View Full Version : Un-Birthed (1,144 words) (Mature Content, Language)

February 24th, 2013, 03:24 AM
Standard doctor’s accoutrements were scattered about the room, which was bathed in a sickly, yellow light. Dead center was a gynecologist’s chair, with stirrups spread wide, and eight metal claws underneath, four on either side, which appeared to have no function.

Two doctors, with name tags adorned above their left breast pocket, were on opposite sides of the room. Dr. Chase, with thin, light, blond hair, was scrubbing. Dr. Phelps, dark-haired, easily 15 years his junior, was prepping the tray. Their faces must have been modified in some way, because they seemed to have permanent, paternal smiles.

“So, the girl’s got pre-clamps,” Dr. Chase said, still scrubbing, “and starts convulsing, right as the baby is crowning. And I burst out laughing.”

“What?” Dr. Phelps turns around before placing the Kelly clamps.

“I couldn’t help it.” Elder finished scrubbing and held out his hands to be gloved. “I had this image of a vibrating Pez dispenser that I couldn’t shake. It was a gag gift my kid brother - ”

“She make it?” He gloved the right and then moved to the left.

“Nah. The baby was ok, but -“

“Doctor, your next appointment is ready – Barbara and Jeb,” the speaker over the door announced. The receptionist was trying that sultry voice again, but with that nasal pinch of hers, she sounded more like someone that should be calling balls for Bingo.

“That’s fine. Send them in.” They finished putting on surgical masks, just as the happy couple entered.

And happy they were, with those wide, goofy smiles that you might see on contestants getting ready to spin the wheel.

“I can’t believe the day has finally come,” Barbara said. On any other day, she would have been stunning, with well developed curves. But today, in a shapeless, green gown, with her greasy hair and pain-lined face, she was just another woman giving birth.

“Let’s have a listen.” Dr. Chase placed the stethoscope on the women’s abdomen as she babbled on.

“I’ve been marking the days, and Jeb bought a video camera, and I don’t think I slept a wink in this last week.”

Jeb lifted the camera slightly, which was cradled in his right palm. “Looks like she swallowed a bowlin’ ball.”

Both doctors chuckled appropriately.

“I think we’re ready,” Dr. Chase said.

“One thing, though” Barbara said, lines of concern appearing on her forehead. “It’s not like my water broke or I’m having contractions . . .”

“Well this is a very special pregnancy. After completing long, arduous, preparations-”

“Two years!” she said.

“Yes, “ Dr. Chase said. After we received your last installment. “A spot finally opened up for you. And, so that we can provide the perfect birthing experience, only we can initiate labor. We wouldn’t want you giving birth on a roller coaster.”

“Or a gas station’ bathroom,” Jeb pitched in.

“Exactly,” Dr. Chase held up a long needle. “I’m not going to bore you with the details of what’s in this cocktail, but let’s just say this is going to kick-start the pregnancy.”

After five minutes, Dr. Phelps checked her cervix then shook his head.

“Ok, “Jeb was crowding, trying to get the proper angle, to video between her legs. “Jeb, you’re going to have to move back toward the door.”

“Anything wrong?” Jeb frowned, forgetting his camera for the first time, which was getting an excellent close-up of his pant leg.

“No, no. We’re going to have to induce labor.” Dr. Phelps said.

“What?” Barbara was beginning to breathe rapidly. “I’ve heard about inducing. That means I may have to go c-section. I don’t want to go-“

“Calm down Barbara. Deep breaths.” Barbara complied. “This is not my first dance at the ball. Everything’s going to be fine. It’s just going to take a bit longer.”

“Dr. Phelps, can you fetch me a Foley catheter.” Dr. Phelps disappeared through the door and reappeared quickly.

“A catheter! Isn’t that what you stick in a guy’s cock to help him piss?” Barbara said.

“Yes, but it’s not just for males.” He placed the ball of the catheter behind her cervix wall, and injected a pre-measured amount of saline. He then tugged it taut and taped it against her left thigh.

“What’s that do?” Barbara asked.

“It tricks the body into thinking that your baby is pushing,” Dr. Chase said.

