That day, starting from dawn, thick layers of clouds hid the sun.
It was high noon, but the sky was dark and hazy, and the delivery room was surrounded by a heavy atmosphere. Iida Yoko was even more nervous than the pregnant woman on the hospital bed, because there was only her and Doctor Kinoshita in the delivery room.
Today was the first time Yoko was doing a delivery on her own. To her it was a heavy burden, but there was no one else. Today wasn’t the pregnant woman’s expected delivery date, and the experienced senior nurse – – – Matsumoto had taken an early vacation for the Bon Festival*; she started her vacation yesterday. If it had been a public hospital there wouldn’t have been much harm, but they were a private hospital, so they were understaffed.
Also, this pregnant woman’s due date was supposed to be two weeks later, but because this morning her water suddenly broke, so she was immediately sent to the hospital.
Kinoshita gazed sharply at the anxious Yoko, as if telling her: Don’t let the patient see your frantic expression. He didn’t know how many times he had said to her: If a nurse is restless it will spread to the patient. Even though the naturally nervous Yoko knew this well, she still couldn’t help but show her emotions.
She nervously wiped away the pregnant woman’s sweat.
“It’s ok, just a little more, do your best.” Yoko said while trying to smile, but she knew very well that she couldn’t possibly smile.
The pregnant woman painfully wrinkled her eyebrows and clutched the armrest so tight that she was convulsing.
“AAAAAAAH HAAAAAH!” The pregnant woman let out an animal-like howl.
A nameless chill crept up Yoko’s spine. Whe didn’t understand what she was so afraid of.
“The head is already out, push a little more.” Kinoshita said.
But the pregnant woman didn’t seem to hear Kinoshita’s words.
“The baby’s head is already out, just push a little more.”
Yoko whispered into the pregnant woman’s ear. She felt the pregnant woman’s expression relax a bit. A little more! Just a little more, and she could be free from this suffocating room. Yoko started to relax too.
“In, out, in out, in out, in – – ”
Yoko put her hand on the pregnant woman’s shoulder, she made her repeat the breathing exercise over and over: she wasn’t just trying to calm the woman down; she was also trying to calm herself down.
In, out, in, out, in out, in – – the pregnant lady matched her breathing with Yoko’s.
A little more! A little more and it’ll be all over!
“Push a little more!” Yoko encouraged in a more commanding tone.
Doing what Yoko said, the pregnant woman used all her strength, her body distorted with exhaustion.
AAAAAAHHHHHH – – –
To Yoko’s ears that yell sounded more painful than dying.
Waaaa – –
The baby’s cries permeated the delivery room.
“Wonderful.” Kinoshita said.
Yoko let out a sigh of relief.
“Thank god, you successfully had your child.”
Yoko said while wiping away the woman’s sweat. Maybe it was because of exhaustion but she didn’t answer Yoko; she just stared at the ceiling with empty eyes. Somehow she processed the thought just gave birth to a new life, and tears streamed out.
She released all of her tears. Yoko had just realized she had burst into tears too.
“How can this be, this child……” Kinoshita inadvertently blurted out.
What happened? What is the meaning of this?