THE TIME HAD COME
Midway through Ana's seventh month of her pregnancy with the twins, life had becoming more difficult. She was not allowed to work, but she did take on a few tutoring jobs to bring in an income. She walked at the end of each day when SJ returned from his job. They ate healthy foods and she checked in each week with Dr. McCoy.
One evening SJ had walked with her across campus to take a path around the ponds that had been designed in stars and moon shapes. The air was beginning to get damp, and it felt like it would rain soon.
SJ looked up at the sky as clouds slowly filled in the last of the blue.
"We should head back. I don't want to get caught in any storms."
Ana stopped and grabbed at her side, "SJ, I'm having cramps again."
SJ took out his comm unit and called for an air-ambulence before Ana could say anything.
There were many benches around the pond and they sat and waited. It took only a few minutes for them to arrive.
One of the EMT's recognized her from his classes.
"Dr. Spock, how are you feeling?"
"I've been better, Raymond. Do you think we could hitch a ride to the hospital."
"No problem, Ma'am. We'll get you there in a few seconds. Lt. Spock, you can ride along if you want."
SJ nodded to him and watched as they lifted Ana and the cart into the ambulance. SJ rode in the front and Dr. McCoy was waiting as they arrived.
"SJ, take a seat, I'll come out and get you in a minute. Ana, relax, I'll be right with you," Dr. McCoy said.
Dr. McCoy and the nurses disappeared into the exam rooms and SJ stood in the hall by himself. He controlled his anxiety and knew that it would be illogical to panic when they were in the best place they could be in at the moment.
The antiseptic smell of the emergency room was strong, along with the many small beeps and alarms that everyone seemed to ignore or answer calmly began to grate on his nerves. He had not slept well in the last week. Ana found it difficult to get comfortable in bed and he rubbed her back as often as she asked. The waiting room had several groups of people waiting. He could feel the tension from the Humans and he knew there had to be a calmer place to wait. His shields were not at their best and he chose to wait in the hallway for Dr. McCoy.
"Tell me, Ana, how long have you had the pains," Dr. McCoy asked.
"They just started a few minutes before SJ called for the ambulance."
"They've stopped, now?"
"Well, I think it would be wise to admit you. You're very close to your due date and twins like to come early."
"Doctor, are you sure?"
He took Ana's hand in his. His dark blue eyes smiled with care, "I'd like to have you close by, so I can keep an eye on things. You've done really well until now. Don't worry, we'll get you a private room with all the bells and whistles."
She laughed and said, "Oh yeah, and a private bathroom, too?"
"I'm sure that can be arranged," he answered laughing, "I better go talk to that husband of yours. I'll send him in, that okay?"
She smiled and answered, "Please."
SJ walked in and reached for her hand. "Better, now, my Aduna?"
"Yes, my Adun, don't you worry. Maybe you'll sleep better without me tossing and turning each night in bed."
"My bed will be very empty without you, my wife. I will await your return, but know that you are near in my heart."
Tears gathered in her eyes and she reached up and kissed him, "You're so sweet, thank you."
They were settled in a private room and SJ waited until they were threatening to kick him out before he left.
"SJ, go to your shift tomorrow. I'll be fine. If anything changes, they will comm you directly."
He kissed her good night and whispered, "My night will be lonely without you, but our bond is strong. May your dreams be pleasant."
Dr. McCoy checked in on Ana each day. There were changes in her medications, but he encouraged her to continue to walk throughout the hospital as much as she could and to eat more smaller meals. SJ spent all his time outside of his job with her.
Dr. McCoy had been in contact with Healer, T'lar. T'lar's reaction was, 'the time has come'.
Ana was more uncomfortable and was hoping the next few weeks would go quickly. Small contractions were felt off and on and monitors beeped at her head hourly. She walked the halls of the hospital all day long and slept when she could.
Ana awoke feeling nauseous and uncomfortable. The babies rolled inside her womb. One had a foot stuck under her rib for the last two months and it made it difficult to breathe and sleep.
The day shift nurse came into check on her. She recorded the readings from the monitor and said, "Feeling any pain, this morning, Doctor?"
Ana nodded her head yes and tried to change her position in the bed.
"I'll be back in a minute," the nurse said.
Dr. McCoy walked in with a smile on his face, "Feeling a little uncomfortable, Ana?"
"Dr. McCoy, uncomfortable is not the word I would choose to describe what I'm feeling right now," she said irritably.
McCoy read the scanner and examined her. "Try to relax and rest today."
"Dr. McCoy, I couldn't be anymore rested if I tried. Relaxed is...only for you men."
Dr. McCoy crossed his arms and stood by her bedside, "This has been a real ordeal for you. You've had a positive attitude and fought for your babies all the way through. Don't give up now. I know it's been tough."
