Four months later:
The sound of drills and construction-related commotion woke Sam with a pounding headache. She opened her eyes only to close them almost instantly at the blinding sunlight which streamed in through the window above her. "Gah..." She groaned, placing her hands over her eyes as she rocked as close as she could to the edge of the pillow in an effort to shield her eyes from the sunlight.
"Morning, Sleeping Beauty." Jack said, cheerily, as he wheeled into the bedroom with a tray of breakfast food on his lap.
"Go away." She murmured, waving him away as she tried to bury her face in the pillow.
"I brought breakfast." He said, trying to bribe her out of bed.
She could mentally see his eyebrows raise. Who was she kidding? She was always hungry. Insatiable, actually, since she ate for the fraternal twins she carried within her. Twins they'd found out about only a few weeks after Christmas at her monthly check-up.
"I just want sleep." She moaned as she struggled to sit herself up. "But that damn construction crew is making it impossible."
"Sorry," he apologized with a sheepish grin. "But..."
"I know, I know." She sighed. "It was my idea."
"Still, you could go to your place." He admitted. "I'm fine here. Ma's still here, and I can get myself out of bed and into the chair if I need to now."
She didn't say anything, just stood with a grimace as she pushed past him on her way to the bathroom.
He knew almost better than she, that she stayed with him for the emotional support. He'd started seeing a therapist a few days after Christmas about his paralysis and had learned to be a better anchor for her. Then, they'd learned about the twins. A boy and a girl, if Janet Fraiser was right. And she usually was.
Sam had been a wreck, thinking about how to care for not just one baby, but two.
To be honest, the twins were still a touchy subject for her.
He wheeled down the hallway. "Sam..."
He heard the toilet flush and the sound of running water for a few moments before it stopped and she opened the door again. "You two are officially grounded for the first month of your lives." She said, looking down at her stomach. "Kicking my bladder like that...it's unforgiveable..."
A small smile played on Jack's features before she looked up. "What?"
"They're not going to be able to do much for the first month of their lives...grounding is a little...harsh..."
She sighed as she reached down and retrieved the plate from the tray on his legs. "I'm famished."
He bit down a sarcastic comment as he followed her back down the corridor to one of the only two undisturbed rooms in the house. She passed by the mirror on his dresser and looked at her profile in the mirror with a small sigh.
"You'll get your girlish figure back," he said, soberly.
She turned a skeptical eye to him as she crunched on a piece of bacon and lowered herself cautiously to sit on the edge of the bed. "Uh-huh..."
He wheeled closer to her, giving him enough space to touch a tender hand to her knee. "Hey, just a few more weeks, right? Then, the kids will be out of you. Not dancing on your bladder anymore."
She managed a small smile, though Jack could see that she was on the verge of tears.
"I can hardly stand up anymore I'm so enormous. I've been on maternity stand down for the last two weeks, and I'm going more than a little bit crazy just sitting around, doing nothing, and waiting for these babies to make their appearance...which," she gritted her teeth, "As your mother frequently points out...will be on THEIR time table."
"I'm sure they're feeling just as squished as you," he said with a small smile. "Won't be too long now..."
She sighed. "Well, if that, in and of itself, weren't so damn terrifying, I might actually manage to be happy about that."
"What's so terrifying?" He asked, looking over at her.
"The prospect of having kids in general. I mean, what do I do when they start asking questions about what I do..."
"You're a scientist. You do experiments. At first, that's all they have to know." He said, pragmatically.
"And what if I end up going back on SG-1? What then? I mean, do I drop them off at daycare, traipse around the galaxy and come home in time for dinner?"
"You leave them with me, and I take good care of them until you get back."
She opened her mouth to speak before she closed it again.
"What?" He prodded, gently.
"What happens when...you can't chase them anymore? When you can't catch them, and they're able to figure out that there are some things they can do, some places they can go..."
"We'll deal with it." He said, soberly. "I'm not the only one who has had to consider how this disability, this paralysis, is going to affect parenting children."
She nodded, slowly.
"Come on. Your appointment is in an hour, and I want to take that new car for a spin..."
She chuckled softly. "Who knew you'd get so excited about driving..."
"Are you kidding?" He asked, eyes wide. "I can get into it by myself! I can drive! It's AMAZING!"
She smiled. "Good. That's the point."
He patted her knee, affectionately. "Get dressed, and maybe we'll get to go out to eat. And stay as far away from these construction workers as we can."
She laughed as she nodded. "Sounds like the best idea you've had all day."
