"Is something wrong?" Sam asked, seeing her doctor's vaguely concerned expression.
"No, not exactly," Carolyn said. "But you know that morning nausea and your late menses, there's a good reason for those symptoms."
"You're kidding," Sam said.
"No, not kidding," Carolyn said. "You're pregnant!"
Chapter 25: One Year Later
So much had changed.
Somehow, a single egg had made its way through a badly scarred Fallopian tube, presented itself for fertilization at exactly the right moment and deftly embedded itself in a still healthy piece of Sam's womb. It found a place where it could grow and thrive amidst the scarring wrought by years of abuse and that single staff weapon blast. It defied the odds and offered the O'Neills their second miracle in as many months.
When Sam was first examined by her obstetrician, she and Jack were cautioned against getting their hopes up. Despite the fantastic luck of that plucky embryo, it was still unlikely Sam could carry the fetus to term. And the doctors told them as much.
The expectant parents heard the guarded prognosis. At first they were frightened. But then they went back home to their new son, David. The little firecracker was all they needed to take their mind off worries about something they could not control, the future of an unborn child. Sure, Sam took good care of herself and Jack became even more helpful and protective, but they focused their attention on each other and on their son.
To everyone's very pleasant surprise, Sam enjoyed an uneventful pregnancy. After nine healthy, generally happy months, she delivered a beautiful seven and a half pound baby girl. Jack was at her side, trying to hold back tears all through the delivery. Sam made it through the entire process without pain medications. Together they rejoiced as the infant they named Janet Sarah O'Neill made her way into the world.
Memories of the past year flooded Sam as she sat comfortably in the living room, breastfeeding the baby. Named after their good friend Dr. Janet Frasier and Sarah Thompson, David's mother, their little girl would always remind them of two women who'd changed their lives forever.
Before Sam could daydream much more, David toddled across the floor as fast as his little legs could carry him. In his hands, the seventeen-month-old bundle of energy clutched a bag of his favorite snacks which were inconveniently packaged in a surprisingly childproof bag.
"Mama," he called beseechingly.
Sam was sitting serenely across the room, a tiny bundle of joy gathered to her breast.
"Bring it to Mommy," Sam said softly to the rambunctious little boy.
David did exactly that, handing the Ziploc bag of Cheerios to his mother and waiting for her to open it.
"Okay, sweetie," Sam said, handing back the open baggie and reaching to pat his head with her free hand. "Climb up and sit with us."
David did exactly that, climbing up on the sofa and snuggling into his mother's side. The position brought him up close and personal not only with Sam but with his three-month- old baby sister.
After three months, David was still not sure he liked this tiny interloper. After all, the new baby had claimed some of the attention he'd had all to himself the first year or more of his life. No, he wasn't sure he liked his baby sister much at all.
Sam was sensitive to her older child's needs and the normal jealousy he was experiencing. Both she and Jack went out of their way these days to be sure David received as much attention as possible. They wanted David to have positive feelings about Janet, not see her as usurping his position in the family.
And that position was secure beyond any doubt. David was theirs in every sense but blood. Most days both his parents forgot there was any distinction at all. He was an O'Neill; he even looked the part.
With sandy brown hair and dark brown eyes, the ruddy complexioned boy could easily have been their biological son. When Jack cuddled or roughhoused with David, it was clear they were father and son in every way that mattered. Sam chuckled to see how Jack beamed with every developmental milestone David achieved. You would have thought he'd launched a spaceship when the little fellow took his first steps.
The four of them were a family and a happy one at that.
"Lucy, I'm home!" The announcement of Jack's arrival echoed teasingly through the house. It was the happy voice of a man who sounded much younger than his chronological age.
David started to laugh. He knew that strange sound was his father's signature greeting.
"Daddy!" the little boy squealed, hopping off the couch
"In here," Sam called, directing Jack to the living room where she was still nursing Janet. Before she knew it, he was walking over to the sofa, David close on his heels.
"So how are we on parenthood today?" Jack asked. Before Sam could do more than look up and smile at him, he bent over and kissed her soundly.
