Four months ago, Kait had found out there was a tiny risk that if she had her baby the old fashioned way it’d kill her. Or the baby. She’d been barely five months along when the doctor found the complication and even if Kait knew she shouldn’t she insisted they try it the old fashioned way; women had been giving birth for thousands of years without drugs and knives and surgeons, she was pretty sure she could do the same. She knew Lucas was worrying, but she was sure she could do it. Or she had been. Lying in the hospital bed with her friends around her, she was tired. The pain coming and going, every beat of her heart closely monitored as well as a whole bunch of other machines hooked to her. She was tired, and honestly, she was scared. The baby inside her, it was the only thing that really mattered in that moment. She wanted her baby girl to survive and have a good life, and so help her, she didn’t want her parents anywhere near her daughter.
Lucas, pacing the length of the room for maybe the fiftieth time, looked pale. He looked worried, he looked dead on his feet and Kait felt so guilty. How could she not? If she had just caved and told them to go ahead and take the baby out some odd ten hours ago then he wouldn’t be looking so tired, and she wouldn’t be feeling like her body was being ripped apart every fourteen minutes. Labour really was a bitch!
Four chairs were pulled up on the one side of her bed; one for Reid, one for Macon, one for Arabella and one or Harper. On the other side, in the bigger and slightly more comfortable chair, was Lucas’ sweater. It had been his chair, the first hour. Before she had started having arrhythmia and the doctor had put her on every monitor they had. She’d told him to calm down and to go call their family. Thankfully, he knew what she meant by family and hadn’t called her mother, father or her sister and brother. She kind of regretted not calling her brother, but she looked at Macon and Reid and felt like her real brothers were right there and all the rest was just bullshit.
“L-Luke, please stop pacing,” she said in a tiny voice, completely unlike her own.
He looked at her, and he looked so much older. A tiny smile tried to make it’s way to his lips, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I’m sorry babe, I’m just-”
“Worried,” Reid finished.
At least one thing had come of this whole thing; Luke and Reid didn’t hate each other anymore. She wasn’t sure they had ever really hated each other, but they were actually starting to get along. And it made her feel better. Safer.
“I know honey, but could you sit down for five minutes? It’s exhausting to see you pace.”
“It kinda is,” Macon agreed and Harper took his hand. Kait looked at the boys in the room, and her heart clenched. They were all so worried. What was she doing? Was she really this selfish?
“Okay, time to go,” a nurse, Patty, said as she came into the room. “The mother to be needs some sleep before all hell breaks loose and with all of you here, she won’t be able to rest.”
“Sure,” they murmured. Reid and Macon pressed a kiss each to her forehead and Lucas quickly pressed one to her lips.
“Don’t worry so much,” she whispered against his lips, and the smile almost reached his eyes that time.
“I love you too much not to worry.”
“We all do,” Arabella agreed. Kait looked up and smiled, a weak smile.
“I have something, before you all go. I know this is going to be hard, and it’s going to be a long day, but before this all- Like Patty said, before all hell breaks loose, I need you all to promise me something?”
All five of them were standing on the left side of her bed, looking like she was about to tell them goodbye.
“What?” Macon finally said.
“If this goes south- No, stop, Luke, listen, just listen would you?” He did, but he started pacing the length of the foot of her bed, looking at her with tears in his eyes.
“If this doesn’t go as I plan, I want you all to promise me something. I don’t doubt you, Luke, I know you’ll be a terrific father. But I need you guys to promise me something,” she said, looking mostly at Macon and Reid. “I-” Her voice broke and she swallowed hard. “I love you, all of you, but you two- you’re my family. If I die-” Reid looked away from her and Kait felt her heart drop. Damn this was hard. “I want you to promise me to take care of my baby girl.”
Lucas stopped short, staring at her. “Girl?”
“I wanted to tell you before, but you made me promise not to.”
“We’re having a girl?” Arabella said, her voice close to tears.
