Beautiful Bellies Contest: Take Two

Title: A Father's Story
List of prompts used: A: Braxton Hicks, colostrum B: Name That Tune C: pjs, capitulated D: pink octopussy, nitwit E: elephant ears, apple pie, chocolate
Characters/pairing: Edward Bella
Genre: Family
Word Count: 2538
Rating: M
Summary: Bella and Edward have been together for twenty years. Bella is pregnant with their fifth child and is due to deliver any day. This is Edward's story of how baby number five comes into the world.

A Father's Story.

I'm shaken awake. "Edward," Bella says.

"What," I mumble, still more asleep than awake.

"It's time," she replies.

I sit bolt upright in bed at the seriousness of her tone. This isn't the first time she has woken me in the middle of the night. She has been having Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks. Looking at the clock, I see it is two in the morning.

Wanting to make doubly sure it is real this time, I ask, "Are you sure?" She grabs my hand and places it over the crotch of her soaked pjs. "Either I wet the bed or my water broke."

Just then she grabs her stomach and groans, obviously having a contraction.

"How far apart are they?"

It takes her a while to answer, but eventually she says, "Maybe fifteen minutes."

She doesn't sound too sure, and I realize I should probably time them. I reach over to the bedside table and grab my watch.

While I've had my back turned Bella has gotten out of bed and discarded her wet pyjama bottoms. I feel a sense of guilt that the sight of her even partially naked in her current state is causing a stirring in my boxers. I tell my traitorous dick that today is most definitely not the day for any action. Matter of fact, I let him know that he won't be playing with Bella's pink octopussy for at least six weeks now, and he softens out of sadness.

I'm broken out of my stupid and inappropriate thoughts by Bella growling, "Another."

I have a quick look at my watch and realise that her contractions are a lot closer together than she thinks they are. I time the contraction as well, knowing she will want to know that information, too.

"How long?" she asks when the contraction is over.

"It was only eight minutes since the last one, and it lasted about sixty-three seconds."

"Huh," is her only reply.

For the next hour, Bella paces around our bedroom kind of like a caged animal, stopping to place her hands on her knees every time another contraction hits. She seems to be coping very well, barely making a sound, which I find a little strange because during her previous four labours she was very vocal.

Yes, we already have four children, boys to be exact.

Bella and I are one of those rare couples that meet in high school and spend the rest of their lives together. We were fifteen when we met and have been together for twenty years now.

Daniel Charles, our eldest, is sixteen and was an unexpected surprise freshman year of college.

We took our time to finish college and get ourselves settled in the world before we added any more kids to our family.

When Daniel was five, we welcomed Brandon Carlisle, who is now eleven. Then there are eight-year-old Jacob Edward and five-year-old James Anthony.

After James' birth, Bella swore she wasn't having any more children-she was thirty-one and had four lovely children-but I knew she secretly longed for a girl.

A little over a year ago, she came to me and told me she wanted to try one last time for a girl before she got too old to have children.

As always unable to deny my wife anything, I capitulated. I enjoyed our renewed fervour for one another as we set out to add another member to our family.

That is how we have ended up here again, Bella labouring through another childbirth.

As another contraction ceases, she goes back to her pacing. Though her contractions have gotten a little longer and are now about eighty seconds long, their times apart are fluctuating a little between five and eight minutes.

I ask if she wants me to call the midwife. She tells me to wait until they are a consistent five minutes apart.

The next hour continues on the same. She asks me to put on some music at one stage to distract her. We even play a game of Name that Tune just to keep her from thinking too much about everything that is going on. It doesn't really help, though, so I turn the music off and we go back to silence.

As we move into hour three, I continue to watch her, feeling useless as she continues to do her thing. You think I would be used to it after her four previous deliveries, but I still hate the feeling.

Daniel was a traditional hospital birth. Though he arrived safe and healthy, I know Bella felt that the entire process was out of her control, and she wished that his delivery had been different. So when it was time for Brandon to arrive, Bella did a ton of research on different available options. In the end she opted for a home water birth, attended by a midwife.

After Brandon's birth she has had home water births for all our children, saying that she loves the experience.

I'm broken out of my thoughts by Bella's voice. "I'm hungry," she says. "What would you like?" I ask, finally feeling useful.

"Umm, some chocolate would be nice."

I'm not sure whether we have any, and knowing that now is not the time for me to be taking a trip to the store, I ask, "If we don't have any?"

"Then just something sweet."

I head into the kitchen, and as I suspected, we don't have any chocolate. We do, however, have some apple pie, so, I cut her a small piece, pour a glass of juice, and then return to the bedroom.

When I get there, Bella is on her hands and knees, rocking back and forth as she groans through another contraction. I'm concerned at the change in her demeanour in the few minutes I've been gone.

"You okay?" I ask,

She looks at me, and the expression on her face says, "What kind of a nitwit are you? Of course I'm not okay!" I know it was probably an incredibly stupid thing to say, but I'm a male-what does she expect?

As a peace offering, I show her the apple pie and glass of juice I brought with me.

"Oh, my God, I love you so much." She grabs the food, scarfs it down, and then chugs the glass of juice.

I wonder what the hurry is, but then another contraction hits. I realize that they have gotten closer together while I was in the kitchen. By the way Bella is groaning and swaying her hips, I say they have definitely gotten more intense as well.

As another contraction ends, she tells me it is time for the pool. I take the cover off, check the temperature, and then help her in just as another one hits. She gets herself comfortable on her knees, hands resting on the edge of the pool as she rides out the pain.

Realizing the contractions are definitely less than five minutes apart, I grab my phone and ring Sue Clearwater, the midwife. She asks me a few questions, and I tell her what is happening to the best of my knowledge. She seems to think that maybe Bella is in transition and lets me know she will be here as soon as she can.

