Disclaimer: Glee ain't mine. Not even a little bit.
Author's note: Beware, angst ahead.
Rachel Berry-Puckerman learns the only thing strong enough to break her is New York City.
It takes seven years, one useless degree in musical theatre, two years of marriage, and an endless supply of rejections before Rachel has finally had enough of the city.
Once upon a time, New York City was where all of her dreams were going to come true. She was going to be a star with her name in lights and the world at her feet.
But the city turned on her and seven years later, she hasn't become a star, she's only become hardened. Rachel learns that maybe, just maybe, talent and determination can only take you so far. And for her, it's not far enough.
It hurts too much to be a part of the lights, so she begs Noah to take her back home to Lima or she'll jump off their twelve-story apartment building in Brooklyn, she swears.
Noah's not sure how she never got cast in anything, because she's a convincing actress and he agrees. Even though she's threatened to jump for much less.
They pack up their little life in New York, toast goodbye with cheap champagne on their rooftop, and wish the city good riddance before moving back to Lima.
In Lima, they are astounded by how much space they can afford. In New York, they could barely afford their tiny studio apartment . And that usually meant eating soup four nights a week and going without heat in the winter. But in Lima, they scrape together enough money to buy a little two-story house with a yard. They eat more than soup and can afford heat and air conditioning.
Rachel's father gets Noah an interview and before they know it, he's wearing ties and carrying a briefcase.
The only job Rachel can get with her useless degree (in her defense, she never thought she'd need an education - it was only a backup plan. Broadway doesn't require an education) is teaching drama at McKinley High. She co-chairs the glee club with Mr. Schuster, but she calls him Will now.
Life moves around them much like it did in New York. Just at a drastically slower pace.
Noah believes now that they're back home, things have changed for the better. Rachel cries less and there's more money in their bank account.
But he notices when she signs their mortgage, she doesn't pen a little star next to her name. It's the first time in ten years that he hasn't seen the shape after her name and he knows then that she's resigned herself to never being the star.
The Rachel Berry he met ten years ago no longer exists. She's not all drive and confidence; she doesn't move perpetually forward with blinders on. She's different than the girl he met in high school, but he's different, too, and they still manage to compliment each other the same ways they did when they were 16.
They find Lima exactly as they left it.
Old friends are a constant. Those who stayed behind become permanent fixtures in their new lives and those who escaped flicker in an our during holidays and long weekends.
Quinn and Finn are among the constants. They're happily married with a gaggle of children. There's even a white picket fence around their house, three blocks from Rachel and Noah's.
"You do realize you're living a fucking cliché, right, Hudson?" Puck laughs one night when he's drinking beers with Finn on the Hudson's porch while their wives are in the kitchen, cooing over children.
"Wait. A cliché's a bad thing, right?"
Noah rolls his eyes and takes a long drag from his beer bottle. Some things never change.
"Shut up, Puck," Finn grounds out.
(When someone from his past calls him Puck it's like a sucker punch to the gut, forcing him to remember high school and the boy he was back then. He stopped going by Puck when he moved to New York, five years ago, and Rachel introduced him as Noah.)
"You just wait," Finn tells him warningly. "You're not living the fast life anymore. Before you know it, you're going to have 2.5 kids and your own picket fence."
Rachel and Noah spend their third wedding anniversary eating Chinese food on the floor and having sex in the kitchen.
When they're lying in a tangled heap of limbs on the cold kitchen floor, Noah asks, "You're happy, right?" He drags his thumb across her lips and smiles when her eyes flutter.
"Deliriously," she tells him. "Although, I never thought we'd end up here."
And it's true - ten years ago - when he was the popular football player and she was the glee club outcast, no one could have predicted they'd find their way to this place. Not even five years ago could they have imagined this. When she was trying in vain to make her dreams come true in the city and he transferred from community college in Lima to NYU.
But in a city full of millions, they still managed to come together. And that's what it's always been like for them - coming together despite all reason.
"Jesus, me either. Thanks for putting up with my shit this long, Rach."
"Thanks for putting up with my crazy this long, Noah."
And then they fall apart laughing until their lips meet in the middle.
When summer comes, Rachel finds herself aimless. There are no classes to teach, no lessons to plan, no young stars to mentor.
She has nothing to strive for, nothing to fill her time and thoughts, so one afternoon when she's with Quinn and her four hazel-eyed, sandy-haired children, a new goal materializes before her eyes.
She surprises Noah with his favorite meal after work and says casually over the dinner table, "I think we should have a baby."
Noah spits out his beer over his plate,.
"Well, I'm not getting any younger. We've been married for three years. We both have good, stable jobs…"
He holds up a hand, stopping her. Knowing his wife (and he does) she has a litany of reasons why they should have a baby right now.
"So, did you want to start right now?" he asks, raising an eyebrow suggestively.
"Noah!" she screeches, but he's already out of his chair and rounding the table to get to her.
They start trying to have a baby, right there, on the dining room table.
"You know," she sighs lazily one Sunday afternoon when they're curled around each other in bed. "Sometimes it takes awhile to get pregnant."
"Baby," he laughs. "I'm a stud. Hell, I got Quinn pregnant with one try. And we weren't even trying."
Her eyes fall and she feels him tense beside her, realizing what he's said. They don't talk often about that baby. The little girl he and Quinn gave up for adoption over ten years ago. But sometimes, under the cover of the night, he admits to Rachel that he wonders about her. If she has his eyes or Quinn's smile.
"I shouldn't have… sorry," he mumbles tightly.
"It's okay." She peppers kisses along his jaw, reassuring him. "That was a really long time ago."
He rolls her under him, grinding his hips against hers. "You know," he ground out thickly, "our kids are going to be so fucking gorgeous."
And he presses his lips to hers and suddenly, the vision of a little girl with light eyes and blonde hair is replaced with the image of a dark-haired, dark-eyed child.
A child he gets to keep.
When Rachel doesn't get pregnant after trying for three months, she starts to get worried.
Noah tries his best to assuage her fears. "You said it yourself, babe, sometimes it takes awhile to get pregnant. Maybe my guys are just you know, gun shy, or something."
She nods her head valiantly, but doesn't believe him. "Maybe I should talk to someone about it. Just in case."
Turns out, at the tender age of 26 and only trying for three months, no doctor will even discuss the possibility with her that something could be wrong. She turns to her friends with children (Quinn and Emma) and they tell her the same thing: be patient, it will happen.
"Hey," Rachel says softly to Noah one night when they're propped against the pillows in bed. "Quinn said that the best way to get pregnant with a boy is to do it doggy-style. She swears it's how they got Rex and Archer."
Noah looks at her, eyes wide and mouth gaping open. He swallows hard and struggles out, "A boy would be nice."
"What do you think about Elijah?" Rachel asks Noah over breakfast, glancing up at him from the baby name book she holds in her hands.
Baby names and themes for the nursery and potential preschools consume Rachel's time.
"I don't think it's tough enough or cool enough for my son's name."
"I like it," she says wistfully. "It's Hebrew."
"My mom would go nuts for it then," he laughs, rolling his eyes.
Rachel is convinced that when she finally does get pregnant, it will be with a boy. In the closet, in the spare bedroom, there is a box of green and blue baby things that are proof of her belief.
"What names do you like?"
"I don't know," Noah shrugs. "Something cool like Otto or Magnus."
Rachel just laughs and accepts his kiss when he hops up to leave for work.
Now that she's a teacher at McKinley High, Rachel befriends some of her old teachers. It would be weird, but she's eleven years older and not the same girl she was when she left high school.
It's normal (but strangely reminiscent of years past) when she invites Will, Emma, and their two children over for dinner.
They eat dinner and drink wine and replay memories of golden moments years ago. It's hard for Rachel to be in the company of so many people who knew her when she had promise.
But it's harder to watch as her husband plays with five year old Henry and two year old Lily, Will and Emma's immaculate, red-headed children.
"Don't worry," Noah tells her when he sees the tears in her eyes, "We'll have one of those little monsters soon enough."
Six months in and no baby, Rachel starts to get obsessive.
Teaching high school kids with little-to-no talent is a constant drain on her. The glee club that she made a legacy is going nowhere fast. And each day she drives through her hometown to go to work at her old high school is a reminder that she didn't make it big and this is her punishment.
So, a baby quickly becomes that big shiny goal. Something to dream of, something to strive towards. A baby has taken the place of her beloved Tony and she's going to be damned if she sees another dream go up in smoke.
She googles and reads everything she can about the subject of baby-making.
