The pregnancy had been relatively easy for Emma, though that didn't stop Killian from worrying about her ever-expanding belly. For the last couple of months — now that she was really beginning to show — he'd attached himself to her much like a shadow, never leaving her alone for more than half an hour, and generally only doing so when he had to run errands. He'd even gotten her father to take over as sheriff again.
Though he and Charming didn't see eye to eye on a whole lot, they could both generally agree on things when it came to Emma's health and well-being; so his father-in-law had, quite enthusiastically, taken over her post as town protector.
Emma was now a week away from her expected due date, and her emotions were working over time. Two mornings ago — when she couldn't retrieve her coffee mug from one of the top shelves in the cabinet because her enlarged abdomen wouldn't allow her to lean far enough over the counter — she'd burst into tears. Killian had exploded from of their bedroom in a frantic sprint, his socks unable to find traction on the smooth wood.
After his heart rate had returned to normal (and he'd checked every visible appendage for bruises or scrapes — despite Emma reassuring him that she was fine) he gently plucked the ceramic mug from the shelf and poured the decaf coffee — "Caffeine is bad for the baby, Emma!" — into it, the dark liquid swirling around enticingly.
Now they were getting ready for bed, Killian putting Henry to sleep with one of his countless stories from his time in Neverland — which Henry still loved despite being nearly sixteen years old — and Emma brushing her teeth. Every once in a while he'd hear Emma using the lamaze breathing techniques to work through a minor contraction. Apparently it was "perfectly normal" for this to happen leading up to labor — or so Whale had told him when he'd rushed Emma to the hospital three days ago when it had first started.
"Then what?!" Henry asked animatedly, wonder and intrigue lighting behind his eyes.
Killian lifted his hand up to illustrate his next point. "Well, lad, I knew that the pixies really had it in for me this time, so I—"
"Killian…" Emma interrupted him from down the hall. It wasn't loud, but his ears were now attuned to the pitch of her voice, and it caught his attention. "Killian…" This time louder and with a little more force.
"Emma?" He waited for her to call back to him. "Love, is everything alright?" When she didn't immediately answer, he pushed himself off Henry's bed and strode down the hallway at a quickened pace. "Emma, what's—"
"Killian." Her hand was protectively cupping her stomach and a pool of water dampened the floor around her feet. "It's time."
For a split second, Killian actually thought he might faint. Then the routine they'd rehearsed so many times took over his actions, and he was reaching for the pre-packed suitcase before his brain even had time to fully process what was happening.
"Henry!" he called down the hallway forcefully, but not unkindly. The boy skidded into the room a couple seconds later, pajama pants haphazardly tucked into unlaced boots and a jacket worked over one of his arms. "Be a good lad and help your mum to the car."
"Oh-okay," he stuttered out, finding his composure a moment later. "C'mon, Mom."
As Emma was being escorted over the threshold of the front door to the house, Killian gathered up the last of the things they would need for the time at the hospital. Then, because he knew Emma would have his head if he forgot to do it, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed the second number on his speed dial.
"Charming?" There was some muffled grumbling as the man on the other end of the line shuffled the phone around in his hands. "Yeah, I know it's late—" And then he got it. "Yes. Her water just broke." Killian squeezed the phone between his ear and his shoulder as he locked the front door, suitcase swinging back and forth as it dangled from the hook at the end of his left arm. "We're getting in the car right now." He wrenched open the door to the beaten up yellow bug, tossing the suitcase in the back with Henry before he slid into the driver's seat. "Yes, you can talk to Emma." Killian transferred the phone back to his hand and offered it to his wife — whose face was presently twisting up in discomfort.
"Yeahhh, hi, Dad. You and Mom should probably head to the hospital soon." She pushed quick breaths out through pursed lips as her father asked some question. "Yes, I'm—" she winced, squeezing her eyes shut tightly until the contraction passed "—fine. I'm just, y'know, in labor." Killian heard a hearty chuckle come from the receiver. "Okay, we'll see you there." She disconnected the call and threw the mobile phone over her shoulder, Henry somehow managing to catch it and shove it in his coat pocket.
Emma clenched her teeth together and moaned in pain. "Hang on, love. We're almost there." He could tell from the band of sweat covering her brow that the contractions were becoming more intense.
"Yeah, Mom. Just remember to breathe," Henry offered cheerfully.
"I am breathing," she nearly growled back.
Just as Killian yanked on the parking break Emma let out an agonized cry, doubling over in the seat as the muscles in her lower belly clenched mercilessly. Killian sprang out of the car and called over to a nurse who was pushing a wheel chair back through the automated doors.
