The Baby Comes
Date Posted: 31st December 2017
Xeladrie been feeling cramps for the past day, but had been told by the Healers it wasn't time yet. A sympathetic midwife had encouraged her to eat and drink more because sometimes it was related to being too hungry. She'd tried that but it hadn't seemed to help much. Instead, she'd just noticed the need to spend more time at the necessary.
Now it was just approaching the lunch candlemark, and Xeladrie had just finished a short walk around the indoor corridors of the Hold, when she felt the liquid run down her leg. She recognized that sensation from when Brylex was born. It spurred her to walk downstairs to the Infirmary. Surely they would say the time was now...
And indeed, after she got there and the midwife examined her, she declared that labor had in fact begun. Xeladrie was offered the choice to birth in the rooms she'd been staying in or stay in the Infirmary. Unable to imagine climbing the stairs again, she chose the Infirmary.
She'd been taken away into a private room. The staff at Turquoise Bay was very efficient with the process. **They'd have to be,** she thought with amusement, knowing how many siblings and cousins she had.
Someone had fetched Ranni for her, and her maid promptly took over keeping things comfortable. She'd been brought as much cool, citron-infused water as she wanted, and she'd wanted a lot. Glimmer had showed up to perch on a table nearby and hum expectantly, and she'd gotten fed.
A stuffed doll had been brought for her as something to cling to. At first she'd disdained it but as the contractions got worse she found holding it to be very therapeutic. Touching the soft, worn fabric and tracing the stitching and patches on it was something she could do to distract herself from her fear.
Xeladrie was terrified. She wasn't afraid of something going wrong in labor. Of the baby or herself dying. She was afraid she'd have a daughter, and have to take her home to Bryvin. What if Kiomo wouldn't be able to come up with a cover to explain the baby's disappearance, or Ranni wouldn't be able to smuggle her out the Hold, or K'dee wouldn't come to pick her up? Her plan to spirit away a daughter had seemed great when she'd talked about it - but there were so many ways for it to go wrong. Someone could fail to do their part. Someone could turn her into her husband.
So she fretted, and worried, and tried playing with the doll and talking to Ranni to pass the time.
The midwife, Cikara, came and checked in on her as the candlemarks passed. Finally the contractions were strong and rapid, it was obvious the baby was coming soon, and when she was dilated, the Master Healer came into the room to help.
She was sweating and on the verge of tears, clutching desperately at the doll. "I want to push," she said, needing this to be over with.
"Go ahead and push," the Healer told her.
Xeladrie took a deep breath, like the midwife had gone over with her, and bore down. Her whole body felt involved in the act of pushing. She was rigid and silent at parts, loudly panting and crying at others. She just needed the baby out. This needed to be done.
Finally, finally, it was done. She felt the baby slip out of her body. She was so exhausted by the labor that she collapsed back against the pillows and gasped. She was tired. Everything hurt. Everything hurt a lot. She couldn't remember if having Brylex hurt like this.
The midwife was doing something between her legs, she didn't know what.
The Healer stepped back from between her legs, cradling the child. He turned and laid the baby on a table, doing something she couldn't see from where she was. After a few moments, a thin cry split the air from the table, and the Healer turned back. "It's a girl," he said.
**No!** Xeladrie thought, wanting to protest, to scream. She sat upright and then her vision went grey and fuzzy.
"She's bleeding badly," the midwife reported with concern.
"Let me see," the Healer said, before swearing vehemently. "Get fellis," he ordered.
"What's happening?" Xeladrie mumbled.
"There was a tear when the baby came out. We're going to fix it. It's okay, your baby is safe and you'll see her soon, when you wake up," the midwife said in her most soothing tone. "I'll take your baby to get milk and she'll be all right."
Another Healer with journeyman knots handed her a cup. "Drink this," he said, holding it to her lips.
Scared, confused, and hurting, Xeladrie complied. The bitter drink in the cup did its work quickly. She saw Ranni and the midwife being herded out the door, she left the Healer move back into position between her legs and speak to his assistant, and then the tiredness was overwhelming and she fell into sleep.
Last updated on the January 1st 2018