Tea Leaves and Sapphire Earrings

Labor, Horrors, and New Era

Match Thirty-Two: Labor, Horrors, and New Era:

-Ju-

My water just broke! I was in bed when it happened. I was just tired and wanted to sleep. Little Bean wouldn’t let me rest last night. Yao did his best to tend to me. He ran me a bath and played calming music. It had worked for the most part.

Then Little Bean decided it was time to be born.

Just as I had settle into bed, I felt a sharp pain to my abdomen. I winced as I grabbed my stomach. Then something wet ran down my leg.

“Yao! Yao!” I screamed. Another wave of pain shot through my body. Footsteps raced up the stairs. I looked up to see the door bursting open.

“What’s wrong?!” Yao shouted. “What’s happened?!”

“My water just broke!” I cried. He leapt up into panic.

“Can you move?” he asked.

“No!” I shouted. “Another shot of pain struck me.”

“Okay, okay!” Yao said. “Hang on!” He ran to the nightstand and picked up the phone. I turned my head, wincing. Little Bean was ready to come out. Yao was on the phone calling up the rest of the clan. He had to try and pulled me out of bed to the best of his ability. Yao draped a coat over my shoulders.

“The others are on their way,” he whispered. I nodded as I clutched my stomach. He had to walk me down the stairs step by step.

“Are you okay?” Yao whispered in my ear.

“No!” I said. I whimpered pain.

“Okay, stay with me,” he said. My mind was too focused on the pain. Were there always been this many stairs? Fei and Hen-to were waiting downstairs for us. They looked so far down.

“How is she?” Hen-to asked.

“Ow!” I screamed. I tried to hold my coat closed while clutching my stomach. Couldn’t Little Bean wait a moment?

“We’ve got you,” Fei said. “Come here.” They helped me down the last step. The whole time, I felt my water running down my leg.

Bik and Cai already sat in the car waiting. They helped me inside.

“Take deep breaths,” Bik said in my ear. I started to breathe in heavily. The men climbed into the front seat. Hen-to was the one to drive us to the hospital.


We made it to the hospital about ten at night. I didn’t know. The pain was getting worse. That drive went on for hours. The traffic didn’t help either. Bik and Cai talked to me the whole time.

“Don’t forget to breathe,” Bik said.

“I’m going to die!” I cried. Cai stroked my hair.

“You’re not going to die,” she said. “We’re going to get you help.” They walked me up to the front desk.

“Doctor!” Yao shouted. “We need help! The baby’s coming!” That was enough to get the nurses and doctors to come aid us. They came out with the stretcher. I wouldn’t let go of Yao’s hand. The pain only grew worse.

“I don’t want to die,” I whispered.

“You won’t,” he whispered. He kissed me on the lips as I lay back on the stretcher. Tears filled my eyes. My husband smiled down at me as we disappeared down the hall.


The lights blinked overhead. I screamed in pain as the nurses kept talking to me.

“You’re doing well, Mrs. Wang. Hang in there.”

I wouldn’t let go of Yao’s hand. I’m sure he tried to comfort me as we were rushed back to the room. From there, it all disappears in a blur.

Looking back, I don’t know if these next few hours were normal. It might have just been in my head due to the pain. The drugs made it that much worse.

First came the whispering. I couldn’t tell if it was the nurses or someone else. Their words didn’t come out clearly either.

“Yao! Yao!” I shouted.

“I’m right here,” he said. His voice sounded so far away. I could see him running with me. The nurse wiped the sweat off my forehead. I don’t know when we got into the room. Little Bean was really trying to come out now. The doctor was the last one to enter the room.

“Stay with us, dear,” Yao said. He kissed me on the forehead. A nurse looked down at me.

“She’s crowning!” she said.

“What?” I asked. The doctor rushed over to me. They started talking over me but I could barely make out what they were saying. There came that damned whispering again. That’s when my mind went into a strange place.

I started hearing thunder from outside. When did it start storming? They said it was going to be a clear night tonight. My mind kept going back to that Mayfair woman.

“I will come back for your son when the time is right.”

My son? How would she even know what I was having? Yao and I took care not to find out until this moment. Until now, I had my eyes shut.

“Push! Push!” the nurses yelled.

“Ow!” Yao shouted. “Dear, you’re going to break my hand!” I could barely hear them. My body acted on its own. I started to push and the pain grew worse.

“I’m going to die!” I screamed.

“You’re going to,” a doctor said a in calm voice. “You’re doing good, Mrs. Wang. Keep pushing.” Was I screaming? I couldn’t tell anymore. This felt like it was taking forever. Within this endless sea of pain, I felt like someone was watching me. I peeked out through one eye.

There she was.

Ms. Mayfair stood in the corner, staring at me. Her eyes locked on my child’s head. (The nurses said that they could see the head at some point. I think that’s what they said.) No… Stay away from me. Stay away! Stay away! Her smile made my heart pound against my chest.

“Oh no! She’s under stress!” a nurse shouted.

“What?” Yao asked. They started talking again. What? What’s going on? I don’t like this. I’m fine! I’m fine! Am I going to die? I don’t want to die! I closed my eyes and started crying. This was it. This was going to be the end of me. I’m going to die here today. I’m sorry everyone. I’m sorry Yao. I’m so sorry, Little Bean.

But suddenly, I felt a hand on my head. I paused as I looked up. A small child floated over me. I couldn’t see any facial features. Only the shape of a four-year-old’s body. For some reason, I felt myself calming down. The child only said one thing to me.

“Don’t worry, Mama. I won’t let anyone hurt you. I won’t let you die.”

And just like that, I had calmed down. The fear and the panic of Ms. Mayfair had faded away. It all came together with one more push.


On October thirteenth, 2015, my son was born at six in morning. The nurses cleaned him off and handed him to me.

“He’s such a beautiful boy,” she whispered. I lifted my head in a tired way.

“Can I hold him?” I asked. The nurse broke into a huge smile.

“Of course you can,” she said. She handed me my son. The first to cross my mind was he had such a round face. Are babies always this pink when they’re born?

“Are they always this pink when they are born?” I asked. Yao sat beside me, looking at our baby boy.

“Sometimes,” he said. I remembered hearing Little Bean crying when he was born. Right now, he was calm in my arms.

“Have you thought of a name yet?” the nurse asked. Yao and I looked up at her.

“Yes,” I said. The nurse pulled out her pen from behind her ear.

“What is his name?” she asked. I broke into a big smile.

“Wang Jing,” I said. I looked up at Yao.

“That sounds good to me,” he said.

“Wang Jing,” the nurse said as wrote down our son’s name. I could feel myself smiling. This peace wasn’t going to last. But I could enjoy this moment with my dear husband and darling Jing. My baby felt so soft and warm in my arms. He looked so peaceful in the middle of the storm that could be coming for us.

In a way, I envied him.

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