Oscar marched outside, sitting on one of the benches. Who to call? He scrolled down his contacts. Daisy,yes, why not.
“Hi Daisy, I was just ringing you quickly to see how you are.”
“Me? Oh fine, I’m coming out of hospital for a bit in a couple of days.”
“Ah that’s great, I’m glad to hear it. How do you feel?”
“Much better actually, like you, I’m doing well.”
“He- he’s not so good Oscar I’m afraid. He wouldn’t mind me telling you this. Well, he’s not responding to the Chemotherapy as well as they’d like, so they’re keeping him in longer.”
“Oh, poor guy. I want to see him at some point, I don’t know when.
“He’d like that.”
“Ava’s in labour.”
“What? That soon?”
“How’s she coping?”
“Oh dear. Well, don’t listen to anything she says. My Mum gave my Dad hell when she was giving birth to me. No joke, she called him every name under the sun, or so he told me!”
“Yeah, well my Dad found it quite funny luckily, but like I said, laugh it off and keep encouraging her like I’m sure you’re already doing. Hopefully I’ll see you soon! I’d best let you go, how are you feeling in yourself?”
“Very tired, but I’m trying not to dwell on it. Ava needs all the support she can get.”
“I’m sure you’re giving her all the reassurance she needs.”
Okay Daisy. Well, it was lovely to talk to you.”
“We’ll speak soon, now get yourself back inside!”
“Yes I better had!”
“See you Oscar and good luck.”
Oscar walked back inside. Ava glanced at him. “Thank God you’re back! They’ve just checked me, I’m more dilated now 8 cm Hanna said it’s a centimetre more than the last time. It might only be another couple of hours now!”
“See! All your hard work has been worthwhile.”
“Are you being sarcastic?”
“No, no. Keep going, you’re doing fine Ava, amazingly well in fact.” He stroked her damp forehead, kissing the cloud of mousy brown hair scattered upon her pillows.
“I barely have any energy left! How can I be doing well?”
“Remember what I said about conserving energy.”
“What’s the use? If I need to scream, I need to scream! Where’s my gas and air?”
“We’ve already explained that it’s too early Ava. It will make you really woozy.”
“Stop talking down to me like I’m a child!”
“Ava, I wasn’t. I understand that it’s hard but..”
“Don’t you dare suggest that I’m being a diva! I’m no more one than you are. I’m not the one who goes around f-“
“Fainting in hospital corridors? In all fairness, if you’d just been diagnosed with cancer, you might have passed out too! Just focus on you okay, keep going, go with the flow. No one said that you were over reacting.”
Hanna wandered past the door, overhearing the conversation.
“Now Ava? Are you comfortable enough? Can I get you anything? I’m going to do your obs again soon, it might be helpful to walk around with us again.”
“You can hurry up and get this bloody baby out of me!”
“They will, when it’s ready Ava. Shh now, relax, that’s it.”
“Arghhh! Oh God.” Ava grasped Oscar, clenching her hand tightly around his arm, digging her painted fingernails into his skin. He startled.
“Please release your grip, it’s really hurting. Here, hold onto the bed head or cot sides instead.” Oscar gently prised Ava’s fingers from his arm, rubbing it gently.
“For a moment I thought I was going to lose my arm!” He laughed.
“Piss off Oscar! You’re always thinking about yourself! Number one in your life is you! Arrrgh! I swear this baby wants to come but it can’t. It must be stuck! Why isn’t it here yet?”
Oscar opened the new packet of wipes on the table, running a few under the cold tap. He returned to Ava, dabbing her burning brow and neck.
“Here this might help a little bit Ava.”
“Hmm, yes that’s better.” She mumbled. “Much better, please keep going, I think I have a temperature.”
“I’m glad it helps.”
“Are you being a sarcastic git again?! If you are, you can piss off now. I don’t need you here!”
“I’m very rarely sarcastic Ava.”
“ARGHHHH! That was a massive contraction! Surely I must be ready now? I must.”
Hanna checked “8.5 cm. We need you to be about 10, you should be there in about another hour or so.”
“Another hour! You have got to be kidding! I don’t have enough energy, this is so ridiculous. This better be so, so worth it!”
“Ava, you’re grabbing onto my arm again!”
“Oh you and your bloody arm! Give me gas and air!”
Hanna nodded. “No problem.”
“How do I use this thing?”
“ Ava, It might make you feel sick, so just go carefully.”
“I’m in agony, I’ll take as much as I want Oscar thanks very much! Argh!”
“Shh Ava, rest your head back. That’s it.” Oscar sipped gently on some water, trying to take the edge off the nauseous feeling within his stomach. He glanced at Ava, who pressed the side of her face onto the pillow, sucking heavily on the nitrous oxide.
To be continued…