Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The rights to those characters and to the show belong to the creators of the show, to CBS, The Sullivan Company and to A&E. This is the sequel to "A Season of Miracles."
Chapter 1: Miserable Mornings
Sully felt a thump as Michaela jumped out of bed. Her bare feet pounded on the hardwood floor as she threw the bedroom door open and rushed down the hall. Sully sat up, rubbing his tired eyes, and got out of bed. He cautiously walked down the hall as he heard his wife's sounds of misery. He knocked on the door to the washroom.
"Michaela?" She responded with an exhausted groan. "You alright?"
"Fine," she replied. He could hear her rinsing her mouth out. She came out, wiping the corners of her mouth with a hand towel. Her face was pale and her eyes had dark circles under them. Michaela not only got morning sickness, but she got afternoon and midnight sickness as well.
"Why don't you get back in bed and I'll make you some tea."
"But we have to get ready for church," Michaela replied.
"There's a bad storm outside. Nobody's gonna be goin' anywhere today," Sully replied. It was the beginning of March, and the temperatures had warmed up, but Michaela couldn't enjoy them. She felt sick more than half of the time she was awake during the day.
"You're stuck with a disgusting pregnant woman all day!" Michaela sobbed as her tears began to flow. She ran down the hallway and to the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. Ah, the mood swings had begun. Sully sighed heavily and walked toward the bedroom. Matthew came out of his bedroom.
"What's goin' on?"
"Your ma's just havin' a rough mornin'," Sully replied. Matthew nodded and disappeared back inside of his room. Sully tapped on the door and slowly opened it. Michaela had buried herself under the covers.
"Go away!" she exclaimed.
"Michaela, you're not disgustin'. Michaela sat up and threw the covers off of her.
"Yes I am! I can't stop vomiting and I'm getting fat."
"Honey, you're barely showin' yet, and the reason why you're sick is 'cause you're pregnant. You ain't disgustin'." Michaela sniffled.
"I'm a horrible mother," she whispered.
"What? That's not true. You're a good ma."
"Then why am I complaining? I should be happy that I'm pregnant! I am happy, but I feel disgusting."
"But you look beautiful." Michaela sniffled as her mood swing passed. She climbed out of bed and wrapped her arms around Sully's neck.
"I love you."
"I love you too," Sully replied, kissing her forehead. "You get back into bed and I'll go make you some tea."
"Okay," Michaela whispered.
"Okay." Michaela climbed into bed and pulled the covers up around her. Sully wasn't sure if he was going to survive the next six months. He had to laugh to himself. Michaela was so adorable after her mood swings would pass. Her eyes that had been puffy from crying would light up and she would be sweet again. The children would get confused by their mother's mood swings, but Sully would calmly explain to them what was going on.
Sully made his way down the stairs and into the kitchen. He began brewing the herbs that usually helped with the nausea a little bit. Lately, Michaela had been craving pickles with Grace's best strawberry jam to dip it in. The thought of those two foods put together made Sully cringe, but Michaela liked it.
Lightening flashed outside, and Sully went around the living room lighting the lamps since there was no sunlight coming through the clouds. Brian came running down the stairs.
"Shh!" Sully scolded.
"Sorry," Brian whispered. "Why do I gotta be quiet?"
"Your ma's restin' upstairs."
"Oh. What are ya makin'?"
"I'm makin' tea to help settle her stomach." Brian noticed the jam and pickles and made a face.
"She's still eatin' that?"
"Yeah," Sully said with a chuckle. "Pregnant ladies sometimes eat things they normally wouldn't."
"I'm glad I ain't a girl then." Sully had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing. But the boy had a point. Men never had to go through the physical pain of childbirth or the discomfort of pregnancy.
Once the tea was done, Sully poured it into a cup and placed it on a tray. He poured some strawberry jam into a bowl and placed a large pickle in it. He cringed again and wondered if her cravings were actually making her sick. He headed up the stairs and went back into the room.
"Here you go." He put the tray on her lap and she smiled at him gratefully.
"Thank you, Sully." She saw the treat that he had prepared for her and her eyes because watery again. "Oh! You remembered! That's so sweet!"
"Yeah," Sully replied with a laugh. She had only asked for that the past eight days in a row, so he figured that it wouldn't be any different this time. Apparently he was right, and he was proud that he was slowly starting to understand his pregnant wife. Unfortunately pregnant women didn't come with instructions, and men were on their own when it came to keeping them happy.
