I have other pictures with Damien Brunner but chose these to share. They say you don’t choose your favorite player, they choose you. That is what happened with Damien and I. He had just got signed to the Devils and it was only the first month of the season when during warm ups he skated over to me and tried to get me to high five him from the other side of the glass and I had no idea what he was doing at first until I saw him word the words high five but by then it was too late and he skated away.
It took me months to actually meet him in person but I had little moments here and there with him during warm ups. I made a good luck in Sochi sign for him the game before Olympic break and he checked himself into the boards in front of me. I aways took pictures of him and he knew it. He would later call me out on it next season.
I got to take pictures with him at two different season ticket holder events his first season with the Devils. The first one I told him I needed 12 pictures with him and he actually let me take a few. I had him sign a picture that was taken of him trying to high five me (pictured above) and he actually knew what it was. He put his hand up and I finally got the high five. The next time I took the high five picture, one of my favorites.
Last season at the season ticket holder BBQ he asked me how many pictures of him I took during the warm ups during the first preseason game. He felt comfortable enough with me to tease me and I thought I was pretty special to have that with my favorite player.
When he left to play in Switzerland I was devastated but the Devils (mainly Pete Deboer) wasn’t treating him right so I was happy he was going somewhere that he’d be appreciated. I miss him like crazy. I know I’ll never have a bond with any other player like I had with Damien Brunner.
You walk slowly from the kitchen to the table, holding your large stomach as you walk. You take a breath as you sit down, gripping the side of the table.
Being nine months pregnant definitely isn’t all it’s made out to be. Painful, annoying, tough. But worth it knowing that soon, you’d have a beautiful baby girl in your arms.
“Where are you?” You mutter to yourself, looking at your phone, sighing at the blank screen.
Your husband was supposed to be home hours ago, but something had happened with the plane, and now he wasn’t home.
Your pulled from your thoughts as a sharp pain tears through your stomach, causing you to lean over the table. Gritting your teeth, your fingers turning white from holding the edge of the table so hard.
As the pain ceases, you sit back up, taking a deep breath. Suddenly, the pain is back, and you’re doubled over again.
As the pain goes again, your eyes widen when you look at the floor. A wet spot is spreading across the carpet, making a dark stain in the plush material.
“Oh crap.” You moan, standing up slowly.
As quickly as you can manage, you grab your phone. You wobble over to grab your shoes, when another pain tears through you, worse this time.
“Ah!” You scream, grabbing for the wall.
You whip open your phone, and dial 911.
“911, what’s your emergency?” An operator asks, nice and calm.
“My water just broke! I’m having a baby!” You yell, gritting your teeth again.
“Alright, ma'am. Calm down.” The operator says. “Give me your address, and I’ll have medics there as soon as possible.”
You quickly give your address, and sit on the floor, curled into a ball.
A few minutes later, you hear sirens.
“In here!” You yell as the medics knock on the door.
“Alright ma'am, my name is Emily. My partner and I are going to take are of you, okay?” The woman says, kneeling down next to you.
You nod, your lips pressed tightly together.
“Em, she’s crowning!” The other medic says, bending down near you.
“Crap…alright hun. We’re going to have to do this here.” Emily says, holding your hand.
“What?! Can’t we make it to the hospital!?” You yelp, looking up at her, panicking.
“Afraid not!” Emily says, looking down at her partner.
Damien isn’t here…he’s going to miss this…
“Alright, hun. Your baby’s coming!” The other medic says, looking up at you.
Suddenly, a car pulls up outside.
“What the-” A voice yells, as the car door slams shut.
Footsteps race inside, skidding to a halt by the door.
“Anna!” Damien yells, rushing over to you. “Anna, are you okay?!"
He kneels down, pushing your hair off your red and clammy forehead.
"Damien-” You’re cut off by another contraction, screaming.
“Sir, who are you?” Emily asks, looking over at him.
“I’m her husband.” Damien says, his hand tangled in your hair.
One last shot of pain ends quickly, and your screams are followed by the sound of crying.
