“Ah! It hurts!” Maggie cries out in pain.
“It’s alright, just grab my hand and squeeze.” I say beside her.
The nurse comes around, checking her vitals, as well as the baby’s, as she alerts the other nurse to grab the doctor immediately.
I’m assuming it’s go time, but I start to worry as I watch the chaotic scene unfold around me.
Nurses fly around the room, monitors are beeping, lines and machines everywhere. They have a catheter immediately placed into her hand faster than I can blink. She’s in pain, it’s evident.
“Can she get the drugs?” I ask one of the nurses impatiently.
“Ah, I’m afraid we are too late for that.” She answers, never looking at me, just continuing to tape the catheter on her hand.
My worried eyes find Maggie’s, but she’s in too much pain to even be aware of what was said.
Mrs. Hollingsworth stayed in the lobby, awaiting Toren and Ronan’s arrival, while Adrien and I followed Maggie as she requested in her birth plan.
I would love to be a fly on the wall in that lobby when Debbie realizes her son is three sheets to the wind when he enters. She might murder him before he even gets a chance to be a father.
“Oh dear Whitney Houston in heaven, I don’t think I’m prepared for this procedure.” Adrien comments breathlessly, looking at the nurse now between Maggie’s knees.
She screams out, clenching down on my hand, squeezing the bones that were just broken. I scream out with her.
“Moe! No! Oh, I’m sorry!” she cries out, looking at me with a pained expression, not for herself, but for me this time.
“It’s my fault. I cut the cast off.” I shrug.
Stupid me. Would’ve been great to have that cast on at this moment for protection, but I couldn’t stand it anymore. I needed to paint and with the recent excitement and anticipation building for the project for Toren’s charity, there was no stopping me. I used a sharp razor tool from work then made a reluctant Adrien pull the rest of it off for me.
He glares at me from across the room where he’s standing, clearly shaming me for my lack of respect for the medical community and their opinions on healing.
Maggie grabs the bed rail, bringing me back to the moment, breathing hard, then lays back for a minute.
“Contractions are coming fast. We’re going to start pushing now.” The nurse instructs.
“What about the doctor, don’t we need to wait?” I ask in a panic, looking from Adrien to Maggie, back to the nurse again.
“Where’s Ro?! He’s supposed to be in here for this!” Maggie cries out.
“There’s no time. This baby is coming out now.” she says quickly.
She continues to instruct Maggie to push down when she feels the contractions start up again. Adrien runs to the other side of the bed, and grabs her hand in his. We both look at each other with a worried expression. We don’t know what to expect.
“I feel one coming.” she says, beginning to squeeze our hands tighter.
“Okay, great, we’re going to have you push down through the contraction this time, alright Maggie? You can do this.” the nurse says confidently.
She nods her head, then curls forward with the nurse between her legs as she begins letting out a deep moaning pain.
“That’s it, that’s it.” the nurse comments, “Great job, now breathe.”
My eyes dart over to Adrien’s again and his face is white.
Jesus, don’t you die on me now.
After a few more seconds of breathing, she leans forward and begins the process again. Just as she starts moaning in pain, the doors open as Ronan bursts through.
“Maggie!” he yells out, then pauses in place when he sees the view between her legs. His eyes grow wide before he stumbles forward a bit. “Fuuuuck.”
“Ronan! GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE, YOU IDIOT!” Maggie screams before squeezing on our hands again.
“I’m here baby, I’m here for you, I’m here.” he says comfortingly, coming up next to Maggie opposite me and taking over for Adrien. He brushes her hair back off her face and kisses her forehead through her next contraction, whispering sweet things into her ear.
As soon as I think he’s sobered up a bit from the ride over, he speaks again. “Let’s pop that sucker out!”
“Alright, ma’am if you could help hold her leg.” the nurse directs Adrien as I stifle a chuckle at the use of ‘ma’am’.
He sneaks a peek inside while Maggie begins pushing again.
“Oh hell no! Oh my God!” he comments, watching with a twisted face, placing a hand over his mouth.
“That’s it Maggie! You’re doing it! I see the tip of the head.” The nurse cheers on.
Maggie screams, a type of howl that sounds straight out of a horror film.
