Abby sat waiting to feed her son the next day. She was weak, she was overwhelmed and she was so full of Joy and gratitude she was crying. She was leaning back in her hospital bed against her husband's chest as the RN came in.
Earlier Abby and Gibbs had felt Jackson's anger and hunger before he had arrived. Looking at one another they chuckled.
"He's all you Jethro!"
"Oh, sûrement! I don't yell…"
"When you're hungry you're very grumpy. Can you come hold me? I'm nervous…"
"Babe." Gibbs had said softly and moved to sit behind her kissing her neck gently.
The nurse brought in the frustrated baby. She had Abby put an extra pillow in her lap to protect her incision. Settling him in his mother's arms she smiled.
"My name is Georgia. I am an RN and specialize in Lactation counseling. I'm going to stay with you today while you nurse. Then I'll be available while you're in the hospital for any questions. I'll come in every day. OK?"
Abby processed this information then looked over her shoulder at Gibbs. He smiled. She looked back up at Georgia and nodded. Georgia gave a hand sanitizer to both Abby and Gibbs.
"OK. Let's do this!" Abby said.
"Good attitude. So let's have you drop your gown and you'll wipe your nipple with this pad, it's just a cotton ball and a little water. Once your milk is in you can just leave a little milk on it. It has a natural emollient in it."
Abby did as instructed. She picked Jackson up then, he had been sucking furiously on his fist and squawking every now and then. Each time he had seemed to be winding up to another scream Jethro had gently rubbed his belly.
Abby spoke softly to her son.
"Hi little man! I'm your Mom. I love you. This silver haired fox here is your Dad! He loves you too. I s'pose you already met him though, so you got his number right? He seems all big and bad, tough and stuff but he's a big marshmallow inside."
"Amour, pas juste! Don't give all my secrets away now, I got years to go!"
Jackson was still, looking up into his mother's eyes. Jethro's hands gently stroked Abby's arms as he watched his son over her shoulder, a soft equally radiant smile on his face.
"Your Dad is the only man I've ever loved. Il va être le meilleur père in le monde trop. You just wait and see."
Jethro lifted her hair off her neck and kissed her behind her ear on her web. Abby reached up and stroked his cheek.
"Just take your nipple between your index and middle fingers, pinch just a little bit just above the areola . It makes the nipple more accessible and keeps it from covering the baby's nose. Then just tip him in toward you and touch his lips with it."
"Ok… Oh Jethro! Oh my God, oh thank you Lord! Oh Jethro it's the most amazing feeling! I can't describe it to you! He's eating!"
Jackson was nursing strongly and they could hear him swallowing noisily.
"Does it hurt Babe?"
"No, it feels weird but great! Oh…Georgia! What's that! It feels almost hot!"
Abby looked startled and Jethro squeezed her arms, leaning forward a bit anxiously over her shoulder.
"See the colostrum leaking from your right breast? Your milk is 'letting down'. His sucking is releasing a hormone that helps you give Jackson enough milk. As he grows and that happens very quickly this first year; you'll find there will be a few days every so often where he seems to be constantly nursing. These days are stimulation to increase your milk production to compensate for his increased needs."
"Wow. There's a lot to learn…"
"I've got pamphlets and book recommendations. But there is a support network of people just like you. You're going to find there's nothing like talking to people who have gone through or are going through what you are. It's an international group founded by mothers for mothers of breast feeding babies. It's called La Leche League. Groups meet in their member's homes and meeting rooms and bring their babies! They offer practical advice in all areas of infancy and child rearing following a natural philosophy. You decide how much involvement with the organization you want."
Abby looked thoughtful. She watched Jackson with a dreamy look on her face and tipped her head back for a quick kiss to her temple from Jethro. She switched breasts after 3 minutes following Georgia's advice. She looked up and asked the smiling RN a question that came to her mind.
"Do the dad's ever come to meetings with the mom's?" she moved her eyes sideway and grinned.
Jethro looked startled then blushed.
"Not necessary Babe."
Abby shook her head with a grin. She knew that neither Étienne nor Jethro was the type to go even if dad's could attend. Georgia smiled in understanding.
"You'd have to speak to the individual group members Abby. Looks like Jackson is done. He needs a little burping and maybe a diaper change."
"OK. How can I be sure he ate enough?" she asked anxiously.
Georgia had smiled and said "He'll be content Abby. Now next time you start your feeding on the right breast. You do this each time you feed. That way each breast gets emptied on every other feeding. Go ahead Dad, take over!"
"Guess this is where I step in Abb's." Jethro smiled up at Georgia and kissed the back of Abby's neck.
Jethro moved carefully from in back of Abby keeping a strong hand to her shoulders so she didn't fall backward. He leaned in for a kiss then took Jackson and began to pat his back while listening to Georgia. He let his mind wander as the familiarity holding and burping the baby brought back memories. By the time he had returned from deployment Shannon had weaned Kelly to a bottle. She was 4 months old.
It had been nice to be able to feed Kelly. But he had felt then for the first time that he had missed so much with his daughter. He vowed not to miss anything with Jackson. When Gibbs had told Vance he would be taking paternity leave for 3 months commencing when he was medically cleared to return to work from his injuries, the Director had surprised him by being encouraging and passing along congratulations and assurances to Abby.
While he was gently patting his son the baby gave an occasional irritated gurgle. Suddenly a good sized burp came out and Jackson let out a squawk. Jethro suddenly felt a wave of contentment and then only a suddenly sleeping awareness touch his mind.
Georgia left advising she would see them tomorrow. Abby lay back and watched. The adoration and love in Jethro's face as he held his son in his arms was amazing. She felt sore and tired. The doctor had told her it would be at least 6 weeks before she would begin to feel more normal. Abby's duty RN came in with a pain pill and the estrogen/progesterone pill she would now take every day.
Jethro's face was full of wonder and love as he gently explored his son's face with a finger. He glanced up at his wife and grinned. Abby smiled back and shook a finger at him.
"You did good Babe! Real good. I think this will be your job from now on."
"Hey a guy's got to earn his keep!" he grinned back at her. "I can do the poo and pee patrol, I'm a Marine!"
Jethro brought the baby back and put him in his little nursery crib. He then came to Abby and sat down on the bed next to her.
"Home Friday…" she murmured. "I can't wait!"
"I love you Abby Scuitto Gibbs. Pour l'éternité." as he leaned in and kissed her deeply.
This has been a complete blast. I am already placing chapters on my sequel as some of you have seen. I have enjoyed all of you so much and learned a great deal from you. I enjoy all of your fictions as well. Keep on keeping on as my generation said. Semper Fi to all of our brave Marine's and Military personnel.