It's Like Being Hit in the Head with Rainbow Colored Happiness. (private-invite)
Four in the morning on April ninth two thousand seven, saw Meegan sitting in her attic office trying to tire her mind enough to get a little bit of sleep before her meetings that day. She changed her gray pencil for a light green, and began drawing small hatch marks on the skirt of the outfit she was drawing.
She gave a tiny scream and looked up to answer the slightly breathless voice, and was surprised to see an empty doorway.
'What the hell?' She pushed away from her desk and went to the intercom panel next to the attic door, and pressed the button. "Rachyl? What's wrong?"
"C-can you come down here?"
Her brow knitted together, and she shook her head. "Yeah, I'm coming." This wasn't the first time Rachyl had summoned or woke her in the middle of the night for something, usually the terrible leg cramps she got. Figuring this was the same, she took the time to replace her pencils and turn out the lights in her office before heading down to their bedroom. She would later regret that choice.
In the plush armchair closest to the door, Rachyl sat clutching her side and breathing in the strange rhythm taught them by their Lamaze coach.
"Oh, God! Rachyl! Is it time? How long has this been going on. How far apart are the contractions?"
She rushed the few feet to her lover's side and dropped to her knees, her hands going to Rachyl's belly, her eyes to Rachyl's.
"A-about an hour" hee-hee-hee-who "This is like the third one, so," hee-hee-hee-who "Like maybe twenty-five minutes apart."
Meegan took a deep breath and massaged Rachyl's belly until the red-head finally relaxed back into the chair, breathing hard a light sheen of sweat coating her forehead. Meegan raised up, and laid a gentle hand on Rachyl's cheek. "Okay?" Rachyl, nodded and Meegan stood.
"Well then, let's get this show on the road."
She went to the closet, stripping her pajamas off as she went. She pulled on a pair of low slung, loose fitting jeans, a purple sweater and pulled out a pair of tennis shoes, along with Rachyl's hospital bag. They'd packed it after the first Lamaze class. She also pulled out a pair of Rachyl's more comfortable maternity clothes, a long multi-colored crinkle skirt and a cream colored peasant shirt and took everything over to where Rachyl sat getting her breath under control.
She set the suitcase down and then sat to pull on her shoes and socks. "Alright let's get you dressed, okay?"
She helped Rachyl to her feet and slipped the over sized t-shirt, that had become Rachyl's favored night wear, over her head. Then held open the skirt for Rachyl to step into, and then slipped the shirt over her head. Rachyl had taken to sleeping in a bra when the growth of her breasts had become uncomfortable, so Meegan didn't have to help her get into one of those.
"My cell is down stairs, so once we get down there I'll call the doctor and hospital and let them know we are on the way."
They made their careful way down the stairs, where Meegan picked up their purses and helped Rachyl slip into a pair of clogs and as they stepped out into the chill of pre-dawn, Meegan called the OB.
"I haven't driven your car. I'm not used to it." Meegan's excuses were endearing, but Rachyl felt the wave of another contraction coming on. Leaning against the side of the seat, Rachyl's hands were flat against the underside of her rounded belly, knees bent, as Meegan tried to hold her up while coaching and cursing at the same time.
Raising a gentle hand to Meegan's face, etched with concern and anxiety, not to mention a little maternal pride and a lot of love, Rachyl whispered as the pain eased, "We're taking my car, because you would be awfully pissed if my water broke in your seat. So my car it is."
A plastic sheet covered the passenger seat as Rachyl flopped her bulk into position, and she smiled - though it was unseen by its intended recipient - at her lover in thanks. When she got in on the other side, Meegan's frustrated grunts - masked with a tentative, PR-like BS smile Rachyl was familiar with as she fought with the alignment of the seat to more correctly match her taller frame - made Rachyl smile. A smile was nice, compared to the pained grimace she'd had as she endured the previous contraction. Watching the designer slowly gnaw on her lower lip, the redhead wanted to press her lips to her wife's to help her relax... but she knew she wouldn't be able to lean over the center console. "Sweetie, stop worrying at your lip, I want them to be safe and not bloody when I kiss them after giving birth to our daughters. And you're absotively posilutely forbidden to worry. I like your strawberry blonde hair on your head, and not elsewhere, mmkay?"
