"Blaine, you're at 35 weeks, and while it isn't ideal to deliver this early, the chances for the baby's survival at this point is really good if we deliver now," Dr. Ramos told them.
"How good?" Blaine asked and Kurt squeezed his hand.
"95%," the doctor told them. "Probably a little better since I put you on steroids two months ago to help speed up the development of the lungs."
"And if we wait?" Blaine asked.
"The longer we wait, the better the chances that you will have further complications," Dr. Ramos said gently. "Which is bad for both you and the baby. There could be lasting effects to both of you." She didn't say "if you survive," but it hung in the air anyway.
"We'll do what you want," Kurt told Blaine, "but I think you should let them deliver. I don't want to lose either of you and it sounds like this is our best option."
Blaine was willing to suffer just about anything for this baby to be happy and healthy, but it sounded like having it over and done was the best for both of them. "Okay, we'll sign the papers. As soon as you think is best."
Once the doctor had gone to make the arrangements, Kurt pulled out his phone. "I should call my parents. They'll want to be here as soon as they can."
Before Kurt could pull out his phone, however, Blaine grabbed his hand again. "Kurt, I'm scared."
"I know," Kurt said. "So am I. But Dr. Ramos is a great doctor and she says that this is the best way. I'm not going to lose you now, not after all we've been through to get here. And the baby is going to be fine. Just you wait and see."
"I love you," Blaine whispered tiredly, tears falling down his cheeks.
Kurt wiped the tears away and kissed his husband. "I love you too. Now you get some sleep while I call Dad and Carole, okay?"
Because of the more serious situation with Blaine's health, Kurt wasn't allowed to be in the operating room with Blaine for the birth of their second child. Instead, he was relegated to the waiting room with Burt and Carole. Rachel wanted to be there, but she was watching Livy and keeping her occupied so that she didn't worry about anything. At almost five years old, she was pretty perceptive.
It took more than an hour before the doctor came into the room and called to Kurt. Kurt rushed over. "How is he? And the baby?"
"Kurt, your husband is just fine," Dr. Ramos said with a smile. "He came through the procedure better than we could have hoped. As for the baby, he's strong. The steroid treatment did a lot to help and he's breathing on his own. We'll need to keep him in the NICU for a few days to help him adjust, but I think he's going to be just fine. Dr. Steinman will be in to talk to both you and Blaine after he gets a chance to examine him."
Kurt let out a sigh of relief and almost sagged to the ground. Burt held him upright, however and Kurt managed to say, "Thank you. When can I see them?"
"Well, Blaine's being moved to recovery now, so I'll send a nurse to get you in about five minutes," Dr. Ramos said. "You'll be able to visit the baby in NICU soon after that. I'm not releasing Blaine to visit yet. He needs time to recover, but I expect that by tomorrow morning, he'll be fit for a trip over in a wheelchair."
"He's not going to be happy about waiting," Burt said dryly.
"Well, he's going to have to get happy," Kurt said. "I need him strong and healthy and so does the baby."
"It's a boy?" Carole asked from behind Kurt.
"A healthy baby boy," Dr. Ramos confirmed. "Five pounds and 14 ounces, 19 inches long. If he'd gone to full term, I suspect he would have been born on the large end of the spectrum."
A moment later, the nurse came to tell Kurt that Blaine was settled into recovery and took him back to see him. Kurt followed along quietly, thinking about how much different this experience was from when he'd had Livy. As tired and sore as he had been after giving birth, it was relatively simple compared to this.
"Kurt?" Blaine said sleepily when Kurt entered the curtained off area of recovery where Blaine was resting. "Have you seen him?"
Kurt took Blaine's hand and smiled reassuringly. "Not yet, but they'll come and get me soon. Dr. Ramos said he's strong and healthy. He's gonna need a few days in the NICU to get used to the big bad world, but he's fine."
Blaine nodded. He was still a little loopy from the anesthesia. "I want to see him."
