Sweet Child Of Mine
Emmett held his wife's hand and grinned jubilantly. We'd all been invited in the Labor Ward to cheer Rose on and by the look of things, she'd be moved to Delivery quite soon.
Bella had been, stayed for an hour, and headed home again. She was tired and several days overdue and while Rose had become more and more fed up as her due date approached, Bella seemed to wish her own pregnancy would go on forever.
I'd lost interest in racing my brother to become the father of the next grandson, and just wanted Bella to open up to me and express her fears about the birth.
Dad had taken her on a tour of the Maternity Unit, and the Labor and Delivery wards and promised she could have an epidural as soon as her contractions were established, but still she had turned pale and almost grey at the very thought of having to go through the birth process again.
I'd assured her until I was blue in the face that I would be there for her this time, no matter what.
Renee had taken up residence in our guestroom so if Bella started contracting any time, be it daytime or nighttime, we could just leave and know the girls were in safe hands.
Charlie was staying every alternate night, seeing he had shifts.
Bella's nightmares had returned and she often thrashed around so violently I had to pin her to the bed until she woke up, I so feared she would hurt herself or the baby.
I had to accept how terrified she had been when she labored with Lucy, as much as that admission hurt. She'd been young and alone and in the hands of staff she didn't know. It would be different this time.
Dad was officially on leave and had only come in tonight because it was Rose needing him, just as he would be there with us when our baby came.
"Okay, we need to take Rose in now," Dad said.
We all cheered them on as the three left this room, and we walked back out and sank down on the chairs in the Waiting Room.
"I have to call Bella," I told my Mom, as she sat there, pulling out her knitting in an effort to finish the pale blue baby shawl she was knitting for Emmett's son.
"Of course you do," she replied with a smile. I was torn about even being here, without my Bella at my side where I could watch over her.
"Hey," I said as she answered the phone.
"Has the baby been born?" she asked.
"Nope, but Rose is in Delivery so it should happen soon. How do you feel?"
"My back is killing me, as usual, but Renee is doing everything for the girls so I'm in bed already."
"Good. Stay there. I'll be home as soon as my nephew gets here. I should be polite and wait for that even though I would much rather be with you."
"No point. I think I'll be asleep in five minutes. Don't call me to tell me he's been born, just come home where you belong."
"Okay. I love you, Baby. I hope it's all about to happen, there are nurses hurrying in so I think this might be it. Bye, Bella. "
"Be home soon," she murmured and I cut the connection.
I felt too tense to sit so I paced the width of the room and back, and Mom laughed and said I looked like the new father, not merely the uncle.
I sat down beside her again and a nurse came in and asked Alice to follow her. Apparently Emmett was too overcome to be of any use to Rose, so she had asked for Alice to be allowed to go hold her hand instead.
"How's Bella?" Mom asked as she cast off the final stitches and shook the circular lacy shawl out in the air, inspecting her work for errors.
"Mom, she's terrified. She didn't really go home because she's too tired to stay, she just can't handle being so close to the action while Rose delivers. Bella knows Dad will induce her within days now, if nothing starts off naturally before the end of the week."
It was Wednesday night and Dad refused to let Bella go past Friday, when she would officially hit two weeks past her due date.
Any longer and he feared the placenta would fail.
I wanted it over. I wanted the baby out safe and I wanted Bella to be able to relax again. The last few weeks she had been wound so tightly, every slight pain had sent her into a panic that this was it. I'd rushed home from the office numerous times and finally taken leave myself, seeing everything was ticking along nicely again. Nobody was so desperate for funds that I couldn't spend a month at home where I was truly needed and anyway, Carlisle would handle any emergency requests.
"How long was she in labor with Lucy?" Mom asked, folding the shawl up and stowing it back in her bag. Our shawl was already finished, seeing we had all assumed Bella would deliver first, for some reason. Rose was late herself, this should have happened last Wednesday but she'd taken an extra week for no known reason. Maybe it was the colder weather. The babies didn't want to come out here while snow was covering the ground outside.
"I don't know, exactly," I admitted sadly. While Bella had shared the happier parts of Lucy's birth with me, she couldn't bring herself to mention every part, blow by blow.
It was bitterly cold and the girls complained constantly about being kept inside, under 'house arrest' according to Lucy. She had threatened to call one of those helplines for abused children, which had sent Bella past her point of tolerance and our daughter was grounded with no tv for a whole week.
The door opened and Alice appeared. "It's a boy, as expected. Ten pounds exactly."
A shell-shocked Emmett appeared behind her, with his black haired son in his arms.
"Oh how wonderful," Mom said, walking closer and peering inside the blue blanket. "Can I hold him or is it too soon for you to be able to let him go yet?"
Emmett shrugged and Mom eased the infant from his embrace.