"It's great," she said. Though her eyes clearly showed the need for a bit more sleep, Sam was obviously in her glory, happily occupied with a totally different kind of life.
"What are you doing home in the middle of the day?" she asked curiously.
"I was bored," Jack replied. "That's the good part of being the guy in charge. You can make executive decisions and go see your wife and kids in the middle of the day. Besides, I brought lunch."
"Peezza?" David queried in his little boy voice, missing a bit of enunciation. Since pizza was already his favorite food thanks to Jack and his uncles, no one had difficulty understanding his question.
"Uh, no," Jack answered, "not pizza today." He arched his eyebrows at Sam, silently mouthing, its mom's fault. Sam rolled her eyes.
Aloud Jack said, "No, little man, I brought real food." He set down a bag loaded with takeout from a nice local restaurant.
"Thanks," Sam said.
"Least I could do is feed my hard working wife and my very hungry boy."
"Me!" David cried as he launched himself into his father's waiting arms.
"That's the one," Jack confirmed. He firmly placed his large hands around the small child, lifted him in his arms and swung him into the air. This elicited the usual "Whoop!" from David.
"This guy's getting heavy!" Jack exclaimed. He could see David beam as he always did when his dad said he was getting bigger.
"Yep," Sam replied. "I think it's a good thing the two of us are going to the gym everyday. We're gonna need it."
"That we are," Jack teased. "Chasing these two will be worse than chasing a platoon of Jaffa!"
The two relatively new parents had had serious discussions of the need to maintain their own good health in order to keep up with David and Janet.
"It is, isn't it?" Jack said. The remark was completely out of context, made in a pleasant matter of fact tone as leaned over again to kiss Janet softly on her forehead.
Shifting Janet to the other breast, Sam straightened her clothing and looked directly at her husband. She had no idea what he was talking about and her look of bewilderment said it all.
"You know," Jack insisted, catching the clueless look he loved inspiringly in his genius wife. "I think people have things backwards. It's easier when you're older."
"It?" Sam questioned.
"Being a parent, of course."
That evening Teal'c and Daniel joined the family for dinner. The children's honorary uncles were frequent guests in the O'Neill home and the only two sitters allowed the privilege of watching them in the rare instances where both parents were called away.
The meal completed, Daniel washed dishes while Teal'c cleared the table. They'd become accustomed to mealtime cleanup duty whenever they visited the O'Neills. Without fail, Sam and Jack always ended up changing diapers and starting to settle the kids down for the night after dinner. That's where the two career military types found themselves right now.
Never in their wildest imaginations had the warrior Jaffa and the geeky archeologist suspected this outcome for their friends. No doubt about it, given the less than auspicious beginnings of their relationship, this happy family situation was nothing less than miraculous for a pair of rule abiding Air Force officers who'd cheated death more times than they could count.
"I think they're really happy," Daniel reflected. As he spoke, his arms elbow deep in soapy water, he reflected on his own still tumultuous relationship with Vala. He had to admit he was a bit envious.
"I agree," Teal'c said solemnly. "Both O'Neill and Samantha are happier than I have ever seen them."
With that Sam and Jack returned. Sam carried David, perched on her hip and walked over to the table to sit down.
"That we are, my friends," Jack said, "happy, that is."
Daniel easily caught the answering gleam in Sam's eyes as she let David down off her lap.
"Hey, where's the little princess?" Daniel asked, referred of course to Janet.
"She was ready for bed after her last feeding," Sam said. "So we put her down for the night. This little gentleman however," she said, pointing at David, "wanted to come back and play with his uncles."
"I believe that can be arranged," Teal'c said, promptly removing the apron he'd been wearing for his domestic duties. Before anyone could comment, the towering mountain of a man had gotten down on the floor to meet David at eye level. The sight was more than Jack could take.
"Leave it to my son to bring the great Teal'c to his knees!" he exclaimed. To Jack's dismay his friend paid him no heed. Teal'c blithely continued to engage with David in an imaginary game of the toddler's choosing. Who would have known Jaffa played imaginary games?
Sam and Daniel smiled at each other.
"Enough cleaning," Sam said, standing up and moving toward the living room. "Leave it for later. I'd rather visit with you guys for now."
