Chapter 15: Miracles in Small Packages
The summer months passed by excruciatingly slow for Michaela. She hadn't had any more close calls with false labor, but she had been on bed rest every other week until September hit. It was mid September, and the twins were due in a little over a week. Michaela had been busying herself on her bed rest weeks with making another christening gown. Sully had been making an extra cradle in secret, which was now safely stored in their room with the other cradle. They were identical cradles, and Michaela couldn't wait to see her babies sleeping in them.
Elizabeth had been trying to help out as much as possible, and all the while, Michaela and Sully were trying to keep the fact that they were having twins a secret. The only other person who knew about it now was Dr. Bernard. Dr. Bernard was due to arrive in a few days, and Michaela couldn't wait until he got there. She would feel so much better knowing that he was around. Along with Dr. Bernard, Michaela's sisters were arriving in a few days.
Josef had been a huge help, but he had also been crowding Michaela because he was worried about his little girl. Michaela was so glad that she was off of bed rest now, because she could get out of the house and away from everyone trying to do everything for her. Sully had been doing the same thing, but she had had a stern talk with him. Now he was patient, but nervous at the same time.
Michaela, too, was terrified. She was afraid of giving birth; afraid she wouldn't be able to withstand the pain. She had delivered several babies, and none of the mothers giving birth had felt no pain. She was scared, but she was assured just knowing that Sully would be there to hold her hand.
Michaela was out walking around the property, wanting to be able to run and ride her horse. She knew that it would be awhile after her babies were born that she would be able to ride a horse again. She hoped she would still remember how. She felt like he had been pregnant forever, and had almost forgotten what it was like to be thin and not pregnant.
She had practically lost her appetite due to the fact that the twins were pressing against her stomach. She had had a bit of nausea and it was hard to eat because everything made her feel queasy. The twins weren't moving around much either because they didn't have much room to move being squished inside of their mother as they were.
One other thing Michaela was finding was that she had to run to the outhouse at least four times an hour. She was glad there was an outhouse on the property as well as indoor plumbing, because she never knew where she was going to be when the babies would decide to squeeze her bladder again.
It was just noon, but so far that day, Elizabeth had been flocking about, asking Michaela what she needed, wondering with every ache and pain if her daughter was going into labor. Josef, thankfully, was in town at the clinic, but Elizabeth could barely pry him away from Michaela's side to go into town. Holly had stopped by before the children left for school. She wanted to check on Michaela. The children had ridden into town with their teacher.
After Holly left, Sully came in to sit with his wife, who had been having trouble getting out of bed. Loren and Dorothy had stopped by with gifts for the baby, since Michaela hadn't been feeling up to having a baby shower for the baby. She hadn't quite felt like sitting out in the hot summer heat, having people touch her gigantic stomach, and having them fuss over her.
Grace and Robert E. had stopped by right after Loren and Dorothy. Grace had prepared Michaela some nice things for lunch, and had prepared some extra for Sully, who was sure to be hungry as well.
Myra had dragged Hank out, and they had visited for awhile. Michaela had felt it quite strange that Hank's personality was much lighter and not quite so sarcastic anymore. He was still Hank, but possibly a little nicer.
It seemed like all of Colorado Springs had come in and out of the homestead that day, and Michaela was thankful to be able to get out and take a walk. She was so sick of having people fuss over her. At first she enjoyed the attention, but now it was just too much. She wanted to be able to move without somebody worrying that every noise and face she made meant she was about to give birth.
Sully was trying not to jump to those same conclusions, but he was so worried about his wife and excited about the birth of his children. Sometimes he just couldn't help himself.
"Michaela!" Elizabeth called from the front porch. Michaela sighed and put a hand on the fence rail. She turned and smiled at her mother as best she could.
"Come on inside, dear. You should rest." Michaela swallowed hard and nodded slowly. As soon as Elizabeth had gone inside, she waddled over to the barn where Sully was brushing down Flash. Poor Flash was probably feeling neglected due to Michaela's pregnancy. So far, she had been showing more signs of jealousy than Brian had. The children seemed excited, and not at all jealous so far.
"Hey," he said with a smile. Michaela walked over and patted Flash's nose. Flash snorted and robbed her nose into Michaela's palm. Michaela laughed and looked at Sully. "Somethin' wrong?"
