Thorin’s Hope Chapter 6–Umay Gives Birth One Week Later
by GratianaDS90, 10/06/11 (Post #25)
(A Fan Fiction adapted from JRR Tolkien’s, The Hobbit;
No copyright infringement is intended)
To read earlier Thorin’s Hope chapters, visit Chapter 5, which also links you to the previous chapters at: https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/thorins-hope-chapter-5-umay-attends-elienne%E2%80%99s-birthing-one-week-later-and-is-chastened-92911-gratianads90-post-21/
Umay (pronounced ooh-My) gives birth one week later one day one week later–two weeks before her 9 months time to give birth–Umay [(1)pictured above] begins to experience more back pains. She assumes this is due to her large size being with child putting a strain on her small frame. Yet, she also wonders if it is something more. So when Talin arrives after the midday meal today as usual, Umay asks him to fetch the mid wife, Hegara, for her, just as a precaution. Talin also stops to tell his mother Elienne who immediately springs into action–putting her own babe in a sling around her breast and briskly walking to Umay and Thorin’s home 50 yards away. Elienne arrives at Umay’s home [(2) pictured right] ahead of the midwife and she finds Umay fainted sitting in a chair in her bedchamber as blood pools at her feet. Umay’s water has broken, but blood is not also usually present. Eager to help her friend Umay, Elienne lays her babe Maylina in the cradle intended for Umay’s babe and directs Talin–who has quickly returned–to help her move Umay to the bed. Umay wakes up with their ministrations.
Umay: “Uhhhh!” Umay’s tired eyes flutter open, revealing her birthing pains. “What is happening?”
Elienne: “Umay, I think you are having your babe today.” She tries to say this brightly so as not to frighten Umay.
Umay: “But Elienne, is it not too early? I have two more weeks to go. Will the babe be well?” Umay asks with fear in her voice.
Elienne: “There now, Umay. Babes know when they want to come. And as you know, my own babe came early, too. And see how my little Maylina sleeps peacefully in your cradle there.” Elienne gestures smilingly to Maylina in the cradle that one of the old men had made for Umay since Thorin was not at home to do so as is custom.
Umay: “Thank you, Elienne. I am glad that you are here.” Umay says gratefully clinging to Elienne a bit–as a daughter would to her mother, Umay’s own mother being long dead from an injury. For Elienne is nearly fifty years older than Umay and very motherly and sisterly toward her.
Elienne: “Now let me help you out of these garments and into your birthing gown. Hmm?” Elienne smiles at Umay who smiles back at her. “Talin, please stand at the front door and wait for Hegara, the midwife.” Elienne says this practically, but also to give Umay privacy as she changes her clothes.
Talin: “Yes Mama.” He says brightly. “ Two babes in two weeks! The village has never heard of such a wonder. It will be written about in story and song to be sure.” Umay and Elienne both smile at Talin. Talin leaves as his mother instructed him to do so. Elienne helps Umay change her clothes, trying not to let Umay see the blood so that she would not be distressed. But, Umay sees the puddle of blood on the stone floor.
Umay: “Elienne, I am bleeding! Is this what should be?”
Elienne: “It is not unheard of.” Elienne says vaguely while trying to soothe Umay’s fears. “But, we must get you situated before Hegara the midwife comes. She is very particular about birthing customs being observed.” She says mischievously as she rolls her eyes.
Umay: “Such as?” Umay asks questioningly.
Elienne: “Well, Hegara likes to have her mothers lying down in bed. But with my little one Maylina last week, sitting up on the edge of the bed was easier for me to give birth after Hegara turned the babe. So, you might wish to try that as well, Umay. I will be here to support you with Hegara.” Elienne says and comfortingly squeezes Umay’s hand. Then Elienne helps Umay sit back in her bed, adjusting the pillows for Umay’s comfort Just then the bedchamber door bursts open and in strides Hegara on her very sturdy legs. If having two babes in two weeks is history making news for the village, just think what it means to a midwife–who must sometimes wait decades in between serving in her chosen capacity.
Hegara: “Umay! I hear that your water has broken and you have bled a little.” Umay blanches at Hegara, then she looks to Elienne for reassurance. “No matter, the stone floor will clean up well enough.” She says waving her hand dismissively–setting aside the blood aspect as not something to be concerned about. “Now, let me examine you, Umay.” She says walking up to the side of the bed. “Step back Elienne, birthing is my domain.” Hegara says with some annoyance.
Elienne: “Umay Dear, I’ll just move to the other side of the bed–out of Hegara’s way.” She smiles.
