A/N: Wow, here we are, at the end of part two in this saga of mine. There WILL be another story coming, but honestly, I need a bit of a break before I start it so it may be a while. Bear with me though, because I think you'll love what's to come.
I also want to let you all know that I will be offering myself up once again for the Support Stacie Auction, September 11-14th. This time I'm offering two fics: One for Gilmore Girls and one for Doctor Who. You can find more information on my author profile page or on my livejournal (lorelaisquared(dot)livejournal(dot)com).
Some very important thank yous this time. First, to rumpelsnorkack, my writing partner extraordinaire. We may not write for the same fandom but your support and advice has been invaluable. It's because of you that the details are right in this particular chapter and I am so, so grateful to you for your willingness to help me make this so accurate. Hugs You're awesome!
Second, to Jewels12. I am grateful everyday for the day almost a year ago when I emailed you and you agreed to be my beta. It's partly because of your enthusiasm and encouragement that I'm still writing today. And so, I dedicate this chapter to you, my friend; the tribute to you hidden within this chapter is much deserved. Hugs enjoy your beta 'vacation'.
Thank you to everyone who's been reading, I hope you enjoy this chapter. I really love it and I hope you will too.
We've Got Babies to Meet, and Birthing to Do!
Lorelai was bored. After nearly a month of bed rest, she was more than fed up with sitting still. Luke had brought the TV upstairs for her, but even that didn't entertain her anymore. She'd watched all her favourite movies so many times she was tired of them. Her back was aching, the babies were squirming and she was uncomfortable. The only time she ever got to leave the house was to go to her doctor's appointments, where they hooked her up to a million machines to monitor her and the babies every few days.
So far, the twins were still doing all right. One of them wasn't gaining as much weight as it should have been and the doctor was mildly concerned, but because the baby hadn't stopped growing completely, he had assured them that he didn't think it was cause for alarm.
Lorelai shifted on the bed, and Madeline, the nurse her mother had hired, looked up from her book. "Are you okay, Mrs. Danes?"
Lorelai grimaced as one of the babies pressed against her bladder. "I'm fine, just feeling stiff, and achy."
Madeline hurried to the bed and helped Lorelai adjust her position. She placed a pillow between Lorelai's lower back and the bed and Lorelai felt some relief, though she wasn't sure how much more she could take of this.
It was the last week of November and she was now 34 weeks along. After much deliberation on the best course of action, given the circumstances, the doctor had decided to induce her at 36 weeks. He wanted the babies to get as big as possible before they were born, but he didn't want to wait too long because he was worried that the 'Twin-to-Twin Transfer Syndrome' would make the babies quite sick if the imbalance persisted beyond the 36th week. Induction day was only two weeks away, and Lorelai couldn't wait.
It wasn't just the discomfort of bed rest that had her anxious to deliver. She had carried them for almost eight months now and she was eager to meet her children and hold their little bodies in her arms.
Just as Madeline returned to her seat, Lorelai cringed. The aching in her back had intensified, and this time it was accompanied by a sharper pain, near her groin. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. When the pain subsided, she relaxed against her pillows, her head reeling. She'd had some false contractions in the past few weeks, but this felt different. More like what she remembered from Rory's labour, only more intense. She tried to stay calm, even as panic tried to overwhelm her. If she was in the beginning stages of labour, it was early, and her babies could be in danger. She'd been warned that premature delivery was common with twins, but thirty four weeks still seemed too soon. As much as she wanted to meet her children, she wanted more for them to be healthy and strong.
She figured she had time before things got really interesting, so she casually reached for the phone and dialled the diner. If this was the real thing, she wasn't taking any chances. There was no way she was doing this alone again. No, this time, she would give birth with Luke by her side.
The second contraction hit, just as Luke answered the phone and she ended up greeting him with a loud, "Aaaguh."
"Lorelai?" Luke asked, alarmed.
Madeline had finally realized that something was happening, and was busy taking vitals by the time Lorelai regained coherent speech.
"Come home," she whispered, "I think the babies are coming."
