“Aunt Maggie,” Little Bobby yelled as he came running up the driveway. “Mama’s havin’ the baby.” He grabbed Maggie’s hand and tugged her away from her car.
“Hurry,” he whined.
Maggie swung the five year old onto one hip and dialed his daddy’s number on her cell. “David, Cam’s in labor. I’ve got Bobby and I’m on my way in.” She could feel the little boy’s heart thundering as he clung to her.
Maggie set Bobby down near the door, and strode into Camille’s bedroom. Her younger sister sat propped up against several pillows, panting and sweating. A few dark, damp curls stuck to her forehead. Bright blue eyes shone from a face flushed red. Camille took a deep breath and let it out with a relieved, but shaky, smile.
“It hit so sudden, Mag,” she said. “It wasn’t like this with Bobby.”
Bobby let out a soft whine when he heard his name. Camille looked at her little boy. “Momma’s gonna be okay, baby” she said.
Maggie had gathered her blonde hair into a high pony tail, and turned to Bobby. He had his daddy’s brown eyes, and those puppy dog eyes were wet and worried.
“Go wait in the kitchen, Bobby,” Maggie said. “Your daddy’ll be home soon.”
After she closed the door, Maggie lifted the Camille’s sheet to expose her legs.
“Maggie, make sure he don’t go outside. David might not see him over the truck.”
“Okay, Cam,” Maggie said. “I’ll listen for the door.” Maggie measured her sister’s progress. She was already fully dilated.
“Alright, Cam, listen. The baby’s head is crowning. You can start pushing whenever you’re ready.”
Camille waited for a wave to wash over her and gather in her center, tightening her belly. She leaned up, gripped the back of each thigh and bore down for all she was worth. An unnatural scream ripped out of her throat into stifling air.
Camille’s legs were shaking. “Mag, somethin’s wrong. Oh, God, somethin’ is terribly wrong.”
“Cam,” she said, “the baby’s turned. I’ve got to try and turn it right.” Maggie paused. Camille’s eyes widened with fear.
“That’s gonna hurt like hell, ain’t it?”
Maggie nodded. “I’m sorry, but there’s no time to wait, and we can’t get you to the hospital like this. I need to do it fast.”
Camille swallowed hard, looked her big sister in the eye, and nodded.
Maggie knelt at the foot of the bed, elbow deep in her little sister’s blood, holding the life of Camille’s baby in her hands.
Within minutes, Maggie had the baby turned around properly. She looked up at her sister’s gaunt, pale face and said, “I know you’re tired, and I know it hurts, but I need you to push.”
Camille was panting lightly now. Her legs were trembling and she was sweating in earnest.
“Cam,” Maggie said, “Push. Now. For your baby’s life, push!”
At the height of a contraction, Camille gave it all she had.
“The head is out. That’s the hard part done, Cam. Just rest a moment.” Maggie didn’t know who she was more worried about, her hemorrhaging sister or the baby, half-delivered with the cord wrapped around its purple, swollen neck. If she didn’t do something, and fast, she’d lose them both.
On the next contraction, Camille summoned what strength she had left. It was just enough to deliver her baby girl. She blinked a few times, her eyes rolling behind lids that didn’t quite open all the way. “Is the baby okay? Why isn’t it crying? Where’s Bobby?” she asked.
With the baby in Maggie’s arms still not breathing, she couldn’t stop working on her to see about Bobby. Camille collapsed onto the pillows, but there was nothing Maggie could do for her, either. Camille would never forgive her if she saved her instead of the baby.
Screeching tires rushed into the front drive like a freight train. Maggie heard a low thud.