Hegara: Nodding her head at Elienne’s sense, Hegara says to Umay “Now let me listen to your belly.” And before Umay knows what is happening, Hegara lays her head upon Umay’s belly with her face turned toward Umay. Umay flinches at seeing the startling sight of Hegara’s much older Dwarf woman face so close to hers and staring fixedly at her while listening to her belly. [(7) picture of Hegara] It is a scary enough sight for Umay to forget her birthing pains–if only temporarily. Elienne smiles amusingly at the tableaux of Hegara and Umay. Hegara listens at Umay’s belly for several moments.
Umay: “Is everything as it should be?” Umay asks worriedly. Then she winces as the baby moves and then her first large birthing pain wave hits her. “Oh my!” She exclaims.
Hegara: Hegara stands up quickly and looks at Umay nonplussed and then at Elienne–the shock is evident on Hegara’s face. “Well, Thorin is of noble birth. So it is to be expected, though not often seen.” She says with some astonishment. And astonishment is not often seen on Hegara’s weathered 175 year old face.
Umay: “What is to be expected?” Umay looks at Hegara ‘expectantly’. Hegara says nothing–savoring the moment with a small smile. That is, if one can discern a smile on Hegara’s stern countenance.
Elienne: “What is it, Hegara?” Elienne frowns at the older woman for being so obstreperous.
Hegara: “Umay, yours will be two births.” She says matter of factly.
Umay: Not understanding what Hegara is saying due to the pain she is in, Umay says. “Yes, Elienne had her babe and now mine is the second.”
Hegara: “No, you mistook my words.”
Elienne: Squealing Elienne says “EEEE! Umay! You have two babes to be born!” Hegara nods at Elienne and then looks at Umay pointedly.
Umay: In too much pain to grasp what Hegara and Elienne are telling her, she asks “Two?”
Hegara: “Yes Umay. You will birth two babes this day.” Hegara says triumphantly. Hegara has never experienced twins as a midwife–and it will be her crowning achievement. Of course, it is actually Umay’s crowning achievement–but that is neither here nor there to Hegara.
Umay: “Am I well? Will the babes be well?” Umay looks at Hegara and then Elienne worriedly. Umay had no notion that she was with child with two babes. But with Umay’s very large belly–more so than even what Elienne’s belly had grown to before she gave birth–it now makes sense to her.
Hegara: “Yes.” Umay looks at Hegara pleadingly for more of an explanation. “Two babes mean that they are smaller and should be easier for you to birth.”
Umay: “Oh! That is a good thing. So my pains will not be as great as Elienne’s?” Umay asks hopefully, remembering Elienne’s blood curling birthing screams just one week ago.
Hegara: “We will see.” Hegara’s eyes narrow and Umay’s hopes sink.
Umay: “Ohhhh!” Umay cries out in pain. Just then–and during the next two hours–Umay experiences labor pains as her babes want to be born now. It seems that Umay’s back pain this morning had really been birthing pains. So Umay is quite advanced in the birthing process–which is a painful and a sweaty one. But Elienne is there to comfort Umay and pats her face and neck with a fresh cool damp cloth while Hegara checks the progress ‘down below’. Finally, Hegara deems the time to be now for the babes to be born.
Hegara: “It is time. Umay, you will want to lay flat as you give birth.” She instructs her with a knowing nod of her head. Although Hegara has never given birth herself, she has presided over every birth in their village the last fifty years–about 12 babes in all.
Umay: Umay looks pleadingly over at Elienne, remembering what she had said earlier. “But Elienne said that her sitting up to give birth was easier on her.”
Elienne: Chiming in, Elienne says before Hegara can refuse, “Yes it was. Let Umay try it, Hegara. She can always change back to lying down if need be.”
Hegara: “Hmm!” Hegara harumpfs–put out at ‘her’ birthing room being taken over by the mothers. The irony of her thought is completely lost on Hegara–the mothers being the primary focus of the birthing event in anyone else’s mind. “We shall see.” So Elienne and Hegara help Umay sit up on the edge of the side of the bed–with Elienne sitting behind Umay supporting her back and Hegara sits on the floor at Umay’s feet ready to catch the babes as they come out [(3) sitting up birthing scene right]. Umay’s birthing gown puddles around her hips exposing her womb and legs for all to see. Umay is glad that the boy child Talin is in the outer room so that she is not embarrassed to be seen in such an indelicate pose. But as the next wave of birthing pains hit Umay, she forgets her modesty and bears down as she holds her belly.
Umay: “Ahhhhhhh!” Umay cries out with the first of several blood curdling screams that startle Talin in the outer room. He remembers his mother’s birthing screams, but these seem different–as if a child is wailing in pain. But then again, Umay is only 85 years old–barely 21 years in human aging–so Umay is still considered a young woman Dwarf, still 15 years younger than the usual age of 100 when most Dwarf women give birth.
Hegara: “That is good, Umay. The babe’s head is almost out. You must push hard at the next pain to push it through–shoulders and all.”
