A/N: A mini Christmas baby!fic fo kait_18 ! Sorry it's late, lady! I meant to have this posted Christmas Eve :)
They’re in a small, two bedroom apartment just fifteen minutes from Times Square and she truly feels as though they’re living the dream. It’s a smaller dream than she started out with but she’s starred in several off Broadway productions and picked up some smaller parts in a few Broadway shows. She still imagines herself starring in a true Broadway show, but that dream is on hold for now. Finn works as a teacher at a small school in Jersey and he loves his kids; he helped organize the Christmas production this year and she loved watching him grin and tell every child that they did an amazing job, no matter how small their role.
It’s three days until Christmas and she’s round and ready with a baby that’s due any day. It isn’t the ideal time because they’re missing their respective Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations, too close to the baby’s due date to be permitted to fly back to Lima, but Rachel’s enjoying their quiet Christmas with just the two (well, three) of them. She’s strung holiday lights in their apartment and carefully tends to the Menorah in the window, bakes and cooks until Finn gets home and they curl up together in bed to watch a Christmas movie.
The city is blanketed in a thin layer of fluffy snow and she feels like tucking into bed with a cup of white hot chocolate, but Finn is anxious. She’s been contracting for a few hours now; rhythmic tightenings that steal her breath and make her wince until they unwind, and he’s worried about the still falling snow. She’s clinging to her calm, refusing to let anxious excitement creep in with the knowledge that her calm breathing and walking will bring the baby more quickly.
She paces their small rooms, fingers laced beneath her full belly to relieve some of the pressure as she contracts. Finn looks up at her soft sigh, distracted, and she hears him reassure Carole that ‘no, everything’s fine’ from his end of the phone. She slips past him and wanders to the baby’s room, settling in the rocking chair and letting the smooth, repetitive motion soothe her. It’s decorated in a soft green and the dark wood crib is finished with deep green plaid bedding that’s supposed to be gender neutral. They decided not to find out the sex of the baby despite Finn’s insistence that nine months is too long to wait when they have the answer right there.
She tips her head back against the chair, looking out the window so she can watch the snow fall to a backlight of Christmas lights. Finn interrupts when he steps in and asks,
“Mmhmm.” She hums, smiling lazily as she turns to look at him.
“Not too bad?”
“Not yet.” She muses, running her fingertips over her taut skin, “The last few were a little bit more intense but I can breathe through them.”
She can see his disguised anxiety hovering beneath the surface; he’s trying to keep it at bay and respect her whole ‘we need to be calm so I can do this naturally’ thing and she appreciates it. His nod is a little bit too sharp, his hands stir because he doesn’t know what to do. She grins and jibes,
His smile is tight and then he says “We’re having a baby, Rach. How am I supposed to relax?”
She feels her stomach stir when he says that, feels the extra catch in her throat when she thinks about bringing a newborn home to this very room. It starts to encroach on her calm and she suppresses the thought as a contraction surges. It’s a strong one and she worries her lip between her teeth, letting out a low whimper as it builds and peaks.
“I need you.” She gasps.
He laces his fingers through hers, resting them on her belly, and she clenches around them, panting a little bit until the surge starts to subside. She’s a little bit breathless as she lets go of his hand, taking several deep breaths before she’s able to slow it down. Finn has tight lines around his lips and he gingerly says,
“Rach, I think we should go -”
“I’m going to take a bath.” She interrupts, smoothing over his words before he can get them all out.
She knows it’s going to take a little bit of time to get to the hospital; she knows he’s worried they’re not going to make it in time, but she knows her body and, from what she’s read, they’re still a ways off from delivery. She’s not trying to minimize his fears; she just can’t deal with his anxiety while she’s trying to stay calm. She wants to be home as long as possible because it’s their space. She’s heard about inductions and interventions and she wants to steer clear as much as possible.
She runs a bath and triple checks her hospital bag before stripping out of her clothes and wrapping a bath robe around herself.
“Join me.” She urges, when she sees Finn hovering in the doorway, “It’ll be good fot both of us.”