She hoped the reassuring tone she was projecting masked the gentle exhaustion she already felt; four contractions into labor and she was ready for a nap. She hadn't felt so much pain since her appendix came out.
Finally the hospital came into view and Meegan pulled into the round drive of the valet parking area, and they were indeed met by a nice young man wielding a wheelchair. Rachyl had to endure her fifth contraction before getting out of the red suv. The solicitous young man waited it out with them and helped the burdened red-head gently into the padded wheelchair. He spoke amiably as they made their way from the drive, Meegan stuffing the parking ticket into her purse, and to the elevator. He took them to the ninth floor maternity unit, it was beautifully decorated in muted colors, floral arrangements and large butterfly murals on the walls.
They were taken to a suite, that they were informed would be theirs until they took their bundle (bundles, Meegan corrected) of joy home. It was also decorated in the same muted tones, and there was a day bed tucked into an alcove so that the laboring woman's partner would have someplace to sleep as well. Meegan walked over and dumped everything on the little bed and was returning to Rachyl's side as a nurse and an woman in a crisp business suit entered.
The nurse and the wheelchair man, helped Rachyl out of the chair and into a sitting position on the edge of the bed, while the suit took Rachyl's information from Meegan, not once questioning her authority to give such information. It increased Meegan's opinion of then hospital that much more, and she happily signed the papers and sent the woman on her way.
The young man left with the suit, and Meegan joined the nurse. They helped Rachyl remove her clothes and don a muted pink t-shirt type affair that would have reached the smaller woman's knees had she been standing. It wasn't elegant or even pretty, but it was a far cry from the open backed hospital gowns of her nightmares.
They then helped Rachyl onto the bed and the nurse hooked her up to two monitors, the first was for the baby's heart beat and the second to monitor contractions. About that time, the OB peeked her head in the door, and Meegan was more relieved than she thought she'd be to see her.
The activity in the room was a rush of "get her undressed and hooked up before another contraction." She couldn't help giggling as she was rolled back and forth in the bed to get her swishy pants off, feeling like one of the beached whales depicted in the late night Discovery Animal Planet shows she'd taken to watching to help alleviate her insomnia. Her arms were raised as a wide stretchy band was lowered over her, down over her belly. Two sets of wires protruded from it as the nurse centered it a bit above her navel. She remembered from her research one was a doppler-based heart monitor, and the other a seismograph-like contraction monitor. The little white box hummed to quiet life, blinking rapidly in time with what she guessed were her daughters' pulses.
She was about to turn to Meegan to ask for a headband, to get the whisps of hair out of her face, but Meegan's attention was on the door and her OB. Smiling widely as she saw the taller blonde, she exclaimed mostly sincerely, "Hi Amanda! Happy Monday. I think the girls are ready for their grand entrance."
She chuckled and went to the sink to wash her hands. Meegan turned back to Rachyl with a small grin, and chuckled as Rachyl pushed the hair from her face. "Want to pull your hair into a ponytail, or do you just want a headband?"
Rachyl asked for the headband for now and Meegan crossed the room to retrieve it from Rachyl's bag. She returned to her bed, as Amanda was asking her to let her knees fall open and to relax. Meegan didn't want to watch this part, so she turned and handed to headband to Rachyl, hoping to distract her from whatever it was that was making her hips rise off the bed a little and the grimace of pain to cross her face.
"Okay, all done, you're dilated a whole two centimeters and your fully effaced, so now we play the waiting game. I'll be in and out every hour or so to check you again, a nice young man will be in in a moment to do a quick ultrasound to make sure the babies are head first in there." She gave Rachyl's knee a pat and smiled gently. "You try to get some rest okay? If things get unbearable before it's time for the epidural, I've put an order in for demoral, just tell the nurse you'd like it and they'll set you up."
