Chapter 19 (Scully)
Two weeks after my graduation, I waddled through my house to find some food, my hand pressed against my lower back. My back had been bothering me more than usual since I woke up that morning, and I could not seem to find a comfortable position anywhere. I grabbed a yogurt out of the fridge and returned to the living room where Mulder was engrossed in a baby book, an uncapped highlighter between his teeth. "Studying hard?" I questioned.
"I just want to know everything I can," he said, removing the highlighter from his mouth. He held an arm out to me, and I happily snuggled against his side. The ache slowly began to lessen as I melded my body against his.
"Mmm, this is the first comfortable position I've found all day," I remarked, turning my head to inhale his comforting, familiar scent.
"What's wrong?" he questioned, his attention now fully focused on me. It still amazed me how intense he could be sometimes. When he focused all of his attention on something, he truly did invest all of his efforts in it. I had found that he could accomplish some things I would have previously considered impossible because of his intense focus and concentration.
"Nothing much. I've just had a backache all day."
"You want a backrub?" he offered.
I smiled into his shoulder. "Maybe later. I'm comfortable here." He nodded, wrapping an arm around me so that his hand rested on my lower back. It was a warm, comforting weight, and as he began to rub his fingers slowly over the area, I felt myself relaxing. In no time at all, I had fallen asleep.
I awoke with a start sometime later. Mulder had returned to his reading though his hand still rested on my back, absentmindedly rubbing small circles over it. I spent a few seconds trying to discern what had awaken me before I realized that the lower part of my body was wet. Since I had not wet the bed in years, I spent a few confused moments trying to figure out what had occurred before my medical training provided the answer. "Mulder," I said, sitting up straighter.
"What is it?" he asked, turning to me.
"We should probably get to the hospital."
"Is it time?"
"I think so. My water broke." He immediately stood, reaching down to help me rise from the couch. I stood with his help, and he began moving toward the stairs. "I'm going to go tell your mother and get your bag," he announced.
"Hurry back," I told him, grimacing as a spasm of pain shot across my back. Noticing my face, he nodded quickly and increased his pace.
Within two minutes, he had returned, a small duffel slung across one shoulder. "She offered to go to the hospital with us, but I told her I'd take you. She did agree, but I was instructed to call her as soon as you get closer." I nodded, gritting my teeth against the pain. I had thought it was bad that morning, but now I felt as if my back was splitting in two. Mulder, of course, noticed immediately. "You okay, Scully?" he inquired. I took a deep breath and nodded.
"It's just a little painful, but it's not so bad. At least this time I'll be at a hospital."
He smiled slightly. "True. But we still have to get there. Come on, let's go."
The drive to the hospital was fortunately short; by the time we reached it, my breathing had grown even more labored as I attempted to fight off the pain. Mulder hurried out of the car, opening the passenger door and helping me to exit. As he again shouldered by overnight bag, he slammed the door shut and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. Together, we walked into the hospital. He settled me in a seat before walking toward the nurses' station to check me in. As I waited for him to return, still breathing through my teeth, I heard the chair beside me move back.
"You look like you're in the same boat as me," a voice remarked. I looked to the side to see a girl about my own age now sitting in the chair beside me. She, too, was very pregnant. "You in labor?" she asked.
"I am," I confirmed.
"Me too. Though the nurses say I have a long way ahead of me. My contractions are still pretty far apart."
"Yeah, I think I've been having contractions all morning, but I didn't realize it until my water broke," I told her.
"Are you here by yourself?"
"No, my fiancé came with me. He just went to check in."
"He stuck around after finding out he was going to have a kid?" the other girl seemed incredulous. I nodded. "You're lucky. The father of this little guy cut and run as soon as he found out I was pregnant." She patted her stomach thoughtfully.
"It's fine. I've had plenty of time to deal with it. I didn't expect much more out of him anyway. We weren't really that serious; we were just having some fun." She laughed self-depracatingly. "Well, you can see where that got me."
I was trying to think of what to say next when Mulder rejoined me, dropping into the chair on my other side. "They say we need to fill out these forms," he announced, showing me a number of forms. "They also said it could still be a few hours, and they probably won't get us a room til closer to time."
