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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

TITLE: Anticipating The Arrival
By T. F. Chezum


Janelle grunted as she slid the rocking chair toward the corner of the nursery. “Almost done.” She eyed the crib in the middle of the floor.

“Hey, honey … Where are you?” Brad’s voice echoed from the living room.

“I’m in the nursery.”

The young man pranced into the room. “What’re you doing?” He loosened his tie. “You shouldn’t be doing anything strenuous.”

She unbuttoned her husband’s collar. “I was only…”

“Sweetheart, you’re eight months … eight and a half months pregnant.” He helped her sit in the recently moved rocker. “Doctor’s orders. You need your rest.”

“I love you.” A weary smile brightened Janelle’s face. “I’m just so excited. This is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.”

“And maybe the end of our sanity,” Brad chuckled.


“Just kidding, dear.” Brad kissed his wife on the forehead. “But you need to take care of our baby.” He grabbed the crib by the rail. “Now … where do you want this?”


Brad flipped his phone closed. “Dr. Walker wants you to go to the emergency room.”

“It hurts.” Tears welled in Janelle’s eyes. “Is it supposed to hurt like this?”

He rubbed his wife’s back. “C’mon, babe. Let’s get you going.” Brad uttered a silent prayer as he helped his wife to the car. “Everything’s gon’a be alright.”

The anxious man tried to mask his turmoil with a stoic expression as he squeezed the steering wheel with rigid intensity. He glanced at his wife as her gasps and whimpers broke the awkward silence. “Almost there … hang in there, babe.” He put his right hand on her leg. “Hold my hand … Say a prayer with me … Pray for the baby.”


Dr. Walker flipped through the pages of his patient’s chart. “So how long ago did the contractions start?” He felt her abdominal region.

“About two hours.” Uncertainty reflected in Janelle’s eyes. “Maybe a bit more.”

“Just relax now,” the doctor said.

“What’s going on?” Brad paced beside his wife’s bed. “Is the baby okay?”

“That’s what we’re trying to find out, Mr. Hayes. Why don’t you have a seat so we can get some answers for you.” Dr. Walker gestured to a chair along the wall. “Janelle … Have you noticed any bleeding?” He began his examination.

“No … nothing.” She heaved a sigh. “I didn’t check after the contractions started.”

“She’s dilated to two, and her water hasn’t broken,” Dr. Walker said to the nurse. “What were her vitals when she got here? And I’m going to need a hook.”

“BP 128 over 78 … pulse was 146 and regular.” The nurse grabbed an implement from a nearby tray.

“Thank you.” Dr. Walker retrieved the tool as he glanced at the readout on the panel at the head of the bed. “106 over 64 …”

“What’s that mean?” Brad jumped to his feet. “What’s wrong?”

Janelle flinched with another contraction.

“I’m going to break your water …”

“But I’m not due,” she panted. “Not for … three weeks.”

“You blood pressure is dropping.” The doctor inserted the instrument. “We may need to get the baby to protect both of you.” A surge of amniotic fluid and blood gushed onto the bed. “We have a placental abruption. Prep her for a cesarean.”

“Wait … What?” Brad stepped to the bed and grasped his wife’s hand. “Why?”

Tears rolled down Janelle’s cheeks. “I’m scared.”

“We need to pray.” Brad’s hands trembled.

“Excuse me, sir.” An orderly released the brakes on the bed. “We need to take her now.”

“Just keep praying, babe.” Brad’s blinked his dampened eyelashes. “Keep praying.” He paced the now empty room.


Dr. Walker stepped through the door. “Mr. Hayes …”

“Doctor.” Brad sprang to his feet. “How’s the baby?”

“She’s fine …”

“A girl?” The young father smiled.

“She’s on a respirator for now,” the doctor continued. “Her APGAR was a little low, probably a side effect of the torn placenta … It’s just precautionary.”

“Thank you for saving our baby … our daughter.” He gazed toward the ceiling. “Thank you Lord.” He released a sigh. “When can I see Janelle?”

“The placenta is very vascular.” He put his hand on Brad’s shoulder. “Janelle lost copious amounts of blood.”

“What are you saying?”

Dr. Walker looked toward the floor. “I’m sorry, Brad … We couldn’t save her.”

Brad fell back into the chair. His blank expression reflected a tormenting mix of emotions echoing through his mind.

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This article has been read 708 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 04/25/09
What an awful situation! And I know it happens. The emotions were so real. So bittersweet.
Joy Faire Stewart04/25/09
Oh, so sad, and I didn't expect the ending. Great job with emotion.
Jae Blakney04/27/09
Oooh, too real! My friend just lost his grandchild--stillborn. You know it's got to be good writing when it brings the same feelings of pain and frustration at not being able to help the poor guy. A technical point: if she was 8 1/2 months pregnant, she couldn't also be 3 weeks early.
Gerald Shuler 04/27/09
Nicely done with great emotion.
Jan Ackerson 04/27/09
This was very well-written, with a great buildup of suspense. I felt like it needed one more sentence--it just felt a bit fizzly to me. Excellent job with the wonderful/horrible mix of emotions.
Carole Robishaw 04/27/09
This was very good, I was right there with them all the way.
Carol Slider 04/27/09
Oh, how terribly sad. The vividness of the situation made the ending all the more heartbreaking. Very well written.
Seema Bagai 04/28/09
I could sense the tension and emotion here. The ending seemed too abrupt, though. Maybe a line with the word prayer to echo the previous sections would help.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/28/09
This sad story really did fit this week's category. Good writing.
Sharon Kane04/28/09
You captured the tension both of the couple and the hospital staff. I suspect from the technical language that this is written with some insider knowledge?
Dee Yoder 04/29/09
Oh man, as soon as I read that low BP, my heart started beating faster. This really got my emotions going! Great way to engage the reader and a good, though terribly sad, illustration of the beginning and the end topic.
Beckie Stewart04/29/09
This was well written and so sad but so real unfortunately. Thanks for writing it.
Bryan Ridenour04/29/09
Well written. I felt the emotions you were conveying and you kept me focused and hopeful for both to the end.
Karlene Jacobsen04/29/09
Such a bittersweet story.
Joanney Uthe04/29/09
Very touching story with realistic characters and emotions. Great job.