Odella Hufstead rubbed her protruding stomach with both hands, trying to soothe away the sharp pains caused by the contractions. She let out the breath she was holding as the pain eased at last.
Only when it had subsided did she try to move at all from her bed.
Slowly, awkwardly she shifted her legs over to the edge of the bed and swung them over it before she began to maneuver her cumbersome torso into a sitting position.
No sooner had she managed to upright herself than she was struck with another contraction.
This one was even more intense and lasted much longer.
She waited the contraction out, gritting her teeth to keep from crying out and awakening her young son, Heinrich, who slept in his small bed across the room.
She did not want to frighten him unnecessarily. She eased herself off the bed and into a standing position on the hardwood floor. She used the bed as an aide as she moved down the length of it.
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