She hung up before he could answer and lay sprawled against the pillows. She knew that the worst was yet to come and she had no illusions that it wouldn't hurt. She still remembered giving birth; it was the part of this whole process that she'd been dreading the most.
Luke stood immobile in the diner, with the phone in his hand for several seconds before coming back to his senses. His heart was thumping wildly in his chest as a mixture of worry and excitement coursed through his veins. I think the babies are coming. The words floated through the haze of his brain and registered, springing him into action.
Not caring who heard him, Luke yelled back to Caesar, "The babies are coming. I have to go. Can you hold down the fort?"
Everyone in the diner seemed to freeze at his words as all eyes turned to him. The room was so quite that a single fork falling to the floor would have sounded like an anvil.
Silently cursing himself for being so careless, Luke slowly turned to face his patrons. Of course he would make such a stupid public announcement when the whole damn town was in his diner.
Babette and Miss Patty's faces held identical expressions of glee, and they were the first to puncture the silence with their whoops of joy at scooping East Side Tilly once again.
Kirk was glaring at Luke from his perch at the counter.
"What's with you?" Luke grumbled.
"The twins can't be born today," Kirk cried, frantic. "I'll loose the baby pool. I was so certain they'd be born on Christmas Day."
"Sorry, Kirk – Wait, what baby pool?" Luke gave him a menacing glare.
"Taylor's baby pool," Kirk squeaked, hopping off his chair and backing toward the door.
Luke started to respond, but an image of Lorelai in pain flashed through his mind, and he knew he had to get out of there, get to her. He didn't want her to face this alone. And frankly, he didn't want to miss it.
He crossed the diner in four quick strides, then turned to face his neighbours before he departed. "You're not to meddle, understood?" he said in a booming voice to the general population of the diner. "I'll make sure that you get news of the birth when it happens, but if anyone from this town follows us to the hospital, they'll have to answer to me."
With that, he marched out the door, slamming it behind him.
Lorelai and Madeline were preparing to head to the hospital by the time Luke arrived home.
"Oh, I'm so glad you're here," Lorelai told him, gripping his hand.
Luke smiled reassuringly. "I wouldn't miss this for the world."
"We need to go," Madeline said impatiently, glancing at her watch as another contraction hit and Lorelai had to lean on Luke for support.
Luke stooped down and gently placed his arm behind her knees. His other hand was at her back as he scooped Lorelai up and settled her against his chest.
"Luke, I'm too heavy," she protested. "You'll injure your back."
He brushed her off with a shake of his head. "It's fine. Let's just go."
He carried her to the Jeep and settled her in the passenger seat, planting a kiss on her forehead before racing around to the driver's seat. Madeline climbed into the back, her eyes still on her watch as she timed the distance between contractions.
Luke put the Jeep in gear and they were off.
As soon as they arrived at the hospital, they were rushed to the maternity ward where the doctor was waiting for them. Madeline left them in the doctor's capable hands and hurried off to call Emily as she'd been instructed.
He briefly explained that they were going to put her in an operating room just in case they faced complications with natural delivery.
"What kind of complications?" Lorelai asked, her voice shaking as he led them to the room.
Luke placed a firm hand on her shoulder and she grasped it, knowing that his touch would keep her grounded.
"Your last ultrasound showed that the first baby is facing head first and the second is foot first. In most cases, this is fine, but sometimes one baby will become stressed before it will come out. In that case, we'd have to do an emergency Cesarean. I don't think we'll need to, but I want to make sure we're prepared for every eventuality."
Lorelai began to respond, but the clenching and searing pain in her abdomen prevented her from doing anything more than screaming.
Alarmed, Luke addressed the doctor. "Each contraction seems to be hurting her more than the last. Is that normal?"
"Labour with multiples can be more intense than when having a single baby," the doctor explained, as his team helped Lorelai get settled in the bed between contractions. "The TTTS can aggravate the pain as well. I'll examine her in a moment here, and then we'll know more about exactly what's happening."
Luke let the doctor do his job, and took his own place at Lorelai's side. He held her hand and watched in bewilderment as, what seemed like dozens of doctors and nurses, bustled around his wife, checking her vitals, hooking her up to machines and inserting something in her arm.
