Their Protector: An MC Outlaw Halloween Romance, page 71
Then I’m pretty sure the baby is mine. She told me on the phone she wasn’t seeing anyone, and I have no reason not to be believe her.
Then it hits me. I want to believe her. I want her in my life. And if she’s pregnant, I want the baby in my life. I want to take care of both of them.
Chapter 37 – Monica
I’m at home now, and I swear my contractions are getting much stronger and closer together, but maybe I’m just paranoid. I’m afraid to go back to the hospital so soon. They’ll think I’m crazy and send me home yet again.
But, I begin timing them on an app I have on my tablet, and they’re reaching the point at which the hospital told me to come in. I wait a little longer, to make sure I’m not counting them wrong. They seem to be getting even stronger, though, until I can barely breathe.
“Ummm. Susan?” I call, and then groan as I’m hit with another contraction.
“Yes?” she calls, from the bathroom. “I’m in here. Just wetting a washcloth so I can put it on your forehead.”
“Okay, thanks,” I say. “But I’m pretty sure things are happening faster than I’d anticipated. I think I need to go to the hospital!”
“Oh, wow,” she asks, coming into my room. She massages my shoulders, and while it feels good, I worry that she thinks I’m over-reacting. “You really think things are progressing this fast?”
“I think so,” I tell her, showing her my app. “Look at how close these contractions are coming on top of each other. And I feel like I’m being ripped in half.”
I double over on the bed again, as a contraction surges through me.
“Okay,” she says. “Let me get the car ready to take you to the hospital. Better safe than sorry.”
Suddenly, though, I’m worried about the baby. Is it normal for the contractions to increase so quickly? What if something’s wrong?
“Can you please bring me the Doppler?” I ask her. “It’s in the nursery. I just want to check on the baby.”
“All right,” she says, and when she gets back to my room with it, she asks, “Do you want me to help you do it?”
“No, it’s okay. You just get everything ready to go. I’ll let you know if I need you.”
“Okay,” she says, and leaves the room.
I bought the Doppler after the surgery, to reassure me that I could listen to the baby’s heartbeat if I thought something might be wrong. It’s been one of my best investments ever, as it gives me peace of mind.
But right now, I feel too panicky— and I’m in too much pain— to use it correctly. I rub the gel on my stomach and try to place the Doppler on it, but another contraction sears through me, and I have to stop and catch my breath. After a few more tries, and moving the Doppler into different positions, I’m able to hear the baby’s heartrate.
Okay good , I think. At least I know he’s okay in there.
I lay on my back on the bed, but then move into a seated position, and then lay flat on my stomach, as I’m hit with more contractions. I’m just trying to find a position, any position, that defuses the pain a bit. Nothing seems to do the trick though.
I sit back up, but lean slightly back with my head resting on the pillow, swaying slowly from side to side and letting out deep, guttural moans.
Where is Susan? I wonder. It sure seems to be taking her a long time.
Just then, the doorbell rings. I sit up straight, startled, but I can’t stay in that position long, and soon slump back over with another contraction.
“Did you call an ambulance instead?” I call out to Susan. “Good thinking, because I really think I need one! I think this baby is about to be born!”
“No…” Susan replies, in a confused voice, and then I hear her open the front door.
“Ramsey?” she asks, in a startled tone.
“What?” I call out to her.
I had to have misheard her, or maybe the pain of labor is making me start hearing things.
Suddenly, he’s in the doorway and I’m thinking I really must be hallucinating.
His broad shoulders, his tall frame, are here after all. Just in time.
“What are you doing here?” I try to say, but it comes out in pants and grunts, as I grab my stomach and start making strange puffing sounds, without meaning to.
“Me? What are you doing in general?” he asks.
He has a startled look on his face, and I can’t blame him for being shocked. But I kind of want to laugh— if only I could— since his question makes more sense than mine, under the circumstances.
“Anyway, no time to talk,” he says, walking briskly and authoritatively over to the side of my bed. “There’s plenty of time for that later.”
He looks me in the eyes, and then kisses me on the head as I yell, “Okay, so we’ve gotta head to the hospital now . I really think this baby wants out!”
“It will be okay,” he tells me. “Just breathe. Let me feel.”
Susan says, “I don’t know if that’s the best idea. Shouldn’t we just start heading over to the…”
“I’ve had Emergency Medical Training,” he says. “I’ve done all of this and more, many times over. Trust me.”
Instinctively, I part my legs and he reaches up with his hand.
“You’re right,” he says. “There’s no time to go to the hospital. Susan, please call an ambulance so we can go once the baby is delivered. But we need to get this baby out, now. Here, feel.”
He takes my hand and places it where his just was.
“I can feel the baby’s head!” I cry out.
“Oh, my God,” says Susan, and looks like she might faint.
“Susan, do you have any old or extra towels?” Ramsey asks, sounding very calm and practical. “And also, a rather large kitchen storage bowl of some sort?”
“Uhh, yes. I do.” She sounds rather faint. “And I have a washcloth for her head. I’ll re-wet it.”
