The next 15 weeks fly by. Barba and Olivia manage to find some time to find a bigger apartment and leave behind their separate ones. Olivia's determination to move in before the baby arrives leads to the entire squad being at their apartment on move in day- at Barba's request. He refuses to let Olivia move anything.
Today at 37 weeks pregnant, Olivia sits on the witness stand for what will be the last time before taking maternity leave- at the doctor's insistence. Barba stands at the corner of the witness stand as she explains to the jury why their victim may have waited to disclose.
Suddenly, Olivia stops mid-sentence- but it's her hand grabbing Barba's on the railing that draws his eyes back from the jury to her. His eyes go from confused to concerned as she shifts in her seat and leans into him, "We need a recess." His brain clearly isn't catching on so she clears things up, "Barba, my water just broke."
Stunned, Barba leans in and whispers, "No, it can't yet. I've still got three more questions."
Finally, the judge interrupts, "Mr. Barba, anything you'd like to share with the court?"
Barba straightens back up- his brain finally catching up with the situation, "Your Honor, it appears my witness is in labor."
The judge nearly laughs out loud- El Tiburón baffled in the courtroom isn't something you see every day. "Well then Mr. Barba, I think you should get 'your witness' to the hospital. We'll recess until Thursday morning."
The moment the gavel is down- Barba is rushing around to help Olivia out of the witness stand. It takes no time for Fin to be at her other side to help them out of the courtroom. By the time they exit the courthouse, Amanda already has a car pulled out front.
Once at the hospital, they find that things are progressing rather quickly. When the doctor informs them that Olivia will have to forgo the epidural, Barba has a freak out that would make Shirley Maclaine proud.
Barba had pretty tough skin- except when it came to people he loved in pain. The idea of Olivia in pain all through the labor makes his stomach turn.
His freak out is short lived, however, as another contraction hits Olivia and he does his best to coach her through it. For the first two hours, Olivia's happy to have him there- talking her through it- excitedly chattering about meeting the new baby. Once the contractions are just two minutes apart, however, she's having none of it.
At one point, as Barba tries to coach her through a contraction, she can't help but squeeze his hand and yell, "Jesus, Barba, do you ever stop talking?! I mean have you ever HAD a baby? Why the hell are YOU coaching ME!?"
Barba looks over at the doctor who's just entered and looks as though she's about to die laughing, "Please get this thing out of her."
The contraction having temporarily subsided- even Liv gives a quick chuckle at him before the next contraction takes over.
The doctor positions herself at the foot of the bed and after a quick examination announces the good news- that it's time to push.
As the nurses rush around with last minute preparations- Olivia looks up at Barba, "You ready for this?"
He smiles down at her and leans in for a quick kiss, "Mi amor, no one is ever ready for this."
She laughs for a second before another contraction hits and she's crushing Barba's hand once more.
Twenty minutes later, Catalina is in Liv's arms. Barba manages to cut the cord without passing out. Olivia looks over to him as he leans in and notices tears streaming down his cheeks- matching the ones streaming down hers.
She doesn't think she could love this man anymore than she does right now. Of course, she remembers thinking that yesterday when he was teaching Noah the chicken dance in their living room.
Barba plants an almost reverent kiss on Catalina's tiny forehead before turning his attention to Olivia, "Nice job, Mom. She's perfect."
Olivia places a hand on Barba's cheek- wiping away some of the tears before leaning in to kiss him. "I love you."
Soon the nurses sweep Catalina back to the nursery for an examination and to let Liv get some rest.
Barba uses the time to step out and inform the squad that all's well. The moment he steps through the doors Fin, Rollins, Carisi and his mother are practically on top of him. He smiles at the four of them, "Well, she's here." There's a quick round of congratulations before he tells them, "Liv's sleeping but you can come back and see Catalina in the nursery if you want."
They all follow him back and he points out which one is Catalina so they can all stare at her through the glass.
Barba can't help but be overwhelmed by the sense of content he feels. Here he stands surrounded by his 'family' looking at his newborn daughter. He never thought he'd get to feel this. This overwhelming love. This sense of belonging.
Fin steps up beside him and places a hand on his shoulder, "Well done, Counselor."
Barba smirks at him, "So far so good." He quirks an eyebrow- a response to Fin's earlier request for him not to 'fuck this up'.
They both chuckle.
Having seen the baby, they all decide to head out. As Barba heads back to Olivia's room- Lucia tells him she'll pick up Noah from Lucy and bring him by in the morning.