When Luke asked what it was for, he was told that it was to prepare her in case she needed an IV. He shuddered slightly and prayed that wouldn't be necessary.
To Lorelai, everything had become a giant blur. The only thing she was fully aware of, was Luke's hand in hers as she screamed her way through one contraction after another. She vaguely heard the doctor telling her to push and she did, every muscle in her body aching as she bared down, over and over again.
After what seemed to her like hours of excruciating pain, she noticed a change in the energy in the room. Luke was squeezing her fingers so hard that her hand was going numb. She turned to him and her heart skipped a beat when she noticed the ghostly whiteness of his face.
"Luke? What is it?"
He looked at her, his eyes filled with worry. "The first baby is stuck, the doctor says they're going to have to do an emergency C-section."
Bewildered, and more than a little out of it, Lorelai said, "But I was pushing, I was pushing so hard."
Luke smoothed her hair and tenderly cupped her cheek. "I know, Lorelai, I know. You did good. You did really good. Our babies are stubborn, that's all."
"But they're still okay?" She turned to the doctor, her tired eyes boring into his.
"They're fine," he said soothingly. "My team is going to take good care of all of you, I promise." She suddenly realized that about a million new people had appeared in the room, all rushing around with purpose.
Everything seemed to start happening at once. Someone came over and thrust a clipboard in her face, informing her that she needed to authorize the Cesarean before they could proceed. Lorelai took the pen with a trembling hand and signed her name in the place indicated.
Someone else had started to shave her pelvic area, and when Luke noticed what was happening, he winced and looked away saying, "Awww, jeez," which made Lorelai giggle.
A woman came over and explained that she was the anaesthesiologist and that she would be giving Lorelai a spinal block to help with the pain. "It shouldn't hurt," she added. "We'll give you a local anaesthetic first, so there'll be a small prick on your lower back and then you won't feel a thing. I'll need you to hold very still at that point until we tell you it's done. Some women complain about itchiness from the spinal block, but we'll give you something for that in your IV."
She helped Lorelai sit up and asked her to open her legs and let them dangle off the bed so she would have room to curl forward, into a ball. Luke assisted her in positioning herself. It was tricky, because her stomach was so large, but his hand on her shoulders helped her to maintain the pose. The angle was extremely uncomfortable and she was finding it difficult to remain still, especially through her continued contractions.
Lorelai turned her head and fixed her eyes on Luke's, as she felt the first needle go into her spine and numbness instantly pooled over her whole lower body. A tugging sensation at the base of her spine was the only indication she had that the spinal had been inserted. Luke helped ease her onto her back and, since she couldn't move her legs, gently lifted them onto the bed. She didn't feel any itching, although, her nose was feeling kind of tingly.
The anaesthesiologist tested the numbness with ice and began to pinch the skin on her legs and abdomen, but all Lorelai could feel was the itchiness in her nose, which had now spread to her face. She tried to scratch, but discovered that her arms were now immobile. One was hooked up to an IV drip and the other had a blood pressure cuff attached.
"Luke," she whined, "can you scratch my nose?"
"What?" He looked away from her abdomen, where the doctors and nurses had quickly erected a screen so he couldn't see what was going on.
"My nose, it's itchy." She wriggled it at him.
He laughed and obliged. He was happy to see that she seemed less out of it now that she couldn't feel the contractions anymore. The itchiness, however, was beginning to travel to her neck and shoulders and it was driving her crazy.
Without warning, an angry cry permeated the room, and both Lorelai and Luke looked down in surprise. The doctor held up an infant and they could just see a tiny head above the curtain.
"You have a daughter," the doctor told them as he handed the baby off to a nurse and returned his attention to Lorelai.
Lorelai watched anxiously as a whole army of people in gowns took her precious baby off to the corner, where a bunch of medical equipment was set up. There were so many of them that they blocked her view. The only sign that her daughter was all right, were the wails that continued to emit from her tiny body.
"Oh!" the doctor exclaimed, causing Luke and Lorelai to stare at him again.
"What?" Luke asked, his eyes narrowed.
