Month 9 - Birth

"Carter," Callie said, nudging him in the back as he lay snoring peacefully on the pillow beside her. "Carter!" She hissed this time as a sharp pain cut through her belly, almost rendering her speechless. Somehow though, she managed to shout at him, "Hey, honey! Wake up, cause I think I'm in labor."

That roused Carter now. He rolled over on the mattress and stared at her in the darkness. "Are you sure?"

She let out a gasp of pain. "Pretty sure," she said. She gripped her belly. "Oh shit, this hurts."

Carter moved to flick on the light at his bedside. The stopwatch was just sitting there, ready and waiting for just this very moment. Callie was huffing and puffing, trying in vain to remember the breathing techniques she'd learned in Lamaze class. Her brain felt impossibly cloudy.

Carter picked up the stopwatch and clicked it on. Meanwhile, his free hand found her back and he massaged her aching spine in soft, purposeful circles. He timed the contractions and said, "Seems they're not all that close together just yet."

"I don't care. I don't want to wait," Callie said. "No way, no fucking how."

"Alright, let's get you to the hospital, okay, baby?" He said. He carefully climbed off the bed and grabbed for their coats resting on a nearby chair. He had taken to sleeping in his day clothes so they'd be ready at a moment's notice. She really appreciated his forethought.

"Going to help you up now," Carter said gently after he had helped her slide a jacket over her pajamas. Callie felt another contraction catch her in its grip and she gritted her teeth. Carter looked at her sympathetically. "Honey, I'm sorry you're in so much pain."

"Yeah, you should feel lucky it's not you," Callie said.

"I do. I probably wouldn't be able to stand it."

"No, no man would be able to. That's why us women have the babies," Callie returned as he gingerly helped her off the bed.

"I know. You're so brave." He dropped a kiss to her forehead. "Can you walk?"

"Yeah, I think so," Callie said.

Carter slid the overnight bag out from underneath the bed frame. He carried it in hand one while looping his other arm around her waist. She sagged against him as another contraction ripped through her body. "Dammitttt!" she cried out.

"That's it. I'm carrying you." He bent to scoop her into his arms, hugging her against his strong chest.

Callie felt tears mist her eyes. "I'm going to break your back. Then you'll be a patient in the hospital too."

"I'm fine," Carter said, balancing her and the bag seemingly effortlessly. "Let me just call Dr. Clatter and then we can go."

"Okay … I want this baby out of me really soon."

XoxoxO

"You're kidding!" Callie said as Dr. Clatter rolled away his chair. She glared at him. "I want to have this kid now."

"I'm afraid that is not how it works. You are not fully dilated yet," Dr. Clatter said in that infuriating monotone voice of his.

"Well then cut me open," Callie said. "I can't - I don't know if I can take this much longer." Every contraction rendered her breathless and impossibly weak. Her whole body was revolting against her. "Give me the drugs. Lots and lots of them." She felt Carter squeeze her hand. She looked at her husband with a mixture of helplessness and irritation. "Tell him to pump my veins full of the stuff."

"Dr. Clatter -" Carter began.

"I received the memo," Dr. Clatter said. He looked exasperated, something she had never seen him be. Good. She didn't want him to be so damn calm when she felt so miserable. "I'll ready the epidural."

XoXoXo

"How ya feeling now, baby?" Carter asked as Callie lay slumped in the bed.

Callie rolled her head to the side on the pillow to look at her husband. "A tiny bit better," she said. "But I swear I can still feel our son sitting heavy on my spine. Maybe I'm imagining it … But Carter, how are you so calm right now? I am freaking out and you're cool as a damn cucumber."

Carter reached out and gently placed his hand on the slope of her belly. "Trust me, on the inside, I am panicking too. I hate to see you in so much pain."

"Hmmm, well, I guess it will all be worth it when we're holding our big boy in our arms," Callie said. "I do look forward to that … I just hope I'm a good mother to him."

"Are you kidding, Cal? You already are a good mother to him - the best, actually. He isthriving because of you and he will continue to do so because of you. He couldn't ask for a better mom."

Callie reached out and thumbed Carter's proud jaw. "You'll be an amazing father. I don't think I told you this but there's no one I would rather raise my kid with."

