A/N: I apologize for taking so long to finish this story. I have no excuses. I hope anyone who is still following can enjoy the end. I do intend to finish Peeta's version as well. Don't give up on me yet.
Lying in our bed, taking a nap, I feel the familiar pool of wetness surround me. In all honesty, I should have predicted this after the cramping I had earlier today. I assumed it was Braxton Hicks contractions but I've been through this before with my last pregnancy. Yes, I definitely should have known better. Throwing the blanket off my legs, I sit up to get out of bed before another contraction hits me, much worse than the last one. "Peeta!" I yell for my husband.
Luckily, it's a Saturday and we're both off work. Peeta has been begging me to take maternity leave sooner. It looks like it doesn't matter now because I'm not going back to work Monday. My handsome baker comes rushing into our room looking like a bat out of hell. "What is it? Is it something wrong with the baby?"
I can't help but laugh at his concern. I don't remember him being this crazy with Atara although that was three years ago. We were best friends at the time but that was the extent of our relationship. So much has happened over the past three years including the birth of our beautiful daughter, the most romantic proposal in the history of proposals, the shortest engagement of a lifetime and a wedding that included me as the bride and Peeta as the groom, something I could have never predicted.
"I think…I think I might be in labor." I manage to choke out between deep breaths.
"Well, we planned for this, right?" He asks running a nervous hand through his wavy hair as he paces back and forth in front of where I set on the edge of the bed.
"About nine months ago when we made this decision." I grit, pointing to my rounded belly. Peeta laughs, shaking his head.
"I'm glad you can joke at a time like this." My husband snaps, clearly exasperated. Helping me out of bed, he takes control of the situation, barking out orders. "Your overnight bag is by the door. Let's get you into the car and I'll grab Atara. I'll also call Jo and Rye on our way to the hospital to meet us there so they can watch her." My best friend and brother in law agreed to watch our daughter while I deliver our new bundle of joy. We would have asked our friends, Finnick and Annie, but she's eight months pregnant with their second child. They already have their hands full. The rest of Peeta's family lives an hour away. My sister is in another state and my Uncle Haymitch who raised me would have been our absolute last resort. It's not that he wasn't a great role model growing up despite his many flaws but chasing after Atara is a full time job sometimes. He does great with her but I wouldn't want to put that responsibility on him.
"I'm going to change first. I'm all wet." I explain shaking out of his grip.
"Change? Honey, we don't have time for that. How far along are your contractions?" He asks sweetly, looking at his watch like it will magically tell him when I had my last contraction.
"Far enough and while we're discussing the plan, let's add stopping for a burger in there. I'm hungry and you know they won't feed me at the hospital. It could still be several hours before we have a baby yet." We decided to be surprised with child number two as well unlike the O'Daire's who have one beautiful boy and another on the way.
"Katniss, I will concede to the clothes but we're not stopping for food. Now, hurry up."
I roll my eyes at his bossiness. "You're no fun."
"I'll show you no fun. Get your ass in gear." He grits.
"Watch your language. There are children here." I admonish, pulling a change of clothes out of our dresser.
"That one can't hear." He points to my stomach, taking his turn at the eye roll. "And Atara is downstairs. Shit! I left her in the living room playing with blocks. Change your clothes. I'll be right back." He demands running out of the room to snatch up our daughter.
Peeta has never been this bossy. I think baby Mellark number two is really stressing him out. True to his word, my husband rushes back to our room with Atara on one hip. I've already changed my pants so he doesn't waste any time wrapping an arm around my waist, guiding me towards the stairs. We stop at the front door so he can toss my overnight bag across his free shoulder before returning his hand to my back and leading me out of the house. He locks the door and gently places me, the baby and my bag in the car.
"You know if you get pulled over, I may end up delivering this baby in prison. Not to mention you have very precious cargo on board." I tease my adorable husband.
"I'm not driving very fast and you wouldn't be the one going to prison." Peeta argues but I see the speedometer slow just a tiny bit. I smirk because he really was only going about five miles over the speed limit.
"Why don't you make yourself useful and make some phone calls?"
"Useful? Is having your baby not use…" I clench my teeth through yet another contraction. "Not useful enough? I think your plan included you making the phone calls if I remember correctly." I joke sneaking a peak at Atara in the car seat behind me by using the rearview mirror. She's engrossed in her tablet playing one of her many learning games.
