This latest short story is a continuation of a previous story titled “Fog Billowed over Lake Pontchartrain”
The balmy night air breezed through as Jason rushed Belle into the car. Her water broke and she gripped her stress ball with all her might. Jason reminded Belle to do deep, controlled breathing as they headed towards the hospital. Belle was in the back seat, leaning diagonally and verbally expressing herself.
“OMG! Pull over now!
Jason tried not to panic but he obeyed his wife.
He whips out his cell phone and calls 911.
“Uh, hello, my wife is in labor.”
“Are you in a safe location?”
“I think so, but we just pulled over on the side of the road.”
“What's the nearest landmark, sir?”
Jason squints as he focuses on the sign.
“The sign in front says 'St. Charles 10 miles”.
“I have an ambulance coming your way now. Meanwhile, stay on the phone and get into the back seat with your wife.”
Jason obeys the command and asks about the next step.
“What do you see?”
“I see a smooth, round object peeking out.”
“Grab something soft like a shirt and place your hands near like a catcher's mitt.”
Jason takes his shirt off and follows the prompt. Meanwhile, Belle is saying every name in the book.
“Tell your wife she is doing great and to take controlled breaths.”
Jason follows the prompt and is almost whacked in the head by a very uncomfortable Belle.
Beads of sweat roll off his forehead. Red and blue lights highlight the night time as they come to an abrupt halt behind the car.
The paramedics take over and Jason goes over to the ambulance to get fresh air. A loud scream follows, then silence, then a whimper and cry. The newborn is rushed into the ambulance, and the weary mom is loaded onto a stretcher. Jason sits on the bench next to Belle and holds her hand. Meanwhile, a paramedic cleans up the newborn and bundles it into a white cotton blanket. Belle is dazed, tired, and looking around for her baby. The paramedic gently tells her the baby is safe and sound. Belle starts to put up a fight, only wishing to hold her newborn. Jason and the paramedic try to console her as the ambulance veers into the parking lot of the hospital. Belle and the newborn are transported into the hospital as Jason follows closely behind. He stops at the swinging doors that say 'Authorized Personnel Only' and then goes over to the waiting area. Moments later, the attending doctor greets Jason and tell him that Belle is resting and his new daughter is doing well. A huge sigh of relief falls over Jason. The doctor sets up sleeping arrangements for the new dad.
The next morning, Jason awakes and stirs about, looking for his wife. He walks over to the nurses station. The nurse directs him to Room 204. He peeks inside and Belle is sleeping soundly. He goes over to her and leans down to kiss her. Her eyes pop open.
“Where am I?”
“Honey, you're at the hospital. We have a new daughter!”
A wave of excitement comes over Belle, but alas she is exhausted from the previous night.
“Get some rest, Honey!”
Jason goes back out to the nurses station and asks where his daughter is. One of the nurses escorts him to the nursery. He peeks through the window and sees a delicate pink bundle with squinty eyes, resting peacefully.
He rushes back to Room 204. Belle is propped up on her bed, sipping a soda.
“Did you see her?”
Yes I did, Honey. She's so delicate and peaceful like you.”
“Can I hold her now?”
Jason goes back to the nurses station to ask. Moments later, a bassinet is wheeled into the room. Belle's eyes fill with happy tears. Mom and daughter are reunited. The nurse places the newborn into Belle's arms.
“Hello, Anna Grace, I'm your mom.”
Jason leans over and says to Anna Grace that he is her dad.
Anna Grace squirms about and scrunches her little nose.
After a few days, the new family return home. Belle is torn between a hot shower to freshen up and her soft bed but she doesn't want to let Anna Grace out of her sight. Jason reassures Belle and she briefly hands over Anna Grace to her dad while she freshens up. Belle soon reappears and finds dad and daughter sacked out on the sofa. Belle didn't want to disturb them just yet so she migrates to their bedroom. The bed never felt so soft and comfortable.
Dusk was approaching outside and Anna Grace started to squirm and whimper. Jason wakes up and takes her to her mom. Belle sleepily looks at the time on the clock. She takes the baby and checks her diaper. Nothing to change yet. However, it was meal time. The initial latching on was an eye opener for Belle as this was her first rodeo. But Anna Grace soon became very content.
Jason followed suit and freshened up himself while his two girls were bonding. After his shower, Belle tells him to retrieve the bassinet from the nursery and bring it into the master bedroom. Belle stumbles out of bed and lays Anna Grace down in the bassinet. The new mom and dad gaze awhile at their precious daughter then go back to bed. The intermittent sleep schedule was tough at first but the night time feedings soon became second nature to Belle due to her unconditional admiration for Anna Grace. Jason offered to help out but Belle's strong instinct took over. Jason remained patient with Belle because he knew her strengths and weaknesses (not that she had any). Over time, they playfully fought over their new addition to their family of who was going to teach her about life in general. Anna Grace developed wispy, blonde curls and a keen interest in anything that moved.