The first birth I ever witnessed was a horrific tragedy. The event left me scarred. My family and friends were dead. I was homeless. The streets of town resembled a war zone. Populated by giant rats, the park where I used to play had become a landfill of dead bodies.
Like a wild animal, I scavenged for food, I broke into houses and anywhere else, I thought I might find a morsel to eat. To help ease the pain in my stomach I sometimes stole food from the hands of others.
At night, I found a place to hide but never in the same place twice. Sleep didn’t come easy; I hated the dark. Horrible monsters lived in the dark.
Almost daily I witnessed senseless brutality. Dragged into the streets the soon-to-be dead always kicked and screamed. Their cries for help and mercy ignored. Afraid for my own life, I hid, closed my eyes, covered my ears and prayed I wouldn’t be next.
On this particular day, I was exhausted, tired and hungry. The Red Hyenas were hunting and I was their prey. Already caught but released during a game of cat and mouse, I ran into the alley and hid in a crawl space. From somewhere in the damp darkness, I hear the voice of a young girl say, “Help me please!”
My first reaction was to flee but I couldn’t, the Red Hyenas were searching the alley.
“Shh..Be quiet!” I begged in a whisper.
The girl answered my pleas for quiet with moans of agony.
I peaked into the alleyway. The hyenas were fighting among themselves as they searched for me in the rubble. The lead boy wasn’t happy I escaped.
Fearing the Hyenas would hear the moaning and cries for help, I crawled deeper into the darkness and demanded the girl be quiet. What I saw still haunts me to this day. Blood was everywhere and the smell nauseating.
“Please…oh please, help me!” The girl cried as she reached for her blood-covered baby lying in the mud.
I stared in horror and scooted back against the far wall. I prayed the baby wouldn’t cry. If the baby cried, the Red Hyenas would find me.
Several hours later, I ventured back out into the alley. The girl and her baby both died in the dark. I never asked her name.
Casey woke everyone in the 2A hall around 4am, with her cries of pain. Madie, Gretchen and Cecelia helped Casey back to her room. I was sent to find a midwife in the clinic a couple blocks over.
By noon, Casey was in hard labor and begging for the pain to stop. There were moments I feared along with everyone else waiting in the hall, Casey wouldn’t have the strength to push her baby into the world. With every contraction, the midwife, Madie, Gretchen and Cecelia would yell, “Push, Casey… Push!” Casey responded with screams of pain. At 3:07, the baby was born. A girl