Umay: “AHHhhhhhhhhhh!” Umay screams as she pushes down and her first babe slides out of her into Hegara’s waiting hands.
Hegara: “It is a girl!” Hegara says excitedly, since there are more men than women in their village due to mothers dying in childbirth. Hegara quickly clears the babe’s mouth of mucus and taps its rump gently and the babe wails.
Baby girl: “Waah wahh!” The babe wails healthfully. Hegara swaddles the babe and places it into the large cradle next to Elienne’s girl babe, Maylina.
Elienne: “Oh Umay! You have your little girl, too. She is so sweet! Our daughter can be playmates for each other.” Elienne squeezes Umay’s shoulders from behind her.
Umay: “A girl.” Umay smiles. “I shall call her Elirinne, after you my friend, Elienne.” Umay smiles sweetly and tiredly over her shoulder at her friend. Umay is pleased that she can incorporate part of Thorin’s name into her daughter’s name–rinne–as is customary, to show lineage.
Hegara: “We are not done here, yet.” Hegara reminds them pointedly.
Umay: Then Umay experiences another pain. “Ahhhhh!” Umay screams and she bears down hard and the next babe fairly pops out of her in one whoosh–almost before Hegara can catch him.
Hegara: “A boy. You have birthed a boy child as well. He is small, but well formed.”
Baby boy: “Waah.” He cries a little less loudly than the girl. Hegara tends to the babe’s mucus clearing and swaddles it–readying it for his mother’s arms.
Elienne: “Oh Umay, Thorin will be so pleased.” She squeezes her friend’s shoulders again. But she notices that Umay does not respond to her. “Umay?” She nudges her, but Umay does not respond.
Hegara: “She has fainted. Let us lay her down now!” Hegara says pointedly. And also she puts the boy babe in the now crowded cradle–with three babes in all in it Maylina, Elirinne, and the boy babe yet to be named. Elienne helps Hegara move Umay so that she is laying down [(4) fainted Umay right]. They can see that Umay’s face has drained of color and her rosy cheeks are white.
Elienne: “Hegara! What is wrong? What can we do?”
Hegara: “Birthing two babes has been too much for her tender years. We can only make Umay comfortable and hope that she will be well.” For the next hour, Elienne and Hegara watch over and tend to the unconscious Umay–rubbing her arms and legs, willing her blood to circulate–and keeping her warm with blankets. Meanwhile, the 10 year old Talin is pacing back and forth in the outer room now filled with other Dwarf women of the village. It has been two hours of painful birthing screams, followed by now one more hour of silent waiting with no news about the mother and the babe–Hegara and Elienne being too busying tending to Umay to make any announcements. Finally, Talin can not stand it any longer. And despite the clucking of one of the older Dwarf women, Talin gently knocks on the bed chamber door.
Talin: “Mama? Is the babe born? May we see it?” He asks through the door. Elienne looks at Hegara, wondering what to tell him and the others. Umay has not yet woken up and her babes need to be fed. But then, they get a surprise.
Umay: “Is that Talin? He is a good boy.” Umay says groggily as her sleepy eyes flutter open.
Elienne: “Umay! You have come back to us.” Elienne excitedly embraces her friend Umay.
Hegara: “Thank goodness!” Hegara sighs with relief. She has presided over a few births where the mothers have died, and it is a sad outcome. But, here is Umay awake again, and the roses returning to her cheeks. “You have good color in you Umay. Let us give you some water and then would you like to hold your babes? They are hungry.”
Umay: “My babes.” She smiles wanly. Giving birth has taken its toll on her. “My arms ache to hold them.” She says holding her arms out expectantly.
Elienne: Picking up the boy babe first and handing him to Umay’s eager arms, Elienne says “Umay, this little one still needs a name. You fainted an hour ago and he has gone without a name since.” Elienne smiles impishly at her friend.
Umay: Looking down at her small boy babe as he wraps his tiny fingers around her little finger, she thinks a moment. “Well, Thorin is the son of Thrain and the grandson of Thor. This babe’s name needs to continue that name lineage. But Thorn sounds too prickly.” All three Dwarf women laugh. Then she bucks tradition and gives her naming choice. “I shall name him Thorin, after his father.” Umay tears up, wondering if ‘her’ Thorin will come back to her, or if she will only have her son and daughter to remember him by.
Hegara: “But that is not done–naming sons after fathers.” Hegara says superstitiously shaking her head.
Elienne: “It is a fine name, Umay. Thorin will be proud to have his son named after him.” She says shooting Hegara a warning glance not to make a fuss. “Now let us also give you Elirinne for you to hold as well with pillows propping up your arms.” And they do so. Elienne then steps back and smiles at the result of the happy mother Umay, holding her two babes.
Talin: Knocking on the bedchamber door once more, he asks “Mama? May we see the babe?”
