A/N: Last chapter everyone, which means yay! The baby finally arrives! :) Enjoy!
It's been fourteen hours since my water broke, and the baby has still not arrived. I'm getting really tired of everyone telling me to "push". What the hell do they think I'm doing here, holding it in?
"You're doing great, Buffy," Angel whispers to me as he rubs my back. He had been a nervous wreck for the first half of my labor. Now he's the calm one, and I'm the one panicking. I don't know how I could do this without him.
I smile, and immediately feel guilty for being so bitchy and short with him earlier. With everyone, really. I even snapped at the midwife's assistant, who's a sweet young girl probably not much older than me.
But I'm in labor, and everyone seems to be ignoring my bitchiness, which is a very good thing.
I had no idea labor would be this difficult. It's not the pain so much. I can handle the pain. I imagine most women can't, but I'm dealing. But what I can't handle is this baby's refusal to come out. I've been pushing for God only knows how long and she still hasn't made an appearance! I'm getting tired, I'm beyond cranky, and if I have to be in labor for one more minute, I'm going to beg for an emergency c-section. Just slice me open and get the thing out of me! I can handle it.
I feel another contraction coming on, and it's a big one. I brace myself for it and push again. They make this birthing business look so easy on TV.
"Here, squeeze my hand," Angel says.
"I'll break your hand," I squeak out, but I take his hand anyway.
Angel laughs. "You won't break my hand. You might break Willow's though."
I look over to my right and see the pained expression on her face. I hadn't realized I was holding Willow's hand, and I immediately let go of it. "Sorry, Will!"
"That's okay," she says with a strained smile. Boy is she a trooper. She's acting like I didn't hurt her at all but I can see her hand looks pretty cramped right about now.
"You're doing great, Buffy. Push on this next contraction," Sallie says.
As if on cue, I feel another contraction roll over me, and I push, again. You'd think as hard as I'm pushing, the baby would be out by now.
"Remember your breathing," Angel reminds me as he rubs my back again.
I close my eyes and concentrate on breathing, and pushing. And more breathing. More pushing. And another contraction.
"Oh wow, Buffy, how in the world are you doing this without pain killers?" Willow asks.
"High…tolerance…for pain…" I manage to say, pushing all the while.
"Almost, Buffy," Angel whispers.
And suddenly, it's all over. It takes me a moment to realize that I don't need to push anymore. Sallie is holding up a wiggly little baby for everyone to see. A few moments later, the baby's cries fill the room.
"Oh my god…" is all I can say as the reality hits me. I just became a mother.
"You have a beautiful baby girl," Sallie says and places the baby on my chest.
I can't take my eyes off her. Yes, she's slimy and slippery and extremely pink at the moment, but she's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
"Buffy, you were right!" Willow says excitedly. "It's a girl!"
"She's beautiful," Angel whispers, and he gives my forehead a kiss.
"Hi, baby girl," I say to her. "So you're the one who's been kicking me all this time, huh?" It surprises me how alert she is. Her crying has subsided now, and she looks right at me as I'm talking to her.
I'm vaguely aware of Sallie placing a blanket over the baby and drying her off. All I can do is lay there and stare at her. She's so beautiful. Her eyes are blue for now, but I'm almost positive they'll turn brown. I can already see her hair is going to be dark, just like her father's.
She instinctively nuzzles close to my breast, and it seems like the most natural thing in the world to bring her closer and see if she'll suckle.
I feel like I'm living some dream. This is so surreal. I can't believe I'm actually a mother.
It's been several hours since our daughter was born. Our daughter. Never in my lifetime did I think I would have children. I never thought I'd have love in my life either. I'm glad I was wrong about both of them, because now I don't think I'd could live without either.
I'm sitting up in bed holding the baby. I'm amazed at how small she is, but already she has a grip like you wouldn't believe. I look at her face and I can't help but smile. I see Buffy reflected back at me. Buffy seems to think she'll have dark hair and eyes like me, but I can see already that the face is all her. She has Buffy's chin. She has her mouth. Her cheeks. Even her little button nose. It's all Buffy.
Beside me, Buffy is sleeping, getting some much needed rest after all of the activity from today. But she doesn't sleep for too long. After a forty-five minute nap, Buffy starts to stir awake. When I look down at her, her eyes are open and she's smiling at the both of us.
"Hi," she says sleepily.
Buffy moves to sit up. "How is she?"
"Wow. When Sallie said she'd conk out after feeding, she wasn't kidding. Do you think it's time for me to feed her again? Should we wake her?"
"Maybe in a little while. I think she's fine for now." I look down at the baby, and even though I know it's too early for her to smile, I swear I see a grin on her face. She's content. Perfectly happy.
Buffy moves closer so that she can see the baby better. "Can't stop looking at her, huh?"
I laugh. "No."
"Me neither. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not dreaming. She's real."
"Here, why don't you take her? As much as I love holding her, my arms are falling asleep." They actually are a little numb. I think I've been holding her the whole time while Buffy slept.
