Chapter 24 – Sweet Boy

Wednesday, May 17th, 2023

Gabi's POV

40 Weeks Pregnant + 3 Days

"Do you think tomorrow will go well?" I questioned and Troy's eyes lifted to mine from his work. "Yes, I do. I think everything will go as planned. Tomorrow night we will go in, we will start the process, and by Friday we will have our little man." Troy's voice was calm and quiet as he explained it. I rubbed my very, very swollen belly as Knox kicked my upper belly as his head was definitely in my pelvis. I breathed in as the past 9 weeks have been better once I started the medications.

My hormones were still surging and going crazy but it was better. My anxiety wasn't as intense and a lot fewer panic attacks. Troy mostly worked from here but took a few road trips here and there but once Knox was here on Friday – he was taking his four weeks off from work. Hanson was happy that Troy was going to be able to swing it. He wanted him to take the time and I was relieved knowing that Troy was going to have a job to come back to.

Troy rubbed his face as he stared at his laptop and he looked up at me. I had made little progress and since I was finished with my semester – I was gladly happy to be induced. I was a whale, I was uncomfortable, and the hormones were too much for me. I breathed out as I felt him kick again. "I can't wait to meet you little man," I whispered quietly to my belly when I heard the click of the shutter. My eyes lifted up to see Troy holding his camera in his hand.

"Yea, you're freaking beautiful." I felt my cheeks rush with heat as I looked at my bare belly as I was only in a sports bra with a pair of shorts. I was also uncomfortable in all of my clothes. I was sick of it for sure and I was excited to meet him – just nervous. I had a weird feeling about his induction but I knew I was in really good hands. I was going to be okay. Knox was going to be okay. Troy was going to be with me the entire time. Dr. Wilson promised that Troy would never have to leave my side for anything. He was quite possibly the only person to keep my anxiety grounded in this whole process.

"Are you sure you are actually seeing me in that lens?" I questioned and Troy let out a chuckle with a smile on his face. "Yea, I see my beautiful wife." He winked at me before coming over and tipping my chin back to capture my lips in a quick kiss. "I can't wait to watch you become a mom. God, you are going to be so fucking good at it." I shook my head back and forth, "You are going to be the amazing one." I explained to him and he smirked.

"We are both going to struggle and have our ups and downs but together…we're going to make an amazing team. Just remember – I'll be there for everything the next couple of days. I will never be far from you. Knox is going to come into this world on Friday and he's going to be so happy to be with his momma." I blinked away the quickly approaching tears and Troy kissed me one more time before he went back to his laptop.

"Lauren is glad he waited," I said with a laugh, and Troy chuckled himself. "I bet she is. She got here just in the Knick of time." Troy typed something out and he leaned back in his chair. "what are you thinking?" he questioned and I turned my head. "I'm thinking that I am nervous about tomorrow and I am also thinking you are never going to want more kids because of how insane I was." Troy barked a laugh. "Nah, baby, you were stressed and anxious and it was nothing you could control. I want more kids. I don't think I would like being an only child so I wouldn't do that to my child. You are forty weeks pregnant and I can sit here and honestly say I love you."

I laughed as I got up and I went to sit in his lap. His hand ran over my belly and he waited for a kick but Knox was definitely being shy for his dad. Troy kissed my shoulder, "I do have to say, B. I am very, very proud and honored to have you as my wife. This pregnancy wasn't easy for ways I don't think we were prepared for. You handled it with grace and before you object – yes. There were times where it was hard but you did it. You pulled yourself out of it and you have done amazing, B. I love you. I am so thankful that you carried our baby for nine-plus months. I can't wait to meet him."

I wiped away a few tears and I wrapped my arms around his neck. "Thank you for dealing with me this entire time. I know I was frustrating and hard to understand but…you were amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better husband during all of this. Thank you for not locking me in a looney bin," Troy chuckled as he captured my lips into a quick kiss. "I'm going to finish up this game and then we can get one last night of good rest,"

My eyes narrowed towards him, "Last night? I don't remember in the past several weeks where I got good sleep," I reminded him causing him to chuckle. Troy dipped down and his lips pressed to my belly as he whispered again those words that I didn't know. "What do you say to him?" I questioned and Troy gave me a tiny smile. "I'll tell you after you have it. It's between the two of us for now." I shook my head as Troy helped me stand up.

"Go get ready for bed. I'll be there in about an hour." I nodded as I waddled, yes, waddled upstairs. I've had Braxton-hick's contractions for the past couple of weeks but nothing consistent or regular. I rubbed my belly almost wishing that he would come out tonight but I knew in the next forty-eight hours he would be here. My sweet boy, I couldn't wait to see his face. Trace his nose, his cheeks, and his chin. I can't wait to kiss his forehead and smell his head.

I went and grabbed a washcloth, I turned the water one, and I began to wash my face free of my make-up. I changed into just Troy's t-shirt and crawled into bed with my pillow wrapping my body around it. I reached over for the remote as I turned on Netflix and found an old show to stream. My lips run together as I scrolled on my phone, made sure I had everything for tomorrow and texted Lauren a few times as she was setting up the house.

Troy was downstairs and I could hear him turning off all of the lights and shutting down the house. He made his way into the bedroom and smiled, "I was hoping you were going to be asleep." Troy said with his soft voice and I smiled. "I wanted to cuddle with you." Troy smiled as he went to the bathroom, changed into just a pair of shorts before crawling into bed next to me. His fingers went around my belly and gave it one more kiss before he worked up my body and his lips landed on mine.

