Disclaimer: One Tree Hill, Nathan, Haley, and the others belong to Mark Schwahn, Warner Bros, The CW, etc..
Notes: These are getting posted quicker than I thought they would. Technically, this is the last chapter, but there's one more. Thanks for reading and the reviews!
Haley looked over at the clock and then at Nathan. He was flat on his stomach. One arm was hanging over the edge of the bed and the other was gently brushing against her thigh. He was sound asleep, his hair sticking up at one angle from his head being on the pillow. Haley resisted the urge to run her hand over her husband's head. She thought it was adorable when he had bed head, but she also couldn't help touching him in some way. They had been married for over seven months and their friends liked to tease them. They were constantly being told they were still in their honeymoon phase. They were so affectionate.
It was early in the morning and the sun was still a couple of hours from coming up. Nathan had been working so hard; he needed his sleep. Thanks to Haley's promise to help him with his studies, Nathan had gone back to school and was now working on taking class that would help him with coaching. He had also taken the job with ESPN. Three nights a week, Nathan and a few other players spent an hour going over events in basketball. He was having more fun than he thought he would and it was great that he still got to be part of the game. His opinion about the game was valued and he was well respected for his experience.
Everyone had been on edge that week. They all knew it was only a matter of time before Haley went into labor. She'd been to the doctor and the doctor confirmed that they were close. Sam was excited. He hated that he had to go to school and feared he might miss out on the arrival of his new brother or sister.
Nathan also hated that he had to go to school and work. He wanted to be home with Haley as they awaited the birth of their child. She insisted that he go. She didn't want him to miss anything and promised that she would call him the moment it was time. Everyone at the show knew that Nathan might have to leave at a moment's notice. At school, he had spoken to his professors and they were all understanding. A new semester had just begun after the New Year. Classes were still new, but he was getting a lot out of them. He just didn't want to miss the birth of his child.
He made Brooke and Peyton promise to check on Haley throughout the day. They didn't even need to be asked. They would have been there anyway. They were the first time Haley was pregnant and even though this time was different, they were still at her side.
In the months since the wedding and the tour, Haley, Nathan, and Sam had settled well. She had taken it easier at work. She went back to having more structured hours. She was producing and not working on her own material, so that gave her a lighter schedule. Nathan was grateful for that. Every night, the family was home together by five. Nathan and Haley took turns picking up Sam from school and dropping him off.
However, once Sam went back to school after the winter holiday, Nathan had taken him to and from school. He just didn't want Haley driving anywhere. She was actually glad for it, because she couldn't reach the pedals of the car since she had to sit with the seat back so her belly would fit comfortable. It wasn't practical for driving. She was feeling fat. She had told Nathan about it. She was sure he found her disgusting, but later that night he had proven to her just how desirable he found her. She was beautiful and she was carrying their child.
As Haley watched Nathan sleep, she let her hand rest on her large stomach. She remembered the first time she had felt the baby kick. It happened in the middle of a show. Right in the middle of a song, she felt the baby kick against her guitar. She stopped and immediately ran off the stage to find Nathan. He was waiting for her in the wings. He looked concerned until he saw the big smile on her face. Without saying anything, she grabbed his hand and placed it on her stomach. He felt it too. Ever since, the baby always kicked when Nathan was near. It was like the baby could sense that he was their father.
That was how news of Haley's pregnancy became public. After heading back on stage, she had to explain why she suddenly ran off. When she told them that she was pregnant, the audience cheered enthusiastically. She started the song over again from the beginning and played the show like it had never been interrupted. Within minutes, fans in the audience were tweeting the news, posting it to Facebook, and posting to various other message boards. Some had managed to capture it on video. Other than that public announcement, they had managed to keep very low key throughout her pregnancy.
Both Nathan and Haley felt a sense of complete bliss as they were together. Everything was perfect and they couldn't wait for their family to grow. Haley knew it would be happening today. She'd been feeling it. It happened with Sam, too. Haley had felt the contractions begin in the middle of the night. They had woken her up. She wasn't going to wake Nathan up. He'd been so busy and he needed his sleep. If she woke him up now, he would be awake with her right until it was time. No, she knew she wasn't ready yet so she waited. She was sure she could wait until after his morning class.
