"Get her an epidural!" Abby said, her voice growing insistent. The nurse ignored Abby. "Get her something! What's the matter with you!" Abby said, and the nurse looked at the monitor again and her face turned soft, sympathetic. "It's too late," the nurse said.
Abby moved closer to Sara, brushing back Sara's wet hair. "I'm right here," Abby said to Sara. She made low, soothing noises, clucks of her tongue. "I'm right here."
The nurse glanced at Sara's chart, frowning. Then she looked evenly at Jack and Abby. "So. You're going in the delivery room? You're the adoptive parents?"
"We're the real parents," Abby said. "Sara's real parents." She held Sara's hand.
A doctor Sara didn't know whisked in, six younger people behind him, all of them in green scrubs. "Where's my doctor?" Sara said. Her doctor was a woman, young and sympathetic. This doctor was male and older and had a blue Band-Aid on his nose, a bad omen if she ever saw one.
"In delivery. I'm Dr. Chasen. Don't you worry, I've delivered hundreds of babies."
"No, no," Sara cried. She didn't trust this doctor, didn't like the way he was beckoning the other people forward. "Check the centimeters," he said to them, and Sara locked her legs as another pain shot through her. "What's going on?" Abby said. "Who are all these people?"
"This is a teaching hospital," Dr. Chasen said quietly. He put his hands on Sara's legs. "Don't worry. You won't even notice them. You're going to be so busy, a flying saucer could land in here with us and you wouldn't notice that either." The students laughed, a sparkling of sound, and then Dr. Chasen parted Sara's legs and quickly, before she could protest, thrust his hand up inside of her and drew it out. Humiliated, she jerked away. "You're going to have your baby now," he said, then he turned to the nurse. "Get my girl into delivery," he said, and Sara shivered because she didn't feel like anyone's girl, not his, not her parents,' not Danny's anymore, either. He whisked out of the room, the students trailing.
"It's going to be okay, honey," Abby said.
"Where's Eva and George?" Sara screamed and Jack drew back.
Abby was purposefully putting on a long green gown, tying on a mask. Someone was pushing Sara's hair into a cap. Hands and bodies were about her. "It's showtime, folks," said the nurse, undoing Sara's monitor. The gurney was wheeled back in. The nurse lifted Sara onto it. A wire of pain tightened across Sara's belly. It owned her now.
"I can't do this!" Sara shouted and then she was settled on the gurney and as soon as it moved, she felt something pound within her, deep and insistent, and stunned, she searched for help. She'd apologize for a thing, she'd do anything, be anything, if only this pain would stop. Please she thought, squeezing her eyes shut. Oh God, please, and then, zoom into the room was Eva, in a blue summer dress, her long, pale hair flying about her in a silken sheet. There was George, tall and bald and all black, with a silver bolo tie. He was holding Eva's hand and Sara felt relieved she started to cry.
"Oh, sweetie, I'm sorry, I'm sorry--traffic was so horrible!" Eva cried.
"We're here now," George said, "we're here!" He dropped Eva's hand and took Sara's. His hands were big and warm, covering hers, and Sara burst into fresh tears.
"Don't cry, don't cry. It's all going to be wonderful." Eva leaned down. She glowed like a pearl. "How do you feel? What's happening?" Eva asked, bending toward Sara.
"She's going into delivery, that's what's happening," Abby said sharply and Eva looked at Abby and Jack for the first time.
"Abby. Jack," Eva said, nodding. Jack nodded back.
Copyright Caroline Leavitt 2004. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the author.
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