Mending Heart

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Bonus Chapter 3

Get With the Program

“Sometimes the most shocking surprises are also the most beautiful surprises.”


[3 years later]

“Asher, stop running!” I shouted after the twins, bouncing a cranky one-year old River on my hip. “Parker!”

I swear to God, these kids were going to be the death of me.

“Your brothers are crazy,” I cooed at River, planting a soft kiss on his nose. “Yes they are. And they’re going to drive mommy crazy too!”

When Ethan suggested we should try for another baby after the twins’ first birthday, I thought why the hell not? A big family was something I always longed for when I was younger, and the twins were angels. Or so I thought.

As soon as they started walking, my adorable green-eyes babies went from angels to daredevils.

Drawings on the walls.

Broken toys.

Furniture broken.

Although I would never admit it out loud, I’m not sure if I would have agreed to more kids if the twins started acting this way before I got pregnant again. Of course Ethan was as supportive as ever, but there was only so much he could do in the middle of the night when River was screaming his head off because he wanted me to hold him.

While the twins were dependent on each other, River was a mama’s boy through and through. Not that I was complaining – because at the end of the day, there was nothing better than having him fall asleep in my arms.

“Are you ready for your playdate with Jennifer?” I asked an oblivious River, finally reaching the bottom of the stairs. I really should talk to Ethan about a house with less stairs. It was exhausting carrying a twenty-five pound baby in your arms all day. Every time I set him down, River would scream bloody murder.

His face was scrunched up in concentration as he continued to fumble with the toy car in his hands. “You look real excited, buddy.” I laughed, swinging the door open.

“Eric is never allowed to go away ever again.” Megan let out a frustrated groan as her son Julian ran past me.

“Julian –” She called after him, stepping inside. “How many times have I told you not to run in other people’s homes!”

“Do you need help?” I cocked an eyebrow, watching her struggle to balance Jennifer’s car seat and diaper bag.

“I need wine.” Megan glared at me, walking straight towards the living room.

“It’s 11 AM, Megan.” I laughed, setting River down on the floor. I watched as his little feet carried him towards where the other boys were playing in the playroom. Megan and I probably had ten minutes of peace and quiet before someone tried to poke their eyes out – we might as well enjoy it.

“God, I forgot what it was like to take care of a newborn.” Megan collapsed on the couch, baby Jennifer still sound asleep in her car seat.

“She can’t be that bad.” I replied, taking a seat across from her. I had yet to change out of my pajamas for the day, my hair was loosely tied in a bun, and there was two-day-old spit up on my shirt. All in all, I’d say this was a major improvement from earlier in the week.

“Kenzie,” Megan deadpanned, and it was then that I really saw the exhaustion on her face. The longer I scanned her face, the more pronounced the bags under her eyes became and she too looked like she hadn’t showered in a few days. “She won’t stop crying! No matter what I do, she just won’t stop crying at night. Last night, I had to call my mom to come stay with Julian while I drove her around for three hours. Three hours!”

Motherhood had certainly been a journey.

No matter how many books you read, or how many people you ask for advice – nothing can prepare you for the screaming in the middle of the night, or constantly feeling powerless.

By the time River was born, I had gotten a lot better at this whole being a mother thing. Of course it was a challenge in itself having three kids, but nothing like the first time around. The first time around with the twins – well let’s just say that if it weren’t for Ethan choosing to work from home for the first six months, I probably wouldn’t have made it.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’d wake up in the middle of the night to feed either Asher or Parker, and afterwards I’d sit in their nursery and just cry. That’s where Ethan would find me in the morning – curled up in the armchair next to their cribs.

Most of the time it would be for stupid reasons too. Like I would put one of them down, and the other would start crying. Or we’d be out of baby wipes and they needed their diapers changed.

I just felt like such a failure most of the time.

But, there were also the times when the tears were happy tears. Like when Parker first started walking, or when Asher’s first word was mama and Parker’s was dada. The boys were so alike, yet so different. And River – well River was just spoiled. He was the splitting image of Ethan, and such a mama’s boy.

“You know you’re always welcome here.” I flashed Megan an encouraging smile. “I probably won’t be too much help, but at least we can sit on the floor together and cry.”

“Aww Kenzie,” Megan tilted her head to the side, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “You always know what to say to make me feel better.”

“That’s what I’m here for.” I teased, sticking my tongue out at her.

As if on cue, Jennifer’s loud cries made an appearance.

“See!” Megan sighed helplessly, beginning to push herself up off the couch when I shook my head.

