#79 Epilogue: Perfect little Zachary
17 weeks after the wedding, one day after Franny’s due date
Waking up after what was without a doubt the happiest and most difficult day of my life, I look around for my sweet little baby right away. Joshua rushes over, holding Zachary close to his chest while he brushes my hair out of my face. He presses the red button next to the bed to call for a nurse, and pressed a kiss to my forehead.
“Hey honey,” he whispers with so much love in his voice that it almost hurts to listen to. “How are you feeling?”
I groan while I try to push myself up into a sitting position. I’m not feeling much pain – thank you, pain medication – but I have a heavy feeling in my limbs, like my body knows it’s sore before my nerves can feel the pain. I was in active labor for 18 hours, and my water broke a full day before that, so by the time Zachary finally came into the world, I was a sobbing, cursing mess. I wanted to do it all without an epidural, and I regret that now. Next time, I am getting all the pain meds there are. They can knock me out and pull the kid out of me while I’m unconscious for all I care. I’m not going through that ever again.
Of course, it was all worth it. Zachary is the most beautiful baby boy ever.
A nurse walks in and checks my vitals, assuring me I’m doing great and will be released later today. She helps me into the bathroom, and stays to help me check my stitches and make sure everything looks good. It’s uncomfortable and awkward, but she’s nice about it.
When I’m back in bed, Joshua hands Zachary to me so I can try to breastfeed him. I’ve woken up before, but Zachary wouldn’t latch then, so I’m eager to try again. This time, I succeed in making him latch onto my nipple and I experience for the first time what it’s like to nurse my own kid. It’s a strange feeling and it hurts a little at first, but it also feels right, like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m feeding my child with my own body. That’s pretty miraculous.
Everything I knew about labor from my textbooks in nursing school feels like a lie now. Technically, everything I learned was correct, but it’s such a different experience going through it yourself.
Joshua was the only one in the delivery room with me, just like we planned from the start. Mom wanted to be with me too, but I only wanted Josh. She was there when my water broke and stuck around for a long time, but when it was time for the final stages, I told her to leave. Zachary is my baby, and Joshua’s, and I felt like we should be the ones to welcome him into the world. Joshua is the only person who can keep me calm in fucked-up situations anyway, so he was the only one I needed with me. He’s all I need in general.
“Hi little baby boy,” I whisper to my newborn baby. “Hi Zach. Have you been spending a lot of time with your daddy the past hours? I’m sorry I was a little out of it. You took your time getting out of my belly. Not that I blame you, it’s pretty comfy in there, isn’t it?”
Joshua chuckles and presses his lips to my temple. “Is it just me, or has there never been a single person in this world as perfect as our Zachary?”
“It’s not just you,” I assure him. “We created the perfect human. I think we should start trying for another one as soon as it’s safe and wise to do so. I want another one just like him. Or maybe a girl this time.”
Joshua laughs again. “Calm down, Franny, you just suffered through what was a pretty long and rough labor. You yelled at me that you were never allowing me to put another child inside you. Or did you forget about completely losing it right before you had to start pushing?”
I wince, remembering that all to well. “I’ll get an epidural next time.” My body is tired and sore, but I do mean it when I say that I want another child. Not right now, obviously, but if I got pregnant again a year from now… Yeah, I’d like that. I didn’t think I would feel that way right away, but this baby is just perfect, and I love him so much that it feels my heart doubled in size overnight just to make sure he fits in there along with Joshua. I want more kids for sure.
“Josh?” I ask, looking of from our baby’s cute crunched-up face for a moment.
“Yeah?” he asks, looking at me with those gorgeous blue eyes that his son has as well.
“I love you.”
He smiles and puts one hand on the side of my face while the other one plays with Zachary’s small fingers. “I love you too, Franny.”
“You’re a father now.”
“I know.” His huge grin lights up the whole room. “It feels like… I don’t know. It feels…”
“Yes,” I agree, my heart grasping the meaning of his words even though my mouth and mind can’t find the right way to describe the feeling either. “Me too.”
We kiss softly and then our attention is back on Zachary. His blond hair is curly just like his father’s, and I swear I can already tell he’s got Joshua’s smile and nose. He is one hundred percent Josh’s kid. He doesn’t look like me at all. It’s a good thing I know for sure he came out of my body or I might think he’s not even mine.
He is, though. Definitely. He feels like a part of me in every single way.
“Eh,” Zachary says in a soft voice. “Ehgg…” His tiny little fingers wrap around Joshua’s index finger and we both melt at that sight.
A knock on the door makes us look up and my mother is there, with Joshua’s parents right behind her. They haven’t met Zachary yet since wanted a moment alone with him and I wanted to be fully awake before having them come in. They all tear up at the sigh of the three of us, and Mr. Chambers takes out his phone to snap a few pictures. I love that he’s capturing this moment, because it feels like the start of my life in so many ways.
“Hi Zachary,” Mrs. Chambers whispers, taking her grandchild from my arms. “Oh, he’s perfect,” she says with a sigh. “Absolutely perfect. He looks just like Joshua.”
“Yes,” I agree. “He’s going to be a sweet, kind gentleman like his dad.”
Joshua kisses me tenderly, and I feel his tears when I take his face in my hands. He’s perfect, and that’s why our son is perfect. We’re so utterly right for each other that it’s only natural that we created the most amazing baby boy together.
“Love you,” he whispers against my lips.
“Love you too,” I say back, kissing him again. “So damn much.”