I am just hanging up the phone when I hear Bella groan loudly. I return to her side and let her know that I have rung Sue. She tells me I should probably go and wake my mother, so she can round up the boys because she can't keep quiet any longer.

I suddenly realize she has been keeping quiet so not to wake up the rest of the house. I want to chastise her and tell her that she didn't have to do that, but it just reminds me more of why I love my wife. I am just about to kiss her and tell her how much when she moans loudly, another contraction obviously causing her extreme discomfort .

I tell her I will be back momentarily and duck down the hallway to the guest room. I knock on the door, but my mum doesn't answer. So I open it and call her name. She sits up in bed and asks what time it is.

"Five-thirty," I reply. "Bella is close to delivering and I need you to keep an ear out for the boys and the midwife, who should be arriving soon."

I barely finish my sentence when I hear Bella scream my name. I bolt out of the room and back to my wife's side.

"I need to push," she cries. "Where's Sue?"

"I don't know, love. Let me ring her and see."

I quickly make the call. I tell Sue that Bella is feeling the urge to push. She tells me that she is fifteen minutes away and that I am to tell Bella to just do whatever her body wants.

I relay the info to Bella, who seems a little panic stricken.

"Oh, God, Edward, I can't do this on my own. Sue is supposed to be here."

Another contraction hits, and I get the feeling she is fighting against her body. I know I need to step up and help her through this, at least until Sue arrives.

"You can do this," I say in as forceful tone as I can muster. "You have already given me four beautiful boys. You know how to do this. Just listen to your body. I love you…" I don't get to finish telling her how much because another contraction hits. I can see the change in her this time as she bears down while I continue to mutter encouraging words.

The next few contractions come thick and fast but my love has her game face on and is doing a wonderful job. After a particularly long one, she asks me to check her progress. Not caring that I am fully clothed, I quickly hop in the pool and move around behind her. I have never done this before so I ask Bella what I should do. She tells me to just touch around her vagina and tell her what I can feel. As I reach between her legs, I realise that we can't be very far from the end.

"I can feel hair," I say excitedly.

I don't get any response from Bella because another contraction hits. With my hand still resting softly on the baby's head I can feel just how brilliant a job she is doing at pushing.

"You are doing so good, baby."

I am in total awe of my wife, never having been this involved with her deliveries before. Normally, I am lurking somewhere in the background while she and Sue do all the work.

With the next push, the head is suddenly out, and I can feel the baby's ears and face.

"Oh, my God, baby, the head is out."

She doesn't say anything and just shakes her head as if in disbelief. I check as best as I can that the cord is not anywhere I can feel while we wait for the next contraction. It seems to be slow in coming, but I think Bella is relishing the few minutes of rest.

"Oh, God," she cries loudly, and I know this is going to be it.

With one strong push, the baby almost flies out of Bella and into my waiting hands. Bella reaches between her legs, and I hand her our child.

"It's a girl," she cries as she turns over and sits down.

I realise I didn't even look what sex the baby was before handing her over to Bella. "Fifth time lucky," I say as I give my wife a kiss. We had decided that we were not going to find out what sex the baby was this time around. After four boys, we just figured we were having another. I am so excited we finally managed to have a girl.

"Well done, you two."

I turn toward the door and see Sue standing there.

"How long have you been there?" Bella asks a little grumpily.

"Long enough to see you didn't need me," she replies.

Bella huffs but doesn't say anything. My attention is fixated on the beautiful little angel cradled in her mother's arms.

"I'm so proud of you."

I realise that because we were expecting a boy we haven't picked out any girls' names. "What are we going to call her?"

She doesn't even skip a beat when she says, "Angela Marie." I look at her, a little confused as to how she came up with a name so quickly. "I had an inkling," she responds by way of explanation.

"How come you didn't say anything?"

"I didn't want to get our hopes up."

"I love you so much, baby." I kiss her passionately, but our little Angela has other ideas, screaming loudly.

"It's all right," Bella coos. "I know exactly what you want." She puts Angela to her breast, and though she takes a little while, she eventually starts sucking vigorously, feasting on her mother's nutritious colostrum. "That's it, my little girl."

While Bella and I have been admiring our new arrival, Sue has been working quietly, checking that both she and Bella are fine and healthy.

After Bella has delivered the placenta and we have both cleaned up, I let her rest in bed while I take the newest member of our family to meet her brothers.

As I walk into the living room, five eager sets of eyes look my way.

"I'd like you all to meet Angela Marie Cullen, your new sister or granddaughter, as the case may be."

My mother is up and out of her seat, eager to see her newest grandchild. "Oh, Edward, she's beautiful. She looks just like you."

"Yes she does. Thankfully, she didn't get my elephant ears though."

"Oh, don't be silly. Your ears aren't that big. I am so happy for you and Bella." She gives me a kiss on the cheek and then gives Angela one on her forehead.

"Thank you, Mom."

I sit down on the couch, and my boys crowd around, fascinated by the bundle in my arms.

"Okay, boys, now that you're all big brothers to a beautiful little girl, it is your duty to protect your sister. You have to make sure that she is kept safe whenever I can't be around. And she is delicate, so no roughhousing with her like you all do with each other." They all look at me like I'm nuts but nod their heads anyway.

After all the boys have had a hold, I head back upstairs with a sleeping Angela in my arms. When I walk into our bedroom, Bella is sound asleep. After putting the baby down in the bassinet, I climb into bed with my wife, eager to catch a few z's of my own. As sleep claims me, I say a prayer of thanks to whatever gods saw fit to finally let my beautiful wife have the baby girl she so desperately longed for. With the knowledge that our family is now complete, I surrender to slumber.