Present Day – December 21, 2010
I was caught. As Pam ran towards me I bent down to scoop her up, hugging her to me.
“Hey Angel! Were you good for momma and Gran today?” I press a kiss to Pam’s head and begin walking towards the deck where Sookie was struggling to get up from a lounge chair.
My mom held out her hand and pulled her up, both of them breathing a little heavier afterwards.
“Yea daddy! We hab bun!” Pam’s tiny hands clapped in excitement as she bounced on my hip. I can’t quite believe how time has flown by so quickly. I was watching my little angel talk animatedly about her day and I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face. She looked so much like my Sookie when she was excited. Her eyes had the same sparkle.
“You had fun?! Wow! What’d you do?”
I looked up to search out the original owner of said sparkle and caught a frantic look between Sookie and my mom. Pam pursed her lips together.
“No tew. Secwet.” She declared with her hands on her tiny hips. She looked over to Mom and Sookie who were now holding back laughter.
I furrowed my brow and nuzzled into her neck, tickling her with the slight stubble there.
“A secret? That’s not very nice Love Bug.” I squeezed her tight and she giggled.
Sookie laughed, breaking my attention away from our daughter. “Oh would you come kiss me already? You have more than one girl to appease here.”
Laughing I crossed the small space between us and pulled her into my arms. I slanted my mouth against hers and flicked my tongue out against the seam of her lips. I moaned in contentment. I loved kissing her after a long day of work-or first thing in the morning-or cooking dinner; hell I just love kissing her! Every time our lips met I was reminded of how passionate our love is. I got lost in the kiss and didn’t notice how long had passed until I felt a weight being lifted from my side.
“You guys say hi. We’ll be inside,” my mom smiled and hefted Pam onto her own hip before retreating through the sliding glass door.
I smiled and turned back to my extremely pregnant wife. I leaned over her belly and cupped her face in my hands, laying small kisses all over her. Her tinkling giggle was a welcome sound and I reveled in that serene moment. God I love this woman!
“So, love-what did y’all do today?”
She laughed heartily. “Y’all? Since when do you-Mr. European extraordinaire-start saying y’all?”
“I dunno. It felt right.” I sat back down on the lounge chair and pulled her to stand between my legs, resting my head on the bump. I got a healthy kick and then I felt her stomach tighten.
I looked up and saw her face screwed up in a grimace. I started rubbing soothing circles around her stomach and placing kisses between my questions.
“You’re contracting? How long?”
I was worried. After the fiasco with Pam’s three day long birth, I was dreading this ones entrance. I tried to soothe my anxiety with the fact that he wasn’t due until January 27. But it wasn’t working out too well.
“It’s just Braxton hicks. Don’t worry about it. Come on inside. We made you a surprise today,” Sookie’s mischievous smirk caused me to raise my eyebrow.
Seriously-everyone was acting squirrelly.
I got up off the chair and stole one more lingering kiss before I hugged her tight to me. I was worried, but I was trying not to bring her mood down. She gripped my hand and towed me towards the door. She paused just before walking inside.
“Now, Pam’s probably got it all set up in there. So close your eyes,” her smirk made me wary.
Reluctantly I shut my eyes and let her lead me blindly. I stumbled over the threshold of the siding glass door and jumped a bit to relieve the ache in my toe. I heard rustling and twitched my eyebrow up. I heard little feet running to me and I didn’t stop the happy smirk from stretching across my face.
“Otay daddy!” She yelled excitedly as she grabbed at me.
Pam’s tiny hand gripped the hand that wasn’t encased with Sookie’s and I picked her up before opening my eyes.
I jumped a little as people popped out from behind furniture and walls. Then the amusement grabbed me and I laughed as I nuzzled my nose into Pam’s hair. I was caught a little off guard, but happy to see everyone.
“What’s this, Love Bug?”
She giggled and looked to Sookie, who nodded in encouragement. “Dis your baby sower.”
