Cause and Effect
By GrumpyMagrat and Magratconvert
Disclaimer: We don't own the Thunderbirds. We wish we did, but it's just one of those dreams that will never come true. We do NOT make any money off this endeavor. It is just for our own pleasure, and (we hope) your enjoyment.
Chapter 40 – Epilogue
SIX MONTHS LATER
Grandma sat in a chair, knitting. The knitting needles created a rhythmic clicking as the baby blanket slowly took shape. Jeff paced back and forth across the small room. His mother watched him with a frown on her face.
Finally, in frustration, grandma dropped her knitting in her lap and said. "Will you please stop that infernal pacing?"
Jeff moved to the open door and looked down the hallway. "What is taking so long?"
"Jefferson Grant Tracy," Grandma laughed. "Have you forgotten how long it takes to have a baby?"
Jeff smiled and sat down in the chair next to his mother. "I know, but it just seems so much longer when you are outside the labor room, waiting."
Grandma laughed again. "Now you know how I felt each time Lucy gave birth."
"Well, I guess that just proves the old adage. 'What goes around comes around.' I guess it's my turn." Jeff said as he resumed his pacing.
Grandma picked up her knitting again. "I sure hope that Virgil brings back decaffeinated coffee. You don't need anymore stimulants."
Jeff didn't reply as he continued his pacing.
Grandma shook her head and thought to herself. "This is going to be a long wait."
Alan stood next to the bed and held Tin-Tin's hand as she breathed through another contraction. "That's it, honey. You're doing great. Breathe." His eyes flicked back and forth between Tin-Tin and the fetal monitor. He watched as the contraction crested. "Okay, sweetheart, it's going down. It's almost over." As the graph line decreased into a flat line, he said. "There you go. Time for a deep, cleansing breath."
Tin-Tin exhaled a deep breath and relaxed into her pillow. "Wow, they're starting to get stronger now."
"Are you okay?" Alan asked. "Do you want something for the pain? I could get the nurse…"
Just as Alan mentioned "nurse", she entered the room. "Did someone mention 'nurse'?"
Alan nodded. "Yeah, she's in a lot of pain. The contractions are getting stronger and closer together. You need to give her something."
Tin-Tin rolled her eyes. "Alan, I can speak for myself."
The nurse smiled as she checked the readings on the fetal monitor. "Things here are looking good. The baby's heart rate is good, and the contractions are nice and steady." Moving towards the end of the bed, she said. "Now, I need to check your dilation. Then we can discuss how you want to proceed."
Gordon had been sitting quietly in a chair. When the nurse mentioned checking Tin-Tin, he got up nervously. "Hey, look, I'm going to go get some coffee. Do you want some, Alan? How about you Tin-Tin? Can I get you anything? More ice chips? A magazine? Anything?"
Tin-Tin shook her head, but Alan said. "I would appreciate a cup of coffee as long as it's okay with Tin-Tin." Turning towards Tin-Tin, he asked. "Will it upset you if we drink it in here?"
Gordon reddened. "I'm sorry, Tin-Tin. I should have thought about your restrictions."
Tin-Tin shook her head. "No, that's okay. Enjoy your coffee. I'll be all right."
"I'll be back in a few minutes." Gordon said as he quickly ducked out the door. He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts before taking a deep breath and moving down the hall.
Jeff saw Gordon coming down the hall, and he practically dragged him into the waiting room. "How's it going? Is she getting close? Or did she deliver already?" He demanded.
"Please, Jeff," Grandma said. "Give the poor boy a chance to catch his breath before you begin to hound him."
Jeff nodded. "Sorry, Gordon, but I'm just so nervous. It's not every day that I become a grandfather."
Gordon shook his head. "There's no baby yet, but things are progressing. The nurse is checking Tin-Tin right now. So, I'll know more once I get back, but I'm sure that it will still be a while."
"Where are you headed?" Virgil asked.