Elienne: “Oh! In the excitement of you waking, Umay, we quite forgot to tell everyone the good news. May we invite them in?
Umay: “Yes.” Umay sighs wearily but happily.
Hegara: “It is a momentous day.” Hegara says with an air of self satisfaction–two babes born and the mother lived. It is a very good day for Hegara.
Elienne: “I am coming, Talin. You will want to meet the babes.” She says opening the bedchamber door.
Talin: “Babes, Mama?” He looks at her incredulously.
Elienne: Elienne smiles and says to her son and the assembled Dwarf women. “Yes. Come in and see the babes.”
Umay: “This is Elirinne, our daughter. And this is Thorin, our son.” Umay happily shows off her new born babes to everyone [(5) picture representing Umay and her twins]. The Dwarf women all eagerly cluck around Umay’s bed as they proceed to ooh and aah over the babes and their mother Umay for the next 10 minutes or so–until it is time for Umay to nurse her babes at her breasts. It is a very good day, indeed.
To be continued with Chapter 7
(1) Titian painting used to represent Umay was found at http://webspace.webring.com/people/lo/oonaghsown/turkish_coat_for_venetian_dress_doco.htm
(2) Picture representing Thorin & Umay’s cottage
(3) Picture representing Umay giving birth sitting up
(4) picture representing Umay fainted after giving birth
(5) picture representing Umay holding her twins
(6) miscellaneous babe pictures unknown
(7) The picture I selected to represent Hegara is by the flemish painter Pieter Bruegel (1525-1569) and titled Portrait of an Old Woman. Thanks to Fabi for pointing me in this direction. This picture can be found at a wonderful site http://www.staroilpainting.com/images/shop/product/thumb/ded2d5d87ae6296809afa7870c76c9ea.jpg and an accompanying biography of the artist is also on that site http://www.staroilpainting.com/b_6_N.htm
What a lovely story of the birthing process. It got a little intense there for a while not knowing if Umay will come out of her faint! Well written Gratia. I am enjoying this story:-))
Yes, with Umay being a “young” 85 year old Dwarf woman, birthing was a risky thing for her. But, it turned out alright in the end. And it gets even better. Stay tuned for Ch. 7 next week.
Cheers! Grati ;->
I’m glad that Umay is such brave girl. Oh I can’t wait to see what will be the reaction of Thorin on such a wonderful message that Umay gave birth to twins.
beautiful pictures you chose for this chapter :-)
Thanks for your nice note. I am glad to get past Umay’s birthing ordeal. Ha! Hopefully, it will be downhill from here. I’ll have to see where the mood takes me. Ch. 7 is already written and I’m working on Ch. 8 now. But I won’t give away any spoilers. You’ll have to check back here next Thursday for Ch. 7.
Thanks for visiting and commenting. Cheers! Grati ;->
She had twins actually! You made us go through a bit of suspense today – I was concerned with Umay.
I had to laugh imagining Umay scared when she saw Hegara’s face close to hers, LOL!
And I really like the characters names, they’re nice.
Keep on the good job!
Thanks for your note. I’m glad you liked the suspense. And I did try to find a graphic for Hegara, but when I typed “ugly midwife” into the Google search engine it returned real people’s faces. Ha! And, I didn’t think it would be courteous of me to use their images to represent a scary looking Hegara. So, I’ll keep looking and hope that I find a painting with something I can use.
Thanks also for your mentioning about my character’s names. I really think about the names of my characters–what they might mean and how they sound. You may recall from my first Thorin’s Hope post that Umay is Turkish name and means hope. And the rhyming and similar names of The Hobbit Dwarfs–such as Kili and Fili–leant credence to my Dwarf lineage naming convention that I came up with. Finally, for strong–or harsh–characters, I like to use names with strong consonant sounds–hence Hegara has the strong “gg” sound in it and is similar to the name Hagar or Agatha. Where as Elienne as a name has a lightness and elegance to it–reflecting the breezy and confident character of Elienne.
Thanks for visiting and comment. Cheers! Grati ;->
Grati, you could google “leonardo da vinci grotesque old woman” and see images results. Maybe you think they’re too scary for poor Hegara, LOL!
The Leonardo pix were frightening. Ha! But I found a Pieter Bruegel Portrait of an Old Woman pix to my liking for Hegara on the same search page. So, I’m inserting it above.
Thanks so much for the suggestion! Cheers! Grati ;->
Enjoying the story – and the pictures are lovely! You’re obviously enjoying telling it!
I’m glad that you like my Thorin’s Hope story. it’s one of those stories that tumble out of me. I’m also glad you like the pictures. I like to both complement and illustrate what is happening in the story with pictures–think pseudo graphic novel, ha!–as well as, break up the text a bit for visual interest.
Thanks for visiting and commenting.
Cheers! Grati ;->
Here is the link for Chapter 7: