As the next contraction starts building, I grip onto Kate again. I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by wave after wave of pain, each one getting bigger and longer and stronger.
An eternity passes, then [labor nurse] Ann comes in again, this time accompanied by a male student midwife.
“Hmm. Still only four centimeters dilated,” she says to the student after examining me. “Minimal progress. Of course, there’s a much greater risk of a long and difficult labor with older ladies. The muscles of the womb don’t work so well.”
“Is everyone deliberately trying to undermine me?” I shout. “Has anybody got any positive words of encouragement here?”
“You’re doing a great job,” Ann says, unsmilingly.The Cactus, by Sarah Haywood, p. 361