If you’re new here, start with Part I.
Katy walked out of the hospital into the quiet evening and looked up into the sky. It wasn’t as cold as it had been the last few days and clouds slowly paused over the quarter moon. Her breath still formed small clouds and hung in the air, but not for as long as it had two nights ago. She tucked her purse firmly under her arm and headed off down the block. It was a pleasant walk to her car now that she wasn’t nervous.
As she stepped from the snowy path from the sidewalk onto the road to walk to her car, her foot suddenly slipped from under her and she was on the ground before she knew what had happened. She must have hit her back hard because it was throbbing. She moaned and rolled to her side. She pushed her upper body up so she was sitting. Just then, a strong contraction surged across her entire abdomen and ripped into her back.
“Ohhhhhhh,” she moaned in a low voice, closing her eyes.
Suddenly, an elderly couple was standing beside her.
“You okay, dear?” the old lady asked, trying to lean down as far as she could.
“No,” she began with, not really sure how she was feeling. Maybe this was nothing new. Maybe it would settle down if she rested. “Yes. I don’t know, I think I’m fine. I just need to get up and go sit in my car. Can you help me?”
“We’ll do what we can,” the lady said.
Katy turned herself onto her hands and knees and by putting one arm on the bumper of her car and the elderly couple each holding onto her other arm, she managed to climb onto her feet.
“Thank you, thank you,” she said breathlessly. She fumbled in her purse searching for her keys and saw them lying on the ground.
“Please, can you pick them up?” How funny was this, a nine month pregnant woman getting help from a little old lady and her husband. The old lady pushed the keys over to her husband with her foot. He reached down slowly and picked them up with one hand leaning on her car. He handed her the keys.
“Thank you again. You are too kind.” She leaned against the car as another contraction ripped through her belly. She held in the moan this time, then walked slowly to her driver’s side, opened the door and sat down.
“You sure you’re okay? Is there someone I can call for you?” The little old lady peered down ever so slightly. She wasn’t much taller than the roof of the car.
“Yeah, ummm, hang on.” Another contraction. That was three in just a few minutes. Should she go back into the hospital?
“Yeah, I’ll call my friend.” Just as she pulled out her phone she felt something warm between her legs. The door was still open so the light in her car was on and she looked down. A tiny dark puddle was forming. “I think my water just broke,” she said loudly, but the elderly couple had started to walk away.
“Excuse me,” she called after them. She was trying not to panic. “I’d appreciate it ever so much if you could help me again?” A contraction ripped through her, stronger than the last and she couldn’t keep her groans inside of her.
The couple turned around and slowly walked back towards her.
“I think I’m in labour. Can you drive me to the hospital?” She groaned and bent over the steering wheel. Once the contraction passed, she got into the backseat, leaving the keys in the ignition. She had a blanket in the back which she tossed onto the driver’s seat so the man wouldn’t have to get wet too.
“Sorry,” she panted. “I couldn’t help it.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll get you there.” The old lady sat down in the passenger seat and she held up Katy’s purse.
“Who should I call?”
“Black. Business. Card.” She panted. Julia’s business card was the first one in her wallet.
The man cautiously put the car into drive and drove around the block and up to the ER entrance. The lady was on the phone but Katy was concentrating all her energy on not freaking out. This was not supposed to be happening now!
“Yes, she’s in labour. Can you come? Yes, St. Boniface Hospital. You’re welcome. Good bye.”
The old man stopped the car and turned it off. “Here we are. I’ll go get a wheel chair. Mable, you stay here with her. The keys are in your purse. Oh wait, I’ll have to go park the car again.”
A minute later, a nurse from the ER was standing beside the open backdoor of the car with a wheelchair. She reached in and grabbed Katy’s hand. “Come on, let’s bring you up to L and D.”
Katy was shaking by now and covered in sweat. Contractions seemed to be coming every two minutes now and they were lasting longer. With each one, a little gush of fluid would wet her sweatpants. She managed to climb into the chair with some help and allowed herself to be wheeled into the elevator and up to the labour and delivery floor without looking around. She had been on this same route just over an hour ago, but this time, it wasn’t a test run. There was no time to be scared now, she told herself. This was the real thing.
The nurse pushed her into the same curtained area she had left not even twenty minutes earlier. The bed was already made up with fresh sheets.
“Candy’ll be surprised to see you. She’ll be here in a few minutes. Get undressed…you know the drill.” The nurse helped her out of the wheelchair and scooted out, closing the curtain behind her. Katy slowly pulled off her jacket and clothes but she had no energy to put them in the bag on the chair. She took her time undressing and slipping into the hospital gown. When she looked at her underwear and saw blood, she started panicking.
“Nurse, nurse!” she called. “Nurse, help!” She tried to stand up but another contraction hit her hard and she sat down on her bed and doubled over. She heard the curtain rustle open.
