Part Thirteen- The Arrival
Hours had passed since Annika made it back to St. Gabriel's Home for Women in the time she returned the contractions she felt began to dissipate somewhat and she began to feel normal again. However during the late afternoon the contractions returned with a vengeance and this time they would not relent. After about two hours of intense contractions, Miss Vasnev sent for the midwife to check on Annika's condition. In Miss Pechkin's initial examination it seemed that Annika was somewhat dilated and her cervix was partially effaced. Additionally, the mucus plug had been expelled; it was confirmed she was in the beginning stages of labor. The midwife was concerned about this rapid turn of events.
On her last check-up with Annika, the child inside her was breech and she had planned to get him to turn in the proper direction upon her next visit. With the child still in a breech presentation, this could prove to be a dangerous delivery for both mother and child. Making a snap decision, Miss Pechkin had Annika transported to the hospital to better monitor this potentially treacherous situation. Once at the hospital, Annika was rushed to the critical care unit of the maternity ward. Straightaway the medical team strapped her to a fetal heart monitor to make sure the child's heart rate was stable. They poked and prodded her with needles and intravenous drips and connected her to many different monitors to insure her safety.
The day spun into nightfall then a new day began to arise. It was becoming late in the afternoon and Annika was still languishing in the agony of childbirth. For thirty-six hours she suffered in the pains of child-labor and the child was no closer to being born. The hospital midwifes had done all they could to get the child to turn to the proper head down position of childbirth, but their attempts were unsuccessful. Coupled with the breech presentation, it appeared that this child was fairly large and his mother's pelvis small, meaning he may not pass through the birth canal at all and a caesarian section may have to be performed.
Annika shrieked in utter agony as the contractions became stronger and closer together. Miss Vasnev, who had been with Annika during all of this, knew it was nearly time for the child to be born, but the doctors and midwives were still deliberating on whether or not to perform a caesarian section.
"How are you holding up my dear?" Miss Vasnev asked Annika as she stroked her lovely red hair.
Annika was panting and sweating profusely. This was the most painful experience she had ever suffered through in her entire life. She wanted so desperately to put a brave face on for Miss Vasnev, but there was no hiding it, she felt like she was dying.
"Not so good." Annika said feebly. "Have they decided to do the surgery yet?"
"No my dear," She said sorrowful. "They haven't made a decision."
Annika shirked loudly as another very powerful contraction passed through her loins.
"Albert!" She screamed. "I want Albert!"
"Hush child." Miss Vasnev said trying to keep her calm. "It will be all right."
Just then Miss Pechkin appeared wearing her surgical scrubs; it appeared that the decision was finally made.
"Ok Miss Muller." Miss Pechkin said sweetly. "We are going to take you up to surgery and get your son out to meet you."
Annika screamed again, she was in too much agony to respond. Miss Pechkin wanted to take a quick look to see if the child was close to coming out via the vaginal canal and much to her surprise he was already starting to crown.
"Oh my goodness!" Miss Pechkin said sounding startled. "He is coming now."
Annika screeched loudly as another contraction caused the child to push further down the vaginal canal. Miss Pechkin sent Miss Vasnev out of the room to bring in the doctors, because there was no way she would make it up to the operating room at this stage. Once she was gone, Miss Pechkin positioned Annika's bed to the upright position then she ran back to the foot of the bed to observe the situation. The child was coming and he was going to be born breech.
Moments later a team of doctors, nurses, and midwives came into Annika's room. The child was already fully crowned with his backside coming first. Immediately the doctors took over and prepared to catch the child as his rear emerged from his mother's womb. Carefully another doctor prepared to assist in delivering the child's legs, pulling them gently out of Annika. The first doctor held onto the boy grasping him gently by the stomach to hold his body steady, while the other doctor waited for the arms to emerge. After a moment or two, the left arm fell from the womb then the right arm appeared.
The doctor who was holding the boy gently lifted him nearly completely upside down, to better release the head, but try as they may to extract the head, it would not come out. Time was short and if they didn't quickly release his cranium, he would die.
"Get the forceps nurse!" The second doctor shouted.
The nurse produced a pair of silver forceps and pulled the two halves apart. The doctor took one side of the forceps and gently guided the instrument inside Annika being careful as to not harm the underside of the child's head or any of Annika's sensitive parts. Once the first half was safely inside her, the nurse handed the doctor the other half and he placed that one just as cautiously inside her as well so now both sides were gingerly gripping his head. The doctor said a small internal prayer as he clamped the forceps onto the child's head and gently pulled. Slowly and easily the little boy's head began to emerge from his mother, while the second doctor gently tugged at the umbilical cord, so it would not interfere with the rest of the delivery process.