He wrapped his body around me and I tucked against him while he stroked my belly back and forth. I felt a smile tug on my lips as his hands lulled me to sleep.


Thursday, May 18th, 2023

40 Weeks Pregnant + 4 Days

Gabi's POV

My hand rubbed down my stomach as I nervously twitched in the hospital bed while Troy settled our bags down into the labor suite. I was nervous about the next twenty-four hours as we tried to bring our little man into the world. Tonight, we were inducing my labor and hopefully at some point tomorrow he would be here with us in the flesh. I was excited but the nerves were creeping in because I wasn't sure how this was going to play out.

Troy turned around as his shorts were hitting right above his knees with a Duke faded t-shirt, his hoodie stashed on the chair next to the bed. I swallowed down on the nerves as he gave me a quick smile, "You okay?" I just nodded as he came over and settled onto the bed next to me. His handpicked up my hand as he smoothed his fingers over it. "You're going to kick ass, B. I know you are." I gave him a smile but the tears filled my eyes – like they have been the past several weeks. I was so emotional and poor Troy – he was so over it.

"I'm scared. What if something goes wrong?" I whispered, Troy gently tilted my chin backward and his eyes were so soft and caring. "I'm going to be right here every single step of the way. These doctors and nurses are going to take fantastic care of you. If they don't, they have to answer to me." I laughed softly and he kissed my forehead. "We're going to do this one step at a time," I wrapped my arms around him as our little man tried to stretch out in my belly. A smile lifted to Troy's face as his hand ran across the gown, "It's weird that we're going to be meeting him soon."

"I hope we're good parents." I said and he frowned for a beat and nodded his head slowly, "I think we will be. I think we're going to make a lot of mistakes. I think he is going to hate us at some point. I think we'll have to prioritize better and we have a lot to learn but…I think we'll do our best. I think we're going to be good parents and I think we're going to love him hard." I leaned into him and breathed in his clean scent. "Please don't leave me, I can't do this without you."

His large hand gripped behind my neck and his thumb stroked my skin delicately. His blue eyes drifted to my face as I could see how serious he was growing. "I would never let you do this alone. You tell me to jump, I ask how high…right?" he said and I nodded, "You're amazing, B. You're so strong and powerful. I am so thankful that you carried our little guy for these past nine months – while going through school and just being your busy self. You blow my mind every day."

I leaned up to kiss him and he smiled softly into the kiss, "I love you,"

"I love you, too," I whispered back to him. He planted another kiss to my forehead and stood up before fishing out my blanket and pillow. I thanked him as I started to nestle in when the nurse came back with a smile on her face. "Okay, we're going to do a cervix exam, set you up on your monitors, and get your induction process started." I gave her a smile and a nod, "Okay," Dr. Wilson had checked me at my appointment the other day and I was already three centimeters but as I was forty weeks and four days – she agreed that today was enough.

Rubbing my belly, she moved around the room, pulled on gloves, and I leaned back as Troy came over to my side of the bed. His fingers found mine while he distracted me, "How early do you think your mom will be here?" he asked me and I laughed as the nurse inserted her fingers causing me to tense. "Focus on me," he whispered to me. I twisted my attention to him and I sighed trying to relax back into the bad, "Probably before we are even awake."

Troy chuckled as the nurse pulled back, "Three and half centimeters," the nurse cheered, "You are pretty thinned out as well. I think your induction should go pretty smooth." I felt relief wash over my entire body as Troy nodded his head, "We're going to give you a little pill in your cervix to help finish thinning it out and hopefully it'll kick in contractions," I nodded my head again while they started setting up monitors, checked my skin, and I signed all of the other papers.

"This is dad?" the nurse asked, I nodded, "Yes, this is my husband Troy." I introduced him and Troy reached across to shake her hand, "Maggie. I'll be your nurse all night. I have a wrist band for you, Troy. This will identify you as a dad." Troy let her slip the bracelet onto his wrist. "Thank you," Maggie placed an IV into my hand as Troy talked to me about little things along the way. "How long have you been together?" Maggie asked.

Troy smiled, "Our sophomore year of college. We've been married for a little over a year and a half now." Troy said with the pride beaming in his eyes. "I knew she was the girl the moment I ran into her outside of Duke." Maggie grinned, "You both went to Duke?" I nodded, "Yea, we did. We both played basketball there as well. It was a match made in heaven." Maggie grinned like a cat at that. "Aren't you two adorable. The first baby?" she asked looking between the two of us.

"Yes! We're really excited but very nervous." I said and she smiled, "You look like you are both going to make great parents." Maggie squeezed my knee and smiled, "Okay, I'll be back in a little bit to check on you. Get some rest. You're going to need it." I thanked her as she walked out and Troy brushed my hair against my face, "Hopefully he's ready," I nodded as I rubbed my belly as he kicked my belly as I could hear his heartrate behind me.

I turned on the TV and flipped through the TV channels before settling on an episode of Friends on TV. Troy pulled the chair closer to the bed as he propped his feet up and brushed against my leg. I glanced at him as he scrolled on his phone. Lauren and Grey were excited to spend time with us and to see our little man and they were both were ready for the phone call to come. Our families were excited. Clara was really excited that she was going to have a baby cousin.