The next morning finds Barba and Olivia exhausted- having discovered the awesomeness of late night feedings. When Lucia walks in with Noah, Olivia has just finished feeding her again.
Noah sees his dad and rushes over to him. Barba immediately picks him up and hugs him close, "Hey, buddy!"
"Papí, why you not come home last night?"
Barba smirks, "Well I needed to stay with Mamí and the baby. But we'll be home soon. You want to meet your sister?"
Noah looks over to where Olivia's holding Catalina and shakes his head excitedly. Barba walks over to place him gently in the bed beside Olivia. Noah scoots in and looks curiously over at the small bundle. Olivia smiles at him, "Noah, this is Catalina. And she's very excited to meet you."
Noah smiles up at his mom as he reaches a finger out to touch Catalina's hand. "I can hold her?"
Olivia looks nervously to Barba who steps in to assist with a hand off. As he places Catalina in Noah's arms, Barba whispers, "Alright, buddy you have to sit very still and be very gentle. Entiendes?"
Noah nods and then goes still once the baby is on his lap. Olivia cradles Noah giving extra support to Catalina's head. Noah's entranced. After a moment, he looks at Olivia, "Why her eyes keep closing?"
"Well she's tired. Babies have to sleep a lot."
"A lot more than their parents apparently" Barba remarks, smiling over at Liv.
They realize that Noah is softly singing to Catalina. The words aren't all quite there but it takes only a moment to for Olivia to recognize that it's the same Spanish lullaby that Barba sings to Noah when he wakes up in the middle of the night. She plants a kiss on her son's head before smiling up at Barba, who's eyes are suddenly a bit moist.
After a few minutes, Barba turns his attention to his mother, "What do you think, Abeula? Want to hold her?"
Lucia smiles and walks over, "Thought you'd never ask."
After holding her new granddaughter and spending some time chatting with the two new parents, Lucia decides to step out to give the small family a moment.
Barba holds a sleeping Catalina on the makeshift couch in their room. Noah sits beside him- still fascinated by his little sister. Barba seems equally fascinated as he and Noah chatter on about the new baby. "Yep, Dr. Catalina Benson-Barba. Sounds pretty good, right amigo?" He asks consulting Noah- who nods.
Olivia smirks, "Hey, your sending my son off to law school, my daughter off to med-school. What if one of them wants to be a cop?"
Barba addresses Catalina with a slight pitch in his voice, "No, they would never do that to their daddy, 'cause they know how upsetting it is to him that Mamí has to carry a gun." He smiles over at Olivia who rolls her eyes at him.
Barba looks over at his son, "Hey Noah, did you bring the present we got Mamí?"
Olivia eyes them both suspiciously. Noah nods excitedly before jumping down and rummaging through his tiny backpack. He pulls out a small gift bag triumphantly and marches across the room towards his mom. Barba- still holding Catalina- manages to help Noah up onto the bed.
Olivia takes the gift from her son- with a faux look of wariness to Barba. "You gonna tell me what it is Noah?"
Noah giggles, "No, Mamí, it's a 'prise."
She smiles at him and digs through the small bag- in it- she finds a small velvet box. She looks over at Barba- stunned. He only returns a nervous smile. She pops open the box to find a simple but classic diamond ring.
Finally, Barba finds some words. "I know this isn't the most romantic place. We were going to do it this weekend, in the park. And I can't exactly do the one knee thing here." He gestures to Catalina. "But here- with our two kids- I've never been this happy. And that's because of you. And there are no other people in the world that I'd rather spend my life with than the three people in this room. So Lieutenant Olivia Benson, will you do me the honor of marrying me?"
Tears start streaming down Olivia's faces as she nods and pulls Barba in for a gentle, sweet kiss. She whispers, "I love you."
Barba can't help the smile that overtakes his face. But Noah, confused by his mom's tears, furrows his brow. "You not like it?"
Barba and Olivia both chuckle at him. Olivia pulls him in to a hug, "No, baby, I love it. It's perfect. Sometimes Mommies cry when they're happy."
Noah sits back on his knees and eyes her skeptically but eventually accepts her answer.
Barba pulls the ring from it's box with his free hand and manages, with Liv's help, to slip it on her finger.
They both grin at each other before sharing another kiss. Both are overwhelmed by just how happy they are. Both had given up on this kind of happiness. It almost seemed to sneak up on them. In this moment though, they realize, they've finally found it.
Alright y'all- that's the last one for this story. Hope you enjoyed it! Will be posting more soon.