She touched her belly.
– He has to be able to withstand that.
Thome looked at her startled for a moment.
– The midwife was here. She says, it’s pretty big. That is rather uncommon for a girl. Besides …
– Besides what? Thome asked.
Elisa briefly fixated on her with dirt crusted hands. What should she tell him? She felt certain, that only a boy could be this hardheaded. To stubborn to move himself in the right position. A breech birth was no easy thing, not for the woman nor for the child. Elisa didn’t want to tell Thome anything about it, didn’t want to worry him. Not with their first child.
– Can you carry the boxes into the cellar? she asked.
Thome noded. And while he struggled with the boxes, he felt an unbridled force rising within him. I’m going to have a son, I’m going to have a son, I’m going to have a son, it buzzed through his mind.
Niko’s birth was an ordeal. When Elisa sensed that it wouldn’t be that much longer, she fetched the midwife and asked her to stay with her, even if it would take days.
– Please, Ilse, you have to stay, please.
– Of course I’m staying. You don’t need to be afraid. Everything will be alright. The moon is decreasing, a good time for a birth, a good sign.
Two hours after midnight Niko decided to leave his cave forever. He stemmed his legs downwards and yanked Elisa with a massive pain from her sleep. The midwife jumped up from her night camp.
– It’s coming, Elisa screamed. My God, it’s coming.
The battle lasted till wee hours. The midwife was relieved when Niko’s legs finally reached out of Elisa’s vagina. She held them in a clutch and pulled on them, carefully yet with force, in the rhythm of the contractions. The midwife knew that she had to get the head of the child out of Elisa’s body as fast as possible. But it didn’t work. One contraction after the other went by, without the small body moving even one millimeter further along.
– Push! The midwife screamed at Elisa, while sweat was dripping from her face. Push already, you bitch, harder, push.
She hit Elisa with her hand in the face but nothing worked, the child was stuck. The midwife took the scissors and cut through the perineal to extend the vagina, then she yanked the child fiercely into daylight. Its head was blue and it didn’t breath. The midwife throbbed the back of the child and sprayed ice cold water on its face.
– It’s dead, it’s dead, it’s dead, Elisa screamed out of her mind. It’s dead!