Chapter 28: A Jagged Gorgeous Winter
Once again, Danny was taking care of me like his life depended on it. I hated that dinner needed to be cooked, dishes needed to be washed, and the laundry was piling up, but Danny wouldn’t let me do anything but lay in bed all day until my home-bound teacher showed up with my homework. I swear he was beginning to act like I was handicap. After my trip to the hospital, we couldn't take any chances. My pregnancy had sailed along smoothly up until that point. I didn't want to let it show, but my body was constantly running off of fumes and every minute of every day, I was exhausted.
It was incredibly hard because Rachel had lost her mucus plug and the doctor had told her that she could go into labor any day now. Reggie made sure he never had to leave the house for any reason and if he absolutely had to leave, he brought her over to our apartment so we could keep her company. She was miserable and ready to pop which sucked because she had only a few days left before her due date rolled around and if she didn’t go into labor on her own, then they would induce her. I was glad that she was there to spend some time with me, but we mostly slept. I was a bit freaked out because it was just the two of us. My pregnancy was high risk and anything was bound to happen and I couldn't do much of anything to help Rachel if she did go into labor. There was no way that either of us would survive a walk to the hospital.
“Am I going to ever be able to get out of this bed again?” I asked Danny as he climbed into the bed. He did his usual walk through of the house before deciding that he was tired enough to curl up and go to bed beside my belly. His paranoia was getting the best of him and his nerves were completely shot. I could see the constant worry all over his face, but when I spoke up about it, his masculinity showed and he denied it because he was "a man". “Yes. When your water breaks and we have to go to the hospital,” he said jokingly as he pulled my feet into his lap to massage them. I rolled my eyes. Of course he thought it would be funny. “I get tired of sitting in this bed all day! I’m gonna get bed sores!” I whined.
"Not if I keep your fine ass turned every two hours!" he replied as he grabbed my face and planted a kiss on my lips.
He laughed and pulled me over to where I was straddling his lap. He positioned my hips right to where his groin was pressed up against mine. “There, problem solved,” he said with a wink. This isn’t what I had in mind but, it was definitely heading in the right direction. He pulled me close and tangled his fingers in my hair, kissing me like this would be the very last kiss. The tips of his fingers brushed over my skin, giving me goosebumps as he tried to pull my body as close as my belly would allow.
A sense of worry filled my heart, causing me to tense up and I knew that he could tell. “What’s wrong?” he asked when he let me go. I had to come on out and tell him what had me so worried. His kiss was long and loving, like he was trying to make a lasting impression before a long departure.
“You just kissed me like it would be the last kiss,” I said quietly, not wanting to sound stupid. “What do you mean? I kissed you like I always kiss you.” He was lying to try and change the way I was feeling. “You know we only have a little while left before the baby comes and even when she does come, we won’t get nearly as much alone time. I just wanted to take my time with kissing you. You’ve done so much and I love you and have fallen in love with you more and more every day. You’re the strongest woman I know and I have to thank you for putting up with me.” A wide grin spread across my face and even though the thought of him lying to me was still there, it had faded out.
I threw my arms around his neck and began to kiss him again. His hands were wrapped around the bottom of my camisole, ready to whisk it over my head as soon as our hormones began to consume us. The way his teeth and lips grazed my neck and chest, I hadn’t even paid attention to him stripping me out of my clothes. I had been extremely self-conscious ever since I had found my first
stretch mark, right at the top of my right butt cheek. I cried about it for at least two days.
He had his hands wrapped around my waist and was carefully sliding inside me. Being on top during sex was all that I could manage now and that was if we were careful. Either it hurt or my belly got in the way and that was the last thing I wanted to focus on during the moment. Usually in the aftermath, I would have a few contractions here and there, but nothing consistent. Danny didn't know that and if I wanted to keep things going the way they had been, I wasn't going to tell him. He would probably put me in total isolation until the baby came.