"No. I just need to get out of here."
"Well, let's go inside."
"I mean, away from here. Sully? Can you take me to that cottage?"
"Michaela, I ain't so sure that's a good idea. You're due to have the babies real soon, and I think you should rest."
"Sully, I'm sick of resting. We won't stay long. I just want a little time alone with you."
"We shouldn't be . . ."
"Not that," Michaela said, blushing slightly. "I just want us to be somewhere private where we can talk without being interrupted every five minutes. Father warned mother he'd take her back to Boston if she got like this, but he's become obsessed with every little move I make as well. He's not help." Sully laughed.
"If you're sure it'll be alright to take you out there, we'll go to the cottage."
"Thank you!" Michaela exclaimed, wrapping her arms around Sully's neck.
"You go inside and tell your ma that we're goin' out. I'll hitch up the wagon." Michaela thanked Sully again with a loving kiss to his lips. She hurried as fast as any woman nine months pregnant with twins could.
"Mother?" Michaela asked as she walked inside.
"Hmm?" Elizabeth asked, looking up from the quilt she was stitching.
"Sully and I are going out."
"We're just going to go somewhere to talk." She didn't dare reveal their secret place to anyone.
"Just out," Michaela replied. "We'll be back before dinner time, I promise." Michaela turned and walked upstairs to gather a few things. Elizabeth just shook her head, knowing she couldn't talk her daughter out of going.
Michaela was taking the picnic basket that Grace had brought over earlier. She knew they would need to eat, so she grabbed that, her medical bag, and a blanket she and Sully could sit upon while they ate. Perhaps they could go eat beside the waterfall. That had been a magical place.
Once she was ready to go, she walked outside and loaded her things into the waiting wagon. Sully helped her up and asked her if she was alright. She gave him a reassuring kiss before they took of into the woods with Elizabeth watching behind, shaking her head with confusion.
They had been riding for a few hours, and Sully knew that they were getting close to their stopping point. Michaela had been fairly quiet for the last hour, and Sully knew she was deep in thought. However, curiosity had finally gotten the best of him, and he had to know what his wife was thinking about.
"Michaela? Are ya okay? You've been real quiet for awhile." She looked at him, and he could see the glint of tears clinging to her eyes.
"I'm just thinking."
"'Bout what?" Michaela took a shaky breath.
"Michaela, you're gonna do just fine."
"I'm scared, Sully. I'm a doctor, so I know that women go through a lot of pain when they do give birth, but I've never experienced that pain first hand. Soon, I'm going to be giving birth, and I have no idea what to expect."
"I'm gonna be there the whole way, Michaela, okay? I'm gonna be there, and you can squeeze my hand as hard as ya want. You can scream as loud as you need to. I'll be there for you."
"I know," Michaela whispered. "I'm just terrified that something's going to go wrong."
"You're the one who's been sayin' all along that it's gonna be alright."
"And that's what Abagail told me," Michaela insisted. "But now that I'm nearing my due date, I can't help but worry." Sully took Michaela's hands in his.
"I love you," he whispered. "I believe in you, and I believe you can do anything, including give birth to our children." Michaela sniffled and leaned in to kiss Sully. She nodded and Sully stopped the wagon.
"Alright, we're here."
"We won't stay long," Michaela promised. Sully took Michaela's hand in his, and with his free hand, he carried the picnic blanket and basket. Michaela clutched her medical bag with her free hand, and they walked toward the cottage.
As soon as they got inside, Sully spread the blanket out on the floor of the cottage.
"I thought we could picnic by the waterfall."
"It's nicer in here, don't ya think?" Sully asked, starting a fire in the fireplace. "It's quieter, and we're secluded in here."
"It is quite cozy," Michaela admitted as she strained herself to sit down. Sully helped her and they sat down together on the blanket. Michaela reached over to open the picnic basket, and she smiled as Sully looked at her belly. "It's not going to pop, Sully," she laughed. Sully blushed when he saw that Michaela had caught him staring. He reached out and stroked her belly softly. He could feel one of the babies give her a powerful kick. "Ow!"
