Dearest Readers and Writers, welcome to Creative Writing 1.2020. Sounds like the title of a college personal enrichment course. For this post, I am linking up with Dee at Grammy’s Grid for her first Short Story Prompt of the new year. As Dee explains, “this is a creative writing exercise for fun and without a lot of editing. Just start typing and see what you come up with!”
Last year – sounds so funny to use that for the 2019 – I participated in several of these creative writing opportunities, and always enjoyed writing to Dee’s prompts. You can read my favorite piece, here.
This year, Dee has released all of the prompts at once for 2020. Click on this link to see the short story prompt list for 2020.
Maybe you can join in each month for some creative writing, too!!
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Creative Writing 01.2020
When I read this month’s prompt, I was immediately swept back in time to the birth of my second daughter, Lauren. Maybe I just have babies on the brain as I began to write this days before our baby girl Camila was due to make her debut. And I finished on the day of her arrival.
Ready? Here’s the current prompt for my Creative Writing 01.2020:
I woke up to a bright and sunny morning after…
delivering my second child on the rainy afternoon the day before. Sharp contractions had awakened me at 1:00 am yesterday. I’d moved from our bed to the couch downstairs to keep from waking my husband with my moaning and rolling around.
At some point I must have drifted off, because I didn’t hear him slip out the front door 5 hours later for PT. But awoke when his key turned the lock as he returned for breakfast at 7:00 am. I wobbled to the kitchen to begin breakfast while he showered for work. He had our 2 year-old in his arms when he came back down to eat. Although I had prepared burritos and eggs, it was all I could do to cook them much less eat them. So while Daniel and Brennyn ate, I returned to my pillow and blanket on the couch.
Breakfast then Lunch
My husband’s cousin had returned home with us after our most recent visit to the interior of Panama in order to watch Brennyn while I was in the hospital delivering our second child. Gloria joined Brennyn and Daniel for breakfast, helping our toddler eat her eggs. When Daniel was off to the motor pool, Gloria took Brennyn upstairs to dress for the day and I dozed off again.
When I awoke, Daniel had returned for lunch. I was more nauseous than I had been in the morning and begged off preparing the noon meal. Gloria came to the rescue fixing rice and beans that I knew were delicious but whose smell on this particular day sent my contracting stomach rolling. As the contractions became stronger, I began to time them. Five minutes apart. Time to shower and dress and start thinking about heading to the hospital.
It was the last day of July and a half-day work day for the military stationed in Panama. Daniel had changed out of his uniform with plans to accompany a neighbor to buy tires in Panama City. With the recent unrest in support of dictator Manuel Noriega and in opposition to U.S. occupation of the Canal Zone, the one thoroughfare connecting Panama City (and Gorgas Army Hospital) with our military housing area was often blocked by demonstrators. At any time, day or night of late, the Bridge of the Americas could be blocked completely. Meaning Daniel might get into the city to translate for our neighbor’s tire-buying transaction, but he might not be able to get back home. I begged Daniel not to go. After some discussion, he finally agreed to stay home.
Contractions Begin Contracting
My contractions become stronger and more frequent. It was now 1:30 pm. I remembered the times I had gone to the hospital in what I thought was labor with our first daughter, only to be sent home 3 times over 3 days. Finally, on my fourth jaunt out to Millington Naval Hospital, I was admitted to the ER and pronounced in labor, where I delivered Brennyn 2 hours later. I didn’t want to go to the hospital with this baby and be sent home. So, I waited a little longer.
When the contractions were closer to 4 minutes apart, I put on my makeup, brushed my hair and grabbed my overnight bag. Gloria took Brennyn in her arms so I could kiss my daughter without struggling to bend down. Then distracted her by offering to take her to the park so we could slip away. The sky had become very dark with the threat of our daily tropical thunderstorm. We sped through the military housing area and off post as fast as we dared, on the look out for MPs at every intersection. The traffic on the Pan-American highway was thick, moving slowly toward Panama City and the hospital as well as away from the city and into the interior of the country. The rain picked up and I became more nervous.
