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Adam gently placed the infant against Charlie's skin, and she cried with motherly delight. "Oh, Adam! Look at him!" she exclaimed, as though the pain this little one had just put her through were already a distant memory. "Isn't he beautiful?" Charlie's awe was soon overcome with fatigue, and she had to stop speaking and try to get Matthew nursing.

Concerned, Adam picked up the satellite phone. "Her cervix is bleeding, and she's very pale."

"That's to be expected," replied the doctor. "The umbilical cord needs to be cut, then she can deliver the placenta. Did you sterilize the shoestrings and scissors?"

"I think so," Adam searched the room. "Kevin--"

"I'll go get them," he spoke up without needing to hear the rest of Adam's question. "They're boiling on the stove."

When Kevin returned, Mark came with him, but remained by the doorway so he wouldn't intrude on Charlie's privacy.

"Tie the umbilical cord like I told you," Dr. Ron talked Adam through each step. The shoestring wasn't what Adam dreaded, however. It was the scissors. "The baby and the mother won't feel it," he assured Adam. "Take the cord between your fingers so you can get a clean cut."

"It's kind of slippery," Adam hesitated. "Are you sure about this?"

"You're doing just fine," chuckled Dr. Ron.

"Here it goes," gulped Adam. His scissors snipped through the umbilical cord, and to Adam's great relief, neither Charlie nor the baby cried out in pain.

"The placenta needs to be delivered," Dr. Ron further instructed.

Adam took the baby from Charlie, and she heard Matthew cry for the very first time.

"Isn't he wonderful?" she asked with a smiling pale face.

"Push one more time," Adam urged gently.

Charlie really didn't feel like pushing, but she grunted until the placenta was at last delivered. "Is it over?" she panted.

"It's over," grinned Adam, returning a crying Matthew back to the warmth of his mommy.

Too weak to say anything more, Charlie smiled and closed her eyes. She felt Adam kiss her forehead and the small baby nurse at her breast. Then she felt the comfort of a clean blanket cover her body, as Adam tried to keep her warm. The room wasn't especially cold, but she was covered in sweat, and the lower half of her body was wet with afterbirth.

"I know the road is flooded," Dr. Ron told Adam over the phone, "but they need to get to the hospital as soon as possible."

"Unless you think I should call 911, I don't think I can find a pilot and an aircraft to come out here at such short notice," replied Adam. "It'll probably be sometime after daybreak before I can get them out of here-- but not tonight."

"This is an emergency, but it's not urgent," reasoned Dr. Ron. "However, if your wife or the baby display any of the symptoms I told you to watch for, dial 911 and a MEDEVAC [medical evacuation] helicopter will come out to you."
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