"Yeah," she said with a laugh, rubbing the spot her child had kicked. She grinned at Sully. "Do you remember the first thing you said to me after we first kissed?" He thought for a moment, reliving the moment, but couldn't remember anything else about it.
"Nope," he said slowly. He hoped she would start to cry and think that it wasn't special to him, and luckily she just smiled.
"You asked me if I was still cold."
"I did not," Sully said with a laugh.
"You did too. We had been walking back to my home in Boston, and you had given me your coat. After we kissed, we walked on hand in hand, and that was the first thing you said to me. They both started laughing.
"You were so beautiful that night. Every day, if it's possible, you grow more and more beautiful." He kissed her softly and Michaela sighed with contentment.
"I love how you know the right words to say." They both laughed. As Michaela leaned in to kiss him again, she felt something strange inside. "Oh!" She pulled away from Sully.
"Something . . ." she whispered hoarsely. She tried to stand. Sully put his food down and stood. He grabbed Michaela's hands and helped her up. A small pool of liquid had soaked into the picnic blanket. "Oh no!"
"My water just broke!" She began to breath heavily, and Sully stood there staring at her, not sure what to do next. "Sully!"
"Um, okay, let's get you back into town now!"
"We can't go. It's too far to travel. These babies are going to come soon. Labor is usually accelerated once the membranes have broken."
"Oh God," Sully whispered. "Alright. Come lay down." He helped her over to the bed and she sat with her back against he headboard. Her legs came up a bit, spread open in a more comfortable position.
"This can't be happening here. Sully! We need Dr. Bernard!"
"It's gonna be alright."
"We're going," she began, taking in a sharp breath, "we're going to have to deliver these babies together." Sully wanted to fall to his knees and beg God, or whatever power was watching over them, to make sure his wife and children were safe. "Get my medical bag." Michaela breathed out, relaxing a little bit, and Sully handed her the medical bag. She pulled out a pair of surgical scissors. "You'll have to use these to cut the cords." Sully slowly nodded. He swallowed hard, finding his mouth very dry. He ran his fingers through his hair, and he didn't know what to do next.
"What can I do for you now?"
"Just hold me," she whispered. Sully pulled her up into his arms, and her hands held onto his arms. A contraction hit at that point and she screamed out. Her fingernails dug into Sully's arms, and he screamed out.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" she responded as she squeezed even tighter. He was sure she had broken the skin! He had no idea childbirth was this painful!
"Michaela! Ow! Michaela!"
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" she shrieked as the pain continued.
"Breathe! Breathe honey! Come on!" Michaela sucked in sharp, quick breaths, which slowed once the contraction eased off. Michaela let go of Sully's sore arms and brushed away her tears as soon as the contraction was over.
"I felt a few small contractions throughout the day, but I thought they were false labor pains," she admitted. "I feel so foolish. I shouldn't have had you drag me out here."
"No, don't blame yourself. I shouldn't have agreed to bring ya out here." Michaela began to sob.
"I don't want to do this."
"You're gonna do fine, Michaela. I'm gonna be here, and our babies are gonna be just fine. You're doin' it now, Michaela. You and I are gonna be parents together real soon. We're gonna have our very own babies." Michaela breathed heavily and felt another contraction begin to start up. She grabbed the bed sheets and prepared to scream.
Holly closed the door to the schoolhouse as soon as she had let the children out for the day. It was around three in the afternoon, and the sun was out. It was a beautiful day, and she was about to walk over to as Horace if he would like to join her for lunch at Grace's.
As she was walking toward town, she saw people all walking around, bustling toward the center of town. She didn't think anything of it, so she walked into the telegraph office.
"Mornin' Holly," he said with a smile.
"Hello Lewis," Holly said to one of her best students. Lewis blushed and nodded his head. He went back to working the telegraph like Horace had been teaching him. "Horace, I was wondering if you would like to join me for lunch at Grace's."
"I'd love to," Horace replied with a smile. He finished up a few things with the mail before he put his hat on. He stepped out from behind the counter and extended his arm to Holly. She smiled and linked her arm through his. They started off toward Grace's, but they saw everyone walking over toward the church now.
"What's going on?" Holly wondered. Jake walked up beside the couple.
