Disclaimer: Of course, character names and all Twilight references are property of Stephenie Meyer, the brilliant inspirer of creativity. These human variations are from my loopy mind.
Trying something new with this one, so please bear with me if the updates don't come as rapidly as usual (they probably won't). I needed a diversion from 'Forever Grey' because it's getting a little intense – this is my diversion. Much lighter, ALL HUMAN and unlike my other stories that are planned out from the get-go, this one is coming to you as it comes to me. I have no clue where it will go or how long it will last or if I'll have to put it on hiatus if it hinders completing FG… We'll see what happens!
Oh, and I'm gonna slap it with an 'M' rating, because I just don't know what's down the road. If not lemons, at least some very tangy limes?
One more note before you begin reading, this is my first attempt at writing outside of Edward's head so again… I just don't know. It will be split between his POV and Bella's. Let me know if it sucks and I shouldn't continue or if I should only ever write Edward. :/ Here we go!
Days Like This
At the age of 5, I wanted to be a ballerina. At 10, the president. At 15, I was certain I'd be nothing. And at 20, I discovered my niche...film. Finding something that I was actually good at boosted my confidence and drew me out of my shell. Sure, my talent was put to use more as a still photographer; baby pictures, weddings, pets... But on occasion, I lucked out with commercial offers. I'd done several magazine shoots and had even filmed a few TV commercials. Enough to afford me the life I led as a freelancer.
My career was the love of my life until I was 26. That's when my life took a spin and I ended up panting in the backseat of a cab while the driver cursed at me in Spanish. He would charge extra for the damage to his seat. I didn't give a fuck. In shock and serious pain, I would have paid anything to not be where I was and in this position.
The next day was to be my last photo shoot for awhile. I was taking a leave of absence, pending the birth of my true love who, at that moment felt like she was attempting to burst through me. Sideways. Yes, my true love was on the way. Early. I had planned everything down to the day but she one-upped me. My baby would be born and everything would change. I just hoped it wouldn't be in the back of a cab that reeked of day-old piss and pastrami. I felt my stomach contract as I identified the retched odour. Oh god no... I emptied my stomach into a plastic bag left behind by the previous fare.
"That's extra!" Cabbie yelled back as I wiped my mouth.
"Just drive, asshole! Sorry baby...Mommy's a little uptight right now," I murmured to my belly, rubbing it in clockwise circles as I'd done from the moment I became aware of the life inside me. In response, she kicked my ribs and forced her way down, painfully, once more. "Aaaaugh! Faster!" I coaxed as I now had the hospital in view.
Alice was waiting for me at the ER doors. My best friend. My rock. The person who let me talk through my issues and find resolve to anything. She was with me in the delivery room, not my baby's father.
Jacob. I did love him, once upon a time. What I didn't love was the control he wanted over me. Once our baby was conceived, I knew he'd insist on me living on the Reservation. It, in itself, wasn't bad; it was what I would miss out on that I couldn't bear. He would insist on me making a home for us, not working. He would insist on more babies and more home life and just...more. Talking it through with Alice, I saw that I would resent him for taking my career from me. And so, I would be a single mom/freelancer photographer. Jake took the break-up well. He hadn't developed the instant love for our child that I had. And she was all that I needed. I'd made the right decision.
But it was sooner than expected and panic set in as the labour advanced. Was it too early? Would she be healthy? Had I done something to provoke this? If I'd stayed with Jake and been at home on the Res, would I have carried to term? All of these thoughts flooded my mind as the monitors for her and me went wild. I heard distant voices, frantic voices, preparing for surgery. And then there was black...
I screamed out when I felt my somewhat flattened belly. Screeching like a banshee, I demanded to see my baby.
"Dear, you must relax and let the anaesthesia wear off. You were lucky you had an epidural, not a spinal block. You've only got to get your legs back...it'll take an hour or so..."
I'd had an epidural...yes! But I had that in before surgery. Why don't I remember her birth? I began weeping uncontrollably.
"Aw sugar, that's hormones." The gentle nurse tending to me stroked my arm to soothe me. She took a seat after looking around the recovery room. The only other patient was still knocked out. "Let me tell you about your baby girl okay? Will that help you relax? Isabella...listen to me sugar...you wouldn't be with your baby right now regardless. The doctors do a full check on the ones that come early. Standard procedure. She'll be ready right about the time you are."
"Is there something wrong with her?"
"No no! She's fine. I saw her myself! Beautiful little thing. You made a good one sugar. She's tiny, but I've seen full-term babies worse off."
She carried on, talking me down from my hormonal rant until finally, I willed my toes to wiggle for her. I honestly didn't feel them moving, but they did. And I was taken to a room upstairs where Alice waited for me. I admit, I felt jealous that my best friend had seen my daughter before I had, but it was through the nursery window. That would be nothing at all compared to the feeling I'd get when she was finally placed in my arms. My beautiful, tiny angel. My Juliet. My true love.
I changed quickly out of my scrubs and showered off after my rounds. A bunch of us were heading to the pub to celebrate a co-worker's promotion.
"Sorry Dr Cullen, you're a minute too late," the duty nurse popped her head in the locker room. "There's a new preemie and the next paediatrician doesn't come on duty for an hour."