Meegan smiled at the doctor and took Rachyl's hand. "Thanks Amanda."
After Rachyl's thanks she left the room. The nurse however, went to the opposite side of Rachyl that Meegan was on and asked Rachyl for her arm. "We need to start an IV before your next contraction, is the left okay?"
Waving at the wonderful doctor as she departed the suite, Rachyl looked at the nurse askance, before focusing on her. "No, not really, but it's the better choice, the veins are easier to see I think."
She turned to Meegan as the nurse wrapped the rubber strap around her upper arm and swabbed it with alcohol. Wiggling her finger she enticed Meegan to lean down enough to whisper in her lover's ear. "Considering what you and I were doing the other night, I hope they didn't take examples from us and go topsy turvy on us."
It had been a challenge at first to circumvent her ever-expanding girth, but she and Meegan had discovered a number of ways to continue to make love without it becoming an obstacle. Lying on their sides on the bed was a favorite the past few weeks, and it made her giggle just pondering the implications that example might have set.
Thankfully, the nurse was rather adept at inserting needles, and Rachyl barely felt a pinch as it entered her skin. Her elbow felt briefly cold as the hydrating solution entered her bloodstream, but that dissipated quickly. Turning back to the nurse, she thanked her with a warm smile. "Thank you so very much. I barely felt that. I wish I'd had you back when I prepped for all this. Woman made my entire forearm purple, she stuck me so many times. You're quite good."
Movement outside the door caught her attention as a tall, lanky young man with a mop of extremely curly red hair was preceded by the entrance of a portable ultrasound machine. "Hi ultrasound personman. Welcome to the party!"
Meegan took Rachyl's hand after she'd pulled up her gown and the sheets and been tucked around her legs, exposing her full round belly. The tech squirted that slimy gel stuff on to her lower belly, below the monitors and just above the sheets, and all of Meegan's attention was taken by the images that began to appear on the screen.
The girls were side by side, the one they'd been calling baby A was own in the birth canal, head first, and baby B's head was nestled in her belly. They looked snug and cozy there, and Meegan was beyond excited that she'd be holding them in her arms in just a few hours.
"Well, everything looks great. These two are ready to make their debut."
Meegan beamed at him as he cleaned off Rachyl's belly and then his instruments. She was about to invite him to come and visit after the girls were born, when the nurse touched her shoulder and asked her to look at the monitor's read outs. Meegan stood and went behind her chair to look over the nurse's shoulder.
"You're going to be in charge of watching this, alright?" Meegan nodded, she was suddenly nervous.
"Okay these lines here are the babies' heat beats, and this line is Rachyl's heart beat, and this line here is the contraction monitor. You see how it's begun to wobble and the peaks are getting bigger?
"Okay that means a contraction's coming. In just a moment, Rachyl will feel the brunt of it and you'll do what ever technique the two of you have decided on."
"Great, thanks. I think I can handle that."
She smiled at the nurse, a shortish plump woman, with curly brown hair, a warm smile and freckles across her nose and cheeks. She had a mothering type presence and Meegan was glad to have her as their nurse.
"Thank you, Rose." She turned and took up Rachyl's hand again. Then she placed her free hand on Rachyl's belly and bent so that she and her lover were eye to eye, as Rachyl began breathing hard.
"Okay, breathe. Hee-hee-hee-who"
It felt like someone folded her in half at the middle, then used the bend of her body as a tube of toothpaste. Muscle-scrunching, wracking spasms tore through her middle section. The familiar hand in hers was forcibly dragged to be cradled between her breasts as her legs rose to meet her abdomen. Concerned jade green eyes steadied her and she started the almost-reflexive breathing pattern.