Noah once thought there was nothing to making a baby (he did knock Quinn up without much effort) but now that it's with his wife and they actually want a baby, there are a lot of rules.
He doesn't really comprehend any of her rules. He knows that she takes her temperature a lot and that she props her legs up after they have sex. And that they only have sex on certain days, but it's still a lot of sex, so he doesn't complain.
Rachel learns she's pregnant for the first time in the bathroom off their bedroom at the crack of dawn.
At long, long last the pregnancy test shows that coveted plus sign and she thinks the adrenaline and the excitement is similar to what it would feel like to hear her name called at the Tony's.
She runs back into their bedroom, screaming and laughing and crying. She doesn't even bother to control her excitement and shakes him furiously, wanting him to join. When he finally does wake up, he thinks someone has died.
The speech she's been preparing to tell Noah he's going to be father goes out the window when he looks at her with wide, wondering eyes and she blurts out the news: "I'm pregnant!" she screams. "We're finally going to have a baby!"
When Noah wraps his arms around her and presses kisses to the top of head, she thinks this is better than any award. And this version of an acceptance speech is much, much better.
The first time Rachel has an ultrasound it only confirms what she already knows.
The cramps and bright red blood were proof enough. The quiet room, the empty picture on the screen is simply vindication.
Noah is at her side the entire time. He holds her hand during the exam. And later, when they're home and she shows him the box of things she's been collecting since she got the idea of a baby in her mind, he holds her as she cries.
They try again, two months later.
Rachel isn't as gung-ho this time and Noah is wary, but there still isn't a baby and that's the goal.
She promises him that she wont get as crazy as she did the last time.
That lasts for one month before it's back to temping and propping and only having sex on certain days.
Noah's mother frequents their house for dinner.
She adores Rachel, mostly for being Jewish, but there are times when she opens her mouth and Rachel has to dig her fingers into Noah's thigh to keep herself from screaming.
So, when she says to Rachel one Sunday night over dinner, "You know, dear, you're not getting any younger. Maybe it's time you thought about having children. There's no greater joy than children" Rachel wants to lunge across the table at her mother-in-law.
"I cannot believe the nerve of that woman!" Rachel shouts at Noah after his mother has left. "What does she know about us having a baby?!"
"Babe, calm down, she didn't know," Noah tries to soothe to her, rubbing his hands down her arms, but it's all in vain because she spends the next hour ranting and raving.
And then she fucks him senseless.
It's not even one of their scheduled nights.
It takes four months, but Rachel finally gets pregnant again.
When the pregnancy test registers a positive sign, the excitement hits her full force, and she jumps into Noah's arms, squealing happily, "We're going to have a baby!"
This is her encore.
She can't enter into his pregnancy any less optimistic than the last.
Two days after she gets her positive, she buys every blue thing she can get her hands on. She's even more convinced, now that she's actually pregnant, that her and Noah are meant to have a son.
The bright red blood is familiar and knocks her down a peg when it starts two weeks after she learns she's pregnant.
She and Noah cry together in the bathroom.
Against his shoulder, she sobs, "Maybe we're not meant to have a baby."
They take a break from trying to have a baby.
He surprises her with a trip to New York. They visit their old stomping grounds and see their old friends, but the city still makes her heart hurt with all of its broken promises, so she comes back even sadder than when she left.
Over winter break, when she's more aimless than ever, he tells her, "Rachel, you need to stop this. I'm sorry that you're not pregnant, that we don't have a baby. But Jesus Christ, we have each other. Isn't that enough?"
"I don't know," she whispers.
She doesn't even flinch when he storms out and slams the door so hard it shakes the entire house.
When he finally returns home, ten hours later, Rachel's waiting for him on the sofa.
"I'm sorry," she cries, throwing herself in his arms. "I didn't mean it. You know I didn't mean it. I love you, Noah."
"I know," he tells her.
They start trying to have a baby again.
By the time their fourth wedding anniversary rolls around, there is still no baby.
There is more crying, more fighting, and yet, more trying for that elusive baby.
This year, they spend their anniversary apart. Rachel stays home, among a whirl of thrown shoes and broken dishes, crying from their latest fight. Noah stays in a bar downtown until the early hours of the morning before crashing at the Hudson's.
"Are you close?" Rachel asks, her voice hushed and strained.
Noah grunts, moving his hips against hers. His eyes are screwed shut in concentration and his hands have him balanced high above her.