I smiled and threw a lab coat over my street clothes. "The pub can wait...I love the fresh ones!"
I really did. Kids liked me, but I adored babies. There was something about them; so unbiased, so pure. And they smelled fantastic. I hurried to meet the newest patient.
Almost as much as I love babies, I also love presenting the perfect little bundles to the parents. I don't believe there's another moment in life that tops the first sight of your child. At least, that's the impression I leave with every time.
So I carried the beautifully healthy Baby Girl Swan to her mother's room once the examination was completed. No wheeled infant beds for me. I heard my name being called as I was about to enter - co-workers summoning me to the pub.
"I know, I know! I'll be over there soon. Got a preemie in, last minute." I smiled down at Baby Girl Swan adoringly. "Come on sweet thing. Time to meet Mommy and Daddy!"
The soft voices inside the room hushed as soon as I entered. "Mrs Swan? I understand you'd like to meet your daughter?"
The patient sat up at once, cringing with the pain the quick movement had caused.
"Easy now...as it stands, you're the patient! You need to take it slow." I held the baby in one arm, like she was a part of me, and adjusted her mother's bed. There was no dad in the room...another woman stood by the bed. Two mommies? "Can you place a pillow on her lap?" I asked the one standing. "This will make it easier on your belly."
The women never took their eyes off the tiny bundle. Yes, this was the shit! I glowed as I bent to gently place the baby in her mother's waiting arms. She trembled as I set the baby in place so I propped up another pillow to support her arm.
"She's beautiful..." she whispered through tears of joy.
"Sure is!" I agreed. "I'm Dr Cullen, by the way. I had the pleasure of being your daughter's first doctor and I'd be very happy to continue being her physician, if you haven't pre-selected a paediatrician."
The woman looked away from her baby briefly to check me out. She saw what everyone did - too young. Too good looking. He'll be easily distracted by the attention from women. He won't put the full effort into his position. I was used to it. It didn't stop me from performing the best job that I could. I was capable and committed and best yet, comfortable with what I do. Once they got to know me, they appreciated my relaxed and easy manner with them, and their children.
"Perfectly healthy!" I assured her. "Got everything she should have, all functioning very well. And she's a good size for 35 weeks... 5 lbs on the nose. 19" tall. You did a great job throughout your pregnancy keeping her healthy. I don't foresee any problems due to her prematurity."
For that, I got a smile that blew my mind. I was used to sharing in the parents' joy, but this was different. This made my heart stop and then pound. I wished she had produced twins so I could get that same smile again. I blushed as I became aware I was frozen in place, staring at her.
"So, I'll leave you with your daughter, if you've no further questions?" I waited an appropriate amount of time before signing off on her chart. "Please keep an accurate record of her feedings, and diaper changes. The nurses can help you with anything you need. And I'll pop in tomorrow to check on her."
The women were no longer listening, lost in the wonders of new baby bliss. I envied them.
It's days like this that make me certain of my choices in life. I have no regrets. I love my job, and I can easily move on to the pub for a night out with friends. My only problem is sometimes wanting to fast forward to what I want most, but in the meantime, my life suits me fine. As I laid in bed that night, it was Baby Girl Swan in my mind's eye; all pink and perfect. I fell asleep with a smile thinking of her spending her first night out in the big world.
And I awoke early, grabbing a coffee and danish on the way so I could get to work faster. My 3-mile walk was made in record time and I only spilled a few drops of coffee down the front of my shirt. I made my way straight to the nursery, before changing into my scrubs for rounds. I donned the essential gown, mask, gloves, booties and cap and took a peek at all the angels. Lucy, the night nurse smiled at me from the chair she sat in, feeding an infant his supplement. It wasn't unusual for me to check on the babies first, but I spent a little more time lingering over my little sweetheart. God, she was perfect! After reading and signing her chart, I looked up and saw her mom hobbling up the hallway, IV pole in tow. She looked upset and angrily motioned to me.
"They took her from me! Last night… they took her! ALL night!"
"I know. She's fine, when the morning shift comes in, they'll bring the babies around and you'll have her all day if you'd like."
"If I'd like? If I'd LIKE! She's MY baby!"
"Shhh… it won't do you any good to get upset." I'd seen many new mothers freak out over the tiniest of things, but this one had just had surgery and shouldn't be moving around so much. "Tell you what, let me take you back to your room and I'll bring your daughter to you right now. Okay?" I pushed her pole along and she took advantage of having both arms to grip her tender, swollen stomach. "You know, they do this for women who've had C-sections. It's to allow your body to get a good start at healing so you can take care of your little one. It's not a punishment; it's for your benefit. But I can see you didn't take advantage and get a good sleep." I smiled at her sympathetically as she eased herself down on the bed. She looked exhausted.
Shaking her head, she frowned. "I couldn't sleep… not with worrying about her…"
"I understand. But you can't do it all right from the start. I'll go get her now, but take breaks. Get your own sleep. Believe me, you'll wish you had the help you can have here later on."
Despite her exhaustion, she issued another one of those smiles when I laid her baby in her arms again. I got the hell out before my entire body turned red and gave myself a stern warning to not make more of this than it was. She was my newest patient's mother. That's all.