Matt and Emily had been waiting inside the small exam room for over half an hour, and were beginning to grown impatient. Emily was huge now, at about 36 weeks, the baby was growing faster than they could keep up with. She rubbed circles over her belly, trying to soothe the baby as it performed what at least felt like a somersault inside her uterus. She was not a happy woman as of late. She was constipated most of the time, and was suffering the worst heartburn of her life, which was another near constant feeling. Her back and feet were horribly sore, and it didn't help matters that it was hot as hell in the L.A. May. Not to mention that she was getting very nervous about labor, and flat out terrified of bringing the baby home.
Matt was just as nervous as she was, but fortunately without the wonderful physical symptoms. His biggest problems were trying to predict Emily's moods, and act accordingly. He'd taken to giving her long backrubs most nights, to help soothe her and ease the soreness. He was also responsible for knowing which times she be willing to talk to her mother, and make excuses over the phone when she wasn't. Though the last few months, her mother had been visiting regularly and Emily hadn't complained. Matt was considerably relieved on these days, knowing that if something happened Bonnie was there to help Emily. He rested his hand over the paper dress covering her belly, loving the idea that their child was sleeping, or rather kickboxing it seemed, under there.
"This kid is going to train with HRT with these combats skills," Emily groaned.
"Uncle Frank and Uncle Duff will be very proud." Matt grinned. They'd decided months ago that, since neither spoke to their siblings, and the child would only have one set of grandparents, their friends would be their baby's aunts and uncles. They were Matt and Emily's family anyway, blood be damned.
"Hello, Hello, sorry to keep you waiting," A doctor came in smiling and greeted them.
"It's fine, I suppose with Dr. Thigotee on vacation, you must be busy." Emily tried to be reasonable, no small feat for a hormonal pregnant woman, who just found out her doctor is in Hawaii.
"It's a little crazy. I'm Christian Page. And, you are expecting two bouncing baby boys in a few weeks, right?" He beamed at them.
"Whoa, wait, did you say two?" Emily sputtered, not believing her ears. They only signed up for one damn it!
Matt was so stunned by the announcement that the hand he was using to brace himself against the exam table, slipped out from underneath him, and he went crashing to the ground.
"Oh god, Matt are you alright?" She tried to peer over her belly and the table to see him, with no luck.
"You aren't Melanie and Andrew Flemming then?" Dr. Page asked, while helping Matt off the floor.
"No, Matt Flannery and Emily Lehman," Emily announced.
"Lehman-Flannery," Matt corrected her.
"Whatever, according to Cheryl we don't have last names anymore, remember?" Cheryl had gotten annoyed one day and decided she wasn't going to have two Agent Flannerys, or an Agent Flannery and an Agent Lehman-Flannery, and announced to everyone that they were just Matt and Emily.
"Alright then," Dr. Page eyed them warily, "I'm going to find my patients, and your doctor. Sorry about the confusion."
"We're definitely only having one then?" Matt asked desperately, pretty sure that he couldn't handle two.
"I'm sure, by now you'd know if you were having twins."
"Oh thank god." With that the doctor exited, leaving them to wait again.
"No way in hell am I ever going to push two out. One baby is already frightening enough," Emily declared, anxiously.
"Can you imagine? I feel for that couple."
"I'm scared Matt."
Her sudden confession caught him off guard. "Of labor?"
"That, and afterward. I don't know anything about babies. How am I supposed to take care of ours?"
"Well, I know nothing about babies either, we'll just learn together." He wrapped an arm around her, and kissed her forehead.
"You sure we can do this?" Emily still wasn't convinced.
Matt shrugged, "If we can't, we just beg Cheryl and Lia for help. One of them must have babysat as a teenager."
She grinned at his idea of a solution.
"Hi there, I'm Dr. McCoy," a female doctor walked in, looking at Matt and Emily, clearly confused by something. "You are definitely more than ten weeks along…"
"Yeah, thirty-six weeks," Emily told her.
"Okay, great. Sorry I'm in the wrong room, you're doctor will be in soon." She looked exhausted and irritated as she walked briskly out.
"This is so much fun." Emily was starting to feel uncomfortable sitting in the same position for so long, and her sarcasm was coming out.
"So Dr. Thigotee going on vacation means all hell breaks loose then?"
"He certainly picked a wonderful time."
"They always do." He stretched. "Alright, while we have another ten minute wait, I'm going to hit the bathroom."
"Be quick okay, I don't want the doctor to come in while you're not here."
"I'll run there and back." He kissed her before rushing out.
Emily sat by herself, looking around in boredom, with nothing to do but study the gyno posters for the umpteenth time. The poster on childbirth hadn't changed since the last time she'd been in, and neither had the one on HPV and cervical cancer. She was tempted to grab one of the magazines on the table off to the side, but knew if she got off the exam table there was no way she was getting back on. She had just let her head rest back on the cushioned exam table, when another doctor came breezing in.
"Hello, I'm Dr. Pritchard. How have you been feeling?" The question was out of his mouth before he'd even sat down, obviously the man didn't mince words.
