“Birth” by A.J. Cronin is a story about a doctor named Andrew who gets called out to assist in a difficult childbirth. Joe Morgan, the father-to-be, summons Andrew to their home in the middle of the night, and the doctor finds himself feeling restless and preoccupied, possibly due to recent experiences witnessing unhappy marriages. Nevertheless, he goes to attend the birth, staying at the house throughout the night as he realizes that the situation will demand his complete attention.
Andrew goes back and forth between waiting in the kitchen with Mrs. Morgan’s mother and attending to the pregnant woman upstairs. In these moments, he contemplates the nature of marriage and is distracted by thoughts of his own love, Christine. The elderly woman shares that the mother, Susan Morgan, is very eager for a child and doesn’t want any harm to come to the baby during the delivery.
As dawn approaches, the delivery reaches a critical point, and the baby is born lifeless. With Susan in a precarious state, Andrew faces a dilemma between trying to resuscitate the lifeless child and ensuring the safety of the mother. He decides to first stabilize the mother and then attempts to bring the baby back to life.
Working tirelessly and with a sense of desperation, Andrew employs a method he remembers from his past, in which he alternates the child between hot and cold baths while performing a specialized respiration technique. Despite his exhaustion and feelings of despair, the baby suddenly responds, gasping for air and slowly regaining color. Elation and relief wash over the room as the child is finally revived.
Having accomplished a remarkable feat and sparing the family further heartache, Andrew leaves the house, physically drained but filled with a sense of accomplishment - having finally done something real and meaningful in his work as a doctor in Blaenelly.
What dilemma does Andrew face during the delivery in "Birth" by A.J. Cronin?