She twists her hips and he finally comes, shuddering out a long sigh before collapsing beside her.
Sex has turned into a quick event. No teasing, no foreplay - they just get right down to business in the hopes that they will eventually create a child. Rachel rarely seems to enjoy it and he knows she barely comes anymore.
But, he indulges her and thinks once she's pregnant (and it sticks) and there's finally a baby, she'll have what she wants and things will go back to normal.
"I'm going out with some friends from work," Noah tells Rachel when he comes home from work and finds her in their bedroom.
"What?" she whines.
"I'm going out," he repeats.
"But you can't! I'm ovulating."
"So?" He shrugs. "You'll ovulate again next month. Not like it ever works anyways."
And then she starts screaming and throwing things, so he just leaves.
He stumbles home near dawn. He shuffles into their bedroom and plops down ungracefully beside Rachel in bed, not even bothering to get undressed.
"You smell like cheap perfume, Noah." Her voice is quiet as it cuts through the darkness.
"Go back to sleep, Rachel," he tells her calmly, settling down beside her.
"What was her name?"
He turns on his side, her back to her. "Go to sleep."
Rachel's gone when he wakes up, but he half expects her to be, anyway.
Three days pass before he hears from her.
And the day he finally does is just by chance. He comes home from work at lunch and finds her home, stuffing things into a bag.
"Are you staying with Quinn and Finn?" he asks her, standing in the doorway, keeping his distance.
"No. It hurts too much. Seeing Quinn and the kids… Just reminds me of everything she has and I don't."
"Rachel… You don't want those brats anyways. They're half Finn's, so they're practically retarded."
She looks up at him with wide eyes, her brow furrowed. "You don't get it at all."
When she's finished packing, Noah's still standing in the doorway. He doesn't stop her when she moves past him to leave.
After a week, when the house is too empty, Noah lumbers to Rachel's fathers house where he knows he'll find her. As he waits on her porch for the door to be opened, he feels like he's gone back in time. Just a nervous and awkward teenager meeting her dads for the first time.
"Noah," her father greets him when he pulls open the door. "I don't think Rachel wants to see you."
"I'm sure she doesn't," he sighs, hands stuffed in his pockets and his eyes fixed on the ground. "I just need to talk to her. Just for a second."
"She upstairs, in her room. Do you remember the way?"
He's up the stairs and halfway there before the words even leave his mouth, because of course he remembers the way.
"What do you want?" she asks when he comes busting through the door. She's not shocked by his appearance, it's like she's been expecting him all along.
"I want my wife to come back home. It's too fucking quiet when you're not there."
She's still silent, sitting there and staring up at him expectantly.
"I'm sorry," he tells her. "I'm sorry."
"What did you do, Noah?"
He drops to his knees before her and lays his head in her lap. "I'm sorry," he chokes out again. "Please just come home."
And so she does.
They get pregnant for a third time and as soon as the test comes up positive, she's telling him, "The third time's a charm. I just know it."
Their life becomes a cycle of trying and failing.
"What are we doing, Rachel?"
He asks her this in the middle of the night, after she's been home for two months and they're just as broken as ever.
"I don't know."
"We're too fucked up to bring a child into this world. Hell. We can't raise a child like this."
They separate in the middle of October.
He stays in the house and she moves in with her fathers.
Noah knows there are a lot of cracks in their marriage, but he doesn't think any of those cracks will break it.
He doesn't think they'll get divorced. But then he gets the papers in the mail two months later.
"Do you mind telling me what the fuck these are?"
He bursts through the door of her fathers' house, waving the divorce papers in her face.
"Divorce papers," she answers calmly.
"What the fuck, Rachel," he demands. He gets into her face, towering above her.
But she's not easily threatened by him. She squares her shoulders and stands her ground. "Noah, we've been separated for two months. Something has to give… we can't keep living in limbo like this."
"So getting a divorce is the answer?"
"I'm just taking the steps necessary to legally end something that's already over."
"Is that really what you want?"
She falters, just for a second, her eyes darting away from his and her shoulders sagging under a heavy sigh. But he sees the dent in her amour and attacks at the weakest point.
"No one's ever going to put up with your shit like I do, Rachel," he sneers, ducking his face closer to hers.. "No one's going to be able to fucking stand you long enough to give you that baby you so desperately want. Face it, I'm your only shot."