"When is your mom and dad's flight landing?" I asked Troy, he smiled looking up at me, "Around three tomorrow afternoons,"

"I hope we have a baby by then,"

Troy grinned, "I really hope so, too."


Friday, May 19th, 2023

My belly cramped and I tried to breathe through it as the contractions really started to kick in around three this morning, about two hours ago, and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do this. Troy was snoozing next to me and he told me to wake him up but I wanted him to rest. I twisted around in the bed as I faced Troy who was sleeping in the chair. His hood was pulled over his head and his long legs were stretched out over the chair.

He was so handsome and I was so lucky to get to have a child with him. A knock came at the door and it was my nurse with a smile on her face, "Hey, you doing okay?" I nodded my head, "Yea, my belly is getting really crampy." Maggie smiled, "Good. That means you're probably starting to contract and dilate." The voices stirred Troy and he sat up in the chair rubbing his eyes, Maggie smiled, "I'm going to do another cervical check to see what progress we've made, okay? Then we'll probably start Pitocin."

Troy reached for my hand again as I got into the same position as last time while Troy tried to distract me. I stared into his blue eyes while they checked me and he gave me a sleepy smile, those blue eyes not quite awake yet from his nap. It was over before I realized and she smiled, "You're four and half centimeters dilated. Baby is low and your cervix is pretty thinned out. You should be meeting your baby boy today." I felt a smile crawl over my face as Troy smiled stroking his thumb over my skin.

Another contraction squeezed my stomach and I closed my eyes to focus on the pain as Troy laced our fingers together, "You're doing so good, B." I swallowed the emotion down and opened my eyes to look at him. Concern was swept over his face and I felt a tear slip out of my eye, "I wish I could take away this pain," he whispered and I shook my head, "No. It's not that bad yet I'm just…I'm so thankful for you Troy. So, fucking thankful." He brushed away my tears and he kissed my forehead.

"I still want to protect you and not see you this pain." I breathed and wiggled up so I was sitting while Troy stroked my hair on my head. He breathed in my scent and I leaned into his body. "What do you think he is going to look like?" I questioned for probably the hundredth time. "I think he is going to look a lot like you," he admitted and I gave him a bit of a shocked look. "I think he'll have brown eyes and your skin color with maybe my hair color…" Troy paused while he thought about it for a minute, "That's how I dream about him anyways." I raised my eyebrows towards him, "You've never told me you dream about him."

A small smile played at his lips, "Yea, frequently actually. I dream about playing basketball with him, what he looks like, watching basketball with him, eating hospital cafeteria food to see mom…" I smiled softly as the emotions overcame me again. I knew he was going to be the best dad there was with our little guy. I breathed in heavily as Troy gripped my hand and let his thumb race back and forth over my skin.

"I also dream about you and how beautiful you are as a mother. Such natural. A pretty kickass surgeon, too." He winked and I laughed as he reached up to kiss my forehead. "You need to try and get some rest, B." I just nodded as I rolled to my side to face him as his fingers smoothed over my skin on my face. Gently coaxing me to sleep. It worked for a little bit but my contractions got a bit more intense causing me to not be able to relax. "Breath, baby," Troy reminded me and I gasped out a breath of air. His blue eyes were hovering over my body.

"Just relax, close your eyes, listen to me," he whispered and I swallowed down and nodded my head as I followed his voice. "After we have our baby later today, we're going to be laying in this bed and snuggling as a family of three for the very first time. Knox will get to finally snuggle up with his momma and I will get to be so damn proud of you. So proud." I couldn't stop my smile as he kept talking to me about the silliest of things and letting me relax while just listening to him.

His hand stroked my face and I finally let my eyes flutter open and he dropped a quick kiss on my mouth. Another contraction came and tensed up all over again. The pain overwhelming and I squeaked out a cry. "Can you get my nurse?" I questioned and he nodded his head as he stood up. He walked across the room and out to the nurse's station before he came in with her in tow. "Is it too soon for an epidural?" I asked her and she smiled, "No, your contractions are strong and steady. Let's get your epidural and then we can probably break your water." I felt a sense of relief as Troy rubbed my shoulder gently.

"Are you sure this doesn't make me a wimp?" I asked and he chuckled, "Babe, I can't handle watching you in pain. You basically played on a half-broken ankle in college. I think getting pain meds for labor is okay." He joked and I couldn't stop staring at his blue eyes. The nurse came in to let me know anesthesia would be up soon. I knew her shift was almost over and hopefully by tonight my little Knox man would be here.

"Have you sent an update to my mom and dad?" I asked Troy, he nodded, "After your last check."

I stayed silent as I tried to work through the contractions and Troy let me hold his hands through every single one. He massaged my back and placed counter pressure as we learned in birthing classes. His presence alone was keeping me calm and when he talked and just about nothing it was even better. The nurses came in to do a bedside report and I smiled at them as Maggie began to explain my case to Jenny.

"Gabi is a G2T0P0A1L0, her husband Troy is her support person and is very, very good at keeping her calm. She is very relaxed with him near her. Her last check was about one hour ago and she was about 4.5 centimeters. Her contractions are every 2-3 minutes and lasting about 40 seconds. She has no known allergies, clear lung, and heart sounds, she is having a little boy named Knox and plans to breastfeed after birth."