Once the child was safely outside of his mother the infant boy shrieked loudly as he began to breathe his first breaths of life, meanwhile the midwives and nurses began to check him, to make sure he was healthy. However, just as the doctors removed the forceps and began the process for the final stage of labor, they noticed that Annika, who was strangely silent during the last few moments of labor, was bleeding profusely.
"Oh dear God, she's hemorrhaging!" The first doctor said abruptly. "Get her to the operating room now!"
Annika was going into shock swiftly. Her eyes were glazing over and she was turning very pale. Not wasting a moment, the nurses and midwifes cut the umbilical chord away and helped Annika place on a stretcher to immediately rush her up to surgery. Annika was barely conscious when she was whisked out of the delivery room. She wanted to see her newborn son, but she was too weak to speak or even ask for him. She wanted to reach out to him, but she was too weak to even reach for him. The last thing she saw was the nurses crowded around him and his tiny little hands reaching upwards as she was rushed off to surgery. Soon after Annika lost consciousness and her mind faded into darkness.
Annika slowly opened her ocean blue eyes. Her ears felt as though they had cloth stuffed inside, but she could hear the sound of an electric monitor beeping in the background. Also the room she was in was bright and white, it was almost like being in a field of snow, but it was much too warm. For a moment, the thought crossed her mind that she may be in heaven, but she turned her head and saw Miss Vasnev sitting beside her with a worried expression.
"Where…" Annika stammered. "Where am I?"
"Oh thank goodness you are awake finally." Miss Vasnev said with a sigh of relief. "I was so worried."
Annika looked around and she saw she was still in the hospital. She was connected to several different machines and an IV was placed in her arm. Then she took a look at her stomach and realized it was once again flat.
"My child!?" She tried to spring out of bed, but Miss Vasnev stopped her. "Where is my child?!"
"Annika." She said trying to calm her down. "Annika, he is fine. He is in the nursery."
"I want to see him!" She demanded.
Just then a doctor and nurse walked into the room to do their daily check-up on her condition.
"Miss Muller." The doctor said cheerfully. "You are finally awake."
"Where is my child?!" Annika questioned frantically. "I want to see him!"
"I am sure you do Miss Muller." The doctor said. "But I must examine you first, then you must meet with the person from the census to give your family information to the government, and then you may see your child."
"Annika please." Miss Vasnev said calmly. "You must let the doctor examine you."
Annika calmed down and let the doctor proceed with his examination.
"You are quite lucky Miss Muller." The doctor said taking out his light pen to check her eyes. "You hemorrhaged and went into shock right after you gave birth to your son."
He then took his stethoscope and placed it to her chest to listen to her heartbeat and lungs.
"The doctors stopped the hemorrhaging in surgery, but then you contracted a rather violent staph infection which entered your kidneys. You nearly died Miss Muller."
Annika went pale at the news that she had come so close to dying.
"Thankfully you were strong enough to pull though all of that." The doctor continued cheerfully. "You must really love your child a lot to fight death so vehemently. He is a very lucky boy to have a mother who is so courageous."
Hearing that lifted her spirits and she smiled to herself, while the doctor dictated all of the information to the nurse then he continued his examination.
"Ok Miss Muller." The doctor said preparing to finish his examination. "You were in a coma for a little over a week so that has left you a little frail. You had lost a lot of blood but the transfusion was successful, however you will be very weak because you are still recovering from the infection."
The doctor paused for a moment and had the nurse write down a few more notes before he continued speaking with Annika.
"In addition the infection has weakened your overall constitution so you may be more susceptible to illnesses, you must be cautious with your health from now on." The doctor warned. "But the good news is you have recovered from the worst of it and in about another week or so, if everything looks good, we can release you."
"I will be able to take my son too?" She asked.
"Your child is perfectly healthy and can leave anytime." He said cheerfully. "But we want to monitor your condition a little further before you leave here. Do you have any questions for me?"
"Will I be able to nurse my child?" Annika asked.
"Yes." The doctor assured her. "We have not administered anything that would halt milk production and the antibiotic you are currently on has no adverse side-effects on breast milk or infants."
"Thank goodness." Annika sighed.
"I am happy you have pulled through Miss Muller." The doctor said preparing to leave. "In a little while another nurse will come and take you down to the census surveyor's office. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me."
The doctor and nurse left the room while Miss Vasnev pulled her chair close to Annika's bed.
"How do you feel?" She asked softly.
"I feel like I have been sleeping for a hundred years." Annika replied. "But I am happy I am alive and my son has his mother to take care of him."
"What are you going to name him Annika?" Miss Vasnev questioned.
"I…" Annika stammered; everything had happened so quickly, she didn't even consider what his name would be. "I do not know yet. But I want him to have an American name."
"You will have to think of one quickly." Miss Vasnev said. "The census surveyor will ask you when you go to see him."
Miss Vasnev thought for a moment about American names she had heard before and a few suddenly popped into her mind.
