Chapter 10: Two for the Price of One
By eleven that night, Sully was downstairs heating water to sponge bathe his laboring wife with. She was excruciatingly uncomfortable, and Sully didn't know what else to do for her. He had tried giving her a back rub, but that hadn't worked out too well. His foot massages only made her muscles cramp even tighter. He was running out of ideas, but he hoped this would relax her.
"Sully!" she screamed loudly, the pain becoming nearly unbearable. Sully quickly poured the warm water into a pitcher and carried it upstairs. Once he reached the bedroom, he found her lying in the center of the bed, trembling and panting heavily. He poured the water into a basin and put it on the nightstand.
"It's alright," he soothed, brushing her hair out of her face with his hand. Michaela moaned, and Sully dipped the sponge into the water, wrung it out, and began to wipe down her forehead, face, chest, and arms.
She had long since shed her dress, and she was lying in a nightgown for more comfort. Her knees were up in delivery position, and her contractions were coming closer and closer together. When a contraction finally ended, Michaela exhaled in relief. Things weren't progressing quite as fast as they were with the boys, much to Michaela's chagrin. The pain was more severe than she had remembered.
"Why did I have to insist on staying out here, knowing the snow was coming! I should have stayed in town," she cried.
"It's not your fault. You didn't know."
"I should have been more prepared." She began to pant again as a contraction came along. "Ohhhhhh!" Sully put the sponge into the water basin, and pulled back the sheet Michaela was covered in. She had long since thrown the quilts and blankets off of the bed after sweating profusely for the past hour. "Can you see the head?!" Sully looked.
"No," he said, shaking his head. "You're doin' great, Michaela."
"Oh what would you know?! You don't know how it feels!" she screamed. Sully knew from the last experience that she didn't really mean to snap at him. It was the pain talking.
"Do you feel like ya gotta push?" he wondered.
"Not yet," she whispered. "Not yet. Oh!" She collapsed back on the bed out of exhaustion, and Sully began to gently rub her belly.
"Just focus on getting these babies out into the world. We're gonna be a ma and pa again real soon, and tomorrow, we'll have somethin' extra special to celebrate."
"Just be quiet," Michaela moaned as another contraction slammed through her. Sully nodded, and backed off until it passed.
"Tell me what I can get for ya."
"Nothing. I just need to get through this."
"Here. Squeeze my hand, honey," he whispered softly. She took his hand, and when the pain intensified, she squeezed it hard. Sully bit back a scream of pain, knowing that his wife's present predicament was far more painful. "Sounds like they're comin' less than a minute apart. It should be soon, right?" Michaela nodded. A moment later, her eyes went wide. "Oh no!"
"I have to push!" Sully swallowed hard, knowing that his wife was about to bring his next two children into the world. He fought back the painful memories of Abagail giving birth to Hanna, and he helped Michaela scoot to the edge of the bed. Her feet rested on the edge, while Sully propped some pillows behind her back. A few strands of hair were stuck to her forehead from the sweat, and Sully reached up to gently brush them away. Michaela screamed out again. "I can't do this! I don't want to do this!"
"It's gonna be over soon, Michaela. Soon, we're gonna have two new little ones to love and care for."
"You're just saying that! You have no idea what kind of pain I'm in!" She needed to grip something, so she reached out, grabbed Sully's arms, and bore down. Sully winced when her fingernails dug into the arm of his shirt. He wasn't quit sure if she'd dug all the way down into his skin or not, but it sure felt like it!
"Alright," he coached. "Whenever you feel like you gotta push, just push." Michaela swallowed hard and began to push with everything she had in her. Sully moved to grab Michaela's medical bag. As his wife pushed, he kept an eye on her condition, watching to see if he could see a head. He began to set out blankets, and he pulled the water basin closer so he could bathe the babies when they were born. Everything was ready. Now he had to wait. Michaela was pushing hard, and she was starting to bleed a little. She had once told him it was normal, but he was still worried. She was pushing hard, and he still wasn't seeing a head. He wanted Michaela to be as calm as she possibly could, but seeing as she was in the most pain a woman could ever possibly feel, he wasn't quite sure he could calm her. He knew he had to remain calm, but that wasn't going to be easy.
