I looked down at the tiny baby in my arms still in disbelief that he was mine. Born almost a full two months early he had only weighed a little over 4 pounds at birth. It had been two weeks since he had been born and I was amazed more and more by him every day.
Ethan James Heart was a fighter. The moment he was born he had been rushed to the neonatal unit. The poor kids first weeks of life has been spent in an incubator hooked to more tubes than I cared to think about.
His tiny hand grabbed my finger trying to pull it toward his mouth and I couldn’t help but laugh at him. “I know you aren’t hungry again.”
Those dark eyes of his looked up to me questioning as if to say “why wouldn’t I be.”
Kissing his forehead I looked down at him. “I can’t wait till you get to meet your mother.”
Ethan stretched in my arms and I felt a tear roll down my cheek. The day he was born was the best yet worst day of my life. When the doctors had rushed into Mia’s room I had thought it was to see my son but I had been wrong.
Ethan had already been rushed out of the room and Mia lay on the hospital table. They had only let me in because they were afraid she was dying. She was so pale and I had expected her to be asleep but Mia like Ethan was a fighter and her eyes fixed on mine the moment I walked into the room.
Seeing all of the blood reminded me of when she was shot. It seemed like it had happend forever ago. After Dr. Andreev had done everything he could do he watched her for several days before deciding we had to take her in. I had never been able to live down the guilt of her permanent injuries.
We had all known her carrying this baby was a risk but it was a risk Mia had wanted to take. A risk that she had convinced me would be worth it. I had to admit seeing my son in my arms was the best feeling I'd ever had but the torture his mother had went through was horrendous.
Two blood transfusions later and hours in the operating room they had finaly contained Mia's bleeding. She would never be able to have another child and her doctor told me that Ethan was a miracle in himself. Mia's doctors had been diligent on checking on her throughout her pregnancy but in the end none of it had been enough.
If all went well today Mia would finaly be able to hold Ethan and not have to see him by looking at pictures on a phone. It had killed her not being able to hold him or nurse him but she had been too weak and the stress of breastfeeding him would have killed her.
I looked up seeing a nurse wheel Mia into the room. The tears in her eyes made me want to cry. Her eyes for the first time since I met her wasn't focused on me, but the tiny little human in my arms. The nurse helped her put on the protective smock she had to wear to hold him before nodding at me.
As I held Ethan out to Mia tears ran down her face. She had yet to say a word and as the nurse helped me transfer him to her she leaned down kissing his forhead before looking up at me. My own tears escaped my eyes and as I wiped them I thanked God for the both of them. They were my entire world.
"Hey Ethan, "Mia's sweet voice rang out. "I'm your momma."
Ethan's dark eyes raised to hers and it was like he knew her, I guess he did. It was her voice he had heard over and over while she carried him. It was her that had insisted on reading to her pregnant stomach every night and singing to it every morning.
"He's perfect Mia."
She looked up at me, "he looks like you."
Ethan started to get fussy so a nurse came with his small bottle. "This little man can eat," she said handing over the bottle to Mia.
I leaned back in my chair watching Mia feed our son and couldn't get over how beautiful she was. I would give up everything for her and I pretty much already had but now, with her by my side there was no obstacle I couldn't get over.
8 months later
Hearing Ethan’s cry I moved to sit up wincing at the pain. Someday were better than others but today wasn’t starting off promising. I hated using my cane. It didn’t matter than Logan had me a custom made one, it was still a stark reminder of my dad.
Pushing myself up I made my way to his room next to ours only to discover Logan had already made it to him. Seeing me walk in Ethan squealed and I couldn’t help but stick my tongue out at Logan, “told you he likes me better than you.”
Logan rolled his eyes but smiled, “you can have him then. Every time I lay his stubborn ass down he wakes up screaming bloody murder.”
I laughed watching Logan stand up so I could sit down. “Come here Ethan and tell me all about how daddy has been mean to you.”
Logan shook his head, “that boy might look like me but he acts just like you.”
I looked up winking at him, “and you love me so?”