She walked unevenly beside Jack as he rolled over to the car. The twins had kicked her pelvis out of alignment weeks ago, making any walking a slow, awkward and somewhat painful process as she tried to balance the extra frontal weight of her protruding belly and yet move forward at the same time.
"What's your mom doing today?" Sam asked as she struggled to get situated in the front seat of the van.
"Said she was going to go shopping with "Murray"."
Sam raised an eyebrow. "Shopping with..."
"I tried to tell her that might not be a good idea, but she insisted." He said, using the wheelchair lift to raise him high enough to get into the backseat. He quickly stored the lift before pressing a button to close the door. Then, he wheeled into the driver's seat from the backseat. "But she's sworn us off going to the mall. At least without a phone call."
"What?" She asked, looking over at him, confused.
"I know...it's weird." He said with a shrug. "And I don't get it anymore than you do."
"How are you feeling, Sam?" Dr. Janet Fraiser asked as she entered the exam room.
"Like if I get any bigger, I'll explode." She said with a sardonic smile.
"Well, it won't be too much longer," she said, sympathetically.
Sam managed a tired smile as Janet began the examination, taking her blood pressure and vitals. "I saw Colonel O'Neill outside. He seemed to be adjusting to his paralysis fairly well."
Sam nodded. "He's almost completely independent. His mother's probably going to leave in the next month or two. Though I've heard that she might get an apartment here in Colorado Springs so that she can still be close to him."
"The Colonel must be happy about that," Janet said with a small chuckle.
Sam managed an appreciative laugh. "No, but he's figured if she starts mothering him too much, he'll send her my way."
"Nice way to get some help with the twins..." Janet said, soberly.
"And Cassie's willing to babysit anytime you need it."
"I don't think I'll need an actual babysitter for a little while..."
"She can listen for the twins if you need to take a nap or something every so often."
"And...when they actually get here, I'll be happy to take her up on the offer," Sam said, wryly.
Janet's brow furrowed as she continued her examination. "Sam?"
"Have you been having discomfort...anything out of the ordinary?"
"Out of the ordinary discomfort?" Sam asked, skeptically.
Janet managed a worried smile. "Contractions...anything like that?"
Sam shook her head. "No..."
"Hm. That's peculiar."
"Why?" Sam asked, looking at her friend, feeling somewhat anxious.
"You're dilated to a four. And given the readings I just took...I think...you might be in early stages of labor."
Sam's brows raised somewhat worriedly.
Jack sat outside the exam room, reading a small booklet on dealing with paralysis. Sam had gotten it for him, and he figured that in an effort to show his gratitude for her support, he should at least...try to read it.
Janet walked out of the room, catching one of the nurses. "I need this patient moved to the labor and delivery."
Jack's ears perked up at the sound of "labor and delivery". "Janet..."
"Sam's in labor." She said, looking over at the Colonel.
His eyes widened. "Really?"
She nodded. "Do you think you can still get through to the SGC? She was asking that someone get a message through to her father."
"I'll call Hammond." He said, nodding.
She turned to leave, and he looked up. "Doc?"
She turned back. "Yes, sir?"
"Is she...okay?" He asked, worriedly.
"She's going to be fine, Colonel." She said, softly.
He nodded, slowly.
"Once you've called General Hammond, and once we've gotten her settled, she might like to see you." Janet sighed softly. "I'm trying to reassure her, but quite frankly, she is understandably anxious about the whole thing."
He nodded. "Right."
"And you've always had a calming effect on any of the members of your team."
"Not my team anymore, Doc." He said, soberly. "But I'll give it a try."
She was looking out the window, dressed in a carefully tied hospital gown as he wheeled in.
"Hey," he murmured.
She turned back to look at him, both hands resting gently on her belly as she offered him a faint smile. "Hi, Jack."
"What was that I said about it all being over soon?" He asked with a small smile.
She managed a nervous smile. "Right..."
"You're gonna be fine, Sam." He assured, wheeling closer to her.
She looked back out the window. "I hope so..."
"You don't think you can?" He prodded. "Or you're not sure you want to?"
She inhaled as she offered him an appreciative smile. "A little of both, I suppose."
"But maybe it's not as bad as I think..." She said as if offering a counterargument to a solution she'd proposed in saving the world. "Apparently I've been having contractions for a few hours now, and I can't feel a thing."
"Pretty sure that's going to change." He said with a shrug.
"Yeah..." She said, inhaling.
"Carter, you've been shot, you've had broken bones, you've been tortured with a goa'uld hand device and a goa'uld pain stick. I don't think this is going to kill you."
She managed a grateful smile as she looked down at her belly before she turned toward him, still not looking him in the eye. "Then I guess...I'm gonna be a mom."