"She’s perfect!” Emily says, grabbing a towel out of her bag.
The other medic quickly takes care of your daughter, then hands her off to you.
You cradle her in your arms, pressing her against your chest tightly.
“She’s beautiful.” Damien says, smiling down at his little girl.
You can’t stop smiling, your eyes watering.
“What are you going to name her?” Emily asks, packing up some of the equipment.
“Katrina.” Damien says, smiling at Emily.
“Very nice.” She says, standing up. “Alright, we need to get you to the hospital, sweetie. Just to make sure everything is okay."
"Come on, Anna.” Damien says, helping you stand up.
You walk slowly to the ambulance, Damien’s arm wrapped around your shoulder.
As you settle inside, Damien takes a seat next to you, still smiling at his daughter.
“Want to hold her?” You ask, looking up at him as the ambulance takes off.
“Can I?” He asks, looking surprised.
You nod, handing Katrina off to her dad. Damien takes her carefully, holding her protectively against him.
“She’s beautiful.” He says, quietly. “Just like her mama."
You smile up at him, then close your eyes, relaxing the ride for now.
You panic as you realize your due date, March 14, is right in the middle of a three game road trip for the NJ Devils. The thought of your boyfriend Damien missing the birth of his daughter made you feel sick, but you didn’t want to ask him to miss a game just for you. After all, due dates are not always accurate and she could be born at a perfectly convenient time when Damien was home and not playing. Before he left for their first game in Philly he kissed you good bye. “Are you sure you’ll be okay?” He asks, holding your face gently in his hands. “Yes, don’t worry about me,” You say and try to force a smile, but you could tell he knew you were really anxious.
That night you watched his game with some of the other Devils’ wags. All of them who had kids told you their stories about husbands/boyfriends rushing home for the birth of their children. This didn’t make you feel better, so they tried to cheer you up. “Y/N, it’s hard, but you’ll get through it. When Max was born I thought Marty was going to miss it, but he made it in the end,” Martin Brodeur’s wife Genevieve said. “It’s one of the downsides of having a baby during the season,” she added with a smile. You shrug and try to relax a little and watch the game, but you can’t get your mind off it. Over the next two days you call Damien and text constantly, but you still feel so alone.
You twitch at every bump and kick, praying that’s she’ll wait a few more days until her daddy will be home. As the Devils game against the Panthers starts you look for Damien on the ice, but you don’t see him. ‘He didn’t get hurt, did he?’ You think and start to get worried. You start to text one of the wags to see if they know why he’s not there, when the door to your apartment open. You freeze, thinking there was intruder, and your heart starts to race. You grab a lamp, the closest thing you can find to a weapon, and carefully walk down the hall.
“Whoa, hun it’s just me,” Damien says and holds his hands up. “Damien!” You drop the lamp and run toward him. He wraps his arms around you tightly and you start crying, burying your face in his chest. “My coach let me miss the game. Sorry I surprised you… did your water break?” He asks sounding very worried. “No, I don’t think so,” you turn around and see a wet spot on the carpet next to the lamp you dropped. “Oh my God…” you whisper, suddenly realizing your legs are all wet. “You scared me so much my water broke!” You say and playfully hit him. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,” he frantically rushes around the apartment and comes back with a bag. “I got your overnight bag, we can call my parents once we get there, do we need anything else?” He asks and you shake your head. “I have no idea; I can’t believe this is happening!”
He rushes you to the hospital and you are escorted into a room. After changing into a hospital gown the doctor comes in to see how far you’ve dilated. “Only four cm, miss Y/L/N. It might be a few more hours,” the doctor says and then leaves the two of you alone. “I don’t know if I can take a few more hours of this,” you complain after another contraction. “Do you want me to get the nurse to give you some medicine?” Damien jumps up to get the nurse but you stop him. “No, I want to do this naturally. But you need to distract me. Talk to me, about anything,” you close your eyes and focus on your breathing as Damien babbles about hockey stats, the weather, the plot of some movie he saw last week- anything to keep your mind off of the pain.
