A sudden scream followed by a long, excruciating moan echoed down the deserted hallway. Lillian peeked out and glanced up and down. She wasn’t sure why she felt she had to check every time (she knew the building was deserted and had been for some time) but she did regardless. She looked back into the dimly lit room, worry creasing her forehead. Becca had been laboring for so long already. She wasn’t sure if she would make it to the end.
Becca Adamson lay against the pillow, silent. Sweat dripped off her face and her body was limp with exhaustion. Her massive belly pushed through the light gown she had thrown on, the bulk straining against the fabric. The gown was soaked as well. Lillian wondered if anyone had thought to bring a change of clothes for her.
Becca’s husband, Jason, sat at her side clenching his wife’s small hand within his. Each time a contraction hit he would hold on, trying to give her the desperately needed strength to continue. Worry lined his face as well and the deep circles under his eyes darkened with every passing hour.
Another contraction brought Becca upright. She bore down and tried to push as hard as she could. Her efforts made little impact. Lillian could see the concern in the doctor’s tired eyes. Everyone had been awake for almost 36 hours, watching and waiting for Becca to give birth.
Becca collapsed again into the mountain of pillows. She gasped and cried in pain.
“I…can’t…do…this…oh God, someone…make it stop. Make it STOP!”
Becca sat motionless in the doctor’s small sterile office. She hunched her shoulders and tried to ignore what he was telling her but the sound of his voice persisted and she looked up.
“I know it’s difficult to hear, Mrs. Adamson. But there is no changing a biological fact. Even if you did qualify for a license, the chance of becoming pregnant and going to term is slim to none. I’m sorry. I wish there was something I could do.”
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she began to sob.
Lillian moved closer to the doctor and leaned in close.
“Do you think you will need to do a c-section?”
The doctor glanced at her. He thought for a moment before answering.
“I don’t want to. This isn’t the best of circumstances and I don’t have what I need. Only if the life of the child or the mother is in danger will I consider it. It’s been a long labor but I’ve been involved in longer and the baby eventually felt it was time to come out.” He turned to Becca. “With the next contraction I want you to give it everything you have, alright Becca? Your baby wants to meet you, I’m sure of it. One more really good push, okay?”
“Nooooooo…” Becca moaned softly. She reached out blindly in front of her. “Momma? I need you momma. Where are you?”
Jason’s face went whiter and he reached to take Becca’s other hand.
“It’s okay, darling. I’m here and Lily is here. You don’t need to be afraid.”
Silent tears snaked down Becca’s cheeks. Lillian felt that at some level she knew her mother wasn’t there but she wasn’t in the frame of mind to fully comprehend it. Suddenly her face twisted and a sudden cry escaped her lips. The doctor leaped forward and checked her dilation.
“Remember what I said, Becca. This is it. Push! Push hard!”
Becca’s mouth clamped shut and she closed her eyes tight. Lillian could see the strain she was putting her body through. She gasped and took a breath before trying to push again.
She stared unseeing at the small plastic tube in her hand. How could this be? It was impossible. She felt herself sink down against the bathroom wall onto the floor. Her entire body began to tremble. She wasn’t sure if it was fear or excitement.
The two faint pink lines denied the truth that had been thrown into her face for the past five years. For her entire life, really.
She was pregnant.
“I’m here, Becca. Hold onto me, use my strength. You can do this.”
Lillian grasped Becca’s other hand and held on tight. She could feel the warmth flowing from her into Becca. As it reached Becca’s face she seemed to grow stronger. She pushed a third time with every ounce of strength she had remaining. Lillian felt sure that if the baby didn’t come with this effort, all would be lost.
The doctor let out a whoop, “I can see the head! Come on Becca! One more. One more and you get to meet your baby!”
With super human effort Becca pushed for a fourth and final time. Lillian leaned closer to see and was amazed at the power of the human body. The baby slid out effortlessly into the doctor’s waiting hands. With a quick swipe of the mouth and nose a loud protesting cry burst forth.
Jason burst into tears at the sound of his child’s cries and collapsed at the side of the bed. Lillian rushed to him and helped him into a chair before bringing a blanket over to the doctor.
“What is it? A boy or a girl?” she asked.
“Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Adamson. You have a beautiful little girl.”
Becca began to cry freely.
“Oh my God. Oh my God. Please, give her to me. I have to know she is real. I have to know what she feels like, smells like. Oh God, help me.”
The doctor softly placed the swaddled little bundle into Becca’s arms. She gently pulled back the blanket to stare at her daughter’s perfect little face. The wisps of hair curling about her head were pitch black and her skin had taken on a rosy hew. The delicate, practically transparent eyelids were closed but opened suddenly as Becca tenderly stroked a fingertip lightly along her daughter’s cheek. The irises were a striking emerald green that shocked Becca for a moment. And then she met her daughter’s gaze.
It was as if an invisible wire linked them together, body, mind and soul. Becca felt herself drowning in her child’s liquid gaze. Her heart clenched and she gripped her baby tightly. For the first time in her life she felt total and complete love for another being.
“I’m here,” she whispered to the tiny baby. “No matter what, I will protect you. No one will take you from me.”
Jason leaned down to brush a kiss along his wife’s forehead. Tears welled in his eyes again as he gazed at his daughter fully for the first time. The baby shifted her gaze towards her father and the same connection was made. He smiled and brushed a kiss on her cheek as well.
Lillian watched silently, letting the new family bond. She moved towards the window and stared out into the night. Everything had changed now. Her Fate was inexplicably tied to this young family and she was determined to help them however she could. Softly, almost under her breath, she asked,
“What is her name?”
Becca looked up at Lilian’s voice. Smiling she whispered,
“Elle. Her name is Elle.”
This post was written as part of the Red Writing Hood. The prompt was all about love this week. Write a short first-person story about your first love, or write a short fiction piece about a character’s first love.
If you want to read more about these characters, check out my latest Mama Kat post here