Jo laid awake in bed eyes wide open, staying as quiet and still as she could, listening, waiting for Alex's breathing to deepen and even out indicating he had fallen asleep. They had finally crawled in bed at twenty minutes after midnight following a long night of assembling toys and wrapping presents. After much convincing, an overly excited Katie had gone to bed at 9:30. It took some threatening that Santa wouldn't come, but she finally went to sleep, and her parents could get started.
When Jo was sure Alex was asleep, she snuck out of bed and tiptoed downstairs. She rummaged in her purse until her hand closed around the box. She tucked it away in Alex's stocking and hurried back upstairs. She slipped into bed snuggling in next to Alex and falling asleep almost instantly.
Just like they knew she would, Katie woke her parents up early the next morning. Jo groaned and squinted at the bright blue numbers on her bedside clock. 6:11. Well, that was later than she was anticipating. Katie grabbed her hands and started pulling, "Come on, Mommy, get up. We have to see what Santa brought."
"Okay, okay, I'm up," Jo said through a yawn.
Satisfied, Katie ran around to Alex's side of the bed. She tugged on the arm that he had tucked up under his head, "Da-aa-ddy," she whined, "Wake up, wake up!"
He rolled over rubbing his eyes before he sat up, "Alright, Katydid, I'm awake," he ruffled her messy curls, "What're we gettin' up so early for?" he teased.
"It's Christmas! Santa came, Santa came!" she danced around unable to contain her excitement or energy.
Alex and Jo shared a look as they chuckled at her antics. "Well, we better go see what he left us," Alex matched her enthusiasm. He hoisted her up and threw her over his shoulder trotting down the stairs, leaving Jo to follow behind with a content smile on her face. Marrying Alex Karev and making him her daughter's daddy had been the best thing she had ever done. They had been married for three months, and not a day went by that she wasn't amazed by the bond Alex and Katie had forged, not a day went by that she wasn't beyond grateful for the way he had stepped up and stepped in for them.
The parents watched in delight as Katie oooed and awwed over each of her toys. Jo got up from the couch and handed out the stockings. She clutched hers in her lap unopened, eyes trained on Alex in anticipation. She watched as he pulled the box out of his stocking, and she knew the instant he realized what he was looking at.
Alex's heart started pounding, and he snapped his eyes up to meet Jo's with the hint of a grin pulling at his lips, "Are you…?"
She bit her lip, "I think I might be," her right shoulder raised and dropped. His face lit up and he tackled her peppering her face with kisses. "We don't even know for sure yet," she laughed.
"Go take the test," he reached back for the box that had fallen from his hand and pressed it into hers.
9 MONTHS LATER
Meredith watched Jo closely as the younger woman's face, above her surgical mask, scrunched up and her breathing increased, "Wilson?"
Alex and Jo had been married for almost a year now, but her maiden name still rolled off the attendings' tongues more often than not. "Yes, Dr. Grey?" Jo's hands stilled in the patient's open body.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes, Dr. Grey," she gave her a confused look.
Meredith watched as Jo winced in pain again, "You're not having contractions?"
"Oh that? Yeah, I guess I've had a few," she admitted, "I'm fine." Dr. Grey had given her the opportunity to take the lead on a bowel resection, and she was solely focused on the surgery at hand.
Mer eyed her skeptically, "If you're sure." Jo nodded and resumed her work. "Don't kill my patient, Wilson," the older doctor admonished.
"No, Dr. Grey, of course not," Jo murmured once again concentrating on her patient.
Meredith followed Jo into the scrub room following the surgery, "Good job in…" she stopped and narrowed her eyes as Jo braced herself on the sink in front of her, knuckles turning white as she breathed heavily through a contraction, "You're in labor," she accused wide eyed.
"Yeah, I think I am," the younger woman finally admitted. The pains had been coming closer together, and now that she wasn't focusing on her patient and the operation, she couldn't deny how bad they were actually hurting.
"Hmm, that's one way to get out of doing post-op notes," the attending smirked, "Go find your husband..and congratulations. Keep us updated."
Jo slowly made her way up to the peds floor stopping periodically as a new wave of pain would wash over her. "Laura, hey," she greeted the charge nurse, "Have you seen, Dr. Karev?"
"Umm yeah, he had to take Timmy to surgery. His scans were worse this morning," the nurse explained with a touch of sadness in her voice.
Jo's heart broke for the little boy and his family, "Poor kid," she shook her head, "Thanks." Jo turned to go but stopped, clutching her abdomen, as another contraction wracked her body.
"Dr. Karev, are you okay?" Laura rushed around the desk.
When the pain had passed, Jo waved her off, "I will be; I'm in labor."
The nurse's eyes widened, "Do you want me to page him?"
"No, no, it's okay."
"They've been in there for awhile," Laura offered feebly.
Jo returned to the surgical floor, glanced at the OR board, and climbed the steps to the gallery overlooking Alex's OR. She was relieved to see that he was closing. She stopped for a minute to admire his surgical technique. She was always impressed with the way his big hands were so precise and could manipulate delicate tissue with such ease and gentleness.
Alex was surprised to find Jo waiting for him in the scrub room, "Jo!?"
"What are you doin' here?" he soaped up his hands.
He gave her a questioning look until realization dawned on him as she rubbed her stomach breathing through a contraction, "It's time?"