"I figured that." I took the forms from his hands and bent over them to begin filling them out.
"They told me that, too," the girl remarked from my other side. "You must be the fiancé," she guessed.
Mulder nodded. "Mulder," he said, reaching a hand across me.
"Helen," the girl announced, taking his hand. "That's an unusual name."
"It's my last name. I'm not fond of my first."
"I'm Dana, by the way," I introduced, belatedly realizing that I had not yet told the girl my name. We shook hands before I returned to the forms, leaving Mulder and Helen to make small talk.
"Do you know if you're having a boy or girl?" Helen questioned.
"A boy. Which do you want?"
"Either, as long as he or she is healthy."
"You're doing a good thing here, you know."
"In what way?"
"Being here for Dana."
"It's the least I could do. After all, it's my baby too."
"If only all guys felt that way."
Eventually, a nurse came out and called Helen's name. Mulder jumped up from his seat to help her up, but she had already pushed herself to her feet. "Good luck," she told us. "I'll see you on the other side I guess."
"Good luck to you, too," I told her as she left. Mulder nodded, wrapping an arm around my shoulders. I leaned against him, gripping his hand as pain once more coursed through my body.
"I had forgotten how painful this is," I remarked, gritting my teeth.
"Just breathe through it. You're doing great." Mulder coached me gently, rubbing my shoulder with one hand as the fingers of his other gently stroked the back of my hand. After a few moments, I relaxed slightly. "They seem to be getting worse," Mulder noted as my breathing evened.
"They tend to do that," I told him, remembering the previous occasion when I had been in labor. As I relaxed against his shoulder again, a nurse called out my name. "That's our cue," I said, standing with his help. He followed me to where the nurse was standing.
"Ms. Scully, how are you doing today?" the nurse questioned.
"I'm good," I said. "It's somewhat painful, but I expected as much."
The nurse clucked her tongue sympathetically. "Unfortunately, it's only going to get worse. We can get you something for it if you like."
"I think I'm okay for now. Maybe later," I said. I wanted to continue with the birth as naturally as possible, but it was still nice to know that drugs were available if I wanted them. Things were different than last time. The nurse nodded.
"Well, if you'll just follow me, we have a room ready for you. You should be more comfortable there." She turned her attention to Mulder. "I assume you're the father."
"That's correct," he said, tightening his arm around my shoulders.
"Great. We'll just get you two to the room, and then I'll help you find some scrubs so you can stay with her." Mulder nodded, and we followed the nurse to the elevator. We took the elevator to the fourth floor, exiting into a hallway with pastel-colored walls bordered by stenciled animals and toys. The nurse led us to a similarly-decorated room with a single bed in the center surrounded by various monitors. I catalogued the equipment in the room, noting that everything seemed to be in place. I nodded, satisfied with the arrangements.
"Better than an abandoned building in Georgia, huh?" Mulder whispered in my ear. I smiled slightly at that comment, knowing he was thinking about the same thing I was, before settling into the bed at the nurse's instruction. I sighed in contentment, leaning my head back against the pillows. It was nice to be able to relax, knowing that other knowledgeable people were around to deal with the birth.
Once the nurse had settled me in the bed, she beckoned Mulder out, and he followed her to retrieve scrubs. Another contraction hit me shortly after they left, and I gripped the sheet beside me as I tried to breathe through it. As I took deep breaths, I found myself wishing that Mulder was with me. His mere presence seemed to lessen the pain. I did not know how Helen was planning on giving birth alone. Reason reminded me that I did not need him there; after all, he had not been around last time I had given birth, and that particular birth had occurred under much more trying circumstances. Still, I wanted him beside me.
Fortunately, he returned soon, moving a chair next to my bed so that he could sit beside me. He took my hand between his, bringing it to his lips so that he could place a gentle kiss on my knuckles. His eyes shone with love as he stared at me. "How are we doing?" he questioned.
"We're doing just fine," I assured him, turning my attention to the nurse who was bustling around, hooking me up to various machines. One of them kept track of the baby's heartbeat, and I smiled as I heard the sound. Mulder, too, was grinning, and the hand not holding mine moved to my stomach.
