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.
Hush Little Baby
By, Ashley J.
The incessant tick-tock of the clock above the mantle was the only sound present in the Sully household. Sully couldn't stand the silence, and it was killing him inside knowing what was going on upstairs in his bedroom . . . in his bed. How could this happen to his family? Everything had been going along so wonderfully since Colleen and Andrew's wedding. Now this had to happen, and Sully felt as if the world as he knew it had disappeared into a never-ending abyss.
"I can't take it anymore!" Brian exclaimed with exasperation, walking over from the windowsill. The sun had gone down hours ago, and after the screaming had stopped, silence had filled the house. They hadn't heard anything in at least twenty minutes. "What's takin' so long?"
"These things take time, Brian," Sully said hoarsely, remembering the words he'd said to Clayton Baker a few years ago. He only wished he had someone who'd been in his shoes there to help him out right now. He was lost, and all he wanted to do was go upstairs and hold his wife in his arms.
"What if . . . what if Ma dies?" Brian asked.
"Don't talk like that!" Sully snapped angrily. "She ain't gonna die! She can't!" He immediately regretted yelling at his son that way, but he couldn't help it. Michaela had been in pain for two days straight, and Andrew had only resorted to a C-Section on this night.
Tears filled Brian's eyes, and he moved back over to keep watch at the window. He wasn't watching for anything in particular. He was waiting for a sign that everything was going to be alright. He was wishing so desperately that this would just turn out to be a nightmare.
"I'm sorry, son," Sully whispered softly, staring into the flames that danced and crackled endlessly in the hearth.
"I know," Brian replied quietly. "I don't understand why it's gotta happen? Why, Pa?" Matthew stepped out of the kitchen with a sleeping three-year-old Katie in his arms.
"Brian, why don't ya come help me in the Barn?" he suggested
"No! I ain't leavin'. I don't want ya tryin' to keep me busy just so I won't think 'bout Ma and the baby." Matthew looked at Sully.
"It's alright." He reached out for Katie. "Give me my girl." He smiled as he took his little girl into his arms. He rocked her close and kissed the top of her head. "I remember the day you were born, Katie. Your mama was so happy that you were comin' to be with us. I was happy too, but I was more nervous than your mama." Katie continued to sleep in her father's arms. "Ya didn't have a bit of hair on your head, but you were the most beautiful thing I ever saw." Matthew saw Sully begin to tremble, and he took Katie out of his arms again. "Why the Hell ain't Andrew comin' down yet!" He was so angry. He wanted answers, and he hated waiting. He couldn't use the excuse that 'these things take time,' again, because time was precious.
"Pa," Colleen whispered, moving over to sit beside her father. She put an arm around him and felt his shoulders shaking as he fought back the tears. "Ma's strong, and she's fightin'." Sully swallowed hard.
"The baby," he whispered. "Why'd the baby have to die?" He closed his eyes and hung his head. Colleen looked at her brothers, and they left the room to wait in the kitchen. Colleen rubbed Sully's back understandingly.
"Andrew's doin' everything he can." Andrew had asked Colleen to wait outside when the entire situation became too overwhelming for her. Just before the C-Section, Andrew hadn't detected the baby's heartbeat. They'd been informed, and now Sully was praying that the spirits would look over his wife and make sure she survived the procedure.
Footsteps slowly climbed down the stairs, and Andrew appeared looking disheveled and emotional. His shirt was covered in blood stairs. Some were fresh, and some were hours old. Sully saw that he was holding a bundle in his arms. Sully stood, and Matthew and Brian came in to stand beside their father and sister.
"Andrew?" Colleen asked softly. Why was he bringing the baby down when they all knew that it was gone? She moved to him and saw the pink little face looking up at her. "Oh my God!" Sully's heart skipped a beat.
"I was wrong," Andrew said quietly, a hint of sadness in his voice. "I was wrong. The baby's fine."
"What?" Sully asked. "You . . . you were wrong?"
"I'm sorry I gave you false news," Andrew replied, shaking his head. "I didn't hear the heartbeat, but when I performed the surgery, your son was perfectly healthy."
"My . . . my son?" Sully asked, his head swimming with different emotions. His heart felt lighter now, and he smiled with tears in his eyes as he looked down at the tiny boy with eyes like his mother's and hair as dark as his father's. "My son."
"And Ma?" Brian asked softly from behind. Andrew looked at Sully.
"Sully, I need you to sit down."
"What?" Sully asked immediately, not registering the words in his head.
"Andrew, what about Ma?" Colleen asked gently, her voice breaking with emotion. Andrew didn't know how to tell his wife's family . . . his family.
