Copyright© 2011 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
At the instant that Simon told me Stella had gone into labour I wanted to rush to help her and simultaneously pretend I hadn’t heard anything, drink my wine and soak. Simon however, wasn’t going to let me adopt plan B.
“What’re you gonna do?”
Sit here and sulk? Sadly it didn’t seem to be an option. “Is there any problem anticipated?” I called back.
“I dunno do I? I leave that sort of thing to you women,” he replied in a typical male cop-out.
“I mean does she actually need me there?”
“The woman who called is her midwife, she seemed to imply that it was a good idea.”
I could just slash my wrists I suppose—one day the Cameron clan will be able to stand on their own two feet—presumably after I’m gone—but for the moment, it seems I have to mother them all.
“Okay, give me ten minutes and I’ll get out.” The last thing I needed was to drive to the clinic—or would it be the local hospital? I’m quite tired and feel more like drinking the wine and falling asleep in the bath.
I slooshed the water over my body again, wiped myself all over—especially in those nooks and crannies that we women have—and taking the shower, rinsed myself off, taking care to keep my hair dry. I pulled the plug and drew the bath towel round me. One day I’ll do what I want instead of everyone else, however, I had a vague recollection of a promise to be with her when she birthed. I hoped Gareth would be there—had she sent for him?
I dried myself, dabbed on some cream in places where my skin rubs or gets dry, shook some talc under my boobs and in the creases of my hips and groin, deodorant, some clean knickers and a bra and I emerged from the bathroom deciding what to wear for the long drive to the clinic. It had turned cooler but the clinic or hospital would be warmer—possibly too warm. I pulled on a skirt and top with some casual shoes which I could wear all night if I had to. I pushed my arms into the short sleeves of the thin cardigan and after looking at the ridiculous length of the hair pieces—called Julie to come and detach them. She did so very reluctantly.
Of course the red hair made me look different, and I used some reddish lipstick—I looked even more different—slightly more sophisticated? I wasn’t sure, maybe it was just older. Great—just what I needed.
“D’you want me to come as well?” asked virtually everyone from Simon down. Trish asked so did Julie and even Meems.
However, I decided to go on my own, I’d fill up the tank of my juggernaut and get off as fast as I could. I told Simon to look after the kids, I told the kids to look after Simon. I told Julie to help Jenny with the little ones, and asked Tom to keep an eye on all of them. Danny, I asked to cope with all the muddle, he winked at me and smiled.
I took a bag with me just in case I needed to stay somewhere overnight, a book to read—grabbed my phone, car keys and the sandwich I’d just made—then Danny carried my bag to the car for me.
“You don’t ’arf look different with red hair,” he observed placing the bag in the boot of the car.
“Is that better or worse?” I asked.
“Dunno—different—not like my mother. Yeah, quite fanciable, I s’pose.” I don’t know which of us blushed the deeper. Oh well, debating the pros and cons of my son’s Oedipus complex with myself should help the journey.
At least it was still light and I got onto the motorway and chugged towards the clinic. Because they do all sorts of treatment there, it isn’t just for wealthy depressives, the baby would be born there—unless there was need for ICU, in which case it’s an ambulance job to the nearest NHS hospital with a spare bed.
I listened to the radio in the car although much of it was autopilot as I mused about being fanciable to my son. It was a nice feeling but also disturbing because it reminded me that he was fast arriving at the age when he’d be out chasing girls and trying to get past first base. I could understand how his hormones could drive him but at the same time hoped he’d exercise restraint—there are enough gymslip mums and schoolboy dads about now without him adding to the statistics.
I also wondered about how soon we’d need to discuss sending Julie for assessment for surgery; then here was Livvie—she would soon be starting her monthly—which would require some help—from me, a woman who’s never had one—oh well, something new to try.
I wondered about Billie—how she was coping with her transition—it seems quite well, at least I don’t hear any negatives and I’m sure something would feed back to me via Trish, Livvie or Meems. Meems seems to be doing okay at school—she’s quite bright, too—or is it that I’m a bit dim and they all seem bright to me, except poor Billie—if she stays with the role, one can only hope she finds someone who can encourage her to use her mind a bit more—I seem to have failed and I’m paying a fortune to a school who aren’t exactly achieving miracles either—I might have to turn the pressure up—I do them favours—how about some reciprocation?
Crikey, I was at the clinic already—I was fortunate that nothing had happened which required me to actually think about what I was doing rather than think about my family. I parked and went to reception.
I had to wait for several minutes for someone to answer the bell. It was now dark and a heavy drizzle was falling, the sort that sticks to your hair and clothes. Finally, some woman arrived and I had to explain who I was and why I was there. I’d speak to the manager later—sometimes having a title does help.
“We’re a bit short staffed this week,” she said, but all I was thinking was that it’s a failure of management to provide sufficient cover, especially for the rates Henry was paying. She led me to their maternity clinic and I waited while she went to find someone in charge.
“You must be Cathy?” asked a well built thirty something woman in a white tunic with coloured braid—light blue—around the cuffs and pockets.
“Glad you could come, Stella’s through here.”
I followed my nameless guide into a private room where Stella was with another midwife who was urging her to take deep breaths and push. Stella looked totally fed up and quite tired.
“Hiya,” I said trying to sound bright and breezy even though I felt knackered myself.
“Not another frigging midwife,” I heard her mutter to herself.
“No, I’m your cheer squad.”
She looked over to me and squealed, “Cathy.”
“Crikey, you sound like Heathcliff on a bad day.” I walked over to her and we hugged as best we could.
I sat down and we held hands. “Everyone sends their love, especially Puddin’.” She squeezed my hand. “Where’s Gareth?”
“He’s had to go to a meeting, he’s hoping to get back as soon as he can. It’s good to see you—make it come, will you?”
“Make what come?” I acted stupid.
“The baby—I know it’s another girl—but make her come—please.”
“These things can’t be rushed you know—besides you have two midwives who know far more about delivering babies than I do.”
The two midwives consulted in the corner of the room where neither of us could hear what they said—it alarmed both of us specially when the one seemed to go off in haste.
“Do we have a problem?” I asked the remaining one.
“I think the baby’s turned.”
“Isn’t it supposed to do that?”
“Um—turned the wrong way.”
“You mean breech?”
“Um—could be.” She blushed—I thought they were supposed to check that before the labour started, when it becomes obvious that the baby is getting ready to come and the head engages.
“Does that mean a Caesar?” I asked Stella seemed to have taken a snooze.
“Can’t you turn her round.”
“Not at this stage.”
“I thought it was usually boys who were breech?”
I laid my hand on Stella’s bloated belly and immediately I aware that the baby was in trouble—and I said so.
She got the foetal heart monitor and it became obvious to her that I was right. She looked very embarrassed and concerned. “The doctor’s on his way.”
“It’s going to be too late—can’t you do the delivery.”
“I can’t do a caesarean section—no—I’m a midwife not an obstetrician.”
“Okay, I’ll try and keep the baby alive, you get a theatre organised.” I focused the light onto Stella’s tummy and to the neo-nate inside it. “C’mon, little girl, hang on in there—the doctor’s on his way.”
“What’s that blue light?”
“Are you still here?—piss off and organise things—now.”
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