“Keep pushing, you’re doing great.” I comment, holding her hand, feeling a little light headed.
Adrien drops her leg, standing right in the pits of hell himself, eyes locked in on what’s happening before him. His eyes are wide as he stares between her legs. I’m pretty sure his breathing has stopped.
“This is straight outta that movie Alien. It just keeps opening.” he comments with a bewildered face.
“Sigourney! Hey that’s a good name, right?! Like Sigourney Weaver, Alien? Get it?” Ronan slurs while laughing at himself.
Maggie slaps him across the face, then screams and pushes while I just bite my lip, trying to not show any expression to get slapped next.
“Holy shit, her vagina is splitting like the San Andreas fault line!” Adrien yells, as if we needed narrating.
“Ha, I love that movie. The Rock is hot, right Adrien?! I know you know...” Ronan chuckles, then looks his lazy drunken eyes in Maggie’s direction.
AHHHDRIEN!!” Maggie screams, clearly using her anger towards him to assist in this labor.
“There you go, we’re crowing now. Take a breath Maggie.” the nurse instructs.
“Oh! She’s shitting! Shitting on the baby, oh my god!” Adrien continues his narration in horror.
“It’s natural, this happens.” The nurse scolds him.
“You shit on the baby?” Ronan murmurs, clearly completely confused.
“FUCK OFF RO!” Maggie yells, clamping on to my hand again as the next contraction is upon her.
“Alright, here we go, let’s push hard this time, alright?”
“You got this Mags.” I say, kissing her hand, looking to her worried eyes, nodding with confidence.
She pushes again, her whole face red as she curls forward, squeezing my hand and Ronan’s while she screams.
“OHHHMYGAHHHHH!” Adrien screams along with Maggie, watching as she pushes with everything she has.
“Keep going! Keep going!” the nurse cheers her on.
“This is it, Maggie.” I say, feeling the tears forming in my eyes as she looks to me one for time for strength.
With one more push she falls back, panting, as the magical sound of that little cry breaks through the room.
My tears flood my eyes, as I watch them place the baby on her chest.
“It’s a boy!” The nurse announces.
Ronan’s eyes are filled with tears, as he looks to Maggie with astonishment, then the baby, then back. “Mags, you did it. You really did it.”
I give them their moment and circle around to give Adrien a congratulatory Uncle hug.
“That was the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen.” he says with tears in his eyes.
I chuckle at his honesty, throwing an arm around him to comfort his distress, “I know hunny, I know.”
“That was straight up field labor, civil war style, oh lawddd....” he cries. “I wasn’t ready. This outfit was not meant for placenta.”
I laugh, holding him while smiling back at Ronan and Maggie and their new little baby. My eyes glisten over with joy and I get it now. They share something special that their love alone made. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
As soon as my heart floods with happiness, a sting comes through, attempting to drown me. I wince my eyes at the emotional pain but before I can successfully brush it away, Adrien takes notice.
“Come on, let’s talk.” he says, pulling me into the hallway, giving the new parents their time.
We walk around into the small chapel area of the hospital that is empty and dimly lit by an ever-glowing candle on the altar.
“I think I know, but tell me what that face was back there. I’m not letting you brush this aside.” he states with compassion, standing before me, holding my hands in his.
I puff my cheeks as I blow the air out through them. “I...I don’t know.”
“You know. Say it.”
“I just...watching that was...I just don’t know how someone can birth a child then walk away, especially now, after seeing that.”
He nods and looks down, squeezing my hands tightly in his.
“Not all people are meant to be parents. Kids come into this world whether people are ready or not. Unfortunately, there are people who aren’t ready or unwilling to give a child the basic necessities to survive, an important one being love.”
I bite the inside of my cheek, holding back the pain of the past that I had no idea would resurface like this.
“But it’s only genetics. Birth is only a process. It doesn’t matter how you get here. You are here now. You matter to people. People need you to survive. Me being one of them.” he winks.
Leave it to my bestie to say what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. He caught me because he knows me. There’s more depth to it than just this, but now is not the time or place for it and he knows that.
“I love you.” I say pulling him into a hug.
