Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)
TITLE: From Ow to Wow
By Shannon Pannell
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“Ow, ow, ow,” she whimpered, as the machines documented a sharp incline and then a peak.
“You can do it, honey.” Her husband encouraged, rubbing her hand as she squeezed his tightly. His eyes left her face only briefly to check the progress on the monitor screen. “Almost over,” he mutters, and then “Done,” more loudly. “Are you OK?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think I can do this.”
“You can,” he stroked her face gently. “And, just think: soon we’ll meet our baby.”
Her face relaxed and her eyes took on an adoring shine. “Our baby,” she breathed. The breath ended in a strangled gasp as she doubled over in pain, forcing air in and out until the pain eased its vice like grip. She released his hand to briefly rub her stomach.
“Ow,” he chuckled, shaking his head in an effort to get the blood flowing again.
She smiled and opened her mouth, but the next pain cut short the apology that would have been. Pain after pain came, like waves crashing in the darkness and receding, then, she was pushing with an effort that seemed to rend her in two. Again and again, she pushed until her brain entered a state where there was only the pain and the task at hand.
Finally, a baby’s cry rent the stillness and she fell back, exhausted but triumphant. As she holds the baby in her arms moments later, she can feel her heart expand to where it almost explodes with love and joy. Leaning forward so their foreheads touch, husband and wife gaze down at the comforted infant and breathe in unison: “Wow.”
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