“That’s great,” he says. “That’ll really help. Everything’s going to be okay. This baby is going to be here in no time.”
She runs out of the room.
“Now, Monica, I need you to lie back on the bed, and you’re going to go with that instinct you had a minute ago, and push, okay?”
“All right,” I say, and I start pushing.
Susan brings the towels and Ramsey puts them underneath me. She brings the cold washcloth to my forehead and it really does feel so good.
“Okay, Susan, help me hold her legs up,” Ramsey says. “And Monica, I want you to push for as long as you can, counting to ten before you stop, then take a short break and do it all over again. Then you can have a longer break. Okay? Go.”
I do as he says, with both Ramsey and Monica counting out loud for me. I feel like I’m out of breath before I’m even at seven, but Ramsey says, “Don’t lose steam. You can do it. The harder you push, the sooner this will be over.”
I push through to ten, and then do it all over again.
I do it several more times, each time thinking I can’t get to ten, but usually making it. When I can’t, I at least get to nine.
“Very good,” Ramsey says. “You’re doing great. He’s almost out.”
“Good job, Monica!” Susan says, sounding much more excited than scared now.
I suddenly feel a shooting, searing feeling full of pain, and as I start to cry out, “I can’t do it! It hurts so much…”
Susan calls out, “Here he is! His head’s out!”
“Monica, reach down and hold his head and push him out just a little further,” Ramsey says. “You’re so close. You’re almost there.”
Okay baby , I tell him. Here we go. Welcome to the world.
I push one more time as hard as I can, for as long as I can, and he slides right out, into Ramsey’s hands. His shrill cry pierces the room, and Ramsey places him on my chest.
“Here you go, Mommy,” he says. “Congratulations.”
He kisses me on the head, and then the baby on his head, which is surprisingl
“When the cord’s done pulsing, I’ll cut it,” he says. “Or would Susan like the honors?”
She looks at me, as if asking what I’d like.
“Susan, thank you for all that you’ve done to get him here,” I tell her. “I’d love for you to cut the cord.”
“I guess that’s only fair,” she says. “Since Ramsey got to catch him.”
She cuts his chord as he nurses for a little bit.
“I can’t believe how beautiful he is,” I say. “But he’s so tiny. And he’s early ! Is he going to be okay?”
“He looks okay,” Susan says. “So I think so? The ambulance is on its way. They should be here soon.”
“He’ll be fine,” Ramsey reassures me, with a firm hand on my shoulder, but his voice quivers a little.
My heart speeds up, worrying that he’s worried but doesn’t want to scare me by saying anything. But soon, I feel heavy cramping in my stomach, distracting me from everything else except further pain.
“What the hell?” I say, sitting up a bit and doubling over.
“Your placenta,” Susan says, and reaches for the baby.
“You have to deliver that now,” Ramsey says, “But I’ll help you.”
“Oh my god.”
I hand the baby to Susan, and start breathing deeply again. I had learned that this was coming in my childbirth classes, but I’d forgotten. And I can’t believe no one told me that it’s almost as much as pain as delivering the baby.
“There you go,” says Ramsey. “Just push like you were doing before, only it’s a bit easier this time.”
Yeah right , I want to say, but I’m too busy pushing to be able to talk. I can’t believe that after doing all that work to deliver a baby, I have to deliver the placenta, too!
With some more grunts, and some tugs and pulls from Ramsey, it’s out, and he places it into the bowl that Susan had brought in earlier.
Ramsey’s really thought of everything , I think, impressed.
I lay back down and Susan places the baby on my chest again while Ramsey goes to the bathroom and washes his hands.
“I think they’re here!” Susan says, before running to the front door.
I curl my finger around my son’s, and stare into his beautiful eyes. Then I look up at Ramsey.
“Thank you for coming,” I tell him. “I can’t believe you’re here.”
“I had to come,” he says. “I love you and want to be with you. No matter what.”
“I love you and want to be with you too!” I exclaim, almost as happy about what Ramsey just said as I am about how adorable our new baby is.
“You know,” he says, with a chuckle. “I’ve delivered quite a few babies before, in my EMT class, but I never would have imagined I would be delivering your baby! I can’t believe I just did.”
“Well, believe it,” I tell him, as he bends down to kiss me, and the baby, again. “And, I have some news for you.”
I take a deep breath before saying the one thing I wasn’t sure I’d ever tell him.
“It’s your baby, too! So believe it or not, you just delivered our baby!”
Chapter 38 – Ramsey
“He’s… mine?” I ask, taking a moment to let it sink in. “He’s really mine ?”
I was definitely shocked when I walked in. Despite my suspicions, I guess I didn’t expect the rumors to be true, or else I just wasn’t prepared for the reality. And I certainly didn’t expect to walk in on Monica in labor.
“Yes,” she says. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I just…”
“Can I hold him?” I ask, quickly.
“Yes. If that’s all right?”
She hands the tiny baby to me. I know that once the ambulance transports Monica and the baby to the hospital, they might take him straight to the NICU, and it could be awhile before anyone can hold him again.
