JANUARY 31, 2000

7:30 PM MST

Susan was staring out over the restaurant. She had been rather subdued all day... it was Mark's last. He'd be returning to Chicago the next day on the 10 AM flight.

"Susan?" Mark said. He got no response from his dinner companion. "Susan!" he said louder.

"Hunh?" Susan finally responded. "I'm sorry, Mark. What were you saying?"

"Where were you just now?" he asked gently.

"Nowhere really. Just thinking." she replied. "This is our last night..."

"I know, Sweetheart. But it's only for a little while longer. You'll be home in a month."

"One month too long." Susan said dryly.

"Chloe needs you right now..." Mark said, trying to help. "She's due in a week, right?"

Susan nodded, and pushed her food around on the plate, seemingly finding her chicken suddenly fascinating.

Mark decided to change the subject. He pulled a box out of his jacket pocket. "Susan?" he began. She looked up at him. He opened the box to reveal a stunning ring. There was a diamond solitaire in the middle flanked on one side by a smaller emerald, and on the other a sapphire... representing their birth months.

She gasped, "Mark, it's... it's beautiful!" she exclaimed.

Mark smiled, "Susan Rhianne Lewis, would you do me the extreme honor of becoming my wife?"

Susan's smile faded into a frown. "You... you aren't just asking because of the baby, are you?"

Mark sighed, "Susan, you know me better than that. I'm thrilled about the baby. But, if I were only asking because of the baby, I wouldn't have carried this ring across country from Chicago before I knew about it." He paused and smiled. "Sweetheart, I was planning to do this when I arrived. That you are carrying my baby is just an added bonus." He stood up and crossed around to her. "If you'd like, I'll do this properly." He got down on one knee in front of her chair, took the ring and slipped it onto her left ring finger. "Sweetheart, marry me... please!"

Tears ran down Susan's face as she nodded. "Yes, Mark, I'll marry you." He stood up and pulled her up into a kiss that had the other customers around gawking... before breaking into a round of applause.

Pulling apart, the pair looked around them sheepishly. Their waiter appeared with an offer of dessert on the house. They smiled and accepted.



SEPTEMBER 12, 2000

1:45 AM CDT

"I can't do this anymore, Mark." Susan said weakly. She been in labor for almost 30 hours now, and was totally exhausted emotionally and physically.

Mark smiled at his wife. "Yes, you can, Sweetheart. A few more good pushes and our baby will be in your arms."

"Here we go." an OB nurse said, looking at the fetal heart-rate monitor.

"Okay, Susan, I want you to push for the count of ten... Now!" Dr. Coburn said.

"1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... 8... 9... 10!" the nurse counted out.

"Good, Susan. Relax for a minute." Dr. Coburn instructed.

"You're doing great, Sweetheart." Mark said encouragingly as her kissed his wife's forehead. "It won't be long now." Susan just smiled half-heartedly.

Another contraction started... more pushing. "Good, I can see the head, Susan! I want you to push again..." Dr. Coburn said. "Okay, the head's out!" The nurse handed her a bulb suction so that she could clean out the baby's nose and mouth. "Okay, Susan, last push!"

"C'mon, Sweetheart. Push!" Mark ordered.

Susan pushed hard and the shoulders were free... the baby slid from her body and she collapsed exhausted against the pillows.

"It's a boy!" Dr. Coburn announced. "A healthy, beautiful boy..."

Mark squeezed Susan's hand and leaned down and kissed her forehead. "A son, Susan. We have a son!"

"Dad, do you want to cut the cord?"

Mark nodded, "I'll be right back, Sweetheart." Mark cut the umbilical cord and the nurse handed him his son. He carried the baby to the head of the bed and placed him in Susan's arms. "Susan, meet your son..."

Susan smiled at the tiny child in her arms. "He's beautiful, Mark!"

"Yes, he is." Mark replied, "And, you're beautiful! You've made me complete, Susan Rhianne Greene."

The nurse took the baby to clean him up and get his measurements. Mark sat on the edge of the bed and put his arm around Susan's shoulders. "I can't imagine my life without you in it..."

Susan leaned her head against his shoulder and sighed.

A few minutes later, the nurse came back with their son. "7 pounds, 11 ounces, 22 inches long." she announced as she handed him to Mark.

Another nurse came and helped Susan get cleaned up and soon the family was moved into another room.

Susan drifted into an exhausted but happy sleep listening to her husband talk to their son. "I wish your grandfather was able to meet you."



2:15 AM PDT (5:15 CDT)

Carol had just gotten her 10-month-old daughters down for their afternoon nap when the phone rang. Rushing into the living room, she answered it before the machine picked up. "Ross Residence."

"Carol? It's Susan!"

"Susan, how are you?"

"Tired... a little sore... deliriously happy." Susan answered. "You have a godson!"

"Oh, Susan, I'm so happy for you! What's his name?"

"David Alexander Greene, Jr... for his grandfather." Susan answered. "I wish he had lived to see him." she said, fingering the strand of pearls that she wore around her neck.

"I know, Susan... but now he'll always be watching out for little David." Carol said quietly. "How's Rachel taking it?"

"She's a little wary... not only does she have a new brother, but she's also got Craig and Jenn's daughter. I think she's feeling a little replaced right now. Mark talked to her while I was asleep... she's coming down to see us this weekend..."

"I'll keep my fingers crossed. She'll come around, though..."

"I know..." Susan sighed. "Oh, did you hear about Elizabeth?" she asked, changing the subject.

"No, what?" Carol replied, curious.

"She's engaged... to Dr. Charles Cameron."

"You mean the one who wanted to recruit her for Rush?" Carol asked.

"Yep, the very same. Dr. Romano is heart-broken..."


More Notes: This story is also lovingly dedicated to Amanda Katherine. 'Manda Kat, you saved my life... literally. It's also for Shelley, who let me share her pain when she lost her little one. Shelley, I love you... and rejoice with you in the birth of your daughter! May she always be a blessing to you...