“What?” I looked over at Anastasia and the puddle of water under her.
“Yeah,” Elijah said, “your wife’s water just broke! What are you two doing, don’t you need to get to the hospital?”
Oh, god. Right now?
“No, not yet.” She declined as she grabbed my arm tightly, “I’m due next week, not today. I-I-I’m not ready,” she cried, “we’re not prepared!”
“Ow,” she exclaimed whilst holding her stomach, “ow, okay- um, apparently, the contractions are starting. Will one of you please start a timer somewhere? Somehow. I need to sit down.”
Elijah whipped out his phone as I led Ana to the nearest chair, “What do you need?”
“Other than a hospital? Maybe we should start with calling the doctor.”
“Yes, right-” I struggled to get my phone out of my pocket, “I knew that.”
“Dear Lord, help me, I married one of the slower ones,” I heard the line ringing.
“C’mon Dr. Lovett, pick up.”
“Hello?” I heard her answer.
“Dr. Lovett, thank god, um-”
“Is there a problem, Tyler?”
I put her on speaker, “Well, yes and no. I think Anastasia’s kind of, maybe going into labor. Please help. She’s delusional.”
“Alright, do you have someone measuring the length of time between her contractions?”
“Um,” I glanced over at Elijah, “yes, ma’am. But, we just started, her water broke like thirty seconds ago.”
“Well, I had some discomfort earlier,” Anastasia said, more to herself, “that’s so weird. Were those contractions?”
“Possibly. Were they kind of like angry butterflies?”
“Ye- ooh!” She hissed.
“Those were actually contractions. How far apart are they now?”
I looked over at Eli, who just held up five fingers.
I heard some shuffling on her end, “Oh, that’s so soon! Because if the, um, circumstances, I need you two to get down to the hospital. I’ll meet you there.”
“Yes, ma’am.” After hanging up I looked at Anastasia and sighed, “Well, let’s go have these kids.”
“Come on, Anastasia, push for me!” Dr. Lovett yelled, “I’ve got the shoulders, you can do this!”
“I know you can do this, baby,” I told her. She held onto my hand, her nails dug into my palm.
“Okay, okay,” she let out a noise as she pushed, “Tyler, it hurts!”
“I know, but I promise you can do this.”
“Come on, you’re doing great,” the doctor called, “all we need are those hips!”
Sweat trickled down my wife’s forehead and I saw the tears of pain in her eyes. I wished I could help, just take her pain away. A few more pushes and the first baby was out.
“See, sweetie, you’re doing so well,” I told her, “this is going by so fast.”
“Tyler Christopher- fucking- Meyers, I’ve been in labor for hours!” she yelled back at me before looking down at her stomach, “Ow, why?!”
“I know you’re tired, Anastasia,” the doctor looked up at her, “but that was just one baby. We have to do it again.”
“What?” she began to cry, “No, no we don’t, looks like these babies are staying in!” She tried to compose herself, “Yeah, let’s stop and reschedule. We’ll pick up here another day, when it’s more convenient.”
“Sweetie, it just doesn’t work like that. You can do this!”
“No!” she laid on her back and looked up at me with pleading eyes, ” No, Tyler, I can’t,” she shook her head, “I’m so sorry, but I can’t do this two more times, I just can’t do it!”
“Look at me,” she’d closed her eyes to avoid mine, she opened them slowly and I gave her a kiss on the forehead, “I love you. I know that you can do this,” I lowered myself to her level, “c’mon, you got this, just a few hours of pain for a lifetime of happiness. For you, for me, for them. You want to finally see the babies we worked so hard for, don’t you?”
She smiled weakly and nodded, “I really do...” After another deep breath, she said, “Okay, I’m ready.”
“Alright, mama,” the doctor broke up our little moment, “baby number two is crowning, you have to help them into the world. Push!”
After quite a lot of pushing, screaming, crying, and trying to break my hand, both babies were out.
“Here you go, Mrs. Meyers,” a nurse tried handing a baby to her.
“No,” she replied tiredly, “...I- I want to hold the one that...” a tear fell down her face, this time it wasn’t one of pain but of sadness, “that didn’t... make it.”
Another nurse came up behind her and handed Anastasia a baby. I didn’t even realize that I was crying too, until I kissed my wife’s forehead and some of my tears were left behind. She grabbed my hand with her right hand as she held the baby boy in her left arm.
He was fair skinned, with a whole head of curly black hair, even now. We just watched him lay peacefully until she started talking.
“You’re so beautiful,” she said, her voice strained, “and you look just like your daddy, you know that? And... I know you can’t hear me- I mean, even if you could you wouldn’t understand a word- but, if you could then I’d tell you that I’m your mommy,” her voice hitched and she closed her eyes for a second. “I’m your mommy and I love you so much... and I’m so proud of you.
“And I don’t wanna let go, but I have to... So, I can meet your brother and sister... Okay?” She looked up at the closest nurse as two women handed each of us a bundle. With droopy eyes Anastasia said, “Oh,” she put a hand over her mouth as I glanced at the baby boy in her arms, “you look exactly like your brother.”
I saw her start to fall asleep as Dr. Lovett yelled, “Whoa, someone grab the baby!”
Someone pressed a button and as another nurse grabbed the little girl in my arms. I looked over to Ana as a male nurse moved me out of the way.
I finally found my voice, “Wait, what’s going on?”