He looks perfect, except for being so small. And he’s rather blue, but that’s pretty normal. I think he’s going to be okay, but it’s hard not to worry. Delivering a baby during training is different from when there’s the added emotional attachment of it being Monica’s baby. And my baby.
I can’t believe I have a fucking baby. I almost want to cry.
I kiss the top of his tiny head, and smile at him.
“Hello, Baby,” I tell him. “Welcome to this crazy, lovely world.”
“Ramsey?” Monica asks, quietly.
“There’s a letter in the drawer of my nightstand. It’s right on top. Can you grab it for me? Don’t read it, just hold onto it.”
“Sure,” I say, handing the baby back to her and walking over to her nightstand. As I open it and pick up the letter, I see that there’s a framed picture of her and me underneath it. It has a decorative baby blue frame around it. She must have decided not to hang it up.
I stuff the letter in my pocket and close the nightstand. It’s none of your business , I tell myself. You weren’t here. You didn’t even call her.
As I walk back over to Monica, a paramedic in uniform enters the room.
“Monica?” he asks.
“Yes,” she says. “I’m here. The baby’s here. He arrived really quickly.”
“Okay,” the paramedic says. “I’m Ron. We’re going to get you into the ambulance. First we’re going to check the baby.”
He looks at me.
“Are you the father?”
“Yes,” I tell him. “I’m his father.”
I’m his father. I’m a father!
I still can’t believe it. I never thought I wanted to be a father, but now I’m more certain than anything, ever, that I’m glad I’m his father.
I hand the baby to Ron and another paramedic joins him in checking the baby’s vitals.
“We’re going to have to give him some oxygen,” Ron says. “And then we’ll load you both into the ambulance. Dad can come too.”
As they hook the baby up to the small oxygen tank, Monica starts to sob softly.
“Is he going to be all right?”
“He’ll be fine,” I say, stroking his back.
Will he? I wonder. I try to put on a strong front for Monica, but if anything were to happen to our baby, I don’t think I could handle it.
“We’re just getting him stabilized a bit,” Ron says.
After a couple minutes, he adds, “Okay, we can go to the ambulance now.”
They put Monica on a stretcher and put her and the baby in the ambulance, and then I get in as well.
“I’m going to go check in on the kids at daycare,” Susan says. “And then I’ll come see you at the hospital. In the meantime, I know you’re in good hands with Ramsey.”
“Thanks, Susan,” Monica says.
“Yes, thanks for everything,” I echo.
I’m glad that Susan has been here to take care of Monica while I was away. Now I can step up and be the one to take care of Monica and our child.
Chapter 39 – Ramsey
I hold Monica’s hand as the doctor checks her. As I predicted, the baby was taken to the NICU.
“Everything looks good,” the doctor says, smiling down at Monica, and then up at me. “Good job, Dad. You must have some knowledge about how to deliver a baby.”
“Just some EMS training from the Navy,” I tell him. “I’m a SEAL.”
Or maybe not any more , I think.
“Well, you handled everything by the book. You even saved the placenta for us to take a look at. It looks healthy and strong. Now, about the baby…”
Monica and I look up at him, both of our eyes searching his.
“As you know, he was born a bit early, which can cause some complications. At this point, it appears he’s having some slight
“Okay,” Monica says.
That doesn’t sound so bad.
“He’s also lost some body heat, which isn’t uncommon in premature babies. We have him on a warming blanket but at this point he doesn’t need an incubator. We’ll keep an eye on that. We’ll also be monitoring him for any other possible complications.”
“Such as?” Monica asks.
“There’s a host of possible problems that premature babies can experience, including issues with the brain, heart, gastrointestinal system, blood, metabolism, or immune system, among others.”
Monica gasps, and only then does the doctor add, “But there’s no need to worry about any of that as it hasn’t happened yet. They’re just things we look out for. There are also some long-term problems that result from premature birth, but again, we won’t even get into that until further on down the road if necessary.”
“Can we see him?” Monica asks.
“Yes, but at this point you can’t hold him, except to touch his hands or feet. A parent concierge will be in in a short while to explain the visiting process in the NICU and take you over there to visit him.”
“Okay,” Monica says, looking a bit disappointed, but as if she’s trying to remain brave and calm. “And how can I feed him?”
“We have a pump here if you’d like to supplement him with breastmilk,” the doctor says, and Monica nods. “Right now he’ll probably be bottle fed, and we may have to use some special formula for newborns, but we’ll do what we can to get him breastmilk. Hopefully it’s only for a brief amount of time and once you can hold him, you can breastfeed him. But worst case scenario, by pumping you’ll maintain your supply and you can save it for later, when he can eat it. A lactation consultant will visit you within the next hour or to help you with pumping and storing the milk.”
“Great,” says Monica. “It’s not what I had in mind but at least we can find a way to make it work. Thanks, Doctor.”
She sounds resolute, determined, and I’m proud of her. But as soon as the doctor leaves the room, she looks distressed.