It was officially spring break and Quinn was officially two days past her due date. And while there may have been a time when she'd idly wished that nothing had to change and that she could just stay pregnant and in limbo forever, that time had passed and now all she wanted to do was to get this baby out of her.
She hadn't been able to see her feet in just under three months, her back and feet and stomach ached constantly from the strain of carrying around a tiny person inside her, she had to pee practically every five minutes, doing even the simplest tasks left her feeling exhausted and she was as big as a whale. Simply put, she felt disgusting. Sometimes she felt so repulsive that she didn't even want Ryan look at her.
Dr. Wu had issued them an ultimatum, if the baby didn't come naturally within the next two days past then they'd be forced to chemically induce the labor. Something that nobody involved wanted. So as soon as they'd gotten home from the doctor's office, Ryan was on the internet searching for ways to naturally induce labor.
Google turned up plenty of suggestions like taking long walks or eating spicy food. But the most recommended method by far was to have sex; not only could orgasms jump start the birthing process but semen softens the cervix which could make labor easier and less painful.
Eating an extra hot curry vs. having Ryan fuck her brains out? It was a no-brainer for Quinn.
Of course, her being a giant, easily exhausted, pregnant whale rather limited their options when it came to positions to do so in, which was why she was currently laying on her side with Ryan leisurely thrusting into her from behind, which was all very lovely and pleasurable but it really wasn't going to get the job done.
"Honey," Quinn panted, reaching back and gripping the back of Ryan's neck. "You know that I love it when you make love to me, but right now I just really need to you to fuck this baby out of me. Can you do that?"
She knew that once Ryan Berry was set a goal, he would not stop until he accomplished it.
She grunted in pleasure as he suddenly picked up the pace.
"I think I can manage it."
Three hours and a total of five orgasms later and still nothing. Quinn felt Ryan collapse against the pillows behind her and his arm tighten around her waist as his deflating cock slipped out of her.
"Jus' give me a minute," he managed to mumble, his voice muffled by the pillow he didn't have the strength to lift his face from. "Maybe five."
Quinn winced in sympathy, realizing that she had worked him to the brink of exhaustion and that she wasn't far behind him. "It's okay, Ry, go to sleep. We both need to rest for a while."
Her boyfriend's reply was an unintelligible garble, indicating that he was already more than half-asleep anyway.
Quinn let herself relax into his embrace, wiggling around until she was finally comfortable, or rather as comfortable as it was possible for her to get given her current condition. Her eyelids had grown heavy and she was just on the verge of drifting off when she was overcome with the sudden, overwhelming and now all too familiar need to pee.
Damn it all to Hell.
She tried to disentangle herself from her boyfriend's arms but they instinctively tightened around her.
"I just have to go to the bathroom," she assured him. "I'll be right back."
With a reluctant groan, Ryan released her and Quinn managed to struggle up off the bed and waddle off to the bathroom to answer the call of nature.
She was washing her hands in the sink when her water broke.
It wasn't like what happened in movies or tv shows, where all of a sudden it came gushing out all over the floor between a pregnant woman's legs. It actually started rather mildly with a trickle of slimy fluid oozing it's way down her inner thigh. It was only after a brief second of confusion that Quinn realized that oh, her waters were breaking.
Then, as if that realization had opened the metaphorical floodgate, amniotic fluid began gushing down her legs to splash against the tiled -Thank God! Quinn couldn't imagine the embarrassment she'd be feeling if she'd inadvertently ruined the Berry's carpet- floor.
This was it. Their baby was coming, there was no stopping it now.
But Quinn wasn't feeling any of the panic she had been expecting, instead there was a strange sense of calm that washed over her instead. She was ready, they were ready for this.
Ryan being Ryan, he had insisted on being completely prepared and they'd had a bag packed full of everything they needed take to the hospital -and Shelby Corcoran's business card burning a hole in the side pocket- that had taken up permanent residence in the trunk of Ryan's car since three weeks before Quinn's actual due date. And the birthing and ante-natal classes that Quinn had initially been reluctant about but Ryan had insisted that they attend had prepared her well for this moment.
Thanks to those classes, she knew that there was no reason to make a mad dash to the hospital the minute her waters broke like she probably would have done otherwise. Now she knew better. She knew that labor, especially for first time mothers, could last for hours and hours -the midwife running the class had described her own experience of being in labor for a whopping forty six hours with her first child, something that Quinn was absolutely not hoping to experience for herself.- and that the best thing to do was to relax at home and wait until her contractions were around seven minutes apart before heading to the hospital.
Right. Quinn thought to herself. First things first. She reeked of sex, her hair was all matted with sweat and her lower half was covered in disgusting baby juice. It was definitely time for a shower.