Peeta chuckles, "It might have been but as you reminded me, I have precious cargo on board and it's dangerous to drive and talk on the phone at the same time."
"Why are you laughing, daddy?" Atara asks from the backseat.
"Your mommy is funny, princess."
"She's a funny mommy." Our little girl giggles before turning her attention back to the device in her hands.
"You may have won this round, Mellark, but I wouldn't be too cocky if I were you." I concede before finding my phone at the bottom of my purse.
"Whatever you say, Mellark."
I quickly call Jo and ask her to meet us at the hospital as soon as possible. Our plan is for Peeta to be in the delivery room with me which isn't possible with a toddler. Jo and Rye will make all the necessary calls to the rest of our family. I also phone the hospital to give them the heads up that we will be arriving shortly. They will contact our doctor to meet us there.
Peeta flies into the drop off loop in front of the emergency entrance to the hospital where there is a nurse waiting for us to arrive with a wheel chair. My husband darts out of his side of the car to help me exit the vehicle. He guides me to the wheelchair where the nurse begins to push me towards the entrance. Peeta follows beside me, completely forgetting about our running car and the young girl inside of it. "Peeta, the car, Atara!"
"Oh, right. I'll meet you inside." He quickly kisses me on the cheek before jogging back to the car.
"We'll be right inside, Mr. Mellark." The kind nurse tells my husband before he shuts the driver's side door behind him.
I'm pushed into the waiting room where I'm handed a clipboard with a bunch of paperwork. The nurses ask about my contractions and how far apart they are while I fill out the documents in front of me the best I can. Peeta rushes into the waiting room looking just as frantic as he did when I told him I was in labor with our daughter on his hip. She's completely oblivious to the chaos surrounding her. "We're about to take her to a room where she'll stay until the contractions are a little closer together and she's dilated to where she needs to be."
The nurse happily tells my husband who nods in agreement. Once I'm settled in my hospital bed and my vitals have been checked, the nurse leaves us alone for the time being. Peeta places Atara next to me where I rest. She looks at me with concern etched on her face. "Mommy, are you sick?" Our daughter doesn't have much experience with hospitals but she definitely remembers her routine check-ups with her pediatrician.
"No, sweetie, mommy is having a baby, remember?" We tried to explain to her that she would have a little brother or sister several months ago but she doesn't quite grasp the concept.
"Oh, yeah, right." Atara must be appeased by this answer because she returns her attention to the tablet in her hand. We do not make a habit of bribing our daughter with electronics although we do allow her time to play her learning games on a regular basis. However, desperate times call for desperate measures.
"How're you doing, Kat? Do you need anything? Ice chips?" I shake my hand. I'm OK for right now. My hand runs through our daughter's dark curls. She is the spitting image of me except for her eyes. She has Peeta's eyes.
"I hope this one looks exactly like you." I tell my husband. He chuckles.
"Well, I hope we have another miniature Katniss although I'm already worried about keeping the boys away from this one." He admits scooping up Atara before taking her seat on my bed.
"Who exactly are you keeping away from our daughter? Little Finnick O'Daire? Or perhaps Hunter Hawthorne? Hunter is a bit older. He might be the bigger threat." I joke.
"Knock, knock." Jo calls as she enters my room followed by Rye. I still can't believe they're together after all these years. I never thought they would last. We all assumed their relationship was a fling but three years later and they're still going strong. Rye still insists he's only temporarily living with Jo until he finds a place of his own here. Of course, he said the same thing three years ago when his boxes first appeared in her apartment and absolutely nothing has changed.
Their voices break my daughter's concentration. "Aunt Jo-Jo!" Atara screams. My former roommate doesn't waste any time picking her up and swinger her around. For someone who always stated she never wanted kids or even liked them for that matter, Joanna Mason is fantastic with my daughter.
"How are you, pumpkin?"
"Mommy is having a baby!" She squeals as Jo spins her around again. The whole thing is making me dizzy.
"What am I? Chopped liver?" Rye asks taking a seat in the chair next to my bed.
"Uh oh, Atara, someone is getting jealous. You better say hi to your Uncle Rye before he starts crying." My little girl giggles at Jo's mocking tone but doesn't hesitate to reach for her uncle.
