This one is for Aggressively Hospitable, who has recently gone through all of this and (I hope) survived. I salute you.
The doctor told Katara it wasn't time to start pushing, and so, she laid on her bed in the previously made up room, surrounded by the Gaang. It was a classic set up, just expanded with red cushions laying on the bed and floor.
Suki and Sokka sat to her left, holding hands and sharing memories of Jan's birth. Every time Sokka mentioned labor, Suki would give Katara a fiery look and say the same thing every time without fail.
"The worst pain in my whole fucking life. You will cry, and you will scream, but it will all be worth it."
And Sokka would say to Zuko, "Do not. I repeat: do not look. They'll say it is the most beautiful, natural thing ever. But it's a trap. I'm telling you. It's a trap!"
Katara would swallow and grimace, imagining what horrible thing she would face. If the contractions she was experiencing was any indication, then she was not looking forward to it.
For three hours, random little contractions had been hitting hard, and she would just grit her teeth and squeeze her eyes shut. The doctor that visited every once in awhile told her that she was in the active phase of labor. They didn't know much about this phase, just that the contractions were now longer, stronger, and closer together.
Toph and Aang sat to her right, Toph's feet lounging on Aang's lap as Toph picked at her nails.
She thought her future looked bright, even if she was expanded like a puffer fish and wanting to kill someone every two and a half minutes.. She had friends, and was starting a family and that was all that matter.
And when Hakoda walked in with Gran-Gran trailing slowly behind him she squealed with delight. "Dad! Gran-Gran!"
Hakoda smiled warmly at her and kissed her forehead. Gran-Gran grabbed her hand and held it tightly, smiling softly.
"Katara, I'm so proud of you. You're going to be a wonderful mother." Katara grinned at her grandmother brightly. Zuko took her other hand, only to recoil when she squeezed again, closing her eyes as if to block out the pain.
They sat around and caught up and when the doctor came in again, Katara almost jumped for joy, ready to push.
"Time to push, let's go!" Her doctor smiled sadly and she groaned as he checked her vitals, as routine.
"Not quite. Looks like you're due for what we call the Transition phase. Not time for the baby yet, but your contractions are now coming even closer. Some contractions may come one after another, with no time to rest. Finish drinking your herbal tea, it helps."
Katara nodded, smiling sweetly at Zuko as he wiped down her forehead.
The first one hit hard, really hard. She threw her head back, and opened her mouth, some type of silent scream making it's way out. And then another one hit, right after the other, just like the doctor said.
Katara began to shake uncontrollably and she turned onto her side to retch, emptying that awful eggplant and whatever else.
Zuko held her hair back and her body slumped into itself.
Katara whined. "Suki. You did not tell me about this!"
Suki took her hand, smiling softly. "I figured the doctor would. Besides, my transition period didn't nearly go on for this long."
Another contraction hit, and Katara yelled out. "This, this is too hard! Fuck, Zuko if you ever touch me again I'll freeze your balls off! Agh!" She missed Zuko's look of fear.
A string of elaborate curses fell from her mouth and she randomly jerked, her leg snapping out and hitting Sokka, who flew across the room.
"Dammit Katara! Suki did the same thing. Ugh!"
Katara had no clue how much time really passed during that phase, but she did know that after, her body relaxed completely. The contractions were easier, and farther apart.
She closed her eyes, attempting to sleep.
And it didn't last very long, because soon she got hit with another contraction. This one was different though, and instead she felt like pushing.
"I – I have to push! Now! Now!"
"Get the doctor!" Zuko yelled while attempting to pry his bruising fingers from her death grip. Sokka left immediately, yelling at the top of his lungs for the doctor. Before the contraction was over, the doctor was there, along with a nurse.
Gran-Gran glared at Zuko, waving her hand dismissively. "Why would we need a doctor, when I am right here?"=
The contraction ended and Katara looked at her grandmother with a confused expression that matched her doctor's. "What do you mean Gran? You want to deliver the baby?"
Katara started to sweat as another contraction hit and she yelled out. "Okay, I don't care! Just let me push!"
Soon, everyone was rushed out except for Zuko, and Gran-Gran and the doctor who stayed in case something went wrong. Katara panted as her grandmother laid a cloth on her head, shoving some herbs in her mouth.
Katara screamed out and grab Zuko's hand, nearly spitting the plants out. "The fuck Gran! Isn't this supposed to be tea!"
"Watch your language! And we have no time."
Gran-Gran raised Katara's legs so her feet were flat and her ankles were parallel. And then she yelled out, "Push!"
Katara gave it all her might, really she did. She pushed until she felt like she would pop and this time.
"That was good, but try a little harder next time." Katara narrowed her eyes at her grandmother, glancing at the doctor who shook his head.
"Do not push yourself. When a contraction hits and you feel like pushing – push."
Katara pushed, and pushed, and pushed. Fifteen minutes, she pushed, and it still wasn't enough
She settled down, not feeling any urge to push and looked gratefully at Zuko who laid another cool cloth upon her forehead.
She felt the urge again, and she followed instinct. Katara then turned to her side again, and vomited, dry heaving when the contents of her stomach were empty.
"The baby is crowning Miss Katara. Give this your all. You're almost done." The doctor smiled warmly, moving in front of Katara.
"Ready?" Katara locked eyes with Zuko, breathing hard. His slight, reassuring smile did it's job and she pushed, feeling the head slid out.
She felt the whole baby slid out and she sighed contentedly, watching as Zuko snipped the umbilical cord, grimacing as he did so and averting his eyes from Katara's still split legs.
"It's a girl Katara. A gorgeous little baby girl." Zuko grinned, holding the tiny bundle in his arms.
Tiredly, Katara held out her arms. Zuko set the baby gently in her arms, careful not to jostle her. Katara smiled down at her baby.
"Hey there, sweetheart. I'm your mom, and I love you so much." A tear dropped down onto the baby's arm. Slowly, the eyes opened to give Katara a small glimpse of sparkling blue eyes before they slid back closed.
"What do you want to name her, darling?" Zuko stroked the baby's cheek softly.
"I don't know. Just..something sweet, like her."
"How about, Lyza?"
Katara raised an eyebrow, grinning. "I like it. It's different and beautiful. Like her."
Zuko kissed her forehead, telling her to go to sleep and not worry as he took Lyza from her arms.
And with that, she fell into a peaceful slumber, feeling more complete then she had in a long time.
I did not, did not, did not half-ass this. It just took me forever to really decide how I wanted it to go.
I think it came out good though. Forgive me if I did not do the labor process justice. I just kept the names of the phases, figuring they weren't special enough for them to not already have the name.
Lyza is pronounced 'LIE-ZA'. (I'm horrible at phonetics, ahaha.) It IS awfully close to that woman in Tightrope named "Liza" but that's not the woman's real name anyways.
I hope you all enjoyed and thanks for sticking with me through my long disappearances. Tightrope and Tangible Lies (for those who dabble in slash Twilight) will be updated, like, soon.