Myra was sleeping peacefully next to Hank, but he couldn't sleep. His mind was busy. He wasn't thinking about money or gambling now. He was thinking about what it was going to be like to have a kid again. He hadn't been too great with Zack, and he barely knew the kid anymore. Myra was a wonderful woman, and he didn't want to disappoint her when it came to fatherhood.
He suddenly felt like he needed some air. He quietly slipped out of bed and into the hallway. He sat down on the top of the stairs, letting his legs stretch out and down. He heard little feet behind him, and he saw Connor standing at an open door.
"How'd you get out?" he asked softly. "Ah, never mind. You're a pretty smart kid. Are ya here to give me more trouble?" He knew without a doubt this was Connor, because he had dressed him differently than his brother. Well, this was Connor unless he and his brother had figured out how to switch clothes, but that wasn't quite likely.
"Stowy," he whispered with a yawn, holding onto a teddy bear with one hand and rubbing his tired eyes with the other.
"You want a story? What kinda story?" Hank wondered. Connor toddled over, and Hank pulled him into his lap.
"You!" Connor replied with a grin, pointing his finger into Hank's cheek.
"A story about me? I ain't got no stories that are for your ears." Connor rested his head on Hank's shoulder. "Now how can I say no to that? Remind me to have a word with the doc about havin' kids that make me a pushover." Little did Hank know that Myra was standing in the doorway, having been woken by a strong kick to the ribs.
"Stowy," Connor repeated.
"Hold on. Let me think a minute," Hank replied. He tried to think of some good childhood memories, which was much more difficult for him than for most people. He finally remembered one pleasant memory. "Alright. A long time ago, I went to my grandma's house to spend the night while my ma and pa were out of town. She had this big house with secret halls, and . . ." as Hank continued, Connor slowly fell to sleep. He continued to tell the story of how his grandmother had given him the key to a secret room and how he'd found a whole two dollars, which had been a lot of money to him back then. He'd later come to find out that she'd planted the money in there to give him something to search for.
Myra slipped back into the bedroom so Hank wouldn't know she'd been eavesdropping. She settled back down into bed, knowing for sure that Hank was going to be a great father.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Michaela screamed, her hands under her knees, pulling them up closer. Her feet were planted firmly on Sully's shoulders, and he was hurting quite a bit down.
"Alright, I can see somethin'!" he called out at five 'til midnight. "Push!" Michaela bore down again and pushed hard. Sully's eyes filled with fear.
"What?" Michaela panted.
"It's a foot," he whispered. Michaela felt fear wash over herself as well.
"The baby's breech. Okay, you've got to see if the other foot's there." She gave him instructions on how to do so, and once he felt for the other baby's foot, he was able to help guide it out alongside the other foot. Michaela knew that there was no going back now. The baby was in the birth canal, and it had to be delivered. She knew she had to do some extra work, but she was determined to do it.
"Push, Michaela! Push hard!" A moment later, Michaela felt relief as the baby's body was born. Sully looked at her with tears in her eyes as she pushed the baby's head out gently. Sully moved to cut the baby's cord, and a moment later, it began to cry.
"Sully?" Michaela panted out of exhaustion. Sully smiled brightly at his wife.
"She's here! Our little girl," he whispered.
"Katie!" Michaela exclaimed with a happy smile. Sully cradled Katherine Elizabeth Charlotte Sully in his arms, and she cried and cried. He kissed the top of her head, feeling the warmth and love that a new child brought.
"Go see your mama," he whispered. He handed her to Michaela, and looked at the clock. "It's just after midnight, Michaela. Looks like we've got somethin' extra to celebrate on Christmas. Happy Anniversary."
"Merry Christmas," she replied softly. "Happy birthday little one. You've been born on a special day, and your brother or sister will join you soon." She handed the baby back to Sully, knowing it would be a few minutes before the next contraction would start up. Since Katie arrived into the world, the contractions had tapered off. They hadn't started back up, so Michaela was able to relax. She rubbed her belly, and wiped the tears out of her eyes.
"One more to go," Sully urged as he cleansed his newborn daughter. Her cries had ceased, and her little eyes were trying to adjust to the dim light of the room. She had no hair, and she had Michaela's beautiful heart shaped face. She was a beautiful sight, and Sully couldn't believe that he had been right. Well, halfway right so far. Yes, Michaela was having twins, but only one was a girl so far. It was possible that a boy would be next. Who knew? "How are ya feelin'?"