Troy's POV

I watched the doctors and nurses set up for the epidural when the nurse glanced around the room and found me. "Troy, do you want to support her?" I quickly nodded as I needed to support her. I felt useless just standing around and watching her go through all of this. I wanted to take some of the load off of her but I knew it wasn't possible. The nurse had me stand in front of her and she smiled, "You just stand here and Gabi will lean into you. Try and help keep her back stretched." I agreed as Gabi looked up at me with a smile on her face. I could see the exhaustion forming and knew she needed to rest after this.

"Come here," I whispered to her as I helped the doctors stretch her back out while she fisted my shirt. "You are doing so good," I whispered to her. She let her forehead rest against my chest as I helped keep her upright. I whispered in her ear the entire time as the doctor prepped her back, talked her through the procedure, while I just talked. She tensed up with a few contractions and I helped mirror her breathing.

"What an amazing patient," the doctor said as he finished putting in the epidural. She relaxed against me and I felt my own sigh of relief filter through. The doctor tested everything out and once he was satisfied, we all shifted her back into bed as her legs became useless. "Feel better?" I asked as the commotion in the room started to die down. She nodded her head, "Yea, I do. I am tired though." I brushed her hair away from her face. "Then get some rest."

"First, we're going to break her water and then she can rest," Jenny said with a smile, I took my position with Gabi as there is no way in hell it felt good to have somebody stick their fingers up there and feel around. "I am thinking that we wait until later to tell everybody that he is here," I suggested. "Let's give us all some time together before we invite the very eager grandparents." Gabi smiled and she nodded her head as Dr. Wilson broke Gabi's water and Gabi had a quick contraction after that.

She only appeared mildly uncomfortable as Dr. Wilson and Jenny got Gabi back into position. "Get some rest, Gabi," I whispered to her and she let her eyes flutter close. Jenny came in and out pretty frequently after that as I continued to play on my phone. I went over to shut the curtains in the room to make it a little darker so Gabi could get some good rest. She was resting on her side with her hand protectively over her belly.

Jenny came back in here again and she watched Gabi's monitor before adjusting her IV drip. Her face wasn't the same as earlier and my stomach twisted with a hint of worry. "Jenny, is everything okay?" I asked standing up. Her wide eyes bounced to me and she nodded, "Yea, his heart rate is just dropping with the contractions. I am hoping with some extra fluid it will regain some normalcy." My chest constricted with worry. "But he's okay right?"

"Yes, I promise, he's in good hands. Gabi is in good hands." Jenny reassured and I settled back into the chair that was close to Gabi. Jenny waited for a few beats before going back to the nurse's station. I was grateful Gabi was sleeping right now because she was nervous that something was going to be wrong with her labor. She works herself up over it and I didn't need her to work herself up right now. My eyes took in her two braids down the side of her head, her gown that was covering everything, and her bare face. God, she was beautiful.

Jenny popped back into the room and her eyes were worried. She knocked up the IV fluids and gently went over to Gabi, "Gabi, sweetie, I need you to roll onto your other side." She encouraged and Gabi blinked up in a haze of confusion. I stood up and I went over to her, "Troy, what's going on?" she asked me. Those brown eyes flashing with her worry. "Knox is just being a bit of a stinker. Will you roll towards Jenny?" I questioned her and she nodded her head as she rolled onto her other side with the help of Jenny due to her useless legs.

"Troy," her voice was scared and I ran my hand over her face, "Just relax, baby. I need you to relax for Knox." Tears welled in her eyes and I bent over as I leaned in close to her ear. "I am going to be honest with you, baby, but you have to promise to stay calm. I know you want to but you can't panic. You have to stay calm for him, okay?" she nodded and I pulled back to look at her face. "Knox heart rate keeps dipping when you have a contraction. Jenny is a little worried but she is taking care of you. Okay?"

Tears filled her eyes and slowly began to trickle down her cheek but she nodded, "Okay," I tilted my forehead to meet hers, "I'm not going to let anything happen to either of you, okay?" she nodded her head again as Jenny focused on the monitors some more. A few more people came into the room as I continued to hold Gabi's hand and hover over her. Jenny was talking with another nurse, "Gabi, I think we want to try another position. We're going to get you on your hands and knees, okay?"

Her brown eyes looked at me absolutely terrified and I squeezed her hand, "I'm right here baby," it took a team effort to get her onto her hands and knees with the epidural but everybody made it happen while they gave her something to rest against. I stood right by her head as Dr. Wilson was suddenly in the room. I felt myself get dizzy with worry as this just went a step further. "Troy," Gabi whimpered my name and I looked down at her as she had a face full of fear.

"First, breathe," I reminded her and she took a deep breath as my thumb stroked her face. "Good girl, now, Dr. Wilson is here." More tears fell from her face and I knew she was scared. "I am right here. It's okay to be scared. It's okay just stay calm for me, baby." I felt my own panic swell in my chest. "I can't lose him, Troy." Her voice crumbled with a sob and Dr. Wilson's attention was caught. I nodded my head, "I know, B. I know. I am not going to let that happen."