Buffy smiles and takes the baby into her arms. "Oh, Angel. Isn't it just so amazing? We made her. We actually created life. That's just huge. Who knew something this beautiful could come from our love?"
I smile. "Yeah, it's pretty amazing."
"I think I'm going to like this mother business." Buffy looks up at me as if she just realized something. "Hey, where is everyone? Have they gone home?"
"Sallie left a little while ago, but she'll be back later to check on us. Willow and Tara are downstairs. They said if we need anything, just let them know. Do you want me to have them bring you something to eat?"
Buffy shakes her head and looks down at the baby. "No. I've got everything I need right here." She smiles at our daughter and kisses her tiny forehead.
I watch Buffy for a while, holding our daughter, and I think to myself that I've never seen anything more beautiful. I knew someday she'd want children, even if she didn't always think so. Even if she said she killed her goldfish. I know she is going to be an amazing mother.
It's about this point that I notice a tear rolling down her cheek.
"Hey, what's wrong?" I ask, wiping the tear away from her cheek with my finger.
Buffy blinks away the tears and puts on a brave face. "I was just thinking that I wish my mom were here. I always thought if I'd ever had children someday, she'd be around to see it."
I wrap my arm around her, and Buffy looks over at me. "She is here, Buffy. I'm sure wherever she is, she's looking down at you, and she's proud."
Buffy smiles. "Do you really think so?"
I nod, then kiss her forehead. "I know so," I whisper.
She smiles again, and I know what I've said has made her feel better.
A few minutes later, we hear a soft knock on the door.
"Come in," I say, but not too loudly as I don't want to wake up the baby.
Willow pokes her head into the room and smiles. "Hey. I don't mean to interrupt baby-bonding time, but everyone is downstairs and pretty anxious to come see her. Do you want me to tell them to give you some more time?"
I look at Buffy, letting her decide, and she shakes her head. "No. Tell them to come on up. It's about time we introduce her."
A few minutes later, the room is filled with all our friends. Giles is first to come in, followed by Xander and Anya. Cordelia and Wesley walk around to my side of the bed. Willow and Tara are last to come in, but they have both already seen the baby. This is everyone else's first time.
"So, what do you think?" Buffy asks, and she looks up at Giles.
"She's beautiful. Looks just like you, Buffy," he says.
"A little like Angel too though," Buffy says, looking down at the baby again.
"She'll definitely have the dark hair," Wesley says, smiling.
"But she's obviously inherited Buffy's temperament," Cordelia adds. "Doesn't look broody to me at all."
I give Cordelia a look.
Cordelia smiles. "Okay. You don't brood…as much as you used to anyway."
"So this is the little Buffster, huh?" Xander says as he moves to get a closer look.
Buffy looks at Xander and smiles. "Yep, it's mini-me."
"You two made a very pretty baby," Anya says, then turns to Xander. "Let's make one, Xander."
I see Xander turn pale, and it makes me laugh inwardly.
"So, are you going to finally tell us her name?" Cordelia asks. "Because the suspense is killing us all."
I look at Buffy. "You tell them."
Buffy looks down at the baby and smiles. "Everyone, I'd like you to meet Zoey Alannah Summers-Angel."
Everyone seems to approve of the name choice. I dare anyone to make an objection.
"That's beautiful," Tara says. "How did you come up with that name?"
"Well, we liked Zoey because it means 'life', which seemed really nice and fitting considering everything we've been through. And Alannah means 'beautiful, darling child', which she is. Oh, and it's Irish," Buffy adds, tossing a glance in my direction.
I smile at Buffy, then sit back as I watch everyone continue to admire our little miracle. I can't blame them for wanting to stay and adore her.
Later that evening after everyone has left, Buffy and I lay on the bed with Zoey in the middle, swaddled in her blanket as she sleeps.
"She's so perfect," Buffy whispers, still in awe over her. "How is it possible to feel so much love for someone you just met?"
"I loved you the moment I first saw you."
Buffy looks at me and smiles, then reaches over the baby for my hand. "You annoyed me the first time I saw you."
I laugh. "I annoyed you?"
"Yeah. You were 'cryptic wise guy', always popping in to give me some vague details about the latest doom and gloom in Sunnydale. It got really annoying."
"Cryptic wise guy, huh?"
Buffy laughs. "But I thought you were dark and gorgeous."
"Not so dark. Still gorgeous. And the love of my life."
"How did I get to be so lucky?"
Buffy smiles. "You must have done something right." Then she leans over the baby and presses her lips to mine.
I don't know what I did to deserve her, or this amazing life we created, but I'm forever grateful.
Buffy soon yawns, and I'm rather exhausted myself. We both place a hand over Zoey, close our eyes, and together, we sleep.
A/N: Thanks so much for reading everyone! I hope you enjoyed this little story. :)
I just wanted to add….you know the scene from AtS where Angel and Cordelia are laying on the bed with baby Connor in the middle? I really loved that scene, except I would have liked it much better if Cordelia had been Buffy, and also, if Connor's mother had been Buffy instead of Darla. That's sort of the image I hope to leave you with. I don't think happy endings are boring at all. They leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. :)