“I got her.” I said, standing up from my seat and bending down to pick her up. Jennifer was barely three months old, and still a tiny little thing. She continued to cry for another few minutes before finally nuzzling into my neck and falling back asleep.

Megan and Eric had adopted Jennifer a few days after she was born. The two of them had been trying to have another baby since shortly after Julian was born, but unfortunately, the doctors told Megan it was too risky for her to carry another pregnancy to term.

The two of them were devastated at first, but then they came to the decision they still wanted to have more kids – even if they weren’t biologically theirs.

“Are you and Ethan going to try again?” Megan’s voice pulled me out of my thoughts.

“God no!” My eyes snapped up to meet hers. “We’re not getting any younger, and I can barely keep up with these three.”

Just then, Asher came running into the living room and dove right into the couch cushions, nearly kicking Megan in the face – Parker not too far behind him.

“You’re not that old.” She rolled her eyes.

“Megan,” I scowled, shaking my head. “I’m thirty-six.”

“Plenty of people have kids when they’re older.” She shrugged, pulling River – who had waddled his way into the living room – into her lap and showering him with kisses.

I opened my mouth to reply, but just then I heard a loud crash in the playroom.

“MOM!”

................

Megan and I had just put the kids to bed when the doorbell rang. The two of us exchanged a look as I made my way towards the front door. Pulling the door open, I was greeted with my mother in law’s smiling face and her husband’s scowl.

You have got to be fucking kidding me, I thought as I forced myself to smile. “Hi!”

“Kenzie!” Natasha greeted me, pulling me into a tight hug.

“Come in.” I motioned, pulling the door open wider and taking a step back. “What are you guys doing here?”

“Visiting my grandbabies, and my favorite daughter in law.” Natasha teased as she left her suitcase by the door for Ethan’s dad to carry. “Caleb’s in town for business, and I thought I’d come along to see my babies.”

She must have taken my silence to mean something because she quickly added, “You said it was okay if we stopped by this weekend?”

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I really need to start writing stuff down, I thought. This mom-brain thing is no joke.

“Of course!” I quickly rushed out, closing the front door behind them. “Ethan’s not home though. He’s in Switzerland this week.”

If I had remembered I’d agreed to play host to his parents, I would have told him to push his guys trip with Eric back a week. Natasha I love – hell, she can come over whenever she wants and stay for however long she wants. Her husband on the other hand, well– the two of us still couldn’t stand to be in the same room together for longer than ten minutes.

No matter how hard I tried, Ethan’s dad still couldn’t stand me.

“On business?” Mr. Thomas asked, eyeing me.

“No,” I politely replied, trying my best to hide the grimace on my face. “The kids are already down for the night.” I figured it was best to steer the conversation towards neutral ground. Despite Mr. Thomas’s continuous distain towards me, he absolutely adored the kids.

“You guys can take the spare bedroom down the hall.” I pointed towards the door all the way past the kitchen. “I was just about to order pizza for dinner. Would you like to join Megan and I?”

“We’d love to.” Natasha replied, flashing me a warm smile. “Wouldn’t we, Caleb?”

“Yes.” Mr. Thomas gritted.

I nodded, biting the inside of my cheek to stop from laughing. I secretly think Natasha got some sort of weird satisfaction out of making her husband miserable. Then, turning on my heel, I headed back into the living room.

“Ethan’s parents are here.” I whispered, this time not trying to hide my displeasure.

Megan snorted, shoving a handful of popcorn in her mouth. “Now I regret my decision to sleep over.”

“You’re not allowed to leave until they do.” I deadpanned as Megan burst out laughing. Reaching for the nearest pillow, I chucked it at her – hitting her square in the face.

Trust my best friend to laugh at my misery.

Later that night, I had just gotten out of the shower when my phone pinged on the nightstand. Walking the short distance, I sat on the edge of the bed as I unlocked it.

It was a series of pictures from Ethan, followed by:

Ethan: Miss you and the boys ❤️

A smile tugged at the corner of my lips as I flipped through the pictures.

McKenzie: Your parents are here.

Ethan: Both of them.

McKenzie: Yes.

Ethan: I can change my flight and come home later today.....

I laughed.

McKenzie: Stop being a drama queen. I can handle your dad :)

McKenzie: That, or you’ll have to come post my bail and the kids will have to visit mommy in prison.

Less than twenty-four hours later, I was seriously starting to regret my decision to not have Ethan come home early.

