Callie was lying in bed, trying to read a book while actually being depressed that in two days time she'd have to go back to work. She missed cutting, she missed consulting, but as bubbles go, this would be the thing that would burst their little bubble.
She wasn't worried. She was just sad. Arizona and her got back together during the pregnancy and ever since then, they were in some sort of a honeymoon phase, granted, with a baby on the way and a nine year old, but still. Then Tamara came along, and with Sofia coming back from school and her mothers being home when she did, they spend so much time together as a family. It was a perfect little cocoon of joy and sleep deprivation and she never wanted it to end.
Arizona took two more weeks of paid leave, and Callie was bound to do the same once Arizona got back to work, so they could postpone putting Tamara in a day care for another month. But even so, once one of them was back at work, the bubble would burst and be gone.
Callie huffed, book forgotten, as Arizona walked into the room.
"Oh, there you are! You were so quiet, I didn't know in which room you were," she said and lied down next to Callie.
"Maybe I should just become a stay at home mom," Callie said, keeping her pre Arizona's entrance line of thought going.
"Oh, sweetie," Arizona said in sympathy. She dreaded going back to work in two weeks, and she hated that Callie would start leaving their bed early, and unlike the times when Callie fed Tamara, she won't be back to bed afterwards.
"Maybe we should both become stay at home moms and live off of my trust fund," Callie offered.
"Would that set a good example to the girls, though?" Arizona asked as if that was the only problem with the scenario. "Two unemployed mothers, burning all of their grandfather's money?"
"I suppose not," Callie sighed, "you and your logic."
"Trust me, I hate my logic and I'm gonna miss you tomorrow morning," Arizona admitted and pecked Callie's lips.
Callie hummed in pleasure. "I'm gonna miss you, too," she said.
"This is all very nice, don't get me wrong, but I actually came over to tell you -I have an idea!"
"No, Arizona, the trust fund idea was mine. You find your own idea."
"A research idea Callie."
"Arizona, our brainstorming is scheduled for three more months! Stop being such an overachiever!"
"You got me all excited about this, what was the word you used? Inspired. Don't be a party pooper now," Arizona countered.
"You're playing dirty, making this my fault," Callie stated.
"I love playing dirty," Arizona admitted.
"I am well aware," Callie said in a low voice. "Okay, tell me all of your glorious thoughts. Oh, overachiever one."
"Okay, first of all, I'm sorry to ruin your Matrix dreams and don't be upset, but we should really name the whole thing 'fetal orthopedics.'"
"What?! Why?" Callie whined. "It sounds depressing!"
"Because the neonatal period refers to the first 4 weeks of the baby's life," Arizona explained. "Hence, not fitting for what we're trying to describe."
"God you're such a baby snob!" Callie whined.
"Do you really wanna lose our Harper Avery over a technicality?!"
"Fine. Tell me more."
"Okay, what would you say is the most severe deformity in a newborn?"
"Easy," Callie replied, "Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita."
"Okay, yeah, but that also involves neuro and we don't want Derek in on this," Arizona stated.
"Don't wanna share with the other kids, Arizona?"
"Calliope, how are we to execute our sex in the lab plan if Derek is there?"
"That's a very good point. Continue, please."
"So Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip!" Arizona announced victoriously.
"DDH? What about it?" Callie asked in confusion.
"Well as of today, you can only do a Barlow maneuver to determine its existence after the baby is already born…"
"Uh oh, Arizona…"
"I know what you're gonna say. The baby has to be calm, and you need to listen for a "clunk" sound as you perform the exam."
"Yes, Arizona. It basically means you dislocate the hip."
"I know but…"
"And any additional exam happens at three to six months," Callie continued.
"I know but…"
"And some of these things are forming after the birth anyways, the femoral head doesn't ossify until three to six months of age as well, so…"
"Callie, shut up!"
"Okay, okay I'm listening!"
"This is a two part thing, and you're not gonna respond until I finish," Arizona ordered.
"So. Part 1, we do a pre-birth detection. Part 2, pre-birth treatment inspired by the Pavlik harness."
Callie said nothing.
"Well?!" Arizona asked in anticipation, excitement evident in her entire physique.
"Wait, that's it? You're done?!"
"Okay, in that case – are you insane?!"
"DDH can't be detected before birth! The whole point is that I need to adduct the hip, and apply pressure on the knee. The hip and the knee, Arizona, can't be adducted nor pressured if they're still inside the womb, can they now?"
"We're not going to open the mother up just so I can play with a pre-developed hip and knee to detect it! And how on earth can I implant a Pavlik harness when the baby is still in the womb?! Are you nuts?! Have you ever seen how this harness looks like?!"
"I'm a neonatal and a pediatric surgeon, Calliope."
"Exactly!" Callie said in frustration.
"I'm suspecting that maybe you don't like my idea," Arizona said calmly.
"It's not that I don't like it, it's just that what are we? A sci-fi movie? I'm sorry, in theory, it could've been great, Arizona, but all of this is insane!"
"Because making an amputee walk using his nerves is not?" Arizona countered, still calm.
"This is different."
"Why is it different?"
