"Isabella, I am going to call a doctor in to help with the delivery. The baby is posterior and is having a hard time coming down the birth canal; combined with the baby's heart decelerating during contractions, I think it might be best." Angela said.
She was my midwife and had worked with me since I landed in her office in a near state of hysteria seven months ago. Angela had been my rock and a source of comfort in helping me come to terms with my pregnancy. She'd been there every step of the way, and I had come to know her not just as my midwife, but also as my friend. She was kind, gentle, and never passed negative judgment of my predicament. She had held my hand when I made the decision to keep my baby, consoled me through my hormone induced emotional melt downs, encouraged me when my fear of failure and inadequacy as a single mother seeped in (which happened frequently), gave me endless support and guidance to a healthy pregnancy, birthing techniques, my choice whether or not to breast feed, and to choosing a natural child birth…speaking of which…..fuck!
My swollen belly began that gradual ascension, first a tightening mild cramping sensation…climbing, climbing, searing, burning pain wrapping itself around my lower back reaching its arms across my belly, squeezing. A hot sweat prickled my forehead and down my chest…. Unbearable pressure, legs shaking… "Isabella, you need to breathe. Focus." Angela said in a firm, but calm voice.
I felt another warm gush of water lap down my inner thighs. The tension began its slow release and eased the pressure that I felt in my bottom. I gasped in air to catch my breath … oh God, relief.
"Honey, you have to breathe through your contractions, try not to hold your breath," Angela coached.
Easy for you to say.
"Rose, could you please page the doctor on call for me?" Angela asked the nurse.
"Sure, I'll be right back." Rose replied as she headed toward the door.
That brought me back to the topic at hand before the next contraction began. A sense of panic washed over me. It's not supposed to happen like this. This does not go according to my birth plan. Angela is supposed to deliver; I don't want some stranger in here. "Ang, will you still stay with me? I'm scared." Another dose of fear edged its way up my throat.
"Bella, I'm right here and I'm not going anywhere." She soothed.
"I don't think I can do this, Angela." Anxiety began to take its hold of me as the reality of my situation began to creep its way back into my conscious. Despite all of my preparations and childbirth education, the idea of anything that size coming out of "there" just never seemed plausible. Throughout my pregnancy I have been petrified of the impending birth. Ever since watching The Miracle of Life in Human Development in high school, I made a solid oath to myself that I would never have children. My vagina would forever stay intact and there was no way in hell that I was ever going to let it get "that big".
Look at me now.
Trying to psych myself up for this event, I've consoled myself with the idea that women have been giving birth for thousands upon thousands of years and I'm no different from the rest of them and that I'm a strong woman and I can do this. But now, being in the thick of back labor, I rescind that idea with a fucking vengeance. I can't do this. Other women have babies. Not me.
"I can't do this, Angela!"
"Bella, look at me…" she came to the side of my bed and reached over and smoothed my sweaty hair from my forehead. I glanced into her dark brown eyes, so full of concern and wisdom. Just as Angela was about to open her mouth to speak, another contraction began its climb as the door to the room opened. Rose, the nurse, walked in with a man in blue scrubs following behind her.
My eyes did a fast double take, and I felt my pulse jump several up notches. My heart caught in my throat as I saw a flash of unforgettable, tousled bronze hair, just before he reached up and placed a surgical cap over it and tied the strings at the back of his head. He walked over towards my bed and his green eyes met my mine as he introduced himself.
"Isabella, I'm doctor ………..Cullen" A brief flash of recognition caught in his eyes, and at the same time the contraction braced itself with a brutal wrath that surpassed all the previous ones.
I arched my back off the bed and let out primal groan as the exasperating pain of the contraction engulfed me. For what seemed like hours, but in reality was just a few seconds, my mind disconnected itself from the shock of seeing this man and tried to comprehend the pain it was bathed in.
When the contraction began to release me from its grasp a new a whole new anxiety and panic set it.
What the fuck?
I tried to gather my wits while sucking air into my lungs and looked again at the doctor just to be sure I wasn't imagining things. That bronze hair was peeking out in soft wisps from his cap and those brilliant green eyes, strong jaw line, beautiful lips, perfect white teeth…these were just a few of the features that have haunted me for the last nine months….yep, it's him.
What the fuck?
This is not happening.
I squeezed my eyes shut and hoped with all my might that when I reopened them this man would be someone else.
Technically I should be relieved; an important mystery solved.
But all I feel is humiliation and shame.
I peeled my eyes open and felt wetness spill from them, trickling down my cheeks.
I could feel Dr. Cullen, a man I knew only as Edward, staring at me with wide eyed disbelief. His brows furrowed with a perplexing look. He said nothing for a moment, but then seemed to gather himself quickly and turned to Angela.
"When did you last check her and how many centimeters?"
"At 4:30 she was at seven"
"Isabella, I need to check your cervix to see how you are progressing."
This is surreal.
