The Baby [Short Story]

[NOTE: this was a short story that was focused on a real event, using real characters, it was for an assignment looking at reality and characterisation. I focused it on an event, an experience of a mother towards the birth of her baby. It is personal because it was mine]

Henry was born almost 8 weeks early; waters had gone around him, but his mothers’ body would not contract to push him out. A week of hospital visits, scans and then his mother went in as he had stopped kicking as much. She had two hours of tests, fluids and had to move over several times, but the machine showed that he had not kicked that much, though he had kicked. After the tests, she was quickly pumped full of medicines and led to surgery.

All the surgeons surrounded her, as her body was so heavy with the epidural that she could not move. She had one surgeon with a distinct calming accent telling her that it would be okay. Her husband could not be with her, as he was outside with their other baby, so this surgeon took over the role of helping her remain calm and reassuring her. More medicine was administered to stop her vomiting, as the rest of the drugs had caused severe dry mouth.

As she waited, she felt tugging “wow, as you can see, he was detached and came out in the caul, if we move this, you can see her bladder” she could feel them staring at the open wound, then a splash, and caught a glimpse as they ran her son out of the theatre. In her mind, she felt a sense of relief, he was not small, he was big and long for being so early. She felt in her heart that he would be okay. But she had not heard a cry.

He was born September 14th 2014, 14/9/14. Her babies had a way of coming out with their birthdays reflecting two numbers the same, her other child was born 7th july 2013, or 7/7/13. To her, she felt this meant that they would always be lucky.

She was quickly stitched up and led out into a room, wheeled by a nurse as she lay flat in a hospital bed. Her husband joined her with their eldest baby, and said how disappointed that he couldn’t be there to see their child born, how he wished he had got a photo of it. She smiled and said that she only came in for a check up, otherwise she would have worn something other than her most comfortable ugly pregnancy pyjamas (though nothing else fit right). Every time a nurse popped by, she would ask about her son. One nurse candidly revealed “when he was born, he wasn’t breathing or moving, but he was resuscitated and is now in special care baby unit, he’s getting help with oxygen and getting tests” she was yearning to hold him. Her arms felt empty.

Her head was swimming with the medication, sitting up made her dizzy, her vision go blurry and feel sick. But she hadn’t even seen him yet, everyone said in the evening, “maybe”. So she fought through the feelings, made her body push itself, she even stood up and walked the same day of her surgery and his birth. It took 9 hours after his birth, but she managed to cry and persuade one of them to wheel her down to where she needed to go.

The room was small but there were a few babies. No names on their incubators and placed around the walls. As soon as she was wheeled in, she immediately knew which one was hers, though she had not seen him. This long yet tiny baby with thick dark hair, that even etched down his back. The love she felt made her sob, relief. Finally, they were united, she could see him. Violet lights fell on his skin, he wore a hat and had tubes and wires all over his tiny little body. He was still, but he breathed large gulps of air in steady rhythm. She watched transfixed, not wanting to leave him, though it was time to. “I love you so much, mummy loves you” she sobbed, hand resting on the side of the plastic box.

He stayed in SCUBU for 18 days; he had to learn how to feed, how to sustain his own temperature, he had to learn to cry like a full-term baby. Then he was home. This little baby could finally start his journey. His cry became like a lion’s roar. His hair went from dark to light blonde, his dark eyes turned blue, and he put on weight, growing his own way. Until at 3 years old, he is now stronger than most children his age. His personality is commanding, you have to have eyes on the back of his head. His smile is pure mischief. He and his big brother are inseparable. Henry, named after kings. A king of his mothers’ heart.

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