Summary: The title says it all.
"My water broke" is one sentence I never thought would come from the lips of my partner. Yet, twelve hours ago, she spoke those three words to me as we fought over the remote control. At first, I thought it was a tactical maneuver- make me believe she was in labor, therefore I would surrender my most prized possession. I was wrong. I looked down and saw the aforementioned water trickling down the length of her short but shapely legs.
The past twelve hours have been a blur of sounds and sights I never believed in my wildest dreams would envelop us. Words like dilation, mucus plug, fetal monitor, contractions, ice chips, Lamaze, and epidural swirl around my head like cottonwood floating through the air on a warm May afternoon.
In the center of it all is the tiny red head who is now, more so than ever before, the core of my existence. I marvel at her strength. She has been in labor for twelve hours, and we are finally in the home stretch. Scully refused an epidural, preferring to stick to stadol for her pain. I know just by looking at her it isn't helping much, but she doesn't want anything else. I just stand at her side, wiping her brow, praising her for her courage and strength, and feeding her ice chips.
Some women go crazy on their baby's father during delivery, swearing at them, threatening them with no sex for the rest of their lives. Not Scully. She's calm, almost serene in this- the most intense moment of our lives. In fact, she smiles at me after every contraction, assuring me "Soon Mulder. He'll be out soon."
I smile back, too moved each time to do anything other than stroke her sweat soaked hair. Her mother is out in the waiting room, along with Skinner. I asked Scully if she wanted her mother in with us when she delivered our child. Her answer was simple. "Mulder, you and I created this baby together. I want only the two of us here to see him enter the world." How could I argue with that?
Although, I know that Maggie was going to be here if I wasn't. My disappearance, from what I've been told by Skinner and Maggie, was pure hell for Scully. They both told me how very withdrawn she became, more so than usual. Scully, the woman who rarely shares her feelings with anyone, cried on a daily basis. However, through all of that, she nurtured and loved our child. God, our child. I still am having a hard time believing that I am going to be a father. When I was returned six weeks ago, I was comatose, much like Scully had been after her abduction. Her voice called to me across what seemed to be the galaxy, begging me to come back. She whispered words of love, of hope, of our future and our child.
The morning after she told me of our baby, I woke, needing to see if it was true. Of course it was. Scully would never lie to me. I couldn't speak- my throat was still raw from the respiratory tube that had been removed that morning. The only response I could give her was a tearful smile, conveying my joy over our miracle and relief that I was home with her.
As she always does, she understood perfectly. She allayed my unspoken fears that something was wrong with the baby. "Mulder, he's perfectly healthy and completely normal." Off my shocked expression, she added "Yes Mulder, we are going to have a son." The smile that lit up her face compared to none I have ever seen before.
Three weeks after my return, I was home with Scully, preparing for impending parenthood. I took a crash course in Lamaze, courtesy of Mrs. Scully. I read What to Expect When You're Expecting and several other books. We bought a crib and matching changing table- Scully told me she was waiting for me to come home before she made those purchases. We both know, though, that it's just as likely she might have had to buy them on her own. We don't mention that.
I was pretty much in the same boat Scully had been in after she was returned. I didn't remember anything - not consciously anyway. I strengthened physically and mentally every day, knowing I had to be ready for the upcoming miracle. I hate that she had to endure so much of this without me. But Scully is strong, and she assures me that the only way she survived, and thrived, is because she believed with all her heart that I would be home in time to welcome our baby into the world. I often wonder at her faith in me - in us. She always seems to know these things. When I've been missing, presumed dead in the past, she stated simply upon my return that she knew I was all right- that I would come back to her.
The flurry of activity continues around me- a nurse helps Scully lift her hips to slide a blue cloth underneath her, then helps her place her feet in the stirrups. She glances over at me, smiling shyly. Our intimate relationship had been so new when I was taken, and admittedly at times since my return it has been awkward for both of us. I feel, as does Scully, that everything will work out for us. Somehow it has to. I will not surrender her or our baby. My life is changing in the most profound way today and contrary to what I had believed in the past, I cannot wait.
"What are you thinking about?" She asks me, her voice raised above the din in the room.
"We've seen so many amazing things in our life together, and this by far is the most amazing," I reply wistfully.
She grins widely then grimaces. "Mm-hmm." Contraction. I grip her left hand in mine, running my right hand through her hair, breathing slowly with her. This is the longest one yet. When it subsides, the doctor interrupts us.