He nods and disappears back into their bedroom as she submerges beneath the thick layer of bubbles. She maps her soap-slick skin with her hands, holding them over the baby’s feet, and it’s as though they can feel the tiny toes and wrinkled soles through her own skin. She smiles a little and taps at her skin, eliciting an echoing movement from the baby.
God, she’s excited.
He’s standing in front of her because the subway is packed full of Christmas shoppers and businessmen and women hurrying home. At least she, with her hugely pregnant belly, was able to slide into a seat before the car filled with people. She has her hand against his thigh, clenched tight around a handful of denim and just a little bit of skin. Her grip tightens into a sharp pinch and he sees her lips purse, her body trembling ever so slightly as she fights to internalize the contraction.
He threads his fingers through her hair and murmurs that she should keep breathing, to which she snaps,
Her breathing eases and her hand relaxes so he knows the contraction’s over, so he bends to press a quick kiss to her head and remind her of how awesome she is. She tugs at the hem of his shirt when he stands up so he bends back down and she hisses,
“I don’t want my water to break here.”
He doesn’t say ‘I told you we should have left earlier’ because he knows she’s clinging to her last shred of calm with everything she’s got and yeah, it would make him kind of an asshole. He just rubs his thumb over her cheek and says,
“We’re almost there.”
“Fuck.” She says breathlessly, curling forward a little bit and gripping at both of his legs as she contracts again.
Her breathing changes and gets all quick and light as she tries to keep breathing, twisting her hands up in his pants, and he knows it’s starting to fucking hurt. It’s kind of killing him to see her like this because he knows they still have some time before the baby gets here and shit is going to get way more intense before the baby comes. He talks to her quietly while she keeps her chin tilted to her chest and her eyes closed, and makes a conscious effort to move a little closer so he can shield her from the curious passengers in their car.
“We there yet?” She pants as the car stops quickly.
“Two stops.” He assures her.
He’s not loving the fact that about sixty people are getting to see his wife at her most vulnerable but it’s rush hour and when they left the apartment complex, it was a complete gridlock. They would have still been on their street if they’d tried to take a cab like they’d planned.
The woman to his left, an older woman with silver streaked through her hair, touches his shoulder and asks if they’re alright, and he nods. Rachel looks up at him and her eyes are worried as she half whispers,
“I feel pressure.”
Shit. Pressure’s bad, he knows that much. He glances out the small window and leans down to rub at her shoulder a little bit,
“One stop, Rach. Hang in there.”
He helps her to her feet when the subway train stops and keeps an arm around her, holding her tight to his side as he clears a path for them. They’re two steps away from the subway when she gasps a little and murmurs,
It scares the shit out of him a little bit but he ventures, “What?”
She starts to laugh and says, “Well, the pressure’s better.”
He looks down and her leggings are dark, fluid puddling between her feet and she clings to his arm. He grins a little and says,
She crinkles her nose, shifting her legs a little, “It feels weird.”
She sucks in a quick breath and he feels her tense against him, curling into his embrace as a contraction starts. She lets out these little ‘oh, oh, oh’ noises that he hasn’t heard before and he can see by the way that she’s trembling, that this one is worse than the others. He holds her against himself, ignoring the bustle of people around them, as she whimpers and whines into his shirt. It lasts longer this time and’ her face looks pale and drawn as she pulls away from him.
There’s a hint of urgency in her voice as she says,
He’s freaking out a little bit.
She’s crying and pushing him away and totally out of it as she writhes with every contraction, unable to keep her body still as it’s flooded with unbelievable pain. He wipes at her sweaty forehead but her arm flies up, swatting him away as she cries out. Her nurse’s voice is sharp as she says,
“Rachel, focus. I need you to focus through the pain and put everything you’ve got into pushing. You’re so close.”
“I can’t.” She sobs.
“Rach, you can. You’re so brave.” He says, shifting his grip as he holds her leg back.
“I fucking can’t, Finn” She’s yelling now and she never yells.