"Hello, little guy," he greeted.
"Or girl," I reminded him.
"Or girl," he added. He leaned over to kiss my forehead just as another contraction ripped through my body. My grip on his hand tightened, and he immediately began to comfort me. His soothing voice relaxed me, and the warm weight of his hand on my stomach comforted me, letting me know that I was not alone.
Four hours later, my contractions were much stronger and closer together. Each time one took hold of me, I felt as though someone were burning my insides. Mulder had tried to help me breathe through them as best as he could, but even his touch and words no longer provided much comfort to me. I thought about asking the nurse for the pain pills she had offered earlier, but I still wanted the birth to be as natural as possible. And so I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore the pain.
As a particularly strong contraction ended, I collapsed against the pillow, shutting my eyes. My hair was matted to my head with sweat, and my arms were a bit shaky as I released Mulder's hand and reached for the glass of water by my bed. He noticed the tremors, and he took the glass instead, guiding it to my mouth. I took a long, grateful sip of the liquid before sighing. "I don't know if I can do this," I muttered.
"Of course you can," he assured me.
"I feel like someone is ripping me apart from the inside."
"Do you want me to go find the nurse and see if she can get you something?" he offered, using a damp cloth near the bed to wipe the sweat from my forehead.
I shook my head wearily. "No, I think I just need to rest for a minute." Unfortunately, my body had no intention of resting; after only a few seconds, another contraction hit me hard, causing me to cry out in pain and grope wildly around for Mulder's hand. He quickly provided the hand, leaning down so that he could talk me through the breathing as pain rippled through my body.
"They're a lot closer together now," he observed once my breathing had steadied.
I nodded. "I think it's getting close to time."
"I need to call your mother." I swallowed hard and nodded, knowing he did indeed need to call her but unwilling to have him leave nevertheless. He obviously sensed my reluctance, for he hastened to reassure me. "I'll be back in a few seconds," he promised, leaning over to press a kiss to my sweaty forehead.
Though he was true to his word, another contraction had begun by the time he returned. He was immediately at my side, coaching me through the pain. As the contraction finished, the door to the room opened again, and the nurse bustled in. "How are we doing?" she questioned.
"I'm ready for this to be over," I told her through clenched teeth.
"Do you want me to get you something?" the nurse offered.
I shook my head. "I've made it this far without any medication. I'd like to see it through. I just wish this baby would hurry up and come."
"That's how most mothers feel. Now, let me just check on your dilation." She lifted the sheet over my legs and looked for a moment before replacing it, patting my shins comfortingly. "You're almost there. It shouldn't be more than an hour now," she reassured me. I forced a smile, trying not to think about how much pain I would have to endure in that hour. I kept reminding myself that it would all be worth it in the end when I finally was able to hold my baby, but as another intense contraction hit, I found it hard to focus on the positive.
Forty-five minutes later, my contractions were so close together that I barely had time to catch my breath between them. My mother had come and offered to sit with me to give Mulder a break, but he refused to leave my side. When the doctor and nurses came in to prep me for delivery, she had left, claiming that there was too little space in the small room for everyone. Mulder was given clear instructions to come find her as soon as the baby was born, and he agreed distractedly, his attention focused on me as another contraction wracked my body. Maggie nodded, sensing his preoccupation, and left.
"Okay, Dana, you're fully dilated now," the doctor told us, taking his place at the foot of the bed. "On the next contraction, I want you to push." I nodded, biting my bottom lip. It was almost over. I could do this. I felt Mulder take my hand in his, squeezing it gently. It was less than a minute before the next contraction came, and I followed the doctor's instructions, squeezing Mulder's hand as I pushed hard. "Good, Dana," the doctor complimented. "Just keep it up. You're almost there."
"You've got this, Babe," Mulder whispered beside me, the rarely-used endearment slipping easily from his lips. I pushed again when the next contraction hit, vaguely hearing the doctor tell me the head was crowning. Catching my breath during the brief break that I had, I continued to push. I was only vaguely aware of time; before I could fully comprehend what was happening, I heard a loud wail.