We were all sitting at the dining room table, eating dinner – me, the boys, and Ethan’s parents. Natasha had volunteered to make dinner even though I told her she didn’t have to, and Megan had left around lunch time despite my pleas for her to stay through the entire weekend.

I was on my second glass of wine already, and I was clutching the glass dangerously tight in my hand as I listened to Ethan’s dad speak. “All I’m saying is, Ethan could have taken over the CEO position if he had a little more encouragement.” He looked right at me when he said that.

Deep breaths McKenzie, I told myself. Lifting the wine glass up to my lips, I took a large gulp. Deep breaths.

“Caleb.” Natasha warned, her eyes flashing dangerously.

“I mean –” Mr. Thomas completely ignored her, a smug smirk plastered on his face. “He’s off gallivanting around Europe right now.”

At the same time, River took a handful of spaghetti off his plate and flung it on the floor – causing the twins to erupt into fits of giggles.

“Look Mr. Thomas –″ I took a deep breath, setting my wine glass on the table. “I think I’ve been patient enough the past seven years since I’ve known your son – four of which we’ve been married. I’m not going anywhere, and if you continue to want to be welcome into my home, around my children, I suggest you learn to finally respect me.”

I don’t know where that came from, but it was seven years overdue and it felt good to finally say out loud.

“For God’s sake.” Natasha let out an exasperated sigh, letting her silverware clang against the table. “Get with the program, Caleb!”

“If you’ll excuse me.” I said, pushing my seat back and lifting River into my arms. “Boys – upstairs. Now!”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” I heard Natasha shout once I had stepped out of the room. “Are you trying to never have me see my grand babies?”

“Natasha –”

“Shut up when I am speaking!” She cut him off, and I couldn’t help but chuckle. “If you keep this up Caleb...” Their voices drifted into the background as I stepped onto the second floor landing.

.................

That night, I was in the kitchen washing the dishes when Ethan’s dad cornered me.

“McKenzie?”

“Yes, Mr. Thomas?” I gritted, twisting around to face him.

“I would like to...” He scratched the back of his neck, refusing to meet my gaze. “I would like to apologize for my behavior earlier.”

My eyebrows shot up and I blinked a few times. “Excuse me?”

“I was... I was out of line earlier.” It was clear that he wasn’t here apologizing by choice. The way he refused to look me in the eye and the scowl on his face were a dead giveaway. “I should not have spoken to you like that, and I – I apologize.”

I nodded, not really sure how to respond. I can’t say I ever thought I’d see the day when Caleb Thomas apologized to me – even if he was forced by his wife.

Chewing on the inside of my lip, I finally asked, “Can I ask you something, Mr. Thomas?”

“Of course.” He nodded, crossing his arms across his chest. He reminded me of a much older version of Ethan. Both of them shared the same authoritative and intimidating stance, down to the way both of them pursed their lips into a thin line and stared right into your soul.

“Why do you hate me so much?”

He cocked an eyebrow, and at first, he looked taken aback by my question. “I don’t hate you.”

It was my turn to raise an eyebrow. “Yes you do.”

“You’re just not who I had envisioned for my son.” He took a step away from the doorway, taking a seat on one of the island stools.

Ouch.

“But Stacy was?” I challenged, leaning my back against the counter next to the sink.

“Stacy was...” He trailed off, sighing. “Stacy was ideal on the outside.”

“Right.” I snorted, my eyes rolling of their own accord. “Well I’m sorry I’m not perfect like she was.”

Silence.

“But let me make this really simple for you.” I continued, a newfound sense of courage coursing through my veins. “You can either learn to finally accept me, or you can stop coming around.”

Again, silence.

“Then I’d like to apologize. Again.” He mumbled, finally meeting my gaze. Then, he cleared his throat. “For the way that I’ve treated you the past seven years. It’s clear that you love my son very much, and you’re a wonderful mother to the boys.”

I gaped at him, not believing the words coming out of his mouth. This had to be some sort of joke because there’s no way he just apologized, I thought.

“I hope you can accept my apology.” He continued curtly. “Natasha and I would like to spend as much time as possible with you and and the boys.”

“I... I – don’t know what to say.” If he was expecting me to just accept his apology after seven years of torment and him alluding to the fact that I was basically a gold-digging whore – well it was going to take a little more than just one apology.

“Just think about it.” He replied, standing up and making his way out of the kitchen.

“Goodnight, Mr. Thomas.” I said, picking up the yellow sponge and turning on the kitchen sink.

“Please, call me Caleb.” He called out, and my head snapped in his direction.

