“C’mon, Rosie. You can do it. Breathe.”
Rosie huffed out clouds of frustration until it passed. I reclaimed my aching, as-good-as- numb hand and reached forward to brush her sweat-soaked chestnut bangs off her forehead. She glanced and sent me a small smile.
Taken by yet another wave, we repeated the drill. We’d been at it for hours.
“Breathe, baby girl. I know you can do this.”
Labor can be an on-again, off-again thing and this little guy was playing molto fast and loose with his arrival time. Sometimes he wanted to be here gangbusters; others, not so much. It was driving his parents round the twist. I, representing mother in the room, was simply required to be present to whatever happened.
Rosie and Jase were lovely people, both yoga teachers in their early thirties, who had been friends for a long time before one day something shifted and they fell truly, madly, deeply and still were. This child of theirs, a boy, was made in pure love, and they wanted him to get here already. Truth be told, so did I.
We were in a birthing room in a wonderful suburban hospital near Boston, and had been for what, at that point, felt like lifetimes. It hadn’t been, but it had been close to two whole days. We’d seen two nursing shifts twice. That seemed like a long time to be in labor.
Panting, she grimaced my way. Rosie had been in active, and inactive, labor for over forty hours—a whole work week, I thought to myself somewhat deliriously.
She relinquished my battered hand, and drew a ragged breath. “I am going to kill him. Kill him dead if he ever, ever suggests having sex again.”
Another contraction forced her exhale. Good thing her husband, Jase, had stepped out for a breather. Although, I’d heard that other about-to-be-new-moms had also made this particular Lysistratan threat.
Ziesl, the nurse in the room, chuckled. “You say that now, Rosie, but wait till you want another one.” She finished recording vitals in her iPad and laughingly sashayed out the door in her Hunny Jar yellow Winnie-the-Pooh scrubs, waving away Rosie’s ever more colorful language.
“Oh, no,” swore Rosie, “he’s on his own if he wants another one.” She sounded like the North Wind as she panted into the excruciating pain. “He can,” whoosh, “bloody well,” whoosh, “do this part,” whoosh, “himself,” whoosh, “next time!”
I kept my silence, knowing full well that Rosie wanted two children, and this was her first. Do the math, precious, I thought.
I said to Rosie, “Baby girl, godmother has to pee.”
“Now?” she said plaintively.
“At least twice every twelve hours,” I said asking permission.
“Go if you must,” she granted regally, smiling in apology for her bad humor. I didn’t blame her.
Washing my hands in the tiny loo attached to Rosie’s room, I prayed that my mangled right hand would hold out until her son was born.
The circles under my eyes drew my attention. Less circles, more like Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bags. I appeared much the worse for wear, and I wasn’t used to that. I was accustomed to being the prettiest girl in the room—even at my age. Wise, wide-set green eyes stared unblinkingly at me right above those Bags. My lipstick was perfect. How could it not be? It wouldn’t dare. I’m a femme.
Femme lipstick is always perfect unless some Tall, Dark and Handsome butch kisses it off. A wave of longing rippled through my womb.
My ever-reminding conscience weighed in. Verity!
Hmm? I quirked a silent eyebrow.
Now is NOT the time!
“Of course not,” I murmured. It hadn’t been ‘the time’ for eleven years. But when will it be ‘the time?’
Rosie screeched. “Godmother!”
I was back on duty.
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