“Ava, it would be far easier if you changed position.” Hanna suggested.
“I’m fine where I am thank you very much!”
“Gravity helps a lot. Lying on a bed only makes things more difficult for you. You’d be best using the squatting bar, I’d highly recommend it.”
“I can’t possibly move right now! Don’t force me!”
“Ava, please listen to Hanna. She’s the professional! Come on, we’ll assist you, don’t you worry. I think it really helped when you walked around the room earlier.”
“You can’t help me, you’re not strong enough Oscar!”
“I’ll be fine.”
Hanna smiled, glancing at both of their anxious faces. “Don’t worry Oscar, I’ll get one of our health care assistants or another midwife to assist.”
Hanna poked her head outside of the room. “Sylvia, are you free?
“Yes of course.”
“We just need a hand for a moment. This is Ava, she’d be best over at the squatting bar.”
Sylvia nodded. “Yeah I agree. Don’t worry Ava, we’re going to help you get off the bed now, that’s it if you just hold our hands and walk very slowly..”
“I don’t think I can walk.”
“Ava, you can do this!” Oscar coaxed.“There that’s it, one gentle step at a time.”
Calmly, they lead a panicky Ava over to the squatting bar. She grasped it tightly.
“Now what on earth do I do?”
“When you feel a contraction coming, you can lean forwards, grab the bar, and pull yourself into a squatting position. You need to push until the contraction is over and then, if it helps, lower yourself back down so you can rest between contractions.”
“I don’t know if I like this! I feel so vulnerable”
Oscar carefully adjusted the hospital gown. “That should help, just give it a chance Ava, gravity will really help.”
“I think another one’s coming.”
“Grab the bar Ava!”
“That’s it and again!”
“Argh! This is the worst thing! Arghhhh! Arghh Jesus Christ! Argh! I want to give in! Shit Oscar!”
“Wh-what? What’s wrong, are you okay?”
“You look ghastly, deathly pale! Oh my lord, you look like- ARGH! Like death.”
“Concentrate on you! Lower yourself into a squatting position and push Ava.”
“Argh! Can’t you see that I’m already trying to do that?! Argh!”
“Focus on your breathing Ava, pant like this.” Hanna demonstrated, Ava copied her reluctantly.
“Oh my God! Hanna is that the head?” Oscar gasped.
“No shit sherlock!” Ava snapped abandoning her breathing exercise.
Hanna checked. “Yes, the baby’s head is crowning.”
“I think it has a really good head of hair!”
“Oscar stop looking!” Ava gasped “ARGH!”
“Come on Ava!”
“That’s it Ava. Push again when you feel the next contraction. That’s brilliant! Here’s the head.”
“Argh! You can see it properly?”
“Amazing Ava.” Oscar grinned.
“Well done Ava, wait for the next contraction, don’t push until you feel it coming.”
“I am waiting! It’s here! Argh!”
“The head’s crowing now! You’re doing very well.”
“Oscar you look so ill! ARGH!”
Oscar placed Ava’s hand in his. “Come on Ava! I think this is it, keep going!.” He peeked quickly, rubbing Ava’s damp back.
“Can’t you see that I’m bloody trying!”
“You’re doing so, so well! You’re amazing! Oh my God, wow! I can see the baby’s face. This is incredible!”
“Stop looking Oscar for Gods Sake! Argh!”
“That’s it Ava!” Hanna coaxed. “You’re so nearly there now. Don’t push again until I tell you, I just need to turn your baby a tiny bit, I’ll do it now. There that’s it. A few more big pushes and we’re there. The baby is doing well, it’s heartbeat is so strong!”
“What? Why aren’t we there yet? Why is everyone talking down to me!”
“Come on Ava!”
“Ava, I just need you to do one more big push and we’re there. Wait for that strong contraction.”
“That’s it! Here we are.”
“Congratulations Mummy and Daddy! You have a baby girl!” She smiled as Oscar assisted an exhausted Ava to lie on the towel draped over the bed. He kissed her sweaty cheek, smoothing back the loose strands of hair stuck to her forehead. He held a cool glass of iced water to her lips, holding Ava to him, his eyes filled with tears, while Hanna wrapped the baby in a navy blue towel, placing her in Ava’s trembling arms. Ava took one glance at her baby girl.
“What the hell is wrong with her face?!”
To be continued…