"Did you guys get a chance to make any phone calls for us?" Peeta asks Jo, taking my hand.
"Yeah, I called Annie to let her know what's going on. I think her and Finnick will be stopping by later and Rye called your parents. I'm guessing they called Wheaton and Beth." She replies poking around the room being nosy.
"What about Prim and Haymitch?" I ask of my sister and uncle.
"Yes, mother, I called them too. Your sister said to call her after the delivery and to take plenty of pictures. Haymitch said he and Effie would be here as soon as they can." My Aunt Effie and I didn't exactly get along when my uncle first started dating her a few years ago but once I gave her a fair chance, I learned she's actually a very nice person despite her colorful nature. The woman does a great job taking care of my uncle and being there for him which couldn't make me happier. He deserves it after taking in my sister and I when our parents died.
Thankfully, it isn't much longer and the nurses are kicking everyone out of the room. My contractions are close enough apart that I'm being moved to labor and delivery. Of course, Peeta gets to accompany me looking handsome in the hospital provided scrubs which isn't an easy feat.
"Are we ready to have a baby?" Dr. Aurelius asks as he checks to see how far I'm dilated. It's annoying how he uses the word we like he's doing any of the heavy lifting. Plus, why even ask the question? What's he going to do if I say no at this point? I bite my tongue and nod in response. "Everything is looking great, Katniss. When I say push, I'm going to need you to push, OK?"
"I remember. This isn't my first rodeo." I manage to joke.
"That's our girl on fire, always ready with a quick come back. I like it." The good doctor says with an easy smile. "OK, it's time to push."
And push I do, squeezing Peeta's hand the entire time. I'll be surprised if he doesn't have any broken bones after this delivery. I think if more women remembered the pain of giving birth, there would a lot more only child homes. Luckily for me, this one is a quick and easy deliver. A few more good pushes and the head and shoulders are clear. My husband smiles down at me when we both hear the wailing baby with a healthy set of lungs.
"Congratulations, mommy and daddy, it's a boy."
"We have a son." Peeta beams.
"We have a son." I echo.
As the father, Peeta gets to cut the umbilical cord. I'm given one quick look at the little boy before the nurses take him away to wash away the blood and swaddle him in a light blue blanket. In the meantime, Dr. Aurelius helps me deliver the placenta and stitches me up. When I'm finally able to hold my baby, I can't help but to feel completely at peace.
"He is beautiful and he looks just like you." I tell my husband honestly. He has the same hair color and the rosy Mellark cheeks. His eyes are blue too. I know all babies have blue eyes but Atara's never did change color. Maybe his will stay the same too.
"At least we won't have to worry about chasing any more boys away." Peeta reassures me holding one of our son's perfect little hands.
"No, but the girls will be lined up down the street especially if he is anything like his father." I am not being arrogant when I say my husband is absolutely gorgeous.
Once, we're cleared, they move us back to my hospital where I'll stay until I'm discharged. Peeta and I already made the decision several months ago that Atara should be the first person to meet the newest Mellark aside from ourselves. Peeta leaves me and the baby to grab her out of the waiting room and to let everyone know that we have one perfectly healthy little boy.
It isn't long before he returns with our daughter in his arms. "Here we are, princess." He whispers to her. "Remember what I said about being gentle with your brother." She nods her head as she absorbs what he is telling her, keeping her eyes on me and the baby the entire time. Peeta places her next to me on the small hospital bed.
"Is that my brudder?" She asks staring at the little baby in my arms.
"Yes, it is, honey." I tell her.
"He is so beaudiful." She declares kissing him gently on the check. It warms my heart to see her interacting with him so carefully. "I love him so much. I'll take good care of him, mommy. I promise."
I have become a hormonal mess and I have absolutely no control over the tears leaking down my face. I catch Peeta wiping away his own tears as we both stare at our two precious blessings. My husband wipes my tears away as he leans down to capture my lips with his mouth. This is first kiss we've shared in what feels like ages and it says everything we can't right now.
"God, I love you so much, Katniss." He whispers to me. "I love our family. Thank you for giving this to me." His words only make me cry even more.
"Thank you, Peeta, for showing me how much I wanted this too. I love you with all of my heart. Well, maybe a third of it." I tease. He smiles and together we watch our daughter explain to our son about the important things in life like her stuffed cat, Buttercup and how vegetables make you grow.