Elizabeth paced back and forth in her office. She could not believe this was happening. Potential war with Russia she could handle, tricking ruthless Moldovan dictators was a cake walk, making nice with the Chinese now seemed like a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, but this, oh god this was not something she was prepared to handle.
She stopped pacing and took a deep breath. She needed to calm down. It was probably a false alarm. She was forty-six damn years old. The stress must be getting to her. She sighed, either way, she had to be absolutely certain.
She walked around her desk and hit Blake's line, "Can you come in here?" She asked, her voice oddly timid.
Blake didn't even respond before barging in her office. He knew her far too well and therefore knew her tone was off. "Ma'am, are you all right?"
Elizabeth managed a small smile, she really cared about Blake, he was such a sweetheart. "I um, I'm okay, I just need you to do something for me and I need you to keep it to yourself. I mean tell absolutely no one, not even the rest of the staff, what you are doing or where you are going."
Blake's face was pale and looked almost scared, "What…what do you need ma'am?" He managed to sputter out.
Elizabeth pursed her lips, she hated to make Blake do this but he was the only one on her staff she trusted completely. "I um, okay…" she took a deep breath, this was even harder to say out loud, "I need you to go to the drugstore and get me a pregnancy test."
Blake's eyes looked like they were going to bulge out of his head and he managed to nod.
Elizabeth felt like she owed him an explanation, "I just need to rule it out. I've been feeling off lately and I just…Blake I'm so sorry, I just need to know for sure."
Blake just nodded again, still too awestruck to speak.
Elizabeth continued, "I'm going to head home. If you could pick them up and bring them to my house I would really appreciate it. Just…please remember to take off your ID badge and anything that indicates you're a State Department employee."
Blake seemed to have found his voice finally, "Yes ma'am, I'll call your detail right away." He turned to leave and before he could walk out the door Elizabeth called out to him.
"Blake?" He paused and turned toward her, "thank you." She said softly.
Blake managed a small smile, "You're welcome, ma'am."
Blake left the room and she turned back to her desk. Now she just had to call Henry. She grabbed her cellphone and dialed Henry. He had said he was working on his book from home today but she had to make sure.
"Hey babe," he said, his beautiful, cheery voice was almost enough to calm her down.
"Hi baby," she responded, the catch in her throat completely giving her away,
"What's wrong?" Henry immediately knew something was off.
She sighed, "I um, I can't talk about it right now. I'm heading home, are you there?"
Henry was extremely concerned, "Yes, I'm home. Babe, are you okay? What's going on?"
Elizabeth sighed and she squeezed her eyes shut, she really wanted to cry, "I'm okay…I just…I need you. I can't explain right now."
"Okay." Henry said without missing a beat, "I'm here. I love you."
She sighed would never understand how she got so lucky to fall in love with such a wonderful and understanding man. "I love you too, I'll be home soon."
Thirty minutes later Elizabeth was in her SUV on her way home. She was getting more nervous by the minute. She had tried to make casual conversation with Frank but it just hadn't worked. She couldn't act normal right now.
She got home and Henry met her at the door. He helped her take off her coat and then he just wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. She sunk into his hug, feeling so safe and content in his arms, and she held on to him tight. He soothingly ran a hand through her hair, "Babe, you're scaring me, what is going on?"
Elizabeth took a deep breath and pulled back so she could look him in the eye, "Are any of the kids home?"
Henry frowned, "No, Stevie's going to be at the library all night, Ali has soccer and then a study group and Jason is at that debate tournament."
Elizabeth sighed, that was good. She and Henry needed time alone to process all of this and if somehow she was…well then they would need more time to figure out what they were going to do. She grabbed his hand and led him over to the sofa; he definitely needed to be sitting for this news.
She sat next to him and turned to face him. She took a deep breath, "Henry…I…I think I might be pregnant."
Henry's eyes grew wide, he was in total shock, he finally managed to spit out some words, "Excuse me?"
Elizabeth sighed and tears started rolling down her face. "For the past week I've been getting sick in the afternoon. I just thought I was eating something that was making my stomach upset but then…then Abby brought Chloe in to see Jay and it just hit me like a train. The same thing happened with Stevie, Ali and Jason, you remember, I never got morning sickness it was afternoon sickness." Elizabeth paused to study Henry and see how well he was processing all of this. She was immediately comforted when Henry reached out and took her hands in his own.
