Adam took his white cane and went to find the doctor. Mary lay down in bed and tried to relax. The contractions were still irregular and quite far apart, but they were getting more powerful. Mary took slow, deep breaths and imagined herself lying in the sunshine by a rippling brook.
After awhile, Dr. Baker and Caroline Ingalls arrived. Dr. Baker examined Mary and said that she had a while to go yet. Caroline began to boil water and gather clean blankets while chatting nervously with her daughter.
"How well I remember the night you were born," she told Mary. "We still lived in Wisconsin then. Your father had to travel a long way through the woods to fetch the nearest doctor. I was so afraid that he wouldn't make it back in time, but he got there just as you were ready to be born. Your head was crowning as he walked in the door."
"Lucky thing we live in Walnut Grove now, isn't it?" Mary mumbled. The contractions were stronger now, and she did her best not to cry out, although it was getting harder and harder not to do so.
The next few hours passed in a blur for Mary. In between contractions, she dozed slightly, only to be awakened by the next painful tightening.
Dr. Baker examined her again. "It won't be long now," he announced.
Suddenly the pain became almost unbearable and accompanied by an overwhelming urge to bear down.
"I want to push!" she cried.
Dr. Baker examined her once more. "Go ahead. You're ready."
Mary bore down with the next contraction. The relief was overwhelming. She bore down again with the next one.
"Keep going. You're doing really well," Dr. Baker said with a smile.
Mary waited for the next contraction, and when it came, she bore down with all her might again.
"The head is crowning," Dr. Baker announced. Mary felt a thrill of excitement go through her. It wouldn't be long now.
She pushed again and again. The shoulders slid out, followed by the rest of the baby's body.
"It's a boy!" Dr. Baker exclaimed.
"Oh, Adam!" Tears of joy were in Mary's eyes. As thrilled as she was at her son's birth, there was also sorrow that his father would never see him.
Adam was allowed into the room first, of course. He was all smiles as he came to Mary in bed and gently touched her cheek.
"He's beautiful," Mary told her husband.
Adam held out his arms, and Mary gently placed their new son into them. Carefully, Adam's fingers moved over the baby's face, examining his eyelashes, his nose, his lips.
"He is beautiful." Adam's lips met Mary's. "Thank you for our son."
Adam couldn't see her smile, but he knew it was there.
The next person to enter the room was Mary's grandfather.
"His name is Adam Charles Holbrook Kendall," Mary told him. "You're his family too, Grandpa."
"Thank you, Mary," said Mr. Holbrook.
After a few minutes, he and Caroline left, and Mary and Adam enjoyed some time alone with their new son.
"His hair is dark brown, and very fine," Mary told her husband. "And his eyes are a dark, smoky blue. Oh, Adam, how I wish you could see him!"
"That's all right." Adam chuckled. "I'll take you word for it."
"I love you, Adam," said Mary.
"I love you too, Mary."
Drowsy and content, Mary relaxed into her husband's embrace.