Clenching her teeth, she heard a muted squeal for a breath, when the contraction finally ended. A drip of sweat trickled down the side of her nose, which Meegan quickly wiped away. Then the designer tugged at the hand Rachyl still had viciously gripped between her breasts. Releasing it just enough, she raised that talented appendage to her lips and offered a wan smile of apology. Breath heavy as she offered, "Maybe we should get me someone else's hand who won't be hurt so much if I need to squeeze."
She leaned down and gave Rachyl a gentle kiss and took her hand from her. She straighted the rumpled covers and checked the monitors, the contraction line was smooth again. She nodded at it.
"Ok kid, according to the books and things, your stuck on liquid rations now. Want some ice chips or a popsicle?"
But still, it had been a concern for her. Source of their livelihood or not, it still worried her to hurt the woman she loved.
She weighed the choices she was given. Ice chips didn't appeal to her at the moment; maybe later when sweat was pouring off her like the Falls off Niagara. Instead, she requested meekly and somewhat tiredly, "Popsicle please. Cherry or blue raspberry. Or orange creamsicle." She smirked at the impatient quirk of Meegan's eyebrow. "Or whatever is on top of the box."
She added cream and splenda, before heading back to their room. She set the coffee on the table, and took the popsicles to Rachyl. "Cherry, blue raspberry, grape and strawberry."
After Rachyl selected one, she put the rest int he hidden dorm fridge's freezer. Picking up her coffee she returned to the side of the bed, checking the monitor, and finding it quiet, and took her place next to Rachyl.
Lolling her tongue about the tip, she looked for a clock but was unable to find one. "I figure we've been here an hour already. No clock. Nice touch. Have you called anyone yet? You know you probably won the birth pool. If you call Martha try not to say anything like 'package' 'delivery' or 'incoming' because you know we'll have half the factory in the waiting room."
She stood again and placed her coffee on the table once more, before pulling her phone from her purse. "I'll call Connie and Nyra now."
She pressed some buttons on the screen of her phone and soon the ring back of Connie's phone filled the room. "Oh, boy! Middle of the night phone call means one of two things. I have my fingers crossed it's the one that's got my heart a pumpin'!"
Meegan laughed. "Rachyl's in labor. The room here is light proof if you want to come on down and hang out until the girls make their appearance."
"Do I ever! I'll wake up Nyra and we'll get ourselves down there just as soon as we can."
"Take your time, honey, these girls aren't going to be here in the next hour or anything."
"Well, alright, we'll see ya in a bit."
"Okay." Laughing, Meegan pressed the end call button and looked up at Rachyl.
"I guess they're on their way. Do you want me to call your mom now or later?"
((Connie used with permission))
And she remembered the reaction Meegan had had to the knowledge of Denise's accosting of Rachyl.
She wracked her brain for any other faces she might want to see hovering about her as she popped out two new lives... "I really can't think of anyone else nearby and local that we'd want to invite. What about your shopping buddette? Or anyone else? My brain is dry." She nibbled at the end of the popsicle, then ran her tongue along the cold edge to catch a drip of melted juice.
She moved over to the monitors and checked them, the contraction line had begun to wiggle a little. She checked the time of the last one then her watch and it was much sooner than it should have been. She lifted her eyebrows and went to Rachyl's side.
"Another one is coming. I think I'll call the nurse, Okay?"
Ten minutes passed between her contractions, which were lasting well over thirty seconds, by the time the lunch tray trundled down the hall. A muted pink on one end, and a pastel blue on the other, Rachyl watched with unmasked envy as Meegan went over to the offerings and picked herself a small sandwich. Throwing hungered, pained daggers of 'ow feed me ow' from her eyes, she wiped her forehead with the back of her hand and sighed. Resting her now-ponytail-trapped hair against the upright bed, she decided she wanted to walk around. Turning to the nurse who followed Meegan back in from the hall, she waited until the woman's attention was on her, asking her how she was doing. "After this next contraction, which should be in about eight minutes by my count... no seven... can I walk around for a few minutes? My fanny is getting sore, and I haven't so much as moved from this spot since I got here, except for thrashing in pain. And I think I need to pee."