"Well, I think we need to get you a pregnancy test."
Elizabeth pursed her lips, "Yeah, I um, I already sent Blake out for that."
Henry managed a laugh, "I really think you need to start paying him more."
Elizabeth relaxed a little at Henry's ability to make a joke in this situation, "I really do, I just couldn't get it myself and I didn't want to run the risk of someone happening to see you getting it because I really can't deal with the kind of scandal that could create on top of all this reality that might be thrown at us."
Henry smiled and opened his mouth to speak but before he could say anything the doorbell rang.
Elizabeth and Henry both got up and went to the front door. Henry let Blake inside and without a word Blake pulled out a thin box in a paper bag out of his coat. "I was very careful. No one at the office knows why I left and I was sure not to wear anything that could identify me when I purchased them. I also drove around a little bit just in case someone was on my scent."
Henry smiled and patted Blake on the shoulder, "We really appreciate this, Blake."
Blake nodded and then left the house.
Henry had the paper bag in one hand and he grabbed Elizabeth's hand with the other. He led her upstairs and even though none of the kids were home he shut the bedroom door behind them out of habit.
They walked into the bathroom and Henry pulled the tests out of the bag. They felt so foreign in his hands; it had been almost 14 years since they'd purchased these. Fourteen years without so much as a pregnancy scare and now they were 46 and 50 and acting like they were teenagers panicking over a broken condom.
"Do you need something to drink?" Henry asked, honestly not knowing what else to say.
Elizabeth shook her head, "No, I drank a bunch of water before I left."
She dropped her skirt to the ground and sat on the toilet. Henry pulled a test out of the box and handed it to her. She took a deep breath and stuck it between her legs.
She set the test on the counter when she was done and got up and washed her hands while Henry set his watch timer. She pulled her undies back on but forwent her skirt.
"How long do we have to wait?" She asked as she sank to the floor.
Henry followed her and pulled her into his arms, "Only two minutes."
Elizabeth chuckled, "God, wasn't it like 10 the last time we needed one of these?"
Henry smiled, "I think so. But shorter is good, less time to wait."
Elizabeth pulled him a little closer to her, "Yeah, I guess that is a good thing."
They both fell silent until the timer on Henry's watch went off. By now Elizabeth felt like her heart was beating out of her chest. They both stood up but Henry wrapped an arm around Elizabeth, keeping her close. She flipped over the test and gasped at what she saw. There it was, clear as day that little pink plus sign.
"Oh my god," she said, her voice hushed from shock, "how…how is this even possible?" She found her voice rather quickly, "I'm forty six years old!" She started to laugh, "I'm Secretary of State, our oldest child is almost 21, we can't have a baby now…can we?"
Henry sighed and he rubbed his forehead because it felt like it was pounding, "I think we have a lot to talk about."
Elizabeth's jovial tone suddenly dropped and she burst out crying. Henry didn't even hesitate before enveloping her in his arms.
She clung to him like a child, he was her anchor and when he held her she felt impenetrable. She took a deep breath, "Henry, I…I don't know if I can do this?"
Henry squeezed his eyes shut; he had known that was coming, "That's okay, sweetheart, that's okay. How about we get you into bed and we can talk there?"
Elizabeth nodded against Henry. He sweetly led her into the closet and grabbed some comfy loungewear for her to wear and a pair for himself. They changed in silence and then crawled into their comfy bed. Henry pulled Elizabeth close to him, their legs intertwined and their arms wrapped around each other as they clung together. "I need to make a doctor's appointment. We need to be certain about this." Elizabeth whispered.
Henry just nodded; he wanted to say something, to comfort her to reassure her…but he couldn't. For a man who always knew what to say he felt like a failure in this moment because he couldn't yet give his wife the one thing she needed from him.
They just lay there for a little while until Elizabeth couldn't take the silence any longer, "Henry, will you hate me if I don't think I can do this?"
Henry snapped out of his stupor, "What? Have you lost your mind?"