"Congratulations, Mom," the doctor told me. "You have a beautiful baby girl. Would you like to cut the cord, Dad?" Mulder nodded, moving toward the end of the bed. The doctor handed him the scissors and pointed to where he should cut. As soon as he cut it, a nurse whisked the baby away to clean her up. Mulder rejoined me, bending down gently kiss my forehead.
"We have a daughter, Scully," he whispered. "I'm a father."
"Again," I said with a slight smile.
"You look beautiful," he told me, wiping the hair out of my face. I snorted at that; I certainly did not feel beautiful. I felt drained; I was tired and sweaty, and all I wanted to do was to hold my baby. I prayed that this time around, nothing would stop us from raising our child, from being there for all her firsts. I was going to make up for everything I missed in my old life now that I had my second chance.
A few minutes later, the nurse returned with a small pink bundle in her arms. "Okay, Mom and Dad, are you ready to meet your little girl?" she questioned. Both Mulder and I nodded eagerly, and the nurse placed the bundle in my arms. I looked down at my daughter, unable to keep the small smile from my face.
"Hello, Sweetheart, I'm your Mommy," I whispered, receiving a large yawn in response to my words. Mulder had his arm around me, and he, too, was staring at the tiny miracle I held. He kissed the side of my head, and I felt the wetness of his tears come in contact with my hair. I knew that my eyes, too, were filled with moisture. I turned to the side, and we kissed briefly. When we pulled apart, my eyes shone with love, a love built from twenty years together.
"I need to go get your mother," he reminded me though he made no move to leave me or the precious bundle I held in my arms. I nodded, but he still did not move. After a few seconds, he added, "Probably soon or she won't be too happy with me."
"We'll still be here when you get back, Mulder," I assured him. His lips curled upward slightly, and he kissed both of our heads before turning and leaving the room. I watched him go, but as soon as the door closed behind him, my attention returned to the baby I held. "You're already loved very much," I assured my daughter. "Now we just need to come up with a name for you."
Mulder and I had debated names for awhile. We had managed to narrow the boys' names down to Sean Richard, but we were stuck between two different girls' names. Mulder was pushing for Caitlyn Grace, but I had my heard set on Lily Amanda. We had discussed the possibility of naming our daughter Samantha, but Mulder had vetoed the idea, claiming that he wanted his child to be unique in both name and character. I didn't say anything, but I knew he was still hoping to find his sister alive, and naming his daughter after her was a tacit acknowledgement that he might never accomplish this goal.
The door opened, and I looked up to see my mother entering the room, Mulder following behind her. She rushed to my side, already exclaiming over the baby I held. "Oh, Dana, she's beautiful!" my mother told me.
"That she is," I agreed, rocking her back and forth. Mulder quietly moved beside me, and I passed him the bundle. She stirred for a moment but settled quickly, seeming to recognize him. He looked up, his eyes meeting mine, and an understanding passed between us. "Caitlyn Grace," he said softly, causing the baby to stare up at him, her eyes open wide. I smiled, nodding in confirmation. As soon as I had seen the baby, I knew that his name was a better fit. I could not explain exactly why.
"It's a beautiful name," Maggie agreed, watching Mulder hold the baby. I was not completely sure, but I thought I saw a spark of jealousy in her eyes. Mulder must have sensed it, too, because he turned to her, holding Caitlyn out.
"Would you like to hold her, Maggie?" he asked. Maggie's eyes brightened, and she eagerly accepted the bundle. Caitlyn allowed herself to be held by her grandmother for a few moments before letting out a wail of protest.
"Looks like she wants her parents back," Maggie remarked, passing her to Mulder who already had his hands held out. He immediately cuddled her to his chest, and she quieted within a few seconds. I was amazed at how quickly he had adapted to holding a baby in his arms; after all, he had only been around William for forty-eight hours before he had to go into hiding. However, he had handled William with a surprising expertise, too, given his lack of parenting experience; however, Scully had learned long before to expect the unexpected when it came to Mulder. After all the things they had seen and done over the years, she supposed his natural abilities at parenting should not really be particularly surprising.
Mulder looked down at me, a smile on his face, and I could tell immediately what he was thinking. This was the way our first child's birth should occur.