"I was headed to the cafeteria." Gordon answered. "I was going to get Alan and I some coffee."
Virgil nodded. "Why don't I join you?" Turning to the rest of the family, he asked. "Does any one want anything else?"
Jeff shook his head. "I still have some coffee left."
"Tea, please," Grandma requested. "With honey."
"No problem," Virgil said, and he and Gordon left the waiting room.
The nurse quickly finished the exam. "Well, Mrs. Tracy, you are dilated to about five centimeters, and your contractions are around six minutes apart. Things are progressing on schedule, but you still have a while to go. So would you like something for the pain?"
Tin-Tin shook her head. "No, I'd like to try to hold out for a bit longer."
"But Tin-Tin, you're in pain." Alan argued. "There's no shame in getting help through this."
Tin-Tin nodded. "I know, but it's still better if I do it without the drugs. I want to do…" Whatever she was going to say was cut off when another contraction began.
Alan took her hand and let her squeeze it. He encouraged her as he kept an eye on the monitor. "Come on, baby. Breathe with me. He, he, he, he. You're doing really well. Keep breathing. He, he, he, he. It's cresting. There, it's going down. Keep breathing. He, he, he, he. It's almost over. It's easing…easing…there, it's over. Cleansing breath…deep in…slow out. Are you okay? Do you want some ice chips?"
"I'm okay. I don't need anything." Tin-Tin answered him.
"You're actually doing very well with your breathing." The nurse added.
Alan gently ran a hand through her hair. "I really wish that you would take something for the pain. I hate seeing you like this."
"Please understand, Alan." Tin-Tin said. "If it is at all possible, I want to have a natural child birth. I promise that if it gets to be too much for me to handle, I'll ask for something. Okay?"
"Okay," Alan smiled at her. "You are so brave. I could never do this. I love you so much."
"I love you too." Tin-Tin replied. "I can only do this with your support."
Alan leaned over and kissed Tin-Tin. "You will always have my support, now and forever."
"So, are we good for right now?" The nurse asked.
Tin-Tin nodded. "Yeah, we're good."
The nurse nodded. "Okay, then I'm going to step out now. I'll be in to check on you in a while. If you need me for anything before that, just buzz me. Also, just for your information, the doctor should be back shortly to check in on you again."
"Thank you." Tin-Tin replied, and the nurse left the room.
Virgil and Gordon walked to the cafeteria. "So, how are you doing, Gordon?"
Gordon shrugged. "I'm fine. It's no big deal."
"No big deal?" Virgil shook his head. "It won't be long before you're a father. I would say that's a big deal."
Gordon sighed as he paid for the drinks. "I have to get back." He said as he grabbed the drink carrier and headed back towards Tin-Tin's room.
Virgil turned and followed Gordon. "Hey, Gordon, what's wrong? And don't tell me nothing. I can tell that something is bothering you."
Gordon stopped walking and leaned against the wall. "I guess I just don't know where I fit into this. Tin-Tin and Alan said that I belonged in the delivery room, but I feel so useless. I mean Alan is Tin-Tin's coach, and she is doing all the work. With the exception of running the video camera when she actually starts to deliver, there's nothing for me to do but twiddle my thumbs. I sit there while poor Tin-Tin suffers, knowing that I did this to her, and I also know that there's nothing that I can do to make things better for her. God, this is so not how I imagined the birth of my first child would be."
"Look, Gordon," Virgil began. "I'm not going to pretend to know what you are going through. The one thing that I do know is that even though you are feeling out of place right now, you will be glad that you are there when the baby is finally born."
Gordon nodded. "I know you're right, but the waiting is hard to deal with."
"But it will be worth it when you see your baby for the first time." Virgil replied.
"Well, I really have to head back to make sure that I am there when that happens." Gordon said.
"Then let's get going, little bro." Virgil laughed lightly as they made their way down the hall.
John and Scott entered the waiting room to join the rest of the family. Scott had flown up to Thunderbird Five to get John when Tin-Tin's water had broken.