Michaela gave Sully a big kiss on the cheek, and he brushed the tears from her eyes. He didn't mind helping Michaela out, because he loved it when she would ask him for things. She was still being independent when it came to many things, but when it came to the simple tasks, he was happy that she would let him do something for her. He loved being involved, and he loved spending the nights holding Michaela in his arms, stroking her belly, and talking to his unborn son or daughter.
Those who had been able to come to church services during the storm had long gone home, and everyone was sitting around, waiting for the storm to pass. Myra was sitting on the porch of the clinic, staring over at the telegraph office. Horace had been too embarrassed to even talk to her since she decided they should stop courting. She had been spending more and more time with Hank, and she enjoyed being with him. She still felt for Horace because he was taking it harder than she expected.
"Mind if I join ya?" Hank asked as he walked up onto the porch.
"No. Have a seat," Myra replied, scooting over for Hank.
"You gotta stop blamin' yourself."
"It's my fault he's so upset," Myra insisted. "He ain't been the same since I broke it off with him."
"You ain't got nothin' to worry 'bout, Myra. Horace will get over it. You want me to go talk to him?"
"No. I know you, Hank. I know you well enough to know that you are just gonna make it worse for him." Hank wanted to protest, but he knew Myra was right. He wasn't Horace's biggest fan, and it was likewise for Horace. Hank wasn't anybody's favorite person. Most people weren't exactly Hank's favorites either.
"I got a poker game in a couple minutes, but I can cancel it if ya wanna talk."
"Hank, go play your game. I'm gonna go talk with Dorothy and Grace anyway." Hank nodded and got up from his seat. He reluctantly turned toward the saloon and disappeared inside.
Horace had left the telegraph office and was now seated at the bar in the saloon. Hank stared at him for a minute, and decided that he had better say something to him. He looked over to see that the other fellas for the poker game hadn't shown up yet.
"What can I get for ya, Horace? A sarsaparilla?"
"Whiskey," Horace replied. Hank chuckled.
"You ain't the drinkin' kinda man."
"I said, whiskey! You ain't the kinda man to turn down business, are ya?" He slapped a five-dollar bill down on the counter. "And keep 'em comin'."
"If this is about Myra . . ."
"Don't speak her name!" Horace snapped. "I ain't givin' ya money to talk. I'm givin' ya money to serve whiskey!"
"You're the customer," Hank said, shrugging his shoulders. He lined up a few shots of whiskey, which Horace finished in record time.
"Keep 'em comin'." Hank shook his head, knowing he could refuse to serve Horace. But, he also knew from experience that some men had to work their problems out on their own. Maybe a good hangover would do Horace some good.
Michaela had managed to clean herself up, get dressed, and come downstairs without feeling queasy again. But, Sully had warned Colleen not to cook anything or spray any kind of perfume. He also warned the children not to light any candles, because the up-to-date list of things that bothered Michaela and made her sick included most aromas from foods, soaps, perfumes, and candle wax, even though wax wasn't scented.
Over the past couple of weeks, the town council had been discussing building a school for the children of the town. Michaela was the one who had started the debate, and luckily it was a unanimous decision that the school would be built. The only problem was getting someone to build it. Nobody had bothered to ask Robert E., considering Negro children wouldn't be allowed into the school's doors, and people figured that Sully wouldn't help because Indian children wouldn't be welcome either.
"When I go to school, will I have to do homework?" Brian asked.
"Yes, Brian," Michaela said with a chuckle. "All students who go to school will have to do homework."
"Will I have to go?" Matthew asked.
"Well, you're fifteen," Michaela started. "You'd be going to college in a few years."
"I ain't sure I wanna go to college," Matthew started. "I wanna get married and start a farm." Michaela and Sully exchanged glances.
"We'll talk about that some other time," Sully pointed out, not wanting Michaela to get upset. Matthew nodded.
"But I s'pose goin' to school wouldn't be too bad."
"Well, since you're getting older," Michaela began, "you can either go to school with Colleen and Brian, or you can continue doing odd jobs to make money." Matthew nodded in appreciation. Charlotte had taught him a lot when he was growing up, and he figured that he didn't need much more schooling. But Colleen and Brian were younger and hadn't learned as much from their mother before she passed on.
"I can't wait to start school," Colleen said as a light began to shine in her eyes. "I can't wait to read new books and learn new things. I'll still be able to help you out at the clinic, won't I?"
"Of course," Michaela replied with a nod. "But not until your homework's finished."
"And I can still help take care of the baby?" Colleen asked. Michaela laughed and nodded her head.
"Certainly." Sully and Michaela loved how excited the children were about getting a new sibling. They realized that having this new life to look forward to was helping to ease the pain of losing Charlotte. It wouldn't take the pain away altogether, but a new life meant hope for the future.
