May knew they were coming for her moments before they actually arrived. She could hear the hooves of the horses and the clanking of the wagon wheels coming up the path that led to her small home in the clearing. She gathered the supplies she would need and wrapped herself in a warm shawl before the men even made it to the door. She met them with a nod.
“May, we need to get back quick, Patience is havin trouble.” Hank the older of the two helped May into the carriage and they set off for the nearby farm.
Patience was a first time mother with a young husband and no mother of her own to help her. May was sure the men were exaggerating some.
She entered the farmhouse to an ear-shattering scream. “May, Help Me!”
“OK, now, you boys go make yourselves scarce. This momma needs some privacy. “
The midwife took quick stock of her patient. She had been wrong; the men were far from exaggerating. Actually, to say she was having trouble was an understatement. Patience looked worse than any birthing mother she had seen in twenty years, and that was including some mothers that had not made it.
She set to work determinedly, taking out her supplies and whispering to soothe her patient. She applied a rub of oil to Patience’s belly and made a simple tea with chamomile and catnip leaves to ease some of the pain.
“OK, Patience, let’s see if this here baby is ready to meet us yet. I am going to take a look and when I say go, give me a big push.”
She looked down to see the crowning head, but the baby’s skin seemed to already be turning a shade of blue. Blue was never good news.
“OK, honey, I know it hurts but we need to get this baby out fast. 1..2..3..Push!”
A little more of the head peeked out only to be pulled back in as Patience collapsed and quit pushing.
May knew that she had to work fast or they would lose both Patience and this baby. She whispered a prayer. It was time for a new tactic.
“Patience, come on honey, stay with me. I need you to get mad. Get mad at this pain; madder than you have ever been.” Patience looked confused and so weak that May was not sure it was going to work. “Come on Patience do this for your baby. Get mad a life, get mad at your momma, come on now. OK, let’s go, Push.”
This time Patience pushed with ferocity and May was able to guide the baby out. Patience collapsed, completely spent and fading fast. May looked at the baby’s small features. His blue color and stillness told her all she needed to know. A tear slid down her cheek and she used it to make the sign of the cross on the infants head.
She set the baby down beside her and went to work to save his momma. Patience was still unconscious, but she was breathing. Her pulse was slow, but it was there. May worked to clean her up and keep her warm. She wondered how she was going to tell Patience about the baby when she awoke.
After a few minutes a small cry from the end of the bed startled May. She rushed to find color returning to the baby’s cheeks and saw his eyes slowly open.
May’s hand flew to her mouth. “Praise God!” she shouted through her tears. She grabbed the baby boy and bundled him in a warm blanket. She reached her hand up and retouched the cross she had marked on the boy’s forehead. “You, little one are a definite child of God, I tell you what.”
Running to the porch, she flew open the door and screamed towards the barn. “Hank, Aaron, we have a boy!!” Joyously she returned to finish her tasks.
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