"Gabi, sweetie, let's talk." Dr. Wilson came over as she felt Gabi's stomach before coming to face her. "Knox's heart rate keeps dipping with every single contraction. I am getting concerned. We've tried our normal tricks but I am nervous that he is going to go into distress. After each contraction his baseline changes. You came in with a baseline of 157 and he's sitting at 120 with fluctuations going into the 90s." Gabi squeezed her eyes closed as I rubbed her lower back. "I am willing to wait a few more minutes to see if he'll adjust but your contractions are almost every minute." Gabi breathed in deeply as she looked up and her eyes met mine.

"What does Knox need?" Gabi asked, her lips bubbling with a cry, "Knox needs to get out, soon." Dr. Wilson told her simply. Alarms started to go off in the room and the panic edged onto her face. She slapped her hand over her mouth and tried to hold in the sob as Dr. Wilson went over to monitor. "Gabi, I think Knox just decided for us. We have to do an emergency c-section." A cry echoed through her lips and my heart shattered in a sentence.

"Troy will be there, right?" she asked with tears pouring out of her eyes, "Yes, sweetie. He will be right next to you." Dr. Wilson gave her a good squeeze on the shoulder. They started to ease her back into position in the bed on her left side as she couldn't control her sobs. "I'm scared, Troy," she whimpered and I got down on her level. "I know baby, I'm scared. This is what Knox needs though. It's time to meet him, okay? This is what is best for him. This is what is best for you. I need both of you. Okay?" she nodded her head and I wiped away her tears as I pulled her into a quick kiss as our room was suddenly full of people.

Nurses, doctors, and everything in-between as somebody came over to me and pulled me away from Gabi, "No," I quickly turned and faced them. "She is going to freak out if you separate us," I proclaimed and the doctor, nurse, aid, whoever the fuck he was shook his head. "We have to get her prepped before you can come back," my stomach sank and I shook my head, "No, please," I ran my hands through my hair as the stress was forming on my shoulders. "She has panic attacks and she's already terrified. I can't leave her." I told him with my own fear forming.

"Troy," I heard her cry my name out and my heart raced and I ached to move back to her as they started moving her bed. "Troy," she screamed my name this time and I felt the protectiveness to rush forward. "Sir, you have to put these on and we have to get her ready first." I squeezed my eyes shut before I lost my shit. I heard her crying and I pushed forward to only be stopped by somebody else. Frustration rose in my throat. The anger racing hot through my blood as I heard her again.

"Where are the clothes?" I demanded with a harsh tone. They gave me scrubs to change into with a hair net and a mask as my entire body was shaking. I needed to get back to her. I had to get back to her. I promised that I wasn't going to be separated from her. I was going to be there the entire time. "Troy," my head snapped up to Jenny and she looked panicked herself. My stomach dropped, "No, no, what's wrong,"

"They are going to have to put her under if she can't calm down. Can you calm her down? You only have a few minutes." I nodded my head, "Yes, please, I promised her that we wouldn't be separated. She's had really bad anxiety this whole pregnancy and I never wanted to leave her, to begin with." The frustration breathed out and Jenny nodded, "C'mon," she led me back and through several doors as I could hear her once we got back to the OR. Her cries of terror, her pleas to just have me in the room, to be with her.

Jenny pushed the door open as they were threatening with her, "No, I just need Troy," her sobs were rattling my own chest as she didn't notice the doors open. "Guys, we gotta get going," Dr. Wilson yelled and my bones ached with worry as Jenny handed me a stool and I slid onto it. "Gabi," my voice was hard and she snapped her head to me. Her breathing frantic, her own heart rate elevated, and she was in a full-blown panic attack. I pulled my mask down so she could see my face, "You have to breathe, baby. I know you don't want a c-section but if you want to meet our little man as soon as he is here – you have to breathe. In. Out. In. Out," I started to model for her as she cried watching me. "You have to calm down for Knox, he wants to meet his momma. He wants to hear your voice. Okay? Breathe. In and out. In and out." Her panic webbing through her body as she was shaking hard. I started to stroke her skin as her heart rate began to slowly go down. "Sir, we are going,"

"No, wait," I demanded as my eyes flared up to him. "Wait. She's starting to calm down. Just give her a minute." I demanded. A look went around the room as I couldn't focus on them. I returned my attention back to Gabi. "In and out. In and out." I reminded her and Gabi's breathing slowly calmed down to a near-normal rate. Her tears remained but I brushed them with my hand. "She's okay, she's okay," I breathed out as I looked up. The guy shrugged his shoulders while Jenny threw me a smile. "Maggie wasn't wrong. You are the trick to her." I couldn't even muster a smile as the panic of her not being awake for his birth caused my shoulders to tighten. She would have been devastated but we averted it. My shoulders sagged with relief with that thought alone.

She slowly started to calm down in general but a few tears remained, "I'm right here, I am not going anywhere. I am so sorry that we were separated. I'm so sorry." I whispered as I leaned in closer to her. "Don't leave me," she sobbed and I rubbed her arm gently and touched her face. "I am not leaving you." I whispered into her ear. "Gary, how is that spinal?" Dr. Wilson asked and there was communication. "Gabi, sweetie, we are going to do this quick. You are going to be a mom in just a few minutes."

I slid my fingers into her fingers, her one finger found my pulse on my wrist as it helped calm her down sometimes. "You did an amazing job, baby, so amazing." I whispered to her. "I was so scared," she whispered back to me. "I am scared. What if we didn't get to him in time and it's my fault?" her tears started again and I shook my head. "It's not your fault. I tried to not let it happen. I almost fought somebody baby," she cracked a smile at that and I felt an inch of relief.