"I've been alright, just the usual: fatigue, constipation, heartburn, sore back."
"All normal. So, have you been keeping clean?"
Emily scrunched up her face in confusion, "uh, I'm not sure what you mean."
"It says here you have a history of cocaine use, but you stopped using during your pregnancy. You did stop didn't you?" he asked, giving her a disapproving look.
Matt picked that moment to enter, stopping dead in his tracks, and Emily's mouth fell open, as she struggled to fathom what would give the doctor such an idea.
"Did you just accuse my wife of being a cokehead?" Matt blurted out angrily.
"Wife? It says here there is no father in the picture." He looked just as confused as they were now.
"Who-who do you think I am?" Emily stuttered, completely horrified now.
"No. Emily Lehman-Flannery." Emily was taking deep breaths trying to keep herself from going into an emotional panic. What the hell was going on here? Where was the doctor she was supposed to see?
Matt hurried over to her, and immediately began rubbing her back, and shooting glares at the doctor. This was ridiculous.
"Shit," the doctor mumbled running a hand through his hair, stress and exhaustion clearly written on his face. "Sorry about this, let me find you're doctor."
"No, wait a minute. You have to tell us what is going on here. You're the third doctor that's come in here for someone else." Matt was getting worked up now too.
"It's been chaotic around here. On top of Dr. Thigotee's vacation, we had three doctors leave to start their own practice. Some of their patients didn't go with them. Really, I very sorry about this." He offered a humble look, before sliding out the door.
"Do you want to just leave?" Matt asked once the doctor left.
"And go where? We can't just skip my appointment, and I don't want to get a new OB/GYN this late." Emily would have liked nothing more than to walk out that door, while flipping off the whole office, but she couldn't.
"On the bright side there can't be that many more doctors in this place right?" He attempted a joke, but got only a slight smile out of Emily.
"Matt, this is not a good sign." Her eyes were filled with worry, and her hands came to rest protectively over their child.
"Good sign? Since when are you superstitious?" He looked at her curiously, Emily was rational, just the opposite.
"I'm not, but this…this isn't a good sign. This is a disaster is what it is, and something else is going to go wrong, I can feel it."
"Did you gain a sixth sense along with the little person inside you?" He teased, trying to make her see how silly she was being.
"Don't make fun Matt, I'm worried." She looked like she might cry, a occurrence that had become less and less rare over the last several months.
"Hey, I'm sorry." He wrapped his arms around her, and let her lean into him. "Nothing is going to go wrong, okay? A doctor is going to come in here, exam you, do an ultrasound, and tell us that everything is fine. Then we're going to go back to the office, and you're going to go to lunch with Lia and talk about baby things, and glare when the waitress tries to touch your stomach."
"You making a promise?"
"That you'll glare? I have no doubt in my mind," he teased. Emily had developed a habit of shooting death glares at anybody that was of the mind that her stomach was public property.
She swatted him, "you know what I mean."
Before he could answer, a woman in her thirties walked in, looking harassed. Several strands of her blond hair had loosened themselves from her bun, she had bags under her green eyes, and several charts in her arms, all with loose papers sticking out here and there.
"Please tell me you're Emily and Matt Flannery?" Her voice was filled with stress and resignation.
"Yes, that's us." Matt was almost shocked the right doctor found them.
"Oh, thank god." She practically fell into the seat. "Okay, Emily you're thirty-six weeks now right?"
"Yes, that's right." Emily instantly began to relax.
"Oh wait, sorry. I'm Andrea Hall." She held out her hand, and shook both of theirs. "So, how have you been feeling?"
"Okay I guess. I have the usual issues, backache, constipation, heartburn…I'm tired all the time, and moody."
"That's to be expected. Otherwise, you feel alright?"
Emily nodded, as Andrea set the charts down, and grabbed purple latex gloves from the box on the wall. "So, let's examine you and see how everything looks."
Matt and the doctor help Emily get her feet in the stirrups, and Andrea began examining her. Matt stood by holding Emily's hand calmly, having gotten used to being present during the exams. Emily, who was, like most women, not a fan of gynecological exams, had gotten used to them, after having someone prodding around in her vagina on a monthly basis all through her pregnancy. After about ten minutes, Andrea finished and stood up straight, tossed the gloves in the garbage, and wheeled over the ultrasound machine.
"Everything is looking very good with you, so let's take a look at the baby." She smiled at them and donned a fresh pair of gloves. Emily jumped slightly as the cool green goo made contact with her bulging belly. Andrea rubbed the bottom of the wand to warm it up a little, and then began gliding it through the goo.
"And there is your baby. It looks pretty good," she commented absently, examining the baby, moving the wand around to see all of it.
"God, I still can't believe it," Emily murmured, captivated by the screen.
"Yeah, that we can make something that beautiful by accident." Matt was still surprised that he could be so awestruck by the little figure on the screen.
"Everything is looking great. Looks like you have a nice healthy baby growing in there." She smiled as both released a breath that they probably hadn't know they were holding.
"So nothing is wrong?" Emily asked anxiously, just to be certain.