"Dana you're fully dilated and 100% effaced. On the next contraction I want you to push," Dr. Weintraub says. Scully nods, focusing her intense gaze on me.
"Mulder, are you ready?" she whispers.
"Yes." I smile at her. I can't find the words to say anything more. I am ready; I can't wait to see my son. Her grip on my hand tightens and that signals the first push. My right arm winds around her back- holding her upright, my left hand still clutched in her fierce grip. We breathe together, slow deep breaths as she struggles to bring our son into the world.
"Good Dana," the doctor tells her. "You did very well."
I kiss her forehead as we relax before the next wave. It comes about three minutes later. Again she pushes, her breathing deep and strong, her face a mixture of joy, pain and utter excitement. This period of pushing and resting continues for fifteen minutes. Dr. Weintraub seems quite pleased with her progress. "He's crowning. Fox, do you want to see?" she asks me.
I glance at Scully, wondering if she'd mind. "Go ahead Mulder." She smiles. Still holding her hand, I peek around the curtain draped over her knees. The sight that greets me takes my breath away. I see the top of my son's head peeking out of Scully's body. I can't stop myself, I cry. I look back to Scully and smile through my tears. She squeezes my hand in understanding- this must be how she felt seeing the first ultrasound.
All too soon, she's pushing again. Dr. Weintraub's excited cry of "The head's out!" startles both of us. She encourages Scully to stop pushing by saying "Ok. You can stop Dana."
I look to my partner, and we both sob with joy as our son's first breath and the accompanying scream pierce the air surrounding us. We look together at the tiny pink human covered with blood and some white stuff that I can't recall the name of.
Dr. Weintraub laughs. "He's definitely a boy." She turns him and we see his precious face for the first time.
The nurse on the opposite side of me places a cloth across Scully's chest before the doctor lays the baby atop it. Scully's hands, along with mine, cradle our child to her body.
The nurse hands me a soft towel. "Rub his back and bottom vigorously to clean him off."
"Won't I hurt him?" I ask nervously.
She smiles at me. "Not at all." I do as she said and Scully splits her gaze between our son and me.
"Dad, do you want to cut the cord?" Dr. Weintraub asks me.
Dad. Never thought that term would be applied to me. I smile, realizing that for the rest of my life, I will be a dad. "Uh sure."
Scully takes over my clean-up duties as the doctor clamps the cord in two places. She hands me a pair of scissors. "Cut between the two clamps." she instructs. As I do, I realize I am severing the physical connection between Scully and our baby. I look at her, knowing as soon as her eyes meet mine, she understands what I'm feeling.
"We'll finish cleaning him up, weigh and measure him, then give him right back," the nurse, Phyllis, tells us, taking our little miracle away from us.
Somehow during all of this, Scully delivered the placenta- I don't think she noticed either. Again, the hum of activity in the room seems to recede into the background, as if Scully and I are alone in the room. I take both her hands in mine, kissing each one in turn. She smiles shyly, tears running down her face.
"You never cease to amaze and inspire me," I whisper into her ear.
"If it's at all possible, I am more in love with you now than ever before. "
"Thank you." I feel tears running down my face.
She contemplates me for several moments, tears still cascading down her flushed cheeks, reminding me of the night we first made love- the night our son was conceived. "No Mulder, thank you." She cries, pulling me closer to her. She leans up, kissing me soundly on the lips, whispering against them "I love you more than ever too."
Phyllis brings our son back to us, swaddled in a receiving blanket, diapered and wearing a blue cotton cap. She moves to hand the baby to Scully, but she says, "Let his father hold him." I grin at her as Phyllis walks around to hand him to me. I gently take him from her, cradling him close to my heart. His little face rubs against the soft cotton of my grey t shirt and I chuckle.
"Seems he likes my t shirt as much as you do Scully." I smirk.
She watches us fondly. "It sure does."
Phyllis tells us, "He weighs seven pounds nine ounces, is twenty-one and one quarter inches long. His APGAR was eight."
Scully sighs. "Good."
"Do you have a name picked out?"
Scully looks to me, nodding her head.
"Yes," I say. "His name is Jacob William Mulder."
Phyllis smiles. "That's a wonderful name."
Scully and I smile.
A little over an hour later, Scully and Jacob are moved to a private room. Our child will not spend any time in the nursery; he will stay in this room with us - the old paranoia never does fully leave. We got lucky and wound up with one of the deluxe family suites.