"Yep." Jack said, nodding. "Now, you should probably get back into bed before Fraiser blames me."
She chuckled softly as she walked slowly back to the bed and got herself situated in the bed. "Were you able to get a message through to my dad?"
"Hammond said he'd try." He said, nodding.
"Mark...I should call Mark..."
"Danny and T are on their way. We can have them call."
"Wasn't Teal'c with your mom?"
"Yeah." He said, nodding. "But I can ask her to go and watch the construction guys if you want.."
"It might be a good idea." She admitted somewhat nervously. "I mean, we never actually told her..."
"It's whatever you're comfortable with. I mean, we could all hang out in the lobby..."
"I...I don't really want to be alone." She sighed with a small grimace as she pressed a hand to her stomach.
She inhaled slowly before nodding as she exhaled equally slowly. "Yeah..."
"Finally felt that one?"
She nodded. "Yeah." She exhaled noisily.
"Not...bad...exactly, just worse than the others."
"Anything I can do to help?"
"Not likely." She said with a small shrug.
"Want me to get the Doc?"
She shook her head. "No. She'll be in here soon enough, and quite frankly, I can handle this right now." She turned a small chuckle to him. "After all, I have been tortured and all sorts of other horrible things..."
She looked far from relieved, and he sighed, wishing there was something that he could do.
"Look, you don't have to stay here if you don't want to. I'm sure this is...no picnic for you either."
"Hey, those kids are half-mine. I'm only leaving if you want me to leave."
She offered a small, grateful smile. "Thanks."
"Hey...it's the least I can do. Let you hold my hand and all that jazz..."
She chuckled softly as she leaned her head back and closed her eyes. "I think I'll catch up on that sleep I wanted this morning."
He smiled somewhat nervously as her breathing deepened slowly. Whether he was ready or not, he was going to be a dad again.
Several hours later:
Daniel paced around the waiting room, nervously. "You'd think we'd have heard something by now."
"Major Carter is quite strong." Teal'c said, soberly. "She is fine."
"Women have babies everyday, Daniel." Meg said with a small smile. "She'll be fine."
"Where's Jack? I thought he would be here..." Daniel said, his brow furrowed.
Teal'c raised his eyebrow.
"AGH!" Sam cried, breathing heavily as sweat beaded her forehead.
"Keep pushing, Sam..." Janet murmured, encouragingly.
She shook with the effort, and Jack held her hand as tightly as he could to keep from letting it slip from his with the sweat that covered their hands.
"Good job, Sam. Take a minute, and then, give us another push like that one."
She inhaled as deeply as she could as she rested the back of her head against the pillow.
"Hey," Jack whispered, softly. "Good job."
She looked over at him, trying to manage a small smile.
He squeezed her hand supportively as Janet looked back at Sam. "Okay...on the count of three, I want you to push again. One, two, three."
She pulled herself up and began to push again.
"Daniel Jackson," Daniel greeted as his phone rang.
"Dr. Jackson, it's General Hammond."
"How's Major Carter?"
"Uh...we don't know. We assume someone will tell us if something's going wrong..."
"She's strong, son. I'm sure she's fine." The General assured.
"Yes, sir, I'm sure she is." He agreed. "Now...what can we do for you?"
"I just got word back from the Tok'ra. Apparently, Jacob is on a mission of gravest importance, and cannot be interrupted at this time."
"I know." He interrupted. "But for now, I've done all I can."
"Thank you. I'll be sure to tell Sam when I get the chance."
He hung up the phone with a sigh.
"Her dad can't come. At least...not right now."
"He can't?" Meg asked, surprised.
"No, he...can't be reached by phone, apparently."
"Sam, I can see the baby's head." Janet said with a smile. "Just one more push, and you'll have one of the twins."
Sam nodded, steeling herself for another push. She gritted her teeth as she pushed, and Jack smiled softly. "Sam...we're almost there..." He said, in wonder.
She released a guttural yell as a smaller cry reached their ears.
"That's it, Sam." Janet cried, somewhat breathlessly as she helped to pull the child from Sam's womb. "You're a mom."
Sam inhaled softly as Janet held the child up for her to see. "It's a girl."
Tears were slipping down her cheeks as she took in the sight of her baby girl.
"Doctor..." One of the nurses murmured.
She wrapped the baby up and offered the baby to Jack. "Hold her for a moment, Colonel."
He looked somewhat overwhelmed at the thought of holding his daughter for the first time. "Support her head." The doctor reminded, gently.
He nodded earnestly as Sam pushed again. A few moments later, another squeal could be heard from the second newborn.
"And...it's a boy." Janet smiled.