Quinn was in the middle of washing her hair when her next contraction hit -eighteen minutes after the first, she'd timed- it was a little more intense than the last but still not that bad, she'd had period cramps that hurt worse. She knew that they were just going to get worse so she was thankful that they were starting out so mildly.
One of the second time mothers in their birthing class had described the pain of her first contraction as "It felt like someone had punched their hand up my vagina and was trying to rip my insides out" and then went on to say that they kept getting worse from there.
Once she was dressed in one of her least favorite elastic waisted maternity skirts and one of Ryan's button up shirts that she liked to sleep in and had put her hair up into a perfect high pony to keep it from getting in her face later, she decided it was time to wake Ryan up from his nap.
"Ry," she cooed, sitting on the edge of the bed and stroking her hand through his hair. "Honey, wake up."
"Do you want to go again?" he slurred, barely stirring.
This time Ryan squinted up at her. "Wha?"
Quinn couldn't help but giggle at his adorably dazed and confused expression. He was so cute. If the baby took even a fraction after her father then she would be too adorable for words. Quinn guessed they would be finding that out soon enough. Wow. They were really having a baby. "It worked. The baby's coming."
Ryan blinked owlishly up at her, a proud smile spreading across his face as his sleepy brain processed the news. "I did it?"
"Yeah," Quinn chuckled. "You did it, babe."
Ryan's smile abruptly dropped as he realized what that meant. He snapped from half-asleep to fully awake in the space of half a second as adrenaline flooded his body. "You're having the baby!" he exclaimed, bolting upright. "Have your waters broken? Do you think we need to go to the hospital now? I think we should go to the hospital-"
Quinn quickly covered his mouth with her hand to put a stop to his panicked ramblings. She was the one who was going to be pushing something roughly the size of a small watermelon out of her vagina, if anyone was going to panic it was her and she wasn't so he didn't get to either. It made sense in her crazy pregnant lady head.
"Shhh. Yes, my waters have broken but my contractions are still nearly twenty minutes apart so there's no need to go to the hospital yet," she said in a calm voice. "But I really need to you not to freak out, okay? Because if you freak out then I'll start freaking out and I need to not do that. So can you do that for me?"
Ryan mutely nodded until Quinn removed her hand from his mouth. "I can do that."
"Good. Now you should probably put some clothes on."
They were on the landing at the top of the stairs when Quinn's next contraction hit. She had the bannister in a white-knuckled grip as Ryan hovered nervously next to her, ready to jump into action and catch her if there was even the slightest indication that she was about to fall.
"Do you want me to carry you down?" he offered, once the pain had passed.
Quinn smiled softly at his sweetness. "Honey, please don't take this as a slight against your physical prowess," she said, pressing her palm against his strong chest. "But God no."
Thankfully, Ryan didn't take any offence and instead let her grip his hands tightly as they negotiated their way down the stairs.
"Are you going to call your dads?" Quinn asked as he got her settled on the couch.
Ryan frowned indecisively as he consulted the clock hanging on the wall and found it to be well past one in the morning. "No, I don't want to wake them up and have them driving back here while sleep deprived. Especially when we have no idea how long this is going to take," he decided. "I'll text them before we leave for the hospital. What about you...do you want to inform your parents?"
Quinn didn't even have to think about it. "No. I don't want them to know." The last thing she needed to worry about was her parents showing up and making a scene.
"Okay. Just let me know if you change your mind." He bent down of the tv and popped a dvd in; The Princess Bride, he knew it was one of Quinn's all time favorites.
"I'll go and get you some ice chips to suck on," he said, kissing the top of Quinn's head on his way past to the kitchen.
Quinn sighed deeply as she massaged her swollen belly. She was going to miss this so much but losing it was all but inevitable now.
They were about three quarters of the way through The Princess Bride when Quinn couldn't take sitting still anymore and, with some assistance from Ryan, got up and started pacing the room.
As the contractions became more frequent, they also increased in strength and now Quinn was coming to truly understand what those mothers from their birthing class were talking about.
She braced her hands against the sideboard as yet another contraction hit, the urge to bare down becoming more apparent. Ryan had dutifully taken up position behind her and began massaging her tremendously sore lower back. But if both his hands were on her back, then what was that pressing into her behind?
"Ryan!" she shrieked, whipping her head around to glare at him. "Oh my God, do you seriously have a hard on right now?"
He shrugged apologetically. "I'm sorry! It's just that usually when we're in this position and you're moaning like that we're having intercourse."
"What is wrong with you?" Here she was preparing to push his baby out of her vagina and he was aroused? Unbelievable.
"Nothing, I'm a teenage boy with an active sex drive. Getting erections at inappropriate times is completely normal."
Quinn let out a growl and reached back, grabbing his wrist and bringing it forward so she could check his watch. Her contractions were barley even seven minutes apart now. "Can you at least drive like that?"
He leaned over her to grab his keys from the bowl in front of them. "Hospital time?"
