|Bear Valley Ranch
Author: Lady Gwynedd PM
A continuation of The Mail Order Bride, picking up Edward and Bella's life in the Colorado frontier as their fortunes, their family and their loves grew.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Western - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 28 - Words: 123,511 - Reviews: 4,836 - Favs: 2,517 - Follows: 1,518 - Updated: 12-03-11 - Published: 07-02-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6104633
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Bear Valley Ranch
Chapter One: The Baby
She did not know he was watching her as she sat in the grassy field under a beautiful cerulean Colorado sky. She had Boy, Abraham rather, at her knee reading a picture book with him. She had developed a soft spot for Abraham, her housekeeper's son. She said she bought the book for their library but her husband knew she bought it for the little boy. Her soft heart and generous nature were his joy.
Edward was in the paddock, supposedly working with the filly but after he got the bit on her, he decided he'd let her get used to it for a while before he'd try the saddle again. He had attempted to saddle her before much to her displeasure. She was an ornery jade; too smart for her own equine use. But his horse-work was all a ruse anyway so he could watch the most beautiful woman in the world without her knowing. He had to make sure she didn't know. She had been teasing him about his over protectiveness, so now he made sure to be more circumspect and stealthy.
Evidently, they finished the book and Bella got unsteadily to her feet. Edward was pleased to note, even as young as he was, little Abraham helped her up. She smiled her thanks and the little boy dashed off; running up the hill to find his Pa, Edward would wager.
She stood there stretching for a moment, hands at the small of her back, eyes shut, face turned to the warm sun overhead. After a few moments, she put her hands over her ripened belly and he could hear her giggle from where he was standing. Evidently, their child was doing his usual acrobatics within. He kept them up at nights sometimes with his twisting and turning. In the privacy of their bedroom, Edward loved to put his hands on Bella's gravid belly and feel the child, his child, moving within. He knew what the Bible meant when it spoke of joys filling, tamped down, and over flowing. The whole process of conceiving and begetting was a wondrous thing, Edward was thinking. To think that out of their love, a small part of her and an even smaller part of him combined to make another being. It was a miracle when he thought of it. It overwhelmed him.
Bella had done well with her pregnancy, as she had always assured him she would. She did not suffer much with the morning sickness as long as no one presented her with a cup of coffee. Even the smell of it would send her dashing for the outhouse. He was all for banning its use on the ranch during the interim regardless of the dissatisfaction of his employees but Bella talked him out of it. She always could talk him out of anything. He smiled fondly at the memory.
Bella happened to look in his direction and caught him at his spying. She laughed again and shook her head as she gathered her blanket and book and then walked over to where he was standing.
"Edward... Love... I am fine. There is no reason for you to stalk me like you would a deer."
Grinning he swung himself over the fence to take the blanket and book from her, "I can't help myself. You are so dear to me." He chuckled at his own joke but then went on, "You look tired, Bella, perhaps you should lie down?"
"Edward, I've done nothing but rest by your command ever since Mrs. Dowling said the baby could come any day. I assure you, I feel fine. I want to work. I want to be useful."
"I didn't command that you rest," he said sheepishly.
She placed her hand tenderly on his chest above his heart. How could she help but not to love this man? "No, Edward, you never command – you just request and then worry yourself into a tizzy if I don't comply. I do not like seeing you so distressed, Edward. What are you going to do when the baby actually comes? You know how that can be. You are going to drive yourself crazy with worry and fear. Indeed, Edward, I may just banish you to the Lazy B until it is all over."
"No! Bella, please, I will try to be easier. Don't send me away from your side. I feel very protective of you."
"I do know that, Edward, and I love you for it but you are making me fret with your worries."
Edward realized that he truly needed to gather his self-discipline or he would do the opposite of what he intended. The one thing he did know for sure is that he didn't have the strength to stay away from her anymore.
"I will do better, Bella."
Smiling, she took his arm and he walked with her up to the cookhouse. He knew better than to suggest that she rest again knowing that he had lost that particular battle but he would insist that she sit while she worked in the kitchen.
Juan Carlos grinned as they walked through the door, "Hola, Mamacita! Como esta?"
"Muy bien, Juan Carlos, pero mi esposo es loco."
Juan Carlos burst out laughing, "Si, mi amiga. Es muy loco."
Edward frowned. He knew Latin, Greek, and German but never studied the romance languages. He felt a little out of place. Evidently, Juan Carlos had been teaching his wife Spanish while she worked with him in the kitchen. "I know you two are talking about me."
Bella blinked her eyes, "Now Edward, whatever gave you that idea?"
"I think Juan Carlos's guffaws gave it away."
She smiled and not caring that Juan Carlos was watching, reached up on her tip toes and kissed Edward on his lips, "I love you so much, silly man. Now Edward, you go and work that filly of yours. I will stay here under Juan Carlos' care and do nothing but sit. I will be fine."
Edward sighed, his worry creases appearing between his eyebrows, "If you need me, Bella, I will be down at the paddock."
"I will be fine, Edward. Don't worry yourself."
