What happened this morning was so unexpected, it sent me shaking into a cold sweat.

The year was 1967. I was fifteen. And carrying a child that could come at any moment.
When I was turning over onto my opposite side, it happened. A loud snap echoed through our silent bedroom, but not loud enough to wake up Duggery, my boyfriend, who was dead to the world.
However, it was enough for me. I jolted awake, lightly jumping at the noise. Everything was dark around me...I couldn't even see my own hand in front of my face. Maybe it was something else. I thought, trying not to be nervous. But, boy, was I wrong! A small puddle of warm, wet water lapped at my feet. My eyes grew wide when this happened. Thrusting one hand on his shoulder, I prodded him awake. For my water had broke. God had made the signal that it was time for the baby to come forth. Out of my womb, into the world that He had created.

"Skull." I whispered.

"Mmm...?" He murmured, beginning to stir in his sleep. He turned over to look at me. His eyes of pale ice blue glowed in the moonlight, mixed with little white flecks.

''You ready?" I ask, trembling. He forgot that I was pregnant, but immediately, he said with anticipation in his voice:

"Yeah. Put your clothes on." Getting up, I slipped on my stain-washed skinny jeans, my shirt with black and white stripes that doesn't cover my bare shoulders, and my black and white converse shoes. As I finished tying the laces, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach. A contraction! I moaned a little, then started to breathe heavily. Realizing that he had to get me to the hospital immediately, Duggery quickly rushed me out to the car and we both got in. He handed me a cloth. It felt damp and cold.

"Here. This is what I gave Maddie when she went into labor. She used this to keep from sweating." I dabbed it against my forehead.

Duggery ignited the engine, and we pulled out of the driveway. He jammed onto the gas pedal when it was no longer visible. I looked over at the speedometer, as the needle slowly increased to 200 miles per hour. Holding my stomach with one hand, I lay my head down onto the seat, my breath shortening. I closed my eyes as another contraction came through. I clung to my stomach harder, screaming a little. As my screaming died down, something warm and rubber-like fell upon my hand. It was just Duggery's hand. Clutching the wheel with his other hand, he gently stroked mine back and forth with his thumb. Since I couldn't feel any pain for the time being, my dark blue eyes slowly opened, meeting his.
I smiled at him. He returned that same gesture. But, that one moment of happiness was shattered as I saw four lanes of backed up cars once we got into downtown New York. Traffic! That, unfortunately, was the only thing I hated about Manhattan. That this darn city had traffic nonstop. And it picked the right darn time: When I was going into labor!

"Oh..." I whined.

"Shh... it's okay, baby." Duggery whispered. He took the cloth, blotting my forehead. His hand fell upon my belly. It was moving underneath with every breath I took. Then, there was a ripple in the flesh. The baby kicked. Apparently, the traffic didn't last long, because, before I knew it, I felt the car beginning to move. Another contraction came, making me scream as it ended.

"I know, honey, we're almost there." Duggery said, rubbing the palm of my hand continuously. Sure enough, we were at the hospital. Once Duggery parked the car, he got out, walking over to my side. I opened the door and slowly got out, struggling to keep my balance. If you had an enormous stomach, you'd probably be doing the same thing. Walking at a slow pace, I started to follow him towards the entrance. But, my legs gave way and I collapsed onto the pavement. And not too far away from the car, either. I let out a sudden gasp, shrieking softly in agony. Duggery quickly spun around and ran towards me. Then, he knelt down by my side and slowly began to stroke my back. Breathing heavily, I gripped my 9-month pregnant stomach with one hand.

"You alright, dear?" Duggery asked calmly.

"I don't know..." I breathed.

I clung to my stomach tighter, cringing at the sharp pain that, in my perspective, lasted for countless moments. As the pain slowly went away, I felt something come up underneath me. Suddenly, my limp body started to rise up off the ground. I realized Duggery was lifting me up into his arms. For a 17-year old, he sure was quite strong! I rested my head on his shoulder, closing my eyes, breathing in and out slowly in a labored sort of way. Grasping me tightly, his lips gently brushed against my forehead.