"Like I could go to sleep."
"Well, ya can as soon as ya deliver the next one." Michaela smiled a little, happy to have a temporary bit of relaxation between the birth of her children.
"Put her in the gown Ingrid sent." Ingrid had sent two beautiful sleeping gowns as soon as Michaela wired Denver to let Ingrid and Matthew know that twins were actually on the way. Sully did as Michaela asked, and wrapped her up in a clean white blanket.
"Welcome to the world, Katie," he whispered, holding her close. He walked over to hand her back to Michaela. As he was leaning to kiss her, Michaela felt pain coarse through her again.
"Oh Sully, put her in the cradle," she moaned.
"Yes," she nodded, pulling her knees back again. Sully, feeling weak in the knees already, got another blanket ready to receive his child into.
Matthew paced the bedroom of his home with Ingrid. She was watching him as he paced nervously. They were leaving for Colorado Springs on the earliest train possible in the morning. They would be the first passengers on the first train to arrive in Colorado Springs. But Matthew was still fretting.
"Matthew, calm down," Ingrid pleaded, having been watching him pace for the past twenty minutes.
"I just got a bad feelin' is all."
"I'm sure Dr. Mike is fine. I'm sure your family is happy and celebrating right now."
"Ya don't understand, Ingrid. I really got a feelin' that ma's hurtin'. The snow is headin' toward 'em. What if they get snowed in? What if she goes into labor or somethin'?"
"She's a doctor. She'll know what to do," Ingrid reasoned. Ingrid sighed and left the room to go into the kitchen when the teakettle began to whistle. Matthew joined her a few minutes later as she poured them both two cups of tea. She handed him one. "This will calm you."
"Thanks," he replied graciously, taking a sip of the hot liquid. He felt a little bit better already. Ingrid hadn't seen him this nervous since the day he started taking his classes. He had been fine a few days later, and now here he was fretting again. She knew it was going to do him some good to go home for a few days. She couldn't wait to visit her brother and sisters either. It was sure to be a wonderful visit!
"How do you feel now?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. Thank you." Matthew drank the last of the cup and handed it back to his wife. She smiled at him and reached out to touch his cheek.
"You worry too much, Matthew," she said with a smile. "Tomorrow you will see your mother is fine." Matthew decided that he was worrying too much. He was probably just a little over emotional. His final exams had taken quite a toll on him, so perhaps he was worrying for nothing. Ingrid looked up and smiled when she saw the mistletoe. "Come here." Matthew smiled, deciding to forget about his worries, and pulled his wife into his arms, kissing her passionately beneath the mistletoe.
"I can't do it anymore!" Michaela screamed out as sweat dripped from her face. The baby's head was crowning, but coming out very slowly.
"Yes you can, Michaela! Come on. You're doin' it now. The baby's almost here. Keep fightin'. I know you can do it!"
"It hurts so bad!" she screamed out, pounding a fist into the mattress of the bed. She hated feeling weak, and she was definitely feeling that about right now. She was so completely drained from giving birth to Katie, and this second arrival was taking the rest of her energy away.
"I know, Michaela, but ya gotta keep goin'."
"You know?! You don't know!" Michaela snapped. "I'm the one doing all the work here! You're just playing the catcher!" Sully began to massage the sore muscles on Michaela's calves. They had tensed up, and she was starting to shake. "Oh!" Another contraction stopped her from yelling at her husband any further.
"Push!" After an extremely long and hard push, the baby's head was out. This baby was identical to Katie so far, so Sully had a good feeling that it was a little girl. Sure enough, a minute and a half later, another baby girl came kicking and screaming into the world. Michaela collapsed back onto the bed as soon as the baby was out. She watched as Sully cut the cord, wrapped her up, and handed her over. "I was right."
"Now is not a good time for 'I told you so's,'" Michaela laughed. She kissed the top of her little girl's head and looked at Sully. "Sully, thank you for putting up with me."
"I'd be glad to put up with ya any day. I know ya didn't mean the things ya said. At least, I hope ya didn't." Michaela smiled happily.
