This is the unedited and deleted scene where Addison gives birth. My editor and I decided it upstaged Laurelyn's delivery because it's from L's POV. Laurelyn's watching this beautiful, slightly comical, event occur for her best friend and she's dreamy-eyed about her upcoming delivery. Laurelyn's delivery is told from Jack Henry's POV, which is sweet, but not that of a woman. I loved Addison's delivery and hated removing it but it was for the best.
I’m nervous on the drive to the hospital and it’s not even me in labor. “I can’t believe Addison will be pushing another human being out of her body today.”
“I can’t believe they were married only eight hours ago and now she’s in the hospital having a baby. I guarantee he fucked her into labor.” Leave it to Jack Henry to say something like that.
“If he performed anything like you did on our wedding night then I can believe it.”
“I’m telling you, L, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been together before your wedding night, having your wife for the first time is different.” He squeezes my hand. “And having your pregnant wife for the first time is even better.”
I know how it was different for me but I’d like to hear his take. “What was different about it?”
“There’s a surge of testosterone when the human male takes a mate and then that combines with a man’s intrinsic drive to procreate.”
He’s full of it. “I’m calling bullshit.”
“You’re right,” he laughs. “I totally made that up.”
“You were scared as hell the first time we were together after we knew I was pregnant.” I had to get on top because he wouldn’t hardly even move.
“True but doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the hell out of it.”
As if. “Name a time you didn’t enjoy the hell out of it.”
We pull into the parking lot of the hospital and Jack Henry lets me out at the front entrance. “Do you want me to wait for you in the lobby?”
“No, you go on up. I’ll be hanging out in the waiting room if you need me.” I’m not worried about him finding his way. He’s very familiar with this place since I spent almost a week here a couple of months ago.
I go through the waiting room outside the labor and delivery unit on the way to Addison’s room and see her family. Even if she’s delivering early, the timing couldn’t be better since her family is here for the wedding–unless she has complications because the baby is early. I hadn’t considered that until now.
All of Addison and Zac’s family is here–including Ben. Great. Jack Henry sitting in the waiting room with him won’t go over well but at least Chloe’s here to defuse her brother. “Where’s Jack? He better not have stayed at home while you drove yourself here in the middle of the night.”
“He’s parking the car. He’ll be right up.” I stand around, making small talk until he arrives because I feel like he’s been forced to tolerate Ben a lot lately and his patience could be coming to an end soon.
He walks in and I clearly detect frustration on his face when he sees Ben. I can’t tell him what I’d like so I mouth for him to please be nice before I leave the waiting room. He uses his finger to make a circle above his head, indicating an imaginary halo. “Thank you,” I mouth. That’s one less thing for me to worry about.
I walk into Addison’s room and she’s sitting straight up in the bed–with her legs frogged out–applying makeup. Good grief. That’s not at all what I pictured in my head. I thought she’d be bucking and screaming for sure. “Why are you putting on makeup and not acting a fool?”
She stops and looks up from her mirror. “I want to look good for the pictures.”
What the hell? “I thought you were in labor.”
“My water broke but I’m not having contractions yet.”
This doesn’t sound right. “Don’t you need to have contractions to birth a baby?”
“Apparently so since I’m not dilated but they’re about to start a drip that will stimulate contractions.”
The drip is one of the topics I read about on a childbirth forum I follow and everyone said it makes the contractions much harder. I bet Addison has no idea what’s about to happen to her since she’s not a researcher like me. “Maybe you should be practicing how you’re going to breathe if you’re about to be given a pitocin drip.”
“I’ve got this, Laurie.”
Ninety minutes into the pitocin drip and Addison so obviously does not have this. She’s writhing in the bed so hard that she has a huge rat’s nest in the back of her hair. “Omigod, this is the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life. I didn’t think it was going to hurt this bad. It’s awful, Laurie. Terrible.”
I don’t know what to say except to remind her of the things I’m learning in my birthing class. “Breathe in slow, deep breaths.”
Zac is sitting in a chair at the bedside watching the fetal monitor. “Here comes another one.”
“Shut the fuck up, Zac!” She beats her hands on the mattress. “You think I don’t know when another one’s coming. I’m the one feeling this shit.”
I look at Zac and make my best attempt at giving him a look of encouragement although I’m not really sure what that looks like right now. One thing I do know? Your water breaking before you’re in labor–turns out that’s not what you want to happen. It often takes longer to get into active labor–four centimeters–which means you have to hurt longer before you can get an epidural. Addison was one centimeter on her last exam so this is going to take a while.
I pray this doesn’t happen to me.
