"How about this one, Bella?" Alice asked, holding a puce blouse up against my chest and almost-fully-rounded stomach. Grimacing, I just stared at her and she pulled the shirt away. "Okay, so puce is not your color." Hanging the shirt back up, she spun on her heel and headed towards the back of Motherhood Maternity. At the thought of the name, I proudly reached down to run my hand over my stomach, smiling blissfully.

In just a few more weeks, I was expected to go into labor. I was both enthralled and petrified of that thought. While the thought of giving birth to my own baby excited me, I was afraid of the pain I'd have to endure to do so. However, that fear was quickly brushed aside when I thought about looking at my own baby for the first time, holding him or her, and watching Edward's face light up at the sight of his son or daughter.

I still couldn't believe Edward, as young as he was, was excited to be a father. I knew he'd be a good one just by the way he treated me, always making sure that my needs came before his. Although he could be a little overbearing at times, I didn't halt his efforts at making sure I was okay and accounted for; I thought it was rather sweet, actually.

Alice had deemed we needed a girls' day out before the bachelorette party so she took me to Motherhood Maternity at the local mall for some sprucing up on my wardrobe, since lately all it consisted of was big tee shirts and sweatpants. That was all I'd been able to fit into, but we were sure to pick up a few pairs of jeans with stretch-bands. However, I was a little disappointed by it, since I rather enjoyed lounging around the house in sweatpants all day.

After Motherhood Maternity, Alice decided that we needed some food so we headed to the food court. I whined about wanting a pretzel, but Alice, the overprotective best friend she was, refused to buy me something so full of sodium and bought me a salad instead. So I grumbled all through lunch, watching as she munched happily on her orange chicken and white rice while I picked at my chicken salad.

"Stop whining, Bella," she scolded, but I could tell she was fighting off a triumphant smile as she forked another piece of chicken. I watched helplessly as she lifted it to her mouth. Her eyes met mine and she saw my pout. Sighing, she stuck the fork forward and I squealed happily, leaning forward to pull the chicken off the fork.

However, right before my teeth hit the food, I felt wetness between my thighs. At first, I thought I'd peed myself, but then I looked down and saw the rounded stomach, and I knew. My eyes were wide as my head snapped back up.

"Alice…my water just broke," I told her, trying to stay calm. She huffed out a nervous laugh. "I'm not kidding. Call Edward."

She shot up from her chair and whipped out her phone, saying, "Fuck Edward. We need to get you an ambulance!" So she dialed 9-1-1 and an ambulance was immediately dispatched. We ran – well, Alice ran, I waddled – to the front of the mall, the crowd parting like the Red Sea for Moses. The ambulance was outside when we pushed through the double doors and Alice was already on the phone with Edward.

"Her water just broke. Yes, I know she's not due for another three weeks, but it came early! We're getting in the ambulance now. Just meet us there." She snapped her phone shut and climbed into the back before I was hauled in. They forwarded the call to the hospital, and a wheelchair was already waiting for me in the emergency room.

I was wheeled into a room while Alice made more phone calls to my family and Edward's, but she was back in the room in a flash. My contractions had started, spaced out at first, but the longer I sat in that delivery room, the quicker they were coming and the more painful they were becoming. My parents had shown up, as had Edward's, but Edward himself was still nowhere to be found.

I had been in the delivery room for four hours already, and the doctor was just walking in when my fiancé burst in behind him, flushed and panting. The doctor spun as he pulled on his rubber gloves.

"Ah, you must be the father." Edward nodded. "You're just in time." He gestured to me, but Edward was way ahead of him. I instantly grabbed onto his hand and he cringed, but didn't protest. The doctor began explaining my situation in medical lingo that I didn't understand.

The one word I did understand: push. So I did. What resulted was positively the worst pain I'd ever felt in my life. Sweat was pouring from my forehead and tears from my eyes as I screamed in agony, but I never stopped pushing. Edward kissed my forehead and reassured me that I was doing great, and I believed him. I felt my baby passing through me and finally the pain subsided, but the room was silent.

Finally, we heard the wail of a baby.

Sorry it took so long.