Fake Fiance, Real RevengeBy: Roxanne Snopek
Transition, she thought. “Almost there now, honey. Breathe!”
The baby’s presentation was putting pressure on the mother’s sciatic nerve, and the only way she could get relief was to labor on all fours, on a yoga mat. Fortunately, Sabrina was set up for every possibility. If women wanted a water birth, she had a tub. If they wanted to labor in a Jacuzzi, they could. She had a birthing ball, an open-seated chair, a pole. She had music, candles, and massage oil. She had sterile instruments, monitoring equipment, and adjustable beds.
But only two birthing rooms.
What she needed was more…of everything.
The man’s eyes started spiraling again.
“Daphne!” Sabrina yelled. “Dad’s losing it here.”
Brad! That was his name.
“Jenny wants Brad to cut the cord,” she said as Daphne jogged into the room. “If he passed out at this, he ain’t gonna like what’s coming.”
Every midwife in the history of the universe knew that in the ultimate deciding match in the battle of the sexes, the hands that rocked the cradle really did rule the world.
Jenny moaned, moving back and forth slightly on her knees. Sabrina checked her again—almost time now. The woman had been laboring since the previous evening and they were all exhausted.
“You’re fully dilated, honey. You’ll feel the urge to push any time.”
With that came the next contraction and a roaring grunt from the floor.
“What are you doing to her?” Brad stood up, then wavered, all the color leaching from his face as he watched his wife bearing down.
“Down, boy,” Daphne said, pushing him back onto his knees. “Stay.”
No matter how many classes they went through on labor and birth, Sabrina thought as she slipped her gloved hands between the woman’s thighs, they were still shocked by the reality.
The baby’s head emerged, a thatch of black hair, followed by a tiny, scrunched-up face.
The sight, as always, gave Sabrina a jolt of joy so pure and crisp that she felt her throat catch. Birth was primitive, earthy—but it remained the single most awe-inspiring experience of her life, no matter how many she attended. It also remained the greatest desire of her heart.
And her greatest fear.
Her one short-lived pregnancy had ended in sorrow she’d had to bear completely alone, thanks to the jerk who’d abandoned her. Didn’t matter what extenuating circumstances he might claim: Mitchell Granger had left her when she’d needed him most. And if she ever got the chance—
“Aaah…,” Jenny moaned. “It’s coming! It’s coming!”
“Dad! Hey!” Sabrina barked, gesturing with her chin. “Look alive! You’re going to be the first face your child sees.”
“I…am?” he said, looking at her in alarm.
“You are,” she confirmed. “But not if you’re out cold.”
“Is…everything…okay?” the woman gasped. The next wave hit and she bore down again with a great cry.
“Everything is just fine.” Sabrina slipped her finger into the infant’s mouth, sweeping it free of mucus. She cradled the slippery head with a sterile huck towel, easing out one shoulder, then the other. “Say hello to Daddy, little one!”
“Oh…my God…,” the father murmured. But to Sabrina’s relief, he’d finally snapped to attention.
“Here we come, baby love,” she crooned as the mother gave one last great push. The rest of the child slid out into the warm towel, still attached with the purple twisted cord. “Welcome to the world, sweetheart!”
Jenny, shaking with fatigue, collapsed onto the mat. “Is everything okay?”
“Baby is just great, Mom.” Sabrina quickly checked the infant, swaddled him in another dry towel, and handed him to his father. Then she turned to the new mother, wrapping her with warm blankets, plumping up cushions and bedding to bring the most comfort.
“Lie back, okay? I’m going to put your son on your chest.”
Brad still looked shell-shocked, but his color was fine, and he held the baby with firm arms.
Sabrina directed the young man to lay his newborn son on his wife’s naked body, and together, they watched the infant crawl and creep and nuzzle his way to his mother’s breast.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” Jenny said, laughing and crying at the same time. “I mean, you showed us videos, but—”
“I know.” Sabrina swallowed.
“I love you so much, Jenny,” Brad said in a choked voice.
“I love you, too.” Tears ran freely down Jenny’s face. “We’re a family now!”
Sabrina’s throat clenched. Usually she celebrated with her clients. But today, maybe because she’d been thinking about Mitch, she couldn’t watch.
“I’ll, uh, give you three some privacy.” And she dashed to the washroom to pull herself together.
The only thing Sabrina Becker wanted as much as a baby was to find Mitchell Granger and hurt him, the way he’d hurt her.
Maybe then that Mitch-shaped scar on her heart would finally heal.