When we both climaxed, I felt like I had ran a mile. My body was positioned limply in the crook of his arm beside him and we were both still trying to catch our breath. My eyes were so heavy that I almost couldn’t keep them open. “I love you baby and thank you for loving me,” Danny said softly before we both drifted off to sleep. He didn't know how much I cherished moments like these. I never thought we would be here. Laying in true happiness wasn't something that I ever thought would become apart of my future. I never thought I would ever get a start on having a family of my own and feeling truly responsible. Never in a million years would I have thought that I was capable of loving someone and wanting someone to love me. I never imagined that Danny would ever be in my life to stay and make himself comfortable. I would have never dreamed that at some point in my life, I would be happy.
It felt like we hadn’t been asleep for more than five minutes before both of our cell phones were going crazy on the nightstand. For a second, I wanted to ignore them. There was no way in hell that I was ready to go ahead and get my day started. I also didn't feel like rolling over to fumble with my phone in the dark while I was half asleep.
"Answer one of those damn things!" I shouted as I flopped my arm across Danny's chest. It startled him and he shot up in bed. I struggled to keep my eyes open as I watched his head dart from side to side. "The phones are ringing. Answer them, please," I said as I started to fall back asleep.
Danny grabbed one of them and answered it as he fell back down beside me with his phone pressed to his ear. “What’s up?” he asked. I held onto him as tight as I could as I faded in and out of consciousness. I heard the mumbles of someone's voice, but couldn't make out who it was or what they were saying. I almost didn't care. I could hardly hold my head up, the room was cool and cozy, and we had been cuddled up to each other naked and sapping body heat from one another. Whoever it was was just going to have to wait until we were completely well rested and ready to come out of our own little world like we had been for the last few months. I was beginning to feel myself drift away again.
“Oh shit!” he yelled as he shot up in bed, nearly scaring the life out of me. “Danny what’s wrong?” I asked still half asleep with drool spread across my face. I sat up as quickly as possibly, causing myself to get a little dizzy. “Well what the hell am I supposed to do about it? This is just as much my first time as it is yours!” He got straight out of bed and ran toward the closet, pulling out the cute thick grey sweat suit with hot pink hearts that he had gotten me for Christmas, as well as a pair of socks, a bra, and underwear. I swung my legs over the side of the bed, patiently waiting for him to fill me in. "Where's the fucking fire?!" I shouted, throwing my hands up.
“Baby, there’s no time for questions. That was Reggie. Rachel’s water broke about ten minutes ago and the contractions are coming and they’re coming fast. We’re meeting them at the hospital.” That was enough for me to get my ass up and get in gear. I had never been anyone’s labor coach before, but I guess it was time that I got ready for a crash course. “He wanted me to tell him whether or not he should check her cervix to see if she has dilated. How in the hell am I supposed to know?” he asked. Danny seemed just as stressed out about this as Reggie probably was. Men didn’t understand. “You should have said no! Checking her after her water has broken could cause an infection!” He was running his fingers through his hair, trying to gain his composure.
“Let’s go. I can’t handle all of this right now.” I giggled as he threw a few things in a bag for me in case Rachel wanted me to stay with her and then we were headed out to the car. I waddled into the front doors of the hospital after trekking carefully through the scattered remains of snow and ice from the storm we had two days ago with Danny tagging behind me. "How the hell do you get around so quickly?" he huffed when he finally caught up to me. I stormed through the halls and to the admission desk. The old Sydney would have been panicking and flailing her arms because she was hopelessly lost and didn't know what to do. I knew that we had to get in and get Rachel situated in order to get the baby out safely. Labor was a life or death situation and I knew that she needed me. I handled the situation like a boss. She was scared and I had to be there for her like she had been for me time and time again throughout our lives.
We were standing in the hallway when the nurse wheeled Rachel in. She was drenched in sweat and pale as a ghost.
