Chapter 47 Cambridge Conference

If you're still here you must either like the story or have some serious self-abuse issues. I'm betting it's the latter today. I get to start the chapter very early today. I have the day off and I'm writing in one of my favorite little bistros. I was the first customer of the day and I'm enjoying the pre-lunch rush calm. People are starting to filter in so I need to work faster. I have no financial intentions toward any characters including those of TBBT, Looney Toons, Warner Brothers, Universal, or MGM maybe. I'm pretty sure I have Disney stock still but my broker has mysteriously left the country after inviting his clients to a Cayman Island trip. It's a wonderful place to visit by the way with a 3 star restaurant right on the Ocean and beautiful white coral sand. I'm reading the quarterly statement to see what I really do own. I would think a small stake in Dan's Anchovy Taco hut and an oil change place for Vespa's would have some value. Oops it's something called The Walt Diddly company what the hell is that. I should have went with that Madoff guy.

Early Arrivals

Amy felt the first contraction as she was getting ready for bed. A moment of worry went through her. She still had 5 or 6 weeks before she was due. The math said she was about 35 or 36 weeks. A baby born before 37 was considered premature. She had false labor with Tyler so she didn't panic. She laid down next to Sheldon who was already in vampire mode and sleeping soundly. The next contraction was harder than the first. Amy still didn't panic even though it had been only a few minutes. She tried deep breathing and doing complex molecular problems in her head. She felt calmer and started to relax when the third contraction hit and she felt the baby move.

"Sheldon, Sheldon wake up the baby's coming." Amy had said it loudly and Sheldon sat straight up in bed. He looked over with a panicked look in his eyes. Amy grabbed her phone off the night stand. She dialed 999 the emergency number. "Sheldon get Tyler up and some clothes for him I'm calling for an ambulance." Amy let the operator know she was going into premature labor and was satisfied the ambulance was coming. She got up and threw some clothes in her bag that she had just brought back from Paris and waited phone in hand.

Fearful Reminders

Leonard was sitting at his desk when his phone rang. Penny was calling. "Hey you, are you done at studio already?"

"Leonard I just got a text from Amy she's on her way to the hospital. She's in labor Leonard and it's early." Leonard could hear the edge in her voice. He was doing the same math Amy had done earlier but with more inexact dates.

"She has to be 7 or 8 weeks early that's really not good. Do we know which hospital?"

He could hear tears in Penny's voice now, "No she just said she was on the way there. What should we do honey?"

Leonard went through the options quickly, there weren't many. "We wait and see. We're 9 hours away at best assuming we could even arrange a plane that quick. By the time we got there they will have stopped the labor or she'll have the baby. I'll call Howard and Bernie there only an hour by air."

Penny sounded a little better, "I just texted Bernadette they're going to see if they can get there right away. Raj is going too."

Leonard knew the answer now. "Okay we'll all go. Let me work out the flight arrangements. I'll get Lisel from daycare and let you know what airport and when. You can meet us there and we'll go."

Penny sounded very calm now, "I can send Chelsea to our house to pack us a bag."

Leonard again paused for moment, "Okay but if I get something worked out quickly we may just meet at the airport in Burbank. We can get anything we need in the UK."

"Okay, Chelsea will stay with the dogs. Leonard I love you"

"I love you too,"

Leonard hung up and got right back on the phone. He was going to end up being a premier customer for these private aviation folks. He was having second thoughts about going. They really couldn't do anything but provide emotional support. Then he thought about Lisel's birth and the impending birth of his and Penny's baby. That was all it took. He texted Penny, "We need our passports from the house anything else is a bonus."

Little Girl Cooper

Penny looked across the table at Leonard who was sitting stoically looking out the planes small window. They had 5 more hours of flight time into Cambridge. All they knew was that Amy was at Cambridge University Hospital and that Howard, Bernadette and Raj had made it to London and should be in Cambridge any time now. She knew Leonard was thinking, staring without seeing. She reached over and touched his arm and he looked up and smiled at her. Lisel was asleep for her afternoon nap on the laydown seats across the aisle from them. "What are you thinking about honey?" His smiled turned to a serious look.

"All the possible issues a baby has being born prematurely. I looked it up when Liisa was pregnant with Lisel. They wanted to induce her at 37 weeks so they could start treatment. Liisa refused and took it to 40."

"Tell me" Penny was now a little panicked again.

"It really depends on how premature but neurological issues are a big worry everything from learning disabilities to Cerebral Palsy or blindness. Then a whole slew of pulmonary issues from needing to be on a ventilator to pneumonia and infection. Hematology issues with an underdeveloped liver and heart. A bunch of possible gastro problems. Really a lot of things could be or go wrong."

Penny was stunned and it must have shown because Leonard got up and sat in the seat beside her. He wrapped his arm around her. "We won't know anything until she's born. We'll be there for them no matter what."

Penny put her hands on her tummy, she whispered to the baby growing in her to stay right there, don't get impatient. Leonard put his hand on hers. "Try not to worry it's generally a very low risk with someone as healthy as you are. We'll try to mitigate all the risk factors we can. Do you want to know the odds?"

Penny nodded her head. Leonard looked at her, "It's about 12% in the United States, less in Europe but they have a lower birthrate."

Penny leaned on his shoulder that's an 88% chance that it won't happen but the 12% was in her head. Her phone buzzing took her mind off it. It was a text from Bernadette. She read it to Leonard.

"She had it, 2650 grams 43cm long. Want to do some math for me physicist?"

