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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Facepalm (05/15/14)

TITLE: But You'll Help Us, Right?
By Leah Nichols


"So, are you excited?" I question, as I tighten the belts around Caitlin's midsection.

Her eyes shine. "Oh, yes, we are very excited. Aren't we, Jimmy?" She reaches over to the other side of the bed and grasps his hand.

He simply nods in agreement.

"Great." I adjust the monitor settings and the baby's heartbeat echoes loudly and clearly in the room. "Well, then, let's get to some of our admission questions and then we can talk about your plan of care. Do you have a birth plan?"

Both parents stare blankly at me.

"Do you have an idea of what you want for the birth?" I rephrase the question.

Caitlin looks at Jimmy for a second and then back toward me. "I want the epidural," she says quickly.

"Anything else?" I probe gently.

They look at each other again, then Jimmy shrugs. "We figured you'd tell us what's going on."

"Did you take any classes?"

They shake their heads.

"Read a book?"


"Watch videos? YouTube?"

"We didn't really have a lot of time to prepare," Caitlin replies softly. "The people at the WIC office helped us get our car seat and some diapers and bottles, though."

I glance at the prenatal record. She had received care from the community clinic from eight weeks until the transfer at 35 weeks to Dr. Horton. Not a lot of time to prepare, eh? I fake a smile. "Do you have any idea of what to expect for labor? Do you understand what the epidural does?"

"Takes away the pain. My girlfriends just told me to get it. They said it's the only way to go," Caitlin says.

I close my eyes and slowly blink them open. "Yes, but do you know what it does?"

She shakes her head. Jimmy blurts out, "You will tell us what to do, though, right? Like, you can help us breastfeed and change diapers and stuff?"

"Of course. But it would be easier for you if you'd had some preparation, like a class or video or something." I sigh, quickly typing No in the section regarding childbirth preparation. "You've babysat in the past or done childcare for someone?"

"Not really. A few of my friends have kids, but we only hang out when they're out shopping or something. I've never even changed a diaper," Caitlin admits.

Epic facepalm. In my mind I slowly count to ten. If I had a nickle for every unprepared parent. . .

"It's not that hard to take care of a baby, right?" Jimmy asks.

No, Jimmy, it's just going to consume every part of your life from today until either you just walk away or you buckle down and stick with it for the next eighteen years. You'll have sleepless nights, break party plans with your buddies, and take personal days from work to care for a puking child. You'll be obsessed with bodily functions, find creative ways to feed a toddler who won't open her mouth, and sing "The Wheels On The Bus" until you hate the song. You'll wonder why you ever signed up for this, and simultaneously believe it's the best thing that's ever happened.

"Depends on what you mean by hard," I reply. "It's probably the hardest thing you'll ever experience, but also the most wonderful, the most amazing, the most awe-inspiring. Hang on for the ride."

Both of their eyes widen.

"Seriously, guys; relax. You'll figure it out. Everybody does. Just keep an open mind, and remember above all to love this baby with all of your heart." I smile, genuinely this time.

Caitlin releases her death-grip on Jimmy's hand. "I think we could do that."

"Of course you can. Now, is anybody available to help you with the baby once you go home?" I turn my attention back to the admission questions.

"Yes, my mom. We live with my mom and stepdad," Caitlin says.

Yes, there is a God. Caitlin appears to be well-dressed and clean, with manicured nails and pretty hair. Someone has taken good care of her, so there will be a safe home for the baby. I restrain from releasing a sigh of relief. "Excellent."

Jimmy pulls out his iPad. "Do you have any suggestions for videos we should watch to help us get ready?"

I laugh. "Bit too late now, Jimmy. You're going to have to experience your own story."

"I just want to be ready," he says.

"Trust me, you're as ready as you'll ever be."

And I meant it.

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This article has been read 247 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 05/22/14
Loved the internal dialogue near the end of the story...great stuff, and so well done.

God bless~
Noel Mitaxa 05/24/14
I guess the only one of God's commands that people have taken seriously is the "to be fruitful and multiply," which you have covered with a good mix of humour and candour.
I also enjoyed your MC's internal dialogue, which successfully avoided any turn towards arrogance. Good writing.
Joe Moreland05/24/14
This is excellently written, with great dialogue and fleshed out characters.

I also liked the running dialogue that was going on inside your MC's head while she was having an external dialogue with the parents-to-be.

Very nice job!
Lisa Johnson 05/24/14
This is so true for so many young couples now, some are babies having babies. Well written story with believable characters.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/25/14
This piece has so many things to make it outstanding. I enjoyed the process of the narrator, but most of all, the reminder to the couple that to love the baby is the most important thing.
Graham Insley 05/25/14
I really enjoyed the MCs inner struggle which drew a vivid picture of 'Oh no!' while remaining very caring and loving in presentation towards the couple. Good facepalm stuff.

The story also left me with a wonderful image of the lifetime of facepalms of awe and wonder this couple had to look forward to.

Carolyn Ancell05/26/14
This is so well written, kept my attention from beginning to end; and I agree that the inner voice of the MC helped us understand beyond simply the words she spoke. Great job.
Judith Gayle Smith05/26/14
So animated and compelling! I enjoyed this muchly.
Sheldon Bass 05/28/14
Delightful and realistic! You've covered an important issue here and one that needs attention. And the writing is tight and stellar. Great job, I enjoyed it immensely.
CD Swanson 05/29/14
God bless~
Rachel Malcolm 05/29/14
This must be such a common scenario! Very well-written. Congratulations on winning first place overall!!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/29/14
I love this! Oh boy can I relate. It never ceased to amaze me when I encountered someone like your MC. Congratulations on your first place EC! I'm doing a huge happy dance for you!!
Lisa Johnson 05/29/14
Congratulations on 1st place! I feel it is well deserved. Blessings!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/29/14
I love this! Oh boy can I relate. It never ceased to amaze me when I encountered someone like your MC. Congratulations on your first place EC! I'm doing a huge happy dance for you!!
Pauline Carruthers 05/29/14
Congratulations - a winner all the way. I absolutely loved the dialogue and the reality. It flowed beautifully too.
Sheldon Bass 05/29/14
Oh I finally picked a winner! This piece was my top choice this go-round. Congratulations on a wonderful entry and the top spot this week!
Joanne Sher 05/29/14
So very VERY realistic (and I know why.). I can TOTALLY hear you saying these words (you know which ones :D). Absolutely, positively deserving of first place EC. Fabulous, my friend. WOOWOO! :D
Shari Armstrong 05/29/14
Congrats!!!! SO awesome! I could see the whole thing :)
Sara Harricharan 05/29/14
Great job! I loved the characters and the touch of humor and slice-of-life reality. Very well done! ^_^
Trudy Newell05/30/14
Absolutely brilliant.

Congratulations on your wins.

I'm a beginner, but I can sure tell good writing when I see it.

God bless
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/30/14
Aww, sweet story. Congrats on your win!
Beth LaBuff 06/04/14
This brought many smiles knowing how fast they would learn some of these things. :) Your writing was quite engaging and humorous. Super congrats on being at the top of the EC list!
Bea Edwards 06/04/14
Really great example of grace in the midst of facepalm.

Sweet as sassy piece-congrats on taking the 1st overall!