"You know I didn't." Sully pressed a kiss to his wife's lips before taking their second daughter to be cleaned up. Michaela lay back on the bed, never feeling so relieved in her entire life. She closed her eyes, hearing the soothing sound of her newborn daughters' cries. Michaela hadn't been so relaxed while hearing the cries of a baby since the day Connor and Daniel were born. She knew they were fine, and she knew everything was going to be fine.
In a few moments, Sully was bringing the girls over to be with their mother. Katie was very alert for a newborn, and her identical twin sister was a little drowsy. It had been a very long night for Michaela and the girls, but it had worked out for the best in the end.
Michaela cradled her daughters in her arms, and a few minutes later, they were having their first meal. Sully watched in awe of Michaela. She was absolutely amazing, and she couldn't stop smiling. He knew that having these girls was going to make life even sweeter.
Michaela woke at dawn the next morning after only a few hours of sleep. She had convinced Sully to help her out of bed so she could take a hot bath at about one in the morning, and as she was bathing, Sully replaced the sheets on the bed so he and Michaela could sleep in comfort.
By the time they got into bed at two, the girls were ready for their first diaper changes. They hadn't thought of a name for the second baby, but they had decided to sleep on it. They hadn't had much sleep, however, because the girls were quite fussy on their first night.
When Michaela woke, Sully was sitting on the floor beside the girls' cradles. He looked up when he heard Michaela sit up.
"I can't stop starin' at 'em," he said with a smile. "They look just like their ma."
"Well, it's only fitting. Our boys look just like you." Sully grinned happily at his wife and stood to walk over to the bed.
"Can I get ya anything?" Michaela shook her head.
"Well, perhaps you could go outside and see if there's any way we can get into town today."
"Michaela, ya can't be getting out today."
"But the train . . ."
"I have a feelin' the train's gonna be delayed. There's at least three feet of snow out there."
"Don't worry. Hank and Myra are gonna keep 'em safe. We might not get to see 'em 'til tomorrow, but we'll know they're safe." Michaela sighed with concern and settled back against the pillows. The yet-to-be-named baby girl began to fuss. Sully picked her up and carried her over to the bed. Michaela took her into her arms.
"Good morning little lady," she whispered. "We still have to find a name for you." She grinned and caressed the baby's forehead. "Sully, will you bring me that book of baby names?" Sully walked over to find the book that Michaela had been looking over for the past four months. He sat down beside her on the bed and opened it up.
"Any names come to mind?" Sully wondered.
"Well, I've been thinking about the names Lucy, Elise, and Anna."
"Anna? Elise Anna Lucille Sully?" Sully asked. Michaela grinned.
"That's pretty, but I think our daughter might have trouble keeping those names straight."
"Yeah, maybe you're right. Ya know, it's hard to name them when ya don't know what they're gonna grow up to be."
"I agree," Michaela replied with a smile. She looked down at her little girl. "What do you think, little one? What name do you want to have for the rest of your life?" Sully thought for a moment.
"What about Eve?"
"Eve? As in Adam and Eve?" Michaela thought. She looked at the baby girl. "Katie and Eve." She smiled at Sully.
"Maybe she's not an Eve. I don't know. Don't look like she likes it much." He glanced at his daughter's agitated expression. Michaela laughed.
"You're right. I really love the name Elise, and it suits her, but nothing seems to go with Elise."
"What about Emma?"
"Emma," Michaela whispered. "That's a beautiful name!" The baby opened her eyes at the sound of that. "She likes it! Emma Amelia Elise Sully."
"That's a mouthful, but it suits her." Michaela grinned proudly.
"So that's her name?"
"I think it is," he laughed. Sully went to pick Katie up out of her cradle, and once he had done so, he brought her back to the bed. "Welcome to the world Katie and Emma. We're so glad you're here." Michaela smiled and yawned, resting her head on Sully's shoulder. For now, their family was complete, and as soon as the snowstorm was over, they would all be reunited to celebrate the births of the two new Sully children. Michaela smiled, knowing that she couldn't ask for anything better on Christmas.
Thank you all for your feedback throughout this series. I'm not sure if I will be continuing this series or not. I haven't had much feedback on the last few stories, and I know everyone is busy with the holidays. Just let me know if YOU want to see a sequel, and I might start one. Thanks!