He’s never seen her like this but he knows she’s terrified; the pain and the thought of actually delivering this baby are suddenly too overwhelming and she’s panicking. He glances at the nurse before setting her leg back in the plastic stirrup and leaning in close to her,
She narrows her eyes at him and he can see another flood of words building, but he kisses her quick and deep, rubs his cloth over her face again and murmurs, softer this time,
Her face crumples a little bit and big tears pool over her cheeks as she whispers, “I’m scared.”
“I know.” He says quietly, rubbing her shoulder and kissing her temple, “I know you’re scared – I’m scared too, but you are so close and then we get to just love on this baby like crazy. Aren’t you excited?”
She nods, lifting a shaky hand to wipe her tears away, and takes this huge, shuddering breath that breaks his heart. He gives her a minute, lets her compose herself, before asking,
“Ready? Next contraction?”
She nods and then says, “Hug me.”
He chuckles but complies, enveloping her in a tight hug, holding her and wishing he could pass her every ounce of strength he has. She tenses in his arms, letting out a soft ‘Oh, God’ before she pulls away and then the nurse is coaching,
“Big push, Rachel. As hard as you can.”
She glances up at him and he nods, taking her leg back and helping her hold it as she curls forward and pushes, hard. The nurse grins and nods,
“Good girl – again.”
It’s an exhausting push and pull just watching, so he can’t even imagine how she’s feeling. Her eyes are desperate as she tips her head back, looking up at him for reassurance, so he floods her with assurances that she’s completely amazing. It takes longer than he thought it would; almost an hour passes before the nurse calls for their obstetrician and tells them that they’re moments away from meeting their baby.
He’s suddenly overwhelmed by anxiety, the thought of meeting his kid for the time becoming this big, scary thing. He looks to Rachel to ease his fears but she’s focused, panting and blowing between contractions then curling to meet them as their nurse chants numbers and encouragement. Their doctor breezes in with a smile and an air of confidence as she gowns and takes the nurse’s position between Rachel’s legs.
“I’m tired.” She pants miserably, groaning at the surge of another contraction.
“Push, Rachel.” Their doctor says with an encouraging smile.
And she does. She rallies and moans as her body powers her push, her hand wrapped tightly around his for support. There’s a bustle of activity and Rachel cries out at the burn as the baby’s head is delivered, tears starting to fall over her cheeks as she whimpers,
“Last one, make it a big one.”
His heart is in his throat, pounding uncontrollably as she lets out a guttural, earthy sound and growls into the push. The doctor stands, tipping her hands down and then Rachel is sobbing, reaching for the small, bawling baby they’ve just pulled from her body. It squalls angrily, face red and kind of misshapen as Rachel curls around the little body and strokes its full cheeks.
He’s awestruck; he feels rooted to the spot as he watches his wife bond with their child, trembling fingers holding tight to the baby’s bare skin. She looks up at him and she’s glowing, she’s so proud. She laughs, completely overwhelmed with emotion as she beckons,
He moves closer, studying this amazing little thing that’s just been delivered. They drape a few blankets over the baby as it settles, the cries calming to these absolutely heartbreaking, lip quivering mewls. She looks up at him again and says,
“Tell me, boy or girl?”
“Rach, you should -”
“You wanted to find out when I was sixteen weeks; you should be the one to tell me.”
He wants to protest and say that she just delivered a kid so she should get the right to do whatever the hell she wants for the rest of her life, but she’s looking at him with this expression and he knows that this is what she wants. He grins, kind of giddy as he shifts the tiny leg aside and yeah, he starts to cry when he says,
“It’s a boy.”
He wraps his arm around her, holding her tight to he can kiss her and tell her how incredibly proud he is. He just feels so full; he can’t process all of these emotions at once. When he pulls away, her face is wet with new tears and he wipes at his own eyes before kissing her flushed cheeks. She gives him a watery smile and says,
He nods, throat all tight as he reaches to touch his boy’s head full of dark hair. God, he’s cute – he’s like the cutest baby Finn’s ever seen. His eyes are so dark as they look around the room, having trouble focusing on anything but Rachel, and his long fingers curl against her sweaty skin as he tries them out for the first time. He could seriously study him for days and still find something amazing.