"If you can't get yourself inside that hospital, then I will." He whispered, looking at the building that was standing 14 feet ahead of him. As he began to walk towards the entrance, I clung tightly onto his shirt, inhaling his sweet, warm scent deeply. It was as if it was a substance that somehow cures even the strongest pain ever. Because the surging pain began to slip away. Slowly, and ever so calmly. He swiftly trotted over to the entrance, carrying me, a pregnant 15-year old girl, in his strong, muscular arms. The automatic doors slid open as Duggery trotted inside. Scents of ammonia, sterilized tools, and other medical substances wafted into my nostrils. Slowly, once we got to the front desk, Duggery let me slide out from his arms up until he was sure my feet were touching the ground. I was still trembling from the previous pain-stricken sensation.

"You don't look very well." A feminine voice said from behind the desk. She looked at Duggery.

"Is she in labor?" He nodded. The woman wore a bow in her hair, and she was all dressed in white...even her shoes. There was only one logical reason for this. A reason that told me right away that she was a nurse.

"I think I'm past the mucus plug, too." I moaned, wincing at another contraction. It was all too much for me. I felt weak. Everywhere. From head to toe. Yet again, I fell to the floor in a heap of dazed contortions, barely landing on my hands and knees. I gave one small shriek, this time mixed both with startlement and agony. Oh, dear. The nurse thought to herself, cupping her hand over her mouth. I've got to help her. When the contraction faded, I lost tension in that part of my body, panting. I could hear the clicking sound of heels approaching. I looked up, and there she was, standing above me.

"Are you sure?" She asked, squatting down until she was at my level of height. But I didn't need to answer for her. Already, the nurse spotted a wet stain on the bottom of my jeans at the pelvic region. Her water broke. Some voice inside said to her. I felt her hand press up against my belly. For a brief moment, I stopped breathing.

"In," I took a deep breath.

"...out..." I let it out. She said that a few more times until I no longer needed guidance.

"Don't breathe like that, sweetie. You'll wear yourself out." The nurse whispered gently, drawing her hand back as I gathered my bearings.
I jumped as the baby kicked once more. Then, I could feel long and slender fingers going in between my legs. My pupils widened in slight fear.

"Can I see?" The woman looked into my troubled eyes. There, she saw exhaustion. Approving the question asked, I spread my legs a little wider, leaning back so she could have the full effect. It was her right to touch me in areas that private.

"Come quick." I warned.

"Are you having another contraction?"

"No. But I feel that one is coming soon." She undid the buttons on my pants as that was said. And slowly, but also quickly, unzipped them.

"Go ahead." I whimpered, seeing the hesitation in her face. Although it was extremely uncomfortable to me, I had to let her continue. She nodded, pulling my jeans down even more. Just enough to reveal almost everything a female like me should have in between her legs. I wore a pair of solid white panties underneath. Her eyes widened as she noticed...they were completely soaking wet.

"Oh, sweetheart, you're soaked." By this point, her voice was sympathetic instead of serious. I could almost feel my eyes filling up with tears.

"He's coming...I just know it." I lowered my voice so Duggery could not hear.

"Is it a boy?" She asked softly, leaning her face in towards me. I replied by putting a finger to my lips. Considering the fact that he was the only one who didn't know.

"I'll take that as a yes." She chuckled. My mind was so blank, only focusing on what lay ahead, I wasn't even aware enough to know that the nurse had her hand now inside my underwear. I groaned a little louder as I felt her fingers sweep across the site of my feminine genitalia.
They became cold and damp once she began spreading the lips apart

"Can I see those over there?" She asked Duggery, referring to a box of latex gloves sitting in the corner on her desk. Without speaking or doing any universal sign of comply, he grabbed the box, handing them to her. I took a large gulp. Because now I knew what was going to happen. She put one on. I wrapped my arms around the bottom of my stomach to assure the baby that everything was going to be alright. Then...she went back in, pulling my panties down a little more for easier access. Her fingers eventually making their way to my pubic bone. My cheeks began to turn a fiery shade of red. As she then suddenly moved down to the beginning of my clitoris, the nurse looked at me. And cupped my face in her other hand that was not occupied.

