Triggers: Brief mentions of medical complications.
Screaming, Andrea yelled back, "I can't!"
Timothy grabbed her hand. "You can!"
Andrea allowed her head to flop back. Pain coursed through her entire lower body and it was all for naught. "Tim, she's not alive! You heard the doctors!" Andrea screamed, breathing heavily. Her legs were up in stirrups and it was embarrassing enough without having to undergo this ordeal for a baby that wouldn't be alive. She felt Tim let go and step back, shocked.
"I'll take the kids," June said—she handed her own young sons, Rocky and Noah, to her husband, Patrick—and picked up Andrea's curious little boy from a previous marriage, Douglas. "Come on, Doug, let's go find a vending machine." They left and Chantelle walked over to Timothy, placing a manicured hand on his shoulder. They had been friends for so long but it was still a little difficult to have her around when the two were as close as they were.
"If either of you need anything, I'll be right outside." Chantelle grabbed her long white fur coat and brown designer handbag from one of the turquoise hospital seats and left.
The midwife was still a little bit stunned, but was spending most of her time under the blue sheet over Andrea's legs, in order to see the birthing. "Andrea, we'll need you to push again soon."
"What's the point?" Andrea said. She couldn't bare the pain of giving birth to a stillborn. It was wrenching her heart in two knowing beforehand that was the case. She was over a month early; the chance of survival for their baby was low, especially with her hostile womb.
A hand slipped into her hand, and squeezed tight. She looked to her right to see Tim smiling. "I would never make you do something you don't want to do, honey." His beautiful yellow-green eyes twinkled as he looked at her and she felt butterflies in her stomach, despite the previously overwhelming pain. "But, we will love our child for as long as she is alive and beyond that, so it doesn't matter if she has left us early. Because, me." He rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb. "And you, will love her forever anyway."
There was no way Andrea could deny that the words were comforting. Tim had always known just what to say when she was at her worst. Reaching up, she placed her fingers in his short brown hair, and pulled him close, kissing him on the lips. "I love you." Then she felt the pain, so she pulled her head into her chest and bore down, pushing with all of the might she had left after this lengthy and arduous labour.
"Keep it going, Miss Jackson!" The mousy haired midwife encouraged, reaching in. "I can see the head. Just one more push, you can do it!"
Andrea screamed, the pain making her delirious. It felt like someone was swinging an axe straight through her body. "I can't do it anymore!" A squeeze. Her hand. Breathing in, she pushed again and then felt an abrupt relief. She fell back into the white hospital pillow, every muscle in her body quivering. Closing her eyes, she allowed herself to rest.
"Mister Jackson, would you like to cut the cord?" Without opening her eyes, she recognised the midwife's voice. There was no crying or tears. Footsteps and some clinking. Footsteps again, lighter this time. "I'll hand her over." Some shuffling and then Andrea opened her eyes. The midwife was handing a small towelled bundle to Tim. "I'll leave you two alone for a bit and then I'll come back and we can sort out the paperwork." She walked out of the room, her head hung low and then the door swung shut.
Timothy cradled the bundle so gently, so carefully. He was the perfect father, who could never be a father, at least, not with her. He walked over slowly, looking down lovingly. "She's beautiful, Andrea."
Andrea slipped her feet out of the stirrups and moved over on the bed to allow Tim to climb in. He handed their daughter over and wrapped his arm around them both. Andrea looked down at the little blonde curls and the miniscule features. Those chubby cheeks. "She is." Andrea rested her head into Tim's body, his heartbeat soothing.
"She has your nose, that's lucky." Tim laughed.
Andrea smiled, touching the cold nose. "I bet she has your eyes." Andrea felt a sting in her throat when she realised they would never find out.
"What do you want to call her?" Tim asked, stroking the little baby's head gently.
Andrea lay there, looking at that beautiful baby, and imagined the Christmases that she could have had; the times she would have fought with Douglas; the dreaded boyfriends. And a tear rolled down her cheek.
That cute little nose… did it just twitch? Andrea looked at Tim, her azure eyes full of hope, and his the same. They exchanged no words, looking back at their daughter. Her mouth opened and unleashed an enormous cry, almost bloodcurdlingly loud, but to them it was a symphony.
Her little arms moved about, disturbing the white blanket around her as she moved from side to side.
Chantelle rushed in, and stopped in the doorway, her mouth wide. She dropped her expensive coat and bag and rushed over. "She's crying!" she yelled.
Andrea nodded, trying not to cry herself. However, there was no way she could stop herself. She began to sob, from relief, from love. Tim's hand pulled her close and she felt his tears roll down onto her hospital gown. Shakily, due to the sobbing, she lifted the baby up so it wouldn't fall off the bed and Chantelle took her, cradling her.
"Can we call her Lucky, Chantelle, or is that stupid?" Tim asked.
Chantelle shook her head, trying not to cry, and then nodded fervently. "If she's one thing, she's lucky."
"Lexy." Andrea saw everyone turn to look at her. Sniffing, she nodded. "I want to call her Alexis. The defender, the brave." Andrea looked up, feeling her lip quiver as she tried to smile. "She's our little fighter."
Chantelle handed Alexis back gently and Andrea took her gratefully. "That's beautiful."
The door opened and Patrick poked his head in "We're just checking to see if—" He paused as he saw them all around the bed.
"She's crying!" Andrea called, crying anew.
Patrick turned back to relay the message but June burst through the door with Doug in one arm and Rocky in the other while Noah tottered after her.