"Dr. Ramos said you could go for a visit in the morning if you rest up tonight. I'll even get to give you a ride in a wheelchair."
Blaine frowned at that but nodded. "I'm tired, Kurt."
"I know," Kurt said. "You can rest. I'm right here."
Blaine shook his head drunkenly. "No. You have to go stay with the baby. He needs us. He needs to know his Papa. I want you to stay with him."
Kurt blinked back tears as he nodded. "Okay. When they say it's oaky to visit him, I'll go down and see him and my dad and Carole can come sit with you, okay? I don't want you to be alone either."
"Okay," Blaine agreed sleepily. "I think I'm going to sleep now."
Kurt brushed a kiss to Blaine's forehead and stood by his side while Blaine fell asleep. He didn't leave until the nurse came to tell him that he could see the baby."
Their baby looked a lot healthier than the other babies in the NICU, Kurt thought as he carefully stroked their son's hand through the small opening in the incubator. The NICU doctor had told him the their son was responding well to the treatments that they were giving him. He was on steroids and was receiving nourishment from a feeding tube. His lungs were healthy, but he was mildly hypoglycemic, using up the sugar before his body could store the fat, which in turn made him more sensitive to the cold. But the doctor reassured him that it wouldn't take long to get him healthy enough to go home with them.
The baby seemed to know who Kurt was, though Kurt couldn't really be sure that it wasn't his imagination. Whenever Kurt touched him, he seemed to gravitate towards Kurt. And as Kurt spoke to him, sometimes even singing to him, the baby seemed to perk up and really be listening.
When visiting hours were up, Kurt reluctantly left the NICU and went to Blaine's room. It was getting late in the evening and he wasn't surprised to see Blaine asleep while Burt watched the sports highlights on ESPN with the sound turned way down.
"How is he?" Burt asked.
Kurt smiled and filled his father in on what he had learned from the NICU doctor. "How about Blaine?"
"He's been sleeping mostly," Burt said. "I sent Carole back to the loft a while ago. Livy was getting cranky so she went to help Rachel out."
"You should go get some sleep, too," Kurt told his father. "I can't be in the NICU overnight, so I'll stay with Blaine. We'll be alright for the night."
Burt nodded and got up from the chair and stretched. Then he pulled his son in for a tight hug. "I know this isn't easy, but I'm so proud of you. You're taking care of your family."
"It's hard, dad," Kurt whispered. "I just want to make everything okay, but I can't."
"They're both going to be fine," Burt said. "And in a few weeks, this will all be a memory. You'll be home and complaining because the baby is keeping you both up all night, just like Livy."
"He's so tiny," Kurt said. "I mean, he bigger than the other babies in the NICU, but he's still so small compared to Livy when she was born. It's hard to imagine he'll ever catch up."
"You just wait," Burt said. "In a few years, he'll be running rings around all of us. In the meantime, you need to get some rest too."
Kurt nodded and pulled away from his father. "I think I could sleep for a week if they let me."
"Carole and I will be back in the morning," Burt promised and then left Kurt to curl up on the reclining chair beside Blaine's bed.
"He's so tiny," Blaine said with awe as he felt their baby wrap his fingers around Blaine's much larger one.
"He'll grow," Kurt said. "The doctor said he's doing really well. He just needs to gain some body fat and we'll be able to take him home in a few days."
"I never thought I'd hear you discussing body fat as a positive thing," Blaine said teasingly without ever letting his eyes stray from their son.
"Only when it comes to this little guy," Kurt said. "Have you come to a final decision on the name? We can't keep calling him baby or little guy forever."
Blaine nodded. "I was going to go with Frederick."
Kurt groaned. They had talked about that possibility, but he didn't really want his son to be a Freddy.
"But, you'll be happy to know I've changed my mind," Blaine said and finally look at Kurt long enough to smirk. "I know you hated that name."
"I wouldn't say hate…" Kurt hedged.
"So I was thinking of Benjamin Charles Hummel," Blaine said. "If you approve."
