On a rainy day in late November, Natalie was wheeled into the delivery room at Booth Memorial Hospital in East, groaning and tearing at the sheet on her gurney. The baby was crowning and the doctor didn’t have time to check her vital signs. “Push, girl!” he said. The young mother strained with all she had, and the baby came out into the doctor’s hands, who hoisted it up by the ankles and swiftly clamped and cut the umbilical cord. Gasping under the bright lights, the newborn looked around at the humans towering over him and tried to focus on the new world. Then, thankfully, he began to cry and kick, and his identity assumed the blank mental slate of a newborn human.
A special feeling had come over Natalie during her final contractions. The nurse instinctively took the tiny being from the doctor to let the new mother hold it. Something had come over everyone; even the doctor stopped and stared. “You can’t have him,” Natalie cried. She had had a change of heart. “I want my baby! He’s mine, agh!!”
“It’s a boy!” the doctor pronounced with pride.
Natalie squeezed the baby hard against her breasts until his cries stopped and he almost suffocated. The nurse and doctor had to pry him away from her and suction his airway to get him breathing again, but he was fine and was soon wailing shrilly. She named him Bradley, after the charming boy who had knocked her up on a one-night stand in the back of a Ford station wagon on Malibu Beach.
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