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Excerpt

Chapter Ten
The Original Family
Late Summer 1947 to Just After Midnight Eastern Time, January 1, 1948



Reba gratefully rested into Johnny Adams' arms and dropped off into a deep and exhausted sleep for a few moments before the rise of the next volley of pain would overtake her. She laid in a reclining position, her shoulders, head and back nestled within her husband's pelvic girdle. He sat beneath her, his back pushed up against the bed's headboard, his legs bent at the knees, spread wide apart forming a weight-bearing chassis supporting Reba's upper body. Johnny's left arm was linked under Reba's left arm, now laying heavy and relaxed across her milk-laden bosom. He stroked her wet brow with his free hand. "Shhhh Baby, sleep now, Girl," he keened, tears streaking down his weary black face. He looked down over the great rise of his wife's pregnant abdomen, the naked black skin stretched tight and cruel across the mound sheltering the child within. It was participating as a powerful partner in its own delivery; it thrashed, it pushed, it kicked, and as each forceful movement surged across Reba's protruding belly, it threatened to rip apart her fragile flesh.
       Johnny's eyes petitioned the eyes of the midwife, who sat erect, tense, on a chair pulled up to within arm's reach of the birthing woman's pelvis. He saw the fear in her eyes, the puzzlement echoing the bewildered slope of her shoulders, the grief-set slant of her mouth. It had been hours, too many hours and still the child would not come. Reba's pelvis would not open, the bones so large and thick and inflexible that the midwife could not separate them with her own hands. Even her cache of instruments had proven useless in the process. The child's head was lodged, locked within the unforgiving vice of the birth canal, its crown visible to her eyes-she could touch it, as she now did-rubbing the top of its head soothingly-humming to it, a reassuring lullaby. She gently rocked to the melody of her own voice.
       Johnny could see what the midwife was considering-he understood completely-he accepted whatever outcome had to be. He watched her as she rose from her chair, her hands reaching to massage her own aching back as she walked to the side table where she had spread out her tools. Reba's old sister, Romi was there, assisting. At the instrument table, Romi stood beside the midwife, and Romi held within a clean white towel the scalpel and other cutting utensils to be used to open the mother's abdomen. The midwife hoped it wasn't too late to deliver the child by Caesarian Section-hoped she could back the infant out of the birth canal enough to free it from it prison. If not, she would have to abort it, collapse its soft little head bones in order to lift it free. It was the only way to save the mother's life, to protect the mother's body from any further devastation of a kind that would ruin her chances of ever delivering another baby.
       As the midwife approached the bed in readiness for surgery, Reba rushed back to consciousness, rising quickly up through a dark narrow shaft, her awareness bursting into the light-filled heat-filled odor-filled room-the awakening driven by, prodded by, herded by, great convulsing neauseating tearing cracking breaking pain, pain hoisting her to her feet, and she crouched into a squatting position on top of the bed. The laboring woman yelled, "Johnny, in front uh me-hole on ta me." He jumped in front of her, and facing her, he also squatted on top of the bed. Placing his hands on top of her shoulders, her hands gripping his upper arms, their arms locked together into interlacing cross beams, allowing her the support she needed, his massive strength translating itself to her body, their coupled strength giving her the thrust she needed to bear down one last time. She would hatch this baby-some primal instinct ordered itself into this black woman's memory, informing her to squat-squat the way her ancestral grandmothers and mothers and sisters had done for centuries, giving birth in barren deserts, and in the bush, and in mud and straw huts in Africa; squat in order to tilt the pelvis forward, to place the large gluteus muscles in an upright rather than a supine position so they would haul the pelvic carriage open. Squat-she knew it was the only way. She would not lose this baby. She had known since the moment of its conception that this child had to live. This child had to live. This child had to live...

                                            Reviews





*****Suspense to the Very End!
By aro                         
I have just turned the final page of Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams. What an exciting, touching, heart-felt novel, which had me alternating between tears and laughter. The development of the relationship between Gabriel and Oma was extremely touching, well written and very descriptive. I could picture Oma cuddling closely with Cuy and feel the softness of his fur.

Together these authors have written a wonderful story, filled with twists and turns from beginning to end. Congratulations on a successful collaborative effort which blended itself into a thrilling read!

*****A Movie in Book Form -- Starring Jesus Gandhi & Oma Mae Adams
By Rita Corcoran "Reading Ready"

This is a book of such vivid color and explosive feelings that I'm tempted to call it a "Sense-Surround" experience; I felt as if I were in a movie theater. This book IS cinema. From the opening scene, the reader is involved in you-are-there scenarios. The writing is fully engaging. You will identify with some characters, loathe others, and be intrigued by all. There is a lot happening in each and every chapter but the characters are all distinct, and they combine and entwine in fascinating ways. It was a very satisfying read...no need to speed through -- savor and let the story unravel.
      



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