Battle of Haibi Chapter 4
Previous: Battle of Haibi Chapter 3: Growing Pains
Chapter 4: Birth Without Violence
[Special Thanks to Frederick Leboyer, and his book with this title.]
"Does it hurt?" Hagane asks.
"Not really," the lady lying on the reclining bed says, "It's stretching, like a cramp."
Shinzoo has a stethoscope on the woman's enormous belly, whispers, "He's getting pretty excited now." The lights are dimmed, a basin full of warm water sits on the bench, beside the room's entrance, the same basin Hagane used to wash Shinzoo's wings two days earlier, with a new vinyl liner.
The baby's head emerges, and he lets loose a piercing howl. Hagane gently cradles his head, waiting for his shoulders to emerge. The poor thing gasps, his first cry spent. Shinzoo gently helps him out by lifting under his arms. Once he is out, he gently holds him in his hands and sets him face down on his mother's now smaller abdomen.
Shinzoo smiles as mother gently says, "Hi, sweetie," a huge smile on her face. Shinzoo slips a finger under the baby's cord, continuing to monitor his pulse through it, "Slowing a bit," he whispers. The baby stops crying ... gurgles ... a cough ... a sneeze. With his cord still carrying oxygen from his panting mother, he is in no big rush to breathe. He takes a deep breath and ... yawns. His head bobs and bumps into something. He opens his eyes to see what he bumped into: his mother's breast.
Shinzoo leans down with a look of concern in his eyes, "The babies of my time scream when they come out ... We gave them points for it." [That's called the Apgar score in real life.]
Hagane says, "Your time ... probably made some mistakes. If you cut the cord before it stops beating, the baby is forced to breathe before he's used to it, and he'll bleed. With a firm clamp on the cord, the arteries hammer instead of bleed. It's gotta hurt either way." After a pause, he asks, "Why are you still staring at him?"
The baby's eyes stare at a spot a few centimetres past those of Shinzoo, a curious frown on his face, a pink bubble on his lips as he huffs a breath.
"I lost his pulse in the cord," Shinzoo whispers. Then he says, "But I think he likes me."
Mommy says, "Of course he likes you." Then she sighs, "I just wish his daddy were still around."
Hagane says, "Okay, let's cut the cord and clean him up."
Baby does not like beng lifted for the bath, and makes his displeasure known, but instantly calms as Hagane gently lowers him into the warm water of the basin. Then he rolls the mobile bench until it is over mommy's bed. "Hi, sweetie," Mommy whispers, "I'm right here."
Baby huffs, bobs his arms, pushes his feet on the edge of the tub. His eyes find Hagane and seem somehow confused. Baby isn't bothered at all as Hagane snips his cord. "A new face," Mommy whispers, her chin resting on the edge of the tub. Baby turns his head and sees his Mommy's face for the first time. "Hi, sweetie," she says softly, with a smile. Baby's frowning face relaxes. Shinzoo reflects that this must be the most familiar voice to him.
Mommy gently lifts baby by his arms from the water. His eyes scrunch shut and his face contorts and just as he is about to cry, Mommy lowers him back into the water. "It's alright, sweetie," she says. He stares at her. This time when she lifts him from the water, he does cry for a couple of breaths. When he hears and feels his mother's heart once he is resting there again, he calms down.
She looks up at the haibane doctors.
"Three point eight one kilos," Hagane whispers, having read the value from the digital scale hiding inconspicuously under the basin.
"Thank you," she says, "You guys were great."
"Now, you have to know," Hagane says, "He's not going to be as articulate as you in three days." They are walking down the hallway, chuckling at that.
"How many kids did you have before you came to Haibi?" Shinzoo asks.
"How am I supposed to know?" Hagane laughs, "But I'd guess not as many as you did."
They stop at a nurses station, and Shinzoo calmly, solemnly, asks, "What happened to the father?"
Hagane bows his head for about half a minute, eyes shiny with tears as he raises it again, "He's in jail ... You probably noticed the old bruise on her thigh."
Shinzoo sighs in disappointment.
Hagane says, "It's still a hard world. This child was not planned, and when the news arrived, the father ... husband of only two months at the news ... exploded, blamed it on her, said they weren't ready to have kids. The fight he was arrested for happened two months ago."
Shinzoo whispers, "So when she said she wished her father was still around..."
Hagane finishes, "She's wishing for the caring man who was beside her when this baby was conceived, not the monster who beat her up seven months later."
Shinzoo sobs, "With the forces of hell just outside the wall, you'd think we'd-" He cries.
Hagane sighs, "I know." After a pause and comforting hand on the newborn's shoulder, "There are still things to be happy about ... Kabocha, the commander of Sector Four married her."
Shinzoo looks at him in confusion, "Haibane Kabocha? Married? How does he, uh ... you know-"
"They can't," Hagane says, "That's why only haibane can marry divorced people." [Inspired by Matthew 5:32 together with James 1:27]
"Can't do what?" Kabocha asks rhetorically as he comes up to them. "I got here a bit late didn't I? I was dealing with an overflight attempt. Looks like Rainopomati has a new host." [Would be spelled "Rhinopomati" in English]
Shinzoo looks at him with confusion.
Kabocha gives him a rough pat on the shoulder, "First day on the job, Doctor? I'm sure you did great."
Shinzoo recoils, grimacing in pain.
"Careful, his wings are still sore," Hagane warns.
"Oh? Sorry," Kabocha says softly, blushing profusely, then takes off down the hall to be with his new wife.
"Rainopomati?" Shinzoo asks.
"Oh, uh," Hagane searches, "I don't know ... He must have been talking about an enemy spirit." Hagane stays in his league, "I'm a Doctor, not a Defender, so I don't have a whole lot of details, but I do know that demons can take over host bodies and with them become very powerful. All Haibi-jin know of the big four in the history of the ancients. It's required schooling: Maledict, Erebus, Saboath, and Lilith are thought to be the four corner angels." [See Revelation 7:1-3]
"Hmm," Roku says quietly, "We're cleared to engage anything within two thousand metres, Samurai-san?" she asks.
"Absolutely," her boss says.
"I uh, don't think I can kill it, but-" she pulls the trigger. The blue beam leaps from the turret, connecting to a spot sixteen hundred metres away from the wall, nothing but old craters. Roku just made a new one. "Oh, well," she sighs, "At least I scared it off."
"There's nothing there," Samurai says.
"Oh, yeah," Roku quietly cheers, shooting another spot in the crater field much closer to the treeline, "It's really flipping out now."
Samurai sees some branches rustle on their own at the edge of the two thousand metre beaten zone.
"Can I still kill it?" Roku asks.
"If you can find it. What is-"
Roku's third shot downs a tree. Samurai sees a piece of hot debris disintegrate into bits.
"Got 'im," Roku announces.
"Got what?" Samurai asks.
The turret scope replay shows him (after several plays) that Roku was tracking an invisible creature by its tracks suddenly appearing as it walked along. Faint, nothing on infrared, only reflected moonlight revealed them to her sharp eye. Moments after her first blast, she spotted and aimed at a disturbance in the soil. It must have been thrown into the air! Her third shot in the trees caught it while it was visible, killing it instantly. It burst into cinders like any hellspawn shot with a hikarinium laced weapon.
Samurai slowly pulls back from the screen, "A ... wraith?" he gasps, "We uh ... thought they were extinct."
Next: Battle of Haibi Chapter 5: Council Meeting