Elizabeth managed a small smile, "Henry, be serious. I wouldn't even consider it if it would make you change how you felt about me."
Henry sighed, "Baby, it would never change the way I feel about you. You know how I feel about choice. Our lives are very complicated; adding a baby to this mess…well…it might not be fair to any of us, namely this baby. And there are a lot of complications that come with being pregnant in your forties, we need to do the best thing for our family, but mostly we need to do what's best for you."
Elizabeth felt the tears start to flow from her eyes again, "I love you."
Henry kissed the top of her head tenderly, "I love you too."
"Can we just stay like this for a while?"
"We can stay like this for as long as you want."
The next day Elizabeth managed to finagle her way into an after hours appointment with her doctor and they took extra precautions to make sure no one knew where she was going. Even her detail had no idea what this appointment was really about.
Henry met her there and she was thrilled, there was no way she could do this alone.
Dr. Bell took a blood test and suggested a transvaginal ultrasound while they waited, "It will give us a better view, it will be easier to find the heartbeat and it will help us to more accurate determine how far along you are, Madam Secretary."
Dr. Bell pulled out the wand and Elizabeth's eyes grew wide. She squeezed Henry's hand, "I'm fairly certain I'm about to be tortured for state secrets.
Dr. Bell tried not to laugh, "Don't worry, ma'am, you might feel some discomfort but it won't hurt."
Elizabeth looked at her with skepticism but she nodded. She held Henry's hand the whole time, squeezing it tight at the discomfort caused by the insertion of the wand.
Dr. Bell positioned the wand so she could see what she need to see and then smiled and turned the monitor toward Elizabeth, "You're only about five weeks along but you're definitely pregnant." She pointed to a little dot on the screen, "And that is your baby. Congratulations."
Doctor Bell took a few pictures before she ended the procedure and then she left Henry and Elizabeth alone so Elizabeth could get decent and so she could check on her blood work.
Elizabeth couldn't move though, she was frozen to her spot. All she could do was run her hand along her still-flat stomach. Henry reached down and covered her hand with his own.
Elizabeth looked up at him, "Henry, I know the timing is terrible but I can't…" she trailed off but she knew he knew what she meant. He leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her lips, "I know, we can do it, we will be fine. I mean, in all honesty our house is going to be a chaotic mess for a few more years than we expected, but we can do it."
Elizabeth smiled through her tears, "So we're going to do it, we're going to have another baby?"
Henry grinned, "We're going to have another baby." He leaned in and placed a more passionate kiss on her lips. They were going to have a baby and it was all going to be okay because they had each other and that was everything.
Elizabeth got dressed and after a few minutes Dr. Bell came into the room.
"Can I ask you something?" Elizabeth said, a little unsure of how to phrase her question.
Dr. Bell smiled, "Of course, ask me anything."
"How the hell did this happen?" She blurted out.
Dr. Bell stifled a laugh, "Well, statistically speaking you have about a 3% chance of getting pregnant over the age of 45 and that is if you're totally healthy and everything is working properly."
Henry and Elizabeth both had expressions of shock on their faces. "A 3% chance. Wow."
Dr. Bell handed Elizabeth an envelope. I put your ultrasound pictures, a few packets of information and your blood work information in here. I've made sure your assistant has my personal contact information so please don't hesitate to call me if you have any questions or concerns. I also want to assure you that you will never have to worry about information leaking from my office. We deal with a lot of politicians here so your privacy is our top priority."
Elizabeth smiled, that was comforting, "I appreciate that."
"I'll call your assistant and set up an appointment in another month. We can talk about some tests then but I included some information on them in the envelope. Due to your age I think the benefits outweigh the risks."
Elizabeth nodded, she was inclined to agree, they were definitely doing every test necessary.
"Have a good night."
They shook hands and Dr. Bell moved to leave the room, "Madam Secretary, Dr. McCord, congratulations."
Elizabeth squeezed Henry's hand at her words. She had told Henry that she wanted to have the baby...but could she? Hearing the doctor congratulate them just made everything feel so heavy, so terrifyingly real.
They arrived home a little later, both of them itching to talk about what had just been confirmed but not wanting to do it in front of her detail.
