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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)

TITLE: Love casts out Fear
By Colin Nielsen


“It’s time,” she announced, looking like an inflatable beach ball with arms and legs.
“You sure. Doctor said there’s at least twos week to go.”
“Look. Something’s happening and it hurts real bad.”
I grabbed the bag we packed about four weeks ago and guided my young wife down the stairs of our second floor apartment.
“Has the contraction gone yet? Maybe I should wait until it ends before going further.”
“The pain’s not going. Something’s wrong.”
Fear rose and stunned me. ‘Something’s wrong’ is not what an expecting father wants to hear. Normally I would pray. It’s who I am. But memories of my childhood stopped me.
As a teen, my step-mum had to have a hysterectomy for medical reasons. Later when she got married, She desperately wanted children. She spent many hours on her knees begging and praying for God to heal her. It never happened. As a little boy, I remember thinking either God’s not listening or he just doesn’t have the power. She turned nasty. She regularly hit me across the face for any reason until I was old enough to deflect her blows. Spare the rod and spoil the child. I concluded my presence was a permanent reminder of unanswered prayer.
She made me feel like a failure. I did not want my sweet little M&M doll turning out the same way.
Nurses rolled her into maternity ward. After a forty-minute wait, they checked the baby’s heartbeat. A Thump Thump, Thump Thump,Thump Thump, sound filled the tiny examination room. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Another thought from left field took its place almost immediately. I was having a baby. I did not have much money because my boss paid low wages. Previously we discussed and decided my wife would stay at home and look after the child. Visions of my new family lining up at a shelter and taking food from charity and sleeping in a car invaded my mind like an unwanted barbarian. How on earth was I supposed to pay for new family?
The destiny-altering day approached. My wife lived in the hospital, still in pain. After running countless tests, the doctors had no idea why. Meanwhile at home every thing I saw on television pointed to the massive expense of raising children. Fear took over my life and became my permanent housemate. I spent my days at the hospital with my wife, and the nights at home lying awake in a halfway-empty queen-size bed.
Phone woke me at 6:30 in the morning, the day after my wife’s official due date, and I picked it up. My worry built to a crescendo.
“Do you want to get down here early today honey, we’re having a baby,” she said.
I ran to the car and sped towards the hospital. The cars made way for me and I traveled in a completely clear lane. The long line traffic sat motionless as I sped past on the inside. Only later did I realize I traveled in the bus lane. I should have been booked. But somehow the police officer on the side of the road did not see me.
I found a car park almost immediately (another miracle in the busiest hospital in Sydney, Royal North Shore) and ran straight for the maternity ward.
I stared into my wife’s empty room. Evil thoughts assaulted me again.
‘They’ve taken her away. She’s going to lose the baby. You can’t afford it anyway. She’d going to die.’
I forced the thoughts back. A groan came from the bathroom. I ran to the door.
“You okay? Are you having a contraction?”
“No. I’m making cookies.” My fat little firecracker said. I didn’t realize how much I missed her teasing sarcasm until she wasn’t there.
“What do you want me to do?”
She opened the door, her face puffed, her breathing labored, and her hair messed up. She looked so beautiful.
“Just be here.” She smiled.
At 11:30pm that night, I held for the first time Lisa Catherine Evans while they patched my wife up. They found she had a separated pubic bone caused when Lisa engaged. The baby’s birth caused her pain to disappear. Another miracle occurred - All my fear fled. My wife would not turn nasty and bitter. Holding this little bundle I suddenly did not care how much she would cost. I was a Dad and we would all be all right.
I loved these girls and love casts out fear.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon08/28/09
Such a sweet story. If you had broken it into paragraphs it would have been better but all in all I loved how seeing a child takes away all fear because only God can do that. The joy of a dad seeing his baby for the first time is breathtaking.
Rachel Phelps09/01/09
Your first line provoked an amazingly funny and clear picture of the story. Perhaps a little less telling and more showing would have been good for the middle part about the step-mom and thinking about money, but the dialogue and relationship between the characters was fun and realistic.
Gregory Kane09/02/09
Ditto, it's good to read something from the man's point of view. I especially liked the "making cookies" quip.
My biggest problem with your story is that it doesn't flow smoothly enough. Part of the answer would be to improve your paragraph marking as has been said (layout is important). But also your story jumps around too much and at one point I was completely confused as to whether everyone was. So cut back on the aside comments and beef up the main flow of the story. It's good but you can obviously do even better.
Jan Ackerson 09/02/09
Great POV, and I felt that the glimpses of the narrator's past really helped us to understnad him. Your previous commentors have given you good advice!
Pamela Kliewer09/02/09
What they said. :-) Great story.