"Okay, you guys, in about one minute you will be parents," Dr. Wilson called and I took a quick peek over to see the doctors working but nothing more than that. Gabi kept her hand on my pulse while my thumb stroked her skin. "Time," somebody called and I felt fear rattle my throat as that had to mean he was born. "Troy," her voice went another octave higher, I peeked up to see they were untangling the cord from around his neck and pulled it away as his body was blue.

"He's here," I whispered as I looked at him as my panic grew an inch. "Why isn't he crying?" she gasped out and I returned my attention back to her. "The cord was wrapped around his neck. Just give Dr. Wilson a minute, okay?" Gabi squeezed her eyes closed and I rubbed her skin with my thumb when a wail entered the room. "It's a boy!" Dr. Wilson said and I could hear her own relief in her voice as Gabi started sobbing as he was screaming now. "He's here," she whispered and I nodded, "He's here," I whispered back to her. "I'm so proud of you."

"Will you go check on him, please," she whispered to me and I looked at her and her finger on my pulse. "Are you sure?" she nodded her head, "I need you to make sure he's okay," I nodded as Jenny escorted me over to Knox as he was still crying on the table as they were cleaning him up and closely monitoring him. "It was a really good thing we got her in here when we did," Jenny said and I felt my entire body exhale with relief.

My eyes finally took in my sob as tears welled in my own eyes as he was a bald little man all scrunched up and crying. His skin was pink and his body curled up. "Oh God," I whispered as I looked at Knox. I reached over and rubbed his foot. "Hi buddy, it's daddy," I whispered. His body started to calm down as his eyes opened in wonder. They were a striking blue but Gabi and I had learned that they could change for many weeks after this. "Here, let's wrap him up and we can go meet mommy,"

I swallowed back on the emotion as I snapped a quick picture of him on the table before they handed me my son. I just stared at his tiny little nose, his full cheeks, that scrunched forehead. They placed a blue little hat on his head. He was beautiful. "Hi Knox, I am going to take you to meet the most beautiful girl in the world. She's your mommy and she is going to love you so much." I walked over to the table as they were working on Gabi still as I settled onto the stool as Gabi looked at me eagerly.

"Troy," her voice was a quiet whisper and I smiled over at her, "He's beautiful," I lowered him to be eye level with her and she reached with her hand to stroke his skin. "Hi baby boy, oh sweet boy," she whispered crying. "Here," I gently rested him on her chest as I untucked the blanket a little bit as Gabi cried holding him. "Knox, baby, I can't believe it." She just held him close as I bent forward to kiss her forehead gently.

The next forty-five minutes were spent in the operating room as they closed everything up and Gabi was able to spend that entire time with Knox on her chest as the nurses continued to monitor him to make sure there was no lasting effects from the cord being tied around his neck. They cleaned up the area around her and gently lifted the bed so she was sitting as Knox was happily on his momma's chest. Jenny helped her get skin-to-skin contact so he was just curled up on her. I spent time taking some pictures while Jenny grabbed a few different pictures as well for us.

They wheeled Gabi back to recovery and it was finally just Jenny, Gabi, and I in the room as I watched her just stare at him. She was mesmerizing every single feature on his face. Her fingers tracing every single inch of his skin. "I'm just going to be right outside. Gabi, call me if you need anything okay? Nursery will be around in a little bit to check him out again, okay?" she nodded and once Jenny stepped out. I gently pulled her head up to look me in the eyes.

"I'm proud of you. You were amazing, you did amazing, you…were breathtaking. I know it was scary and terrifying but right now is all that matters. Us right here. All three of us." Gabi's chin quivered and she looked at Knox who was just resting on her chest. "Thank you for being able to calm me down." She whispered, "I was so scared that you weren't there, I was scared that they were going to put me under, I was scared that I was losing my son."

My fingers inched forward and rested on his back, "He's right here."

"Thank God for that." She whispered. The door slid open as Jenny came back in, "It's been about an hour since somebody made his debut. It's best if we try to breastfed within the first hour. Do you want to try?" Gabi nodded her head as I sat on a stool next to her. Jenny helped her get him to latch to her breast as it took several tries to get a good latch. Gabi was patient and calm as they continued to try and when Knox finally got a good latch, Gabi beamed with pride at him. "Good job, baby." She winced and Jenny nodded, "Breastfeeding with help contract your uterus back to normal. After he's done feeding, I'll do another fundus rub."

Gabi grimaced from those words alone, they let Knox nurse for a while before they switched sides and continued to work on his latch. Gabi just watched him in fascination once he latched on and suckled trying to eat. "I know little man, those are good huh," I whispered to him and Gabi rolled her eyes. "Troy," I gave her a smile, "Just gotta show him my funny side early." Gabi laughed and her eyes were tired but she couldn't stop staring at him. I couldn't blame him. He was adorable.

Once he was done nursing, Gabi rested him on her shoulder as she rubbed his back. Jenny helped swaddle him back up and Gabi rocked him gently in her arm. "Knox, I know you already got to meet your daddy but…I know how much he wants to snuggle with you and he's been so patient with me. He's an amazing man, Knox, and he's going to love you so much." I swallowed back on my emotions as Gabi gently reached over and handed me, Knox.

