Monday, October 8, 2018

Andi's Journal - Baby Prescott Part 2


July 14, 1887

Now that’s it’s all over, I can finish this journal entry. Someday I might want to go back and read it. But then again. Maybe not. I just can’t help thinking of Mr. Dickens’s opening line “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
This day started out as the worst of times . . .

“Riley!” I shrieked my terror.
Nothing hurt—right at that moment—but my fear had risen to mountain heights. The thought of being alone, with no mother and no doctor, and no way of easily fetching them, threatened to suffocate me.
He came running into the bedroom where he’d settled me only a few minutes before. “What? What’s wrong?”
“The baby is really and truly coming,” I forced out between gasps.
Riley’s face paled. “Andi, are you sure? Are you really sure?”

 Oh, yes. I was sure. When my water broke I knew this was the point of absolutely no return. I shivered in the heat. Before I could say anything aloud, another pain exploded inside. Thankfully, it was short.
For now.
“What are we going to do, Riley?”
He sprang up from the bed. “I don’t know. I don’t know.” His eyes were wide with panic. He ran his fingers through his hair.
“You’ve gotta help me,” I said, struggling to breathe. “I don’t know what to do.”
“I don’t either!” he cried out. “I’m just the father. Fathers don’t have the babies. Doctors and women help the mothers.”
“Dr. Weaver and Mother aren’t here,” I said between clenched teeth. “You have to help me.”
            He shook his head. “I’ll ride Dakota lickety-split and get the doctor and your mother.” He paused in his pacing. “Didn’t your mother say first babies take their time? I’ve got plenty of time to get to town and back. Three hours. Not a moment longer. I promise.”
Three hours? Was he crazy? I couldn’t do this alone for three hours.
Nothing had gone according to plan. Mother had told me the pains start quietly, gradually, sometimes only one every half hour or so. That gave everybody time to get things ready. Then the pains slowly got shorter and harder.  
Mother was so wrong! These pains had started with as much of a bang as a Fourth of July rocket, and they probably would not fade away anytime soon. No, they would only get worse.
What a horrifying thought!
“The only promise you’re going to make is that you won’t leave me alone!” I yelled at him.
“Then . . . what?” He approached the bed.
I reached out and grabbed his hand. “There’s no choice. You’re the only one here. You have to help me.”
His face reflected his reluctance and anxiety, but he set his jaw and nodded. “All right. Tell me what I have to do.”
I had no idea. I’m not experienced in the line of birthing babies. I only know what to do if a mare is foaling. Hmmm, could it be similar?
Another pain convinced me that having a baby was nothing like a mare foaling. I wracked my brain. Somewhere in there I remembered something to do with water. “Boil some water,” I ordered. “Boil some string to tie off the baby’s cord. Uh . . . and throw the scissors in there too. You need it to cut the cord.”
Riley’s face blanched.
A pain ripped through me. “Do it!”
That got him running. When the pain subsided, I felt terrible for yelling at him. But I was scared too. I had heard about young mothers dying when they had a baby.
Hot tears sprang from my eyes. I didn’t want to die. Not because I was afraid of where I was going after death, but I didn’t want to leave Riley. Please, God, make me brave.
Right now, I felt about five years old. I wanted my mother then more than at any other time of my life.
When Riley returned, he was carrying a cup of tea. Tea?
“I heard your mother telling you that raspberry tea helps with the delivery.” He gave me a lopsided grin. “And boy, do we need all the help we can get.”
I was between the knife-like pains at that moment, so I laughed and grabbed his hand. I wanted him to stay right here. “Talk to me. Please.”
So he did. It helped a little to get through the pains that—sure as shooting—were coming closer together and lasting longer than I wanted them too.
I chanced to glance at the bedside clock. It was only a little past noon. I’d been lying here for a little over an hour. It was no fun at all. I wanted to get up. I wanted to do something—anything—that would take my mind off all this uncertainty.  
Riley about pitched a fit when I told him, but I determined to get up.
For a wonder, walking around really helped! I even felt the baby shift and settle in. When a pain started, I paused and concentrated with all my will to not crumple into a screaming ball of terror and hurt.
I think I wore a path in the braided rug in the sitting room.
When I looked up into Riley’s face after a particularly hurtful pain, I could tell he was worried. But I could also tell that he was staying strong for my sake. He smiled and told me I’d made a good choice. Walking was better. Maybe it would speed things along.
Yeah, he wanted this over with as much as I did.
I knew I looked terrible. Sweat poured down my forehead. I’d shed my day dress an hour ago and exchanged it for the loosest cotton nightgown I owned. It didn’t help.
The day got longer and hotter. Riley fanned my face but all it did was move the oppressive heat around. I finally collapsed back into bed. I was too tired and too hurting to walk one more step.
Everything went downhill from there. I was sure a Southern Pacific railroad engine was running over the top of me. “Riley,” I gasped. “I don’t think I can do this.”
He rubbed my back. “But you are doing it. Hang on.”
“What if . . . what if the baby never comes?”
Riley shook his head. “It’s only been three hours. Three short hours.”
