Chapter 25 - Zoe
By the time we arrived at the hospital, the pain had worsened. I could hear other women howling through their pain in the adjoining rooms. Jesper looked concerned as he spoke to the midwife.
“She isn’t due for another month, what’s going on?”
He spoke English for my benefit. We’d chosen an English-speaking hospital so that I could understand what was going on.
“Sometimes women can go into early labour, it is rare, but it happens. She is in safe hands.”
A searing pain pulsated through my cervix. I let out a primal groan and had a sudden urge to push. Jesper’s handheld mine firmly as he consoled me.
“I’m here, I’m here. Everything is going to be alright.”
“Her contractions are every 3 minutes.” A hand reached inside me. “Best wheel her into the delivery room.”
My body was ripping apart, I was sure of it. My skin tensed with blistering heat. I couldn’t believe my mother went through this on her own.
“Zoe, we are going to give you some gas and air for the pain, but we don’t have time for an epidural. Your baby is on its way now.”
A mask was placed across my mouth, and I began to suck in the medicated air. Again. Again. Again. My mind fogged and my body softened, just a little. I don’t know how long I zoned in and out of pain and lucidity. All sense of time blended into one moment of torment. A midwife finally came to my aid.
“Zoe, you’re going to have to start pushing, okay? On the next contraction, I want you to push down.”
My legs were spread eagle in stirrups, and I wondered where Jesper was stood.
I grunted his name through gritted teeth, “Jesper?”
He spoke from the left side of my head, “I’m here, you can do this.”
Lightning rods tore through me once more, and I pushed hard. Waves of nausea and aching consumed my body.
“I can’t…do this. I’m not strong enough,” I sobbed.
“Yes, you are. You have overcome so much in your life, you can do this. Do this for Grace. Do this for me. Do this for our baby, Zoe.”
Another contraction raged inside of me. I gripped the sides of the bed and pushed harder this time. I kept pushing, not breathing, not thinking, just pushing.
“That’s it, Zoe, I can see the head. One more push.”
“You are doing so great.”
I was exhausted. I didn’t know how to muster any more strength. When the next contraction struck, I willed every last ounce of energy that I had and pushed. A carousel of people came into vision, my mother, Vivienne, my father. Anger and frustration flooded through me, helping me to keep on fighting.
Then I felt it, my baby leaving me. Searing heat morphed into exhilaration. People rushed around in a blur, talking fast. “It’s a baby girl! Congratulations.”
A baby girl. My baby girl. I could hear her tiny, piercing cries in the distance. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I was slipping away. Beeping, such loud beeping.
As I let my body sink away, I heard them shouting over and over, “She’s haemorrhaging!”