Four hours later, you finally reach 10 cm. After another hour of pushing your beautiful baby daughter is born. “She’s perfectly healthy. Does she have a name?” The nurse says as he hands the baby to you. You look up at Damien and smile through tears. “Yes, we have a name: Emily.” You hand her to Damien and he smiles down at her. “I’m so happy you were able to miss that game; I couldn’t have done this without you,” you say. “Y/N, it’s just one game, they can do without me,” he smiles, despite the fact that the Devils had lost 3-5 against the Panthers. “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”
“Oh that’s not good… That’s so not good!” You panicked when you saw the 3 positive pregnancy tests sitting on you bathroom counter.
For a week you had been feeling sick, but you kept brushing it off as just the flew since it was mid flu season. It was your best friend Kalie who actually had convinced you to take the tests. Now staring back at you was one of your worst nightmares.
“(Y/N) How did it go?” Kalie peaked into your bathroom and saw your face. “Oh…”
She opened the door and came in. She leaned against it. “Listen, babe. No matter what I am here. You can totally do this.”
You shook your head. When you were only 6 months old your mother had walked out on you. Leaving you to be raised with and alcoholic, abusive father. For this reason you struggled with being nurturing. You couldn’t imagine yourself having a baby. Especially while not married and at 23.
“What about Damien?” You whispered.
Unfortunately, a baby was not just a big change for you, but a big one for your hockey playing boyfriend, Damien Brunner, as well.
“He doesn’t have much of a choice, (Y/Nick/N).”
You shook from the anticipation. Quickly you fell to your knees and threw up in the toilet. Kalie pulled back your hair. “Hun, he isn’t going to be angry. Just surprised.”
You wiped our lips and rinsed your mouth. “He’ll be home tonight…” You said hoarsely. Kalie rubbed circles on your back as you leaned over the counter.
“It’s the best thing to do.” You nodded and threw away the tests.
A few hours later Damien came home from a win against the San Jose Sharks. He was smiling big when he walked in the door.
“Did you watch?” He asked.
You smiled and gave him a kiss. “I did. I saw that beautiful assist to Salvador too.”
Damien smirked and kissed you a little deeper. You pulled away awkwardly. Usually you guys would “celebrate” after a good nights win, (Especially when he is leaving the next day) but tonight you needed to talk.
“Actually… I have something else to do… It will probably ruin the mood…”
Damien looked confused and worried. “Oh…”
You swallowed your fear. “Damien… I’m pregnant.”
You watched his face go from shock, to confusion, then (your least favorite) to anger.
“What the fuck, (Y/N)! You said you are on the pill!”
You started to cry as soon as his voice raised. “I am! I promise I am!”
He stepped away from you, seething. “This is why I shouldn’t be fucking around with girls like you! You just want to get knocked up so I stick around. Is that it? You want to stay around for money, fame and sex?”
You sobbed harder. “No! Damien I love you!” You yelled back.
He shook his head. “Whatever, (Y/N). Why don’t you get your stuff. I can’t deal with you right now. Go to Kalie’s.”
You threw together a bag and drove to Kalie’s through tears.
All night long you cried and ate ice cream with Kalie. You couldn’t believe how bad Damien had treated you. Around 11 pm Damien called your cell.
“Hello?” You tried to answer without sounding like you had been crying and gorging yourself all night. You failed miserably.
“Babe, I’m really sorry.” You heard that Damien sounded like he had been crying as well, “I tried to lay down and go to sleep. I don’t like sleeping alone. I don’t like the idea of you not here with me. And when I think about the future I can see you in it. Come home.”
You wiped your eyes and looked at Kalie. She looked skeptical, but nodded “Go home, buttercup. Your future awaits.”
You sniffled while getting your stuff. As soon as you walked in the door Damien engulfed you in a hug and pressed you tight. “I am so sorry. I love you so much. I never ever want you to leave again. And as far as the baby goes… I’m already warming up the the idea of a little baby Brunner hockey player.”
You cried again, but this time out of relief. “I love you, Damien. I can’t wait to spend my life with you.”