"How's it going? Did we miss it?" Scott wanted to know.
Jeff shook his head. "No, we're still waiting. You two are a little later than I expected. Was there a problem?"
John shook his head. "No, not really, just general nuisance stuff. We were stuck circling the airport for twenty minutes waiting for our turn to land, then there was a major traffic jam on the way from the airport that tied us up for almost an hour. But we're here now, and we managed to get here before the baby arrived."
Jeff looked around. "Where's Brains?"
John shook his head. "He didn't come. He insisted that this was a time for family, and that someone needed to keep an eye on any calls that came in. He said that he would call us if one does come in."
"Any ideas on how much longer that it will be?" Scott asked.
Grandma rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath. "Men!"
Jeff shook his head. "Babies don't follow strict schedules, but the last update we received was that she was dilated to seven centimeters and the contractions are now down to only three minutes apart."
"So, what does that mean?" Scott continued questioning. "Is that Good? Bad? What?"
Jeff laughed. "It means that we could be waiting another hour or more, or Tin-Tin could be giving birth as we speak. It just depends on how quickly or slowly her labor progresses. There's just no way to know for certain."
John looked around. "Hey, where's Kyrano?"
Grandma's knitting needles clicked away. "The hospital has a small arboretum. He decided to wait there. He said that being among the flowers would 'keep him grounded'. We promised to go get him as soon as we knew anything."
"Well, I sure could use something to drink." John said. "How about you, Scott?"
"Coffee sounds great." Scott answered.
"I'll show you where the cafeteria is." Virgil offered in an effort to give himself something to do instead of just sitting.
"Sure," John replied as he followed Virgil. "Anyone else want anything?"
Grandma shook her head, and Jeff answered. "Nah, we had plenty to drink before you two got here. If I have anymore, I'll float away."
John nodded. "Okay, we'll be right back." The two brothers left the room.
"Okay, Tin-Tin, you're doing great." The doctor said from his seated position at the end of the bed. "I can see the head. So on the next contraction; I want you to give me a long, hard, steady push. Let's see if we can't get the head out in one push."
Alan sat on the edge of Tin-Tin's bed helping to support her back and to wipe the sweat from her face. "You hear that honey. It's getting close. Are you getting this Gordon?"
"Yes, I am, Alan." Gordon said enthusiastically from behind the doctor where he was filming the birth. "He has red hair."
Alan smiled at his brother's excitement. Turning his attention back to Tin-Tin, he said. "Let's get ready. Here comes the next contraction. Deep breath and push." Alan counted to ten. "Okay, exhale, deep breath, and push."
Tin-Tin groaned loudly as she pushed as hard as she could.
Over Alan's counting, the doctor also encouraged Tin-Tin. "You're doing great. The baby is coming. Nice and smooth, now, nice and smooth." When Alan reached seven on his second count, the doctor said. "Heads out…stop pushing. I need to rotate the baby. Breathe through it." After a few seconds, he told Tin-Tin. "Okay, one more good push to deliver the shoulders and you'll be done."
Tin-Tin gripped Alan's hand tightly as she pushed as hard as she could. Everyone in the room were encouraging her.
After a hard push and a guttural moan from Tin-Tin, the doctor announced. "That's it. The baby's out. Congratulations."
Tin-Tin's tears fell as her baby's cries filled the room.
Alan's eyes also filled with tears. "You did it Tin. You're a mom. I'm so proud of you."
Gordon's tears streamed silently down his face as the nurse handed Tin-Tin his baby. He moved next to the bed. Gently he reached out and stroked his baby's hand. "Perfect…so perfect." He whispered.
"It's amazing." Alan said. "I can hardly believe it."
Tin-Tin nodded. "I know. I can't wait to see the family's reaction."
"Well, let's get you and the baby cleaned up and then you can see them." The nurse said.