“JESUS CHRIST! BITCH GET ME SOME DRUGS!” she yelled as she pressed her nails into Reggie’s hand, nearly bringing him to his knees. “Ms. Walters, we have medication ready for you once you get upstairs. If you’ve dilated too far, we can’t give it to you. We need you to sign these papers first,” she said reaching the clipboard over in Rachel’s direction. She quickly smacked it out of the nurse’s hands, knocking all of the papers loose and allowing them to scatter all over the floor. I ran over, apologizing as much as I could. The poor girl must have been new because she looked like she was about to fall apart.
I nearly lost my balance, forgetting that I was top heavy, as I scooped up the papers.“I am so sorry. I’m her sister, I can sign anything that needs to be signed for her unless it can wait until her mom gets here.” Another contraction came, causing her to release a bloodcurdling scream and nearly
breaking Reggie’s hand into pieces. “Rach, you have to breathe through the pain,” I tried to tell her as calmly as I could. "Ma'am, if you know her history, you can just answer a few questions for her," the nurse said nervously.
Rachel continued to scream and moan as she wiggled and writhed in the wheelchair. I noticed that she was trying to take the pressure off of her bottom as she positioned herself to put all of her weight on the left side of her butt. "Rachel. YOU. HAVE. TO. BREATHE," I said firmly. She was going to hyperventilate if she didn't calm down. It wasn't going to get easier and I could tell that she feared that the most.“Syd, how am I supposed to do that? I feel like I have to take the biggest shit ever!” My eyes grew wide and I knew exactly what that meant.
“Get her upstairs now or we will own this fucking hospital!” I yelled at the nurse. Mom had always told me that when she was in labor and I was crowning, it felt like she had to shit. She felt the urge to push just like she got the urge to push during a bowel movement and that was one of the first things she told me about after my incident at the mall. If Rachel was getting that urge already, then there was no way possible that she would be able to get an epidural. Flora was coming and she was coming fast.
We moved at full speed to get into the delivery room with me guiding the wheelchair as fast as I could, leaving Danny, Reggie, and the nurse behind. "It won't be much longer now. It'll be quick and easy," I lied, trying to comfort her. Seeing how she was reacting had me shook. I was being hit with a dose of reality and realized that I would be in her shoes soon.
Rachel couldn’t stand for anyone except for me to touch her and Reggie hid outside the door to stay out of the line of fire. Between the two of them, I wasn’t going to be able to handle their meltdowns. “Syd, why is she acting like that? I’ve never seen her act like that?” he asked, panicking. I grabbed Reggie’s arm and pulled him over to her bedside once she was changed into a gown. The nurses were working vigorously to get an IV started on her and a blood pressure cuff to monitor for any changes. “Hold her hand when she has a contraction. That’s all you need to do. If she hurts you, deal with it. They can’t give her any meds. The baby will be here any minute.” I couldn’t believe that I had total and complete control over the situation. I was thankful that I wasn't going to have to bitch slap Reggie to calm him down. Usually I was the one doing all of the freaking out, but I remained calm just to make sure Reggie didn’t pass out and to make sure Rachel didn’t go full blown hurricane in this hospital.
I made sure to call her parents and Melanie, Jamie, and my mom. They wouldn’t have missed this for the world even if I did call them at three in the morning. When I saw Dr. Potter turn the
corner to go into the delivery room, I knew that it was definitely show time. He wore a drape over his clothes that looked like blue tissue paper. The bed had been broken down and the nurse was waving me over to the top of Rachel’s bed for me to grab a leg when she got ready to push. “Alright Rachel, whenever you feel a contraction coming, I need you to push as hard as you can. The baby is
crowning!” he said happily. She was still screaming and writhing in pain. I felt sorry for her. I prayed that I wouldn’t go into labor as fast as she did. It seemed like quick and easy was the best choice, but it had hit her out of nowhere and I know that the pain had to have come down on her like a pile of bricks.
