the Hardest Choice

It was the pain that woke me and I knew instantly that it was time. I nudged my sleeping husband and glanced at my bedside clock: 2:15am.


“I think this is it.” I said. “We’d better ring the hospital and tell them we’re on our way.”


“Okay” he was still drowsy, “Just wait until you have one more contraction, so that we are sure.”


I was sure. But I waited. It came a few moments later, accompanied by a heavy downward dragging sensation in my lower abdomen. I clenched my teeth and waited for the pain to subside and then began pulling my clothes on.


“Get up, won’t you.” I said, “I don’t think this one is going to be long.”


I was expecting my fourth baby and labour on each previous occasion having been fairly swift and trouble-free, I was not foreseeing any difficulties with this one. My mother arrived to look after the others and we set off.


The hospital was a twenty-minute drive away. We did it in ten. I could feel heavy pressure between my legs.


“My baby’s coming,” I gasped breathlessly to the midwife. The clock on the delivery room wall read 2:58am.


“Right, let me take your details, then I’ll have a look.”


She obviously had not grasped my drift, “No. I need to get my trousers off right now. My baby is coming.”


“Well I suppose I could see how dilated you are before I get your details Mrs Flynn.”


She was shaking her head forlornly as I pulled my trousers down and removed my knickers; it hurt her to go against procedure.


There was a pause as she pulled on a pair of surgical gloves, then she spoke in a very different tone,


“Oh! There’s baby’s head! Your waters are intact, but baby is on his way out. I’ll break them – it will speed things along.”


Speed things along? Were things not happening fast enough? The moment the midwife released the amniotic fluid, I knew I had to push.



A moment of agony followed. Then he was placed in my arms. My baby. I looked at the clock: 3:01am. Three minutes since we arrived at the hospital!


I was taken up to the ward. My husband went home. I went to sleep.

I woke up a short while later, feeling the need to push again. What was going on? I knew I was not having twins, but it felt as though another baby’s head was about to emerge. I pushed and passed a melon-sized clot of blood, which had evidently been blocking the way like a floodgate. I managed to press my call button before I lost consciousness.


I am high above a bed in a dark room. Only the bed is lit up, and it is very bright. From this height I can see myself lying eyes closed in the bed, with my baby, Joseph, in his plastic crib beside me.


I am floating.


A light opens up beside me, a window to another world. My brother David, who died suddenly six months previously, was beckoning to me.


“Come with me,” he said, “I have things to show you.”


He took hold of my fingertips and we floated together into the brightly lit place. It was familiar. David showed me the house we lived in as children, dens we had made and played in, the woods where we used to pick snowdrops. Familiar places, yet looking different – brighter than normal – as if bathed in a light stronger than the sun. We drifted around together, laughing and rejoicing in being together again, then we arrived back where we had started. A jagged dark hole in the brightness, showed me where  had come from.


“I’m not going back there,” I said, shaking my head.


David looked sad, “You don’t have to go back. You could stay here in this place with me, but…” and he took me by the shoulder and indicated that I should look through the hole.


I saw the dark room. I saw the bed and. I saw Joseph. Joseph. My baby.


I looked back at David, “Your choice,” he whispered.


I nodded. “I have to go back. He needs me. Will you wait for me?”


“Always.” He answered.


With that I floated back through the hole and fought my way across the darkness to my baby. To my Joseph. I was alive.


733 words

LittleBuddy LittleBuddy
36-40, F
7 Responses Oct 17, 2006

What an nerve wrecking and emotional situation. Hope you and your baby are well.

Wow, that is amazing! First time I had ever heard of anyone ever having a choice, it always seems as if people would feel themselves just go back into their bodies and not have it be a decision they themselves have made. Fascinating stuff, truely amazing.

Incredible story.

Great story.


Very well written. Concise. Good story.