Babies of Erebor
Sigrid had been wrestling with Milly all day long. The little toddler had too much energy and Sigrid felt like all of her energy had been sapped for the day. Her back hurt, her feet hurt and her head hurt. They were both eager for Fili to be home. Sigrid wanted nothing more than a hot bath to sooth her aching body and Milly needed someone to play with her. When Fili walked in, both of his ladies greeted him with joy.
"I love coming home," he said, scooping Milly into his arms. He wrapped one arm around Sigrid and pulled her into a kiss. His hand moved to her swollen stomach. "And how is this one treating you?"
"Heavy," Sigrid answered. "But well. We've had a good day, but Milly's got more energy than I can keep up with."
"Giving your mother some trouble, are you?" He tickled Milly's stomach. "I smell food. How about we eat and then you and I can play?" he said, swinging his daughter high into the air.
Just as they sat down to eat, there was a knock at the door. Fili got up to answer it.
Kili and Tauriel stood there with their infant son in Tauriel's arms. Kili held out a bag to his brother. "You owe us, remember?"
"Of course," Fili laughed and opened the door wider so Kili and his family could come in. Sigrid came to them and took the bag from Kili, while Fili collected young Torsten from Tauriel.
Tauriel looked worried. "Are you sure you're alright with this? I said we should probably wait, but Kili insisted. If it's too much for you Sigrid, you don't have too. We can do this another time."
"It's no trouble," Sigrid said. "Go and enjoy yourselves."
Tauriel hugged her sister-by-marriage. "I was happy to help you when you asked this favor of us, but I did not understand why you needed a little time without Milly. I do now."
"Come on Tauriel," Kili pulled at his wife's hand. "We'll see you in the morning," he said to Fili."
Sigrid sighed as the door closed. She was very happy to return the favor, but why tonight of all nights? She had really looked forward to that hot bath. "Oh well," she sighed under her breath. "Look Milly. Torsten's come to visit."
Milly looked at the baby in her father's arms. "Sten?"
"That's right." Fili settled back down at the table. "Let's finish eating, then we can play with Torsten."
"He's hardly big enough to play," Sigrid said, lowering herself back into her chair. Her back muscles were tight and protested at the movement.
They finished eating. Sigrid washed the dishes while Fili and Milly took Torsten to the sitting room. Milly was showing Torsten her doll.
"Baby," Milly said.
Fili adjusted his hold on his nephew so Torsten was facing out and could see Milly running around the room. Sigrid came in and sat down in her favorite chair. It was soft and comfortable, although getting out of the chair with her large stomach was near impossible. She watched as Milly brought all sorts of things out of her room to show her tiny cousin.
"Did you have a good day?" Sigrid asked. She rubbed her hands over her eyes.
"It was fine. The usual." He looked to his wife. Her hair was limp and she had large bags under her eyes. She hadn't been sleeping well. The baby was so large and uncomfortable on her small frame, she was having a very hard time finding comfortable sleeping positions.
Since finding out she was expecting, Fili had experienced every emotion under the sun. He had been elated. He had been terrified. He had cried tears of sorrow and tears of happiness. But most of all, he was afraid. Afraid of losing Sigrid in childbirth the way he had lost Mailli.
His mother insisted that Mailli had been dreadfully sick from the start and Sigrid was doing very, very well. She told him that no matter how well things were going, the end of the pregnancy was always the hardest. Right before the baby is born, when it's at its biggest and heaviest, it's hard on the mother. Fili trusted his mother, and Oin and the midwife, who all insisted things were looking well, but he still couldn't put to rest some of his fears.
Now Sigrid, who had been so happy and strong during all these long months, was tried and irritable. She ached and she couldn't sleep. She put up a brave front and through some unknown source of strength, continued to care for Milly and their home and last week had even hosted a diplomatic dinner with ambassadors from the Kingdom of Rohan, but he could see how worn out she was. Kili said Tauriel had been the same way in the weeks leading to Torsten's birth. He was eager for the baby's birth, but at the same time, he wished he could delay it forever. He was just too scared.
"Sigrid?" Fili spoke quietly. She looked like she had fallen asleep right in the chair. She opened her eyes and lifted her head. "Why don't you go to bed?"
"No, I couldn't leave you to take care of Milly and Torsten alone."
"Sure you can. Don't you think I can manage?" he smiled at her.
Sigrid smiled back. "I know you can, but it wouldn't be fair of me to do that to you."