Dr. Phelps checked the cervix and nodded. The cervix wall was beginning to ripen. After tugging the catheter taut and re-taping a couple more times, Dr. Phelps said, “She’s fully dilated.”

“Alright, it’s time to push.” Dr. Chase said.

After fifteen minutes of pushing and grunting, the baby was still not far enough along.

“Ventouse?” Dr. Phelps asked.

“Let me check the angle of its head. Hand me the forceps.” He placed the forceps within the vagina and turned them slightly. “Ok, hand me the ventouse.” Dr. Phelps handed him a chain with a suction cup on one end. He attached the suction cup to the babies’ head, and began to pull. Finally, the baby burst forth, followed by the afterbirth.

“Why isn’t it crying?” Barbara asked, reaching for her baby.

“Give it a moment.” Dr. Chase clamped and severed the umbilical cord, while Dr. Phelps suctioned out the baby’s nose and mouth. The baby let out a healthy cry and opened its eyes.

Dr. Chase held the baby up and asked, “So what are you going to name this little hellion?”

“We’re not going to name it. The couple we’re selling it to is,” Jeb said.

“What?!” The two doctors exchanged glances.

“Three million dollars. How the hell do you think we afforded those installments?” Jeb asked.

Dr. Chase pressed a panic button just behind the chair and three things happened simultaneously. A high pitched, pulsing, alarm sounded throughout the room. Dr. Phelps dragged Jeb, who had collapsed after being injected, out of the room. The eight claws elongated and snapped into place, bending Barbara’s knees and pinning her legs into the proper position.

“What’s happening?” she asked.

“The baby is going back.” Dr. Chase said. He placed the baby between her legs and hit a foot switch underneath the chair.

“What? It can’t go back!” The chair pitched back at a fifteen degree angle and thousands of metal spiders began swarming, spreading the vagina and ushering the baby back inside the womb. “It can’t go back!!”

The baby disappeared and the claws retracted. Dr. Phelps forced the door open with a wheelchair and they helped her into it. “Products of the Farber Birthing Process may not be used-” Dr. Chase started his well-rehearsed speech.

“What’s happening to my belly?!” Her belly was rapidly deflating. Dr. Phelps injected her and she became woozy.

“It’s all in the contract. You’ll see.” He removed his mask, revealing that smile.

“It can’t go ba …” She said, still fighting the drug.

“Bye, bye now.”

Jon M
February 24th, 2013, 04:02 AM
This needs a lot of work. In my opinion what you've got here is little more than a sketch. The birthing process is treated in a cursory fashion, all of the characters here are just names on the page, little to no back story, and there are credibility issues. A doctor wouldn't be 'fetching' anything, let alone a Foley -- that's what techs are for. There's also the ethical duty health practitioners have to do no harm, which these events seem to fly in the face of. Sorry, but this all struck me as very simplistic. For example, extremely doubtful any doctor would refer to a newborn as a 'hellion'; also doubtful the ensuing dialogue about finances would happen in that setting. And the ending is essentially a packaged gimmick -- the surprise delayed until the final lines, etc.

The prose style is relatively clean, invisible after a couple paragraphs -- clearly in service of the story. Enjoyed the story's specifics.

February 24th, 2013, 04:22 AM
Ouch. I'll need to give that some thought. Thanks for the feedback.

February 24th, 2013, 02:24 PM
The idea is terrifying but that terror is heavily dampened and muted by the humor overlying the entire work.

I agree with Jon as well. Doctors do have to take an oath to cause no harm to their patients and at the end of the story Barbera and the baby are both considered their patients. Maybe there needs to be more of a dystopian highly advanced setting for these characters and the plot? Maybe it's a future where the Hypocratic oath isn't followed?

February 24th, 2013, 04:55 PM

Whenever I'm writing flash fiction, I always wonder what needs to be spelled out explicity, and what can be handled with mere hints. The pressure is always to fit as much as you can in a very cramped space. You've hit upon one of my chief concerns. In a highly advanced setting, though, would they be using a Foley catheter? I'm not sure. The setting is a privately run facility, and though labeled as doctors, neither of these two gentlemen are legally practicing medicine. I'm only hinting, but I can see that there is not enough in the story to make that clear.

Thanks for the feedback.