Kurt smiled. "I definitely approve." Kurt turned toward the incubator and slipped his hand into the other side. "You hear that, Ben? You've finally got a name."
It took almost a week for Ben to gain enough weight and body fat to be released. Blaine had been released after only two days, but he and Kurt still spent almost every minute they could at the hospital. Once Ben was allowed out of the incubator for short periods, they had brought Livy to meet her new brother. She was actually pretty taken with him, despite the fact that he had caused so much disruption in her young life. Kurt was convinced she thought he was a doll and would change her tune once he was home and demanded all of Blaine's attention.
Thankfully, Kurt was proved wrong. Maybe it was because she was older, or maybe it was because Ben was still so tiny when he came home, but she was fiercely protective of her baby brother. She wanted to help feed him and take care of him. She gave dirty looks to anyone who held him that wasn't Blaine or Kurt, including her Auntie Rachel and her Grandpa and Grandma.
A few days after bringing Ben home, Burt and Carole went back to Ohio and Rachel went back to her own life, leaving the new family alone to get used to being a family. It took Blaine longer to really get his full strength back, so Kurt spent more time at home with him than they had originally planned, but he didn't really mind. He had missed so much when Livy was an infant because he was always so busy getting ahead. But now, he had his own line of clothes and could take a little time off to spend with his family. It was a good time.
Two weeks after they brought Ben home, Blaine got a call while Ben was napping. Kurt was busy in the kitchen, showing Livy how to bake cookies, so he didn't pay it much mind until Blaine came out of the music room looking stunned.
"Sweetie, are you okay?" Kurt asked with concern.
"I'm… fine," Blaine said a little vaguely and then a smile slowly lit up his face. "That was Macy Graham. She and her business partner read my musical and they want to produce it. They think… they think it's going to be a hit."
"Oh my god, Blaine!" Kurt exclaimed as he dropped his spoon and went to hug his husband. "I knew you could do it!"
"Yeah, well, it'll take some time," Blaine warned even as he pulled Kurt tighter to him. "They want to do some workshop read-throughs to test out the reception. And then, if that's successful, they'll take it on tour. But eventually, it could actually go to Broadway."
Kurt huffed out a laugh. "Of course it will go to Broadway. You are a genius and the rest of the world will love your work just like I do."
Blaine gave Kurt a quick kiss. "Did you ever think…"
"What?" Kurt prompted.
"I don't think I ever could have imagined our life," Blaine said. "Back when… when you first came to New York without me. I had this fantasy in my head and when life wasn't that easy, I thought… I thought that maybe we wouldn't make it. I thought nothing could be as good as what I had dreamed. But this… this is so much better. You, me, Livy and Ben… our life still isn't easy, but… it's so much better than what I could imagine at17 years old. Do you know what I mean?"
Kurt nodded. "I do. When I didn't get into NYADA, I thought my life was over. But a different path came along and I think it's a better fit for me, now. We have both made mistakes at times, and being parents so young wasn't easy. But I know that what we have is worth getting through the tough times. And I'm so happy with you, and with our life. I love you, Blaine Hummel."
"And I love you Kurt Hummel," Blaine said and gave his husband another quick kiss.
"Papa!" Livy called out sounding miserable. "My tummy hurts."
Kurt pressed his forehead to Blaine's for a brief moment before stepping back and turning to their precocious daughter, only to find that she had eaten half of the cookie dough while Kurt's back was turned. "Oh, Livy! What did I tell you about eating the cookie dough?" Kurt said with a sigh. "I know it tastes good, but it's bad for your tummy. Come on, let's get you some of the pink medicine and you can lay down on the sofa for a little while."
Blaine watched Kurt and Livy for a minute before Ben's cries forced him to turn away. Time to get the little guy up. He and Kurt exchanged smiles as Blaine made his way up the stairs to the nursery. They had made a good life together despite the hard times, and neither would trade these times for anything.