"She's crying!" June exclaimed, waking Rocky and causing him to cry too.
Noah, the older of June's sons, came over to the side of the bed, holding his arms up. "I want a turn." He grabbed at the air and Tim laughed.
"You'll get many turns one day," he said, lifting Noah onto the bed where he played with Alexis's hands.
June carried Doug and Rocky over and set them both down on the bed, stroking her sister's hair. "I'm so proud of you, Andrea."
"Doug, this is your new little sister. You have to look after her, okay?" Tim said, lifting Alexis from Andrea's arms and holding him out to the little blond.
Doug looked up at Tim and then at his mum before he held out a hand. Alexis grabbed it and squeezed and Doug tried to pull free but couldn't. He looked at his dad helplessly and then began to cry.
Alexis let go immediately and started to gurgle happily.
"Are you okay, Doug?" Tim asked, trying to check on the little boy while keeping an eye on Alexis.
Doug nodded and reached over, allowing Alexis to grab his hand again, this time laughing with her.
Andrea laughed a little, sniffling. "I think they'll get along fine."
Tim nodded. "If they've got half of the love you have, they'll be fine."
Laughing, June said, "Let's stop being soppy." Turning to her husband, she placed a hand on his shoulder. "Patrick, Chantelle? Should we go for some coffee with the kids and give them a bit of alone time?"
Chantelle grabbed her bag and coat and then turned back. "Sounds like a good idea." She reached over, picking Douglas up as Alexis reached for him fervently. "Come on, Doug, I'll buy you those sweets you like that mum and dad don't let you eat."
As Chantelle left, Andrea called after her. "Wait, don't spoil his dinner! Only a few, okay?"
Tim smiled. "He'll be fine."
"We'll be off too, then." Patrick picked Noah and Rocky up with a huff and carried them out over his shoulder while Noah fought relentlessly to be free.
"But it's my turn for the baby!"
"My turn!" Rocky piped up, frowning as the door swung shut.
"If you need anything…" June smiled.
"I know, just call." Andrea looked over at her old mobile on the bedside table.
June nodded and left.
Alexis looked up at them, quiet as a mouse. She wriggled her minute nose and then laughed.
"She did have your eyes." Andrea smiled as she looked down at those beautiful eyes.
Tim laughed. "Let's just hope she doesn't have my brains."
Andrea laughed too. "Or mine!"
As Chantelle and June bought the food at the hospital cafeteria, Patrick looked at the boys as they played on the table and chairs. Noah and Doug were sat quietly but Rocky didn't stop moving, or talking.
Rocky pointed at the chair. "Green."
Patrick looked down at the red chairs that lined the table. "Nearly. Red, Rocky. Red."
Rocky shook his head, thumping his fist. "Green."
Noah held up a green plastic container for the condiments. "Green."
Rocky clapped. "Green!"
Patrick smiled and then looked back at his wife and Tim's friend before returning his gaze to the boys. "Guys, you know that boys and girls are different, right?"
Noah nodded. "Girls have cooties!"
Douglas laughed. "Yuck!"
Rocky clapped. "Yuck."
Patrick half-laughed. "Yeah, yuck." Explaining this to them now was hard. "Look, boys, Alexis is going to need looking after in the future. Even if she can fight her own battles, it doesn't mean you have to let her." He picked Noah up, setting him down on the table. "You're the oldest and she will need someone to make sure she doesn't go wrong too often. I'm counting on you, Noah."
"I'm good at that!" Noah chimed.
Patrick nodded. "You are." He looked over at Doug. "Doug, I want you to know that blood isn't what makes a family. Love is… Lots of people might say Alexis isn't your sister, but she is. And she always will be; so don't fight too much, okay?"
"Alexis isn't my sister?" Doug frowned, about to cry.
Patrick shook his head and picked Doug up, bringing him close and looking into his eyes. "Alexis is your sister, Doug. So, you play nice, okay?"
"Me! Me!" Doug turned to look at Rocky as he clambered onto the table.
Patrick laughed at the little tyke and picked him up. "Rocky. You're my baby boy and I'll always love you. Even if I'm not around all the time…" Patrick looked over at June and then shook his head. "I will always be there for you, okay?"
Rocky pouted. "Are you going somewhere, daddy?"
Patrick breathed deeply. "Wherever I go, I'll always come back. So I need you to promise that you'll look after Alexis when we aren't around, okay?"
Rocky shook his head up and down rapidly, biting his lip. "But don't go, okay?"
Patrick smiled, feeling himself well up. "Rocky, it might just be for a little while but—"
"That's not very hygienic, you know, Patrick." Chantelle sat down with a tray containing a plate of chips and sweets.
"Come on, kids, sit down and eat your chips." June set down a small box of chips in front of each of them as they took their seats and then handed them all a plastic fork. "Just don't—" She sighed as she saw them all digging in and making a mess of it and then sat down next to Patrick. "What were you talking to them about, sweetie?"
Patrick looked over at Rocky and then back to June. "Nothing."
June nodded and then looked back at the boys. "If you're good, we can go see Lucky Lexy once more before we go home, okay?"
Grinning, they all nodded and then kept eating.
So this has been a real long time coming but I wanted to get it released while I had a moment since all it needed was one final check. I'd love to hear people's thoughts and criticisms on the story so feel free to let me know. It is a fanfic of a fanfic, the original being The Tangled Web by Aspiring Writer Girl.