|All Minnows In 1/1
||[Sep. 18th, 2008|11:25 pm]
|||||Angie Aparo - She's Alright By Me||]|
Title: All Minnows In
Pairing: Sheppard/Weir, Michelle Dessler/Tony Almeida, and Ronon/Teyla.
Word Count: 2,127
Summary: A new arrival.
Author's Note: The previous stories can be found at lantean_manor. Massive, ginormous thanks to joyfulfeather for the fantastic beta, as always! Without her, this fic would be a wordy mess. This was a fun one to write, so I hope it's enjoyed.
Seven hours into Elizabeth's labor, he stepped into the waiting room to tell the small army that had gathered to go home or get comfortable. It was going to be a while. His wife's contractions had all-but stopped, and although they were trying to get them jump-started again, their little bundle of joy seemed to want to stay put. So far the baby wasn't under any stress, and Elizabeth wasn't in any danger, so Carson and the other doctors on the floor were just recommending waiting, walking, and generally letting her get some rest. Carson wasn't primarily an obstetrician, but he had the experience and it made Elizabeth feel better to know her chief physician would be there with her.
"May we see her?" Teyla asked quietly, standing across the room from him with Ronon's arm slung casually over her shoulder.
John nodded. "I was gonna tell you that if you guys wanted to take turns, she'd love to look at someone other than me right now. You wanna go first, Teyla?"
Teyla nodded, easing away from Ronon and stopping to clasp John's arm lightly.
"Third door on the right. Knock first and wait for thumps. She might think it's me and try to throw something."
Teyla laughed, squeezing her hand quickly in support before stepping through the double doors to Labor and Delivery.
With exhausted eyes, he surveyed the room. Despite being let off the hook, no one made any move to leave. Ronon was still perched against the far wall, Michelle Dessler and Tony Almeida were still occupying one armchair, though his old friend looked to be more asleep than awake, and Michelle only looked a little more alert than Tony. Laura Cadman was still next to his mom on the couch, both looking comfortable in their warm up clothes and bedroom slippers. Even Rodney McKay was looking like he was in it for the long-haul, and he had even less reason to be there than the others.
He thought back to earlier, when he'd gone tearing down the stairs at three AM, shouting to anyone who would wake up that Elizabeth was in labor and they needed to get to the hospital. Ronon was up immediately, helping her down the stairs while, much to his wife's amusement, her husband's mother was the one trying to help her stay calm, asking her questions about her contractions, if her water had broken, etc, because her husband was too busy freaking out to be of much use. It became Elizabeth's best friend's job to keep him from forgetting Elizabeth's bags, the car keys, his shoes, and even his pants. He was just glad that Teyla had been the one previously delegated to make the phone calls – Elizabeth's doctor first, her family second, Tony and Michelle next – because otherwise their phone bill would probably boast long distance charges to Australia since his hands had been shaking so badly he couldn't have dialed.
"What?" Ronon rumbled, causing John to realize he'd been staring at the burly man. "You want me to hold you, too?"
"If you're offering," he retorted, not expecting Ronon to actually cross the room and lift him up in a bear hug. Nevertheless, he was laughing when Ronon set him back on his feet, pushing him towards the couch where his mother was sitting.
Immediately Jill started to fuss. "How 'bout some coffee, honey? And you haven't eaten anything since we got here, why don't I go get you a sandwich and some juice from the cafeteria?"
He shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest and tilting his head back. "No thanks, Mom. Just give me ten minutes and I'll be good as new."
Nerves, the late hour he'd been awoken from sleep, and sheer exhaustion all caught up with him. He was out the second his eyes slid closed.
The trickle of cold water startled him out of his slumber and he glared up at whoever had been dumb enough to awaken him.
"Rise and shine, Sheppard. Your wife ordered us to get your ass up, something about her having your baby while you're taking a nap. I think she's a little mad at you." Tony Almeida smirked down at him, still holding a half full solo cup of water.
"I hate you, Almeida."
"Sorry to hear that."
He groaned, tilting his head to get the kinks out of his neck before standing almost toe to toe with his friend.
"Where's Michelle? She makes you be nice."
Tony laughed. "She went with your mom and Laura to pick up Elizabeth's parents from the airport. McKay was concerned about a catastrophic drop in his blood sugar, so he's downstairs eating, and Teyla and Ronon are in with Elizabeth now."
"Right." He shook his head to clear the fog again, taking the water from Tony's hand and downing it in a gulp. He was thirsty and it didn't matter if the man's hand had been in it. "Wish me luck."
Tony crossed his arms over his chest, nodding slightly. "I just hope Michelle's not that ornery when we have kids."
Shooting his friend another unpleasant glare, he sighed. "Thanks."
He met Teyla, Elizabeth, and Ronon just as they were completing another circuit of the hall. He noticed Ronon and Teyla managing to stay close to his wife without crowding her, something she'd yelled at him about earlier. Elizabeth was surprisingly amenable to his presence, clasping her arms around his neck thankfully, pressing little heartfelt kisses on his mouth and cheeks, generally smiling and thanking him for coming back. Until the next contraction hit and she surrendered all her weight to him, focusing on riding it out. Then the swearing in Russian started. And Arabic. And Spanish. And possibly French, but he was too busy half-carrying her back to her delivery room to pay too much attention.