"We'll be fine. Go get some sleep." Fili stood up and held out his hand to Sigrid to help her out of the chair. She took it and with some difficulty, stood up.
"Do you know what I really want?" she stretched her back. "A hot bath."
"Then go take one. I'll take care of everything here."
"If you need me, you know where I am." Sigrid shuffled her way into the washroom. She turned on the hot water and watched it slowly fill the tub. She poured some scented oil into the tub and undressed. The sight of her stomach still surprised her. It was so large and round. When the baby moved, she could see it under her skin. It was an amazing sight. She wrapped her arms around her stomach and squeezed it in a hug. It was her and Fili's child. It would join their family very soon. The midwife had said it could be anytime in the next couple of weeks.
Sigrid was very excited. She wanted to see her baby so badly. She assumed it would be blond and blue eyed, since both its parents were. She wanted to hold it, count its toes, kiss its head. But, she was also quite scared of the childbirth. She had been with Tauriel when Torsten was born. It looked very painful. Sigrid had felt very honored when Tauriel invited her to assist with the birth. They had become good friends over the last couple of years and had been so excited when Tauriel found out she was with child and then it became even more exciting when Sigrid found out several months later that she was with child too.
Tauriel had carried Torsten for a full year, since elves and dwarves gestations normally lasted around a year. So they had been able to predict when Tauriel would give birth. With Sigrid, things were a little less certain. Being human, her body was only prepared for nine months of gestation, possibly ten. But dwarflings needed a year, so she worried that the baby might not be fully developed by the time her body was ready to deliver. It was a real possibility, but Oin and the midwife had been keeping careful track of her. They were saying all should be fine, but they would not know until the baby was born.
At her last exam, three days ago, they had said it would probably be soon. So, she waited with great anticipation for the signs her body should give before being ready to deliver. So far, other than not being able to sleep and a constant back ache, her body showed no sign of being ready.
She lowered herself into the water and sighed. The hot water felt so good. She leaned back against the tub, closed her eyes and rubbed at her stomach. She wasn't sure she would ever get out of the tub. It was too nice in here.
Fili laid Torsten down in the cot they had prepared for their baby when it arrives. Then he played with Milly. Sigrid had been right, Milly was a ball of energy tonight. They ran around the sitting room, wrestled and played. After a while, Torsten started to fuss, so he collected the baby from the cot. He remembered how long ago Sigrid taught him what to do with a fussy infant. He chuckled to himself. He had been such a mess that day. Milly had cried and cried and cried. It took a calm, young human girl to teach him how to care for and love his daughter. Now that lovely human was his wife and they were expecting their own baby together.
First, he checked his rags. They were wet, so he changed them. Next he wrapped the baby tightly in his blanket. He took the baby to the sitting room, where Milly was playing. He sifted through the bag Kili had left and found the full milk bladder. They settled down onto the couch and Fili put the bottle into the baby's mouth. Milly crawled up next to her father.
"Baby eat?" she asked.
"Yes. Would you like to hold him?" Fili asked.
Milly nodded enthusiastically. Fili shifted Torsten into Milly's lap, although he kept one arm under Torsten's head. He let Milly hold the milk bladder.
"Baby eat!" Milly spoke with enthusiasm.
"When Mama has her baby, he will be little like Torsten. Will you help Mama take care of him?"
"I help," Milly said.
"It's a very important job to be a big sister," Fili couldn't help but smile. He had been a little older than Milly when Kili had been born, but he remembered his mother, his father and his uncle all saying the same thing. Being the older sibling was very important and he had taken his new job very seriously. He wondered if Milly would feel that same sense of accountability.
He heard the washroom door open. Looking up, he saw his wife, heavy with their child, looking fresh and relaxed. She wore a simple night dress that stretched tightly at the largest part of her stomach. He loved that. He had loved seeing her grow. He had missed it all with Mailli and felt grateful he had been allowed another chance at fatherhood. He had stayed with Kili when Tauriel had given birth, but if they let him or Sigrid wanted him, he planned on being with her when she gave birth. He didn't want to miss a single important moment in his child's life.
"Feel better?" he asked.
"Much, thank you." She had pulled her long hair back into a single plait that she wrapped around her head, like a halo.
"Mama! Baby eat!" Milly said.
Sigrid went around to see Torsten resting in Milly's lap, being fed by a very excited four year old. The baby probably would have gone to sleep if Milly had not been so enthusiastic in her declaration of the baby's activity.
