It's me again. Writing has not been coming easily for me lately. I'm hoping this story can break that. I'm four short chapters ahead on this but my hope is that reading your reviews, ideas and encouraging words will spur me to write. I do not abandon stories, so please don't worry about that. I will update once a week if not more.

Pre Reader- Dawn

Beta- Kitchmill

Ready For You

I have just enough time to say, "You're here," before another one hits, the strongest yet. I've been doing this alone for hours chanting to myself, it's only my muscles constricting, it's perfectly normal and natural to feel like you're being turned inside out, slowly, painfully.

His eyes widen perceptively, witnessing the obvious pain that wracks my body. In a few short years, we've both forgotten how bad this can be. How bad it is right now.

"Are you ready to push?" the far too cheery doctor asks, making me want to swing my now stirruped foot across his smiling face.

I can't remember his name through the unsedated blinding pain I'm experiencing, although he's been my gynecologist for almost ten years. My answer is a grunt and a groan as the next contraction strikes, quicker and fiercer than the last.

"You can do this, Bella. Push, baby, push. Let's meet our little girl," he cheers, his face just inches from mine, just far enough away for it to be in focus if my eyes weren't blurry and stinging from the sweat that has dripped from my brow.

I bear down, concentrating on the finish line: meeting our baby girl.

"She's crowning," the doctor narrates. "Just one more big push and she'll be out."

I push, giving it my all, blocking out everything, until I hear the sound I've been waiting for, her first cry.

I lie back, catching my breath, tears seeping from my eyes. Before I even lay eyes on her, I know her, love her.

They both come into view. Her swaddled in a blanket, a pink hat on her pink head. Him smiling wider than I've ever seen I think.

"Here she is, Mama. She's perfect," he says reverently as he places her in my shaking arms.

"She is," I concur, tears flowing again from hormones and happiness.

He kisses my head. "You did it, baby. So Sophie?"

"Yeah, I think she looks like a Sophie," I say, memorizing her face, from her head of dark hair to her dimpled chin.

"I have an idea for the middle name. What about Kate? Sophie Kate sounds nice together. Don't you think?"

"Kate, Sophie Kate. Where did you come up with that?"

"I just heard it somewhere." He shrugs.

"I like it. Sophie Kate it is."

Our little intimate bubble bursts too soon when the soft knock at the door gives way to his parents and Ellie, our four-year-old bundle of energy, entering the room like a tornado.

Baby Sophie takes it in stride, like she's heard it all before, her sleep undisturbed by the noise and commotion around her. I say a silent prayer that this is indicative of the next few months. That she will be able to sleep through...anything...Ellie.

I'm far beyond exhaustion by the time everyone leaves, including my husband and Ellie. He kisses me on the forehead again and tells me how happy and proud he is. The gesture, although sweet, feels condescending. He's smiling as he leaves, seemingly happy, with Ellie on his shoulders as the door closes behind him. But I can't shake this bad feeling that's been gnawing at me for months. I chalk it up to hormones now, just as I have since the anxious feeling began. I push those negative thoughts away and focus on Sophie, sweet Sophie, sleeping soundly in the bassinet next to my hospital bed, looking like a beautiful, content baby burrito.

The following day he and Ellie are absent from the hospital. He texts me early in the day to let me know he is going to spend the day enjoying his father/daughter time alone with her. I agree it's probably a good idea since her little life is about to change forever, but that doesn't mean I don't miss them both, or feel that he doesn't want to be with me. Friends and family come and go, none of them mentioning seeing or speaking to him. He doesn't come back to the hospital until Sophie and I are being discharged two days later.

Taking baby home is a grand event with flowers, balloons, care packages, new, complicated carseats and Ellie running circles around my wheelchair. He is there, helping, corralling Ellie, making me comfortable, like everything is good and normal between us.

Once settled at home, I'm sore, tired, but blissfully happy with our newly expanded family. Our little beach cottage feels smaller with all of the baby gear strewn about, but also feels more like a home than ever. Our family is complete; we've agreed upon that, his appointment to get snipped just weeks away.

"I thought you were going to take some time off," I whine, exhausted from the first night home and every two hour feedings. I'm a mess, not yet showered, wearing sweatpants and a breast milk stained T-shirt, while he stands there looking fresh, rested and handsome in his neatly pressed suit and tie. Ellie looks up from her breakfast plate and watches us. She too looks unkempt, with peanut butter smeared across her angelic face and her mass of dark brown hair looking like a tumbleweed on her head.

"You're doing great. The baby sleeps a lot. You guys can take a walk to the park later," he placates, kissing my forehead and the back of Ellie's head, avoiding her peanut butter-stained hands and face. Before I can rebut, he's out the door, no acknowledgment of the baby sleeping in the bassinet he practically tripped over.

"Is Daddy going to play at the park with Katie?" Ellie asks after the door closes.

Tears flow as I load the dishwasher. I wipe them dry before facing Ellie. "No, baby. He's not going to play. He's going to work."

She looks at me strangely and then smiles, making me smile. My children are my light. I'm a lucky woman—a nice home, healthy children, a hardworking husband—yet something is missing, with him, with us. I tell myself for the hundredth time it's just hormones. Give it a few months and I will look back and see how ridiculously over-sensitive I have been.


Okay... I would love to hear your ideas, thoughts.

Thanks for reading :)