When Nathan did finally wake up that morning he could tell that something was going on with his wife. She shrugged it off and told him that she was fine and it was just a little discomfort. She reminded him that the doctor said it would happen when it got close and that she would call him if it was something more. So, she sent Nathan and Sam off on their day while she stayed home. She tried to find something to do. She wanted to keep busy before going to the hospital. She still didn't like hospitals. She still wanted to spend as little time at the hospital as she could.
She was upstairs organizing things in the nursery when the pains began to increase and become more frequent. She began timing them as she reorganized the baby's changing table. The room was painted yellow with a border of clouds at the top. They didn't know if they were having a boy or a girl. They decided that since the pregnancy was a complete surprise that the baby's sex would be too. Brooke had huffed and puffed about that. She wanted specifics so she could design clothing. Haley had to remind her that last time, finding out hadn't worked for them.
When the pain was getting stronger, Haley knew she couldn't put it off anymore. She knew that Nathan was halfway through his first class of the day. Sam had been dropped off at school before that. She knew that she would be interrupting his class with a phone call rather than a text, but she didn't want to tell her husband that she was in labor through a text message.
Nathan glanced down at his phone sitting on his desk. The LED display lit up and he saw Haley's name on the caller ID. Knowing that there was only one reason she would be calling, he scooped up his notebook, pen, jacket, and phone and ran out of the room. On his way out, he apologized and said quickly, "It's time!" He was met with stares as he departed.
"Hales?" Nathan was sprinting to the parking lot, wanting to get to his car as quickly as he could.
"It's time," she said.
"I'm on my way. I'll be there in no time."
"I love you, baby."
"I love you too."
All that Haley had to do now was wait. She made sure her bag was ready. She even opened it and looked through it. She was tempted to repack it, but realized she might not have enough time for that. Nathan would be trying to get there quickly. She was sure he'd be driving fast. She had her shoes on and was waiting by the front door when Nathan came running in. He almost came to a skidding halt when he ran in. He hadn't expected her to be waiting near the door.
"I'm all ready. Let's go," she said calmly. She was calm. She felt she had nothing to worry about. She had done this before and this time she would have her husband holding her hand.
Nathan's heart was racing. His child was about to be born. His mind was racing and it was taking him time to process everything. He knew he had to. He had to be there for Haley and the baby. Looking at her expectant face, he nodded. "Okay. Okay." He approached her and picked up her bag, then took her hand.
"Let's go have a baby," she said, knowing how cheesy the words were.
Nathan halted. "A baby. We're having a baby."
She squeezed his hand and pulled on it a little. She pulled him back to reality and the two made it out to Nathan's car. He'd left the driver's side door open in his hurry to get inside.
They were driving to the hospital. Nathan was having trouble focusing on both driving and Haley. He kept wanting to look to her. He wanted to check on her, but he also wanted to look to her for guidance. She had done this before and he hadn't. She seemed so calm and at peace. He knew that he needed to pay attention to his driving. It would do them no good to get in an accident on the way of the hospital. Nathan didn't even want to think about that.
"Sam," Haley suddenly spoke.
"It's okay. On my way home I called Peyton. She and Brooke are going to pick him up and bring him to the hospital." Nathan had at least thought of that. As soon as he got off the phone with Haley and before he made it to his car, he managed to call Peyton. When he told her that Haley was in labor, she told him that she would go to the house. He instead asked her to get Sam. She had been happy to help and couldn't help but remember that last time she had been the one to drive Haley to the hospital.
"You're so calm," Nathan commented as they were a mile or so from the hospital.
"It's because I have you here, Nathan."
"But I'm freaking out, Hales."
"But you're here. You're here to hold my hand. You're going to be with me in the delivery room holding my hand and to see our little son or daughter for the first time. I have you here. I know everything is going to be fine."
He nodded. "I'll try to calm down," he said as he pulled into a parking space at the hospital. He held her hand and carried her bag as they walked into the hospital. They calmly made their way to the maternity ward. The minute Nathan had Haley's hand in his, he felt a little more at ease. He was still nervous. It was impossible for him not to be.
The maternity ward wasn't very busy and as soon as they got there and signed in, Haley was placed in a wheelchair and taken to a room. She had insisted that she could walk on her own, but it was hospital procedure. Nathan stood aside as the nurse helped Haley get into a gown and began checking her vitals. Haley was just getting settled into the bed when their doctor came in.
"Haley, right on schedule! How long have you been in labor?"
"Since about one this morning," she admitted, looking sheepishly at her husband.