As we neared the Bridge of the Americas, traffic slowed to a crawl. And then stopped once we were mid-way across the bridge. Demonstrators were weaving their way among the cars they had blocked on the bridge, and on its ascent and descent, with their bodies and signs. The structure was bouncing with the weight of the cars and the storm passing overhead. For a terrifying moment, I imagined giving birth in our car. In the midst of the anger surrounding us.
I am not certain what happened that broke up the log jam, perhaps the U.S. military police or Panama’s La Guardia. Although I think Panamanian police cars were staged around the Panama City side of the entrance to the bridge. And their officers were doing nothing to contain the protesters. But finally, after 15 minutes, we were moving again, and just 10 minutes from the Army hospital. I could almost walk if I had to. Daniel pulled up to the emergency room entrance to let me out and then parked the car. The rain was coming down in sheets so he was well drenched in his dash from the car to the ER.
From L to D
Everything began happening quickly from that point. I was directed to report to Labor & Delivery, checked in and examined. Then forgotten. For about an hour. No one came to see how far along I was, how dilated. I began to feel the urge to push and ordered Daniel to find someone, anyone to check me out. Panicked, he ran out into the hall then returned with a nurse. She took one quick look, announced the baby was crowning, ran back out into the hall to call for help and began wheeling my bed toward the delivery room. Daniel started trying to put on his gown, shoe covers and mask but the nurse cautioned him that there was no time for that.
Nor was there time to move me from the labor room bed to the delivery room bed. The obstetrician on call appeared at the foot of the bed just in time to catch my Lauren Allegra.
I was stitched while baby girl was cleaned up slightly then swaddled and a stocking cap placed on her head. She was laid on my chest as I was wheeled back to the labor room. They didn’t have a regular hospital room available for me. As I was steered across the threshold of the doorway, the nurse attending me realized that Lauren was laying on my chest. She scooped up baby explaining that Lauren was too cold for me to have her. And disappeared down the hall with my little girl.
An attendant pushed me the rest of the way into the room. Daniel called from the door that he was going home to celebrate and to tell Brennyn and Gloria that our baby had arrived. Again, I was forgotten. No one checked on me for hours. I finished reading a book, polished my nails and then napped. Several more hours passed. I meandered into the hall hoping to get someone to bring me something to eat and drink. And to try to find out where my baby was. Was unsuccessful at both.
Daniel returned briefly to bring Brennyn and Gloria to meet Lauren. The 2 year-old who had looked so small earlier in the day, looked like she had grown a foot in the afternoon. She seemed so big compared to her newborn sister. Once they were gone, I fell asleep and slept most of the night despite the electrical storm and wind that raged outside my window. Lauren stayed in the nursery.
Bright and Sunny Morning
Early the next morning, from my bed, I could see that the rain had just stopped. The sun was out as was the case most mornings during the Panamanian rainy season. My breakfast was delivered and then my baby was brought to me, freshly bathed and tightly swaddled. As I held Lauren and cooed to her, I noticed a pair of birds outside my window ascending into the morning sky. They seemed to be teasing each other, or playing some sort of game, flying close to one another and then veering apart.
I thought of my daughters. For now, they would seem light years apart in age and ability…newborn and 2 years old. But in the future, I knew that they would grow to be close, perhaps even each other’s best friend.
As I caressed Lauren’s cheek with a finger, I spotted the birds again. They were almost beyond view from my window, flying side by side toward a barely visible rainbow stretched across the morning sky.
Welcome, Camila Jean
Yesterday at 8:47 am my third sweet grandbaby came into this world. Camila Jean or Cami was wedged so tightly inside her mama that the obstetrician struggled for 5 minutes to remove baby through the C-section incision. Once she was finally free, Cami gave everyone a piece of her mind. But has hardly whimpered since. Such a sweet, quiet baby girl. And beautiful, I don’t mind telling you!
Here she is with her mama, Lauren.
How would your response read to today’s prompt for creative writing 01.2020? Do you remember a special bright and sunny morning in your life?
According to our weather for tomorrow, we could be in for some rain and maybe a chance of snow as baby Cami goes home. I am anxious for that baby to meet her big sister, Cia. The hospital has a policy during flu season that no siblings under the age of 14 are allowed on the maternity floor. So our sisters still have not been formally introduced. So anxious to see what Cia thinks about her new real-life baby doll.
Hugs and kisses,