"Oi! Need a little help." He nearly tripped as he scurried around the front of the car to Emma's door, flinging it open and kneeling down to her level. Seeing her in such pain was almost unbearable for him, and knowing there was nothing he could do to help her made it even worse. "Emma. Emma, love, we need to get you in this wheel chair."
The nurse edged closer until she and the chair were no more than three steps from Emma's present location. When the contraction passed he guided Emma's arm over his shoulder and helped transfer her to the wheel chair. In between steadying breaths she kept reassuring him that she was fine, that this was all normal. Though he believed her, his stomach was still twisting in nervous knots and he felt like he could pass out at any given time.
Everything from that point on happened so quickly. First they wheeled Emma into an examination room and forced him and Henry to wait outside while a nurse checked to see how dilated she was. Then Snow and Charming had shown up, and not even two minutes later a physician was pulling Killian aside and telling him that Emma was in full-out labor. Then a nurse handed him a pair of blue scrubs and told him to put them on and meet them in Delivery Room 3. And now… now Emma's clammy palm was crushing his own; her eyes were clamped shut and a determined yell was emanating from her throat.
"C'mon, Emma," Whale encouraged. "I need you to give me one more. Just one more good one. I know you've got it in you."
"You can do it, love," Killian reassured, disentangling his fingers from her own so that he could run his thumb over her forehead.
"I can't," she sighed defeatedly, breathing quick as she swallowed back the pain. "Killian, it hurts so much."
"Just one more." He pressed a kiss to her forehead softly. "Then you can rest."
"Now, Emma," Whale ordered. "Push."
Emma's labored, low pitched cry was then matched by another, and Killian snapped his head in the direction of the new sound. "It's a girl!" Whale offered up excitedly.
A tiny, bright pink body entered his field of vision, and the doctor worked quickly to clip the umbilical cord, handing the infant off to the nurse for cleaning and swaddling.
An open mouthed grin had managed to stretch itself across Killian's face, and he shifted his eyes back to meet Emma's. "You did it." He pressed another kiss to her forehead before capturing her lips with his own.
"We did it," she corrected, a tired smile working its way over her features. He kissed her again, in that moment feeling more sure of his love for his woman than ever before.
Then, "Killian, would you like to say hello to your daughter?" Whale called over to him from across the room. Emma rolled her head to the side in approval, sterilized sheets crinkling on the poor excuse for a pillow beneath her hair. He gently kissed her brow once more — smiling warmly at the amazing woman who had just given him a baby girl — before walking over to the heated table where a pink bundle of blankets squirmed around noisily.
Whale worked his hands under her tiny form and lifted, presenting her to Killian delicately. "Cradle your arms," he instructed.
Killian did as he was told. He'd never actually held a newborn before, and the terrifying thought of dropping her entered into his mind. "Wait—" he protested. "I— I have no idea what I'm doing."
"None of us ever do," Whale grinned back at him. The doctor gently placed the tightly swaddled infant into Killian's shaking arms, taking special care to make sure her head was supported by the crook of his elbow before stepping back to give them room.
For several breaths all Killian could do was stare at the impossibly fragile body; he was too scared to move for fear that he would break her. Then, in a shaky voice, "Hey, beautiful." He'd never seen anything more perfect. She had a head of dark hair and her bright pink tongue was darting in and out of her smooth lips.
"Killian, I wanna see her," Emma breathed out. The prospect of crossing the distance to the bed made Killian's stomach churn, but he would have brought her the moon if Emma had asked.
He placed each foot carefully as he made his way to her side, and Emma pushed herself up a little straighter and readied her arms, an expression straddling the line between crying and laughing taking over her features. Killian transferred the mound of blankets into her arms and pressed his lips to her temple, closing his eyes smiling against the soft skin.
"So," Whale cleared his throat, "does she have a name?"
Killian strode through the delivery room doors lazily, a smile still on his face as he walked over to the waiting area where everyone was sitting. Just as he came into view, Snow sprang out of her seat.
"Well?!" she practically screamed. Charming rose after her and placed a steadying hand on his wife's shoulder.
"Seven pounds, eleven ounces, twenty inches long," he drawled, milking the moment for all it was worth.
"Is it a boy? Do I have a brother?" Henry blurted out.
"I'm afraid not, lad." Killian winked at him. "Looks like you're gonna have to put up with a sister."
An excited, high-pitched yelp came out of Snow, quickly followed by, "What's her name?" as she rushed over and wrapped Killian in a crushing hug.
"Wendy Elizabeth," he grinned, close to tears from the sheer joy he was experiencing. "Wendy Elizabeth Jones."