Merry Christmas everyone.
Here's my heart warming Christmas short story for you to enjoy.
Dr Zach by Jane Snookes
“And how’s mum doing?” Dr Zach asked cheerily, smoothly sliding back into the bland hospital room and shutting out the jolly tones of “Merry Christmas Everyone”.
‘Bom, bom, bom, bom” He smiled in satisfaction as the tinny sound of the heartbeat filled the room.
“Well, nothing’s really changed but the heartbeat is regular now and we’ve got the monitor on,” the midwife said.
“Are you kidding me? How can nothing have changed?” Vanessa glared at the midwife, flicking sweaty hair out of her eyes. “It’s been HOURS!”
“Babies come when they’re ready, darling.” She smiled brightly, “now try and get some rest between contractions. They are two minutes apart, doctor. One of us will come and check on you when we can. It’s a busy night and fewer of us than normal.” She patted Dr Zach on the arm and hurried off to her next suffering inmate.
“Don’t go,” Vanessa screamed to the midwife’s parting back, “Oowwwwwwww!”
Dr Zach moved closer to examine the heart monitor as the contraction subsided. He watched the rhythmic blips on the screen showing every beat.
“Baby seems to be doing well now.” He reported.
Despite the exhaustion, Vanessa managed a tired smile.
“No one said it would be this hard,” she complained.
“Well, they do try to explain in the pre-natal classes.” Vanessa’s eyes narrowed. “Though I guess it’s impossible to know unless you’ve done it before.”
“Oh, here’s another one. Owww,” she grabbed his hand and dug her nails in.
“Owww” Dr Zach cried in unison, pulling his hand back at the nearest opportunity, cradling it gingerly.
“How about some pain relief?” Vanessa begged.
“Oh, it didn’t hurt enough for that,” Dr Zach smiled, rubbing his hand.
“Really? You’re not funny.”
“Umm, well, it’s too late for an epidural. Use the gas and air.”
“Oh, come on, you’ve got to be joking?” Vanessa begun but Dr Zach’s attention had been drawn to the heart monitor. Where it had been rhythmically ticking along, the line was now stopping and starting, pausing, then hopping and leaping all over the place.
Dr Zach felt his stomach lurch and his own heartbeat faster. His palms sweated and mind went blank. Barely gathering his wits he fumbled as he adjusted the straps stretched round Vanessa’s swollen belly.
“Sit still,” he instructed her as she squirmed. The monitor trace remained unstable.
“What. What’s going on?” Vanessa’s wide eyes examined his face. “Owww.”
“Baby needs help,” he said and sweat beads appeared on his forehead.
Reaching for the emergency button he hit it hard. Panic overwhelmed him and he staggered back against the wall. The crash team immediately appeared, assessed the situation and set to work. The bed side rails were lifted, the monitor disconnected and Vanessa was rushed towards the theatre. Dr Zach stumbled along behind the small procession down the familiar hallways; festive decorations pinned high on the wall. His own heart pumped wildly; his stomach cartwheeled.
A midwife gave him a kind smile as they pushed through into the operating theatre. He was used to being here; scrubbed up and handing babies to crying parents? Never had he felt this way before; his legs like lead and his head spinning.
Quickly and efficiently the team worked despite their reduced numbers. The doctor in charge called instructions, the anaesthetist monitored the screens, nurses and midwives controlled the area and the obstetrician waited, poised for action. Vanessa’s head poked from below the green sheets, her curly hair barely controlled by a surgical cap, her eyes searching and scared. Dr Zach stood useless in the corner while the radio continued its jolly Christmas tunes.
Just as the clock chimed midnight, the primal piercing screams of a baby filled the room as it was securely pulled from Vanessa’s womb and rushed to the experts. Everyone held their breath. Dr Zach stepped forward to Vanessa’s side and gave her his best reassuring smile, but it didn’t convincingly reach his eyes. He held her hand and kissed her head.
Finally, the midwife turned around, the swaddled baby in her arms.
“She gave us quite a scare, but her vital signs are all good,” she announced.
“Congratulations, Dr Zach and Vanessa, your baby girl weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds 2 ounces.”
The room breathed a collective sigh of relief. Vanessa sobbed. Gently Dr Zach took his daughter as tears streamed down his face. He held her close so Vanessa too could touch her.
Someone turned up the volume. Christmas anthems and joy filled the room.
“Merry Christmas everyone!”