While Macon and Reid came closer, Harper and Arabella hugging in the background, squeaking a little about a baby girl and possible names (Kait knew they did it to take their minds off the situation; she would have done the same thing). Reid and Macon cradled her one hand between their two hands, and she felt unusually small.
“Promise me you won’t let my parents anywhere near her? I don’t want them in her life, and I know Lucas will cave eventually. He’ll want her to know her grandparents and through them, maybe me. But if she’s got you, she’ll have the best parts of me. The three of you, my boys, are the best part of me.” She laughed. “God, I sound like a badly written tv-character. But what I mean is, I want all of you to promise me you’ll take care of her, together. All of you.” Her eyes made their way through the room, and with his hands curled around the pipe that made out the foot of her bed, Lucas nodded.
“I love you, anything you want.”
“Kait, listen to me.”
Kait met Reid’s eyes and smiled. “Don’t go all big brother on me now, Batman. Just humour me. Promise me?”
“Okay. If you promise to not die.”
“I can’t promise you that…”
“I’ll take care of her,” Macon smiled. “And I’ll even promise to slap some sense into him if he refuses too.”
Kait laughed, and nodded. “Thank you. And just remember I love you and I totally wouldn’t be me without the two of you? Okay? I couldn’t have asked for better friends, brothers or godfathers for my baby.”
Having calmed down, in the background, stood Arabella and Harper, quite and still.
“You two, you make sure to take care of them, yeah?” she said, and she saw the tears in their eyes and they nodded. “I’m glad we got the chance to- to-” her voice broke and a slow sob made her gasp for air and close her eyes.
“All right, that’s enough Kaitling, you need to sleep.”
“It’s Kait,” the room said, in unison, and through her tears she laughed.
“I love you guys, just—stick together and be a family. If I don’t make it.”
“No more talk about not making it,” Macon said, his pointed finger meeting the tip of her nose. “I’ll see you after. Sleep tight.” He kissed her forehead and caressed her cheek quickly.
“I better see you on the other side of this,” Reid said, not half as confident as Macon.
She couldn’t tell him she would, could she? So she nodded and felt her throat close up and he kissed the top of her head. Harper and Arabella quickly made their way up to the bed, hugging her and saying something sweet and from the heart. She smiled at them and nodded, she couldn’t promise them anything either.
Last one out was Lucas. He stood there, holding both her hands and looking at her belly. “I can’t lose you.”
“The baby, she looks like and Alison in the sonograms.”
“That’s what you’re telling me right now?” he said, his eyes meeting hers with deep disbelief.
“Yes. It is. I can’t say goodbye to you. Because if I do, I might not fight. And I need to fight. Right? For you, and them, and her. If I say anything other than normal us things right now, it might be a goodbye and then I might not fight and if I don’t fight I might not come back to you and I have to, because you made me the happiest girl on earth and our baby deserves two parents and I need you to not say goodbye to me-” She finally broke away, not really crying but she couldn’t breathe anymore. “I love you. And you need to go home, eat something, take a shower and maybe get some sleep? They’ll call you. I’ll make sure they call when it starts.”
“Okay. Okay. I love you.”
“Now kiss me,” she said, in a slightly amused tone.
He bent down, and the kiss that should have been a goodbye kiss turned into a burning ‘I love you so much’ kiss that made her heart flutter. Which the machine picked up on and made a beep that Patty the nurse laughed at.
“Okay, Romeo, do what your wife tells you. Get outta here kid, she needs her sleep.”
He grinned down at her. “I love you.”
“I love you.”
“And I love our baby,” he added, as Patty was shooing him from her bed, still smiling.
“Sleep tight honey.”
“You too, babe.”
Ten hours later, in the middle of giving birth, Kait blacked out. Lucas was removed from the room and a code was called over the PA system in the hospital. He was in tears when he came into the waiting room, his sister hugging him close as he cried. What if he lost both of them?