The nurse began to count on up until she got to ten with every contraction and I found myself holding my breath every single time she pushed. “Syd, I can’t do this! Tell them to cut her out!” she moaned. I looked down between her legs and spotted a small head with a thick patch of hair making its way out of her birth canal. The sight made me cringe and Reggie turned pale when he
glanced down at it. He was gagging and beginning to double over."Don't you fucking dare," I hissed at him through clenched teeth. "I can't help it!" he whined. I rolled my eyes and decided that trying to keep Reggie from having an anxiety attack or passing out was a total lost cause.
I focused my attention back on her.“Rachel, there’s no turning back now. You gotta do this,” I said hoping to calm her. “Push!” the nurse screamed. Rachel pushed and screamed and pushed and screamed while Reggie and I held her legs back and the nurse counted. "Hold on," the nurse said as she patted Rachel's leg. "We've got to make a small cut," Dr. Potter mumbled only loud enough for all of us surrounding Rachel to hear. If she knew that they were going to have to split her from one hole to the next, she would have climbed off of the table and said to hell with it.
"What's the fucking hold up?!" she shrieked. I held her hand and pulled her face toward mine. "Nothing. It won't be much longer," I said hastily, praying that he would be quick. With a steady hand, he eased a large needle into the skin protruding around the baby's head. Then, it seemed like he was hacking away at her perineum and I felt my stomach curl. The first snip wasn't as bad as I expected. There was a little more blood oozing out as he hooked a finger around the edges, trying to help the baby enter the world.
Finally. I didn't realize that I had been holding my breath throughout the entire process. Rachel didn't flinch. "You're doing great," Reggie said as he rubbed a hand over her cheek. "GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS OFF OF ME!" she wailed. I couldn't help but chuckle. "FUCK! THAT BURNS!" she screamed. With a confused look on my face, I glanced back down to where all of the action was happening, and the doctor had started cutting again. The more he cut, the more blood gushed out and I swear, I felt like I was about to hit the floor. She belted out a bloodcurdling scream and squirmed.
"One big push!" he shouted. We held onto her legs, preparing for the end of what looked like a murder scene. I was traumatized, but anxious to meet the newest addition to our crew.
Rachel bared down for only a few seconds and all of a sudden, there was a shift in the atmosphere.
I heard a soft whimper followed by a loud squeal coming from Dr. Potter’s arms. “Here she is!” the nurse standing beside me shouted. The small baby with wide green eyes and thick black hair stared up at Rachel as she was being placed on her chest. From the corner of my eye, I could see Reggie wiping the tears from his eyes and it felt like my soul had momentarily left my body. I looked up at the clock on the wall and the time read seven thirty in the morning. It hadn’t felt like we
were here for a whole four hours.
While the two of them were lost in the moment, the sharp scent of copper hit my nose. I glanced down to see blood pooling in front of the doctor. He was in the process of guiding her placenta out. Seeing the blood practically gushing out of her made my knees buckle and I was getting dizzy.
I couldn’t bring myself to pull away from this moment. Tears spilled from the rim of my
eyes and stained my cheeks. I had witnessed a miracle. Flora stretched out on Rachel’s chest and the two stared at each other while I stared at the two of them, completely captivated by everything that had just happened. I was in awe from the fact that I would be experiencing the same thing in just a few weeks.
Reggie leaned over and wrapped his arms around the two of them after he had cut the umbilical cord. I quickly dried my eyes and stepped out of the room, allowing the two of them to get acquainted with their daughter. Everyone waited for me to give them a full report when I finally stepped out into the hallway. “What’s up? Do we have a baby or not?!” Danny shouted with Melanie and Jamie waiting patiently behind him. “Yes! A beautiful baby girl with all ten fingers and toes! She looks just like Reggie, eyes and all!” He smiled and threw his arms around me. I was still completely shocked by how well I tolerated the entire event. It had to be a lot different when
you were the support person and not the one in all of the pain. It felt like having an adrenaline rush. Just being able to watch a new life come into the world up close and personally made you feel like you were being thrown into another dimension.
