Note to the real world Krista: I've been waiting for ages for this one and I know you're reading it. Thanks for sticking around :)
June 16, two days later
Saint Brigid's Hospital, Krista's Point of View
This is not happening.
This is not happening.
This is not happening.
I'm thankful that my cancer hasn't come back, but… a baby? At my age?
I don't know what to say.
It's not like I don't love my kids because I do, but Gavin and I came to an agreement when Savannah was born six years ago that she would be our last because I almost miscarried her. The same thing happened eighteen years ago when I was pregnant with her brother, Jacob.
But still—we obviously didn't plan for this.
For starters, I'm forty-three and Gavin is fifty-four, plus this is the second marriage for both of us. A third child has never been part of the plan, especially since Jacob just graduated valedictorian from his high school and is headed straight to the FBI Academy in the fall. (He was actually recruited early like I was at his age) The final deciding factor about not having any more kids came last year after Savannah was diagnosed with a combination of ADD/ADHD, and I mean the extreme kind.
Adding a newborn into the mix is not a good idea, but… it is what it is, right?
What will Gavin say? I don't even know.
I was a total basket case when I called Jordan about this morning to spill my worries, and bless my best friend's heart because she dropped everything to come support me during the appointment since I was too scared to go alone.
But where is Jordan?
"There you are!" She smiled as she sat beside me on the bench. "I figured you'd want some space since you hightailed out of there so fast, but then I couldn't find you."
"Sorry." I mumbled.
"It's okay, but remember—I'm in your corner because I understand what it's like to get this kind of surprise in your forties, albeit my circumstances were way different."
(Jordan was violated seven years ago and became pregnant as a result. She was forty-one)
"Truesay," I ran my hands over my small baby bump and my tears began all over again when I felt the baby squirm around a little. "But I feel like a moron, Jordan! How could I not notice for ten weeks? I mean, work has been crazy; I don't have much of a baby bump, and things have been busier than usual because of Jake's graduation and because Savvy's been getting a little antsy because of the end of the school year now, but still…"
"You're by no means a moron, but I think you just answered your own question."
"I guess, but I just wonder what Gavin's going to say."
"That's better left to your imagination, seeing as he's your hubby." Changing the subject, she produced a small gift bag from her purse and handed it to me. "Look at this, though—I saw it in the gift shop and couldn't pass it up."
Curious, I reached into the bag and pulled out a pair of tiny green Chuck Taylor sneakers. Jordan has been my best friend for my entire life, so she knows that Chuck Taylor sneakers have been used each time I've announced a pregnancy to my husband.
"Thanks, Jordan; these are really cute!"
"Now you have a way to ease the tension." Her tone became authoritative as she stood up. "As for now, I'm going to take you back to your place so you can have a lie down while I make you a cup of tea while I call Gavin."
"None of that now, Krista Jupiter Athena Riley. We're going back to your house because you look really tired and because I know Gavin will come right away!"
There was no use in arguing with her so I gathered my things and followed her out.
Thirty minutes later
While Jordan went to make me a cup of tea, I went upstairs to my room. When I was resting on my bed, I heard a soft mewing noise and a few seconds later, my three-month-old Maine Coon kitten had jumped up on my bed and started slinking towards me.
"Well hello, Tinkerbell. It looks like I came back early."
My cat just meowed at me as she surveyed her surroundings, and I watched in fascination as she curled up in a ball on my belly and purred loudly without a care in the world.
In some strange way, it made me feel a little better.
After Jordan left, I didn't have long to wait for Gavin, but when he saw the baby sneakers, he made the leap of logic and spoke in a tone full of hope.
"Krissy, I came the second Jordan called, but I have to ask—are you telling me what I think you are?"
"Yes, but I'm not sure what to think."
"Why not? This is a good thing, lovely."
"Gav, what if something happens? Jake and Savvy almost died because I had severe preeclampsia with both of them, and they're twelve years apart. Cooper was my surrogate baby, but he barely made it to his first birthday before dying on 9/11 because he and his nanny were in the wrong place at the wrong time! And Angel… dear sweet little Angel… she was a full-term stillborn and didn't even make it out of the delivery room. I can't even talk about my abortion… I didn't have much of choice with that, given the situation…"
By this point, I was in tears and Gavin moved to comfort me but he was blocked by Tinkerbell because she started hissing at him to protect her territory—my belly. Despite myself, I gave my cat a backrub until she turned into mush and relaxed, allowing me to move her off so Gavin could hold me in his arms.
