’s going on? What’s wrong with mommy?”

“Paradiso, take mommy’s hand.” I say. “Mom, we have to go. Now.”

“Yes, yes! I’m sorry. Let’s go!” She pushes her way past a few people, but she doesn’t get very far. There were people everywhere, behind us, in front of us, beside us. We were in the biggest mall on Sugearth, packed like sardines on a Saturday afternoon. With a brittle old woman, a shy seven-year old boy, and a woman who has fallen nearly immobile with contractions, coming closer and closer.

I take mom’s hand, in fear of losing her among the crowd. “Paradiso, take mommy’s cell phone and call 9-1-1.” Mom commands sternly. She is trying her best not to panic, but there is fear under her words. He does as he is told, and she comes close to talk.

“Hello? Hello, we need an ambulance!” She begins. She lets go of my hand to put a finger in her ear. “Hello? I said we need an ambulance! At the Briocheport Place Mall. Hello!?” I clutch my hand in the crook of her arm as a woman tries to push between us. She glares at me and pushes mom in the back as she goes around. “We have a woman in labor here! I said my daughter is in labor! Please hurry!” She shouts into the phone, but the roar of the crowd is like a single steel triangle in an orchestra. It would be a miracle if anyone could hear her.

“Help! Help! Somebody help!” Paradiso, understanding how serious of a situation this was, tries to call for help. A security officer pushes past a wave of shoppers. It’s a miracle.

“What seems to be the problem here?”

“Sir, I’ve gone into labor and we can’t get out. Can you help us? Please!” I scream as a contraction pushes me on my knees. The man, burly and with a pair of tired eyes that seem to say “I’ve seen it all, and nothing can surprise me anymore” calls for assistance, his hands shaking on his walkie-talkie.

He manages to lead us in a train to a lounge area outside of the store. I sit on the stiff leather, thankful to be out of the store and safe from being trampled. Mom stands beside me, brushing my bangs off my sweat-soaked forehead. Paradiso hugs his grandmother tightly, burying his face in her hip. The security guard stands watch, looking out for any fellow guards and steering away anyone who tries to rest on the couch. All I could do at that point was resist the urge to push.

A man, possibly in his mid-sixties, sits on a nearby chair, reading a guide of the mall. He looks over his book and rushes to my side. “Sir, you have to stand clear.” The security officer says.

“I’m a doctor, let me see her.” He shrugs the guard’s hand off his bony shoulder. “Ma’am, what’s wrong?” He asks, although he knew already.

“The baby, the baby is coming. Can you help us? We can’t get… out.” I manage to explain, dipping in and out of consciousness. Mom holds Paradiso tight to her side.

“How far apart are the contractions?” I shake my head. They weren’t. “Oh berry. This baby is coming now.” Mom pulls a flowered, powder blue baby blanket out of one of her shopping bags and hands it to the man. He drapes it over my legs. “The baby is crowning. We can’t wait for help. I’m sorry, ma’am, but you have to push.” I shake my head. No, not here. “You have no choice. this baby is coming now whether you like it or not. You have to PUSH.” I look to mom, who crouches on her knees next to me and takes my hand, Pressing Paradiso’s head into her neck in an attempt to save him from witnessing what was happening.

The next few minutes were a blur. I couldn’t see, I was blinded by sweat and tears and screams of immeasurable pain. My first two children were had with an epidural. I was never good with pain. I may not have been able to see, but I could feel. I could feel everything. I was on fire, being stabbed with knives, bleeding, screaming, pushing and pleading all at the same time. Suddenly, a new scream. Not mine. A baby’s. It was over. Five minutes. I’ve been with this stranger, this man who had claimed to be a doctor, who had seen everything and pulled me through the most terrifying moment of my life, and he was out in five minutes.

The man pulled the blanket from my legs and covered him in it. “How is he? Is he okay? I want to see him, please!” The man wiped the newborn’s face, and handed him to me. “It’s a girl.” I looked to mom. I was lucky to be spared from the “I-told-you-so’s”, she knew it was not the time. Paradiso still held on to his grandmother for dear life, shaking and crying. “Para? It’s okay.” I soothed. I was exhausted. “Do you want to meet your baby sister?”

 

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