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Merlin eyed the angled seat of the birthing stool with misgivings. Yes, he knew that it was supposed to ease a woman’s confinement but he wasn’t really a woman. Still, the child would come in much the same way. He just wasn’t sure he had the strength to endure the contractions and keep himself upright as the stool was exactly that-a stool. It had no back, no support of any kind. He knew that usually a laboring mother would lay her legs along the flared wings of the seat and rock herself back and forth until the child came but usually a midwife was there to use her body to strengthen the straining mother. Who would help him? Gaius was amazingly vigorous for a man of his age but he wasn’t really sturdy enough to take Merlin’s weight for that long.
I’m in transition for almost an hour, the contractions hard and constant. At one point they put me on oxygen because I’m hyperventilating from not remembering to breathe between screams. Then I start to feel the intense pressure of needing to push, which I do for almost forty minutes before the searing pain of my first baby’s head stretching my formerly tight hole hits me. It’s a looooong crowning, followed by stubborn shoulders that spread me so wide I could swear my pelvis is breaking.
He screamed bloody murder, unaware of any coherent words coming out of his mouth or the work his body was unconsciously doing, until he felt a sharp pop. He heard Jason telling him the head was out but didn’t have time to react before the shoulders were forcing their way into the world as well and it took all of his strength not to pass out on the spot.