Maybe – just maybe – we were finally starting to make some progress.

“Okay.” I nodded. “Goodnight, Caleb.”

...................

“Fuck me.” I groaned as I flushed the toilet, reaching for the tube of toothpaste and my toothbrush.

“Gladly.” Ethan smirked, casually leaning against the door frame.

“Go away,” I rolled my eyes, the minty taste of the toothpaste a welcome alternative to the breakfast I just threw up. “I’m yucky.”

“Are you feeling okay babe?” He asked, concern laced in his voice.

“Yes –” I replied, spitting out a mouthful of toothpaste and reaching for the water to rinse. “It’s probably the sushi from last night. It tasted kinda funny.”

He nodded, his lips pursed together. “You don’t think...?” Ethan eyed me cautiously, his brows furrowed together.

“Think what, Ethan?” I snapped, meeting his gaze in the large bathroom mirror.

“That you could be pregnant.” He finally said.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” I scoffed, slipping past him and walking into the closet. I grabbed a pair of blue jeans and a maroon knitted sweater off the hanger before walking back towards the bed. Unfortunately, I had to be a responsible adult today and that meant I needed to put on real clothes.

“I’m still on the pill.” I reminded Ethan as I pulled the sweater over my head. After River, both of us were too drained to even think about having any more kids.

“Okay.” He lifted his hands up in surrender. “Do you want me to drop off the twins at daycare?”

“Yes.” I replied, grabbing my purse and following him down the stairs.

For the rest of the day, I couldn’t shake Ethan’s words. The logical part of my brain was telling me there was no way that he could be right, but the irrational part was already freaking out. And so, right after my lunch, I stopped by Dr. Gamboa’s office to see if she could see me in between patients.

Luckily she had a last minute cancelation and I was able to go right in.

“Yup!” Dr. Gamboa smiled. “You’re pregnant.”

You have got to be fucking kidding me, I mentally groaned. This was not happening again. I’m going to sue the manufacturer of my birth control pills.

“Kenzie?” Dr. Gamboa asked, pulling me out of my thoughts.

“Yeah?” I finally opened my eyes, only to be met with her concerned ones.

“Are you okay?” She asked.

“How many?” I asked, biting my lip.

“How many...?” Her eyebrows furrowed together in confusion.

“Babies.” My eyes flickered to the ultrasound screen.

All of a sudden this felt like déjà vu.

“Oh –” She quickly recovered, laughing. “One baby. Twelve weeks.”

Thank fucking god, I sighed as I allowed myself to visibly relax.

One more baby. I can handle that, I tried telling myself before I burst out laughing. Dr. Gamboa glanced at me from the corner of her eye, but she didn’t say anything.

When I got home later that day after my appointment, I found Ethan in the kitchen.

“Well – ” I said, throwing my keys on the kitchen island. “You were right.”

“About what?” He lifted his eyes to meet mine, his hand raised halfway in the air to feed River a spoonful of mashed potatoes.

“I’m pregnant.” I said, walking further into the kitchen and reaching inside the cabinet for a glass.

“How do you feel?” Ethan asked after a few minutes of silence – the only noise coming from the open fridge and River’s babbling.

“Fine?” I looked at him quizzically.

“How do you feel about having another baby?” Ethan clarified just as River pushed his hand away.

“How do you feel about having another baby?” I retorted, lifting the glass to my lips and taking a sip of water.

I watched as his lips tugged upwards in a smile. Setting the bowl down on the counter next to him, Ethan stood up and walked over to me. “I always pictured us having a girl.” He smiled sheepishly, pulling me into his open arms.

“A girl, huh?” I smirked, leaning further into his embrace.

“Yes.” He buried his face into my shoulder, leaving a trail of butterfly kisses. “A little girl that takes after her mom – someone who is strong, beautiful, and independent.”

............

During my twenty-four week appointment with Dr. Gamboa, Ethan insisted on coming with me. I was laying down, my shirt pulled all the way up to my chest and my stomach sticking out. Although I didn’t gain as much weight during my first trimester this time around, I was starting to show more and more each day.

Ethan was sitting down in the chair right next to the exam table, his eyes glued to the ultrasound monitor.

He’d been extra clingy lately – coming with me to almost every single appointment. At first I thought it was cute. But when he started picking up the groceries and basically refusing to let me out of his sight, I started to get annoyed.

Just the other day, I left him at home with the kids and went for a walk in the snow all by myself because he was suffocating me. He definitely didn’t like that, but once I told him I was sleeping in the guest bedroom if he took another step towards me, he reluctantly let me go.