"My dear," she said, drawing her lips back to reveal a little smile.

"...you have such beautiful eyes. I've never seen a more prettier shade of blue." With her fingers, she gently wiped away newly fallen tears that have dampened my cheeks. I followed suit, my eyes that were just mentioned emitting off a warm glow. On rare occasions, they did this if I was bursting with any emotion, whether it was happiness or sadness. She removed her gaze, inserting a finger as she continued her work. I loudly moaned as it rubbed against my inner workings. I looked over at Duggery. Right by the expression on his face, I could tell he was just as panicked as I was. Scared. Nervous, but yet excited to become a father. She removed her gaze, inserting a finger as she continued her work. I loudly moaned as it rubbed against my inner workings. I looked over at Duggery. Right by the expression on his face, I could tell he was just as panicked as I was. Scared. Nervous, but yet excited to become a father.

"Well..." The slightly older woman said slowly, squinting her eyes.

"You are indeed past the mucus plug." Those words put a reasonable amount of relief on my clenched up shoulders.

"And," My breath caught. What did that mean?

"...it looks like you're at least two centimeters dilated." My boyfriend smiled, shifting weight from one leg to another frequently. Due to mass anticipation. I followed suit, letting out a big sigh.

But it came again.

The contraction came so quickly, unexpecting, that I gasped loudly, collapsing down on all fours.

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15 minutes afterward, I was settled down onto my bed, tucked in with a fuzzy deep-pink blanket. Within that short time, I was hooked up to some sort of monitor. It was beeping...every moment that my heart thumped. I was breathing slowly, as told to do so by that nurse. Duggery was sitting next to the bed, holding my hand. The other was resting on my belly. For every time I had a labor pain, it felt as if it were splitting in two. Every time I took a sharp intake of air, my chest would rise and (after a few seconds) fall. Then, as if feeling my pain, the baby would kick lightly here and there. Leaning against me, he whispered softly in his deep, but calm voice:

"I know, Alyssa. It's going to be okay. Just stay strong." At one point, a small, but sharp pain could be felt in my back. It wasn't nearly as bad as my mother's, though. That's an exception. I moaned, turning over onto my side. I clung to the railing that isolated me from him.
After reaching over the railing to rub my back, he murmured,

"I had a feeling this would happen." I closed my eyes, praying to God as hard as I could to help this pain go away faster. But I was interrupted when he moved his warm hand underneath my shirt, still continuing to soothe me. In any way that he could. My moans became little trembles as the pain disappeared.
Duggery removed his hand as I changed positions. We sat there in silence for a few moments. I sighed, rubbing my stomach in a back and forth motion. Welling up inside was a great pang of sadness. My eyes grew wet as my mind reverted back seven months ago. I didn't want to remember how awful he has felt. On his behalf of impregnating me with his child. To the point where he, too, had cried. For beating himself up over this. It's all my fault. I've ruined both of our lives. I could faintly hear him saying that in my head. I sniffled, wiping away one of the tears that had trickled down my face.

"What's the matter, honey?" Duggery asked, gently squeezing my hand a little.

"Oh, Skull," I sobbed. "...it's just that, well..." He began to rub my hand again, loosening his grip.

"...I'm just so amazed that you are still with me up to this point. " Understanding sparkled in his gaze, so I continued.

"Because a boy like you, once he finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant with his baby, he intends to, you know, walk out on her the day afterwards."
He nodded.

"I was just so anxious to tell you that I was pregnant because..." My voice grew thick, and my eyes filled up again.