"There's an orphan train comin' to town," he replied. "The Reverend is in charge of 'em until he can pass 'em on to Soda Springs. They're tryin' to throw out some misfit and half-breed children." Holly's grip on Horace's arm tightened at Jake's words and they continued on with the crowd.
When they arrived, Holly pulled Horace to the front of the crowd. Twelve young children were sitting in the back of a wagon. A few of them were white children, a few were Mexican in origin, and a few were half-colored.
"What are ya doin' Reverend?" Loren asked. "Nobody's gonna want these kids."
"Now Loren, that's not fair. These children deserve homes just like all of God's children."
"Now you know what I mean. Lots of folks can't afford to have anymore children runnin' 'round. Most folks would just rather have their own kids."
"Well, hopefully some folks will find it in their hearts to reach our to these unfortunates." Holly's eyes scanned the small group of children, but her eyes fixed on one child in particular. Her skin was light brown, and her hair was pulled up into a ratty bun behind her head. Her eyes were familiar, and her nose too. Holly felt her heart skip a beat and she felt faint. Her eyes moved to a small locket around the child's neck. It was the necklace she had left with her child the night she was born.
"Oh God," Holly whispered. Horace felt Holly starting to grow faint.
"Holly?" he asked, putting an arm around her waist for support? "What's the matter?"
"Nothing," she replied quickly. He looked back at the children and Holly looked back at the little girl. The little girl's eyes had fixed on her. The child slowly pulled the locket open and peered down at the pictures. She closed it quickly and looked back at Holly. Tears formed in Holly's eyes. She whispered, "Mary."
"Push, Michaela!" Sully urged.
"I can't!" she screamed. She had been in active labor for an hour now, and the contractions were coming right on top of one another, and Michaela was pushing as hard as she could. Her legs were trembling and she felt like she was splitting in half.
"You can! Come on!" His hands were shaking as he rubbed Michaela's aching calves.
"You try it then!" she yelled. The contraction ended a moment later, and she knew she had about twenty seconds before the next one started up. "Oh Sully! Sully, I hope you know it's the labor talking. I haven't really meant those awful things I've said to you! I really love you. I love you!" She began to pant in short, quick breaths.
"I love you too," Sully replied, kissing his wife's forehead.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" she screamed up as another contraction hit her with full force.
"Push!" Michaela grabbed her own knees and pushed harder than she had before. A moment later, tears sprung to Sully's eyes. "I can see the head," he whispered. Michaela began to give him direction through the pain, and a moment later, his first child's head was coming out. "Oh my God. Push, Michaela!" As soon as his first child came into the world, it slid into his hands, and he held it, staring for a moment as Michaela let out a breath of relief at her achievement. The baby began to cry and Sully began to cry tears of joy at the feeling of a life in his hands; a life he had created with the woman he loved.
He cut the cord and wrapped the baby in a small white blanket, which he had ripped from a larger sheet. The baby wriggled as Sully held it up for Michaela to see. The baby's tiny fists flailed and it cried as Sully handed the bundle to Michaela. The baby rested on her belly.
"Michaela, it's our son," he whispered. "Our son." Michaela was crying tears of joy as she gathered her tiny son into her arms. She counted his little fingers and toes.
"Sully, he's perfect," she cried, nuzzling the baby's cheek with her nose. "You're perfect, my son." She kissed his forehead and handed him to his father. Sully held his boy in his arms and stared down into those captivating little eyes. He had piercing blue eyes just like his papa.
"Hey son," he whispered, mesmerized by the beautiful little boy. Sully walked over to a basin of water he head heated up during Michaela's earlier contractions. Michaela had informed him that sometimes twins didn't come one right after the other. So, Sully decided to clean his little boy up. Once the baby was clean, Sully wrapped him into another piece of the white bed sheet, and wrapped him inside of his coat. He put him down close to the bed, and Michaela stared over at him.
"Oh Sully, he looks just like you," she whispered. Sully leaned down to kiss Michaela's lips. He took a damp cloth and wiped the perspiration off of her forehead. A moment later, a contraction hit her, and Michaela began to moan. "Sully!" She brought her knees up again, feeling the urge to push.
"Come on, Michaela. One more baby and you'll be done."
