Disclaimer: I don't own Reign! But if I did this would revolve around Cathry and be their story.
AN: Who's ready for baby?
When he neared the room, Catherine's scream told him she still labored with the baby. Stumbling into the room, his presence was acknowledged only by a pained look from his wife before she closed her eyes and screamed again. Mary was assisting Nostradamus, and the stained gown had been removed, leaving Catherine only covered by a sheet from her waist up. Placing himself by his wife's side, Henry took her hand.
"Henry, you're hurt!"
She had seen him limping and even in her state she couldn't help worrying about him.
"I'm fine, Catherine."
His hand smoothed over her forehead that was drenched in her sweat as he tried not to show too much anxiety. He had never seen her like...this. He had seen men dying all around him as their screams of death filled the air, but the sight of his love like this made him ache all over in pain.
"No you're not!"
He was lying to her. Even now she could tell.
"I'll live, darling. It's more than can be said for the Duke. You, nor our children will ever have to worry about him again."
Another contraction rocked Catherine's body as she shot upright from the bed, gripping Henry's hands as her nails dug into his skin. The pain was worse than it had ever been before with any of her other children.
"Push again, your Majesty!"
Nostradamus's voice was calm even though the man was actually anything but confident. The baby's head was crowning, but the babe wasn't coming out. Something drastic was going to have to be done. He feared the cord was wrapped around the child's neck. Both mother and child would die soon if they didn't act now. He spoke grimly to the Royals when the pain had subsided some.
"I'll have to cut her more. If we let her labor any longer I fear for both of their lives. The babe could be past saving. The Queen will also die without intervention. Mary has smaller fingers than I do. She will have to try to remove the cord from the child's neck. I'm afraid it will be quite painful even if I numb the area with a salve before making the cut."
Tears immediately sprang to Catherine's eyes. The only words that even registered was that their baby could already be dead. Their precious miracle, their gift and hope for their united future could be dead. She wanted to die! If she couldn't have their baby and her husband, she couldn't live, Henry would leave her again. In that moment in her pain and agony she couldn't even focus on anything else.
"No! If...If I can't give birth to a live child, then I won't give birth to a dead one!"
Henry had been silent up until this point, stunned into silence, but her wailing words brought him out of his thoughts.
"You will die, Catherine!"
When his eyes turned upon her there were tears in his as well, but his voice was angry, bitter at her for even saying such a thing in that moment.
"Do you think I care, Henry?! I would rather die than to lose you again as well as this baby! My heart can't take anymore loss. I'll die a million deaths every time I see you with a new mistress. I'll have to live with the fact that my shortcomings drove you to it again!"
Mary and Nostradamus were both worried and anxious at Catherine's words as they watched the scene unfold in front of them.
"You are talking nonsense, wife! The wizard said could be past saving, not that the baby is dead! Plus I would never leave you again. You know how much I love you, don't you?!"
Henry was desperate, but if he had to he would have her held down to save her life as well as their child's. He wouldn't believe all hope was gone.
"I know you love me now, but what of the future, our future!? Let me die with the knowledge that you have loved me truly to the best of your ability, please?"
Her hand was trembling as she reached for his cheek, and pulled him down closer to her face.
"It's time to say goodbye, husband."
Her kiss was soft for it was she could muster in that moment.
Pulling back from her as soon as her lips touched his, Henry's head was against her forehead.
"No, Catherine. I can't and won't say goodbye today. I need you, and we need this baby. Stay with me, love."
They were both crying now in their own tiny bubble with each other, but if they had looked up they would have seen unshed tears in Mary's eyes as well while Nostradamus looked on nervously.
"We have to act now, Majesties! There isn't any more time."
The Seer's voice brought them back to their rapidly disappearing future and Catherine realized she couldn't leave him, wouldn't leave him now. If he needed her then she had to stay. Nodding to Nostradamus to make the cut, she clung to her Henry as she looked up into his eyes. With the slight numbing, Catherine hardly felt anything of the cut.
"Now comes the difficult part. You can't move, my Queen. As much as you'll want to, you can't push either on the next contraction. If you push again with the cord wrapped around the babe's neck, the chances of survival are...slim to none. If you want your wife to survive, My King..."
The despairing look in Henry's eyes when he looked at him made the wizard feel guilty a bit, but the truth of the matter must be told.
"Yes? Please continue."
"Hold her down as securely as you can by her shoulders, and be ready for when she tries to move."
Nodding at Nostradamus, Henry gave Mary a pleading look to be as fast as she could.
"I've done this before at the convent. I promise you both that I'll do my best."
Giving the King and Queen of France one last look that she hoped was encouraging, Mary took a deep breath as she stuck her hands into the scalding water trying to steady herself.
Her question was loaded, but they had to be ready didn't they?
Henry's hands were secure on Catherine's shoulders as he looked into her eyes apologetically. The horror in her eyes made his heart hurt in his chest, but he had to do it. Her fingers gripped his arms as she started feeling the pain of her contraction build inside of her. The urge to push was strong, so strong, and her scream ripped up her throat when Mary's fingers pushed inside of her. She bite down on her lip and squeezed her eyes shut as she sobbed and wailed. Her body was jerking from the pain, and if Henry hadn't been holding her down, she would have come up off the bed. The deeper Mary's fingers went the more intense the urge to push was.
"Please! Oh God, please stop! I can't take it."
His wife, his strong Medici bride begging him and in such pain was tearing Henry up. He prayed Mary would hurry.
Feeling the baby's head, Mary found the chord tightly wrapped around the throat.
"I feel it! I feel the chord."
Mary's voice was barely heard over the pleas of Catherine.
"It's almost done, Catherine. It's almost over. You're so strong, baby! So strong, and I'm so proud of you!"
Henry was saying any and everything to try and comfort Catherine, but it just wasn't working. She was beyond being comforted by words anymore.
Easing her fingers under the chord, Mary pulled gently and it began to give way. Within moments she had slipped it from the baby's neck.
"I have it free of the baby's neck!"
Moving out of the way, Nostradamus beckoned the Queen to push. Catherine was weak and tired, and had no desire to do anything but to close her eyes and go to sleep. Her body had been pushed to the limit, and she didn't think she had any more to give.
"You're almost there, Catherine. Just one more good push, and you can rest. I promise! Please, sweetheart, please!"
With Henry helping her to sit up, she took a moment before she felt pain gather again.
With a shriek, she pushed as hard as she could.
"That's it! Almost there! There's the head, and the shoulders, and it looks like you have a...boy!"
Their baby came into the world with a screeching cry. After letting the King cut the umbilical chord, Henry was handed their son.
"Oh, Catherine, it's a boy! Sweetheart, we have a son!"
Exhausted as could be, she still managed a small smile as she held their baby boy.
Kissing his downy hair, the babe quieted immediately as he was comforted by his mother.
"He's beautiful, darling."
Stitching the Queen up quickly and cleaning up the mess, Nostradamus and Mary exited quietly after giving their congratulations to the royal couple.
"I'm sorry you didn't get your little princess, Henry."
Sitting down beside of her, he rested Catherine and the baby in his arms against his chest.
"I already love our little boy, and you are both fine now. That's all that matters. Did you have a name in mind for our son?"
"Well, I had thought about Hercule after the Greek poem. He has to be a strong little fellow to have survived this ordeal."
"That is perfect, my love."
"Henry, you should have Nostradamus see you now."
Smiling he gave his wife a gentle kiss.
"In a few minutes. I need time to hold you and be with my son."
Resting together, they counted their blessings one by one until she fell asleep in his arms with Hercule at her breast.