Ana's eyes began to tear up, "I'm sorry for snapping at you, I'm just getting tired of being here. I want to be home."
"It won't be long, Ana. In fact I called SJ and he's coming over to spend the day with you."
Her eyes brightened and said, "Why? How did you get time off for him?"
"I have connections. Now, eat your breakfast and he'll be here shortly."
SJ made arrangements with a colleague to follow up on an experiment he was working on. Most of the things they did were top secret and security was tight. But all of the workers were excellent in their fields and took their work seriously.
As he walked across the campus towards the hospital, he saw a shuttle with distinctive markings hover and land in the open area in front of the medical buildings. It was not the usual spot to land a space vehicle, but seeing the black, gold and maroon striping of his grandfather's shuttle, SJ knew no one would question the reason for the shuttles appearance.
He had to cover a long distance, yet he saw the tall outline of his grandfather, two aids and possibly his grandmother. The most distinguished was a short female Vulcan who walked ahead of the group being led by a starfleet officer.
SJ began to run to catch up with his grandparents, but they disappeared inside the hospital before he got there. Once inside the hospital he ran to the nearest lift.
On Ana's floor there were security people everywhere and a sense of quiet dignity. SJ looked around for his family or Dr. McCoy, but didn't find anyone until he turned the corner to Ana's hallway. He was stopped by two security guards with no explanation.
"Let me go through. My wife is in room 12W."
"Not until I see your clearance badge."
SJ fumbled in his chest pocket for the badge. He handed it to the guard.
"I'm sorry, Lt. Spock, we have Ambassador Sarek on the floor and we have to check everyone."
"Go ahead, sir."
SJ was stopped outside Ana's door by a Vulcan security guard and he was becoming annoyed.
"I've already been cleared. Ana is my wife."
The guard scanned SJ. "You are free to go, Spock, son of Spock."
"S'ton, you know who I am."
"I had to check your DNA. I am sorry for the extra precaution."
"I understand. Your diligence honors me."
S'ton nodded towards him.
SJ slowly opened the door and five different people paused to look at him. Dr. McCoy nodded as he watched healer T'lar examine Ana and analyze the readings that were presented to her.
SJ walked over to Sarek and greeted him with the ta'al, and then the same to his grandmother. He sensed they knew more than he did at the moment and he struggled to control his annoyance. He sought Ana's eyes, but she was answering the Healer. His grandmother touched his arm and smiled at him. She motioned for him to step towards the door.
Amanda whispered, "Dr. McCoy let us know a few days ago, that Ana's time was approaching, so your grandfather and the Healer decided it was time for us to come. She looks well for all she's been through," she paused and looked at him, "how about you SJ, how are you doing?"
"I am well, Grandmother. Dr. McCoy called me to spend the day with her and I'm just arriving. I was surprised to see Sarek's shuttle landing in the quad."
"You must be feeling left out. No one thinks to inform the father what is going on. They put all their attention on the mother and it's not always fair."
SJ looked down at the floor and nodded, "I was concerned."
"SJ," Dr. McCoy called. He motioned for him to step over to the bed.
"T'lar, this is Spock Jr., the father."
T'lar said, "Live, long and prosper, son of Spock."
"Peace and long life, Healer."
He looked down at Ana, who looked like she was trying to control a smile. Through their bond he mumbled her name. "Aduna, all is well?"
"Yes, my love."
Dr. McCoy said, "SJ, I took the privilege of informing Healer T'lar of Ana's progress. She assured me she would be here to help with the delivery."
Amanda spoke, "SJ, it's Vulcan custom for the mother or mother-in-law to help prepare the new mother. If I can help at all, Ana, I would be happy too."
"Lady Amanda, I would be pleased if you could be here. My mother is sick with a virus and can't travel yet."
SJ was feeling irritable. Even though his shields had improved, with Sarek in the room he had to maintain control.
"Dr. McCoy, is Ana is active labor?" SJ asked.
"She's starting. We've got the team in place. We'll practice tonight and be ready when those babies decide to come."
"Practice, Dr. McCoy?"
"We want to be ready for any situation that may occur. We'll have to move quickly. As soon as one is born the other will be popping out soon after. I don't expect any problems, but we want to go over every technique. Healer T'lar will do the actual delivery, I am just here to assist and learn. We'll have two teams ready, one for each baby. Do you have any questions, SJ?"
"I want to be in the delivery room with Ana. Is that possible?"
Dr. McCoy looked towards the healer and she remained quiet. On Vulcan, the husband was never allowed in the delivery room.
Ana spoke up, "Dr. McCoy, I want SJ to be present. I will relax more with him there and so will the babies. His bond with them is very strong, already."
McCoy turned to T'lar and said, "It's all right with me."
T'lar faced SJ and said, "It is highly unusual, but this whole eight months has been unusual, too. I give my blessing."
"I am honored," SJ replied.
