Trapped in the Past: Area 51–Chapter 20: Bath Time

“It’s alright sweetie, I’m almost done.”

I stood at the sink and watched as Bridget gently gave Gracie a bath in the plastic tub. Gracie was screaming at the top of her lungs. Her tiny lips were quivering, whether it was from the cold, or just because, I wasn’t certain. Her little arms and legs kicked in every direction, though I knew she couldn’t control her movements yet. Bridget rinsed Gracie off and dressed her in a clean diaper, which looked huge on her, a pink hat covered her head, and pink booties to match. A white onesie was now covering her body. Bridget placed Gracie in my arms, and her cries quieted and were turning into coos. I thought it would be awkward holding her, but it actually came naturally.

“She’s so light… She couldn’t be more than maybe half a kilo?”

Bridget raised her eyebrows at me and shook her head.

“You’re daughter weighs 5.5 pounds.”

Now it was my turn to raise my eyebrows.

“You’re still using the Metric system in this time frame? We measure in kilos now. How many centimeters long is she?”

Bridget was confused. Crossing her arms over her chest, she reminded me so much of Beverly, after all, they were family.

“Centimeters? That would take me awhile to figure out. Inches are simple. 17.2 inches long.”

I placed Gracie back into Deanna’s arms and she settled her back against her chest. The two now asleep. If only I had holo-camera. They were fairly new, but they took great pictures. I looked back to Bridget. She couldn’t have been more than two weeks out from her due date. She sat down and blew out a long breath. A painful expression crossed her face.

“Prematurity in our family must be hereditary. 38 weeks. I should’ve known better. With my job, the stress is at higher levels than most. Of all the women I helped throughout their entire pregnancy, I don’t think I appreciated my bedside manner as much as I do now. So much for the no drugs option. Contractions aren’t too bad yet. Still irregular.”

I saw Beverly try do her best to comfort her grandmother.

“I know for a fact that we Howard’s have very low tolerance for pain. Here, let’s get you into a gown and into bed. I’ll need to monitor you. And yes I know you know how the show goes: get to 6 centimeters, give you some local and the epidural, and it’s all a matter of time and Mother Nature.”

I began to help Bridget up on her left side, but Beverly looked me square in the eye.

“I’ll take care of this Will. Strange how the tables have turned, in this time there are more male OBGYN’s than in our time frame. In our time its more women.”

Bridget leaned into Beverly as they crossed to the other side of the room, pulling the curtain so that I couldn’t see them. I could hear Beverly coaching Bridget through her contraction on the other side of the curtain.

“…Keep breathing, that’s it. 25 seconds, almost there. Ok, all done for now. Here’s an ice chip. Now just lean back and relax. Take a nap. You need to rest up.”

I turned my attention from Deanna and the baby, towards Beverly when she pulled back the curtain and then closed it again.

“This is going to take a while. Long labor and delivery runs in my family. It took my grandmother nearly 5 days to give birth to my mother. Since she was older, giving birth to my mother had a profound impact on her body. The younger we are, the easier it is for us to recover from giving birth. But then again, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.”

I sighed, women went through so much. The toll that their bodies went through during the process of giving birth still amazed me and alluded me. Men didn’t experience that. Deanna had been the brave one, taking all the aches and pains, and zeroing in on her maternal instincts. If I were to experience that, I don’t know if I could handle the threshold of pain to the degree Deanna had. Gracie stuck her hand in her mouth and smiled in her sleep. That right there, was what life was worth living for.

“My two girls, the most perfect moment in the world.”

To Be Continued…


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