The first birth I ever witnessed was a horrific tragedy. My family and friends were dead. I was homeless. The streets of town resembled a war zone. Populated by rats, the park where I use 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 street 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 an 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 in the alley.
“Shhh…Be quiet!” I begged in a whisper.
The girl answered my pleas for quiet with moans of agony.
I peeked into the alleyway. The hyenas were fighting amongst themselves as they searched for me amongst the garbage.
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; Blood was everywhere and the smell nauseating.
Please…oh please, help me!” The girl cried as she reached for the blood-covered infant 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 knocked on my door around 4am this morning. She was having contractions and noticeably drenched in body fluids. Attempting not to panic or look worried, I woke Gretchen, and Cecelia. The girls helped me change Casey’s clothes and put her into a clean bed. After reassuring Casey, everything would be fine; I ran to wake Evan and JT and sent them on an errand to find a mid-wife. There was a small clinic a few blocks over. They returned within an hour with a girl named Lizzy. I stepped aside as labor coach and let the midwife take over. Gretchen and Cecelia stayed in the room to help and give moral support.
By noon, Casey was in hard labor and begging for the pain to stop. I put on a happy face and reassured everyone Casey and her baby would be fine. I kept my fears to myself. I prayed a naming ceremony would be on the horizon, not a funeral.
There were moments I feared Casey wouldn’t have the strength to push her baby into the world. With every contraction Lizzy, Gretchen and Cecelia would yell, “Push Casey… Push!”
Casey responded with screams of pain that resonated through the school.
At 3:07pm, the baby arrived with a loud wonderful cry.
We all cheered as midwife Lizzy placed the crying baby girl into Casey’s awaiting arms.