"Ma?" Brian asked.
"Do you think it's gonna be a boy or a girl?"
"I'm not sure," Michaela replied. "There a fifty percent chance it could be either, and I'd be happy either way."
"What about you, Sully?" Sully shrugged.
"I'm with your ma on this one. I ain't sure if it'll be a boy or a girl, but I'll be happy with whatever it turns out to be."
"Come on, you guys gotta want one or the other." Michaela looked at Sully and they both smiled.
"It really doesn't matter."
"It should be a girl," Colleen said.
"No. It's gotta be a boy," Brian replied.
"But there's already you, Matthew, and Sully. Me and Dr. Mike are gonna be overcrowded with boys if this ain't a girl."
"But a boy can climb trees and stuff."
"A girl can too," Colleen replied with an offended smirk. Brian stuck his tongue out at Colleen and she reciprocated.
"Children!" Michaela exclaimed with exasperation.
"Sorry ma," Brian replied. "I sure wish it'd stop rainin'. I wanna go play outside." Michaela yawned and realized that she had been feeling much better for the past couple of hours. She hoped that things wouldn't change anytime soon. She was enjoying spending time with her family without having to run into the other room every few minutes due to morning sickness.
"I wish the rain would stop so I could get into town to see Ingrid."
"How is Ingrid doing?" Michaela asked.
"She's doin' alright. Her pa's getting real sick though, and she's helpin' her older brother take care of her younger sisters. I wish I could be there for her more."
"Ingrid's lucky to have ya," Sully spoke up.
"Are you and Ingrid gonna get married?" Brian asked.
"Someday, yeah," Matthew replied. He didn't want to say anything about getting married soon to Michaela right now. He knew that with her mood swings, she was liable to go berserk. For now, he was keeping quiet.
Michaela yawned again, and he realized that Michaela was still not getting a lot of sleep. Brian was still having nightmares at night, but Sully would get up to comfort him, even though his cries would wake Michaela. But she was mostly up during the night with her nausea, so it was only natural that she would be exhausted.
"You better go lay down and take a nap," Sully suggested.
"I'm fine," Michaela promised.
"Go on, ma," Colleen urged. "We're stuck here until the storm passes anyway. You need your rest." Michaela realized that between her husband and her children, she wouldn't be able to get a word in edgewise. She nodded and stood. Sully walked upstairs with her and closed the bedroom door behind them. Michaela climbed under the covers and Sully put a few logs into the fireplace and lit a match.
"You rest now," he whispered, walking over to kiss her lips. "You and the baby both need the sleep." Michaela smiled and grabbed Sully's hand. She pressed it against her barely-showing belly.
"Can you believe that there is a life inside of here?" Michaela asked with wonder in her eyes. "This life is going to grow inside of me, and that's all because we created it out of love. It's an amazing thing how two people can create a life and that life can grow and be loved before it's even born."
"This baby's got a lot of love already." He leaned down and kissed her belly. "We all want it, so it's going to be here before we know it. I'm so proud of you. It's one thing to make a baby, but it's another to carry it for nine months. You're so amazing, Michaela." Tears developed in Michaela's eyes and Sully kissed her cheek before he brushed them away. "This life inside of you is a part of both of us, so that's somethin' special."
"As long as this baby is healthy, that's what counts, right?" Michaela asked. Sully kissed her hand.
"That's right. This baby's got a good life ahead. It's ma's a doctor, and it's pa is gonna give it everything it needs and wants."
"If she's a girl she'll be her daddy's little girl, and if he's a boy, he'll definitely be daddy's boy."
"You got that right," Sully replied.
"You're already taking the baby away from me with promises of spoiling it, and it's not even born yet," Michaela joked. Sully chuckled.
"I'd never take a child away from its ma, especially you. You're the best possible ma for this child, and I can't wait to see you hold it and nurse it. It'll be the most beautiful thing in the world."
"I can't wait," Michaela said with an excited smile. "But I know I have to wait, because the longer this baby stays inside of me, the better."
"You won't be sayin' that when the due date passes."
"You think the baby will be late?"
"Most first time ma's have their babies late, so I heard anyway." Michaela shrugged.
"Well, I guess we'll cross that bridge when the time comes. I just want to thank you for being here for me."
"I'll always be here for you," Sully promised. Michaela sighed with contentment and snuggled down under the covers. "You rest now." Michaela nodded and closed her eyes. Sully sat with her, holding her hand with his free hand while his other rested protectively on her belly. He waited until she drifted off to sleep before he quietly left the room and went downstairs to join the children.