Her tone suggested that I must be pretty stupid for not figuring that out. I laughed and kissed her temple and pulled Sookie closer to us for a hug.
“MY baby shower? But I though baby showers were for mommies,” I shot a glance at Sookie. Pam giggled again as I looked around at the assembled masses.
Mom and Dad were there, hugging each other. Dad had a smug look on his face and Mom looked like she was about to burst into tears. I nodded at them before my eyes swept farther into the room. Preston and Lafayette were bustling about, putting out food. I caught Preston’s eye and gave him my best stink eye. He just laughed and shrugged his shoulders. Jason and Pam were there, making eyes at the same girl. I snorted trying to hold back the laughter. Those two were seriously a riot when they were together. There were other friends Sookie and I had managed to pick up along the way, as well as Preston and Lafayette’s daughter Amelia, who I assumed was there to keep my baby company.
“Apparently it wasn’t fair that I got a baby shower for her. Now that the bean here is a boy, you deserve one too,” Sookie’s smirk threatened to break into a full blown smile before her face contorted into a pained wince once again.
As I started to go to her, she shook her head quickly. “I’m fine. Pam was really excited to surprise you. Go talk to people.” I walked to her and kissed her temple in spite of her brush off. I gave her a lingering look, but as she waved her hands to shoo me away I had no choice but to give in.
Reluctant to leave her, I clutched Pam to me tighter and made my rounds. It turns out that this whole thing had been my Love Bug’s idea and she’d pulled off most of it without Sookie knowing. She’s got my parents wrapped around her little tiny fingers and they’d helped her with the majority of it. Thankfully. I didn’t really want Sookie putting any more stress on herself.
Despite the ease of Sookie’s first pregnancy, this one was proving to be more of a challenge. The pregnancy itself was miserable what with the constant Braxton Hicks, the pressure on her sciatic nerve, the nausea that never really went away…and put all that on top of running after a toddler and Sookie was supremely miserable. And I was worried about her. Although I think my hovering and doting started to wear on her nerves around month 4.
Dad snagged my keys to retrieve the frozen meals he’d helped me stash in the trunk and left me in the more then overbearing hands of my mother and sister.
“Hun? Im kinda worried about Sookie,” Mom’s tone conveyed more than worry, so I handed my Love Bug over to my sister and turned to face her.
“What’s up mom?”
“Well, she tried to play it off, but she’s been contracting all day. And it seemed to get progressively worse. I snuck off and called Dr. Hunter around lunchtime, but there’s not really anything she can do unless Sookie calls,” she caught her lip between her teeth and nibbled.
“Why wouldn’t Sookie call? She did last week when she kept contracting. Dr. Hunter said it was only more important since she already started to dilate!” Now I was chewing on my lip. These damn women were rubbing off on me.
“She didn’t want to ruin this for you,” I opened my mouth to protest. “Or Pam! Heaven forbid she mess it up for that girl.”
I gave an affectionate sigh and rubbed my hand down my face. That woman would be the death of me.
“Alright well can you just-keep an eye on her for me?”
Mom nodded and I began circulating among the guests again, snagging my daughter back in the process.
Twenty minutes and lots of socializing later, we were called to order to play some games.
Mom gathered up all the men, Lafayette protesting loudly, to play the first game. She handed each of us a doll which I’m fairly certain would make their way into Pam’s toy collection after tonight. Then she went on to explain about how to diaper a baby with cloth prefolds and got out the stopwatch. The objective was to diaper the baby the fastest. There were some obstacles along the way, including safety pins that were glued closed, prefolds that ripped if you tugged them, and a few other things. It was clear that even if we’d used disposable diapers most of the men would have been perplexed. I was just as well when Lafayette succeeded in tying his diaper on in what appeared to be a completely fashionable way and won the prize.
