First Comes Love(76)By: Emily Goodwin
I flick my eyes to Noah, having warned him that she would act this way. “We’ll be fine,” I say. “I go back to the doctor weekly now and I’m on partial bedrest.”
“Partial? What does that mean?”
“I’m allowed to get up, but have to limit what I’m doing.”
“You’re not working anymore then, right?” Mom asks.
Noah’s eyes widen. “Don’t even think about it, Lauren. It’s not worth it to risk your health or Ella’s. Whatever you need, I’ll pay for.”
Mom looks at Noah for a few second before saying, “He’s right. And if you need help, your father and I are more than willing. I can buy you groceries.”
“Thanks, but you don’t have to,” I say and run my hands through my hair. “I’ll figure it out.”
“That’s what family is for,” Mom says and hugs me. “You just take care of yourself and keep growing that baby. It’s too soon for her to make an appearance. Let us take care of you.”
“Okay.” I rest against the back of the couch again, tired. This has been one of the longest days.
“Do you need anything?” Mom asks.
“Not right now. Noah got me ice cream and the tacos I was craving on the way home. I’m just ready for bed now.”
“Is he staying tonight?”
Noah looks at me from across the room, hopeful.
“Yes,” I say. “He is.”
“And you two are…” Mom starts.
“We’re back together,” I say with certainty.
Mom nods but doesn’t look convinced. “I’ll let you get some sleep, and we can talk later. Call us if you need anything. We’re only a drive away.”
Noah walks her to the door, and ends up going outside along with my mother. Ten minutes pass before he comes back in.
“What was that about?” I ask.
He shakes his head and smiles. “Nothing. Just talking about how much we both care about you. And Ella.” He sinks down next to me and pulls me into his lap. “How are you feeling?”
“Okay, just tired.”
“I mean, mentally.”
“Oh. Stressed. Really stressed and worried. I feel like my body is a failure to Ella.”
“It’s not. There is nothing you could have done. The doctor said this can happen to the healthiest person.”
“I know. Still, not being able to work scares me.”
“You can apply for short-term disability,” he reminds me. “And I can cover everything else. I want to. I’ve wanted to, you know that.”
I let out a breath. “It helps. Thank you.” My eyes close and the emotions from today weigh heavily on me. Noah and I move into the bedroom; he rubs my back and I’m asleep in minutes.
“You survived your first week of bedrest,” Noah says as he sets the table, like he has all week. He hasn’t left my side other than to go to work since I got home from the hospital. Things between us are back to how they were, only better since he tells me he loves me every chance he gets.
“It wasn’t so bad,” I say and fill two glasses with water, placing them at our spots at the table. I take a seat and wait for the potpie to finish cooling enough for us to eat. “I caught up on all the reading I missed from being too tired after work. Time is going by slow, though.”
“You’re doing great. And Ella is okay.”
“Thankfully.” I had to go for more testing today. My condition hasn’t worsened, but it hasn’t gotten much better. My blood pressure went down a little, but not enough to be out of the woods just yet. If I can stay pregnant for three more weeks, I’ll be happy. Thirty-six weeks is still a ways from my original goal of thirty-nine, but I’ll take what I can get.
I don’t know how I would have gotten through this without Noah. We’re not officially living together like we had planned, but he’s here more than he’s at his own place, and I think a majority of his clothes are at my house right now. He might as well get his own key, because he’s not going anywhere. I won’t let him.
He said he’d fight for me, do anything to prove to me this can work, and he has.
“CAN WE GO over everything one more time?” Lauren asks.
“We’ve gone over it twice,” I say.
I can’t say no when I look into her sea-green eyes. My heart softens, knowing her compulsion is out of nervousness.
She swings her feet over the side of the bed and extends her hand for me to take and help her up. She’s thirty-eight weeks along today and is being induced in just a few hours.