“Katy, it’s me. Don’t worry, I’m here.” She immediately recognized Tyler’s voice. He quickly went around behind her and massaged her back firmly from her shoulders all the way down to her low back. “Drop your shoulders and breathe. There you go, just like that. Better?” She felt him tying up her hospital gown.
She nodded and started crying. “Why, why are you here?”
“Some old lady called me from your phone and said you were in labour.” He came around and knelt down on the cold, hard floor in front of her. “I was close by. Got here in like two minutes. How long have you been in here? What happened?”
She shook her head. “I don’t know. I was here but it was too soon so I went back to my car and I fell and now there’s blood.” She pointed at her underwear lying on top of her clothes, not even thinking he might be grossed out.
“Okay, it’s okay. You’re at the hospital. I’ll wait for your next contraction and then I’ll get the nurse, okay?”
She nodded. “Please don’t leave. I’m scared.”
“I know you are, but you can do this. Trust your body.” He grabbed her sweaty hands in his dry, cool hands and squeezed them hard. “Look at me, girl.”
She looked up at him, tears streaming down her face. She must look a mess but she didn’t care.
“You can do this,” he said slowly, his chocolate brown eyes so calm and reassuring. She squeezed her eyes shut and another contraction grabbed her. Tyler quickly got up and went around to firmly massage her back, talking gently the whole time.
After it had passed, he squeezed her shoulders and said, “Good job. Now, hang tight. I’ll get the nurse.”
Within a minute, Tyler was back with Candy.
“So sorry, Katy, it seems that everyone’s suddenly in labour. An hour ago it was quiet, then Boom! Everyone’s having a baby! Oh, blood here? That looks about normal. I don’t think it’s your placenta. I’ll get the doctor in as soon as he’s available.” Another contraction started and Candy stood back and watched as Tyler went to massage Katy’s back again.
When it had passed, she said, “Looks like you’re in good hands here. Good thing I sent you out to go get him, huh? Here, back on with the monitors. Up into bed. Once we have a good reading you can sit up again, okay?” Katy nodded and obeyed the nurse. She was already exhausted and labour had hardly begun.
Five minutes later, Candy brought a different doctor through her curtain and Katy breathed a sigh of relief. The doctor looked at her chart and the monitor readings and gently pressed on Katy’s belly. Then she took a look under the sheets. “Fluid’s clear, looks good. I don’t think there’s any placental abruption here. You fell outside?”
Katy nodded and curled up onto her side. Lying flat on her back was so uncomfortable.
“Hmmmm, okay, well, we’ll keep a close eye on things, but don’t worry, we know what to look for. You notice any more blood, you let us know right away. A little blood is normal. A lot is not good but we’ll give you an epidural, just in case.”
“I…I’d rather not.”
“Well, in case we need to do a cesarean, it’s best.”
Katy turned to look at Tyler. Julia had drilled it into her head that she shouldn’t have any drugs and rather than do her own research, she had blindly believed her. Now she wished she had looked into it herself.
“Your call. Whatever you want. It’s your body, your baby.” Tyler nodded his head to remind her, You’ve got this.
“I’ll skip it. I want to labour naturally.”
“Okay, but put it on the record that I advised you to do it. Now, I’m going to do a quick internal and see where we’re at. On your back, drop open your knees.” This time, the doctor was much more discreet which Katy appreciated, especially with Tyler being in the room. He stood at the foot of the bed, holding her hand and pressing a dry cloth on her forehead. She couldn’t stop looking at his eyes. There was so much strength and peace in them and she needed every ounce she could get. She felt the doctor bring her knees together and cover up her legs.
“We’re at five centimetres, fully effaced, zero station,” she said to Candy. “You’ve probably got about five hours of labour in front of you. Sure you don’t want that epidural?”
Katy nodded, taking her eyes off of Tyler for a few seconds to look at the Doctor.
“Okay, call us if you need us. Red button. And move her into a private room.” She pointed to the wall behind Katy’s head and Tyler nodded.
“Thank you,” he reached out his hand to shake the Doctor’s.
“You’re the father?” the Doctor asked.
“No, not really. Just her birth coach.”
“Sounds good. We all need a good birth coach.” A contraction swept over Katy and she curled up on her side and let go of Tyler’s hand. Tyler stood up and worked on her back.
Candy handed her a cup of ice chips and unhooked the monitors. Then a short trip down the hall in a wheelchair found them in a bigger room with far more privacy, her very own bathroom, and an empty basinnet standing off to the side.
“You’re doing good, darling,” she said patting Katy on the shoulder mid-contraction. “Keep at it. If you can, get up and move around. Even to pee. It helps a lot.”
Thanks for reading! Part 13 will be up tomorrow!