"Shut up," she warns lowly, shoving him back.
When he recovers and he's back in her face, it's just as close as ever. So close that she can feel his breath against her face. "You know it's true. We've been stuck together ever since Finn fucked you over for Quinn."
"Just shut up, Noah," she screams, her eyes are dark and fierce as she meets his head on.
He takes a step towards her and she takes two back until finally, he's backed her against a wall and there's nowhere left for her to go. He dips his head, his lips almost on hers, and he growls, "No one's ever going to want you like I do."
She's ready to slap him, her hand is raised and everything, but when he crashes his lips to hers and grinds his hips against hers, that hand falls to his shoulder to hold herself up.
"I fucking hate you," she tells him when he scrapes his teeth against her neck and her body arches towards him, betraying her.
"I hate you, too," he says, but his voice muffled by her skin.
Their movements against each other are fast and violent. Hands searching, mouths sliding, and their bodies moving together at a harsh speed.
When his hands move under her shirt and he palms her breasts, he's certain she's going to push him away. Slap him and tell him to get the hell out.
But instead, she surprises him (like she usually does) and pulls away just to tug off her sweater and her bra. She hisses when his mouth makes contact with her skin. His hands are warm against her waist and his mouth is wet against the curve of her breast and she doesn't remember ever feeling like this before it's been so long.
Her hand covers the bulge in his jeans, stroking hard and smiling when she hears him sigh and then buck against her. He sags against her when she pulls the zipper of his jeans down carefully and slips her hand in inside.
He moves his hips in time with the movements of her hand, but when he raises his head and looks into her dark eyes, he remembers just how pissed he was a moment ago. So, he bats her hand away and wraps his arms around her, hauling her up his body. Her legs wrap around him and his cock is trapped between her legs. He can feel the heat there and it almost makes him lose focus.
Lowering his head, he takes a nipple into his mouth and is rewarded with a low moan. His hands come around to cup her ass and he pulls her against him with every snap of his hips. He can feel her growing wetter with each jerky movement and he knows he's on a mission.
Supporting her with one arm, the other disappears between their bodies. He pushes the damp fabric of her underwear away and runs his fingers along her wet folds. Rachel gasps when he pushes two fingers inside of her.
Noah pushes and pulls, swivels and curls his fingers inside of her. And when he knows she's almost there, he pushes his thumb against her clit and laughs when she breaks apart in his arms. Her body jerks and she screams out a strain of incoherent vowels.
She looks at him with unseeing eyes as she's coming down, but he attacks her mouth with his own before she can say anything else. He kisses her, long and hard and dirty. It's not long before she's clutching at his shoulders and rolling her hips again.
He braces her against the wall with his hips as he pulls her panties aside with one hand and guides himself towards her with the other.
He pushes into her just slightly and then stills.
"Tell me you want this," he demands, unmoving even as twists her hips.
Her eyes flutter open and she smiles. "Noah… please."
He pushes in another inch and elicits a sharp hiss from her.
She's mindless at this point, only focused on the way their bodies are connected. "I want this. I want you," she manages in a low groan. "Please, Noah, just fuck me."
And that's all he needs before he pushes deep inside of her, filling her completely.
His hips snap against hers with no finesse, no rhythm. Their moves are raw and fierce as they chase after the pleasure they feel coiling tightly within them.
"Baby," he growls against her neck, "You first."
He reaches between them and rubs hard at her clit until she's bucking against him, her muscles clenching around him, and she's screaming out his name.
Her orgasm triggers his own and he falls right after her, his movements even sloppier as he comes, his tongue sliding against her throat and her name in slow gasp from his lips.
They fall to the floor together, limbs everywhere, clothing askew, but still connected.
"My dad's will be home soon," is the first thing she says when their breathing calms and silence reigns.
Noah laughs, sliding his hands across her back. "This feels strangely like we're back in high school, sneaking around."
She smiles against his shoulder, remembering all the times they almost got caught and the handful of times when they did.
It sometimes seems a miracle that they've come this far.
But when they're tangled together in the living room of her fathers' house, sweaty and exhausted from a quickie, it doesn't really seem that far at all.
Especially not when she feels they're just as broken as ever.
He kisses her, slow this time, and threads his fingers through her hair as he meets her eyes.
"I still hate you, you know," she chokes out.
