Chapter 20: Labor of Love
Author's Note: Thank you for reading and reviewing…I appreciate it more than I can express. I hope you like this chapter, more freaked-out Hyde is super fun! Let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: Not at all mine.
That damn nurse took my shades! Just snatched them right off and said, "This is a delivery room, not a beachside cantina." Like I don't freaking know that!
Now my eyes are all squinty and darty, moving so fast side to side, glancing over everything yet actually processing nothing. What color are the walls? I don't know, and I can't slow down enough to figure it out. And why the hell are the lights so bright in here?!
And I keep finding myself taking the heavy controlled Lamaze breaths, just like Jackie...only in my case it is to keep from passing out.
My eyes are widening and panicked again.
And everyone can see it. So they will all know.
They'll know that I have no zen. None, whatsoever.
But the girl I hated, then dated, then loved, then lost, then missed, and finally just got to kiss again, is laying there, all sweaty, and squeezing the hell out of my hand, and blowing out air, snorting and cussing, because she's having my baby, and I can't feel my legs or my stomach or really any part of my body other than my aching fingers and my heart because it won't stop crashing into my chest, so I think maybe, just maybe, I am allowed to be freaking out, damn it!
Just breathe. Slow yourself down, man….
Wait, was that just Kelso's idiot head peaking in the door? I thought I told him to stay in the waiting room where Eric could keep an eye on him. How many times to you have to kick a guy's ass in one day?
Oh, yeah, pregnant…girlfriend? Is that what she is now? We didn't get to talk about that.
"Could you kindly tell this man, who apparently bought his doctor's license or whatever at a corner thrift store, that if he could stop gawking between my legs and actually get the baby out of me, it'd be much appreciated and you won't have to punch his fat ugly face?"
Huh. And I thought I was freaking out.
"Jackie, insulting the doctor is no way to make this any easier, for anybody."
"Oh, when did you go so soft? Where the hell is Donna? She'll let the misogynistic bastard know he can't let a woman just lay here and suffer." In between rants she's pushing and heaving and breathing. She's like a machine.
"Miss Burkhart, I'm doing everything I can. We have to allow nature to take its co-"
"You finish that sentence, buddy, and once I'm out of these stirrups I swear on ever pair of designer jeans in the world I will kick you in your crotch."
I try to stifle my laughter but instead it just burns up in my nose and chest before grunting outward.
Oh, shit. And she heard me. Now the glare is directed at me. And I hadn't thought she could squeeze my hand any tighter, but I was very wrong.
"Jackie, I'm sorry, but if you weren't such a sweaty mess in a great deal of pain, you'd be laughing right now too."
"Steven Hyde, you just shut your porky little mouth." As soon as the words left her, she gasped in surprise. "Aww, Steven, did you hear that? I just sounded like Mrs. Forman. I am going to be a good mom."
Now her eyes are welling with happy tears. And I'm thankful for the slightly lessened pressure.
"Of course you are? Do you think I would have impregnated someone I didn't think was up for the job?"
And we're back to glaring.
Until we both notice the "doctor" is yelling for her to push harder. Two more pushes he says. Okay, two more harder pushes.
And Jackie is screaming, and squealing, and shouting words that typically make the girl blush, and then there's still more screaming.
But then, before I know it, amidst the screaming, and the pain, and the darty eyes in too bright a room, I'm a father.
Of a beautiful, perfect, disgustingly slimy looking baby girl.
Oh, and she is loud. She's got lungs like her mother. Wait, she is not happy about them trying to clean her up. Like her father.
There's that gonna-pass-out feeling again.
Jackie's screams fall away, and there's sobbing and cooing and hushed whispers.
Wrapped in the softest pink blanket in the world, looking tinier than I ever thought possible, my daughter is a wrinkled blob of everything I never realized I wanted so badly.
Jackie looks up at me, the red glowing face of hours of labor and overwhelming exhaustion, and so full of love that she's never ever looked nearly so beautiful.
I lean down slowly, and kiss her softly on her lips and when I pull away her smile widens.
"Steven, this is our baby." Her voice is so hoarse and soft. "Isn't she gorgeous?"
"Damn straight, she is." I'm surprised by the raw pride in my voice.
"Ms. Burkhart?" The nurse looks absolutely terrified, and than shocked as Jackie looks at her, smiling sweetly. I almost laugh. Amateur.
"The family wants to come in."
Neither one of us can tear our eyes away as we are suddenly surrounded by the most lovingly mismatched, maybe even dysfuntional family in the history of time.
"Wow, she's so tiny. I remember when Betsy was that tiny. You know, Hyde, you have to be really careful not to drop her when she's this small, it could hurt her real bad."
"Thanks, Kelso. But how about I try not to drop her ever, just to be safe."
"That's probably a good idea, man. I mean she may not even get much bigger, look at Jackie." The doofus nods, oblivious and earnest, and I'm really glad he's here.
I watch as a beaming Jackie offer our daughter to Donna, who actually looks like she might cry.
"Hi, there precious baby girl. I'm your Aunt Donna, and you are gonna love me. And you are just so pretty, you could be a princess. But if you decide, that you'd rather be a president instead, I'll support you and do whatever I can to help. Okay?"
I look down and Jackie's cheeks are covered in tears. I give her shoulder a nudge, to see if she's okay.
"Donna, you are just the sweetest lumberjack a girl could ever know."
"Aww, thanks midget."
I will never ever ever understand women.
Finally, I notice Kitty and Red, standing off to the side, quietly. Kitty's face is a blur of smile and tears and shaking slightly, and Red is just hugging her to his side. I motion for Donna to give me the baby, and walk her over, so carefully, to the only woman who could ever be thought of as my mother.
I look back to Jackie and she gives me her approving nod. "Mrs. Forman, meet your granddaughter. Katherine Page Hyde." The woman's eyes shoot up to find my naked ones, and I almost feel tears when she breathes out,
She takes my little girl, and it looks like the most natural thing I've ever seen. Hopefully soon, I'll be able to hold a baby like that...like I know what I'm doing.
"Wait, man, Katherine after my mom and Page after...?"
I smirk at Eric, "The guitar god, Jimmy."
Several pair of eyes shoot to Jackie.
"Are you serious?"
"No way, satan, really?"
She giggles, tired but amused. "Well, I happen to just think the name Page is pretty, thank you. But yes, our baby is a little bit rock n roll." She takes a beat and smiles evily. "Like Donny Osmond."
I lead our friends in a chorus of groans and mutterings.
Everyone else went home about an hour ago. Jackie finally let the nurses take the baby away so she could get some sleep.
I'm standing at the door to the nursery, with Eric at my side. We really haven't said much, but I think he knows I'm glad he's here.
"So, you and Jackie back together?"
"I think so. Or at least, we will be."
He nods. I nod.
"Good, 'cause you know, you do seem ha-, I mean less pissed off."
I chuckle. "No, Forman. I'm not less pissed off, I'm just happy. Really, really happy." I show him a sincere smile and he shoots one back. And I'm surprised at how not girly it feels.
He pats my back, brotherly,"Glad to hear it, buddy. Glad to finally hear it."