"Uh huh," she nodded, distracted.
He quickly dried his hands, "Come on, let's get you up to OB. Why didn't you page me?" When he stepped closer, he noticed that her face was flushed and perspiration glistened on her forehead.
"You were busy, it's fine. It's only been a couple of hours. We have time. I was in labor with Katie for eighteen hours," Jo shrugged, "How's Timmy?"
Alex sighed, "I don't know.. We got it all for now.."
Alex escorted Jo to the obstetrical floor and got her checked in and settled into a room. The nurse started an IV, did an admission assessment, and an exam. "You're at 5cm. Halfway there," she chirped.
Somewhere from the back of his mind, something Alex had learned in med school resurfaced, and with Jo's next contraction he used the heel of his hand to give counter-pressure on her low back. "That helps," she nodded, "keep doing that." And he did with each contraction. In between contractions he would rub soothing circles on her back or massage her neck. He offered her his hand, cool wash cloths, and ice chips.
"You did this for eighteen hours all by yourself?" he was in awe of her. She was so strong.
"Well, eventually I got an epidural," she shrugged, "With Katie my water broke when I was making myself a bowl of cereal. The contractions started minutes later, hard. I drove myself to the hospital and wanted to cry when they told me I was only 2cm. My doctor wouldn't let me have an epidural until I was 4. That was the longest seven hours of my life."
Alex wiped her forehead with the cool washcloth and kissed her cheek murmuring in her ear, "You are incredible."
When her most recent contraction subsided, Jo croaked out, "Speaking of epidurals, I'm ready."
Alex found her nurse to have the anesthesiologist paged. He stood in front of her during the procedure letting her lean on him and squeeze his hands.
At one point after the epidural, when Jo was no longer in pain, she looked over to Alex and said simply, "Thank you."
He gave her a questioning look, "For what?"
"For being here," she explained, "The first time I was all alone. This time it's so much different, better. You've stayed by my side through everything the morning sickness, mood swings, and that alone should have sent you running," he smirked, "All of the doctors appointments and ultrasounds, buying furniture and setting up the nursery. And everything today…"
"Jo, of course I'm here. I'm not going anywhere, ever," he insisted earnestly.
She smiled, "I know, and I'm just saying thanks." They shared a kiss that was interrupted by Jo's doctor knocking on the door, pushing it open, and clearing her throat.
"Jo," the doctor smiled, "comfortable with your epidural now?"
"Yes, very," Jo nodded enthusiastically.
"Good. Are you ready to speed things up? I could go ahead and break your water."
Jo agreed, and the doctor performed her examination declaring Jo was now dilated to 7cm. She broke her water and told them she would be around when the time came.
Just ten short minutes after the doctor left, Alex noticed that Jo was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable and was breathing through her contractions again. "Jo?" he asked with concern.
"Go get the nurse. I need to push," she commanded him.
"The doctor just left; you're only a 7. It's not time yet," he argued smoothing her hair back from her face.
"Alex, go get the nurse," she demanded. At that he left the room.
Jo smirked to herself when the nurse hurried into her room with Alex right on her heels. She heard the nurse admonishing him, "You always believe a laboring mama when she says she has to push." The nurse did her exam, "You are complete and that baby has come down to a plus two station. I'm gonna go grab Dr. Sullivan. You're doing great, Jo, just breathe through a couple more contractions.. Unless you want Dr. Karev to deliver the baby," she chuckled.
The doctor returned to Jo's room, and after only two pushes, Jo delivered a healthy baby boy. Alex cut the umbilical cord, and Dr. Sullivan placed the squirming, crying newborn on Jo's chest.
Alex broke his gaze away from the baby and met Jo's eyes, "You did amazing. He's perfect," his voice cracked and he wiped a few tears.
After letting the family bond for over an hour, the nurse took the baby to get his measurements and do a complete assessment. Alex followed her to the radiant warmer and watched her every move.
"Alex, leave her alone. Let her do her job," Jo laughed. When he ignored her, she tried again, "Alex, go get Katie from daycare; I wanna see my little girl." Finally, at that, Alex moved. He pressed a kiss to Jo's head and left the room. Jo shared a smile with the nurse.
When Alex returned a few minutes later, he had Katie in tow. She was holding tightly to a stuffed bear and a balloon for her new brother. Jo waved her over to her, "C'mere." Alex hoisted the little girl up onto the bed beside her mother. Jo wrapped her in her arms, "Hey sweetheart, did you have a good day?"
The little girl nodded and twisted in her mom's arms trying to catch a glimpse of her brother. She pushed away from Jo, "Mommy, can I get down and go see my bubby,"
The nurse turned from where she was swaddling the baby with a smile, "I'm all done. You stay there and I'll bring him over."
She brought him over to Jo and started to hand him to her, but Jo stopped her, "It's okay, you can give him to Katie. We've been practicing, haven't we?" she kissed the little girl on top of the head, "Show the nurse how you can hold your baby brother."
Jo helped Katie get in position and the nurse laid the baby in her arms. "You're such a good big sister," the nurse praised, "You hold him just like a pro."
Alex joined Jo and Katie on the bed. Jo laid her head on his shoulder and intertwined their fingers. They watched their two children with hearts overflowing with joy. Katie leaned down pressing a kiss to the baby's forehead, "I love you, baby Brayden."