"I think so," Quinn confirmed with a nod.
Ryan took a moment, squeezing his eyes shut and forcing himself to imagine the most unsexy things he could think of; dead puppies, dead kittens, Barbra's voice being irreparably damaged after a botched throat operation...Yep, that did it. "Okay, I'm good to go."
He took her hand, intending to lead her out only to find himself being pulled back to her.
"I love you," Quinn forcefully declared, knowing that it may be the last time she'd ever get to say that to him and have the sentiments returned.
"I love you too," Ryan responded easily, gathering her into his arms and kissing her forehead. "Everything's going to be okay, Quinn, it's all going to work out for the best. I promise."
She wished she could believe him.
When they arrived at the hospital and checked in, Quinn was quickly ushered into a wheelchair by a nurse despite her vehement protests. She was pregnant, not an invalid, and was perfectly capable of walking by herself, thank you very much.
While Ryan had to stay behind at the reception desk to fill out some paperwork, the nurse pushed Quinn's wheelchair down the hall towards the birthing suite. As they wheeled along the woman had put a comforting hand on Quinn's shoulder and asked her if she'd like her to contact her family so they could be there for her. Quinn had looked back over her shoulder at Ryan and simply replied that they already were.
Even though Quinn would go on to be in labor for another five hours, everything seemed to happen incredibly quickly from that point on. And before she knew it, Ryan was cutting an umbilical cord and a tiny, slimy, squirming baby girl was being placed on her chest for her to hold for what felt like only a few seconds before she was whisked away again to be checked by a doctor. Those few seconds were the happiest of her young life so far.
By the time the whole ordeal was over, Quinn was so drained that she couldn't keep her eyes open for another second and drifted off into an exhausted slumber.
Quinn let out a quiet, sleepy groan as she emerged from her deep sleep. For the first few seconds after waking up, it was like the events of the last few hours had all been a dream. Then the itchiness of the pillowcase and dull ache of her lower body and the feeling of emptiness in her belly all started to register.
She forced herself to keep her eyes closed, as if to delay her inevitable return to the real world for just a little bit longer.
She could hear Ryan's voice as he spoke in hushed tones. She assumed that he was speaking on the phone to his parents until she heard the unmistakable gurgles of a newly born infant.
Quinn's eyes snapped open and her breath caught in her throat at the sight of Ryan -rumpled and disheveled, unshaven and hair sticking up in several different directions- illuminated by the morning sunlight that was streaming in through the window beside him, carefully cradling a bundle that was unmistakably their newborn daughter in his arms.
As if sensing her eyes on him, Ryan managed to peel his eyes away from his little girl to focus on her mother. "Hey," he said softly. "How are you feeling?"
"Okay," Quinn replied automatically. Her hands found her way to her now achingly empty belly. She was already acutely feeling the loss of their child even while the baby was still in the same room.
She sighed and gave a more honest answer. "Tired. Sore. But okay. How long have I been asleep?"
"A few hours. My dads got here a little while ago. They're downstairs getting breakfast in the cafeteria," Ryan informed her, moving to stand beside the bed.
Quinn forced herself to keep her eyes on his face. She wouldn't look at the wriggling bundle in his arms. She couldn't.
"Hey, look what we made," he said with the proudest smile on his face as he presented their daughter to her.
As soon as she laid her eyes on their child, Quinn's eyes started welling up with tears, she never wanted to look away again. Their baby was perfect.
Curious little blue eyes stared back up at Quinn, seemingly as in awe of her mother just as much as her mother was in awe of her.
From what Quinn could see, their little girl was a perfect combination of the both of them; she had Ryan's lips and chin and the shape of his eyes and had also inherited Quinn's nose and elfin ears. Her head was topped off with a shock of sandy blonde hair that would surely darken with age.
"She's perfect," Quinn uttered in a broken whisper.
"She is," Ryan agreed, completely smitten with the tiny being he held in his arms. "Would you like to hold her?"
"I shouldn't." Seeing her was hard enough but Quinn knew that once she held their baby in her arms, she'd never be able to let her go again.
"You should," Ryan insisted, leaning over and carefully placing the baby against her chest.
She reacted on pure instinct, her arms automatically closing protectively around the baby. The weight of her daughter in her arms felt so right, like she belonged there. How was she supposed to ever give that up?
Quinn didn't know how long she'd spent gazing adoringly at her daughter. She let out a muffled sob when Ryan reached out to stroke the back of his fingers across the little girl's softer than soft cheek and a tiny hand shot up to grip one of his fingers so tightly that his skin turned white under the pressure.
"I'm keeping her."
Quinn's blood ran cold at her boyfriend's surprise announcement. "What?"
"I'm keeping her. I know that you already have everything arranged with the adoption and everything so I'll sign whatever I need to sign, talk to whoever I need to talk to but I'm not giving her up."
