They lay in bed together and deliriously happy. Pregnant. Pregnant. They hadn't planned it in this way. They hadn't planned this at all. But now that it was happening, they couldn't wipe the smile from their faces. They'd worry later. Tonight was about happiness and being together, and celebrating the life their love had created.
The heartbeat surprised them both. There was a baby in there. A real baby, who would be here sooner than they knew. It felt real now; it was no longer this fictional thing, a little blob that was making Fi sick and tired. It had a heartbeat, and with that, a life. It was real.
It took Fiona a week to realize what she was feeling was the baby moving. It felt like indigestion, but came at the oddest times. It still surprised her every time she felt a little movement inside of her. She would rub her belly in response, like a private conversation between her and the baby.
Fiona's stomach just popped out one day. She had barely been showing, but now she felt as big as a house. Everything became more difficult, she felt clumsy, her stomach bumping into everything as she learned to adjust. Time seemed to be speeding up. She wasn't ready. She wasn't sure she would ever be ready.
They finished the nursery with days to spare. The yellow walls looked bright and inviting; Fiona had a a jungle scene painted on the wall opposite the crib. The room was already filled with stuff – outfits, blankets, diapers, books, more than the baby could ever need. Madeline was a big help.
They felt ready now; all they needed was the baby.
The contractions woke Fiona in the middle of the night. She quietly left the room, not wanting to wake Michael. She walked around for hours, cleaning, anything to distract her, as the contractions increased in intensity. She woke up Michael, "It's time." She took a deep breath, knowing their life was about to change forever.
Natalie Westen was born at 11:42 am on December 18, 2013. Her eyes were bright and blue. She had wisps of jet black hair upon her head. She was a perfect combination of Michael and Fiona.
She was more perfect than they could have hoped, more beautiful than they could have imagined. They loved her more than they thought possible.