“But . . . it . . . hurts!” My last word trailed off into a loud wailing. I couldn’t help it. The pain would not let up.
And I was so tired. I tried to doze between the pains, but a one-minute rest doesn’t give much time for a good nap. I finally gave up trying to control my cries. I couldn’t be brave any longer.
“Nobody but the horses can hear you,” Riley said. He smiled. “And me. And I think you should yell as loud as you want. Especially if it helps.”
It did help. A little. But when the need to push came, a new kind of pain overwhelmed me. “I want Mother,” I whimpered.
What is it about mothers and daughters? I loved Riley, and after all, he’s my sweet husband and was doing something far removed from his normal life. But my mother would know exactly what to do to help the pain. She would know exactly what to tell me to help birth this baby into the world.
Riley knew nothing except that he’d better not move one step away.
One thing was certain. There was no more horrible way to spend the day than this. I think--but I'm not sure, since time was standing still for me--that a couple more hours past. At least, the sun was starting to go down. My room was dim.So were my thoughts.
“It’ll all be worth it soon enough,” I vaguely heard Riley telling me. He brushed the hair from my sweaty face. “Don’t focus on the pain. Just keep thinking about the baby.”
            I rolled the words around repeatedly in my head. Lord, help me to do this. For the baby. For Riley.
I cried out from another pain. “How much longer?”
He didn’t have a notion, but he said, “Not much longer.”
Liar.
I drew a deep, shuddering breath. When the next pain came I pushed. I couldn’t help it. I had no choice. When it receded I rested. Over and over and . . . If only I could give up. If only I could drop into a deep, dreamless sleep and wake up with the baby in my arms.
I could barely catch my breath. “I…can’t…do it!” I cried, clenching Riley’s hand in a bone-crushing grasp.
“Yes, you can.” Riley’s voice sounded choked. I knew without looking at his face that he was scared half out of his wits. “Please, Andi. Don’t give up. Please.”
I was scared too. Scared for myself. Scared for the baby. Scared for Riley. Lord, please help me, I prayed for the dozenth time. I want to be done. Give me endurance. Help me to trust in You.
I fought for air. My eyes opened. The desperate, pleading look in Riley’s eyes sent a fresh wave of much-needed determination through me. I can do this. I have to do this.
I gritted my teeth and prayed the only two words that could come out clearly. Lord, help. Then I pushed with all my might.
Then I heard a baby’s thin, high wailing, and the pain was gone.
I sank into blessed unconsciousness.
***
When I opened my eyes, Riley stood over me. “Andi, wake up.”  
My mind felt fuzzy, full of cotton. Where was I? What happened?
It came to me like a bolt of lightning. I tried to sit up. “The baby!”
“Hold your horses.” Riley gently pushed me back onto the pillows. “You need to take it easy.” He tucked the covers around me and smiled. “Our son is fine.”
“Son?” My heart squeezed in joy. “We have a boy?”
Riley reached into the cradle and drew out a tiny, squirming bundle. The baby was wrapped in a light blanket.   
My breath caught in my throat. My heart throbbed. I held out shaky hands, hardly believing it was true. No words came.
But the tears came. Tears of overpowering wonder and joy.
Riley put the baby into my arms. I choked. “Oh, Riley. He’s beautiful.”
“And he’s got all his fingers and toes,” Riley said, chuckling. “I checked.”
Riley had done more than check for fingers and toes. He’d tied off the cord and wiped the baby off. He was a pretty pinkish-tan. Wisps of fine, dark hair covered his tiny head.
I snuggled him close. Suddenly, all the pain and hard work seemed a thing of the ancient past. Gone, never to be remembered.
It was all worth it. I touched the tiny, wrinkled hand that peeped out from the blanket. I brushed a gentle kiss over his head. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Happy tears kept streaming from my eyes. I looked up at Riley. “He’s ours.”
Ever since baby Samuel had been born to Lucy and Justin, I’d discovered a special love for babies. But nothing—no, nothing—could compare to the love I felt for this little person.
Riley ran gentle fingers over the baby’s fuzz of hair. “Our very own Jared Riley Prescott.”
A bubble of laughter rose up. “Jasper was no lamb compared to this little lamb.”
            Riley nodded wordlessly and reached for the baby. “You need to get some rest. You’ve been through a lot.”
I shook my head and cuddled the baby closer. “No.”
Nobody, not even the baby’s father, was going to take Jared away from me. I’d worked hard to earn the privilege of holding him for as long as I liked.
He started to squirm. Then he let out a loud wail.
“Besides,” I reasoned. “He’s hungry, and only I can take care of that.” I gave Riley an impish grin. I was feeling one hundred percent better.
He backed away. “The hands should be home in another hour or so. Night has fallen, and the fireworks should be over soon. When they get back, I’ll send one of them to the ranch for your mother.”
“Sure.” I snuggled down under the covers with the baby.
“I also want Doc Weaver to look you over,” Riley said. “And make sure I did a good job as a midwife. He needs to check the baby out too.”
I nodded. Yes, you do that, my sleepy thoughts said. I closed my eyes. Thank you, Lord, for a husband like Riley. And for this beautiful gift.
True, this day had begun as “the worst of times.” It had surely ended, however, as “the best of times.”
 