“I’ve got to have something for pain. Call my nurse and tell her.”
Meg, Addison’s nurse, is a sweet, young woman with a high ponytail. She radiates with happiness–which is great– but I want to warn her that her smiles aren’t flying with her patient right now. Addison’s being downright bitchy. “It’s time to check you, Mrs. Kingston.”
Meg lowers the head of the bed to do her exam and her hand disappears under the bed linens. Addison squirms, I’m sure making it harder on her nurse to see how much she’s dilated. “Oh, God. Here comes another one.”
“You’re much thinner this time. Will you try to tolerate me checking you with this contraction so I can stretch your cervix?” Meg looks like she’s digging with all her might as Addison writhes. “Hang in there, Addison. Almost … finished.”
“Mother fucker!” She grabs Meg’s wrist and I can tell that she’s squeezing it. “You’ve got to stop.”
Her nurse takes her hand out from under the covers and removes her glove. “Got you to four centimeters. How you feel about getting an epidural?” She returns to the bedside after depositing her bloody glove in the trash and begins lifting the head of the bed.
“Yes!” Addison calls out. “Stat!”
Meg giggles with her child-like grin. “Okay. I’m going to start your IV fluid bolus and I’ll get the anesthetist in here.”
“Thank you, Meg.”
“Oh, you’re welcome. Glad we could you to that point,” she says before leaving the room.
That’s a lot of change since her last exam. “That’s fantastic–from one to four centimeters. They said you’d only dilate a centimeter an hour once you got going so maybe things are going to pick up.”
“Thank God. That exam felt like she was ripping me a new one but I don’t think I’d be getting an epidural if she hadn’t stretched my cervix.”
“That’s good. Means you a have a nurse that knows what she’s doing and can get this done.” I want Meg to take care of me when I come in in labor.
Zac remains in the designated chair where Addison told him to park his ass and not move. “Baby, I’m not sure I can handle seeing them put that long needle in your back. I’m getting a little woozy just thinking about it.”
“Zac Kingston, you are not going to wuss out on me.”
“I don’t want to but it’s not like I can help it. I’m weak when it comes to medical stuff–especially needles. I can’t handle them.”
“Too bad. You’re not going anywhere. You’re staying right here.”
Addison is being rough on Zac. I hope I’m not this way with Jack Henry when the time comes. “I’ll stay in case it becomes too much for you and you have to leave.” I want to tell my best friend she’s being a total bitch to her new husband and he doesn’t deserve it. Once Zac knew she was pregnant, he’s been there for her through everything so I’d really like to tell her to cut him some slack but I don’t have the chance because the anesthetist and Meg come into the room.
The man with Meg is wearing blue scrubs–and must be at least sixty since his hair is solid gray–so I’m hoping that’s a sign of experience. “I hear someone in here is looking for an epidural.”
“Yes, honey, bring it on. Where you want me?”
“Sitting–either indian style or with your legs dangling. Either is fine–just make sure both legs are in the same position so your back doesn’t twist.”
Meg positions Addison so she’s holding a pillow around her pregnant abdomen. “Poke your lower back out. The more you curl around the pillow, the more you open those spaces. When you sit up, it close the spaces so try to curl your spine into a C and hold that position until he tells you that you can sit up.”
Addison gets situated and I watch from across the room, mesmerized by what they’re doing to her.
“I don’t feel so good.” I look at Zac and all the blood has drained from his face, making him a sick shade of white.
Meg gives me directions from where she stands. “Can you help him to the couch and get his feet up.” Addison is leaning against her nurse for support. “I can’t move from this position.”
I steer him toward the sofa and I’m instantly worried because Zac’s a big guy and I’m a not so big girl. “Please don’t pass out on me because I can’t catch you if you go down.” I’m relieved when his ass hits the cushion and he spins to put his legs up on the arm. “What now?
“Put some pillows under his feet,” Meg answers.
“And then take pictures,” Addison calls out while still remaining in position for the epidural placement. Zac doesn’t laugh or argue. He really isn’t feeling well but maybe a tiny little bit of pink is returning to his cheeks.
I go into the bathroom and wet a wash cloth for him. “Here. Maybe this cool cloth will help.”
He takes it and wipes his face. “Thanks. I think I’m gonna be okay now.” He sighs. “I can’t fucking stand needles.”
I think what as I look at the black ink on his biceps. “Both of your upper arms are covered in tats.”
“That’s different. Those only tap the surface of the skin. Nothing gets shoved into your spine.”
“They didn’t shove a needle in Addison’s spine.” But it did sort of look like that’s what they were doing.