"Trust me, you've told me, and I thank you for that. We can do this, Callie. And we'll do it together. I'll be here every step of the way, alright?"

"Alright," Callie said. He leaned over and lightly kissed her on the lips. She moved her hands to cover his. "Only a little while left to go, right, so I'll cut down on the Mrs. Grouchy routine."

Carter smiled. "Don't change on account of me. I think you're perfect the way you are."

"You're such a good liar… and I love the heck out of you for it."

XoXoXo

"10 centimeters," Dr. Clatter pronounced as he examined Callie sometime later.

"10 centimeters," Callie murmured. "It's time, huh?"

Dr. Clatter just nodded. Callie looked at Carter as nurses began to assemble in the room. "I can do this, right?" She said, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth.

"Yes you can, Cal," Carter affirmed. "If anyone can do it, it's you."

"Get ready, Carter, you're about to be a Papa," Callie said.

XoXoXo

The birth process was a lot slower in pace than Callie would have thought it would be. It wasn't like anything they showed on television.

Dr. Clatter tried to patiently explain that she was having a hard time pushing because of the medication in her system, but that only made her cry still more. In her frenzied mind, she had cursed her baby to being stuck in there forever.

The whole time Carter was holding her hand, gently urging her on, massaging her shoulders and mopping at her sweaty forehead. She had a low-grade fever which Dr. Clatter assured her would soon pass. When he tried to come at her with forceps, she was adamant against using them and instead tried to force herself to push harder.

The frustration and what she could feel of the pain, was all worth it though when she heard a loud cry split the hushed silence of the room. Tears of relief and joy rolled down her cheeks as Carter whispered, "You did it, baby, you did it." He moved to look at their baby as she watched his face. She had never really seen him cry before, but there were twin teardrops rolling down his face as he looked at his son for the first time.

Callie tried to peek at the baby between her legs. "What's he look like, Carter?"

"He's one handsome, big guy," Carter answered. "And he got your ears. Lucky him."

Dr. Clatter allowed Carter to cut the umbilical cord. The baby was handed off to a nurse who quickly swaddled the baby in a blue blanket. Dr. Clatter pronounced the baby to be "big, very big, but also very healthy".

Soon enough, a baby with a soft tuft of black hair was placed in Carter's arms. He looked at his son with clear love in his eyes. "Hello there, buddy," he said. He kissed the baby's chocolate forehead and carried him over to Callie. Callie held out her arms and a sigh of pleasure left her lips as her son was settled against her chest. Fresh, hot tears clouded her vision as she looked at her baby.

"He's so big," Callie said. "So darn big and I love him already." A tear rolled down her cheek as she reached out to touch the baby's little lips, tracing the curve of them. The baby stared up at his mother as if really seeing her, as if understanding who she was, and that she would lay down her life in a heartbeat for him if it ever came to that.

"I love him too," Carter said in a quiet, humble voice. "And you. I love you so much too. Thanks for bringing this miracle into the world. I can't wait to tell everyone Miles Carter Davis Walton is here. But not just yet. For now, it's just you, him and me."

"Us - against the world," Callie murmured. She bent her head to brush her lips across the baby's soft, smooth cheek. He gurgled in reply and she grinned. "I love you, son," she said. "You and your daddy are everything to me."

Carter reached out and ran his fingers through her mussed hair. "Right back at you," he said. "You two are my world and I'll never take you for granted, not for a second."

"I know you won't," Callie said. "You happy, baby?"

"Happier than any man has a right to be," Carter said. He smiled and reached over, touching the baby's little hand. Miles immediately responded by locking his tiny fist around Carter's large finger.

Callie sighed contentedly, the sight warming her heart beyond measure. So this was what true, abiding happiness felt like.

It was glorious.

Carter kissed her forehead and looked at their son. "Welcome to the world, Miles. You've got a pretty good deal here - two parents who love you and will protect you, always."

"Yes, we will," Callie agreed. She stared at Carter for a long moment. "Thank you again. For this moment, for this baby… and for loving me better than anyone ever has or ever will."

"It's as easy as breathing," Carter said. "Easy as breathing."

THE END.

And it's ovah! Can you believe I actually finished something? I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I just loved writing Callie and Carter and will miss telling their story, but I know in fan fic land, they are off having a blissful life with their new son.