"Hi, buddy,"

"Do you guys want to take another family picture?" she questioned and Gabi nodded, "Please," I nestled in close to Gabi as I held him between the two of us as we smiled at the camera and then did one look down at him. "He's beautiful," Gabi whispered brushing her finger over his face again. "I know. Just wait until our families find out he's here." Gabi smiled as we shared a look. A smile. Our love was expanding and growing as this little boy just captured both of our hearts. He was drifting off to sleep as I just held him and watched him as Jenny checked over Gabi again.

I settled into the hospital bed next to Gabi as I made sure to be gentle as we both just stared at him as he slept. "He definitely has your nose," I said and Gabi smiled, "His eyes are pretty blue, I don't think those are changing color." Gabi said with a smile on her face. Gabi and I just stared at his little face and all of the faces that he would make. His lips parting in a yawn, his eyebrows wrinkling, his eyes fluttering open. We couldn't get enough.


Gabi's POV

My entire body ached but staring at his sweet little face was absolutely worth every minute of it. Knox was snuggled up on my chest as we were finally in our postpartum room with a new nurse as Troy was sitting on the other side just watching him as well. "Should we send a picture to our family?" Troy questioned as it was already late afternoon. The whole day had been a whirlwind of emotions and panic and him.

"Yea, I think we should. They are probably needing some sort of update." Troy shared a smile with me as he picked up his phone and we chose a picture of all three of us and then just a single photo of him that we snapped a little bit ago. A smile wormed over my face as Troy tapped out on his phone. He turned and showed me as I read his little message.

Introducing Knox Meyer Bolton

Born at 8:09am weighing 8lb 8oz and 20in long via c-section after some complications.

Mom and baby are doing very well and we are mesmerized by him currently. Please give us a little bit more time. If somebody wants to bring us dinner…we wouldn't be upset. Exchanged for baby snuggles.

I giggled at the end of it and Troy shot me a smile as he hit send. "I am so excited to share this world with him," Troy said as he stroked his little head with his big fingers compared to him. His little bald head made him look even cuter. We had fed again and it was a little uncomfortable and his latch was hard to get correct but we were trying. That's all that mattered to me right now. Troy sent a text to Lauren and Grey as well before turning his attention back to the both of us.

"Why don't you get some rest?" Troy asked gently and I shook my head, "No. I am okay. Yes, I am tired but I want to soak up all of this time." He didn't argue with me, just dropped a kiss to my forehead and settled back into the bed with me. We both just stared at him together. Our fingers tracing his face and just mesmerizing all of his features. Troy picked up his phone again and smiled. He gave it over to me as I shifted Knox.

Jessie: OMG! Look at those cheeks! Grandma cannot wait to meet that little face. Gabi, I hope you are doing okay! So thankful you are both healthy and okay.

Brooklyn: Sweet baby boy! He is just too precious. Mimi is so excited to come to see him!

Trevor: Aye my new man!

Vivian: he's precious you guys! Can't wait to meet him. Trev and I will come to see you guys tomorrow. We'll let the grandparents come see you tonight!

Eli: My newest basketball player! Troy, make sure you start teaching him plays. Is Gabi okay?

Sam: Perfect little boy! Congrats you two!

I smiled looking at all of the text messages. "How about your parents come up since this is their first grandchild. They are probably clawing away." I offered and Troy gave me a side look, "Are you sure?" I nodded my head. "Yea, I am sure. My parents can wait." Troy just nodded as he sent a text to his parents. I put Knox on the blanket as I practice swaddling him as he let his eyes open and a tiny cry come out of his mouth. "I know sweet boy, I know," I whispered to him as I tucked him in nice and tight.

My nurse, Regan, popped in with a smile on her face. "Do you want to take a walk around the floor? You can push his bassinet?" I smiled, "Yea, I would enjoy that. We might have some family come up before too long." Regan nodded her head with a smile on her face, "If you want to change, we can do that, too. Just something big to not squeeze the belly too much." I grimaced just thinking about that alone. My belly was swollen, sore, and hurt. I was staying on top of the pain medications hoping to keep the pain at bay.

Troy took Knox as he gently eased him into the bassinet while cooing at him as I slowly stood up, I let my feet dangle and I took in a deep breath but the pain was a bit much. "Did you bring slippers?" Regan asked and Troy nodded as he stood up, "They are right here." Troy grabbed them and slid them onto my feet. I gave him an appreciative smile as my fingers gripped his as he gently helped me stand up. I closed my eyes for a beat, "You good?" he murmured and I nodded my head.

"Yea, just trying to get my bearings," Troy smiled as Regan helped me with my thin robe to cover my backside as I grabbed Knox's bassinet and slowly started to push it towards the door. I was sore, weak, and exhausted but I asked Troy to google what would help with recovery earlier and they said early movement was best. Regan walked on one side of me while Troy was on the other as we did a few laps around the nurse's station. We went slowly and nobody rushed me as I put one foot in front of the other.

Once we made a complete second lap – we went back into the room as I gently eased onto the bed officially exhausted. "You okay?" Troy asked again and I nodded, "Just tired." Troy helped me get back into bed. "My parents won't be here for an hour. I'll keep Knox company while you rest your eyes." Troy brushed my hair away from my face and I sighed, "Are you sure?" Troy chuckled, "Yea, I am sure." I didn't argue with him too much but I did watch him pick up Knox and cradle him in his arms.

