First Comes Love(78)By: Emily Goodwin
“Hi, sweetie,” Lauren says softly. “I’m your mommy, and this is your daddy. We love you very much already.” She closes her eyes, nuzzling her face against Ella. “Is she okay?” she asks the nurse.
“Told you,” I say with a smile, looking down at our baby. I lean over and kiss Lauren. “Good job, Mama.”
“Do you want to hold her?” Lauren asks.
“Yeah. How do I pick her up?”
The nurse comes over and helps, tucking the blanket around Ella’s little body. She opens her deep-blue eyes and looks around, taking in the new world. She’s so light in my arms, like a feather. It’s crazy how something so little, something I’ve only seen for mere minutes, can make me feel so much love.
I look down at Ella, then at Lauren. “We did this.”
I sit in an uncomfortable chair next to a hospital bed, holding a sleeping baby. It’s been four hours since Lauren gave birth. We’re in a different room now, and her parents—and my mother—are all crowded in to see Ella. Everything went as smooth as we could hope, and Ella is perfect.
“It’s my turn to hold that baby,” Mrs. Winters says. I carefully stand and hand her Ella. I move to the bed, sitting on the edge next to Lauren.
“Are you doing okay?” I ask.
“I’m sore,” she says. “The epidural is completely worn off now.”
“Want me to call the nurse? She said you can have pain medicine.”
“Yeah. And I have to pee. Help me up?”
I take her hand and slowly help her to her feet. She winces when she takes a step. She did end up tearing and needing stitches.
“Can you fill this with warm water?” she asks, sitting on the toilet.
“Sure, but, why?” I take a squirt bottle from her and move to the sink.
“I can’t wipe.”
“Oh.” I turn the water on. “Birth is a lot more, uh, messy than I thought.”
“Are you glad you watched it or do you wish you hadn’t?”
“No, I’m glad I did. Yeah, it’s messy but it was kind of amazing.”
She smiles. “I’m glad you were there. I’m glad we were there.”
I know what she means. We were there together, as a couple. “We will always be there.”
“And we just had a moment while I’m on the toilet,” she chuckles.
I fill up the bottle. “I didn’t even realize that. Spoken like a real couple, right?”
I help her back into bed.
“She looks just like you,” my mom tells me. “I’ll find your baby pictures when I get back home and send them over.”
Our parents stay for a while longer, then leave so Lauren can sleep. But right after they leave, the nurse comes in to check on Lauren and Ella, then sticks around to help Lauren with breastfeeding. Ella is sleepy and not wanting to latch.
I thought pushing out the baby was the hard part.
Twenty minutes later, I’m able to take Ella and Lauren lays down. Not five minutes later, someone knocks on the door, asking about insurance. By the time they leave, the nurse has to come back and take vitals.
And now I remember why I hate hospitals.
“You’re never going to get any sleep at this rate,” I say, taking Ella out of Lauren’s arms after a feeding again. “Try to rest now.”
“I know,” she sighs. “I’ll sleep tonight. Well, probably not.” She looks at Ella and smiles.
“I’ll stay and hold her.”
“You don’t have to. That chair looks super uncomfortable.”
“It is, but I feel like I shouldn’t complain. I didn’t get my nether regions ripped just hours ago.”
She shudders. “I asked the doctor to stitch me up extra tight.”
I laugh. “It’ll feel like your first time, baby.”
“We have at least six weeks until we attempt anything again. That’s probably the longest you’ve gone without sex since we started dating isn’t it?”
I look down at Ella, heart still so full. “It’s not, actually.”
She raises an eyebrow. “Really?”
“There was a time, recently. I haven’t been with anyone else but you since that night.”
“Since the night we got drunk and made a baby?”
She smiles, but looks confused. “I’m glad to hear that, but you didn’t know I was pregnant—hell, I didn’t know—for like two months after that. It just seems out of character for you. The former you, I mean.”
“I wanted to be with you for so long. Then I finally was and couldn’t remember anything. It was worse than putting food out of a starving man’s reach. It was letting him taste it but not eat it. I had you, had what I wanted, but blew it. I would have given anything to have that chance again and remember it. Because I knew being with you would be different.”