Author’s Note: Two things to mention. The first is that this chapter was very rushed in writing because I wanted to get it out, so don’t be surprised if the quality leaves a lot to be desired. Second, I left out a lot of stuff that goes along with home delivery, so it is not perfectly accurate. But it has finally been written, and that’s the important part!
It was early morning on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, when I woke to find Pacifica standing by the window, rubbing her belly.
“Cici,” I said yawning, “is everything alright?” I started to close my eyes again when I heard her groan.
“I think it’s time, Edie,” she said, her voice strained. “I felt some tightening in my stomach about ten minutes ago. I think it’s a contraction.”
My eyes opened wide. “How long? How many?” I needed to know these details before I let myself panic. And Berry knows, I was liable to begin panicking.
“I only had the one. It last a couple minutes, but it stopped. Should we go to hospital?” She turned, her eyes big with fear.
I breathed a sigh of relief. “I don’t think we need to rush just yet. We’ll keep track of the contractions like the baby book said, and when they are closer together, we’ll head for the hospital.” There was no need to hurry. We would just end up spending the next several hours in a waiting room.
“Okay,” she said with a sigh of relief. She crawled back in to the bed beside me. “We can wait a little bit.”
That was the biggest mistake we could have made.
Four hours later, we had Pacifica’s bag packed and we were about to head to the car when she grabbed her stomach. I saw her face scrunch up from the pain of the contraction, before her eyes dropped in horror to the floor.
“Uh oh…” she said.
“What?” I asked, flipping out. I followed her eyes to the floor where a large puddle had appeared. Her pants were soaked, and I saw water dripping down her ankles.
“My water broke,” she said, whimpering in pain.
“I thought your water wasn’t supposed to break until right before the babies come,” I said, my voice becoming shrill.
She groaned. “Well, apparently the babies are coming, Eden!”
“But,” I said in a pathetic tone, “it’s only been a few hours! It’s too soon!”
She shot me an aggravated look. “I don’t know what to tell you, Eden. It would seem they’ve decided they want to come now!” She sucked in a breath, hissing with the pain of the contraction.
I went weak in the knees, trying to figure out the next step. Suddenly everything I had learned from the baby books and the doctors went flying out of my brain and I could feel an overwhelming sense of panic setting in. I grabbed at my hair, pulling it nervously.
“What do we do?” I said, the pitch of my voice reaching a higher octave. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do!”
“Go get the car!” Pacifica barked at me, obvious irritation visible in her pale blue eyes. “We already have the bags packed, now we need to get to the hospital.”
“Okay, okay,” I said, my breath becoming a little bit steadier. “Got to get the keys.”
Pacifica lowered herself onto the couch, wincing a little as she managed to reach a seated position. Her pants were soaked and I had a moment where I considered telling her to change clothes before we left. However, seeing the tears forming in the corners of her eyes left me unable to speak. My concerns for the condition of the couch – or Berry forbid, my father’s company car – were far outweighed by my concern for her well-being. Besides, dry clothes weren’t going to make her any more comfortable.
I stood staring at her for a minute or two, until she shot me a confused look. “Are you going to get the car?” She asked, bewildered. And perhaps a touch annoyed.
“Oh,” I said, grabbing my keys off the counter. “I spaced.” I took off out the door and…
I did not like what I saw. Or what I didn’t see, rather. I didn’t see the roads, or the car, or even much of the mailbox. The snowfall had accumulated to monstrous proportions. There was no way we were going to make it to the hospital in these conditions. I felt my chest begin to tighten, both from the icy air and the panic that was setting in at the realization of my dilemma. If we couldn’t get to the hospital, what were we going to do?
Shaking, I walked back inside to warn Pacifica.
My eyes must have betrayed my feelings, because Pacifica’s face dropped when I walked inside. Her brows knitted in fear, her mouth turning in a slight pout.
“Edie?” She asked hesitantly. “Are we-are we ready to go?”
I tried to answer, but just shook my head.
“What’s going on?” Pacifica asked, her lip quivering.
“The snow,” I started. “The roads are covered.”
“What do we do?” She asked in fear. “The babies aren’t going to wait much longer!”
I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialed 911. It wasn’t safe for me to drive Pacifica to the hospital, but hopefully an ambulance would be able to get her there. I knew there would be a charge, but it was an expense I was willing to pay to ensure that my children were delivered safely into our world.
“What’s your emergency?” Asked a male voice on the other end.
“My girlfriend is in labor and the roads are heavy with snow and we don’t know what to do and we need to an ambulance to get us to the hospital!” I was rambling, but I couldn’t seem to disguise the panic I was feeling. My chest was tight and the look of concern on Pacifica’s face was eating away at me.