"That was...amazing. I can't believe women actually go back a second time, let alone a third," he finally said, leaning in to kiss our mother's forehead. "You deserve a medal."
"Oh Emmett, women have always been the stronger sex," she replied.
"I shall never argue that point again. There's no way I could have done what Rosie did. And she didn't scream or anything."
Alice nodded. "There was screaming but it was Emmett."
Everyone laughed but he took it well and agreed.
"God yes, if you saw how far she had to stretch open to let this baby out...I don't think I could go through that again."
I was glad Bella wasn't here.
"And the cord was wound around his neck and Dad had to reach inside and pull it over the head and God, it was as scary as Hell."
"You will settle down and get over it," Mom assured him. "How is Rose?"
"She didn't need stitches so that was good, Dad said. She wants to see you all before you go. We want to announce his name to you, together."
It was a badly kept secret that they were naming the baby David Matthew. I guess we would all manage to look surprised.
Finally Rose was showered and dressed and in her private room and we all trooped in, as Emmett pushed the perspex bassinet back from the Nursery, where he had bathed his son for the first time and Jasper had filmed the event, just as he had filmed the birth.
"Now, everyone, Rosie and I tossed around names for ages and I know you are all expecting our son to be named David, but we both agree he looks nothing like a David so some quick rethinking had to happen. And we have decided ..."
Just don't choose Dane. It was the only name both Bella and I liked and we had not breathed a word to anyone.
"Dane Anthony Nash Emmett Cullen," Emmett announced.
I sighed and tried to rearrange my face into a smile. How the fuck had this happened? Out of all the millions of names in the world, how had both Rose and Bella come up with the same name?
"That's a lovely name and I'm not just saying that because Dane Anthony Nash is the hottest actor around at the moment," Alice replied.
"What actor?" Emmett asked, puzzled. "I thought Rose made up the name. I nearly disagreed because it was too unusual, but Rosie really loves the name."
"Don't worry, Emmett, there will be a dozen Danes at his school. Rose is not the only woman crushing on the man," Jasper stated.
"Congratulations, it's great news but I have to get home to Bella, so, see you all tomorrow," I said, slapping Emm's back and leaning in to kiss Rose. "He's a wonderful baby and I'm sure Bella will love his name."
Yeah, she would but what the heck would we choose now?
"We should all go, and let this family get acquainted," Dad suggested.
Jasper and Alice had to go relieve the babysitter, and Mom and Dad followed me home, because Carlisle wanted to make sure Bella was okay.
He had a theory. Often when patients were close friends and one delivered, it seemed to have a domino effect and he was betting the arrival of Dane would set Bella off as well.
I arrived first and dashed upstairs to warn my wife, if she was awake, and found her standing in the doorway that led into the ensuite, her mouth open in surprise as a pool of amniotic fluid pooled at her feet.
"I think I just wet myself," she said, blushing madly then gasping as a contraction hit her.
"Your water just broke. Let's get you back to bed. Dad's downstairs so he can examine you and we'll head off to hospital once he makes sure everything's okay."
Bella let me lift her onto the mattress and then I called downstairs and my parents instantly appeared.
Bella was shaking her head and trying to hide the pain she was in. "I'm sure I just wet myself. I was feeling pressure on my bladder and got up to go pee and I just didn't make it to...oooh God."
Dad snapped on a glove and I felt Bella grip my hand as Dad examined her cervix and stepped back in surprise.
"You are fully dilated and effaced. Have you been in pain?"
"Just my back. It hurts like a bitch but now my front has joined in."
"We have to get to hospital, now," I panicked.
"I'm calling an ambulance but the baby may beat it," Dad warned and Mom took the phone from him so she could call instead, leaving his hands free.
"Let me stand up," Bella pleaded and I took her hand as she stood, one foot on the floor as she raised her body, the small head of our son appeared between her legs and Dad ordered me to stand behind my wife and support her as he guided the head out and let the shoulders turn, then the baby slid into his hands in front of our surprised faces. Mom stood by with towels and handed one to Dad.
"And we have another grandson, Esme. Not quite the size of Dane but I'd guess seven pounds."
"Dane?" Bella said , distracted even as the placenta followed the baby.
I lay her back on the bed as Mom placed a half dozen bath towels beneath Bella, and Dad rubbed the baby dry and checked his mouth and nose but he started shrieking loud enough to wake the girls and next thing, Lucy and Tori appeared at the doorway.
"Your baby brother is here. Just wait until we clean him up then you can come see him," Esme suggested, ushering them out and closing the door behind her so they didn't see the blood and mess on the towels. Dad handed the baby to me and started pressing on Bella's now flat abdomen, checking her blood loss, and finding it acceptable.
I sat down beside her and handed the bundle to her and she laughed and shook her head.
"I just had a baby. Just like that. No labor. That was amazing. How the heck did that happen?"