"Carson, you get this thing out of me right now, or I'm going to do it myself," she snapped, still clinging to his shoulder. Carson Beckett rushed over, helping him shift Elizabeth up onto the table. She'd managed to walk the couple of steps into the delivery room, wanting to look as dignified as she possibly could considering the circumstances.
"Let's just get a look at you, love, and we'll see."
"Now!" Elizabeth snapped. Carson just smiled and patted her knee.
That was Carson, still as chipper as ever, despite having been awake just as long as everyone else. Suddenly John felt guilty for the little nap he'd taken. Elizabeth hadn't gotten to have one, Carson either.
Thankfully when Carson examined Elizabeth, the show was back on the road. Carson ordered him to gown up if he was going to stay.
"Like hell he's leaving," Elizabeth interrupted, immediately latching onto his gloved hand and pulling him closer. A moment later she asked, "Could you get Teyla too?"
Before John could respond, Dr. Lam nodded quickly and disappeared outside, returning a few moments later with Teyla in tow. Immediately she slipped into a sterile gown, taking a place beside Elizabeth's head.
"What can I do?" Teyla asked quietly, brushing a palm across Elizabeth's sweaty forehead. Before Elizabeth could bark out something along the lines of making sure that her husband never touched her again, Carson saved the day by giving out constructive instructions.
John went on autopilot when Carson called him down to the end of the table. Before he knew what was going on, the doctor had grabbed his wrist and brought it between Elizabeth's spread legs, letting him touch his child for the first time.
"Just a few more pushes," Carson promised over Elizabeth's strained grunts. "The baby's crowning now. Just a few more. John, do you want to catch?"
"Catch?" he asked.
Carson nodded. "After the shoulders, the rest of the body comes out pretty quickly. You just stand here and support the head, shoulders, back, and you get to be the first to hold him."
"Her," Elizabeth panted quickly, throwing in her two cents on their child's sex. Even though they'd opted not to find out, they still had a friendly wager going on.
Dumbly he nodded to Carson's offer, even though he felt a little sick just being there. He'd seen and explored every inch of his wife's body, but right now… He was just grateful for the mask over his face, because if Elizabeth found out what he was thinking, this baby really would be an only child. It wasn't her, it was just the mess.
He managed to tamp down his disgust as he cradled the neck; clearing using the suction thing he'd been handed to clear the baby's nose and mouth. When the first shoulder slipped free, he held that, too. The rest of the baby's body wriggled free and he eagerly drew her – it was a girl, Carson announced cheerily – against his chest, despite his earlier aversion to the blood and fluids. Without letting her go, he snipped the tied-off umbilical cord, returning his hand to trace over his little girl's sticky form.
He was absolutely in awe of her. She fit along the length of his forearm, head resting in the crook of his elbow, rump in his hand. She was red and splotchy instead of the delightful pink from the movies, warm and wiggling in his arms as her legs and arms tested their new mobility. Mentally, he planned the best time to get her started in football. He had to do it before Tony convinced her that baseball was the best sport ever, so he really didn't have much time. But after looking at her, he decided that that, too, could wait. Both of her eyes were shut and she was pursing her lips with Elizabeth's characteristic 'I'm too polite to tell you to eat shit and die, but I really want to' expression. He supposed he'd be pretty pissed off if he'd just been pulled from a warm, comfortable haven, so he'd give her that one. He had a hard enough time getting up in the morning, let alone what she and her mother had just gone through. But at least she wasn't crying, so that was something. Her head was pointed slightly on one side and he ran his hand over that, feeling the matted mess of dark hair that was undoubtedly chestnut in color. Elizabeth's color, his color. He wondered if it would curl at all once she was cleaned up. He'd never had curly hair, but Elizabeth's was short and curly when they first met. Though now that it was longer, he was beginning to suspect some sort of hairdresser intervention had been the cause of hers, but they'd find out soon enough on their daughter.
"John?" Elizabeth called, amusement tingeing her tired voice. "Care to share?"
Reluctantly, he carried her over to Elizabeth, presenting his little girl to her mother as if she was a precious jewel being given to a member of the royal family. She fussed a little on the transfer, but once she was against Elizabeth's chest, nursing frantically at her breast, she was fine. He guessed from Elizabeth's face that it hurt, but then again, she'd just gone through a lot more pain. Teyla offered her congratulations and bumped her forehead affectionately against both of theirs before making herself scarce.
He kissed his wife, savoring their first kiss as actual parents. Whispering a 'Love you' into her hair, he went back to watching their daughter. When he gave Elizabeth a 'good job' with all the sensitivity of an offensive coordinator talking to his starting line, she just laughed and thumbed the baby's tiny fist.
"Go team. I win by the way. So pay up, Pool Boy."
He kissed her head. "I'm not really carrying a lot of cash on me right now, what with these being my pajamas."
Elizabeth snorted, eyes still locked on their daughter, pressed slack-jawed against her breast, sleeping like she didn't have a care in the world.
"A likely story."
He laughed, kissing Elizabeth's neck.
"Since I'm a nice person, though, I'll let you help name her even if you did lose."
"You're so kind."
Elizabeth's eyes met his and he was immediately reminded of the close to eleven hours of labor she'd just pulled. With a gentle kiss to her cheek, he took it back.
His thumb joined hers in caressing the baby's arm. He hadn't even thought of names, so he'd probably just cede that privilege to his wife. He was too bowled over by her; she'd probably end up with Lombardi for a middle name if it was up to him.
All in all she might not look like much.
But she was his. And he was most definitely hers.