It wasn't a spur of the moment decision, it was something he'd been thinking about for months and had been actively planning for for weeks now. It'd taken some convincing but he'd managed to get both his parents on board with the idea and had their full support. But Quinn had always reacted so badly whenever he tried to talk about the adoption and they'd end up fighting whenever he brought it up, so he'd made the decision to keep her out of the loop to avoid upsetting her while she was in such a delicate condition.
"Ryan, you can't. You're not thinking clearly. I know that right now you want to keep her, I get it, I feel it too-"
"So you want to keep her too."
Quinn flinched, mentally cursing herself for letting that slip out. "It doesn't matter what I want," she said lowly, refusing to look him in the eye.
Ryan frowned in confusion. "What? Quinn, of course it matters. You know, you're always talking about me and my dreams but you never talk about your own. What about you, Quinn, what do you want?"
What did Quinn want? She wanted a real family, she wanted to be loved unconditionally, she wanted Ryan and their daughter. Everything she'd ever wanted was right there in that hospital room, being offered to her on a silver platter. She'd spent the last nine months preparing herself to give it all up so that Ryan could have everything that he's ever dreamed of and now he was telling her it was all for nothing.
"I don't know, Ryan," she lied. "I'm not like you, I don't have any grand plans for my future. You're the one with the most to lose here."
Ryan scoffed and shook his head as he sat down on the bed next to her, putting his arm -the one whose finger wasn't currently being held hostage by his daughter- around her shoulders. "But that's just it, Quinn, I'm not going to lose anything."
He hung his head and sighed heavily. "Before you, I was alone. I didn't have any friends, nobody liked me, all I had to get me through every day were the thoughts of my future; dreams of performing on Broadway and winning every award there is, but even in those dreams I was still alone because that was all I knew. Quinn, I still have all those plans and dreams, the only thing that's changed is that they're so much better because I'm not alone in them anymore. She's there and so are you.
And I know that if we give her away now, it won't matter roles I get or awards I win, I'll never be able to be truly happy because no matter where I am or what I'll be doing, I'll always be thinking about our daughter; wondering where she is, what she's like, if she's happy, if she's more talented than I am..."
Quinn couldn't help but chuckle at that.
"Despite what you may think she's not a burden to me, Quinn," he continued. " She's a gift and I know that I'm not going to achieve my all goals in spite of her but because of her."
"We don't know anything about raising a baby."
Ryan allowed himself to smile, Quinn was coming around to the idea, he could feel it. "Neither do the millions of other first time parents who are doing this every day. My dads didn't have a clue about raising children and look how well I turned out! You know that I've been doing a lot of research and the conclusion I have come to is that being a parent isn't something that can be taught, it can only be learned from experience."
"We're completely unprepared for this, we don't have a nursery ready-"
"Newborns are surprisingly low maintenance. I can go shopping this afternoon for a car capsule, clothes and diapers. We can rent a bassinet from the hospital for as long as we need it."
He was making it all sound so easy. Like they weren't just sixteen and still in high school.
"What about school, Ryan?"
"I've talked to my dads about that and they're going to take sometime of work so they can take care of her during the day so we can keep going to school. Our education won't be affected in any way."
"We haven't even thought about what to name her," she weakly pointed out. Her resistance to the idea had eroded with every word that had come out of Ryan's mouth.
Ryan just smirked and produced a book that he'd just plucked off the table behind him. '1001 Baby Names' "I had my dad's pick it up from the hospital gift shop."
"You've thought of everything, huh?" She looked from him down to the baby that had fallen asleep in her arms, still gripping onto her father's finger for dear life. She was so perfect, so innocent and untouched by all the bad in the world. But all adults had started out that way, hadn't they? Even the worst ones were innocent little babies, once upon a time, before society and the world and their parents damaged them beyond repair.
"What if we screw her up, Ry? I don't want her to end up hating us."
Ryan pulled her close and pressed his lips against the top of her head. "She won't. I'm not saying that this is going to be easy or that we won't make mistakes because we will, but we're not going to be in this alone. Between us, my dads and our friends, we are going to make sure that she has the happiest childhood; that she will always feel safe and loved and accepted, no matter what-"
"So we'll be like the total opposite of my parents then?" Quinn remarked bitterly, thinking about how she had never felt any of those things growing up.
Ryan squeezed her tighter. "Pretty much."
Quinn looked up at him, letting herself believe for the first time that maybe this really was going to work out for the best. "Do you really think we can do this?" she whispered, needing that last extra bit of reassurance.
"I do, Quinn, I really do," he answered earnestly.
She looked down at their little girl and fell even more in love with her at the sight of her smacking her lips together in her sleep.
"I have no idea how this is going to turn out," she confessed. "All I know is...is that I want to try."
Try and hope like Hell they weren't making the biggest mistake of both their lives.