"Hales…" Nathan wanted to talk to her immediately, but knew it was more important for her to speak to her doctor.
"Well, you're almost fully dilated. You're in good shape and everything seems to be going normally. How far are the contractions?"
"About seven minutes," she answered. "I've been timing them all morning. I called Nathan when they hit ten minutes. It hit seven in the car on the way here."
"Very good. I'll come check on you in a little bit, but it shouldn't be too much longer."
Dr. Gore was the obstetrician that Dr. Russell had referred them to and he had been great. He was laidback and understanding. Nathan and Haley had felt at ease with him right away. He even helped keep track of them while they were on tour. He made himself available for them and even allowed them to call him while they were driving across the country.
When he left the room, Nathan went to sit on the edge of Haley's bed. He had noticed in the car ride that Haley would occasionally wince from the pain and he wished he could take it away from her. He noticed her wincing now and took her hand. She immediately squeezed on it, gripping it as the pain went through her abdomen.
"How are you?"
"I'm fine, Nathan." Haley was now fully reclined on the bed.
"You've been in labor since the middle of the night, Hales."
"I know," she nodded. "But I knew it wasn't time yet. I also didn't want to be at the hospital that long."
She didn't have to explain. He understood it completely and he wasn't surprised. "You hate hospitals."
"Just, do me a favor. Next time, tell me. We don't have to go to the hospital, but I want to be there for you."
"You had class, Nathan. Sam had school."
"Hales, this is our child we're talking about. It's not like this baby is an inconvenience."
She nodded and chewed on her lip. "I know." She looked at him and smiled. Somehow, his hair was still going in several directions. She looked at the black v-neck sweater and jeans he had on and smiled at his appearance. "So, next time?"
Nathan smirked. "You think this is the last time? I told you, I want kids with you. More than one and more than the two we already have. Besides, you can't resist me. I saw you checking me out just now."
"I was not!" Her face was turning red.
"Uh huh, sure. I told you I was sexy, Haley. I've always told you that."
Haley pouted. "Maybe so. Fine, so this might not be the last time we do this. Next time, I promise I'll tell you right away. Or at least after you wake up."
"Nope. Not good enough. You tell me right away. If you don't, I'm keeping this body from you," he said, pointing to himself. "You don't get this unless you tell me right away that you're in labor. And it's not that this might not be the last time. If I have anything to say about it, it won't be."
Haley laughed. "You know, you're not the one who has to go through the birthing process. I've got news for you, babe, it hurts."
"It's worth it, right?"
"Yeah, it's definitely worth it. It's worth all the pain in the world." They placed their joined hands on her stomach and stared into each other's eyes.
"When it really starts to hurt, you just hold my hand, Hales. I'll be right here."
"I know, Nathan. I love you so much."
"I love you too," he said, leaning in to kiss his wife.
"And maybe I was checking you out. It's not my fault. Like you said, you're sexy."
"So are you," he said, keeping his face near hers.
"Please, Nathan, I'm the size of a whale."
"Are you kidding me? You've barely gained any weight. Dr. Gore told you to eat more. That woman in his waiting room at our last appointment couldn't believe that we were almost due."
"You're just trying to make me feel better," she grabbed into his hand and squeezed as another contraction came.
"That one came quicker than the last one," Nathan noticed.
"And I may be saying it to make you feel better, but that doesn't mean it's not true."
Nathan and Haley turned their heads toward the open doorway when they heard Brooke's raspy voice from somewhere else in the maternity ward. They both laughed a little at her behavior. Some things never changed. A nurse must have pointed them in the right direction, because Brooke, Peyton, and Sam walked into the room a few moments later. Sam ran up to the hospital bed and climbed up to sit next to his parents.
"Is it time, mommy?"
Sam was six years-old now and in the first grade. Haley couldn't believe how much her little boy had grown. It had felt like yesterday when she gave birth to him. Now, here she was, about to give birth to a little brother or sister for him.
"Almost time, buddy," Nathan answered.
"How you doin', Foxy?" Peyton leaned against the wall while Brooke took the empty chair.
"I'm okay. A little painful."
"It hurts?" Sam's eyes went wide. He didn't realize his mother would be in pain.
"I'm okay, sweetie. Mommy's okay."
"Can I touch?" Sam had been there the first time Haley felt the baby kick, when she ran off stage to find Nathan. He loved feeling the baby kick, but always asked for permission before touching.