"How far along are you?" he asked.
"Ten weeks, and it turns out I'm due on my birthday."
"Why didn't you say anything about feeling ill before today? I'm not mad, but I just want to know."(We first met after my cancer had been in remission for awhile, and he's never seen that side of me, so it's natural for him to worry when I feel sick) "I would've helped you, Krista; done whatever you wanted."
"I'm so sorry! Feeling sick was just one more thing added to the pile, what with Jake's graduation and FBI recruitment and Savvy's behavior issues, too! And I like my job at the bureau, but this is one of the times when profiling serial killers for a living is extra stressful."
"Still no break in the Westies case?"
"No." I pulled back my shirt and ran a hand over my bump. "What do you think about all this, darlin'? Are you happy? I can't be if you aren't."
Gavin leaned over and kissed my belly with such tenderness that I turned to mush in a heartbeat.
"Okay, so a baby sets back our early retirement plans for a big loop, especially since we agreed that Jake and Savvy are enough, but we're talking about a new life that we made together."
He unbuttoned my blouse and showered a trail of kisses from my navel all the way to my forehead.
"You're not sick; you're growing a baby in there, and that's really something to celebrate, even if we're not exactly in our prime anymore."
"Way to make me feel extra old." I joked.
He laughed and pulled me into a sitting position. "God never gives us more than we can handle, so come what will or come what may, I'll be right beside you, no matter what. We'll make this work?"
"Even if I need a sabbatical?"
"Even if you need a year-long sabbatical," he confirmed. "I'll be right beside because you're my wife. I'd do anything for you or the kids."
I breathed a sigh of relief and for the first time all morning, I was beginning to feel excited.
"So it looks like we're having a baby. Do you want to find out the gender when the opportunity arises?"
"Absolutely; that way, we'll know how to decorate the nursery and Savvy won't drive us up the wahzoo about it."
"Speaking of whom, we should tell her and Jake today before they figure it out and steal our thunder."
I changed into more comfortable clothes just in time for Jacob and Savannah to find us in the master bedroom. (Today is the last day of school for Savannah, so Jacob volunteered to pick her up for me) Unsurprisingly, Savannah was in hyperdrive but today she was hanging upside down from her brother's arms as he carried her into the room and giggling hysterically.
"Who fed Savvy sugar when I wasn't looking?" I groaned.
"Mommy, I fed it to myself!" she giggled. "Today was the last day of school and it's Inga's birthday so her mommy brought treats for all of us!"
"Come here, sweet Savvy." Gavin beckoned to her . "You, too, Jake. We have something to tell you."
Jacob dropped Savannah on the bed, eliciting more giggles from her but they both approached.
"What's up?" they asked in tandem.
"Do you two like surprises?"
"I do, most of the time." Jacob admitted.
"Mommy, are you gonna have a baby?" Savannah blurted. "I really hope so 'cause I really love babies and wanna be a big sister so much!"
…Leave it to Savannah to steal my thunder just like I predicted…
"It's going to be about six months and my tummy's going to be pretty big, but yes, I'm having a baby."
Savannah let loose an excited squeal and hugged us close. I felt my heart turn to butter but looked back at Jacob, who had his nose wrinkled.
"What's the matter with you, boyo?" I asked.
"Hey, I'm totally excited, but you and Gavin are so… old!" He shuddered visibly.
"We can't all be young and spry like you and Sonali Singh are." Gavin teased.
"Ew!" Jacob shuddered even more, realizing what his stepfather was insinuating. "What Sonali and I do isn't your—hey! Don't high five each other!"
Amused by Jacob's immediate reaction, Gavin and I had dissolved into laughter and exchange high fives just to push his buttons. I did my best to maintain focus.
"Promise you'll take care of your little brother or sister the way you take care of Savvy, and we're good."
(In Savannah's eyes, Jacob is her knight in shining armor)
"I promise I'll—"
He was cut off by Savannah who had been tracing shapes over my belly. "Peanut and I think it would be a great idea to go to lunch right now to celebrate!"
I looked at Gavin. "Do you have to be back the office any time soon?"
He shook his head. "No, and the beauty of being my own boss means that I can take the rest of the day off to take my family to the park to play football or fly a kite after we go out to lunch."
Savannah gasped dramatically when she realized what this meant and was off like a rocket to get her kite, with Jacob right behind her. Both of them said goodbye to the baby before they left the room.
Why was I worried about this?
My husband will support me, and the kids adore the baby already.
Everything is going to be just fine.