Not needing any more prompting, Daniel also ended his kitchen duty, dried his hands and followed his friends into the living room.
"Did I tell you Jessica called today?" Sam asked, as much to Jack as anyone else.
"No," Jack answered. "Is everything alright?"
Daniel looked towards Sam as well. He'd met the Kellers at their last visit to Colorado Springs. Even Teal'c looked up from his Kel'nor'eem like position on the floor. He'd met the family too and admired the kindred warrior spirit he saw in Tony Keller.
"No problems," Sam reassured everyone. "The kids are growing like crazy. Cindy is taking piano lessons, Aaron won a spelling bee and the baby had his one year check up today."
"Sam's a year old already?" Jack asked, truly amazed. He was referring to the Keller's third child, Samuel Jonathan Keller. "It can't be. At that rate, I'll be in a nursing home any second now," he added.
"You'd better not be, mister," Sam scolded, treating him to a gentle elbow in his side. "I'm gonna need you around here for awhile."
"Stop it you two," Daniel said. "You're too cute, way too cute.
"Besides, before I forget," he said, addressing Sam. "General Landry is begging for a few minutes of your time tomorrow. Seems the gate technicians can't get the diagnostic to run properly. He knows you're on leave, but really wants you to make an exception."
Before Sam could answer, Teal'c stood up, stretched his legs and lifted his little friend David with him.
"And I have brought the materials you requested, O'Neill," he announced.
"Thank you," Jack said with emphasis. "I was starting to lose it, trying to keep David out of things lately."
Sam looked at Jack quizzically.
"Uh … the other day, David showed me one or two problem areas I didn't know about, Jack said. "T got us some more child proof locks for cupboards and plugs for wall sockets I've never seen before."
"He does have a way of doing that," Sam admitted, "exploring areas of the house we never knew existed.
"What …?" Sam added catching the self satisfied grin on Daniel's face.
"What? You mean me?" Daniel asked, snapping to attention and looking as innocent as possible.
"Yes, I believe Samantha was addressing you Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said solemnly. "It did appear you were staring."
"It's nothing," Daniel insisted. David tugged at his pant legs, miffed no one was paying attention to him. "It's just … well… a certain cliché comes to mind. And since Jack hates clichés, well, you know, I wouldn't want to say one in his presence."
"Right," Jack quipped, "as if that ever stopped you."
Taking that as permission, Daniel first reached down and picked up David. Placing the instantly contented child on the sofa next to him, teddy bear and all, he began to share his very favorite cliché with the group.
"Alright, if you must know," he said, "I was thinking about something my grandfather once told me. We were talking about … well, some of the bad things that happened to me early on in my life. Of course, he was trying to get me to look on the bright side of things, not to give up, things like that.
"Anyway, Nick said a lot of things," Daniel continued. "But that one that stuck with me was simple. 'Don't quit before the miracle.' I've thought about that one a lot over the years. There've been days I've dismissed it as another pious platitude. But right at this minute, looking at you guys, maybe there's something to it."
"I'd say there's a lot to it, Daniel," Jack said, reaching over to grab Sam's hand. He squeezed it lovingly and was rewarded with a megawatt smile that never failed to light up his heart.
"I couldn't agree more," she added. "We've got our miracle. And it was worth waiting for."
A/N: Many thanks to everyone who has read this story over the past few weeks. Thanks too for your patience with the delays related to my computer problems. And most of all, thank you to the gracious reviewers who have kept me motivated as the chapters rolled on. It's been so nice to know you are reading.
Hope you enjoyed the conclusion of the story. And I hope it proved to you that I am a sucker for happy endings! Actually I am a big believer that if we hold out long enough, often there are good things waiting for all of us. The problem, or better yet the challenge, is that we often have to make our way through very difficult, sometimes painful circumstances before we can see the good. Or as Daniel said in the story, "Don't give up before the miracle."
Goodbye for now. I'm hoping to hear from many of you in stories of your own in the days to come. Right now my own muse seems worn out, at least when it comes to Stargate stories. If any of you have an inspiration you'd like to share with me and my muse, feel free!