Leonard smiled, "That's 5lbs 13 1/2 ounces and about 17 inches. Babies at full term can be that size. That's good news. Asked if she's breathing on her own and if they have an APGAR score."

Penny typed away on her phone. It buzzed again several seconds later. "She says in the incubator but no ventilator, APGAR is 6 to 7. Amy's fine and oh that's so sweet."

Leonard looked over at her, "What's so sweet?"

"She named her Maria Mary Cooper after Sheldon's Memaw and mother"

Leonard smiled and leaned back in the seat, Penny put her head on his chest. That was the most horrible six or so hours she had ever experienced. Penny closed her eyes and wished she could sleep. Leonard put his hand on her head and stroked her hair. Maybe she could now.

Welcome to Maria Cooper

Amy sat up in the hospital bed and looked over at the incubator beside it. Maria was inside very still but breathing easily on her own. She was a touch yellow that's why her Apgar score was below 7. The lights and the incubator would help. She should be able to go home with her in a couple of days. She felt the bandage on her tummy where they'd done the caesarian when her water had broken but she would just not dilate any further. Sheldon, Tyler and their friends had just left to go get some food. She wanted to hold the baby but it would have to wait. The door to her room opened a bit and a familiar face stared around it.

"Bestie what are you doing here?"

Penny came in and over to the bed. She took Amy's hand and smiled at her then looked over to the incubator. "How's she doing?"

Amy looked over also, "She just fine Bestie, her bilirubin is a little high but that happens in full term babies also. She's a little small but the doctors and I think she's going to be fine. You didn't have to come. How did you get here so fast?"

Penny gave her the slightly annoyed look, "Didn't have to come? When one of my best friends goes into premature labor you come. Did you text anybody else?"

Amy shook her head no, "Well then you know why I came because you texted me." She squeezed Amy's hand. "We got here so fast because Leonard chartered a jet the same way we got home the other day. I really could get used to traveling that way. Can you hold the baby yet?"

"Only if you gown up, do you want to?"

Penny got a huge grin, "God yes"

Leonard was waiting outside with Lisel for Penny to come out when the nurse went in. Penny came out and went into the next room with the nurse. When she returned she was in a white one piece suit with blue booties over her shoes and her hair inside a blue shower cap looking hat. The nurse was also gowned and they went back into Amy's room. After a few moments the nurse looked out the door and waved Leonard over.

"You can look through the window around the corner luv, I'll open the blinds"

Leonard went around the corner with Lisel and picked her up before the large window that had the blinds closed. When they went up he could see his Penny and the nurse in a room separated from Amy's by a glass door. Penny was sitting in the rocking chair holding a small baby in her gloved hands a mask across her face. Leonard could still see from her eyes that she had her best smile on.

Lisel looked on and waved, "Welcome to the world Maria".

Sheldon has a girl

Penny sat down across from Sheldon in the hospital cafeteria. Tyler was sitting on his father's lap sleeping and sucking his thumb through his blanket.

"Hi Moonpie hear you have a little girl" Penny gave Sheldon a quirky smile. It was a shame Moonpie didn't have the old effect but she was glad he liked the term of endearment. Sheldon gave her that little smile of his. "She beautiful isn't she. I wish she had a little more mass though."

Penny cocked her head and continued to smile, "I've never heard you call anything beautiful outside of physics before Sheldon."

Sheldon just looked at her, "Babies are like the universe Penny, complex and wonderful but much smaller and fragile. They fascinate me in the same way."

Penny just nodded at him as Leonard and Lisel sat down next to her. Lisel laid over into Penny's lap and Penny slowly stoked her head. Leonard looked at Sheldon and seriously asked, "How you holding up Sheldon?"

Sheldon gave him a rather condescending look, "Fine I wasn't the one having the baby. Really Leonard sometimes you ask the most inane questions." Leonard rolled his eyes at Penny who giggled at him. Howard and Bernadette came up and sat down next to Sheldon. Leonard looked around, "Where's Raj got off to?"

Bernadette shook her head, "He's next in line to feed the baby in an hour or so and didn't want to miss his spot. He said Penny took his spot to hold her so he's waiting with Amy."

Penny started laughing, "I keep forgetting what an odd guy Raj is. I wonder what he was like when his own children were born."

Howard piped in, "He cried for a solid hour when he saw Maria. He must have started having a menstrual cycle when he had his own. I've missed him too. We've spent the last three days together in Paris."

Penny looked over at Bernadette and sarcastically said, "The three of you in Paris, that sounds romantic."

"It's really been wonderful Penny. Raj apparently has been planning to come to Paris for a long time. He's had all sorts of places we should go and see. Howie and I still have our alone time in the evening but Raj knows about every romantic thing you should be doing in Paris. He's talking about him, his wife and us going to Rome next year. He said it's also terribly romantic"

Penny looked over at Leonard who nodded his head agreeing, "It's a very romantic place, much older than Paris but the art and architecture is incredible. Just don't drive when you're there trust me."

Sheldon looked down at Tyler, he was starting to stir. He softly stroked his head and looked over at Penny. "Penny do you think Tyler will find it hard not being the baby anymore?"

Penny reached over and touched Tyler's head then Sheldon's arm. "You and Amy will help him through that Shelly it'll be fine." Lisel was asleep in Penny's lap, she was exhausted and Leonard was yawning.

"Honey maybe we should go get some sleep, do we have a place to stay?"

Leonard gave her a lazy smile, "Suite at the Crown Plaza is waiting for us even if it is only early afternoon. Let's go get some rest."

Didn't think we'd be back in Europe so soon but it's just a day or so.

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