"Because... because...''

"Go ahead, honey. You can tell me." Duggery said. Calming down, I began to talk again.

"I just didn't want to end up like those other girls who had gotten pregnant at my age or even just a little older. You know, getting pregnant and staying pregnant alone, or having to drop out of high school, things like that." Duggery was left silent. Then, after a few moments or so , he began to start speaking.

"Alyssa, honey, I think I know why I haven't left you once I found out that you were pregnant. Well, you know, where I come from... New York, right?"

"Yeah." I said, my dark blue eyes flickering at him.

"Most people who come from there are known to have quite a tough personality." I nodded.

"And, obviously, I am one of those people." I shifted in a little closer.

"People who come from New York also never give up on an obstacle or what not that may cause differences in their life. So, basically, it's in my blood. Like them, as I am obviously a New Yorker, I never gave up on you. At least not with a baby on the way." Duggery squeezed my hand tightly in his.

"So, don't ever think I would ever walk out on you just because of something that might change my life. Because even if you are pregnant with my baby or not, you will always be my baby girl." He said, gently patting my stomach.

"Oh, honey..." I said, leaning against him. He pressed his lips against mine.
I lapped at his tongue as he put his hands about my waist. I moaned softly in his mouth as we continued kissing. I ran my hands through his thick, raven black hair. As Duggery stopped kissing me, we both smiled at each other. But it didn't last very long. Because, before I knew it, the muscles inside my stomach contracted once again, interrupting our small makeout session. Fighting to keep myself from screaming, I squeezed his hand. I let out a gasp of relief as the sharp pain slowly seized.

"Skull..." I moaned, looking at him.

"Yeah, sweetheart?" His tone sounded comforting and gentle.

"Will you hold me?" As if to say yes, Duggery extended his arms out to me.

"Of course." Slowly, I got up out of bed, wobbling over to him. He spread his knees apart just enough so I could have some room. Duggery wrapped his arms around me as I sat down onto his lap. What was happening was so overwhelming, so life-changing, I couldn't even think straight. If only there were some other way God could let me know that the baby was ready to come out. But, I must respect his reasoning.
After a while, Duggery started to sway me back and forth in his embrace. I leaned my head on his shoulder, breathing in that familiar scent. Suddenly there was a cramp in my leg.

"Oh, Skull...it hurts." My voice was thick again.

"I know, baby. I know." He whispered. Tears filled up in my eyes. Duggery could hear me crying, and he felt sorrow strike him in the chest, yet this was supposed to be a happy moment. I was in pain. Of course I would cry. I could feel his hand slip underneath my shirt. It felt warm against my skin. He started to rub my back in a soothing matter. Chills started running up my spine. "Shh...just relax, sweetie. I'm here." He says as I continued to sob softly into his shoulder. My back was quivering underneath his moving hand. She sounds so mournful. Duggery thought as he stroked my hair with the other.

''I want this baby to come out so bad.'' I was bawling by this point. His hands were around my body again. And he gave me a long, pleasureful kiss on the lips that seemed to make my tears subside.

"It will, my darling. We just have to be patient." Duggery said as he caressed my hips. I trembled as his moving fingers trailed up my shoulder back down to about the length of my calf.

"Just try to think of something more pleasant...like that week when we were in Paris." I closed my eyes, thinking about that romantic trip that Duggery had spent all his hard-earned money on. But if I was happy, then he was happy. I'd do anything, even give up my own life, to keep that pretty smile upon my baby girl's face. He said that on the plane ride over. Then, I thought about that day, just a couple days before we had to take a round trip back to New York. On a bench in this beautiful park that had a great view of the Eiffel Tower, we made out. Damn, it was heavy. Duggery's lips tasted of sweet candy, and his breath smelled of fresh mint. Like it was when he whispered to me just moments ago. Love was definitely in the air. Even for a couple of lovestruck teenagers like us. This was probably the greatest thing Duggery has ever done for me.