But he just kisses her again.
When the pregnancy test comes up positive this time, Rachel's certain it's not going to last.
So certain she doesn't even bother telling Noah.
She waits for the cramping and the bleeding and the loss.
But it never comes.
At thirteen weeks and five days (she ticks off each and every day) it's the longest she's ever been pregnant. She goes to the doctor and three times she's been through this song and dance replay in her head as she lies back on the exam table, the Doppler moving across her belly. She anticipates nothing except for the silence in the room to continue.
The wild thumping that overtakes the room startles her.
The sound of the baby's heart reduces her to tears.
Rachel shows up to her the house with a sonogram picture in her hand - the doctor printed off three extra copies for her that show just the beginnings of a baby.
It's weird being back, after being gone so long, but it feels like coming home again when Noah swings open the front door.
She presses the picture into his hand and announces tearfully, "I think we're really going to have a baby this time."
He's speechless, so he just pulls her into his arms
Rachel doesn't believe in fairy tales.
She hasn't since Finn broke her heart when she was 16. After all, as the story goes, the leading man always ends up with the budding starlet. It's just not how this story went.
It was a tough lesson to learn at 16. It is how she knows now, nearly 12 years later, that things between her and Noah wont be magically fixed.
But there's a baby now.
There are also divorce papers in shreds and she's moved back in, so it's a start.
Not a happily ever after, because she knows there's no such thing, but a start.
"Do you think I'm going to be a good dad?"
"I think you're going to be an amazing dad," she assures him and reinforces the thought with a tender kiss to his lips.
"Yeah, well. Quinn didn't think so."
"Noah, you were 16. Everything's different now."
"Yeah," he agrees, swiping a hand over her ever-expanding belly - evidence that everything is, in fact, different. "I don't want to be like my dad. I don't want to be the guy who leaves."
The places they are broken start to mend.
They fill the cracks with laughter and tears and hope for their future as parents.
It is the baby that brings them back together initially, but it is their love - still tried and true - that keeps them there.
Because, after all, they are constantly reminded that their story is one that is of a partnership that comes together despite all reason.
They decide not to find out the gender of the baby.
But Rachel paints the nursery blue and there's a closet filled with clothes for a little boy.
"It's a boy. I just know it."
She's so convincing Noah doesn't even think to argue with her (it's the one thing they don't argue over).
Rachel learns that the art of forgiveness is not an easy one.
It takes her until the day their child kicks for the very first time to truly forgive all of his transgressions. He repents by singing to her stomach.
When she whispers breathlessly, "I forgive you," he tells her, "Ditto."
But the truth is, he forgave her everything the second she showed up on their doorstep with the sonogram picture in her hand.
As the days tick closer to their duo becoming a trio, they learn of abiding, unconditional love.
They are still themselves of course - the fight constantly, they are polar opposites, but the same where it matters - but they do everything with a purpose now.
It is in the places where there were cracks and flaws and imperfections have become their strengths.
The moment finally arrives.
Rachel is nervous and she compares labor to stepping onto the stage for the first time. The anticipation, the butterflies, the adrenaline all feel the same.
Noah tells her that her reward will be so much better than a Tony. At the end of this performance they will finally, finally, have their baby.
"That's a nice name, isn't?" she asks in a daze, clutching his hand as another contraction pulls her under a wave of pain. "Tony? Maybe that's what we should name him."
"No way in hell, Rachel."
She squeezes his hand so hard that he swears he hears bones cracking.
This performance is Rachel's longest - 22 hours in total.
She screams through the pain and hums through the undercurrents of relief.
Noah is at her side the entire time, acting as supporting actor and crew all at once. He holds her hand and wipes the sweat from her forehead and encourages when she swears she can't do it any longer.
But in the end, he's right. What she gets at the end of this performance - one that will surely go down in the history books - is better than any award or standing ovation.
Her reward for all of her hard work is hearing her child take its first breath and screaming its way into the world.
When she hears the baby's cries, she knows it's all been worth it. The loss and the heartbreak and the two years it took for this moment to come to be. Her persistence has finally paid off - the screaming baby is proof enough of that.
"Jesus, he takes after you," Noah laughs, kissing her forehead as the baby's scream pierces his ears.
"I want to see him," Rachel cries.
"Congratulations," the doctor tells the new parents, holding up the screaming baby. "It's a girl."