"You are doing very well," Sigrid said.
Milly started to push the baby away. Fili was glad he had a good grip on his nephew and he pulled the baby back to his own lap. Milly hopped off the couch and ran to Sigrid, placing her tiny little hand on Sigrid's large stomach.
"Yes, that's our baby. Soon, he will be here."
"I take care of baby!" Milly said. She placed a kiss on Sigrid's stomach.
Sigrid wrapped her arms around her daughter. "Yes, Milly. You will take very good care of the baby. You will be a very good big sister."
Fili grinned. He didn't know if Milly would ever have the bond with her sibling that he had had with Kili. He suspected few siblings did, but he also knew that no matter what, Milly would be a very good big sister.
* * * * *
Sigrid was panting hard. Fili used a cool rag to wipe the sweat from her brow. He sat behind her, giving her his support. Tauriel sat next to Sigrid and held her hand. Oin and the midwife were on the business end of things and speaking very encouragingly. Fili was tired, but Sigrid had been at this for hours. He couldn't possibly imagine how Sigrid continued on with such strength.
The next pain hit and the midwife encourage Sigrid to push. She did, a strangled cry escaping her lips.
"You're doing perfectly," the midwife said.
"So tired," Sigrid panted.
"It's almost over," Tauriel whispered.
Fili kissed his wife's head and spoke softly into her ear. "You are the most amazing woman, ever." A wave of sadness washed over him. He had not been there for Mailli. He had not been able to hold her or help her. He had not supported her, rubbed her back or whispered words of love into her ear. He knew she would have died had he been there, but he hadn't even been able to have the chance to say good bye.
Sigrid grunted as the next pain started. It woke Fili from his thoughts. He had to push all of that aside. Now was not the time for those thoughts and memories. Now was the time to give Sigrid lots of support. He focused on her, and tried to be strong for her. Suddenly Sigrid gasped, her body collapsed up against his and she threw her head back into his shoulder. Fili looked up from his wife's exhausted face and saw in front of him a tiny baby, covered in blood and slime, but alive and wailing with a healthy voice.
He laughed. He couldn't help it. He laughed. There it was. There in front of him was his son.
The babe was crying with gusto. The midwife wrapped him in a blanket and gave him to Sigrid. With Fili's help, she leaned forward and held her son in her arms. She was crying. They gave the family a few moments to bond with their son before Oin took the baby away to clean him up give him a good checkup. Sigrid was worn out, but summoned the energy to deliver the afterbirth. Tauriel helped her to change into a comfortable night dress and the midwife cleaned things up. Fili stood next to Oin and watched him look over the baby. Oin finished his check up before Sigrid was settled, so Fili took the baby and went out to the sitting room, where Kili, Thorin and Dis were waiting.
Milly was sleeping in Dis's arms. Thorin was slumped in his chair, looking quite weary and Kili was standing in the middle of the room, bouncing his little boy. They stared at Fili.
"Well?" Kili finally said.
"A son," Fili said, tears falling freely from his eyes.
Fili walked to his brother and showed him the bundle of blankets. Kili threw a free arm around his brother's neck and pulled him into a hug. They stood there, for a long time, together, each of them holding their sons in their arms. Thorin came up to them and placed one arm around each of his nephews.
"I couldn't be more proud of you boys than I am right now. It doesn't seem that long ago that you were both noisy, rowdy, dwarflings but look at you now. Both of you fathers. Mahal has blessed our family. The line of Durin is finally finding peace and happiness. Congratulations."
"How's Sigrid?" Dis asked.
"Tired and sore, but fine, I think." Fili opened the door to the bedroom. Sigrid was sitting up in bed. Tauriel was adjusting some pillows behind Sigrid's back. Oin was feeling Sigrid's head for any sign of a fever.
"Where is my son?" Sigrid asked, smiling widely. Fili took the bundle of blankets and handed them to his wife.
Oin was done for the night and headed to the door. Thorin held out his hand and took Oin by the arm. "Thanks, old friend," he said to the white haired healer.
Oin, who was mostly deaf, didn't need to hear what Thorin had said. He could see the gratitude in the king's face. He smiled, patted Thorin on the shoulder and quietly took his leave. He would come back in a few hours to check on them all. For now, he needed sleep. He was getting too old for these kinds of long hours.
Torsten is Old Norse for 'Thor's Stone'