I sat there staring at him dumbfounded as the nurse brought a flat package of sterile gloves to the silver stand next to the bed and carefully opened it. Edward picked up one glove by the cuff and slid his large hand into it. The snap of the rubber as he finished donning the glove abruptly brought me out of my stupor.
All business like, though I am positive he recognized me, he said "I need you to scoot your bottom down the bed a little." I followed his directions and shifted my lower half. He sat down on the edge of the bed, one arm bent at the elbow holding his sterile gloved hand in the air to prevent it from being contaminated while Rose pushed the sheet to my thighs. "Go ahead and relax your knees to the side." He held two fingers out for the nurse as she squeezed lube from a packet onto them.
"Isabella, you are going to feel my fingers in your pelvis, just relax and take a deep breath."
Yeah, not the first time your fingers have been there, you son of a bitch.
I felt his fingers slide between my labia and he shifted his arm to reach up in search of my cervix. I felt that too familiar tensing in my abdomen again and quickly tried to prepare my mind to the pain I knew was coming.
Edward gently slipped his fingers from my vagina. "You're fully dilated and I want you to give me a practice push with this contraction."
"Rose, go ahead and set up for delivery"
I'm not ready for this.
I felt a movement and shifting of the bed that I was in but couldn't make out what was happening.
My mind started to race but before I could even begin to think of anything rational the pain of the contraction began to swallow my thoughts one by one. Oh shit! Fuck! I tried to gasp for more air but the intensity of the pain was one hundred times worse than the most horrendous shit cramp I have ever felt.
"Isabella, I want you to bear down like you are having a bowel movement."
I heard the words but I could barely comprehend them.
"Isabella, try to give me one good push." He said in a gentle, but urgent voice.
I felt my head turning from side to side, a gesture of what must have been my refusal to comply with what he was asking me to do.
I can't do this. I'm done.
I felt my mind detach from my body in the fog of pain, and the urge to climb out this bed and leave this scene was all too compelling. If only I could float away.
Just as I my pain threshold was about to break, the contraction made its sweet gradual release and I felt my thoughts rushing back to me.
I am having a baby.
Too late to turn back now.
There is no escape.
And things just got worse.
The doctor who is now perched on a stool at the foot of this bed in between my legs, is the bastard who knocked me up.
Only he doesn't know it because the only time I have spent with him was one night in a bar where he promptly left me after fucking the hell out of me in a restroom stall.
No time for greetings.
What could I say anyways?
Nice to see you again, Edward.
Oh, by the way, this is your baby your about to deliver. Imagine that! Never dreamed that up, did you?
I would have tried to contact you, but you never gave me a last name, or a number.
Nope. I was too busy in the bathroom wiping off your semen that was running down my leg while you slipped out of the bar like a bandit.
I could hear voices in the background but my mind turned in on itself and shut everything else out.
The devastatingly handsome man across the bar eyeing me.
"Dance with me?"
"What's your name?" His piercing green gaze and crooked grin lit a fire beneath the butterflies in my belly.
Dancing slowly, our eyes soulfully locked together.
The spark of electricity I felt from his hands as they roamed my hips and the trail of fire left in their wake.
The astounding connection I felt to this stranger.
The hot wetness between my legs.
The feel of his massive hard on that pressed against my abdomen as our bodies moved together.
The bathroom stall door that my hands were planted firmly on while he stood behind me and lifted my skirt over my hips.
The sinking feeling that I felt as I scanned the bar for him after he left me in the bathroom to clean myself up.
The devastation that I felt when I saw those two blue lines on the stick.
The horror that I was bringing a child into world without a father.
The shame of getting knocked up in a bar toilet by a complete stranger.
The anguish of choosing to have an abortion.
The relief mixed with fear as I changed my mind at the last minute and high-tailed it out of the abortion clinic.
The unimaginable love I felt as I saw a little heartbeat flickering on the ultrasound monitor.
The awe of feeling my baby move the first time.
"Bella!" A concerned voice from Angela.
"Isabella!" A man's more authoritative shout yanked me from my mind.
I started to shake my head "no" again. What I really meant to do was tell him to get the fuck out of here, but the escalating contraction left me breathless.
Despite the pain, I felt my eyes focusing as the sounds of the room became clearer. Instruments clinking as the nurse lay them on the table. The loud thudding heart beat of my baby from the monitor.
"Rose, call the O.R. and put them on stand by for a C-Section, unless we can get her to cooperate were going to have to take the baby."
"Isabella, look at me! Snap out of it, you need to stay with us!" he argued.
What? Who the fuck does he think he is to yell at me?
"Stay with me! Look into my eyes! We need you to push! You have to get this baby out, right now! Its heart rate is dropping too low while you are contracting."
Baby. My baby.
Realization and the gravity of the situation set in.
No matter who this man is in front of me, I need to pull myself together.
I took all my emotions, the fear, the anger, the shame, the humiliation… I wound them tight and packaged them into a giant breath of unbridled fury. I locked my eyes with Edward's and I bore down as hard as I could.