"Not a thing." She smiled reassuringly, before continuing. "So, this is the part where I remind you what you should be expecting. The baby won't do too much more growing from here on out. He or she is pretty much fully developed by now, except for fat deposits under the skin, and putting on another pound or so. In a couple weeks you'll start to feel the head dropping to your pelvis, and will start experiencing what feels like contractions. You don't need to worry though, unless it gets really painful or your water breaks, it's just your body preparing itself. Any questions so far? I'm not going to fast am I?"
"No, that's about what we read in the books, right?" She looked up at Matt, who nodded confirmation.
"Okay, one last thing. I assume Dr. Thigotee has discussed your age with you?"
"He mentioned it, but said it was nothing to worry about." Now Matt was getting worried.
"And he's right, but I like my patients to be aware. I see that Dr.Thigotee has done all the appropriate testing, and everything was negative, so birth defects aren't an issue. Now, we don't start putting women in the high-risk category until about forty, but we do keep an extra eye on our patients thirty-five and over. You are only thirty-five, and everything has been normal up till now, so I have no doubt you'll have a normal birth for a very healthy baby. Okay? You can both breathe," she instructed the couple, whose eyes had grown wide and breath caught as she'd been speaking.
Emily nodded wearily, but not really convinced. Matt swallowed, and ran a hand nervously through his hair, breathing again.
"That being said. I want you to be extra careful the next few weeks. Keep eating healthy, rest with your feet up as often as possible, get exercise but make it a little at a time. It's especially important to keep your stress level down, I see here that you've been on maternity leave for a few weeks now. Dr. Thigotee made a note here that you have a high stress job?"
"Uh, yeah we're both crisis negotiators," Emily explained.
"High stress it is," she agreed, making a notation. "So, just keep taking care of yourself and we're going to start you on weekly appointments now, as you get closer to your due date. Any questions?" She looked from one to the other as they shook their heads, still looking frightened.
"Wait, yeah one," Emily suddenly said, before asking very quietly, "My age…is the baby going to be alright?"
"Now you see that is why I hate giving that schpeal, it scares the hell out of everyone." She shook her head. "Okay, listen to me Emily, and Matt, I can see you're scared too, from everything I see here, you and your baby look as healthy as if you were twenty."
The couple still didn't appear to be convinced.
"I should tell you about my sister. She had her son a year ago, she was forty. The doctor scared her half to death with a diatribe about her age. She called me sobbing hysterically, took me an hour and a half to calm her down. My nephew, Damien, was born a week early and that doctor said he was one of the healthiest babies he'd ever seen. So, the age speech? It's a precaution. There is no reason for that delivery not to go smoothly or that baby not to be perfect in every way. So, please don't worry yourselves." She stared into Emily's eyes most of the speech, only break contact to stare into Matt's on occasion.
"Thank you," Emily said, nodding and finally releasing that breath.
"Good, now I'll let you change and be back in just a minute." Andrea got up, and walked out reading her charts.
Emily eased herself off the table with Matt's help, wiping off the goo, before allowing the paper dress to fall back to into place. Matt waited as she changed in the little curtained off cubbyhole.
Emily had never thought of herself as old. She wasn't the type to search through her hair every morning panicking and plucking every time she managed to fine a grey one. She had an active full life, hell she felt better than she had in her twenties. She spent her days talking down psychos and running around with a gun. Her nights were spent laughing and drinking with everyone at Sloan's (of course now it was ice tea), dancing sometimes, and occasionally she'd join the guys for paintball. But, her favorite was wild sex with Matt that tended to start (and sometimes finish) in any of rooms in their apartment (or the office or mobile command center), and eventually they'd find their way to the bedroom for snuggling, and eventually more sex. That wasn't old! But, then again, she had never really thought in reproductive years.
Emily rested her hands over her stomach, as if to reassure herself that he or she was still there, still moving around inside her, and still planning to come into the world in a month, very much alive.
A moment later, she stepped out of the cubbyhole, and went over to Matt, wrapping her arms around his neck, and resting her head on his shoulder. He reciprocated, and they stood in their somewhat awkward hug, the large bulge that was their child getting in the way.
"Okay, did you two think of any questions?" Andrea asked coming back in. They broke apart to face her, shaking their heads, lost in thought.
She firmed her face in a stern look, "I know what you're thinking, and you're not old, Emily."
Emily's eyebrows rose, and Matt gave her a look that was unmistakably, 'I can't believe you'd think that.'
"I can see that I'm not going to convince you, so I'll let you go. Try not to worry," she begged her patient.
"I'll work on that."
"Oh wait! I almost forgot, there's actually three more things you need to be doing these last few weeks."
They looked at her blankly.
"Nursery, names and a bag, actually two, one for you and one of the baby. Remember this is the fun part, the names and the nursery." They could hear the excitement in her voice as she walked them out to the main office.
"Thank you, Dr. Hall."
"My pleasure. Take care!" She called as they left.
I can't believe I've finally be able to start this story. I'm so sorry there's been such a gap between this one and the last story in the series, but I have the pieces listed in my profile if anybody needs a refresher. Thanks for reading!