He nodded and reluctantly left the kitchen. As soon as he was gone, Bella turned to Juan Carlos and said, "Could you please, very discretely, go into the house and tell Mrs. Dowling that I've been having pains this whole afternoon. I am thinking that the time has come but don't you make a scene of it or Edward will come back and be…well, Edward. As much as I love him, it would be hard to focus on the task at hand."
"Si, Senora. I will go quickly."
He left and returned almost immediately with the midwife. Though married to a local rancher, Mrs. Dowling had delivered most of the offspring in the neighborhood for twenty years. She was warm, intelligent and caring and made sure to keep up on her vocation by corresponding with other midwives in the country, sharing ideas and techniques. When a mother was nearing her time, Mrs. Dowling would move in with her if possible to make sure all was in good stead for the birth. Bella couldn't be in better hands.
"I had a feeling the time had come, Missy. I could tell by the way you were leaning on your man as you walked up here. Come with me and we'll get you ready." She competently put her arm around Bella as she spoke and ushered her out of the door. As she left she called to Juan Carlos, "You, man! Start boiling water."
As they went into the pass-through that led to the house, Bella asked, "What's the boiling water for?"
"Nothing. It keeps folk out of my way while I do my work."
Bella chuckled and gasped as another pain hit her.
"See, my girl. It sounds as though you are on your way."
Lauren, who was herself expecting in the late summer, was sewing buttons on a shirt in the main house. She looked up as they entered, "Is it time?"
"Yes. I think so. Come, give me a hand," Mrs. Dowling ordered.
"But don't tell anyone what is happening yet, Lauren. I don't want Mr. Cullen to know until it's over," Bella asked.
Understanding looks passed between the ladies as they shut the door to Edward and Bella's bedroom and began stripping the bed as well as the mother-to-be. They left Bella with her loose chemise that she had made for her pregnancy but tore the bed down to the mattress, propped the head of the bed up, then covered the mattress with a large rubberized pad and an old sheet and a stack of smaller cloths in the middle of the bed. Bella was directed to lie with her hips centered upon that.
Mrs. Dowling washed her hands, directed Lauren to do the same and then examined Bella. "Yes, my dear. You are well on. How long have you felt pain?"
"Since midmorning, I think. I wasn't sure at first."
"Since midmorning? Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
"Because the pains were mild and because I knew the first thing you would do is put me to bed and then it would be long hours before the baby is born. The wait would trouble me."
"And it would kill your husband, I am thinking," Mrs. Dowling smiled. She'd never seen a papa-to-be so fraught with nerves. He was like a mad, broody hen. "You are wise, Mrs. Cullen."
"No. I just know my husband, God love him… ooohhhh." Bella's face scrunched as another pain hit.
A few contractions later and her waters burst. The midwife removed the stack of clothes and efficiently replaced them with clean ones. "Now the work comes, Mrs. Cullen."
Bella was praying as the pains worsened that she get this over before Edward returned from the paddock. She wanted to surprise him with his baby before supper. She hoped he would not be too angry with her for not telling him the baby was coming.
Ohhhhh. Another strong one hit. Bella was surprised at how painful it was.
"That's all to the good, Mrs. Cullen. Your baby is coming right along.
So, the afternoon hours dwindled and Bella's pain increased porportionately. She was struggling to contain herself.
After several hours, Mrs. Dowling took note of her extremity and said reassuringly, "Everything is going well, Mrs. Cullen. You are almost ready to push but until that happens try to ride the pains out without stiffening like a board. Everything is well."
There was a sudden knock on the door. Lauren went to answer it to find Juan Carlos there, "The water. It has been ready."
Mrs. Dowling went to the door, "That is good, Juan Carlos. Just keep it on the boil. I will call you when I need it."
"Si, Senora," he said and went back to his kitchen.
Bella labored on and on, her pains becoming increasingly worse. "Mrs. Dowling…" Her voice cracked at the end, "It hurts so badly."
"I know, Precious, t'will be all over soon. Take my hand on the next one and squeeze." Lauren quietly went to the other side of the bed, and offered her hand to Bella just as the next pain hit.
"Jesus, Mary, and JOSEPH," Bella swore and tightened the grip on the hands of both her helpers.
As the pain ebbed she immediately apologized for swearing. "I don't know what came …" then another pain hit and she cried out, "Oh, DEAR LORD...EDWARD!"
Bella was shocked that she had called her husband's name when she had devised such a clever scheme to keep him away from her travails. But she could not help herself.
Oh, but she wanted him now. The Pain had grown until it became an entity in the room with her, overcoming all her strength little by little and as her strength waned her fear grew. She wasn't sure she could bear with it any longer. Perhaps tomorrow she could come back and finish it but right now… She wanted Edward's arms and Edward's sweet gaze. Edward...
As another pain began, she did recognize one other thing that she was sure of at this moment. She was NEVER going to have intercourse again.
"OH, EDWARD!" She called again as another pain overtook her, not really expecting him to appear but truly using his name and his image in her mind as a talisman against the agony.
Suddenly they could hear boots thundering up the porch steps and the front door slamming open. "BELLA?" Edward hollered as he ran for their bedroom door.