"Because it's not possible," Callie concluded.
"Calliope, listen to me. I never thought making cartilage out of nothing was possible, but I've seen you do it with my own eyes. I never thought it could be possible for me to walk again without even thinking about it, but I'm doing it every single day. I did it during my pregnancy, all thanks to you," she looked at Callie intently, and saw that the other woman was finally truly absorbing her words.
"Everything you achieved was at some point impossible," she continued, "but things are only impossible until someone finds a way to turn them to reality, and you, Callie Torres, are just that good. And you know what else?"
"What?" Callie asked softly, touched by Arizona's words.
"You're going to have one of the best brains in the fetal medical world co-developing this with you. That person is me, by the way."
"Yeah, I figured as much," Callie finally allowed herself a smile.
"I know you can't open a mother up just to test the child's hip. It's not worth the risk, and like you said, it's a pre-developed hip anyways. So here's what we do – we develop a new way of determining. We find the early signs."
"That's why it's called a research, Calliope. I don't know how. We find a way. We find a way to see it in an x-ray, or in an ultrasound, or better yet, make something new altogether, invent a new type of an exam. We find a pattern. We ask the question – what all babies with the condition have in common? What did they all have in common during the pregnancy? And we go from there."
"You're being very philosophical about it and somehow, it's working."
"I'm pure magic," Arizona stated.
"Yeah, thanks, like I said, amazing brain. And then, you develop something that's inspired by the harness."
"That word again," Callie chuckled.
"Yes, just imagine, tiny rubber casts, or… something. You can create a whole new material, you've done it before. It'll be like healing a bone before it even breaks. Helping it growing right in the first place. If we detect the DDH, then we open the mother and install it."
"You're a genius, it's so hot. I'm so in love with you right now," Callie said matter-of-factly.
"All important, yet already known notions," Arizona confirmed.
"So, we start to think about this?"
"Less now, more later. But yeah, if you like it, I think that's what we should do."
"I love it Arizona."
"Good. I love it, too."
"This will take forever," Callie stated.
"Good, more quality time for us. Remember when you were working on your cartilage and I came over to eat with you?"
"By that you mean to make sure I was eating," Callie corrected.
"It was a really nice time for us, Callie," Arizona said tenderly.
"It really was," Callie agreed.
"This is also a nice time for us," Arizona noted and Callie nodded. They fell into a comfortable silence for a few moments, Arizona letting Callie absorb all the information. She could see the wheels turning in Callie's head.
"Fetal Orthopedics, ah?" Callie finally asked, breaking the silence.
"Wham, bam, thank you ma'am."
Callie walked into the house after a long day. It was her first day back at work and she was strongly considering her stay at home mom plan again. She was exhausted, she was cranky, she missed her girls all day long, and she could use a bath.
She already knew she missed Sofia's bedtime. It was like a bad omen, first day back and already making sacrifices. The house was quiet, so Callie knew Tamara was currently sleeping. That left only one of the girls awake.
The smile of that girl, that woman, could light up Callie's world, so that'd definitely do.
She entered the bedroom. It was dimly lit. Arizona was sitting in bed, reading. Callie noticed that there was a big brown envelope on her own pillow.
"Hi!" Arizona said, her volume low in the late hour, but her eyes sparkling.
"Hi," Callie replied softly and walked towards the bed, to peck Arizona's lips. Just being in her presence made Callie feel better already.
When Callie's lips touched her own, Arizona put her reading material aside and pulled Callie into a hug that basically left Callie lying on top of her. Callie instinctively wrapped her arms around Arizona's body.
"God I missed you so much," Arizona said.
"I missed you, too. How on earth are we going to do this every single day?" Callie asked miserably, tightening her hold on her lover.
"We focus on the good things," Arizona replied, "like our amazing research, and that envelope on your pillow."
"What is it?" Callie asked and rolled off of Arizona and into her side of the bed.
"Why don't you see for yourself," Arizona said and smiled widely.
Once Callie saw the address on the envelope, her smile, while being a tired one, still mirrored Arizona's.
"The adoption papers," Callie said and sighed in happiness. She opened the envelope and found Tamara's new birth certificate inside. Both their names were on it. She showed it to Arizona proudly.
"See? You already feel better, don't you?" Arizona inquired.
"I felt better the moment I walked into the room and saw your face."
"Sweet talker," Arizona teased, but wrapped her arm around Callie's midsection and put her head on Callie's chest.
"This is a cause for a party, Calliope," she said, breathing in the scent of the woman she missed all day. She knew Callie would argue that she smelled like the hospital, but to Arizona, she just smiled like Callie. "I'd really love to take you to dinner this weekend, maybe Friday? I want us to celebrate. We can go to our place."
"Two weeks ago it was the court hearing, now it's the papers. You know we're either gonna go bankrupt celebrating these occasions or fund their second branch, right?" Callie joked.
"We flew Addison in and out so many times during the pregnancy, I don't think dinners are what's gonna make us bankrupt," Arizona countered.
"Arizona Robbins, I'd love to go on a celebratory dinner with you on Friday night."
"Good. If you play your cards right, girls situation depended, you might even get lucky."