Lilly’s parents came for a visit and were happy to see Lilly so happy.
They stayed through the entire three weeks of the livestock show and rodeo.
Lilly was four months pregnant but because of her size she looked like she was ready to drop any minute.
She had been cleared to work at the livestock show, but her managers were super nervous, but she took every precaution.
Cole talked to Jake and Jackie about his feelings for Lilly.
“I know I don’t deserve her, but I love her. She is everything I could ever dream of and so much more. I know this maybe hard on you, but I promise that we’ve not done anything to dishonor Sara’s memories, and I’ve been cautious around your daughter because she is a hard one to stay chaste around. I guess it’s the hormones, but she’s driving me nuts.” Cole respected Lilly’s parents enough to be completely honest.
“I’d like your blessing to ask Lilly to be my wife.”
Jake and Jackie just looked at each other. It seemed so soon after Sara’s death, but they also realized that the two of them would be co-parenting, and it would be easier if they were married.
Jake told Cole that he appreciated his candor and that he cared enough about both of his daughters to keep their relationship chaste, but he worried that Lilly wasn’t thinking clearly because of the hormones.
Cole respected that. He had to. These were his nearest relatives, and he didn’t want them to hate him.
“Give her some time, Cole.” Jackie advised that he “see how Lilly feels after the baby is born.”
“Son, she’s gone from our house to a dorm to your home. We just want to make sure that she’s not making too many sacrifices. She’s just twenty-five.”
Cole understood. It wasn’t the answer he was hoping for, but he respected their comments.
He hadn’t told Lilly that he was going to ask for her hand in marriage, because he honestly didn’t know what their answer would be. He was thankful that he had resisted the urge to tell her.
After Jackie and Jake left, they promised to come down for the birth.
Fortunately, the nausea and vomiting had stopped after the second trimester, and now Lilly was waddling around the house because she still was high risk for miscarriage.
She took a leave of absence after the rodeo and focused on getting the nursery ready.
Cole had talked to her and decided that he wanted to close down the location in South Houston and just keep the one in Galveston.
She was in support of that because it meant he was home more often.
Fortunately, she had no more run-ins with Ricky.
It was a late June night when she cried out to Cole, who still slept outside her door.
“Cole. I think I’m in labor,” she said in disbelief.
“Honey, it’s too early. You aren’t due for another eight weeks. It’s probably Braxton Hicks. They feel like labor pain, but they are just preparing you for the real ones,” Cole said as he tried to calm her down.
“I’m sorry. Have you ever had either...Braxton Hicks or real ones?”
“No, of course not.” He laughed.
“Then you have no idea what I’m feeling. I need to go to the hospital,” she demanded.
Cole was sure that she would feel stupid later, after finding out that they were false labor pains, but he wasn’t going to argue with her.
He helped her out to the car and headed the five miles to the hospital.
“Hurry! It really hurts,” she demanded.
“Just breathe. In and out.”
“I am breathing. Now step on it,” she shouted.
When they arrived at the hospital, sure enough she was in full-blown labor.
By the time Dr. Winters arrived, Lilly was already dilated eight centimeters. She was beyond the point of getting an epidural or any pain meds. She would have to listen to Cole’s voice and stay calm.
Dr. Winters did a vaginal check and discovered that the baby was breached.
“I don’t understand,” Lilly cried out with so much pain.
Cole explained that the baby was turned the wrong way and that he couldn’t be delivered that way because he could choke on the umbilical cord.
Dr. Winters told Lilly to relax, and that he was going to try to turn the baby around.
Cole’s experience in labor, as the pediatrician, he knew that this was a very painful procedure and that very little time was available for it to be successful.
He held Lilly’s hand, wiped her head and told her how proud he was of her.
It broke his heart to hear her screaming out in pain. He wished he could have done something to relieve her of this, but he knew it was in her hands and Dr. Winters’.
Dr. Winters advised the couple that the reversal was unsuccessful, and that he would have to do a c-section.
Even though the breach reversal was painful, Lilly begged for him to try again. She didn’t want to have a c-section, but Cole shooed her fears away and said that this was best for the baby and her. It would be over in less than fifteen minutes, and she would be able to hold her little boy. Hearing that, she consented and was whisked off to the operating room.
Cole never left her side. He held her hand as they made the incision, and held his breath as he watch his son immerse. Only, as a pediatrician, he instantly knew that something was wrong. In addition to him being born prematurely, he was blue. His fear was that Lilly had delivered a stillborn.
He dropped her hand briefly and went over to the nurses, who were sucking the amniotic fluids out of the baby’s mouth and nose, and watched patiently as he continued not to breathe.
He could hear Lilly asking what was wrong, but no one was answering her.
As the pediatrician on call, Cole had to pronounce his son dead. It was the most heart-breaking thing he’d experienced in his entire career.
Then Dr. Winters called him back to Lilly, who was still crying in pain and was asking what was wrong with the baby. Dr. Winters swore under his breath and miraculously pulled out a second child, another son, who was screaming bloody murder.
She asked if he was ok, and Dr. Winters said he was smaller than expected but that he had a great pair of lungs on him.
Cole ran over to the warmer and checked out his son. He wasn’t fully formed. He was still missing his eyebrows and lashes, and was only two point four pounds but he was kicking and screaming like he had just won a marathon.
Cole ran his Apgar test, and found that his son was between six and seven, with ten being the goal.
The nurses quickly wrapped him up and took him into the Neonatal Preemie Unit.
Lilly just cried. She never got to see her son. She knew something was wrong, but she didn’t know what.
Dr. Winters told her that she had a son and he was being taking care of at the NIC unit, and she could see him later.
Glancing at Cole, he showed him the syringe that held something to put her to sleep, and he shook his head. Poor Lilly had so many questions, and no one could give her the answers she needed, so instead they put her to sleep and let her rest peacefully until she awoke the next day.
Only she awoke to an empty room. No Cole; no family; no baby. She felt so alone.