Hearing the phone ringing Logan walked out of the room. I looked down at Ethan smiling at him. “You have to quit giving your daddy such a hard time that’s my job.”
Ethan smiled up at me and I swore he could understand me. I never thought it possible to love anyone as much as I did him. I loved Logan but Ethan was a part of me, I had created him. He almost killed me but we had made it through.
After he was born I had went to a very dark place. Knowing you had a child in this world and not being able to hold them was a horrible feeling. I had wanted to breastfeed but I was so weak I was never given the chance. I had missed out on the first two weeks of his life and if it wasn’t for Logan I would have driven myself insane.
Logan popped his head in the room. “That was Steven. Ember’s in labor and they just admitted her. Looks like your about to become an Aunt.”
My jaw dropped, “omg I have to get dressed. Logan, we have to go.”
Logan shook his head, “baby there is no rush. Here give me Ethan and I’ll get him ready. You take it easy.”
I shook my head as I handed him Ethan and pushed myself up. “I will not be late for my nephews birth.”
Making my way down the hall I sat on the edge of my bed popping one of my pills hoping it would kick in quickly. Standing up I pulled out some clothes from my closet changing out of my nightgown. I was so excited my hands were shaking.
It was crazy to me to think that Ember had just came into my world less than two years ago yet we were now best friends. My mom swore we should have been twins. I had to be there for her. She had sat with Logan night after night when I had first come home helping him take care of both me and a newborn.
By the time we arrived Mom had already made it. Hope walked up crawling in my lap as Logan handed momma Ethan. “I can’t wait to see him,” I said.
Seth shook his head, “you wasn’t excited when I was born. Didn’t you want to return me to Walmart.”
Harper laughed playfully shoving him. “That was me you goof. Mia was the one who tried to treat you like her own personal baby doll and dress you up in girl clothes.”
We sat for what felt like ever before Steven came out with a huge grin on his face. “He’s here!”
Following him back to the room I immediately started crying seeing the tiny little boy holding on to my sisters fingers. She looked up at me, “you missed holding Ethan first. I want you to be the first to hold Jackson.”
Steven picked the baby up handing him over to me. “Mia meet Jackson Logan McGreggor.”
My eyes rose to meet Logan’s and I could see how taken aback he was. Ember looked up at Logan. “You made all of this possible Logan. Without you there would be no Ethan, there would be no Jackson.”
I shook my head, “can you believe we both have boys, the girls better watch out.”
As everyone laughed I looked around the small room. Mom had Hope in her arms looking like the proudest grandmother ever. No one would ever guess Hope wasn’t hers. She loved that little girl unconditionally. Harper held Ethan while Seth made faces at him.
Seth had taken our fathers death the hardest but with the help of a counselor he had started becoming the Seth we all knew and loved. Harper was a great sister to Hope and Aunt to Ethan. She spoiled them rotten.
Logan and Steven stood side by side. Two men who once hated each other he become not only best friend but brother in laws. Each has been the others best man at their wedding. You couldn’t find one without the other.
I felt my heart swell as I looked down at Jackson. “You have a pretty amazing family Jackson Logan.”
I felt at peace with my life. It wasn’t perfect but life wasn’t supposed to be. It was hard to believe that when I first met Logan it was an gunpoint. Back then I had thought I had a perfect life. I would never go back to the way it was then then. Now I had a husband who loved me. I had a son who had beat all odds to be here. I was blessed with the addition of two new sisters. One who had become my best friend and who had given me the title of aunt.
Happy tears ran down my checks as I handed Steven back his child. Logan came behind me pulling me into his chest. “Are you ok baby?”
I nodded looking up at him, “I’m right where I’m supposed to be Logan.” He smiled at me kissing my forehead.
It saddened me knowing I would never feel life in my belly again, that I would never walk without a limp but moments like this, reminded me that I had all I would ever need. My little family completed me and was more than I could have ever asked for.
Watching Ember and Steven coo over Jackson I knew that everything in life happened for a reason. We had come a long way and it had been a rough journey yet we were all better because of it. No our life wasn’t perfect, it was even better, it was real and raw. It was all I ever wanted.