"Huh? What the-" Duggery felt something warm and wet drench his pantleg. I looked up at him from his shoulder.

"What's the matter?" Then, there I saw a puddle of water on his thigh. More began to slowly run down my leg.

"Oh, my god, Skull, I am so sorry." I say, my voice rising with tension.

"No, no, honey. It's okay." He immediately says back. "I guess you just had a little left over from the water breakage. Not a big deal." This time, when a contraction rose within my belly, it felt as described earlier. I got off of his lap, squatting down onto the floor and clenching to him for dear life.

"You having another contraction?"
I was in so much agony I could barely respond.

"Yeah." About halfway through, I let out a loud moan, bowing my head. "It's coming out, I think." At this, his pupils shrank.

"Are you sure? Let me see." I swallowed hard as he looked down. Putting one hand on my lower intimate spot, he felt around for any sign of a head contraction had faded away by now, and I began to feel a slight bit aroused.
"Well, I don't see anything." The young boy said, looking up at me.
"I know, baby." he whispered, kissing me on the cheek again. Duggery's finger tips gently brushed against the top of my stomach, then he gently started to rub it. "You gotta trust me... it'll be over with soon." he said, his lips touching mine. I smiled again, resting my hand on top of his. I blinked at him, and took one short glance at my stomach. Then out of nowhere, the baby gave a hard kick. I sighed with relaxation, relief gleaming in my eyes."
"Oh, honey, did you feel that?" Duggery asked. " Yes... I did, actually." I replied, holding my stomach in my arms. Wow, that kick surprisingly hurt. I thought. I guess he wants to come out of my womb just as bad as I want him to. Duggery smiled a little, his white teeth glistening. Suddenly, the doctor came in. Glancing at him, he removed his hand slowly from my stomach. "Well... it looks like you've had a false labor." he said. "WHAT?!" Duggery and I said in unison.
"What the hell are you talking about?!" Duggery yelled, putting his arm around my shoulders. "If she was having a false labor, then she wouldn't be having contractions or getting a bad urge to push. And, her water wouldn't have broken, either!" He shouted at him. Resisting an impulse to shout, my doctor said: "That doesn't necessarily mean anything." "Ugh, you son of a..." Duggery started to say. "Skull, don't! Having a temper isn't going to help!" I exclaimed, grasping his arm firmly. Nodding at my doctor, I calmly said, "I understand completely." Getting up out of my bed, I put my skinny jeans on and held Duggery's hand. Then, suddenly, he spun around, pointing a finger at him. "If we come back to this godforsaken place and you see her," he pointed that finger at me. "My foot's going to meet the middle of your ass!" Walking back to the car, I could see that his face was turning a bright shade of red.
Once we both were in the car, Duggery slammed his door shut and ignited the engine. I crossed my legs patiently once we got back on the road. I could tell he was angry. Because the strong biceps in his arms were tense, and his face was even more red than it was before. Also, I could see that he had his entire body hunched over the steering wheel. Understanding that talking would only make his temper worse, I turned my head away from him. As we pulled into the driveway, another contraction came through. My breath came back to hyperventilating as the sharp-feeling sensation drew back around. I didn't care if I would piss him off even more, I had to give birth somewhere and now! Turning my head towards his, I said,

"Skull?" Apparently, his temper had gone away, because his tone was quite gentle again.

''Yeah?" He asked me.

"I think it's a real labor this time!" I exclaimed.
Closing his eyes, he hesitated for a moment, mumbling something under his breath.

"Okay. Drop your pants." He said, getting out of the car. Whimpering, I slipped off my stain-washed skinny jeans, and pulled down my panties, tossing them off to the side. I held the bottom of the seat tightly, then closed my eyes. A contraction came again, startling me. I gritted my teeth, and dug my long fingernails into the leather. I couldn't take it anymore! I just wanted this baby out!