"She's lost a lot of blood," Andrew explained. Sully shook his head. He wasn't hearing this. "She's very weak, Sully, and she's asking for you."
"What are ya sayin'?" Sully asked, feeling his knees growing weak underneath him.
"I'm saying that there's no time to do a transfusion of blood, and she needs you now."
"She's dyin'?" Brian asked, holding onto Matthew's strong arm for support. Andrew lowered his eyes and nodded sadly.
"I'm so sorry. I did everything I could."
"NO!" Sully screamed. "Ya didn't! Ya coulda done somethin' sooner! Ya coulda done somethin'!" He wanted to put his hands around Andrew's neck at that moment and choke the life out of him, but he knew it wouldn't do any good. Hating Andrew wouldn't bring Michaela back.
"I'm so sorry," Andrew whispered, cradling the newborn child in his arms. Sully shook his head, and he ran up the stairs and toward the bedroom he had shared with his wife for four wonderful years. Andrew sat down in a chair with the child in his arms, feeling nauseated after having to break the news that the lady of the house was about to lose her life. He looked at his wife who knelt down beside his chair and put her arms around him. "I'm so sorry."
"Brian," Matthew whispered, his voice shaking. "Let's take Katie outta here. I don't want her getting upset." Brian shook his head. "C'mon, Brian. She's our little sister, and she need us."
"No!" Brian screamed. "Leave me alone!" He ran out of the homestead and toward the barn. When Matthew heard Colleen begin to sob, he couldn't take it any longer. He picked up a small blanket, wrapped it around a sleeping Katie, and he started out toward the barn to try to console his little brother.
"I should have done something more," Andrew said, swallowing hard. Colleen shook her head, brushing away her husband's tears and then her own.
"You did what you could, Andrew. Don't blame yourself." He shook his head again and looked at the baby in his arms.
"Thanks to me, this little boy won't ever get to know his mother." Colleen placed her hands on either side of her husband's cheeks, and as she sobbed, she whispered to him.
"Thanks to you, Andrew, this little boy will get to live and learn about how special his ma was."
Sully made his way into the room he shared with Michaela. The fire in the hearth was dying, and Sully couldn't help but find the irony in it. He looked around the room to see the blood stained sheets that Andrew had tried to cover up, but they were still apparent underneath the fresh ones. Michaela looked so pale and small in the bed.
"Sully," she whispered, holding a hand out. Sully took it, feeling the warmth draining from her body by the moment. She could feel his hands trembling. Sully sat down on the edge of the bed, trying not to jostle his wife.
"You're gonna get better, Michaela," he whispered, brushing the hair from her forehead. He tried to smile, but she could see right through it. She gave him a simple smile, grateful that he was trying to keep her from being afraid.
"Did you see our baby?" she whispered, a glint of happiness in her trickling tears. Sully nodded.
"He's perfect," Sully whimpered. "He's got your eyes."
"And your smile," Michaela added. She winced, and Sully felt the lump in his throat growing. How could his perfect angel be slipping away from him? How could she be leaving this life when they'd just started theirs together?
"Are ya in pain?"
"No," she whispered. "The moment I saw his face, the pain went away. The moment I heard his cry, I knew that he was going to be alright. Did you hear him cry?" Sully shook his head.
"No," he replied, swallowing a sob. "I wish I had."
"Andrew told me, Sully," she whispered. "I know I'm dying." Sully shook his head, not wanting to believe it.
"No you're not. You're gonna get better. He was wrong about the baby. He's wrong about this," Sully insisted. Michaela's hand moved to his cheek to brush away a tear.
"Sully," she whispered. Sully took her hand and kissed her pale knuckles.
"Tell me a story," she whispered, her lips turning into a pale shade of blue. Sully's brain was screening. He was reliving every single moment since the day he first saw Michaela's perfect face. "Tell me about how you felt when you saw me walking down the aisle on our wedding day." Sully shook his head.
"I can't," he whispered.
"Please," Michaela replied, tears forming in her eyes.
"Don't do this. Don't you think about sayin' goodbye. Ya can't leave me," Sully begged. Michaela's lips began to tremble, and Sully rested his head on her chest. Her fingers moved to caress his cheek and run through his hair.
"I don't want to leave," she cried. "I don't want to die." She began to sob. She wanted to be strong for her husband, but knowing that these were her last few minutes on Earth with him was too much.
"Then fight!" Sully cried, sitting up. "Damn it! Just fight with everything you have! Don't leave me!" A tap came to the door, and Andrew was about to come in to check on Michaela. "Get out! Get out of our room!" Sully screamed. Andrew quickly moved out of sight.
