“Push!” The government doctor yelled at her angrily.
"I am,” MaiLi growled through gritted teeth. She pushed harder until the contraction subsided, then let her head drop back and her eyes close. But the reprieve didn’t last long; another contraction was already on its way.
MaiLi screamed as the final contraction forced her newborn baby into the doctor’s hands, then collapsed against the hospital bed, exhausted.
The doctor spoke down to her in disgust. “You’re second baby is a girl.”
The doctor hated MaiLi for having a second child; for breaking the one-child policy. And she knew he could harm her baby right then and there if he wanted to. It wouldn’t be the first time a Chinese baby showed up ‘still-born’ just before the American adoption agency showed up, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
“Let me see her,” MaiLi begged.
He ignored her.
Don’t let them kill my baby! She cried to God.
A motion at the door caught her eye. A uniformed man stood watching the proceedings carefully from the window. MaiLi couldn’t tell if he was from the government or the adoption agency, but she prayed it was the later. If the agency wasn’t there on time, the doctor would show no sympathy.
MaiLi heard a muffled cry. Panic swept over her. “Where is my baby?” she asked. “What are you doing to her?”
The doctor didn’t answer.
“Let me hold her.” She pleaded.
He still didn’t answer; he didn’t even look at her.
He waved a nurse over and passed the baby off by the ankle, like it was a filthy animal. The nurse hurried to the other side of the delivery room where a plastic crib waited alongside another nurse with syringe in hand. Both ladies huddled over the tiny infant whispering.
“What’s going on?” MaiLi yelled. Her heart raced. “What are you doing?
They disregarded her.
Her hands shook; panic and fatigue wreaked havoc on her body. Oh God, she prayed as tears threatened. Don’t let them do this! Don’t let them kill my baby!
“What are you doing?” Mai Li yelled at the top of her lungs.
The doctor looked up at her, obviously irritated. “The baby should never have been carried full term.” He said smugly. “You brought this on yourse…”
The door burst open.
The uniformed man walked straight over to the nurse, grabbed the syringe and threw it on the floor as he yelled at the doctor in English. MaiLi couldn’t tell what he said, but he was obviously from the adoption agency and he was furious at what they were about to do.
The doctor was suddenly apologetic, likely afraid of the tall American. He and the nurses raced out of the room.
Once they had gone, the man reached down and gently lifted the baby out of the crib. He didn’t seem to notice Mail Li as he turned to leave.
She was loosing her baby!
“PLEASE!” MaiLi yelled, hoping he spoke Chinese. “Let me hold her!” Her voice shook.
The man looked over and saw MaiLi.
Hear me Lord, she begged. Let me see my baby before he takes her, … please.
His once angry face softened as he looked at her, and sympathy filled his eyes.
“Please…” she pleaded, “…before you go.” Moisture pooled in her eyes. “Just once….”
He stepped over to her with the round bundle of pink and placed it tenderly in her outstretched arms.
MaiLi smiled up at him through her tears and pulled her baby close to her chest. “Thank you.” She whispered.
She lowered her precious child onto her knees and leaned over to admire her. She wanted to memorize every feature. MaiLi brushed her daughter’s cheek with her thumb, savoring the silky soft touch. She looked down into the face of her child and wept.
Tears slid down her cheeks unchecked. Her daughter was alive, but this was the last time she would see her.
“I’m sorry,” the man reached out and picked her child back up.
He paused a moment and reached down to the single charm on MaiLi’s necklace; a cross her husband had given her when she first believed.
“Don’t worry,” he encouraged; “God will keep her safe.”
She nodded, she knew he was right but she didn’t want to let go. Any tears she had held back came full force now, in sobs that shook her whole body. Her stomach knotted as she watched the man take her baby away.
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