Just to let you know that my double award-winning psychological thriller ‘A House Without Windows’ will be just $0.99 on Amazon.com from today and until 9th September.  The German translation version is also at the same reduced price until September 8th.

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Excerpt from Chapter 2

I am as ready as I can be for the birth.  I am too big to do any exercises now, and so just spend my days knitting and waiting.  I have seen women in childbirth during the weeks of obstetrics training, and I pray to God that I can cope with the pain without analgesia.

I am having a wash at the sink when I feel the waters breaking.  Edwin left me some sandwiches with my breakfast tray, and so I know he has gone to work.  I quell a rising panic and sit on the toilet until the rush of water has passed.  I finish washing and put my nightdress back on instead of day clothing.

Within a short time the first contractions begin.  I relax upon the bed because it seems that the pains are within my capabilities to endure.  I can feel my abdomen tightening with each contraction, and the baby kicking, eager to get out of its prison.  I feel like telling it to stay in there; the prison it is coming into is not much improved on the one it is leaving.

The pains increase.  I have no way of measuring time, and so have no idea how long I have been in labour.  I am hungry, but eschew the sandwiches wrapped in cling film.  From what I have seen of women in labour, whatever they have eaten tends to come back up again.

I stand up and hope that gravity will aid the baby’s expulsion from my womb.  I start to pace the floor, stopping to let each contraction take its course. I can walk nine steps before I have to turn around and go the other way.  I try not to think how two of us will cope in such a tiny space.

The labour drags on interminably. I sip water to stay hydrated.  The pains are making me sweat, and my nightdress is soaking wet.  I am tired with all the pacing, and focus on placing the plastic sheeting over the duvet.  I cover the sheet with towels, and lay on my side on the bed next to the scissors and string.  The pain makes me want to cry, but I need to endure silently and not panic.  I must be in control of my emotions in order to bring Liam’s baby safely into the world.

The focusing on an object does not work.  I smile wryly to myself and wonder how many times I told labouring women to do the same.  It did not seem to work for them either.  Finally I scream at the cold concrete walls, efficient as always at dulling any sound.  Nobody comes to my aid.

At last I feel an urge to open my bowels, and I know this is the last phase of childbirth.  I brace my back against the bedhead, grab my knees, and push with all my might.  My hand can feel the baby’s head presenting in the birth canal.  I wait for another contraction and push again.  I scream with pain as another contraction tears through my body, and give another push that threatens to almost stop my heart.

The shoulders are out.  One last push and I have my baby girl.  Her lungs are wonderfully efficient, and she turns from purple to pink.  She is alive.  My ordeal is almost over.  All that is left is to massage the fundus to encourage it to contract and expel the placenta.  One last contraction and push, and the placenta lies on the plastic sheet.  When the umbilical cord stops pulsing I tie it off with string close to the baby, and then a few inches further down, and then cut it in the middle of the tied section with the scissors.  My baby is a separate entity; there are now two of us in prison.

Clutching the baby I wash us, pad myself up, dress the baby, and tie the placenta and bloodied towels up in the plastic sheet for Edwin to burn.  I lay down and put the baby to my breast, who I can see will look the image of Liam.  I celebrate the birth by eating all four of Edwin’s ham and tomato sandwiches.