The ensuing laughter was a welcome sound. I looked around for Pam, happy to see she and Amelia had snagged a couple dolls and were playing in the hallway. I glanced around for Sookie, but couldn’t seem to find her. I asked Mom and Jason if they had seen her, but they both shook their heads. Dad piped up to note that she was probably resting. Reluctantly I agreed to leave her alone to get whatever rest she could manage, but that didn’t temper the alarm I felt at not seeing her.
My panic was momentarily distracted by the demand for some wii bowling and we started sorting out teams.
An hour later, I realized that Sookie’d been MIA for quite awhile and I excused myself to go find her. I checked the kitchen, expecting to find her snacking away, but she wasn’t. I checked the hall bathroom and the den, my sense of urgency magnifying with every room she wasn’t in. Visions of her face down in a pool of blood sprang in front of my eyes, only made more horrifying because she was pregnant. I swallowed down my anxiety and kept up my methodical search.
I popped my head into our bedroom and caught some slight noises coming from the bathroom.
“Baby? You in here? Everyone’s getting rowdy and-” my words were cut off by a high pitched whine.
Crossing the room swiftly, I threw the door open and my eyes shot wide open.
She looked up at me with tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry! I-” she paused and grit her teeth, panting through another contraction. “I thought I had more time. Then I fell and I couldn’t get back up. I tried shouting, but with all the noise…”
I dropped to my knees and felt the panic bubble up in my stomach. I felt out of control and worried was a mild emotion compared to what I felt. I looked at her, waiting for some instruction because-lets face it-I was completely out of my element.
She panted through another contraction and I began to panic even more. I grabbed her hand in mine and pressed a kiss on it.
“Shit! Let me go tell someone. Hold on!”
I darted back to the living room and pulled my mom aside to explain. Not waiting for anything other than a nod of acknowledgment, I raced back to my wife.
“Shit! Sookie, I don’t know what to do here! Lets try to get you in the car,” I threw my arm carefully around her shoulder and tried to hoist her to her feet. Her knees buckled immediately and it was all I could do to keep her from crumpling back to the ground.
She laid back down on the rug and shut her eyes. Turning to the side, she pressed her cheek to the cold tile underneath her panting as she tried to regulate her breathing. I tried in vain to remember what we did at Pam’s birth, but my head was so scrambled that nothing was making sense.
My panic was rapidly increasing. She couldn’t have the baby here! I don’t know what to do, what if something happens, she wanted pain medication, she wanted-
“Fuck! Eric I have to push!” She gripped her legs and pulled them back, her bathing suit bottom already having been discarded sometime before I came in.
“Sookie, no! I don’t know what to do! Can’t you just-wait?”
The withering glare she shot in my direction would have terrified the strongest man alive. “You have to Eric. I-I-FUCK!”
Her teeth ground together as she began pushing, pulling her upper body up off the floor.
I sat helplessly between her legs, waiting for something to happen or for me to wake up from this nightmare. I prayed to every deity I could think of that they would be okay-that my wife and son would make it through this. We never talked about the possibility of not making it to the hospital in time. It wasn’t supposed to go this way! Shit! Fuck, I can totally see a head!
She panted as she stopped pushing. “Get—towels.”
Gladly I compiled and grabbed some of our huge bath towels from the linen closet before returning to Sookie. Thankfully, the panic had receded. Like it or not our son wanted out. Now. All I could do was position myself between her legs and get ready to catch.
Ten pushes later and his slimy, squirming body slid out wailing away. I was speechless. He was so gorgeous. I had a son.
Sookie collapsed back onto the floor and began crying.
I stared at the bloody, gooey little boy in my hands just frozen in awe. She did it. Again.
“Eric-” Sookie’s weak voice broke through the fog in my brain and I immediately sprang into action, placing the baby gently on her chest and draping a towel over the two of them.
I settled next to them on the bathroom floor and pulled my phone out, quickly snapping a picture before dialing.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“My wife just gave birth on our bathroom floor and I’m not quite sure what to do now,” I explained tiredly.