When they arrived home they opened the front door and heard fits of laughter coming from the kitchen. Elizabeth frowned, she definitely didn't want to talk to the kids about this just yet and she didn't want to concern them if she and their father locked themselves in their room to talk when it was still early.
Elizabeth turned to Henry, "Can we act normal for an hour or so?"
Henry laughed and helped her take off her coat, "I think we can do it. A little normal will probably be good for us right now."
They walked into the kitchen to find their children whipping cheetos at each other across the kitchen.
"Looks like some major studying going on here." Henry said sarcastically.
They sat around chatting with the kids for a while and for a little bit they managed to put out of their minds the idea that in several months they would have a tiny baby to take care of and everything in their lives would be drastically different.
Elizabeth got up to grab a drink and spotted an open bottle of wine in the refrigerator. She poured herself a glass without thinking and took a big gulp before suddenly realizing what she was doing and spewing the wine everywhere.
Henry and the kids turned to look at her, Henry's eyes grew wide and the kids all looked confused.
"This wine is bad." Elizabeth said, quickly trying to find a plausible excuse. She made a goofy face and proceeded to grab a rag and hastily start wiping up the spewed wine.
The kids seemed to buy her excuse but Henry still looked nervous. She grumpily dumped the rest of the perfectly good bottle of wine down the sink to keep up with the charade and while she was doing so she realized her frequent wine consumption suddenly dwindling down to none would be noticeable. This was going to be harder to hide than she had anticipated.
It was almost 10, she could claim she was tired and head to bed now. She grabbed her purse and announced she was heading to bed. She said good night to the kids and Henry said he would be up in a minute.
She shut their bedroom door and immediately pulled the envelope out of her purse. She sat down on the bed and just held it in her hands for a few minutes, unable to open it.
Henry walked in the room a few minutes later, startling her and forcing her to try to hide the envelope behind her back.
Henry smiled, "Sorry to startle you babe, it's just me."
She managed a small laugh and pulled the envelope out from behind her back and handed it to Henry.
"Henry, I know earlier I said I couldn't and then we said we could but...everything is sinking in and I feel like we need to be honest with ourselves about if we are going to be able to handle this."
Henry nodded, it was going to be a painful conversation but it needed to be had. "Okay, what are you thinking?"
Elizabeth sighed, "I'm thinking I'm going to do the cons and you're going to rebut my arguments."
Henry smiled, "Deal."
"Okay, well first off right now we barely get to spend any time with our current children, if we have this baby we're going to have even less time with the rest of them. After everything we've put them through with our jobs and the move...is that really fair to them? They have already had to grow up so fast and this would complicate that further. We would have to be able to count on them to help us and that really isn't fair. They're still kids and they've lost enough of their normalcy, I don't know if I could live with knowing we took away what little they had left."
Henry nodded, processing her words, she was right. This baby was going to profoundly affect all of their lives. "We can get a nanny."
Elizabeth frowned, "But I don't want us to turn into those parents who basically let their nanny raise their kid."
"Just a part time one, like Mrs. Davis."
Elizabeth smiled, "Oh I loved her, she was so good with the kids and she made those incredible apple zucchini bars."
Henry wrapped an arm around his wife's waist and pulled her close. She laid her head on his shoulder and let herself remember the good times with their former nanny for a minute.
"We would either have to get a bigger house or get rid of the guest bedroom and convert that room to a nursery." She frowned, "but that room is all the way down the hall and I wouldn't want the baby so far away so we would have to make Stevie switch rooms since she's closest to us."
Henry frowned, he couldn't see much of an upside to that situation, "Well, we could buy Stevie a new car to sweeten the deal?"
Elizabeth burst out laughing, "Bribery? That's really where we're at?"
Henry shrugged, trying to contain his own laughter, "Honestly I think it's a solid plan."
Elizabeth's eyes lit up, "Or we could finally refurbish the third floor room. Stevie would love that and it would give her some private space."
Henry thought about that, "Actually that sounds like a good idea. I think she would like that." He paused, "How do you think Ali and Jason would take this?"
Elizabeth sighed, "I think it will go either really well or really badly with Ali and honestly I think it will just go badly with Jason, especially if this peanut turns out to be a boy."
Henry frowned; he knew she was right; Jason would not be thrilled about any of this.
