“You’ve done the training, Mary, you can do this.” Mary said to herself as she knocked on the door nervously. She spent years at school and shadowing the best midwives in the area; now, it’s her turn.
Mary was called in a half hour ago. She wasn’t supposed to be on call, either, but it was a full moon that night and a lot of babies decided to come.
She rode her bike as fast as her legs could get her there. They said the baby was almost ready to come out. Mary was worried she wasn’t going to make it in time, because she had gotten lost along the way. She normally goes to the hospital for births, but this one couldn’t make it there in time.
There were not taxi services available, so Mary had to ride her bike in the dark using a tiny flashlight she attached. A policeman was called to help ride with her to the woman’s residence, but Mary couldn’t wait for him to arrive and took off.
She wished she had waited.
When she got to the Jacobsons, the mother was in labor and overwhelmed. Mrs. Jacobson was screaming in pain while clutching onto her bedsheets.
“WHO ARE YOU? I ASKED FOR MY MIDWIFE!” Mrs. Jacobson screamed. Her two younger daughters were huddled in the corner of the room, scared. The oldest daughter was wiping the sweat off her mother’s face with a cool cloth.
Mary turned to the oldest daughter. She asked for her name and said, “Sarah, take your siblings out of this room and come back with hot water and some clean towels.”
Mary turned to the mother, “I’m your midwife that you called for.”
“You’re not Bridgette! I’ve been seeing Bridgette!”
“Bridgette, I’m afraid, is assisting Dr. Halpern with another delivery. It seems she was double booked. I’m here, so let’s get this started shall we?” Mary didn’t know where this confidence came from. She was still freaking out on the inside. The baby was almost crowning, if she had gotten there five minutes later, she would’ve missed the birth.
“You’re crowning, Mrs. Jacobson.” Mary said as she finished her initial inspection. “Let’s get ready for your baby.”
Mrs. Jacobson screamed in pain as another contraction hit. Everything seemed to be going by the book, Mary thought. Mrs. Jacobson’s daughter brought back a bowl of hot water and some extra towels. Mary was happy that the daughter was around, but wondered where Mr. Jacobson was. She didn’t want to pry too much into their personal lives, but it was rather curious that he wouldn’t be there for the birth of his child — even if it were the fourth one.
Mary instructed Mrs. Jacobson to push so the baby can come out, but something wasn’t right. She noticed an umbilical cord and told Mrs. Jacobson to stop pushing. Mrs. Jacobson tried to breathe while Mary talked Mrs. Jacobson through what was going on.
“Your baby’s umbilical cord seems to have made its way around their neck. So I’m just going to reach in and carefully move it before we go any further. You okay?” Mary looks at Mrs. Jacobson who just nods. Mary quickly shoves her hand into Mrs. Jacobson and starts to feel for the cord. She gently removes it from around the baby’s neck and then instructs Mrs. Jacobson to push for her life.
Mrs. Jacobson screamed out in pain as her final push lets the baby come out. He came out screaming just as loud as his mother.
“It’s a boy!” Mary said as she places the baby onto Mrs. Jacobson’s chest. She carefully clamped the cord before she snipped it.
Mary did her best to clean off the baby quickly and wrap him up so he can return to Mrs. Jacobson.
“This was my first home birth.” Mrs. Jacobson said with a small laugh. “I’ve had all my children at the hospital with Bridgette by my side.”
“Well, I didn’t want to say this, but this was my first solo delivery.” Mary smiled as she started cleaning up the labor area. “Should I call the children in?”
“Yes, let’s have them take a look at their new brother.”
All three girls run into the room and were happy to find out they finally have a brother.
“I bet Mr. Jacobson will be happy to have a boy around the house for a change.” Mary smirked. Mrs. Jacobson looks over at Mary with a slight frown on her face, but she quickly wipes it away without saying a word.
Mary realized she struck a chord with Mrs. Jacobson, and in front of the kids. She wanted to crawl in a hole.
“I’ll phone the hospital and let them know you’re doing well. We’ll get you an ambulance so Dr. Halpern and check you out thoroughly.” Mary quickly ran out of the room and made the phone call.
The ambulance came and just as they were taking Mrs. Jacobson away she stopped them and told Mary to come over. Mary did as she was asked.
“Mr. Jacobson is at the pub… around the corner. The children don’t know, they think he’s at work. Tell him… he has a boy.” Mrs. Jacobson’s tears fell from her eyes to the side of her head as she was carried away.
Mary took a deep breath before stepping into the pub. She hated going into there. The men were always groping. She shook off her nerves, she just delivered a baby on her own, she can surely make it through a pub.
She walked through the doors and had a looked around for a second. The pub was filled with men and a small handful of women. She forgot to ask what Mr. Jacobson looked like. But based on the the children he has to be brown haired.
But that would mean the majority of the men.
All Mary could do was stand at the door and yell over the crowd, “Mr. Jacobson?!?”
No one turned around. She cleared her throat to yell louder.
“IS THERE A MR. JACOBSON HERE?” A hush came over the crowd. A man stumbled off the stool and stood up.
“Tis I.” He burped as he made his way over to Mary.
“Mr. Jacobson, do you mind stepping outside for a moment?”
Mr. Jacobson nodded as he followed Mary out in a drunken stupor.
“Your wife has asked me to tell you, that your son has arrived. You and your children are at the hospital now.” Mary said sternly to Mr. Jacobson who sobered quickly.
“A son? I have a son?!” Mr. Jacobson asked enthusiastically. He started laughing. “I thought it was going to be another girl! I was going to be broke if we had another girl.”
“Well, if you want my two-cents, if you keep about that pub there instead of being at home with your family, you will be broker than you are. So… straighten up and go meet your son.” Mary didn’t know where this confidence was coming from, but she felt exhilarated.
“Yes ma’am. I will. I promise.”
“We’ll see you at the regular check ups, then?”
“Yes ma’am.” Mr. Jacobson shook Mary’s hand and took off running towards the hospital.
Mary hopped onto her bike and turned on her flashlight. She took a leisurely ride back home feeling more confident to her future as a midwife.
Thanks for reading this writing prompt!
And thanks to Marissa for suggesting this prompt to me. I’ve had to watch a lot of “Call the Midwife” to get a better idea of what life was like as a midwife in the 1950s. Not that I minded… hehehe.
Tell me if you tried this prompt in the comments below.