"What about Mathew, or David, or Ryan?" Miss Vasnev said.
Annika shook her head to both names.
"Ok, so what about Kevin, Sylvester, or Austin?" She asked.
"No." Annika said softly. "I do not like those either."
Annika and Miss Vasnev sat quietly for a moment to think about a suitable name for the little boy. While they were engrossed in thought, another nurse walked into Annika's room pushing a wheelchair.
"Are you feeling well enough to meet with the Census Surveyor?" The nurse asked sweetly.
"I think so." Annika responded.
"Very well Miss Muller." The nurse said kindly. "Please if you can take a seat in this wheelchair."
Annika was still a little too weak to try to move on her own, so with the help of both the nurse and Miss Vasnev, they both lifted her up off the bed and gently sat her in the wheelchair. When that was done, the nurse removed the intravenous drip rod over so Annika could bring it with her.
"Are you ready Miss Muller?" The nurse asked.
"Wait!" Miss Vasnev said stopping Annika from answering. "Listen, when you meet with the Census Surveyor this person will ask you very delicate questions and by law you have to answer them, because the information goes to the government."
Annika looked at Miss Vasnev and nodded, but did not speak.
"You will need to be strong for this Annika." She said softly.
"I will be Miss Vasnev." Annika said sternly.
Annika clasped the IV rod then looked up at the nurse and nodded she was ready to go. The nurse began to push her out of the room while Miss Vasnev looked on. Annika was silent as the nurse rolled her down to the census surveyors office, she was nervous about meeting this particular government official, because they had a horrible reputation for treating mothers whose children were born out of wedlock, with scorn and contempt. But she had no choice but to endure these questions and it was the last obstacle to seeing her son for the first time since his birth.
As the nurse rounded the corner, she saw the office of the Census Surveyor. Butterflies welled up in her stomach, but this would be the first of many battles she would have being a single mother in Edonia. However, the first battle is always the most difficult and frightening, but Annika would endure anything for her son. Putting on the bravest face she could, Annika sat with her head held high as she was rolled in front of the Census Surveyor.
Annika stared quietly at the heavy set woman, who wore her suit, which reminded her remarkably of the old Soviet uniforms government workers wore when she was a child. The woman had brown hair sprinkled with strands of grey throughout and she also had a face that looked puckered and tight, similar to someone who just bit into a lemon. In observing her, Annika knew not to expect any sympathy from her. All she could do was answer her questions and hope this ended quickly.
"Ah Miss Muller." The Surveyor said sternly. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you."
"Thank you Miss." Annika said kindly.
"I trust you are well enough to answer these questions." The portly woman questioned.
"Yes." Annika said firmly.
"Well, let us begin shall we?" The woman said.
"Now then Miss Muller." The woman said taking a pen in her hand and staring down at the paper in front of her. "You are answering questions in regard to the birth of your son as well as your family status, do you understand?"
"Yes Miss." Annika answered.
"These are routine questions as required by Edonian Family law statute number 1791." The woman continued. "You must by law answer the questions fully and truthfully, do you understand?"
"Yes." She said
"Failure to answer the questions will result in a three hundred rokle fine and up to seven months in prison, do you understand?"
"Yes Miss." Annika said.
"Very good." The woman said. "Question one; please state your full name, date of birth, and citizenship for the record."
"Annika Teresa Muller." Annika said firmly. "Born July 13, 1975, I am a citizen of the Republic of Edonia."
"Yes." The Census Surveyor said writing down her answers. "What is your current address and marital status? Married, widowed, unmarried?"
"I live at 459 Ulica Street Apartment 337 and my marital status is unmarried. " Annika said her voice unwavering.
The Census Surveyor's already scrunched face turned even more sour at the mentioning of Annika being an unmarried woman.
"Was your child the result of a sexual assault or incestuous relationship?" The woman asked.
"No." Annika said turning away from the woman's acrid gaze.
"Are you, or have you at any time been a registered or unregistered sex worker?" The woman asked sternly.
"No." Annika said firmly.
"I have to ask you questions about the father." The woman said. "Please remember, you must answer all questions fully."
Annika nodded and waited for the woman to proceed.
"What is the full name, date of birth, and citizenship of the father of your child?"
"Albert Wesker." Annika said firmly. "I do not know his date of birth and his citizenship is American."
The Census Surveyor's face turned into a full-on glare when she heard the father was American.
"You do not know the father's date of birth?" The woman questioned belligerently.
"No I do not." Annika answered becoming agitated.
"Are you sure you are not a sex worker?" She questioned a second time.
"Very sure!" Annika said with a bit of vitriol in her voice.
"Well, under Edonian Family law statute number 1799, I cannot allow the name of a man who is not present to attest to the parentage of a child to be placed on the official birth certificate."