I don’t know what he thought was going to happen, but he needed to get his shit together because lately, it’s been like I have four kids – not three.

“Do you guys want to know the sex of the baby?” Dr. Gamboa asked, pausing to look at Ethan and I. We both replied at the same time.

"Yes.”

"No.”

I whipped my head to the side, eyebrows arched. “No.” I narrowed my eyes at him.

“I want to know!” Ethan protested, his lips curled into a small pout.

“Let me be blissfully ignorant as to what we’re having.” I shook my head. “I’m not ready to part with the idea of having a girl just yet.”

Ethan continued to look at me like I was crazy. Eventually he let out a sigh, leaning back in the chair. “Fine.” Then, he turned his attention towards Dr. Gamboa who was watching our entire exchange in amusement. “Any chance you can tell me after, doc?”

“No!” I quickly protested, my eyes darting between the two of them. “You can’t tell him. He won’t be able to keep it a secret for the next three months!”

Dr. Gamboa looked torn between what to say, and I turned to glare at Ethan. ”No.”

“Fine.” He rolled his eyes, shaking his head. “We won’t find out the sex of the baby.”

I smiled triumphantly, accepting the roll of paper towels from Dr. Gamboa.

After my appointment, Ethan and I grabbed a quick lunch before I dropped him off back at the office. We were currently parked outside the large office building, the mid-February snow coming down hard outside. “Baby, let me drop you off at home. I just need to run in real quick to grab my laptop.”

“Ethan,” I let out an exasperated sigh, letting my head drop back on the headrest. “We’ve talked about your insistent need to be overbearing for whatever fucking reason.”

“McKenzie.” He growled, and I could feel his glare on me. “It’s snowing like fucking crazy outside. Just stop being stubborn.”

“I am not stubborn.” I cracked one eye open to look at him from the corner of my eye. Ethan looked like he was seconds away from physically removing me from the driver’s seat, despite my protests.

“You’re right –” He scoffed, sarcasm dripping with every word. “You’re being incredibly fucking stubborn. Not to mention reckless!”

My eyes snapped open and I twisted in my seat. “Get out of my car.”

“No.” He gritted, extending his hand. “Give me the keys.”

“No!”

"McKenzie.”

"Ethan.”

Before I could react, Ethan had reached forward and grabbed the keys from my hand. “Give them back!” I groaned, pinning him with a glare.

Ethan didn’t bother to reply as he got out of the passenger’s seat and walked over to my side. Pulling the door open, he looked at me expectantly. When I made no motion to move, he sighed. “You can keep making a scene and I can carry you over to the other side, or you can just comply.”

Glancing around, I noticed a few people were looking at us. Rolling my eyes, I slipped past him and around to the other side, slamming the door shut with a huff.

“That wasn’t so hard,” Ethan mocked. “Now was it?” I didn’t reply. Instead, I crossed my arms across my chest and kept my eyes glued to the snow falling against the windshield.

We were almost home when I finally said, “Are we crazy?”

“What do you mean?” Ethan briefly shifted his eyes off the heavy traffic, stealing a quick glance at me.

“For having another baby?” I mumbled, tracing my thumb alongside his palm.

I’d be lying if I said that hadn’t been on my mind lately. I was more and more exhausted as the days went on, and despite my mom and Ethan being around to help, it all became too much at times.

I had continued to see Caryn – my therapist – on and off again for the last eight years. Recently however, I found myself in her office more often than not. It was easy to fall down a rabbit hole, and I felt myself slowly but surely begin to fall. I had been fortunate enough not to get postpartum depression, but I think everything was just starting to hit me.

Either that, or it was the fucking hormones. I couldn’t stop crying for the life of me. Last night I was watching Grey’s Anatomy, and I couldn’t stop bawling my eyes during the bombing episode.

“Well it’s a little too late now,” Ethan laughed nervously, his brows furrowed together. “Look McKenzie – you’re an amazing mom and whether we have another boy or a girl, you’re still going to be an amazing mom. I’ve never met anyone with as much passion and so full of love as you.”

“You’ve never met anyone as high maintenance either.” I bit back, a small smile tugging at the corner of my lips.

“I plead the fifth.” Ethan laughed as the car stopped at a red light. Reaching across the console, he quickly pecked my lips, brushing this thumb across my lower lip. “But McKenzie, no matter how crazy life gets, it’s you and me babe. We’re in this together.”

