How goddamn long does it take to have a baby anyway?
I know good and well that we had been in the clinic for several hours before I was booted out here into the streets like I was a goddamn liability. So maybe I had hurled that no good doctor up against the clinic wall, he damn sure had deserved it. My wife was in pain, and she was panicking, which in turn made me panic. And that only intensified when the word 'complications' and some other term I can't recall made my wife begin crying tears of frustration. So maybe I was a little over the top when I demanded that doctor do his fucking job and birth me a baby, but for Goddess sake what the hell else could I do?
I was utterly helpless, my wife was in pain, and now I couldn't even be in there to offer her my hand to squeeze. I kicked the bench I had dragged from the supermarket to the clinic and continued to pace back and forth in front the clinic walkway, every now and then stopping when I could hear a rather loud scream. It was killing me on the inside, especially since every so often I was positive I could make out my name in those pained wails.
I'd lost track of how many times I'd started beating on the clinic door and demanded to be let back in, and my hands were stiff and most likely bruised from the repeated attempts at getting back inside. I finally sat down on the bench, slouching over and clasping my tender hands together. What the hell could it hurt.
"Hey…look…I know…I'm not a religious man by any means. But Carter says that the Harvest Goddess is supposed to compassionate. So…if you could find it to end Claire's suffering in there, I would be greatly obliged. I just want her to have the baby and for her to come home with me," I continued on, pausing when a shrill scream reached my ears, and I winced some. "And for Goddess sake I want her to stop screaming," I added under my breath, and I could almost swear I heard a damn giggle at that in my head.
It stayed there, staring at the ground for a very long time. It eventually occurred to me that I hadn't heard any screams or cries in the last twenty minutes, and yet…no one had come outside to let me know anything. Exactly what the hell was going on inside of there?
I jumped up when I heard the lock clicking on the other side, the door opening excruciatingly slowly to reveal my grandfather. He gave me a weak smile and beckoned me to the door, and I followed like a little puppy that had been scolded before being allowed back into the house. I was at least thankful that he had been in here, even if he hadn't been in the delivery room. He had at least been in the waiting room. As I approached the door I realized that I couldn't hear anything on the other side. Shouldn't the baby be crying or something?
"Is the baby alright?" I asked quietly, my arms stiff at my sides and feeling a bit like led at the moment. Grandpa gave me a hesitant nod and met my eyes.
"The baby is fine," he began and I automatically interrupted him, relief filling me and making me feel that certain questions that were often asked by new fathers in the movies.
"What is it?" I murmured anxiously, unable to stop the elated grin from spreading over my face. The baby was alright, everything was fine. It was all going to be okay.
"A girl. She's beautiful, just like her mother," he began, his grin mirroring my own, before faltering slightly.
"A girl," I echoed, my eyes shutting as I took in the information. I had a daughter. I laughed some, in relief and excitement. Hands coming up to clasp my grandfather's shoulders. "I have a daughter," I chuckled, shaking my head and grinning all the more. "How is Claire? What does she think about her?" I began, only to stop when saw Grandpa's gaze faltering off to the side. I blinked at him, thoroughly confused.
"Gray…you…you need to talk to the doctor first. There were complications," there was that damn word again, and my chest tightened painfully, each beat of my heart painful and seemingly forced. "…as far as I know everything is fine now."
That being said and him being my grandfather he knew to move out of the way before I pushed somewhat frantically past him and into the clinic. Tim was standing off to the side, removing his scrubs that were covered with…blood. I felt my face pale as he turned to me, and his reassuring smile calmed me if only slightly. He opened his mouth and before he could speak I blurted out
"What complications?" He blinked at me and nodded his head, taking a deep breath as he gathered his words.
"Your daughter had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, but is fine. When you were removed from the delivery room it was because the baby's heart pattern changed. But we had Claire changed position and it helped with that. However…" he began, slightly hesitant as he placed the last of his scrubs in the plastic container and closed the lid. "…after the actual birth is was rather difficult to stop Claire from bleeding." He looked at me and shook his head tiredly, his hair falling into his eyes now that it was free of that stupid hat thing. "We finally got her stable, and she's exhausted. We'll have to keep her here a few extra days to make sure she doesn't start bleeding again," he explained
"Thank Goddess," I mumbled out, once again able to breathe normally and the tightness in my chest loosened slightly. "Thank you," I managed out, unable to stop myself from hugging the other man, patting his back roughly. "Thank you for everything," I mumbled before stepping back, looking over to the hospital room that Claire had been in. "Can I see her?"
"Claire is sleeping right now. She's understandably worn out. But there is another young lady here wanting to meet at least one of her parents," Elli's voice chimed in as she grabbed my hand, leading me over to the door of Claire's room and holding her index finger over her lips in a gesture to tell me to remain quiet.