Mrs. Dowling flew to meet him, "Now, Edward Cullen, you listen here. All is well. She's just feeling the pains but soon the baby will come and it will be over. I will not have you upsetting her with any nonsense."
Edward looked desperately into the lined face of the old lady, "What can I do?"
Mrs. Dowling was about to tell him to go away when Bella's voice rose, "EDWARD, PLEASE!"
Edward pleaded with Mrs. Dowling using only his eyes. He needed to be with Bella. He knew she needed him as well. Surely Mrs. Dowling could see that. Slowly, the old woman's heart melted.
"Men don't come into the birthing room."
"Mrs. Dowling, remember that our good Lord himself was delivered by a man; his earthly father, Joseph. I am sure Joseph was a comfort to Mary as she labored."
"Well, can you behave like Joseph if I let you in?"
"I will do my best."
"Then turn around and get washed up. You smell of the barnyard. Get those boots off. Make sure to wash your hands until they are scoured and then come back. BUT, Edward Cullen, you must do as I say and if you don't, I will send you away. I don't care what your wife wishes. Do you understand me?"
Edward smiled in relief, "Yes, ma'am!" And he rushed off to do as she ordered. He was back in record time and knocked on the door again.
"Edward, come in. It is time for Bella to push and here's what you are going to do. Lift Bella up and slip in behind her on the bed. I want you to cradle her shoulders and hold her up as she pushes out the baby. She will be pushing hard against you. Give her quiet encouragement. Lauren and I will hold her legs."
By this time, Bella had decided to burn the Kama Sutra.
The minute Edward sat down and took her in his arms, though, Bella's panic disappeared. It was as though a blanket of calmness wrapped around her and she knew that with him, she would be fine. She inhaled his clean linen smell. He was here and he was going to help her birth their baby. She rested her head against his shoulder and in between pains she turned to look into his eyes. "Thank you, my Edward."
"Oh Bella, there's nowhere else I'd rather be," and he kissed her on her forehead and smiled his encouragement.
When the next pain came, Mrs. Dowling coached them both through it and was pleased to say she could see the baby crowning. "Push again, Mrs. Cullen. Push again! A big strong push, now."
Bella grabbed on to the hand holds Mrs. Dowling had installed for the purpose on either side of the bed and did as she was asked, Edward, supported her through it. Bella finally felt as though she was accomplishing something and not just tilting at a windmill of pain.
"Good, Mrs. Cullen. Excellent. The head is born. One or two more good pushes and your baby will be here."
Bella bore down once again, her eyes tightly shut and focused on pushing the baby out. "AHHH" she cried, not in pain but in effort and almost with a pop, the baby was born.
Bella heaved a great sigh of relief.
"You have a beautiful girl*, Mr. & Mrs. Cullen! And very hearty she is." Mrs. Dowling deftly cleaned the baby up and suddenly they could hear a lusty cry. "Oh listen to that! Music."
Edward was overwhelmed with emotion as he still sat and held his precious wife as they watched Mrs. Dowling and Lauren clear and clean up. Edward was softly stroking her upper arms, as she leaned wearily against him. He kissed her temple and cheek and was thankful and so blessed. Bella easily delivered the after birth, "You need to plant that underneath a tree. It will help it grow and the tree will protect your little one all the days of her life."
"I know just the tree," Bella said and gazed at Edward who was too stunned to speak at the moment. She was remembering the tree that she hid in from Jacob Black. Edward looked adoringly down at his wife and nodded. He knew just the tree, too.
In a few moments, mother, daughter and the room were situated and the baby was given to Bella to hold. Edward returned to sit behind Bella again so that he could hold both his girls at the same time. Both parents marveled at the baby's tininess.
"She looks just like you, my Bella," Edward said fondly.
"I don't know, Edward. I think I see a determined Cullen in that forehead."
He chuckled and watched them both for a few minutes when Bella asked, "Would you like to hold her, Sweetheart?"
Immediately, he panicked. "No. I don't think so. No."
"Edward she won't break. She wants to know her Papa," Bella said as she lifted the drowsing infant towards her husband.
Edward gingerly took the baby in his arms and marveled at how light she was, how small. He looked down into her little red face just as she opened her eyes. His heat melted, his breathing seized as his eyes met hers for the first time. They gazed at each other for a solemn moment until the baby's eyes slowly closed again. He had been dazzled and he knew it. It hit him like a sledgehammer, like a cannon ball. She was her Daddy's Little Girl.
AN: * I flipped a coin on whether the baby was going to be a boy or a girl. Girl won twice. I am not naming her GD Renesmee."
I can remember having the same thoughts Bella did during labor concerning sex. Pain in labor is tough but amazingly I couldn't remember the pain after it was over. I remember thinking when I was expecting my second child that I'd be in the middle of laboring with him and think "Oh, yah. This is how it feels. I remember now." But what I actually remember thinking when I was in labor with him was "Holy crap! I don't remember it being THIS bad!" The fact that he weighed 12 pounds may have had something to do with it.