“I think I can sit up now.” He rises to a sitting position and puts his feet on the floor, staring down so he doesn’t catch a glimpse of Addie or what they’re doing to her. “You alright over there, babe?”
Addison doesn’t answer and we both spin around to see what’s going on. Meg smiles and points at Addie. “Already asleep.”
Is that normal? “Did the epidural put her to sleep?”
“The epidural didn’t do that. She’s exhausted because she’s been at this for a while–and it’s quite early–so the poor thing is worn out.” And I’m sure she wasn’t in the bed sleeping when all of this got started. I’m guessing Jack Henry almost had the scenario right. Zac didn’t fuck her into labor; he broke her water.”
I use Addison’s little nappy time to step out and see Jack Henry since it’s been hours. I’m surprised–or rather shocked–when I find him in a civil conversation with Ben. I think they’re discussing work from the little bit I hear–something about vineyards and the management of them depending upon the location. Chloe sees me before they do and shrugs, giving me an baffled look. I want to stand there eavesdropping just to see what they’re talking about but Jack Henry looks over and sees me. “Hey. How’s it going in there?”
“Better now but it was really bad for a while. She’s four centimeters, got an epidural, and is comfortable so she’s napping.”
“Are you scared now?”
Hell, yeah. I’m terrified. “I was scared before but what I just saw confirms that there’s reason to be and she hasn’t even had the baby yet. It’s going to be rough, McLachlan.”
“You’re tough as nails, babe. I have faith in you.”
It takes the better part of the morning for Addison to get to ten centimeters–thirteen hours from the start–but we’re told that’s about average. Next comes the fun part–pushing this child out of her body. He’s thirty-six weeks gestation so technically he’s still considered a preterm infant. Surely, he can’t be too big if he’s almost a month early, right?
Meg positions Addison with her legs pulled back and apart–ironic since it’s probably the way she was when she got herself into this condition. “Can you tell when you’re having a contraction?”
“I feel pressure.”
“Good. When you feel that pressure, I want you to get a big breath and blow it out and then get another breath, hold it in and bear down in your bottom while I count to ten. We’re going to do that three times with each contraction.”
I’m on one side of the bed and Zac is on the other. “Mmm … this is not going to be fun,” Addie complains.
“How long you do this depends on how hard you push,” Meg explains. “The epidural can knock out a lot of your pushing power so you have to think about the muscles you’d use to go to the bathroom and use them to push.”
Meg is sitting on the bed between Addison’s legs, laughing. “Sorry but it is what it is. I hope you don’t think you’re too posh to push because that will land you in surgery getting a big, fat incision across your belly.”
“No, I definitely don’t want a c-section so I’ll do this, gross or not.”
Addison does the work, pushing each time her nurse tells her to but it’s slow progress. Meg assures us everything is going well for a first time mom but I can see Addison becoming flustered when she’s been doing it for forty-five minutes. “Why isn’t he coming?”
“He is, Addison. It just takes time when you’ve never pushed a baby out before. Each time you push, it’s like two steps forward and one step back. It takes a lot of steps to get a baby out of there. It isn’t like the movies where she has two good pains, screams bloody murder, and it pops out.”
“I’m just getting really tired. How much longer do you think?” Addison has worked hard but she’s wearing down.
“I’m only guessing but maybe twenty minutes, thirty, tops.”
Addison pulls her legs back harder and further apart. “No way I’m doing this thirty more minutes. I’m ready to get this over with.”
And she does. Ten more minutes and she is crowning and ready for delivery. “I see the top of his head, Addie. It’s simultaneously the grossest, yet most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”
Zac manages to take a peek without wussing out. “He has my dark hair, babe.”
“I’m not interested in what the top of his head looks like. I want to see his toes because that means he’s out.”
Addie’s doctor comes into the room and gowns up for delivery. “Push like you did earlier and we’ll have a baby in the next few contractions.”
One. Two. Three contractions later, I watch the most beautiful baby boy make his way into the world. He’s red and wrinkly, and screaming because he’s pissed off–how fitting for Addison’s child.
Zac is leaning over kissing Addison’s face, telling her how much he loves her, and I get a glimpse of the happiness Jack Henry and I are going to feel when James Henry or Maggie James arrives. I can not wait.
I want to give Zac and Addison this time with their son so I go out to make the announcement once baby boy Kingston has been weighed and measured. “Donavon Zachary Kingston arrived at eleven forty-one, weighing six pounds, two ounces and measuring nineteen inches. Mom and baby are doing fine.”
Yeah. Addison got her way on her son’s name but I never doubted she would.