Sam was crying as Janet offered her son for her to hold. "Well done, Sam." She said with a small smile as she patted her friend's shoulder.
"Oh, he's so beautiful," she murmured.
"I think the right term is handsome," Jack cut in. "She...she's gorgeous."
"Just wait until we get them all cleaned up." Janet chuckled. "Do you mind?"
"No." Sam said, shaking her head as she returned the baby to the doctor. A nurse retrieved the baby girl from Jack's arms.
"Nice job, Carter."
She managed a tired smile. "Thank you, sir."
Daniel knocked softly on the door as he opened it. "Hey," he whispered, flowers and balloons in his hands.
Sam looked up with a serene smile from where she held her daughter in her arms. "Hi, Daniel."
"Jack said she was beautiful, but he didn't say how beautiful," he murmured as he bent over her and looked at the baby.
"Do you want to hold her?" Sam asked, looking over at him.
She gently passed the baby to him. "Watch her head," she said, softly.
"What's her name?"
"Grace Althea Carter," Sam said with a small smile. "After my mother and grandmother."
She smiled softly as she looked over to where Meg O'Neill, unknowingly, held her grandson. "And that little heartbreaker over there...is Jacob Andrew Carter."
"He looks so much like..." Meg began.
Sam tensed slightly as she looked over. Jack had mentioned shortly after young Jacob's birth that he'd looked much like the newborn Charlie.
"Hey, guys." Jack grinned as he wheeled in.
"What are those?" Meg asked, looking up at her son.
"Just a couple of teddy bears."
Sam chuckled. "The kids can't play with them until they're at least ten!"
"Something to look forward to then." He winked. "Come on, they're teddy bears..."
Sam smiled softly. "Okay, fine. They're teddy bears. Eventually, they'll be able to see over the bears' heads."
He turned an affectionate smile to her.
Meg let her eyes wander from her son to Sam before she gently passed the baby to her son. "Here, Jonathan. Hold the baby. I think I'll go and check on the construction workers."
Daniel took the hint and returned Grace to her mother's arms. "I'll go see if I can find..."Murray"..."
"Besides, she likes you better than me." He winked.
Sam chuckled softly as Grace nestled into her arms. She ran a gentle finger over her daughter's cheek. "You are so beautiful," she whispered, absolutely overwhelmed by her motherhood.
Daniel smiled as he gently patted her shoulder. "I'll be back tomorrow, okay?"
"Okay." She said with a soft smile as Meg came over and gently kissed her cheek. "Your children are beautiful. And you look radiant."
Sam blushed. "You're lying, but I'm inclined to believe you."
Meg smiled. "Call me if you need any help."
"Thanks for the offer. I'll keep it in mind." She said, gratefully.
"Good." She said with a small nod before she turned to leave.
When they were gone, Jack looked over from where he sat holding baby Jacob. "We do good work, don't we?"
She managed a small smile as she nodded. "Yeah. We do."
She bit her lip. "I don't know."
"You're going to need some help with these two. Maybe you should just stay at my house..."
"The nursery was painted in my house..." She laughed softly.
"Maybe we should, uh, change that."
"Change what? Which nursery is painted?" She asked, skeptically. "I don't think that's going to work..."
"That's not really what I meant...I just thought that...maybe we should share my house."
She sobered, pausing for a moment. "What are you saying, Jack?"
"We're parents, Sam. We should...live in the same house...even if we don't actually have a relationship. That way we don't have to ferry them back and forth. That way you can go back to SG-1, and the kids won't have to go anywhere..."
"You don't have to answer yet, but I...when you were napping, I asked my mom to redecorate one of the rooms. That's...that's what she was doing at the mall yesterday. She was getting all of the furniture and...stuff...for the nursery."
"I told my mom the truth."
"Who's she gonna tell?" He asked with a small smile as he looked down at his newborn son. "I mean, I'm retired. What am I afraid of?"
Sam inhaled. "You're sure about this?"
He nodded. "You can take all the time you need, but I can support you better if we're in the same house. Especially with midnight feedings and the like."
"I'd like that," she admitted.
"Then, I guess..." He said with a small sigh. "I guess it's...settled..."
She pressed her fingers to her lips as she blew a soft kiss his way.
"What was that for?"
"You're retired, aren't you?" She asked with a tender smile. "And the father of my two beautiful babies?"
He smiled softly, pretending to catch the kiss with his fingers, as he looked down at the sleeping baby in his arms. "Yep, Carter...I thought we did good work when we saved the world, but this...this is perfection."
She swallowed as she looked down at Grace, lying in her arms. "I know just what you mean..." She murmured, softly.