“Whoa, calm down, sir,” the man said slowly. “Unfortunately, the roads are too dangerous to send an ambulance and the helicopters are out dealing with a multi-car pileup. How far apart are the contractions?”
I looked to Pacifica with wide eyes. “The contractions?” She held up six fingers. “Six minutes,” I told the man on the phone.
He was silent for a moment and I feared we had been disconnected. “I hate to say this, but you may need to deliver yourself.”
“What?!” I screeched. “But I – I don’t even know how to deliver a baby, much less two!”
“I’m going to walk you through it, but you need to take a few deep breaths.”
“The first thing you need to do is wash your hands,” he told me. I walked to the sink, turning the phone on speakerphone while I did so. I took another deep breath, trying to slow the feeling of powerlessness that was washing over me. There was doubt in my mind that I could this, and I knew that if I didn’t get it together, it could damage the health of my children.
Once they were completely washed, I asked what to do next. “You’re going to want to wet some towels in warm water for when the babies are born.”
I did what he asked and walked back to the living room.
I walked in to find Pacifica leaning against the couch, the muscles in her face flexed in an expression of pain.
“What are you doing?” I asked, startling her.
She groaned. “It’s the only position that seems to lessen the pain. The contractions are coming at three minutes now.” I heard her struggle to breathe and tears began escaping from the corners of her eyes.
“You’ll need to get her into something comfortable for the birth,” the 911 operator informed me.
I helped Pacifica get back into her nightgown. It took some effort because she was having difficulty standing upright, but we eventually got her dressed. It was funny to think that only hours before, she was eager to get out of her gown and into her clothes for the hospital. But there was no way we could have been prepared for the way the day was going to go.
“Lay some towels on the bed and have her lie on them, her knees up and her butt at the end of the bed.”
“Um, okay,” I said, helping Pacifica to the bed.
She whimpered as she lowered herself to the bed. I took off her wet panties and looked into her most secret place. I could see blood and I held my breath to tamper the nausea that had built up. I chanced another look and that’s when I saw it…a little tuft of hair. It was blue, like Pacifica’s. A sudden wave of courage washed over me. I could do this. I was going to deliver my children.
“You can do it, Cici,” I said. She started to sob, shaking her head. “You can,” I assured her again. “I can see the baby’s hair. We’re getting close.”
“I don’t think I can do it, Edie,” she cried. “It hurts too much!”
I rubbed her leg encouragingly. “Hey, I know this isn’t how we planned to spend Valentine’s Day, but at least it’ll be memorable.” I smiled down at her.
“What?” She asked in confusion.
“Don’t you remember? You wanted us to go back to the Valentine Resort. It seemed like such a long time away when you said it. But now it seems like it was only yesterday.”
She smiled a little, but it came out as more of a grimace. “I guess things don’t always go the way you expect.”
The voice on the phone chimed in. “She’s going to need to push now. In ten second intervals, along with the contraction.”
It was time. Part of me wasn’t ready, but another part felt that I had waited my entire life for this moment. “Are you ready?” I asked Pacifica. She looked at me with fear in her eyes, but she nodded.
“Okay, push.” She took a deep breath and pushed as I counted to ten. She stopped. I could see the baby’s head moving further down, but it wasn’t quite there yet. “One more time, Pacifica,” I told her. She groaned.
With another big push, I was able to get the baby’s shoulders out. From there, it was smooth sailing.
A little girl. She had Pacifica’s skin and hair. She was absolutely beautiful. We named her Azurine Iris, after Pacifica’s favorite flower. It was a name we had spent a lot of time planning, and it was the perfect choice. She was a beautiful little flower, and she had bloomed just for us.
She wailed at the intrusion of cold air against her damp skin. I used the towel to wipe her off, before securing her cord to be cut. I wrapped her up tightly in the receiving blanket the way Serene had showed me, and I set her down on the bed while I worked on helping Pacifica with the next baby.
Within minutes, it was time for the next one to be born. Pacifica’s face contorted with the pain of the delivery, but she gritted her teeth and pushed hard.
It took a few more times before we were able to deliver our second child, which came as a surprise. Soon enough, our second little girl was brought into the world.
December Snow, named after the frigid conditions outside. Her skin was blue like her sister’s, but her hair was all mine. My heart swelled as I looked down at her perfect little face. Unlike Azurine, she made no sound to cry, simply looking around the room as she took in her surroundings.
I was a father. In the back of my mind, I had often wondered if the day would ever come, but here it was. I had two precious little girls, a beautiful woman that I loved, and a bright future ahead. It was everything I never knew I always wanted.