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Calm Carl

Stories With Audio

Erica and the 18 hours

Were you not there?

Did you not see?

I’m sorry I just assumed you were.

It began calmly, just a passing comment really. “I think it’s started.” Is what I heard.

Calmly, that’s how it started.

A mellow fear, creeping calmly across my nervous system.

Stopping me from falling over.

Checklists in my head, slowly being ticked.

Helpful voices, drifting through the thickening fog.

That was my mind.

Nothing was happening to me.

But my mind was busy.

Should you, could you?

How could I help?

Should I, can I?

I tried to feel your rhythm.

And join you.

Share each moment, feel your pain.

I timed each movement with your words.

And smiled with the fear in your eyes.

Then it began again.

A new serenity entered the space.

A new joy that brought it’s own light.

And made you separate.

Which I knew might happen, could happen.

Did happen.

But I wasn’t really ready.

And I faltered.

Stumbled blindly, feeling useless.

Unable to make the slightest difference.

But love shone through

And took the pressure

So I had a breather.

Just a break, a little nap

But the experts

With their knowledge

Said that you were; doing fine.

It changed, well, not really, it continued.

Truth be known. It got more intense.

Slightly deeper.

But the experts said you were: doing fine.

So I continued calmly.

Watching, listening, checking lists.

Rubbing, pressing, fetching, waiting,

Staying calm and smiling widely.

Ignoring all my worries.

Denying all your pain.

Never showing any fear.

At least I didn’t think I did.

Then the experts

With their knowledge

Decided you weren’t; doing fine.

Fifteen hours had passed already.

A change of scene

Would do you good.

I can’t remember if there were sirens

But I remember

How sure you were

On what to wear, and that you

Were going to walk


All those stairs.

And you did

And I walked in front

In case you stumbled

Then you realised where you were

And that was funny

But we travelled in style

Nervous as kittens

The calmness was leaving

You were relinquishing


Which wasn’t what you


But I never said that

There was trouble

Just that we may

Need some help

Now we had

More expert experts

With fat fingers

And funny ways

Who gave us options

But no directions

Who told us things

We already knew.

They tried to guide you.

They hinted

They suggested

Mentioned reasons

But wouldn’t tell us

What to do.

16 hours of constant pressure

Forced the outcome

And the drugs released some pleasure

But not the reason for the pain.

Now another joined our party.

Your mum and dad all night

Had aided and abetted

Boiled kettles, emptied fridges

Cuddled, held, given words of wisdom.

Now, they were joined by my mother, plus one doctor,

One obstetrician

And one consultant

All with knowledge and experience

They all said

“Now’s the time.”

So we listened to instructions.

My focus now was only you.

I have to say

If there were choices

Then I chose you

This final battle

We were all involved in

Was, for me, a fight for you.

All my effort and my will

Was for you.

So I tried to find my centre

So that you could

Lean on me

Again I wanted

To be your breath

To be your strength

To live for you.

Little changed.

So again, the experts

Used their knowledge

Changed the rules

And helped some more.

A special cap was inserted

And a blade was used.

Now the pressure

Filled the room

My concerns were purely selfish.

I have to say

If there were choices

I chose you.

To my left between your legs

Strangest visions came

Into view

I put my face

Between them and you.

I listened and I repeated

What the experts said to you

And I told them what you said

For a moment

There was calmness

When your body

Released the head.

Back to battling, far to quickly

Is what the experts said.

They were twisting, pulling, jerking

Slowly surely

Was he?

He was on you

Then was taken

And I heard a gurgling sound

But you didn’t hear it

And were asking

“Is he ok?”

“Is he ok?”

Then the nurse

Turned around

Passed him over

To his mother

As if he had been

Lost and found.

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