"Well...Ali always wanted a little sister so if it's a girl she might be happy about it and Jason might be less hostile."
Elizabeth chuckled, "So we're hoping for a girl?"
Henry looked down at his wife. He smiled; this had never been a discussion of whether or not they should actually keep the baby. From the minute Dr. Bell had shown them the little one on the ultrasound he had fallen in love and he knew it had been the same for her. But they did need to have this conversation, to talk about what was going to change, and he was happy they did. "We're having this baby?" He asked quietly.
Elizabeth nodded, "We're having this baby."
Henry leaned in and placed a soft kiss on his wife's lips.
When he pulled away from her he held the folder up between them, "You want to look again?"
Elizabeth grinned and took the envelope from Henry, reaching in to pull the sonogram pictures out.
She smiled, "It's strange, when I look at these I'm...I'm happy."
Henry kissed the side of her head gently and squeezed her reassuringly, "Me too. I know we're older but older people have kids all the time nowadays. It's going to be great and plus we've learned so much from raising the other three this one's going to be perfect."
Elizabeth burst out laughing, "Even with all our screw ups I think the other three are pretty perfect too."
Henry nodded, "I agree. See, we have nothing to worry about."
Elizabeth put the pictures back in the envelope and placed it on Henry's nightstand, "Guess we'll see if you still have your baby whispering talents." She ran her hand along the collar of Henry's shirt.
Henry pursed his lips and looked down, knowing exactly where she was going with this, "Baby whispering is a innate talent. I know I've still got it." He gently pushed his wife backwards onto the bed and she giggled as he kneeled between her legs. He kissed her stomach, bringing tears to her eyes, and then slowly made his way up her body until his breath was hot against her neck and she was already breathing erratically. "You up for some celebrating, Mrs. McCord?"
She giggled as his hot lips found the spot below her ear, "Hell yes." She said, turning her head to meet his mouth. The kiss was almost immediately full of passion, their tongues were dueling and they could feel their bodies heating up from the contact.
The kiss quickly gained even more momentum and before they knew it their clothes were shed and they were lost in each other once again.
Later they were lying in bed, completely naked and sweaty after passionate lovemaking. Henry had his head resting on her stomach and Elizabeth was running a hand through his hair, "How are we going to tell the kids there's going to be a tiny screaming human invading their space in eight months?"
Henry chuckled, "I'd like to circle back to the bribery idea? Normally I'm not one for bribery but I think this might be the exception to that rule."
Elizabeth laughed, "Yeah you might be right about that. I think only you and me…well, and Blake, should know until we get at least to the three-month mark. You heard Dr. Bell, I'm 46 and that means it's higher risk."
Henry pursed his lips, he was already attached to this baby and he didn't want to think about the possibility of losing him or her. "That's probably a good idea."
"Maybe we could take them on a vacation, I mean, it's hard enough for us to get even a day off now but in 8 months it's going to be even more difficult. I think we deserve a family vacation."
Henry looked up at her, "I think somewhere tropical where we can relax would be for the best. Maybe Hawaii? I'd rather stay in the states so we take as little risks as possible." He said, kissing her stomach tenderly after he spoke.
Elizabeth felt her eyes tear up at his sweet gesture, "Dammit, I'm already emotional." Elizabeth exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air and then covering her face.
Henry laughed and scooted up so they could be face to face and he gently pulled her hands away from her face to reveal tear-stained cheeks.
He leaned in and kissed away her tears and Elizabeth was smiling once again.
"I don't think I tell you nearly as often as I should how happy I am that you're my husband."
Henry grinned, "Don't worry, I know."
OKAY, I wrote this for my older sister & my sister-in-law because we're all obsessed with Tim Daly & babies. It was supposed to just be a guilty pleasure for us (because really I would hate this storyline if it was a real thing) but I mentioned it a couple times on tumblr and there was some interest so here it is!
I think I've seen only one story like this, it's added to my reading list but I haven't had a chance yet so I hope they're not too similar.
ANYWAY, I go back and forth between loving this and hating myself for writing this so I need some validation! Or if you're like, "Jude, stick to your other stuff", whatever, just tell me! Pretty please?!