I nodded, feeling the tears begin to prickle my eyes. Stupid fucking hormones, I groaned as I wiped away the few tears that had fallen down my cheeks.

............

The rest of my pregnancy flew by in a blur, and before I knew it, my water broke.

“Ethan.” I called out, reaching across the nightstand to turn on the lamp.

Nothing.

“Ethan!” I repeated, this time louder.

Still nothing.

“For fuck’s sake!” I grumbled, taking my pillow and smacking him in the face.

“What?” He jumped out of bed, his eyes wildly scanning the room. “What’s going on?”

“My water broke.” I calmly replied, pushing the covers off me.

"What?” He asked dumbfounded.

“I said –”

“What the fuck are we still doing here?” He practically ran into the closet, turning on all the lights in our room along the way. “We need someone to watch the kids! Who lives the closest?”

"Ethan.”

“Is it Meg or your mom? Or maybe Taylor?” He poked his head through the door.

"Ethan!” I exclaimed.

“What?” He finally stopped pacing long enough to face me. Still in his boxers, he looked ridiculous with a sweater half over his head and his hair tousled in all directions.

“My mom’s already on her way.” I rolled my eyes. I swear, he was acting like he was the one that was just about to give birth. “Make sure you grab my hospital bag.”

By the time we reached the hospital, my contractions were coming out closer and closer together and I was starting to think I might just have this baby in the elevator.

Gone was the calm McKenzie from earlier.

“I’m getting my tubes tied.” I gritted, squeezing Ethan’s hand in mine as I watched the floor numbers in the elevator change from seven to eight, and finally to nine.

“Can someone get her an epidural or something?” Ethan glanced around at the nurses helplessly. “She’s about to crush my hand.”

“Oh I’m sorry Ethan,” I laughed sarcastically. “Are you in pain? Is my squeezing your hand painful? Imagine pushing a human through your vagina!”

Just then one of the nurses said, “We can’t reach Dr. Gamboa.”

“What do you mean you can’t reach her?” I practically shouted, on the verge of tears.

“Let’s get you into a delivery room and we’ll keep paging her.” The same nurse smiled at me, and I just wanted to reach across and throttle her.

“Ethan!” I whined. “I want Dr. Gamboa!”

“I know baby,” He tried to reason with me, gently cupping my cheek. “And they’re trying to reach her. But if they can’t, you need to let the on-call doctor deliver.”

I didn’t get a chance to reply when another contraction hit me. “FUCK!” I shouted. If this is natural childbirth, no wonder people aren’t lining up to have kids.

From that point onward, everything else was pretty much a blur to me.

I vaguely remember Dr. Gamboa walking into the delivery room at some point and refusing to administer an epidural, followed by a string of curse words out of my mouth.

But I do remember one thing, I smiled at the memory.

“It’s a girl!” One of the nurses declared in between all the craziness in the room. I glanced around, my eyes landing on Ethan’s piercing green ones, and I swear I saw tears in his eyes.

“It’s a girl, Ethan.” I said, my eyes welling up with tears.

We were having a girl.

At exactly 5:34 AM, our baby girl was born weighing an astounding nine pounds and two ounces. The moment my eyes landed on her, I knew exactly what we were going to name her.

While Ethan and I waited for the nurse to bring our baby girl back, I groggily said, “Charlotte Marie Thomas.”

“What, baby?” Ethan whispered, caressing my cheek. He was laying down next to me, my head resting on his chest.

“That’s her name.” I mumbled, lifting my head to look at him. “Charlotte Marie Thomas.”

“It’s beautiful.” He replied, softly kissing my cheek as I drifted off.

Ethan practically jumped out of his seat when the nurse wheeled Charlotte back into the room about an hour later. “How is she?” He asked. “Is she okay?”

“You have a healthy baby girl,” The nurse smiled, positioning Charlotte in my arms. “With quite the lung capacity!”

“She takes after her mom in that department.” Ethan teased, his eyes glued to the sleeping baby in my arms.

“Hi baby.” I cooed, adjusting Charlotte in my arms. Despite weighing more than either of her brothers did when they were born, she was still so tiny and fragile.

“She’s perfect.” I whispered, brushing my finger against her forehead.

“You’re both perfect.” Ethan replied, bending down and planting a kiss on my forehead.

_____________________________________________

Full disclosure, I am NOT a mom. I’ve never given birth nor have I had to navigate motherhood. With that being said, if anything in this chapter seems off to you, please feel free to point it out.

There will be ONE more bonus chapter after this one - who’s excited? 🙋🏻‍♀️

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