"Well, it appears we have an explanation for the strange heartbeat we've been hearing," he laughed nervously. "It wasn't an irregular heartbeat, it was a third heartbeat."
Lorelai gaped at him. "What do you mean, 'a third heartbeat'?"
"I mean, there's a third baby." He looked down as he spoke, presumably to watch what he was doing.
"A third...?" Luke trailed off, his jaw dropping.
Lorelai shook her head in disbelief. "How the hell did you miss a whole baby? I've had like a gazillion ultra sounds."
A flurry of motion on the other side of the room caught her attention, distracting her from hearing the doctor's answer. Lorelai craned her neck to see what was happening. The sheer number of people surrounding a table identical to the one their daughter was on, indicated that the second baby had been born, but she couldn't hear any crying. She clutched at Luke's hand, as fear gripped her whole being. She wanted to ask if the infant was okay, but she was afraid of the answer. Someone moved and she caught a glimpse of a minuscule foot wiggling in the air. The baby shifted positions and she was greeted with the evidence that their second child was a boy. A moment later, she heard a faint cry and she released the breath she hadn't been aware she'd been holding. Beside her, Luke relaxed as well, sighing in relief.
It took her several seconds to realize that the cry had come from behind the curtain and not from her squirming son. The full reality of the situation hit her as it dawned on her that she was the mother of triplets, not twins.
The door burst open and several more people rushed into the room, sweeping her baby out of the doctor's arms.
"Another girl," Luke whispered, awed, as they watched their youngest daughter being whisked away by the doctors and nurses.
Lorelai again became aware of the itchiness spreading over her torso as she shuffled her gaze between the three teams tending to her children. It was the aching in her arms that bothered her, though. She yearned to reach out to her daughters and her son, to hold them in her arms and shower them with the love that was bursting within her.
Luke seemed to know what she was thinking and he leaned down, placing a tender, reassuring kiss on her lips. "Soon," he murmured, smiling. "Soon."
"They're so tiny," Lorelai marvelled as she and Luke gazed at the three incubators that held their children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Hartford Hospital.
Luke smiled. "They're beautiful."
Lorelai was in a wheelchair because of the Cesarean. The numbness of the spinal had worn off, but she was trying to ignore the discomfort she felt in favour of seeing her babies properly. The nurses had been extremely helpful, assisting them in washing and gowning up before they entered the unit and explaining what each of the tubes and monitors were for.
Lorelai slid her hand through the opening of the first incubator and placed it on her eldest daughter, Julie's back, pressing firmly and gently as the nurse had instructed. They had named her Julie Anne Danes, after Julie Andrews, and Lorelai was still a little surprised that Luke had consented.
"Julie is a beautiful name," he had told her. "Besides, she's already demonstrated that she has a healthy set of lungs, I think it suits her."
"It does, doesn't it?" As Lorelai gazed at her now, she realised just how truthful that statement was. At 4lbs, 12ozs, Julie was the largest of the triplets, and the only one with a full head of dark, curly hair.
Luke stood next to their son, Oliver, and carefully placed his finger against the tiny hand. Oliver Benjamin Danes weighed 4lbs exactly, just the right size to remain hidden behind his sister in the womb. He had been the hardest to name, and it had actually been Rory who suggested it. The instant she said it, they'd both fallen in love with the name and it had only taken seconds for Lorelai to shorten it to "Ollie".
The cry sounding from the third incubator caused both Luke and Lorelai to look her way. Luke helped Lorelai manoeuvre her chair to their youngest daughter's side. They'd decided to call her Ella, a shortened form of Elizabeth, after Luke's sister. Lorelai liked to think that she was also named after Eliza Doolittle, a fictional woman who had conquered insurmountable odds. At 3lbs, 4ozs, Ella Catherine Danes was the smallest, and sickest, of the three. Lorelai reached out to her now, and when she touched her little hand, Ella instantly stopped crying. She was their miracle baby, the one who'd surprised them all with her resilience. And Lorelai had never been more grateful for anything in her life.
They left the room a few minutes later, and Lorelai blew kisses to each of her children. "Welcome to the world, Julie, Ella and Ollie," she whispered. "Mommy and Daddy will be back soon."