Haley nodded her head. Both of Sam's little hands went to her stomach. They were so small that they didn't cover her stomach completely.
Peyton, Brooke, and Sam stayed with them until it was time for Haley to deliver. During that time, Haley had explained to Sam just what was going to happen, but not in full detail. She also took the time to thank Brooke and Peyton for always being there for her. It wasn't lost on her that last time they were the ones holding her hands. Nathan had barely let go of hers since they'd gotten to the hospital.
Nathan was instructed to put on a smock and cap as Haley was wheeled into the delivery room. He was back by her side in no time. Dr. Gore and some nurses were in the room and Haley was being instructed to push.
While on tour, Nathan had read several pregnancy books. It had surprised Haley when she walked onto the bus after a sound check and found him reading one. It wasn't the last one he would read. He eagerly attended Lamaze classes and did what he could to learn what was coming. Haley may have done this before, but he hadn't.
He was the perfect husband as she pushed and breathed, pushed and breathed. He held her hand. He let her squeeze his hand nearly to the point of crushing it. He offered soothing words to her, tried to make jokes, and would wipe the sweat from her forehead. Toward the end, when the pain was getting bad as the baby's head was crowning, Haley took a moment and stopped pushing, needing a breather. She let her head fall onto Nathan's forehead and he whispered into her ear.
"You're the strongest person I know. You said all this pain would be worth it. You're not alone. You can do this."
That was the encouragement that she needed. A few more pushes and the sound of crying filled the room.
"Congratulations, mom and dad. You have a daughter," Dr. Gore declared.
Neither Nathan nor Haley could help the tears that sprang from their eyes as they heard they had a daughter and as their daughter's cries could be heard in the room. Haley ignored the discomfort she was still feeling. The pain was gone. She had done it. She had delivered a healthy daughter for her and Nathan.
Nathan didn't even let go of her hand as he cut the umbilical cord. He only needed one hand to do it, but he paused when he caught sight of his daughter. She was a pinky, gooey mess, but she was his daughter. He thought he had fallen instantly in love with the baby the first time he saw the sonogram, when he was calling the baby 'Bean.' He was now looking at his daughter, though and he couldn't help the emotion that came to him.
He had considered fatherhood and he was a father to Sam. Sam was his son and there was no argument about it. This was the first time he'd seen a baby right after delivery and it was his own daughter. The weight of it hit him like a ton of bricks, but instead of falling, he felt like he was floating. That was his and Haley's daughter.
Once the baby was cleaned off and looked over, she was handed to her parents. She was so tiny. Just over seven pounds and she fit into the cradle of Haley's arms like she was born to be there. She was born to be there. She was still crying, but not nearly as much as she had when she first came from the womb. She seemed to instantly calm down when she opened her eyes and saw her parents staring down at her.
They looked on their daughter with awe. She was beautiful. She was everything they could have hoped for and more.
"Look what we did," Haley marveled to Nathan.
"We… we did that. We made that," he said, his voice having a tone of reverence. "She's beautiful. She looks just like her mommy."
Haley laughed. She knew how much babies changed from the time they were born. She would indulge Nathan, though. She didn't want to ruin this moment. This moment was perfect for them.
"She needs a name," Haley said. "We can't keep calling her Bean."
"Why not?" Nathan was joking. He knew that.
"Because she'll get teased at school."
They had talked about names and they had picked names for a boy and for a girl. Nathan hadn't told Haley, but he planned on saving the name they didn't need for a future child. Both were great names.
"Alice Della Scott," Nathan said his daughter's full name to her for the first time. "Hi there, baby Alice."
"Alice Della Scott," Haley repeated. "She looks like an Alice," Haley said, looking down at their daughter.
They had chosen Alice just because they liked it. It was simple and classic and "Alice in Wonderland" had been one of Haley's favorite stories as a girl. Della was the middle name that Brooke and Peyton had chosen when Haley had been pregnant last time. They had told her what they had chosen not long after Sam had been born and Haley actually thought it was beautiful. She and Nathan hadn't told them that they would still be using the name. Now, both of Haley's children had middle names picked out by her very best friends. Haley knew that Alice Della would be spoiled rotten by her Aunt Peyton and Aunt Brooke.
Calls were made. Family was informed of Alice's arrival. Everyone was excited and was trying to figure out when they could get to California to meet baby Alice. A lot of them were hoping that Haley might go into labor a little early so the baby would be born over Christmas so that they could be there for it, but they knew it wasn't realistic.