30 comments:

  1. Aw!!! Love the picture! Babies are the most precious gifts EVER! So thankful Andi persevered. Way to go, Riley!!! LOL

    ~Ellen

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  2. Oh my goodness! This is so AMAZING! Thank you so much Mrs. M! LOVED every word!

    ~Leah

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  3. I don’t know what to say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€That was the best story in my life!!!!!!!!! I could hardly get on the iPad fast enough!!!!! Thank you exctreamily much Susan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Great story!!!
    Ashley

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  5. Oh my goodness!!!!!!! I hardly know what to say, what an exciting post.
    Emily

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  6. This is one of my favorite journal entries:) Thanks so much Mrs. Marlow!

    -Patience

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  7. This is so sweet!!!!!! I love it good job Andi and Riley too!!


    mari

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  8. Wow! Amazing! I was half hoping they would have twins ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Maybe next time, because I still want her to have twin girls so I can write stories about them. :-)

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    2. That would be awesome!

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  9. Awwwww! The baby is super cute! I can't wait to hear more about him next week!

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  10. Replies
    1. I agree 100% and more, and more, and more.... Great besties think alike!!!
      -Solly Joy(who can say my real name Salome)

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  11. WOW!!! I LOVED IT!!! Thankyou soso much for making Andi story's every week!! I love them!!❤❤❤

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  12. Awwww!! That was totally worth the wait! Thanks Mrs. M!

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  13. How shall I ever top this post, right? *eeks*

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  14. Thanks so much. It was a wonderful story!!!!!! :):)

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  15. Well worth the wait! Thank you -Mae

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  16. AWWWWWW!!! Soo good Mrs. M! Thank you soo much for the story! Well worth the wait!
    -Alyssa

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  17. Oh my goodness, that baby is such a sweet bundle of adorableness! It makes me want to hold him! (I love babies!) And by the way, just to satisfy my curiosity, whose baby is he in real life?

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    1. I found the picture on Deposit Photos. I didn't have time to find real-life (i.e. babies I know) for the photo.

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    2. You could use the picture of Jessica (Andi) when she had her baby.
      (I attached a link to the page)

      https://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/2015/07/welcome-baby-cole.html?m=1

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    3. OH, good for you! I had no idea where I'd put that picture. I replaced the picture I had with this way better one. After all, this is ANDI! And Jared looks just like the baby she had. THANK YOU!

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    4. Oh! I like that picture waaaay better! Thanks Anonymous and Mrs Marlow!

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  18. I almost cried, this is the sweetest post EVER!!!! Jared is adorable!
    Sage

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  19. Is there going to be another post?

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Let Andi know what you think!