His blue eyes scanning his sons face and I couldn't help but feel my heartbeat out of my chest. It was the most god damn adorable thing I was ever seeing and my ovaries already ached to do it again. Watching him smile at Knox and trace his features was intoxicating. "Stop watching, B. I know it's cute but you need some rest." Those blue eyes pinned me to the bed and I couldn't stop my blush and smile. "You are pretty sexy with that baby."

Troy chuckled, "Knox, tell mom to sleep." Troy whispered and he walked over to shut the lights off and he went over the window and put his back to me. I pouted but I knew it was for the better as I let my eyes close.


Jessie smiled at her grandchild as Troy was seated behind me as his hands were on my shoulders, "He's so beautiful. I knew the two of you would make beautiful babies," Jessie paused and looked up, "You will have more right?" Troy chuckled. "Chill, mom, he's not even 12 hours old yet. Plus, today was hard." Troy acknowledged and I swallowed down on the lump. It was scary, it was hard, and I was terrified that this was all a dream and he was actually dead.

I squeezed Troy's fingers as he dipped to kiss my head. "I'm sorry it didn't go as planned. I'm just glad you are both safe and healthy." I smiled at Jessie as I blinked away the tears welling in my eyes. Today did not go as planned but I was so thankful that I had him. It only mattered that I had him in my arms. I just hated the thought of thinking about the hour leading up to his birth. The threat that he might not be here with me. Them not allowing Troy to go with me. The panic.

It was by far one of the worst panic attacks as I felt like I couldn't breathe but I knew I needed to breathe. I had to breathe for him. It was just hard without Troy. I breathed in deeply trying to shake the memory as Troy laced our fingers together. "B was strong as hell this morning; I couldn't have been prouder." Troy's voice really was high with pride and I squeezed his hand again. Sam took a turn holding Knox as they were sending pictures to Audrey and Jake.

"Gabi, when are your parents coming? We don't want to overwhelm you guys. We can come back tomorrow." Troy gave them an appreciated smile, "They should be here in about thirty minutes. He's going to need to eat soon." I felt my shoulders relax because I knew – I knew Troy was going to be really good at this. While I was barely keeping my shit together, he was holding it all together. Jessie and Sam took a picture together with Knox and I got one with Troy in the middle before we had Regan come take a picture of all of us together.

I couldn't stop my smile as Jessie handed Knox back to me and he grunted in his sleep. "He's perfect, Gabi. You did perfect." I smiled up at her, "Thank you, he is going to love you guys." Sam chuckled, "Just wait until Audrey gets her hands on him this summer." I rolled my lips together as Troy escorted his parents out. Regan came back in and helped me start breastfeeding him again. He latched on the first try this time as Troy walked back into the room.

He smiled watching the two of us as he let his hand rub my leg gently, "You okay? I know having to talk about this morning is probably hard." I shrugged my shoulder as I let my eyes fall to look at him. "We have him. That's all that matters." I whispered and Troy made me tilt my chin backward. "It's okay to be upset. Today didn't go well and that's okay to be upset." I squeezed my eyes closed trying to push away the tears. I had kept it fairly together since he was born.

"We also don't have to talk about it yet but I am just…I need you to understand that you have a right to feel like it all went wrong." I swiped away a few tears as I watched him. "Knock, knock," I covered my breast with a blanket as my mom and dad walked into the room. I plastered a smile on my face while Troy just continued to look at me head. "Hey," my mom greeted with a big smile on her face. My dad was holding flowers as he went to shake Troy's hand and I hugged my mom.

"Honey, I am so glad you are all okay. Troy called earlier and told us everything. How are you feeling?" she questioned and I shrugged, "I am sore, exhaustion, but I have him and he is so worth it." My mom grinned as her head dipped down to look at Knox. "Oh Gabi, he's beautiful," she whispered and I smiled as he unlatched from my breast. I removed him as I laid him on my shoulder while my parents took him in. "We just have to do the other side and then you can hold him."

"We brought food," My dad said and I smiled thankful as the hospital food earlier today was not what I wanted. My parents passed out food while I breastfed him from the other side with no assistance this time. My own proud smile working over my lips as I watched him for a few beats before I ate one-handed. I was starving and there was no waiting. "She's already got the mom thing down," my mom said with a proud smile on her face.

"Mmm…how many times did I tell her she was going to be an amazing mom?" Troy asked, I swung to look at him and his blue eyes held pure adoration for me. The pride, the happiness that rolled off of him was almost too overwhelming. Knox fell asleep eating as I gently pulled him away as I wrapped him back up in his blankets tightly. My mom squealed with a tiny laugh as she gently scooped him up from my arms. I couldn't stop my smile on my face watching her as Troy kissed the top of my head.

"God, he's adorable." My mom whispered staring at him. My mom peered over at him as well while Troy and I stuffed our faces with food. Troy leaned over and kissed the top of my head once he was finished his dinner. "You are going to be such a good momma; I need you to believe that." He whispered and I smiled as I closed my eyes. "I do when you look at me like that." Troy winked down at me and he dropped a quick kiss as we focused on my parents loving on Knox.

Yea, this couldn't get much better.


Awh! Baby Knox is here! I hope you all enjoyed it!

If you haven't checked out Coach Bolton yet…GO DO IT! The first chapter reviews were amazing!

Have a great week, friends!

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