“Okay, let’s hang the balloons up there, Ethan,” I ordered before turning to my mom, “and the cake can go in the kitchen for now.” We spent the morning preparing for the baby shower, since Julia was due in three weeks. I smoothed my skirt and pulled Julia into the nursery, “Hey, are you doing alright? You’ve been pretty quiet today.”
She rubbed her back, “Yeah, the baby’s sitting weird, I’m just a little sore. I’ll be okay.”
I nodded, “Okay, but feel free to put your feet up on the bed if you need to.” She started to walk away until I held her hand. I smiled, and tried not to get teary as I put my hand on her belly, “I just want to say thank you for this precious gift. I promise to take great care of it. However, after the baby is born, if you change your mind about raising it, I will do nothing but support you, alright?” She held my hand, before nodding tearily. I led her to the bed and helped her put her feet up.
I went back to decorating for a little bit until Julia started whimpering in her sleep. I rushed over to her, careful not to wake her and felt her stomach….it was hard as a rock. I kept my hand steady on the curve of her belly until the tension relaxed. I kept my hand steady on her stomach while I grabbed my phone. I changed it to the timer and started the timer until her stomach grew hard again. Once again, she began whimpering, so I gently shook her shoulder. Julia cried out in pain, and I put an arm on her shoulders, “Jules, listen, I think you’ve gone into labor, so we’re going to take you to the hospital okay?”
We loaded up the careful, and I could only thank Julia for her timing. My dad stayed back to let the guests know what was happening as they arrive. My mother navigated while Ethan drove us, and I was in the backseat with Julia, coaching her through the next contraction. By the time we got to the hospital, Julia had gone through three contractions. Once we were all settled in the room, Julia spoke up, “Thank you guys for coming,m but I really just want Sabrina in here. Ethan can you call my mom and let her know where we are?” Ethan nodded before walking out, and my mom placed my hand on my shoulder, before heading out the same door.
For three hours, Julia labored on her own, we walked the halls, and used the birthing ball until it grew bad enough to warrant an epidural. She sits on the bed and I hold her hand while they do the injection. She fell asleep shortly after that, since it was now almost midnight. I follow suit, but I don’t sleep long because pretty soon, Julia felt the urge to push. I stood next to her, holding her hand as she squeezed mine tighter and tighter. I kissed her forehead, “Hon, you are so brave. You’re doing great. We’re almost there.”
She cried out as another contraction came, but her voice was frantic, “Doctor, something’s not right! I can feel it, please help my baby.” He ordered the nurses to monitor the baby, before strapping her down, “Tell them to get the OR ready, we’re coming in.” They all began to rush her out the door, and I felt invisible as I tried to get someone to tell me what was happening, “That’s my baby in there, what’s going on?” Luckily, a nurse heard, “The baby’s heart rate is erratic, we need to get her out of there as fast as possible.” Before I could ask any more questions, I was ushered into the hallway,. I chased after the team rolling Julia down the hall, “I’ll be right out here for you, Jules. Be brave, honey.”
I leaned against the wall and burst into sobs. As I was crying, I strained my ears for the sound of my baby’s cry, but none came. The agony was killing me, and I slumped to the floor from exhaustion until I heard a familiar comforting voice, “Sabrina? What are you doing here?” I looked up and was so glad to see Justin that I forgot where I was for a minute. I stood up and smiled at him, but the minute he wrapped his arms around me, I broke down into intense sobs. He held me tight, “Hey, hey… what’s wrong? C’mere,” he led me to a group of chairs down the hall. I wiped my tears as I sat down and faced him, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to literally cry on your shoulder.” He laughed softly, “It’s okay, Sabs. What’s going on?” I tried not to tear up as I explained about Julia and the baby before asking him, “What are you doing in the Maternity Ward?He laughed, “My sister just had a baby boy, so I came to visit with her.” Before I could say anything, the doctor came out of the operating room, “Miss Quinn?” I stood up, “Yes?” He smiled kindly, “Would you like to come and meet your daughter?” I looked back at Justin, “I’ll call you later, okay?” He smiled wide, “I’d really like that, Sabrina Quinn.”
The doctor led me through the doors, and into a private room. Julia lay asleep in the bed and a small bassinet next to her. My eyes filled over as I stood next to her. I held her tiny hand, before I was brave enough to pick her. Gingerly, I sat down on the chair next to the bed. I whispered, “You sure gave Mommy a scare, didn’t you sweet-pea?” I began to hum a lullabye until we were both sleepy. Fearing I would drop her, I laid her back in the bassinet. I leaned back in the chair, my finger grasped firmly in her hand and mumbled as I dozed off, “I love you, Esther Pearl Quinn…..”