"Sully, please," Michaela cried. "Please don't do this. I don't want this to be my last memory of us. I don't want you to be sad. I want you to be with me and hold me." Sully closed his eyes and buried his head in his hands. Michaela took a deep breath, feeling her body beginning to wind down. Sully knew his wife was right.
"You looked so beautiful," he whispered, taking her hands in his again. He leaned down and pressed a shaky kiss to her forehead. "You looked like an angel as you floated down the aisle with those blue flowers in your hands. I remember thinkin' that I was the luckiest man in the world. I was gonna have the best wife in the world, and ya were. You were everything to me. Ya still are." Michaela smiled.
"I was so nervous," she whispered. "I was thinking, 'what if the rest of our life together is cut short? What would I do?'" Sully couldn't take it. It was too hard. He wanted to leave, but he couldn't let his wife go. "But I knew that if I was to die right then and there, the last thing I would remember was the smile on your face and how I put it there."
"You made me smile every day of my life, Michaela Quinn. Even when I thought I'd never get to see my family again when I was hidin' . . . I would think of ya, and I couldn't help but smile."
"There are so many things we still need to say," she whispered, her eyes fluttering closed for a moment.
"Then say 'em." Michaela swallowed hard.
"Do you remember . . . when I was sick during the influenza epidemic? I remember feeling the kiss you gave me on the forehead after I recovered."
"Yes. I never forgot it." She smiled a little. "I still don't feel like I've told you 'I love you' enough. I could never hear it enough, and I feel that I could never say it enough either. Sully, you were everything to me, and you gave me what I always wanted. We created two beautiful children together."
"Would it be alright . . . if I named our son after you? I want him to carry an extra piece of ya for the rest of his life. I wanna name him Michael." That brought the tears forth once again, and Michaela nodded her head.
"Under these circumstances, I'd like that very much." She was feeling weaker by the moment, and Sully knew they didn't have much time left. "And Sully? There's one more thing."
"I wanted to let you know that . . . during our four years of marriage, I never stopped appreciating your enthusiasm." Sully couldn't help but grin at his wife as she managed a small laugh and smile in her dying moments.
"Please don't joke. Don't make me smile, Michaela. Not now," he cried.
"Oh, Sully, that's all I ever wanted to do," she whispered. "All I ever wanted to do was make you smile." He watched as the life faded from her eyes.
"I love you," he cried. When no response followed, he felt her hand go limp. "No! No! I love you! Come back to me! Don't leave me like this! I need ya to say it! Say you love me! Please don't go!" He was screaming so loud and sobbing so hard that when he stood, he fell to his knees and stayed there, not wanting to look at his wife's lifeless body. No, he didn't need to hear her say it again. He knew. He always knew she loved him. She'd never stop . . . not even in death.
Footsteps came running down the hallway, and Andrew, Colleen, Matthew, and Brian came into the room. Brian was holding Katie now, while Matthew held baby Michael.
"No!" Brian cried. "Ma!" He threw himself over Michaela's lifeless body like Colleen did when Charlotte died. "Ma, don't leave us!"
"Brian, c'mon," Colleen whispered, pulling her brother up. Though he was growing into a young man, he suddenly seemed like a little boy clinging to the memory of the mother he'd loved for so long. Sully felt sick. He needed to get out when he felt like his head was spinning. He tried to stand, but nearly fell. Andrew caught him and held him up.
"She can't be gone," Sully said, shaking his head. "She had her whole life ahead of her." Baby Michael began to cry, and Sully heard the cries Michaela had heard for the first time. He looked over at the child and suddenly, his broken heart mended a little. "Michael." Matthew looked at the boy in his arms.
"Ya named him after Ma?" Sully only nodded. He took his son into his arms and carried him over to the rocking chair Michaela had spent so many nights sitting in during her pregnancy and during the time she breastfed Katie. God, how many nights had she sat in that chair during both pregnancies and talked about how excited she was to have a new baby coming to the family?
As Michael Quinton Sully continued to cry, Sully simply held him close and stared into his sleepy little eyes.
"Hush little baby, don't you cry. Everything's gonna be alright," he spoke, caressing the pink cheek of the little boy. Sully watched as his family sat with Michaela, grieving and saying their goodbyes. It was over now, and Michaela was with the angels where she was meant to be when she died. But it was too soon. Thinking about all of the years they should have still had together made the pain worse. "Don't worry, son. Papa won't let nothin' bad ever happen to ya. You're a lucky boy, ya know why? 'Cause not every little boy's got a guardian angel as special as you do. Your guardian angel is your mama. We love you, son."
As Sully rocked his son, he felt an invisible hand caress his cheek, and that softness against his rough, stubble-covered face had the feeling that only one hand had ever possessed. It was Michaela saying her final goodbye and blessing the family she left behind.