“I love you.” he replies, “But seriously, we could have the same great grandmother or something. Have you ever noticed how ridiculously similar we look?”
I burst out into laughter, not expecting the joke with how serious his tone was.
“You’re just the lucky cousin, Becky, with the good hair.” he sniggers.
“You guys ready to meet the new Hollingsworth or what?” I say, bursting through the doors into the waiting area with a huge smile.
Toren snaps his head up at me, looking eager and excited, while Debbie makes a run for me.
“Everything went alright?” Toren asks, worry taking over his face.
“Everything was perfect.” I reassure him.
Walking back into the room, Maggie is cleaned up and comfortable in the bed while Ronan is still curled up to her side.
Toren walks up and congratulates a tearful Ronan with a big hug making us all attempt to hold back our impending tears. He kisses Maggie on the cheek then peeks into the blanket surrounding the little one.
“Meet your nephew, Wesley Samuel Hollingsworth.”
“My neph-” Toren starts, choking up before he swallows. “My nephew.”
She hands him Wesley, as I wrap my arms around a proud looking Debbie, watching close by.
“Hi buddy.” He smiles down to him, eyes twinkling with joy.
The sight of him holding Wesley does things to me nothing else can. His tall, statuesque figure holding this small, fragile child makes me rethink everything negative I’ve ever thought on the issue of children.
He gently begins bouncing him while casually talking to Ronan, as I release a small sigh with, what I’m sure is a loving smile, to match.
“Your time will come.” Debbie grins, then winks, as if sensing the feelings inside me.
She gives me a little side squeeze, then walks up to Toren. “Give me my Grandbaby. I need to show him who rules the roost.”
After spending some time with Maggie and a now sobered-up Ronan, we leave them to rest, and head our separate ways for the evening.
He was just so small, and his little hands, did you see his little fingernails!? Cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Toren continues rambling on about Wesley as we cuddle up into the bed.
“If you saw how he came into this world the last thing you’d be saying is cute.” I shutter, thinking of just how horrific childbirth can be.
“That bad, huh? Well, it’s a good thing Ro was inebriated, at least he won’t remember that part.”
I smack his bare chest and he laughs. “I’m joking. That was terrible, no one knew he had a flask. He was so nervous after my uncle kept asking him questions about setting up life insurance policies and trust funds, the man lost it.”
“You better not be-” I start, before stopping myself.
He cocks a brow. “Better not be what?”
I shake my head, brushing it off.
“Better not be drunk at the birth of our first child?” He leans forward with a grin, grabbing my hand in his as we lay on our sides on the bed.
My eyes nervously meet his and I take a breath and blow it out.
“It’s alright, Scarlett. It’s good to envision our future together. Today, holding Wesley, I felt something deep inside of me that, well...I’ve never felt before.”
“I felt that same feeling.” I begin, swallowing, “Seeing you holding him.”
He weaves his fingers through mine, placing his forehead against my forehead as the butterflies empty my stomach and release throughout my body.
“Our day will come.” He smiles, capturing my lips in his.
The use of the phrase again after his mother said it earlier makes me warm inside.
“But, you have things to accomplish. Dreams that are in reach. Italy is only a week away. Are you ready for what that’s going to do for your career?”
I sigh, somehow even more in love with this man as every second passes. He truly thinks of me first, before the expectations, societal standards of husband and wife settling down, the wife succumbing to the housewife life, all that. He thinks of me and my goals. But, my goals have altered. There are things more important to me now, after everything I’ve been through.
“I’m not living just for my career anymore. I’m living for us. For you.”
He takes in a breath, his mouth parting ever so slightly, as the look on his face turns serious. “You...you make me so happy.”
I cup his stubble, running my thumb across his lip.
“I love you, Toren. I’m not perfect, nor do I pretend to be, but you have my heart. All of it, you had it before I let myself allow it. Now you own it. I’m yours, always.”
He winces his eyes closed tightly, flexing his jaw, then looks deeply into mine. “And I’ll love you forever.”
With our declarations of love, we add another layer of skin on the wound that’s still healing. Day by day, we find our strength together, building for a future that we deserve. A future that’s historically been so far out of reach.
But it’s there.
We just need to grab it.