By the time Eiji reached the Seyakuin, he saw Tanya lying on the bed and gasping for breath.
Before coming inside, Eiji washed his feet clean and brushed off any dust on him.
Even if it was just a bit, it was necessary to decrease the number of germs.
The interior of the Seyakuin was unusually warm once he passed through its entranceway. One could say that the air temperature changed with a whoosh the moment Eiji entered in from the outside.
There was a lot of wood put on the fire inside the room’s furnace, and the fire itself was burning brightly.
A kettle that was hanging up was releasing its steam, which probably served to maintain the right temperature and humidity.
A slender woman in her 30s was throwing more firewood inside the furnace.
She was the doctor inside Siena.
As soon as Tanya noticed the appearance of Eiji, she bowed down with a smile on her face.
Was she in quite a lot pain? Judging from those watching her, Tanya’s smile seemed to be agonized and weak.
– Eiji-san….. I’m sorry you had to interrupt your work.
– What are you talking about? It’s about our child being born, so please don’t hold back. No matter what time or place it is, I shall rush to you.
– Hey, Eiji-san, won’t you come and hold her hand? This girl should be less nervous if you’re next to her.
There is a breathing technique applied during one’s delivery, called Lamaze, however, Eiji wasn’t very knowledgeable about it.
Because of that, he was unable to give them a proper advice.
Eiji feared he would reversely worsen the situation, were he to convey an incomplete knowledge.
He also knew well about various surgical instruments, but, it would be nice if he could learn a bit more on how to use them.
Perhaps, Eiji could’ve become more of a help had he possessed that knowledge.
The doctor from the Seyakuin placed a clean cloth given by Eiji next to a bucket, in which there was warm water ready for the baby’s first bath.
One hour had passed since Tanya started going into labor and the handling procedure had commenced.
– How’s her condition?
– About this, I can only tell based on what the woman herself feels, you see. As long it’s not their first childbirth, there’ve been lots of cases where women would deliver quickly and without difficulty, but, this is Tanya’s first time.
– I see.
– It might take longer than what we think.
– Is that so…..? Is there something more I can do?
– There isn’t.
Eiji became at a loss for words at this blunt reply.
But, don’t take any offence. – The doctor said.
– To begin with, childbirth is what women take care of. No matter how much you’re devoted to help, it’s not a man’s job to birth children, so there’s no way for you to do it in our stead. When it’s about helping out, women are more appropriate for the task, since they can understand the birthing woman’s needs. That’s why, will you just stay by Tanya’s side while talking to her gently? If you can’t do that, at least, leave this place and don’t interrupt me.
– Understood. I won’t become a nuisance.
– Good reply. Tanya, you’ve got a fine husband indeed.
The female doctor said so with a smile on her face.
Just as he was advised, Eiji sat next to Tanya while supporting her with words.
Much time had passed since then. It felt as though one was wandering inside a maze without ending.
Listening to the voice of agony, the time didn’t seem to pass even slowly. For Tanya, who was enduring the pain, this was probably the longest day of her life.
– Uuuh…..! Fuuu….haa, uuuuuh….!
– Hey, do your best. You need to stay strong.
A screaming voice continued to leak out as Tanya clenched her teeth.
Putting all her strength into her body, once could describe Tanya’s appearance as frantic.
Eiji was also holding himself back from shouting.
Tanya grabbed his right arm with a strength that could almost break it.
Was it due to her muscles? It was a considerable strength that made his bones creak.
Just where on earth do her thin arms get this much power? – Eiji thought curiously.
Just how much time had already passed?
It was supposedly noon by the time Eiji arrived, but, now it was completely dark outside.
It looked like the delivery took quite a while.
As the doctor kept urging her strongly, Tanya continued to strain her body with lots of effort.
– Hey, the head is coming out. We’ll soon be there!
– Ahh….! Eiji-san…..! Eiji-san!
– Yes, it’s here!
– Tanya! Look, it’s here! It’s a boy!
– Ah…. my baby….
As the doctor shouted noisily in joy, Tanya, who was out of breath, looked at her baby with caring eyes.
The delivered child was truly flushed in red.
It was strange for Eiji that such a child could grow hair after birth despite being this small
This is, my and Tanya-san’s child…….?
It was a healthy looking boy.
The atmosphere turned silent for a while once the baby’s navel thread was cut off.
It’s said a baby doesn’t breathe at first due to it being previously repressed in its mother’s air cell.
The first sign of the baby’s lung activity is when it starts to cry.
Please….. start to cry.
Please be healthy……!
Eiji made an earnest wish while praying.
Finally, the baby began to cry.
At that instant, one could feel the tension in the air settling down.
Eiji spoke to the doctor, who was bathing the baby.
– It’s a healthy sound of crying. With this, we can rest assured.
– Really, thank you for helping us throughout these many hours.
– You too did great in supporting Tanya. Well then, remember to praise her for her hard work as well.
Eiji bowed down toward the doctor and shifted his eyes to Tanya.
Her spirit must have been completely exhausted due to this unusually long childbirth.
Tanya seemed to be extremely tired, as one couldn’t feel any sign of vitality on her face.
Still, once she was handed the baby by the doctor, Tanya embraced it with a cheerful expression.
– Tanya-san, you did well in giving birth to the baby…. Thank you, Thank you very much.
– I’m glad…. Eiji-san, please give this child a name.
Eiji clasped the baby timidly to his chest as Tanya held it out.
Somehow, the baby felt light.
With all those wrinkles on its body, the baby didn’t appear to resemble its beautiful mother that much.
Its fingers were surprisingly tiny. No matter how skillful a carver was, he would probably be unable to recreate this part with such fine details.
However, this baby would grow up from now on.
– Thank you for being born. Your name shall be Liberto.
– Ah… I’m glad……………………….
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa – Making such a sound, Tanya’s expression looked as though it was missing something.
Eiji held his breath.
Without thinking ahead, he drew close to Tanya and took her hand.
– T, Tanya-san?
– Eiji-san……. I am, just a little tired……
– Tanya-san, are you okay?!
– I’ll be resting for a while, so please….. take care of Liberto.
As Tanya’s eyelids were slowly closing———-
Her hand, to which Eiji held, turned heavy and lost all its strength.