"You can get up now if you want to. Some women find it helpful to walk through the contractions." The nurse picked up Rachyl's wrist and checked her pulse. Then pulled the blood pressure cuff out of it's holder.
"Let me just check your vitals, then you can get up. You doctor should be visiting soon."
Meegan opened the sandwich and inhaled half while the nurse poked and prodded Rachyl. Then she wrapped up the other half and stuck it in the fridge, before she downed half the bottle of water. There that should hold her for a bit.
"Do I help her up, or is that something you do?"
Rose gave her a sweet smile. "We do it all together. Ready Rachyl?"
Rachyl gave a hearty yes, and between the three of them, they got her feet to the floor and her body off the bed, it was no easy feet, but Rachyl seemed much better for it.
"Okay, a little walk or the bathroom first?"
Feeling tremendously relieved after emptying her bladder, Rachyl glanced at the timer and realized she would barely have enough time to get back into the bed, by the time she stood up and exited the bathroom. "Gotta go, gotta go! Go go go go!" Sounding less like Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park and more like a semi-panicked mother-about-to-be, she ushered Meegan quickly out of her private restroom and back to her bed. With the nurse's assistance she barely got into the center of the bed before the next contraction hit.
Squeaking her Lamaze breathing through the pain and contortions of her body, she relaxed after the now-forty second long ordeal, and limply accepted the brow-mopping ministrations of her lover. "You know," she mused tiredly, "It almost didn't hurt as much with the empty bladder. I guess less to push on in there. Almost."
After a moment of relaxing and a sip of cool water, she swung her feet to the edge of the bed. "Okay let's go. I've got a Boston Marathon to run and I wanna do it before six minutes pass."
Out of the bed again, Rachyl wrapped her free hand around Meegan's arm, and walked down the maternity ward hall, slowly, ploddingly. Stopping at the far end, they gazed out over the noontime skyline of Nachton in April. Pointing out a few landmarks to each other, the redhead was able to keep Meegan's eyes off the contraction monitor until the line started to wiggle. "Sweetie, we need to get me up and walking, like, now," she claimed as she started her breathing.
She was sure, somewhere during the contraction, that Meegan had spouted something about giving more warning, or not distracting her from frivolous things like landmarks, and instead concentrating on giving birth... But walking down the hall slowly as it hit, taking a step after each occurrence of "hee hee hee hoo" helped absorb some of the brunt of the spasms.
Quietly thankful for the grippy slippers she had been given to wear, both to warm her feet from the noticably cold floor and to keep her from slipping, she guided the mother of her children over to the opposite vista room at the far end of the hall. Plopping carefully sideways onto one of the long couches there, she looked up at Meegan and drew her down to sit. Holding both of her hands in her own, Rachyl gazed over the designer's face for a moment, tearing slightly. "In case I forget, over the next few hours as labor intensifies and I start screaming obscenities previously unheard of from my lips, and curse being pregnant and wanting to be a mother for all the pain and waiting... I just wanted to thank you now, Meegan, for the love you've given me, for letting me be me, for both of us. I'm happy to be your life partner, and the mother of your children. I love you, Meegan Masters."
She leaned over the smaller woman's very large belly and placed a gentle kiss on her lips. She pulled back and gave Rachyl a bright smile.
"Ready to walk some more? We need to get back to the room before the doctor comes."
She gave Rachyl's knee a pat, and stood, then pulled the belabored woman up to her feet. They made their way down the hall, another contraction slowing their progress for almost a full minute, before they made it to the room, and their guests in the form of Nyra and Connie. All of the thick curtains were drawn against the afternoon sunlight, and so all the lights burned brightly and the air conditioner froze everyone but Rachyl. They had just settled Rachyl into the bed when the doctor came in.
A brief exam showed Rachyl at almost five centimeters, which meant another blood pressure check and a call to the anesthesiologist. Rachyl would be getting a walking epidural, which meant she'd be able to walk out the contractions, and change birthing positions as needed, later on.