When Rachel was finally transferred into her room and Flora was in the nursery, Melanie, Jamie, and I went in to make sure she was situated and to help her get a shower. If there was one thing that we couldn’t forget about Rachel, it was the fact that she didn’t handle blood and gore too well.
“Shit!” she screamed as Melanie and Jamie helped her out of the bed. Jamie jumped back,
afraid that she had done something wrong. “You’re fine. They had to cut her during labor,” I told her with a chuckle. “Cut? Cut where?” Jamie asked, growing pale at the thought. “Her vagina of course! The baby didn’t come out of her belly button!” Melanie replied. I laughed at the two of them as I gathered Rachel’s clothes and shampoo. That was all I could do. I knew that if Danny came strolling in here and I was helping lift Rachel out of bed, he’d flip shit on me. “I’m just glad that I’m not pregnant anymore. That was a lot of hard work,” she griped as she shuffled to the bathroom, holding her now empty stomach. “I’d say so. We’re making a whole new person. It takes a lot out of me just to walk across the hall to our bathroom ten times a night,” I replied. “Well remind me not to ever get pregnant,” Jamie added. The rest of the day, we spent most of our time making sure Rachel was able to get on her feet and get to the bathroom without nearly killing herself.
“Why didn’t you just have them put a catheter in you?” I asked. Rachel and Jamie paused and looked at me like they had seen a ghost. “What the hell is a catheter?” Jamie spit out. “It’s a tube,” I replied, thinking that she would figure it out. “A tube that goes where?” Rachel asked, her eyes growing even wider. “In your urethra!” I shouted, sounding defeated.“Get the fuck out of here! If they come in here talking about that bullshit, we’re leaving,” she said as she moved carefully to the bathroom.
Danny and Reggie passed Flora back and forth when they finally made it back upstairs. We had a pretty steady routine when it came to her trips to the bathroom. It just felt natural for all of us to get into the flow of taking care of the two of them. What were friends for, right?
Flora was hardly ever in the nursery. Whenever it was time for her to eat, a nurse would poke her head in the door, wanting to steal her for a few minutes, but she had plenty of open arms wanting to keep her with us as long as we possibly could. Of course, with Rachel being Rachel, she was entirely too paranoid to let her go to the nursery because she thought they would use her as a test dummy. I couldn't even remember how many times we heard her conspiracy theories over the last nine months.
By the end of the day, Melanie was curled up at the foot of Rachel’s bed, Jamie was passed out in the chair sitting in the corner of the room, and I was curled up on the opposite bed. Rachel held Flora in her arms and the two of them were snoring away.
It was late when all of us decided to go home. I made sure that Rachel was alright and felt comfortable with it being just her and Reggie considering the fact that she was still extremely sore. “We’ll be fine Syd. I promise,” she said as she walked me to the door of the unit. Walking had helped her a lot. She was still toting around her IV pole and I knew she’d be glad when they finally took that needle out of her hand. “You sure?” I asked. “I’m positive. You’ve done so much for us and I still can’t thank you enough for being there with me through labor. I swear I owe you one,” she said as she reached over to hug me. “Yeah, I don’t have long before it’s my turn,” I said with a giggle. It wasn’t too late. Danny had given me the car keys and had Melanie and Derek drop him off at the apartment. I was still in shock that he had finally let me drive his car.
“You be careful out there. I’d hate to hear about Danny kicking your ass because you wrecked his car,” she said jokingly. “I know. If that damn thing gets so much as a scratch on it, I know I’ll have
to kill him.” I hugged her once more before leaving the hospital. It was hard to believe that Flora would be three days old tomorrow. Everything had happened so fast. Even the pregnancy flew by.
Me: On my way home. I love you.
I quickly typed to Danny just to keep him from worrying.
D: Hurry home to me. I love you more.
I smiled at the text before I climbed into the car and drove home as carefully as I could.