After following the dispatchers instructions for delivering the placenta, noting the time of birth, clamping off and cutting the cord and observing if there was any tearing (there wasn’t thank fuck!), we sat back to wait for the paramedics to arrive.
“So-I think this ones gonna give us a run for the money huh? Impatient little fucker,” Sookie’s ragged breathing skipped as she chuckled.
I settled back against the tub and shifted her so that she was laying back against me, cradling the baby in her arms as he nursed.
“Did you seriously just call our newborn son a little fucker?” I couldn’t help the bubble of hysterical laughter that erupted out of me.
“Yes. Yes I did. And after that-” she motioned haphazardly towards the bathroom floor, still covered in blood and bodily fluids, “I think I deserve to call him whatever I want. At least for now.”
“Very true, love. Very true,” I paused to kiss the top of her head. “I can’t believe we have a son. And I seriously can’t believe I delivered him on our bathroom floor!”
“Yeah, that hasn’t quite sunk in either. I never thought I’d do that without an epidural. And I can honestly say that I never want to again. Ever. You’ll be lucky to squeeze another kid out of me after that,” Sookie’s irritated huff had me stifling a huge grin. I seriously didn’t want to be on the receiving end of whatever hormone surges were likely to occur soon.
“That’s fine love. I’ll even get snipped for you if you want.”
We settled back into a comfortable silence until we heard a quiet knock on the bedroom door.
“Eric? The paramedics are here,” Mom’s voice filtered in and I carefully stood, shifting Sookie as little as possible to go open the door.
“Alright m’am, what seems to be the trouble here?” A young paramedic crouched down in front of Sookie as he began taking her vital signs.
Sookie rolled her eyes at his cheek. “Dude. You’re like five years older than me. Don’t m’am me.”
The two paramedics that were crowded into our bathroom let out hearty laughs, startling the baby and making him wail.
With quick and practiced movements, we got Sookie and the baby up and into the ambulance, her bitching the entire way. I pressed a quick kiss to Pam’s head and followed after in my car, making sure to grab the carseat on my way out the door.
After a quick trip to the hospital to get Sookie and the baby cleaned up and the necessary statistics recorded, we fled like our collective asses were on fire.
Apparently Sookie didn’t think staying in the hospital was a necessity since she’d already done the hard part. It did take some convincing on the doctors part, but after promising what seemed like a million times to call if we had any problems, we were finally free to go.
Walking into the house, seeing the party guests still assembled was a bit overwhelming. Everyone was surprised to see us home, expecting just a phone call with an update on how Sookie and the baby were doing. My parents and sister rushed to us, gathering around Sookie and the baby.
“Thanks for staying everyone. Apparently the guest of honor decided he’d had enough incubating. Let me introduce-” I pulled Sookie away from my family and nestled her into my side. “Heath Lukas Northman.”
“Love Bug, come meet your baby brother,” I took the baby from Sookie, who hobbled away to sink onto the couch next to Jason, who she leaned against immediately. I crouched down to Pam’s level and held Heath up to her.
She wrinkled her nose as she looked him over.
And with that proclamation, Heath screwed up his face and began bawling.
I laughed as I crossed the living room to hand him over to Sookie.
She nestled down into the couch as the party guests filed out slowly, giving us their congratulations on the way. I nearly had to shove the family out with promises to call the next day. Now that the excitement had died down, I was able to think about what I’d done. How lucky I was to be able to help bring my little boy into the world.
I gathered Pam in my arms before settling down next to Sookie on the couch, watching as Heath drifted into his milk coma.
I pressed a kiss to Sookie’s head, then one to Pam’s and finally one to Heath’s.
“Are you happy, love?” Sookie’s eyes twitched to mine as she spoke.
I looked my beautiful wife, the love of my life, the mother of my beautiful children and sighed.
“I can’t imagine being happier.”