"Oh, Skull, please hurry." I think out loud. A few short moments later, I saw a bright yellow light shining in the nearly pitch-black darkness. It was a short distance away from where I was sitting. The glow began to move ever so slowly. When I was beginning to shrink down with childish fear, there appeared my boyfriend, holding an old oil lamp in his hand. A leather jacket was draped over his opposite arm. He stopped once near his car, setting the lamp down at his feet. With his hand, Duggery made a gesture signaling me to scoot closer. I slid across the two leather gray seats, still trembling from the previous contraction.
Staring into his face, once we were mere inches away from each other, I saw in his eyes a mixture of panic and excitement.

"Could you spread your legs apart?" He asks. Using all of the strength possible inside, I lay back in (what looked like) a birthing position, spreading my legs to reveal the lower most vulnerable area on my body.

"Now," He says after smoothing out the jacket.

"...I'm going to put my coat underneath you. You'll be cleaner that way." He reached inside his pocket, grabbing out a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

"Just let me cleanse my hands first." He added with a sheepish grin, chortling quietly. For a moment, I smiled. But moaned as he took the lamp, placing it next to one of my feet. It emitted off just enough light so that he could easily see what was in between my legs. I closed my eyes and started to breathe heavily again.

"Baby, what's the matter?"

"Oh... you're touching me."I replied. Suddenly, he got a puzzled look on his face. Then, taking a quick glimpse at my vagina, he realized what his fingers were actually touching.

"Oh, I see..." he whispered under his breath. Holding my hand, he said, chuckling a little,

"Oh, honey, don't worry. I have gloves on."

Another contraction came. I squeezed Duggery's hand, groaning louder, and then he gently rubbed it. As the pain passed, I let out a sigh of relief, letting go of my grasp on his hand. He closed his eyes, thinking for a moment.

"Alright, Alyssa. Take a deep breath and push. Can you do that for me?"
At this point, I was in pain too unbearable to describe. I swear, my father, my own flesh and blood, calling me a whore was less searing than this. Whimpering, I nodded shakily, fearing what lay ahead. Holding my breath, I pushed, Duggery counting off seconds. Once he got to ten, I moaned, gasping for air.

"I know, dear, I know. It's gonna hurt a little to push. But you're doing excellent." He whispered, extending out his hand.

"Here, why don't you hold my hand?" I placed mine gently into his, grasping mildly.

"Whenever you feel a contraction, or whenever you're pushing, just give it a good squeeze. I can guarantee you'll feel 100% better."

"Can I sit up more?" He nodded in the positive.

"Yes. Go ahead." I sat up in a slight upright position, propping myself up with the other hand for support. After adjusting, I repeated the same thing again. And again. And again.
Every groan I made at the end sounded full of relief.

"That feels good." I murmured in a breathy voice. But, he was right...it would hurt to push. Because, out of nowhere, I could feel a small amount of pressure in my lower pelvic region.
Duggery couldn't take his eyes off of me. He wanted to capture every bit and piece of this moment. Because, unfortunately, he wasn't supposed to be allowed in the delivery room with me. He just got lucky at that point. After every push, I breathed in a shallow matter, moaning. At some time, I tipped my head back, for I could feel massive pressure now.

"Could you hold my hand until the head is crowning?" I moaned.

"Of course, sweetheart," He whispered back soothingly.

When it was getting to be too much for me, I let out a small scream, abruptly bringing my current push to an end. A small puddle of fresh blood poured out, staining the coat I birthed on. Between breaths, I started to talk to Duggery.

"Skull?"

"Yeah, honey?"

"Oh... How bad am I bleeding?" I moaned. His eyes grew narrow as he looked at my vagina.