Instead of a hospital bed, there is a regular queen sized bed, a rocking chair, cradle, table and chairs, mini refrigerator, microwave, full bath with bathtub. Truth be told- it's nicer than my old apartment. Scully finally asks me to go tell Maggie and Skinner that everything is fine and give them all the particulars. I am reluctant to leave my family, if only for a few minutes.
"We'll be fine Mulder. Go, bring Mom and Skinner in here to see our son," Scully tells me. Kissing them both, I leave the room, walking to the waiting room. As soon as I enter, Maggie and Skinner jump out of their chairs.
"Fox?" Maggie asks. "Is everything all right?"
I take her hand and look her right in the eyes. "Your grandson Jacob William Mulder was born one hour and thirty-eight minutes ago. He weighs seven pounds, nine ounces, and is twenty-one and one quarter inches long. He's perfectly healthy and beautiful, as is Scully."
Mrs. Scully throws her arms around me, hugging me tight. "Thank God! Congratulations, Fox!"
"Thank you." I feel tears making their way down my cheeks. "God, he's so beautiful."
Skinner claps a hand on my shoulder. "Congratulations, Mulder. How is Scully?"
"Great. She was amazing, so strong. Come on, let's go see them." I turn, wrapping my arm around Maggie's shoulders. We walk to the door and I realize that Skinner is still standing where we left him. "Sir, come on." He nods and follows us.
I peek my head in the door and see the most beautiful sight my eyes have ever beheld. Scully is nursing our son. She's sitting up in the bed, Jacob cradled in her right arm, his mouth latched onto her breast. I hear a voice coming from within.
"That's good Dana. See? It's not too hard," the voice says.
"No. It's incredible," Scully says. She looks up and sees me.
"Mulder, come here."
"Mom and Skinner are here with me," I tell her.
"They can come in if it doesn't make them uncomfortable," she assures me.
I turn to my guests. "Scully's nursing Jacob. She said if it's ok with you, come on in."
Skinner's face reddens, but he nods, directing Mrs. Scully into the room behind me.
"Hi Mom. Sir," Scully greets them with a smile.
Maggie rushes to her daughter's side, kissing her forehead and stroking the cheek of her grandson. "He's beautiful, Dana. How are you?"
Scully smiles at me. "I'm wonderful, Mom."
Skinner hovers near the door. "Congratulations, Scully."
"Thank you Sir. Please come in." Scully looks at me, beckoning me closer with only her eyes. "Mulder, this is Helen, the lactation consultant. Helen, this is Jacob's father."
"Nice to meet you Helen." I extent my hand in greeting.
"Congratulations on your son's birth." Helen smiles at me.
"Thank you." I lean over and stroke my child's head, placing a kiss near his ear. I kiss Scully in the same place.
"Dana, you seem to be doing well. I'll leave you now, but if you have any questions or problems, feel free to call me. My extension is 4233."
"Thank you for your help Helen." Scully smiles at her.
"It was my pleasure. I'll stop by on my way out this evening." Helen smiles and says her goodbyes to the others in the room. I perch on the edge of the bed, watching Scully and Jacob.
"Scully, I think he's asleep," I remark.
"Yeah, I think so too. He kind of slacked off." She laughs. "Will you take him to my mother?"
"Of course." I release Jacob from his mother's grip, holding him once again close to my heart. Maggie and Skinner are sitting at the table talking quietly, giving us time together. "Oh Grandma, would you like to hold your grandson?"
Maggie's face lights up. "Give him here, Fox." I lay my son in her arms, thrilled to be witnessing this. She smiles at me. "I think he has your nose, Fox."
Scully snorts from the bed. "Poor boy."
I turn and give her my best glare, but she laughs.
"What do you think, Walter?" Mrs. Scully asks Skinner.
Skinner studies the baby. "I'm afraid I have to agree."
"What is this? Pick on Mulder day?" I ask indignantly.
"Hardly. We're doing what all people do when there's a new baby. We are trying to attribute his features to each of his parents," Maggie tells me. "I also think he has Fox's lips."
"He does," Scully confirms. "I'd recognize those lips anywhere."
I'm a nearly forty-year-old man, yet I blush when the mother of my child speaks about my lips in front of others. I stare at Maggie and Skinner, daring them to laugh. They don't. I turn back to Scully and find she has fallen asleep. I don't blame her. She's had a hell of a day.