"You say that like's it's easy!" she cried. She bore down and pushed hard again. Before too long, Sully could see another bald head slowly starting to make its way out. He did the same thing he had done with his son, and the baby slowly started to slide into the world. "What do ya think? Boy or girl?" Sully asked as Michaela gave one final push.
"AHHHH!" she cried as the child made it's way into the world. Sully held his second child in his arms, and Michaela wondered whether or not she had a second son or a first daughter. The tears started to flow again from the wonderful feeling of knowing the birth was over. "Oh Sully! What is it?!" Sully wrapped his child up in the white blanket and handed it to its mother.
"Would ya believe me if I said with had another son?" Michaela unwrapped the child to look for herself. Sure enough, she had another son! They were identical twin boys inside of her all along.
"Oh Sully!" she exclaimed. "Our boys are here!" Sully leaned in and kissed Michaela again. Michaela checked to make sure he had his ten fingers and ten toes before she gave him back to Sully. Sully cleaned his second on off, wrapped him in a clean white blanket, and bundled him inside of the coat along side his identical twin brother. Sully climbed into the bed to sit beside Michaela, and he held the two boys in his arms. He put them in Michaela's arms and she began to cry.
"I can't believe we have two sons," Michaela whispered. "Colleen and I are going to be outnumbered."
"Ya never know," Sully whispered, kissing Michaela's cheek. "Maybe we'll have twin girls next time."
"You're never touching me again," Michaela laughed. Sully grinned and Michaela kissed his lips, letting him know she was kidding. They spent the next few hours bonding with their newborn children.
Sully had helped Michaela out to the waterfall to clean herself up. She was very sore, but she couldn't wait to get clean. She washed her dress too, and laid it out on some rocks to dry. Sully sat on the edge of the water with his bare feet soaking. He was holding his newborn sons in his arms.
"We still need to name these two," he said with a grin.
"Well, we already agreed on Daniel Josef, didn't we?"
"Our firstborn is Daniel Josef," Sully said with a nod. Michaela grinned. "What on earth should we name his brother?" Michaela stepped out of the water and wrapped herself on a blanket. She sat down slowly, feeling a little pain as she did so. It was worth it when she looked at the two miracles in her husband's arms.
"I think Michael is a good name."
"We've already got one Mike in the family," Michaela pointed out. "Sully, I was looking a book the other day, and I looked up the name Byron. It means a barn or a cottage. I think it's kind of fitting since our sons were born here at the cottage."
"I don't mind it as a second name, but please don't make me put my first name as my son's first name. It's just cruel."
"It is not. I love the name," Michaela replied with a grin. She took one of her boys into her arms. She knew that he was her second born, because he was the one who was still awake. Daniel had fallen to sleep soon after his birth. What about Cooper? It would be a nice tribute to Charlotte. Cooper Byron Sully?"
"I like it," Sully said with a smile. "I like Michael Cooper Sully better."
"That does sound nice," Michaela replied. "But can we call him Cooper?"
"We can call him whatever you like," Sully replied. "You're his ma." Michaela couldn't believe she was actually a mother in every sense of the word now.
"And you're his pa," Michaela pointed out. She kissed her second son's forehead. "What do you think? Michael Cooper Sully?" The baby made a face.
"He doesn't like it?" Sully asked. Michaela laughed.
"You're going to be a tough one to name then," Michaela concluded. "What about Connor?"
"Connor?" Sully asked. "I like Connor."
"Connor Michael Cooper Sully."
"That's a mouthful. But I'm glad you didn't include Byron."
"I could," she pointed out. Sully laughed. "Connor and Daniel Sully. Those are good, strong names."
"They don't seem to be protestin'," Sully said with a chuckle. "That's gotta be a good sign." Michaela stood and picked up her semi-wet dress. She bundled it up and carried it while she held her son.
"As soon as my dress is finished drying, we had probably try to get back to town."
"You sure you're feelin' like it?"
"Yes. I want to get home and introduce these miracles to our family." Sully nodded in agreement. So, with Connor in Michaela's arms and Daniel in Sully's, four-sevenths of the Sully family made their way back to the cottage to wait for Michaela's dress to dry so they could continue on toward home to introduce their sons to the rest of Colorado Springs.