The contractions stopped late in the afternoon and for a few, brief hours, it seemed as if the baby decided to wait. The doctor, however, confined her to bed, since it was too early for her to be having it.

Jacey only saw Juna once the whole time, when Juna brought her a tray for dinner. Juna now looked like a ghost of the bouncy, carefree girl Jacey knew. She hardly even looked at Jacey as she set the tray on the table and Jacey could not bring herself to ask her how she was doing.

Right about sunrise, the contractions began anew and with vengances. Nearly immediatly, Eva sent for the doctor again,  and so began the longest day of Jacey’s life. Never had she been in such pain as she was then, wrapping around her stomach and squeeinzg so tightly like she might explode, yet still managing to send its little fingers down her legs and hurt her as well.

Yet, nothing they did managed to bring the baby out faster. The day slowly slipped by, with moments of extreetm pain and mometns where she could actually relax for a little bit. At first she tried to read during that time, but later she took those few minutes to rest, for the constant strain of labor wore her out quickly.

Night came and with it and  an increase in the frequancy of the contractions. But not a baby. Jacey tiried not to think that once the baby came, she would probably die. She only wanted to see the baby, just once. She wanted to give it a chance at life.  But the longer it took, the darkger the doctor’s face became and the more she feared that the baby might not even make it.

Then suddenly,something changed and within minutes, she was pushing it out. Eva sat ner by, brushing back her hair from her sweaty forehead and whispering encouragments to her.  Jacey squeezed her eyes shut and did as she was told, too tired to do much else.  Never had she found something so draining.

Suddenly, she heard a small warble of a cry. Jacey blinked and pushed herself up. The doctor held a small, red baby on one arm, examining it quickly. Jacey just stared at it. Never had she seen one so small. The doctor cut the cord and wrapped it in  a blanket before handing it to her.

“He appears healthy. The smallest youngling I have ever seen but fine nonetheless.”

Gently, Jacey took the baby and held him close. He fit perfectly in the crook of her arm. His little face scrunched up in anger at the cold and the light. Jacey smiled and traced his little cheek with her finger.

“You made it, little one,” she whispered.

He paused and blinked at her. LIght blue eyes met hers and for a moment, Jacey knew there was no way she would passivly let go of life. He was too perfect. Somehow, he looked  just like Heddwyn.

“It’s a boy?” she asked softly.

The doctor nodded. “Indeed.”

Jacey smiled again. “Might–might I make it from this?”

The doctor frowned slightly. “I don’t want to geet your hopes up. The fact that nothing has happened so far is very good. With how tiny that little one is, I almost won’t be surprised. But it still might change.”

Jacey nodded, hoping desperately that it won’t.

For a few minutes, Jacey just held her son. She couldn’t bare to give him up, just in case. And no one pushed her. It was like they all knew that this might very well be the only time that Jacey and her son would spend together and so they let them spend it in peace.

Suddenly, pain flared once again through her abdomen.  Jacey gasped and clung to her child. This had been too short of a time. The little one and Heddwyn still needed her.

Immediately, EVa took the child and handed it off to the assistant. The doctor in turn began check her and bonbnard her with questions. Another wave came and she gasped a second time.

“What is it?”  Jacey whispered.

“I–We aren’t naywhere close to saftey.”


He looked at her. “There’s another one coming.”

Jacey blinked. “Another–baby?”

He nodded. “You have twins apparently.”

Jacey closed her eyes and felt herself shudder. Why? Just wehn she thought she might survive to see her son grow up. Just when all Heddwyn’s fears looked like they might have been for nothing. Another child.

“YOu better get ready. It’s coming fast.”

Another flurry of chaos enrupted. Jacey just let it flow over her, following the commands when given. But she kept her eyes on her son in the corner, unwilling to look away. EVen when it seemed to hurt worse than before, she did not close her eyes.


Jacey turned and looked at Eva’s worried face. She smiled faintly. “What?”

“You–look pale.”

Jacey touched her cheek. “What?”

Eva nodded. “Do you feel fine?”

Jacey gasped and clung to her hand for a long minute before nodded jerkily. “Yeah. It just–hurts. Is it almost here?”

EVa nodded. “Yes. Yes, it is.”

“Ready, Jacey, and push,” the doctor said.

Jacey clung to Eva and pushed with all her might. A moan escaped her lips as she felt the head slide out.

The doctur cursed. “Milos, I need you here now. Bring the spongues and towels.”

“What’s wrong?” Jacey said.

He shook his head and took the towel from Milos. Jacey pushed a second time automatically and the baby slide out. Immediately, the doctor handed the second one off to Eva and turned back to her.

“What is it?” Jacey said.

“Hemmorrhaging. Just like we feared.” Whatever he was doing, he was working quickly.

“What does that mean?”

Milos leaned over her and began to massage her abdomen. “It means that you’re bleeding out.”

Jacey blinked and looked at Eva. Her second child laid there, screaming angerly. Quietly, she reached up and touched the small hand. She heard of enough women who bled out after a delivery and died.

“Is this–how it happenes?” she whispered.

Eva nodded slightly.

“No. No!” Jacey gasped. The world swayed slightly before her. “You have to stop it!”

“We’re trying.”

Jacey gasped and grabbed Eva’s hand and squeezed it desperately. “You have to stop it. You have to.”

They said nothing. Black dots began to flicker in Jacey’s vision. Her breath came in gasps. In spite of how much Eva told her she needed to calm down, she couldn’t. She couldn’t come this far just to die.


Eva’s voice sounded so far away. Jacey turned, but she could only see the woman’s face through a long tunnel.

“Jacey, you gave Heddwyn two children. It’s okay. I’ll–watch out for him.”

“No. I can’t let go.”

Eva began fading but Jacey shook her head. “I can’t let go, Eva. I need to stay.”

Eva smiled sadly and said something but Jacey could not understand it. Her body felt numb, like she no longer beyond inside of it. Jacey blinked and tried  to look one more time at her child but that faded.

For a brief second, Jacey understood how soldiers always knew they were going to die. Then, everything went blank.


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