Lydia James had done a conference call with all of the James siblings and this time, none of them were curious as to what it was about. They all knew that Haley would be having the baby soon, so when they all found themselves on the phone with Nathan, they knew what it was about. They were all thrilled about the arrival of Alice Della. Nathan had sent them all a picture as soon as they were off the phone. He hadn't stopped taking pictures except when he was holding Alice.
The minute Sam had seen his sister all thoughts of a brother were forgotten. He gently placed his hand on her head, which was covered with a little pink beanie. He was affectionate, but almost acted as if he were afraid of breaking her.
Peyton and Brooke had been so touched when they heard what the baby's middle name was. Lucas and Julian had arrived not long after Alice had been born. Lucas was an uncle and the baby's godfather. He was so proud of his little brother.
A few days later, they finally had Alice home with them. It had been chaotic. Like all newborns, she didn't have a sleep schedule. She slept and woke up just as she pleased. When she wasn't doing that, she was eating. This meant that Haley was getting maybe an hour of sleep at a time as she nursed Alice. Nathan felt so bad for her and tried to stay awake with her whenever Alice woke up. She made him promise to sleep, though. She told him that since she was so busy with Alice, they both were, that she needed him well rested since they also had Sam to consider.
Sam had been wonderful. He just wanted to help with his sister and had even asked to help with diapers. Nathan had laughed, but showed him now to do it. After Nathan showed Sam how to do it, Sam lost interest. He would find other ways to help. He did this by making sandwiches for his parents, even if he didn't think they were hungry. He just thought they might be. They were careful not to exclude Sam. They still did everything as a family. Haley and Nathan wanted to make sure that Sam never felt like he was any less important to either Haley or Nathan.
It was early in the morning, two days after Alice was brought home, when Haley woke from a short nap. She didn't find Nathan in their room, but noticed a small light coming from the nursery. She stopped in the doorway when she saw him standing in the middle of the nursery, holding their daughter. He was in his pajama pants, barefoot, and shirtless. He had Alice close to his chest and was holding her like there was nothing more important in the world. He was rocking her gently in his arms as he shuffled from foot to foot. The constant movement was helping to sooth her.
"Your mommy thinks I'm a little crazy, but I know you look just like her, Alice. You have those big, beautiful, brown eyes of hers. This means when you get older, we might have a problem. Boys. Your big brother Sam is a great kid. He's gonna help protect you in case any of those boys get out of line. They will get out of line. It's what boys do. I know because I am a boy and I got out of line a lot when I was a kid.
"Then, I met your mom and everything changed. She's the best thing that has ever happened to me, Alice. She gave me your brother and she gave me you. She gave me this family. And you don't know it yet, but your mother is the strongest woman in the world. If you get half of her strength, I'll be a happy man. You don't know how strong she is and I don't know if you ever will. That's up to her. But trust me.
"Your mom is the greatest woman in the world. She's beautiful and she's kind. Her goodness is just… I can't explain it, Alice. But she changed my life. I wouldn't be the man I am today without her. I'm always gonna be grateful for that because the man I am now is the one who you've got as a dad. You wouldn't have wanted the guy I was before for that. But I'm gonna do everything for you, Alice. Everything to keep you safe and happy. I love you."
Haley had tears streaming down her face. God, she loved this man. She fell in love with him all over again constantly and this was one of those times. It was beautiful watching him with their daughter. He was saying such beautiful things to their little girl. He was saying such beautiful things about her, but more importantly, he was saying beautiful things that he wanted for their daughter.
Nathan turned around and noticed his wife. He could see she'd been crying and his face turned to worry.
"You're a beautiful man, Nathan Scott. You're a great man and a great father. And you changed my life and helped make me the woman I am. I love you. For that and for so much more."
She closed the space between them and kissed him, settling her hand on their daughter's head. As they were kissing, Alice began to cry and Haley looked down at their daughter.
"Late night snack time," Nathan said. Haley sat in the rocking chair in the nursery and Nathan handed Alice over so that Haley could feed her. It was beautiful, watching Alice latch onto her mother's breast and feed. Nathan could watch for hours. Ever since his daughter had been born, he'd been in awe.
"I love you, Hales."
Notes: All that's left is the epilogue. I have something very specific planned for that. Thanks for reading and reviewing!