Everyone left the room and Amanda stayed and had a conversation with Ana.
"It can be scary these last moments, Ana. You have self-doubt and all these fears are driven by a boost of hormones. It's all natural and you have a lot of family that will be here to help you adjust. Try not to look too far down the road, and ask for help when you need it, and also, shoo people away if you need time to yourself. I'll leave so you and SJ can bond. Any question's?"
"No, Grandmother, and I appreciate you talking with me."
Lady Amanda gave her a kiss on the cheek, "We'll see you soon."
SJ was alone with Ana. He pulled up a chair and held her hand.
"Your time is approaching, Aduna?"
"You're frightened," he commented.
Ana rolled more onto her side to face him and said, "I am, SJ. I've never been a Mom before. What if I'm terrible at it? I don't know how this is all going to work."
SJ stroked her forehead with his hand, "My Aduna, we will have lot's of help. Grandmother will be here until your mother is able to come. I'll help you, too. Grandfather told me that he will hire someone to help you twenty-four hours a day, if needed, and I have two weeks leave I can take."
"SJ, I'm just really scared."
They touched their fingers together and SJ sent reassuring messages to her. Tears formed in her eyes and SJ wiped one away as it rolled down her cheek.
'You are not alone, my Aduna. You are frightened because you're unsure of yourself. We will become more confident as each day passes. I do not require as much sleep, so you may rest when you need to."
Ana looked up at her husband. "I love you, Adun."
"Close your eyes and rest. I'll be right here beside you."
She nodded and fell asleep.
During the night, Ana went into labor. The baby boy was born first and within a short time the baby girl joined the universe.
SJ stood by his wife and listened as Dr. McCoy and Healer T'lar worked like a fine oiled machine. Each team took one of the babies and did all the checking and registering of weight, color, blood types and special information.
SJ couldn't help but smile, as Ana was brought out of a light sleep. After each child was cleaned they were laid on Ana's chest. Tears of joy and relief poured down her face. She could hardly speak. Other than T'lar, there were tears all around at the successful twin birth with hybrid beginnings.
SJ held the boy and he whispered to Ana, "We must pick strong names. They have both been through so much, along with their mother"
"Yes, and their father."
Many people sent their congratulations, but only Mr. Spock and Amanda were allowed in, Sarek would have to wait until the next day. No Vulcan would admit to pouting, but there was one who indeed was pouting in the hall and causing some consternation with the nurses.
Amanda went into the room with Mr. Spock following. The two parents were holding the sleeping babies. Amanda pressed her hands together in awe. "Oh my gosh, they are adorable."
"Grandmother, do you want to hold him?" SJ asked.
"Of course, come here little one," she checked his fingers and toes and stroked his tiny elfin ears. "You're as handsome as your Grandfather was when he was born," she said.
Ana laughed, "Father, would you like to hold her?"
Spock took a step forward and gently held the precious little girl in his arms. He swallowed deeply and cleared his throat. "She is tiny."
SJ smiled and said, "She's barely five pounds."
Spock couldn't take his eyes off the baby. She squeaked in a baby voice and arched her back, but kept her eyes closed. Spock handed her back to Ana.
"She is, they both are a blessing for the clan."
Amanda gave the boy back to his father and said, "Spock, let's leave them alone. Ana will need to rest soon. SJ we'll meet you later."
The nurse interrupted and took both babies to be fed and to give Ana a chance to sleep. SJ held Ana's hand in his.
"Do you know what names you'd like?"
"I've been thinking, they both have your cute little ears, so they favor the Vulcan side. Should we give them Vulcan first names and Human middle names?"
"I would be pleased with that?"
"From our list we made, I like Marac for our son."
"A fine name, Ana. And the girl?"
"You pick her name?"
"I am partial to Aiten."
"I agree, and now the middle names?"
"You choose those, Ana. You are more familiar with that tradition."
Ana smiled and said, "Okay. I like, Marac Allen and Aiten Marie S'chn T'gai."
SJ chuckled at her pronunciation of their last name, "You need a little more practice, my wife."
"Grandmother said it took her years to get it down and she's a linguist."
Ana became quiet and looked out the window, "SJ, do you think our children will be accepted on Vulcan better than you and Father have been?"
"It has been my experience that tradition is slow to change. We must be patient, hopeful, but have plan B on the back burner, as you Humans like to say."
SJ pulled a light blanket up onto Ana and said, "Tomorrow will take care of itself, let's be concerned only with today. Rest, and I will return later."
"I love you with all of my being."
He grasped her hand and said, "You are the reason I am happy, and you have given me a family. I love you, Ana, and I have missed having you at home. Sleep, now."
The weary couple returned to their apartment after two days in the hospital. There were many hands to help. Once Ana's mother came the rest of the family returned to Vulcan. Life was changing by the minute, but the young couple were satisfied and happy.