“I’m not sure. When I found her she was burning up.”
Laura struggled to focus on the voices floating through the air above her. It sounded like Beth but who was she speaking to? A murmur and Beth spoke again.
“Soon, I guess? She hasn’t been able to have proper doctor care…”
Laura felt herself floating. A tightening sensation around her fingers lifted. She forced her eyes open to see Beth peering down at her.
“I’m here Laura. Okay? We’re at the hospital. You’re sick.” Fear pinched Beth’s face. “Can you hear me?” Her face disappeared from Laura’s field of vision but the tightening returned around her fingers. Laura squeezed back.
“The doctors need to check you, make sure the baby is okay…Laura?”
Agonizing pain raged through Laura’s body as her lower body became drenched in fluid. She screamed as a vice clamped down on her abdomen. A man in a white coat was by her side, hands pressed along her belly.
“Her water has broken, she’s in labor.” The doctor turned to Beth. “You’ll need to step out of the room, Miss.”
“No!” Laura croaked, tightening her grip on Beth’s hand. The nurse stepped in and took Laura’s other hand.
“There there, dear. You’ll be fine. Let’s have this baby and your sister can come right back, okay.” Her soothing voice blanketed Laura in a sense of calm. She felt Beth’s fingers slip free.
Another contraction stole Laura’s attention away from Beth’s retreating figure. She cried out, her body twisting and contorting on the bed. Another nurse took hold of her free hand while a third positioned her feet into stirrups at the end of the bed. A flurry of activity swirled about her but Laura could only think of the pain ripping through her. As the pain ebbed away she felt herself sliding away. At the edge of consciousness she could hear the voices, distant and removed, discuss her as if she wasn’t there.
“She has a fever.”
“Start a saline drip”
“Contractions less than a minute apart.”
“The baby is crowning.”
Through it all the pain was unending. Laura struggled to stay focused on the here and now but her mind kept drifting. To memories of Beth, of her mother, of Isabelle…but mostly Aidan.
“Ai-i-i-i-i-d-a-a-a-a-a-a-n!” Her scream echoed in the stark hospital room coupled with a loud tearing noise and then an ear piercing shriek.
“Congratulations. It’s a girl.” The nurse brought forth a bloody mess wrapped in a sterile white blanket. In a fever induced haze Laura stared uncomprehendingly at this squirming mass presented to her. A tiny face screwed up in anger, miniscule fists shaking, and lungs that could put an opera singer to shame.
The eyes opened and locked onto Laura’s own. She felt herself begin to shake as the fever clamped down and then everything went black.
This follows Sinking in Oblivion. I’m just making assumptions but I doubt this was the face-to-face Laura expected with her new baby