Jeff could tell by the increase of hospital personnel going in and out of Tin-Tin's room that the birth had to be close. He had sent John to get Kyrano. Now the group waited for news. Grandma and Kyrano sat patiently, but the Tracy men paced around the waiting room.
It was well over an hour though before the nurse came to get them. "Mr. and Mrs. Tracy have asked that you join them."
"Is everything okay? What did she have?" Jeff began to question the nurse as they followed her down the hall.
The nurse just shook her head. "I'm sorry. You'll have to get that information from the parents." The nurse stopped and stuck her head inside the door. "Are you ready for visitors?" The answer must have been in the affirmative because the nurse stepped aside and motioned for them to go in.
Kyrano and Jeff were the first into the room with the rest of the family close behind. Tin-Tin lay on the bed looking tired but happy. Her hair was still damp from sweat, and her eyes were drooping with fatigue, but she smiled when she saw her family. "Hi, guys, how's it going?"
Scott laughed. "Shouldn't that be our line?"
"So, my grandson?" Jeff demanded.
Alan, who was sitting next to Tin-Tin holding her hand, smiled and looked across the bed at his brother who sat in the other chair talking quietly to the bundle in his arms. "We thought we'd let Gordon make the introductions." Alan said.
Gordon stood and moved towards his family. "Dad, Kyrano, I'd like you to meet your granddaughter, Christina Lucille Tracy."
"A girl?" Jeff asked dumbfounded. "But that's impossible."
Laughter flitted through the room. "I would say that since Christina is here that it is possible." Kyrano replied.
Jeff shook his head. "You know what I mean. There hasn't been a Tracy daughter in five generations."
"Well, leave it to Gordon to break with family tradition." Virgil teased.
"Maybe we should check the diaper just to make sure that this isn't a practical joke of Gordon's." Scott teased.
Gordon shook his head. "My daughter is no joke."
"No, of course not," Scott quickly acquiesced. "I'm sorry. I was just teasing you."
"Can I hold her?" Jeff asked tentatively.
Gordon nodded and carefully moved Christina into his father's arms. The rest of the family crowded around him to get a look at the newest Tracy. The jostling woke the baby who opened her eyes for just a few seconds before settling back to sleep. In those few moments, Jeff could see that she had inherited her mother's green eyes as well as her olive skin and high cheekbones. Her red hair, though, was all her father's as was her nose and mouth. Jeff was willing to bet that when she started to smile that it would also be much like Gordon's.
Jeff handed Christina to Kyrano. He looked at his two youngest sons and the woman between them. The three of them wore smiles on their faces. He couldn't help but think of all that had happened over the past year. First, John's accident that almost drove Alan to a desperate act, then Alan's shooting and almost dying which in turn lead to Christina's conception. The wedding followed, as did Alan's continued recovery. Brains had told him only a couple weeks ago that Alan should be back to full strength in another couple of months. Now, the baby was here. Jeff knew that Alan had forgiven Tin-tin and Gordon for sleeping together, but he wondered if they were truly prepared for the life that lay ahead. There were so many problems that would arise: differences in parenting styles and decisions, jealousy while watching her interact with the other parent, and what if Alan and Tin-Tin have more children. Will Gordon be able to handle that? Watching his daughter interact with siblings? Will Alan and Tin-Tin be able to handle it? Jeff shook his head. Only time will tell, only time.
Author's Note - Well, folks here we are at the end of our "epic novel". Which does not mean that we have seen the last of the Tracys or Christina. We have ideas for not only one sequel but two, and who knows how many more will pop up before we get those written. We hope that you have enjoyed the resolution. When we started this story, we never thought that it would have gone on as long as it did.
We are sorry that this chapter is a little later than normal, but with the holiday schedules, family coming in from out of town and later Christmas gatherings, it just worked out this way. We want to thank EVERYONE who was so faithful in reviewing and encouraging us to keep going, especially to Lillehafrue and Tikatu. This story encompassed sixteen months of our lives, and we are grateful that people enjoyed it. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Hopefully, we will see you around the story boards.