"My child has a father!" Annika protested.
"That may well be Miss Muller." The woman said. "But until you can produce this man and he is willing to claim parentage, he will not be named on the birth certificate."
Annika was disheartened, but it did not change anything. Her son would know about his father, it did not matter if his name was not on the official birth certificate or not. He has a father and she was certain his father loved him. It did break her heart to know that officially under his father's name would be "Illegitimate Birth"; it was a sorrowful title assigned to all children whose fathers did not claim them as their own.
"Now on to your child." She said. "Most of the information for your son's birth was provided by the midwife Adviga Pechkin, but I need to go over it with you to confirm."
"Yes." Annika said.
"Your son was born September 15, 1992 at 15:34." The woman said. "His weight at birth was 3.46 kg and his blood type is O positive. Is all this information accurate?"
Annika was not sure about his weight or blood type, but knew that she could trust Miss Pechkin to give accurate information.
"Yes it is accurate." Annika said.
"Ok." The woman said. "I just need a name for your son and we are finished here."
Annika suddenly remember that she had not thought of a name for her little boy, but she was determined to give him an American name. It was then she remembered hearing a name on an American movie once that she liked and without hesitation she blurted it out.
"His name is Jake."
"Jake?" The bitter woman asked callously. "How do you spell this name?"
Annika thought about the movie from which his name came from for a moment. She tried to recall how the subtitles spelled it. Having a moment of intense mental clarity, the letters formed easily in her mind and she began to spell them out.
"J-a-k-e, Jake." Annika said with pride in her voice.
"What a name…" The woman mumbled under her breath sarcastically.
"I happen to think it is a wonderful name!" Annika snapped. "It is a wonderful name for a wonderful child. And Jake is a child who is loved and cherished by both his parents!"
The woman stared at Annika startled by her sudden outburst, but after the initial shock wore off, she returned to her sour expression and wrote down the child's name.
"Are we done here?" Annika asked angrily. "I need to see my son."
"I just need your signature on the bottom line." The woman said.
Annika snatched the fountain pen from the Census Surveyor's hand and quickly signed her name to the document. When she was finished, she slammed the pen down on the desk and without so much as a word she beckoned for the nurse to take her out of the Surveyor's office. As the nurse wheeled her out of the office Annika's frayed nerves began to calm and she started to regain her senses.
"Nurse." Annika said. "Please take me to the nursery so I can see my son."
The nurse smiled at her gently and nodded her head. The irritated feeling Annika had from her encounter with the surveyor was now being replaced with anxiety. She had carried Jake for a little over nine months and this would be the first time she would see him. Everything happened so quickly on the day he was born that she didn't even get a chance to look at him before collapsing into a coma. She hoped that he would recognize her and be able to bond with him.
It did not take long to reach the nursery and the anxious feeling grew tenfold over Annika. The nurse stopped in front of the nursery door and gently knocked. Another nurse opened the door and greeted them kindly.
"This is Miss Annika Muller." The nurse said rolling Annika into the nursery. "And she would like to see her son."
"Oh yes the sweet little Muller boy." The other nurse said kindly. "We are so happy to meet you at last. Come this way please."
The nursery nurse walked through the pathway as Annika and her nurse followed behind.
"Your little boy is so wonderful." The nursery nursemaid said. "He only cries if he is hungry or needs to be changed. And he sleeps so well for a newborn, even amongst all the other crying infants. You are very lucky to have such a good and wonderful baby."
Annika smiled brightly, she was proud to hear her little boy was a joy to be around. After a short moment of walking through the nursery, the nurse stopped at a tiny glass bassinet and picked up the tiny little bundle inside. Annika's heart was pounding in her chest as the nursery nurse gently placed the little boy in his mother's arms.
"You have to hold his little head up." The nursery nurse said with a warm and happy smile.
Annika was careful to hold his head so it would not flop backwards. She smiled happily as she gazed down at her beautiful baby boy. His eyes were the same ocean blue as hers and his fine soft hair was fiery red, but he had his father's beautiful nose and mouth. She also noticed that he had the same expressionless stare his father had; maybe he did not know who she was.
"Hello Jake." She said stroking his gentle crimson hair. "I have waited so long to meet you. I am so sorry you have had to wait so long and I promise I will always be there for you Jake, no matter what difficulties you have in life."
Jake looked up at the face of his tearful mother, he began to coo softly, and nestle his head gently into her soft bosom. If there were any doubts about Jake knowing who his mother was, those fears were immediately assuaged with him contently snuggled in his mother's tender embrace. Annika cradled Jake gently in her arms and hummed a sweet tune; both mother and child were mesmerized by each other's essence and their bond was instantaneous. Looking at her beloved child, Annika was no longer fearful of the future or being alone. She knew that with Jake in her life, the future would be a bright and her little Jake would always be there by her side.