Two contractions later the nice man with the big needles, came and made things, "Super nice. Thank you muchly, Mr. Thes-ee-la-logist."
Meegan chuckled softly at Rachyl, as five minutes later she was sound asleep. She, Nyra, and Connie passed the next hour playing cards. Amanda came in and gently woke up Rachyl so that she could check the progress, and found the red-head at just over six centimeters.
"Not much longer now, Rachyl. We should be seeing your water break before too long. Just keep in mind that you'll have two waters break so don't be alarmed if it happens separately."
Sleepy Rachyl thanked the doctor and went back to some much needed rest.
Until the anesthesiologist came in. The feeling of the epidural entering her body made her a bit cold, until it reached her brain. Then all of the pain was forgotten, because she just felt. So. Good.
Watching her lover and friends' faces morph from their feminine beauty to the roundedness of hot air balloons made her giggle. She felt like she was flying, flitting above land, trees, and water. The sky was a set of very badly painted long venetian blinds, but the balloons of her family kept her company as she floated hither and yon.
Her basket felt heavy, and when she looked down, she saw a beautiful blonde and a striking redhead sitting there, looking up, waving. "Hi, Mommy! We're ready, and we'll be landing soon."
Waking to find Dr. Amanda snapping on a glove made Rachyl sigh. She hoped the doctor wouldn't mind the picnicking girls in her balloon basket.
Images of playing cards began to be paved in the roads below her as she floated. Poker chips stacked to the tops of the trees, and a swarm of flying Dill balloons - all mylar - began dancing in the eddies and whorls of the rushing wind.
She looked down at her daughters, who suddenly were no longer playing or laughing, and instead just staring at one another. They both picked up glasses of water with one hand, and played a quick game of rock paper scissors with the other. *Splash!* Abigail's face was completely drenched, with her Sunday hair and church dress dripping.
"Did you see what I did, Mommy?" Her mental image of Rebeccah asked.
"Yes, sweetie, I did. Remember, do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."
The little blonde grinned up at her with mischief in her eyes and sisterly love in her smile as she turned and did the same thing to the redhead before her.
"We're landing, Mommy. Catch us!"
Rachyl woke with a start. Her fanny was wet, and Meegan was standing from the little chair they'd been using to play whatever card game it had been. Pushing her tongue thickly into motion, she opened her mouth and said, "Wet. Landing." Shaking her head to break away the cobwebs of the anesthetic, she tried again, "Broke. Water. Broke."
Her feeble attempt at exhausted, drugged, metaphorically confused communication was cut short by a sudden contraction that she actually felt through the hazy happy cloud of the epidural. Teeth clenched as her hands slammed against the bed's rails, then clamped there, she screeched mutedly then reflexively began her breathing.
(( blue is the color of Rachyl's drug-induced dreams ))
"Yes, how may I help you." Came a slightly fuzzy voice from nowhere into the room
"We need her delivery nurse and could someone page our doctor. Her water broke and the contraction meter is not settling all the way down any more."
"Rose is on the way and your doctor won't be far behind her I'm sure."
Meegan motioned Nyra over and gave her Rachyl's hand. "Just breath with her, and keep your face in front of hers she needs eyes to focus on."
Nyra nodded and went to the work Meegan had given her, while Meegan motioned Connie over and they pulled the soaked sheets from under Rachyl, and as the nurse came in, were tucking a dry set beneath her. The nurse washed her hands and put on a set of sterile gloves.
"Rachyl, I'm going to need you to let me take a look okay?"
The nurse did a quick exam and smiled at the four women. "Well, you have a very eager one, her little head is already visible. So which position do you want to be in first?"
Meegan gave a small cry of what she hoped was joy, and went up to take Rachyl's free hand. "She's going to start here, and we'll move around as needed. Connie could you put that mirror in front of the t.v.?"
As Connie got the mirror in place, Amanda entered the room and washed her hands. "I hear that we have some babies on the way."