The nurse interrupts to weigh their son and do a quick exam, and Rachel presses her hand to his arm, urging Finn to go with him. He watches them listen to his rapid heartbeat, tapping it out on the bed, and then his little lungs, measuring his coned head and assuring them that it’ll go down in a few hours. They weigh him and Finn snaps a picture as the numbers flash beneath him; seven pounds, one ounce. They give him his needle in his upper thigh which makes him cry, and smear antibiotics in his eyes before bundling him tight and asking,
“Do you want to hold him, dad?”
He nods and the nurse smiles as she eases the baby into his arms. He’s barely a weight at all, this light warmth pressed up against his chest. He walks slowly back to Rachel’s side and tilts his arm down so she can peek at his face. He offers to pass him to her but she shakes her head, grimacing and closing her eyes,
“It hurts – just – wait until the doctor’s done.”
He offers a hand and she squeezes hard, clenching around him as the doctor places a few stitches. She glances up at him and drily says,
“Think I can get an epidural for this?”
He laughs a little and kisses her again; god, he could kiss her all day for what she just did for their family. The baby mewls quietly, blinking up at him with his dark eyes and completely befuddled expression. He touches his soft cheek and watches him turn his head, mouth open as he looks to eat. He smiles and says,
“Almost done.” The doctor assures.
He eases the baby back into Rachel’s arms and stands by as the nurse moves in to help them coordinate position and hold as they try to nurse. The doctor finishes up quickly, true to her word, and fills out a few papers before giving them a big smile and a ‘congratulations’. They nod their thanks and then they’re left alone for a moment because the baby’s latching beautifully and Rachel seems comfortable with her position.
“Does it feel ok?” He asks, sinking down onto the bed next to them.
She shrugs, “It feels weird – a little painful, but kind of good.”
He touches his bare little toes lightly and the curl against his hand, his little leg squirming against Rachel’s tender belly. His throat tightens again as he watches them and he leans in to kiss her one last time, pressing his lips to her still sweaty temple and stroking his hand over her damp, curled hair.
“Thank you – thank you for him.”
Myles Christopher Hudson is sent home with them the following afternoon, on a snowy Christmas Eve.
They don’t get home until dinner time so Finn makes sure they’re settled before running out to pick up dinner from her favourite place; this little Italian restaurant just across from their place. She settles into bed with the baby, swapping out her lulus and sweater for a pair of loose fitting pyjama pants and a soft white shawl so she can stretch the naked baby over her bare chest and let him absorb her heat while he nurses. He had a little bit of trouble with keeping his temperature stable last night so they’ve recommended doing skin to skin for a while to keep him nice and warm.
He roots against her, snuffling and mewling quietly until she gets him positioned so he can latch. Their position’s improved and it’s not so painful anymore; it still feels a little bit weird but it’s kind of amazing too. He looks up at her as he nurses, dark eyes studying her intently. She talks to him quietly and she loves the recognition in his expression as he listens to her voice. It’s neat that he knows her.
“Hello, love.” She murmurs softly, stroking her finger along his cheek as it hollows and fills rhythmically.
He nurses quickly, effectively, and then pulls away so she can prop him up against her arm and burp him. He’s so small and malleable in her hands, sinking into her as she holds him carefully. She hasn’t had a lot of experience with babies; she never had any siblings and only had a couple older cousins who moved away before having their own children. She feels completely out of her element and is still unsure changing diapers and dressing his wriggly little body, but there’s this instinct that helps her with the simple things.
She’ll still have to learn how to comfort him and teach him how to tie his shoes, but for now, she knows how to hold him and love him and that’s enough. She brings her knees up a little bit, wincing uncomfortably as her body adjusts, and settles him so that he’s leaning up against them with his little legs stretched out over her chest. His head wobbles a little bit and his fingers curl around hers as she presses them into his creased palm. His eyes jerk as they try to focus on her, still unsure in the bright lights of his new world, and then his lips upturn into what she would swear was a smile, if she didn’t know better.
She grins and lifts him up, pressing a kiss to his tiny nose as she says,
“Merry Christmas, Baby.”