Fifteen hours later, Kait woke up because there was a very annoying beeping sound in the background. Her eyelids fluttered open and as they opened, a wave of emotions and memories washed over her, overwhelming her. The beeping became more rapid, and she looked up at a very blurry ceiling – the sound slowing back down. She was figuring out where she was, and what that beeping was. Her heartbeat. She was alive. And the white blurry ceiling wasn’t some ceiling in heaven, or the morgue. She was back in her room. There were soft noises coming from the left side of the room. Her head slowly turned to the left, seeing a baby bassinette that was the hospitals between two chairs. One containing Reid, and the other Macon. Kait was sure she had gone crazy in all of it, when she looked and saw Macon cooing and smiling at the baby in his arms. Macon. Not Reid. Reid looked at her, taking a few steps forward to take her hand.
“Hey,” he said, and Macon got up from his chair too.
“Hey there mom. Look, Ali, it’s your mommy,” he cooed, and Kait smiled in disbelief. What had her world become during the hours she had been out of it?
“How are you feeling?” Reid whispered.
“Tired. Help me sit up?” she said, feeling a little weaker than she should have, she reckoned.
Reid helped her sit up, and as he did she noticed they were alone on their side of the room.
“Did the girls go home?”
“They’re setting up stuff for the baby at your place,” Macon said, kissing the top of Alison’s head and handing the baby to Kait. “She’s gorgeous. I think I’m going to like being an uncle,” she smiled, and then kissed the top of Kait’s head.
“I knew you would,” she smiled at him, and then looked down at the precious little pink bundle in her arms. “Hi Ali, hi.” She bent down, her eyes close, and exhaled soft against the top of her baby’s head. “What did you do with your daddy? Hmm? He should be wrapped around your little finger by now,” she said in a voice ten shades different from her normal one.
“He’s exhausted,” Macon said, pointing to the sleeping Lucas in the chair next to her bed.
“I can see that.” She swallowed hard, looking at Reid and then back to Lucas. “It was bad?”
“It was bad,” Reid confirmed, not having as much as looked at Alison during the entire time Kait had been awake.
“No. You were alive the entire time. You fought like hell.”
She looked down at Alison. “So did she. Look at her, she’s perfect. My baby.”
“I’m still kind of focused on the fact that you’re alive,” Reid confessed, his voice really low.
“I’m sorry I scared you, both of you.”
“What about me?” a voice, tired beyond tired and weak as it was, said from the right side of the room.
“I’m sorry for scaring you too. You were sleeping, I didn’t want to wake you yet.”
“I know,” Luke said, sliding forward in his chair, and taking her hand. He pressed his lips against her it, and held it against his heart. “You had me scared half to death. You can ask just about anyone.”
“It’s true,” the other boys said, in unison.
“She’s got your eyes,” Kait said softly, looking from Ali to Lucas.
“She’s got your everything else,” he replied.
“We’ll leave you two alone,” Macon smiled. “Come on man.”
Reid, unwillingly, got up from his place next to Kait and then looked back down at her. “Don’t ever scare us like that again, okay?”
She nodded. “Promise.”
Lucas took Alison from Kait’s arms, and walked around the bed to put her in the bassinette. “I love you,” he said softly, coming up closer to her. His strong arms moved her, just a little, so he could fit in the bed with her. “The idea of losing you, her, my entire life…”
“I’m fine, honey. I’m fine. I’m tired, a little sore, but I’m fine. And you’re a daddy.” She beamed at him, and he kissed her temple.
“I am. The worlds happiest, because the mommy to his daddy is still alive, so is the little bundle that made him a daddy.”
“You sound hilarious when you talk like that,” Kait laughed, gasping a little as she realized her lower body was twitching with pain. “I need to not laugh yet.”
“You need to sleep.”
“You’ll be here when I wake up?”
“Remind me when I wake up, I need to have a talk with Reid?”
“Sure thing honey.”
“Good.” She leaned against him, sighing happily, and then slid back into sleep.
She’d made it. She was a mom.