When we entered the room, my eyes landed on my sleeping wife, noting how deathly pale she looked and just how exhausted as well. I silently made my way to her, pushing her slightly dampened bangs back and pressing my lips to her forehead. I wanted to tell her I was sorry I wasn't here the whole time, but it damn sure hadn't been my fault. I put up a decent fight when they took me out!
"Gray, this is your daughter," Elli whispered, holding what appeared to be a bundle of blankets to her and handing them out to me. She shook her head when I held my arms out, maneuvering the bundle and showing me the proper way to hold an infant. "Mind her head now," she warned, and once she was happy with the way I was holding her, she nodded and stepped out of the room. I stared down at the bundle of blankets, seeing that the baby's face covered and shook my head.
"So you're what all the fuss is about now?" I mumbled lowly, shifting so I had a free hand. "Your mother has wanted you for a very long time you know," I added thoughtfully, my large callused fingers brushing over the soft blanket, hesitating. "To tell you the truth I've been kind of waiting on you too," I mumbled, pushing the blanket back to reveal the infant.
Her small nose was slanted slightly upward, a crown of strawberry blond fluff just barely covered the very top of her head, and despite the pudgy cheeks I could already make out Claire's facial features on the baby. I brushed my fingertips over the baby's cheek, slightly awed by the wrapped bundle of the insanely tiny person. A small pudgy fist slipped out of the loosened blankets, brushing over the side of my hand. The contact seemed to alert the infant to my presence and she slowly opened her eyes, mouth opening in a wide yawn. I stared into a pair of familiar eyes as she blinked tiredly up at me.
"She's got your eyes," Grandpa murmured, causing me to look over my shoulder as I hadn't exactly heard the old man sneak up behind me.
"She's just…perfect," I said quietly, turning towards Grandpa completely and catching sight of my wife in the bed. Her eyes were half lidded and she looked exhausted, but she offered me a smile and beckoned me closer.
"Not even an hour old and she has you wrapped around her finger," Claire mumbled out, her hand resting on my forearm and pulling me more towards her, her face curiously trying to look into the bundle. I kneeled down so she could see the baby, and I don't think I had ever seen Claire smile so brightly. "Oh Gray…she looks like you," she mumbled, and I raised an eyebrow, shaking my head and chuckling.
"No…she looks like you," I corrected, and I could hear my grandfather chuckle in the background.
"Let's end this with she's a healthy mix of the both of you, hmm?" he offered, leaning over me to stare down at the baby. "I've such a beautiful great- granddaughter. I'll have to work hard till I can see her in a wedding dress too," he said, ruffling my hair- seeing as how when Claire went into labor in the wee hours of the morning I had forgotten to put it on.
I grimaced at his statement, the idea of loosing my new daughter to someone else so soon somewhat unnerving.
"Now its to early to be thinking like that," Claire mumbled, her eyes shutting and staying that way for a few moments before she opened them again, trying her best to fight sleep.
"Do you want to hold her?" I asked quietly, trying to awkwardly offer the baby to her mother. Claire shook her head, and mumbled out
"I'd love to, but I'm afraid I'm to tired to even do that." I looked between my wife and my daughter, and I stood slowly, walking around to the other side of the bed where there was more room and slipping into the bed next to Claire, resting the baby down in my lap so she could see her better. Claire's small hand brushed over the baby's cheek and she gave out a small gasp when her finger was caught by the pudgy hand. I chuckled some at her reaction, shifting so I could wrap my free arm around her.
"Did you name her yet?" I asked quietly, watching as our baby closed her tired eyes, her head drooping more into the fluffy blanket. Claire licked her chapped lips and rested more into her pillows, her finger still encased by the tiny hand.
"I like the name Kenzie," she said quietly, her gaze shifting towards me to see what I thought. I grinned down at her, nodding my head.
"I like that…Kenzie," I said the name myself, my free arm pulling my wife closer to me so I cold drop a kiss on top of her head. Claire chuckled herself, moving her head to press her own lips to my jaw before turning her attention back to the new addition to our family.
"It means…descendent of the handsome man," she said quietly. I heard my grandfather start laughing before the words fully registered in my head, and at that moment I felt my face heat uncontrollably.
"Woman…why would you want to stick our kid with a name like that?" I muttered out, shaking my head in an attempt to try to fight off the flustered look I no doubt had on my face.
"So she'll know that no matter how much I cursed her father's name while bringing her into this world, that I still thought him a handsome man," she said teasingly, eyes shutting as her head fell against my shoulder, finally losing her battle with sleep. I chuckled some and leaned my head against hers, my eyes shutting contently.
"I suppose that is a good reason. Just don't…tell her that till she's a lot older," I mumbled, staring between the sleeping baby and her mother.
It might have taken a damn long time. But seeing the baby in my arms…
It was worth it.