"It's not that bad, actually. You're bleeding just a little bit." I moaned, holding his hand. Tears trailed down my cheeks again. "What's the matter, baby?" Duggery asked me with a gentle tone in his voice. "Skull, I'm just so worried about how much blood I'm going to to bear. Because if I lose too much, I'll... I'll..."
"You'll what, honey?'' he asked, gently cupping my shoulder with his hand. My face began to turn pale. "I'll DIE!" I exclaimed, starting to sob. I just couldn't take the thought of not only losing my baby, but losing myself, too. Duggery stroked my hand, his lips gently touching my cheek.
"Don't worry, Alyssa. I'm sure you won't lose that much blood, but if it gets serious, I'm taking you back to the hospital, no matter what that sick and twisted son of a bitch for a doctor says." He reassured me. "So just keep pushing, for now. And if it does look as if you're losing too much, I'll let you know. Okay?" "Okay." I moaned, getting ready to push again. Pulling back on my legs, I pushed as hard as I could, gritting my teeth. "You're doing good, baby. Keep pushing." Duggery said as I let out a gasp of air. I started to push once more, gripping tightly onto the seat. I screamed once more and breathed heavily. "Keep pushing, honey. You're doing so good." He said. I lowered my chin to my chest and pushed even harder, tightening the grip on my knees. As I was pushing, Duggery suddenly touched my vagina again.
He ducked his head. I could see him squinting his icy-blue eyes from beneath his goggles. As I stopped pushing, I heard the 17-year old boy's calm tone once more. "You're almost there, honey. I can see the head." "Oh, my God..." I said as everything in my vision became blurry. My heartbeat was getting dramatically slower. And I knew it was going to stop at one point. "Skull, how bad is my bleeding now?" I asked. "Honey, it's still not actually that bad." "Areou sure?" I asked, feeling quite dizzy and lightheaded. "I'm positive." He replied patiently. ''Well, I hope you're right." "Why do you say that?" he asked me. "Because I'm starting to feel like I'm going to pass out." I replied. Duggery's eyes widened, looking at my vagina once again. From where he was standing, the baby's head was apparently crowning. Which meant it was just seconds away from being born.
"Oh, my..." he mumbled, tugging at the yellow bandana that was tied around his neck. Her bleeding is actually starting to look a bit serious. Duggery thought . I'd take her to the hospital. But, the baby's head is right at the crown. We can't just leave it there. that thought replayed over and over in his mind. After a few minutes of pain, and utter silence, he began to talk. Duggery placed his hand on top of my stomach. "Okay, honey, I'll admit. The bleeding is actually starting to look bad. " I groaned in a hushed voice, looking up at the star-dotted sky. "And, I'm thinking it's because of your nerves that's making you feel dizzy."

"Here's what we're gonna do. Since you're feeling faint and, however, there's no possible way to get you to the hospital, considering the fact that the baby is this close to being born," He made a little space about an inch long with his thumb and index finger.

"I'm just going to have you push for the rest of the time being." "Once the baby is born, I'll take you both up there. "

"Okay." I said in a slightly whining tone.

"And, honey, whenever you start to have that lightheaded feeling, just do this," Paying closely attention to him, I nodded.

"Breathe in, like this," Duggery inhaled deeply.

"And breathe out." He exhaled deeply. I followed his directions, inhaling deeply and exhaling deeply. Duggery rubbed the top of my belly slowly, and ever so soothingly.

"Good girl... good girl." He praised me. Faint started to creep around me at every corner as I pushed again. I could feel the life within me rapidly draining away.

"Skull..." I rasped, struggling to stay alive.

"I can't...go on...much...longer. Please...help me." The familiar feeling of his hand rubbing my belly came to existence.

"It's okay, my love. I'm not gonna let you go." He said, his voice half choked. But he shook his head free of the thought. And extended his hand.

"Give me your hand." He whispered, a smile on his face. I reluctantly, without any hesitation, extended one of my hands to him. And as he placed it on a spot in between my legs, my eyes grew wide with astonishment. Underneath, I felt something slimy, and hairy.

"Is that the..."

"Yes...it is." One thing became clear to me. What I was witnessing was enough to send me beyond overjoy. It was the baby's head I was feeling. Was I really that close?