"I would suspect the way he was positioned prevented you from feeling actual contractions so you just felt continuous back pain, and it's probably actually taken hours. Just because it wasn't a more conventional labor, you didn't realise it was happening."
"He's perfect," Bella said, gazing up from the baby to me.
I laughed. "If you call copper hair and green eyes and pale white skin perfect, then indeed he is."
"God, he looks just like you. Not only did I miss the labor I feared so much, I got the exact son I hoped for. I hope this isn't a dream."
"If it was a dream, would Rose have stolen our name?" I asked her.
"That's just plain rude. But I never told anyone but you what we had decided on."
"Don't look at me, like I would risk your wrath by telling anyone," I replied.
The paramedics had arrived and after they examined the baby and Bella, they left again, and I helped her into the shower, while Dad held the baby. He'd scored the perfect score so there was no need to take either of them to hospital. It had been a perfect home delivery with no complications.
Once Bella was dressed from clothing out of her hospital bag, Mom wheeled in the baby bath on it's stand and filled it with tepid water and Dad took photos while I washed our nameless but nevertheless perfect son.
It felt different, knowing this was a boy. A manchild. Somehow it seemed like an even bigger responsibility than the girls. I had to raise him right and be there for him, as I was for them, but he was outnumbered and we were the only two males in the household. Even the cats were girls.
Esme brought the girls in and they watched him as he lay back and relaxed in the warm water and I washed the blood and such from his thick hair. She took advantage of this distraction to remove the blood splattered sheets and towels from the bedroom.
"He may be smaller than Emmett's son but he has even more hair," I told Bella. I was extremely grateful not to have inflicted a ten pound baby on her, she may well have split in two.
Renee appeared, bewildered to have just been woken up by the sound of the washing machine being started up and she gasped to see the extra person in the room.
"How did...but it can't...Bella, you were not in labor when I was in here an hour ago."
"Apparently I had back labor and it sure as Hell beats the usual contractions," Bella said excitedly. "It was amazing, Mom. He just slipped out."
Renee was as relieved as the rest of us. Bella's intense fear had shrouded this house for weeks.
"So when will our sister be borned?" Tori asked, as I dried and dressed the baby.
Bella laughed. "Hey, if she causes me as little pain as he did, I'm ready. For anything."
"Um, I think maybe we will have a couple of years break before we have the final family member," I stated, handing our son over to his mother.
Bella looked serene and so thrilled to have avoided the unavoidable, she didn't even moan about Rose beating us or about the name-stealing.
"We could always name him Edward. If you don't come up with something soon, we shall name him after you," she decided. I felt one Edward Cullen as quite sufficient. I would find another name.
Lucy snuggled up beside Bella, kissing the baby's head, and so Tori followed her lead and squeezed in on the side I was sitting and I took her onto my lap. Dad snapped some photos of the all new Cullen family and then the grandparents wanted to hold the baby and take photos of one another with him. An excited Charlie entered the fray, delighted to have a grandson as promised. Finally Dad called a halt and shooed everyone out, including the girls.
I shut our door and helped Bella prop the baby up beside her, offering him his first meal. He attached on like an expert, causing Bella to laugh about the Cullen boys knowing a boob when they saw one, and we lay together and marvelled at this unbelievable evening. Bella couldn't stop exclaiming how easy it had been, compared to Lucy's traumatic delivery and I was so happy something had gone so right for once.
Mom and Dad stayed in our second guest room, just to be sure Dad was on hand during the night and he could check on his patients regularly.
The nursery was finished, and I went to bring the rocking cradle into our bedroom, and looked inside the girl's bedroom. After all their fuss about not wanting to share a bedroom with the baby had it been a girl, they had decided they wanted to share a room together themselves, when we had moved into the new house last week.
Their mismatched beds sat side by side, close enough for the sisters to join hands across the space , as was their new nightly ritual.
"We decided we like our baby brother and we want to name him Loki," Lucy informed me.
"I can't see Mommy agreeing but I shall pass that message on," I promised and kissed her forehead.
"Or Ironman," Tori added as I tucked her in.
"I think maybe Mommy might want to choose his name but maybe we could get goldfish and name them Loki and Ironman," I suggested.
My life seemed to involve a lot of dodging bullets lately.
Our son settled down to sleep and I lay down beside my wife and held her hand.
"I have no idea for a name really," she lamented. "I can't believe Rosalie stole our choice. I didn't even know she liked Dane Anthony Nash."
"You wanted to name our son after a celebrity?" I questioned. "How about something more real? We could go with Dylan. Or Elliott. A name whose history is apparent, and meaningful. Men to be proud of."
"Dylan's good," she murmured sleepily.
"Dylan Thomas Cullen it is, then," I replied, pulling a blanket over us both.
"Thomas? I didn't know Bob had a middle name."