It has been 7 hours and 23 minutes since the contractions first started, when Adeline first woke with a small huff, clutching her side. She initially insisted it was nothing, convincing the distraught Taksony that going about the rest of the day as planned would be best. Besides, she said, he could handle things if it really came down to it.
But the hours flew by, and the pain became worse and worse, to the point that she was groaning and gritting her teeth every few minutes. Still, she moaned at him through a particularly rough contraction, it wasn't time! Her water hadn't even broken yet!
Well, until it did, not ten minutes later. She had glanced quickly over him, eyes wide, her lips tightly pressed together. Her husband, turning an awful sickly white color, murmured that perhaps it was time to leave.
The ride to the hospital had been nothing more than him asking how she felt every six seconds (in the case that her condition had been drastically altered since the last time he'd inquired about it) until she finally dug her nails into his arm and snarled that she was FINE thank you very much! Though he did stop asking her, he couldn't help but take out his frustrations on the unfortunate carriage driver, sticking his head out the window and screaming abuse every time they happened to take a particularly sharp turn or crash through deep potholes in the road.
She had understood his anxiety to some extent, but desperately hoped that he wouldn't resort to beating the man's face in the next time they hit a bump (the way he had lost control with another man, who'd attempted to lift her purse off of her).
They were immediately seated in one of their nicer private rooms (mostly due to particularly violent threats on his part), and tried to settle in as best they could. Taksony saw that it was most likely best NOT to call his family for the time being, but psychic as she must be, the phone rang not twenty minutes after they arrived, his mother frantic on the other line. He tried to assure her that yes, they were fine, no they did not need the entire clan there for support (His brothers, he huffed, were not allowed NEAR the baby right now, unborn or otherwise) so please do not worry about it, he will call when everything's over and done with.
Fifteen minutes later, Meryl nearly took out four nurses forcing her way into the room. Cheery as if nothing else was happening, and dragging the rest of the family behind her. While Tak wrestled with his other siblings, doing his best to jam the door closed before they could make their way in, Maddelynn wormed in past him (never one to miss out on the chance to fuss over Addie) and promptly sat herself down in the seat right next to her.
"Isn't it just the most beautiful experience, Addie!" she had cooed gently, squeezing her hand. "You know I was in labour with Laddie for nearly 17 hours! Near the end it's absolutely awful, but once they drug you up it's just like a dream."
Adeline didn't look particularly assured.
"Maddie, please." Tak groaned. "Not helping."
"Ooh, you seem to be doing just fine though, Tak!" she giggled. "Larky poor dear, he was unconscious for nearly the whole thing."
"Mother! Why. Why is everyone here."
Meryl is completely oblivious to why anyone would be object to having their loved ones piled on top of one another, watching their wife give birth. Why would anyone want to have such a pivotal life moment kept private, she tuts at him over her knitting needles. Tak buries his face in his hands, and gives up.
It's been 9 hours and 32 minutes since it started, now drawing to an end. The doctor bustles in for the final moments, giving Tak an excuse to finally force the remainder of the Black family out into the hallway. The nurses prop Adeline up in preparation, hand Tak a clean rag to wipe her brow and keep her comfortable. He tries to be as calm as possible, even as she switches back and forth between groaning in pain or threatening to rip his face off for what he's done to her.
"Will you stop touching me!?" she shrieks, tearing the cloth from his hand and tossing it across the room. He mutters a shaky apology, runs his hands through his hair (resisting the temptation to yank out handfuls in pure anxiousness) and backs a few paces away. A stray nurse pats his shoulder thoughtfully, murmurs something like "welcome to fatherhood" and quickly busies herself with fetching fresh towels.
When they had first learned of the pregnancy, he'd made sure to request that a few extra specialists be on call for the birth, worried that Adeline's condition might cause complications. They all file into the room now, carefully fussing over her - checking her's and the baby's heartbeat, making sure everything's going according to plan. He feels somewhat relieved, but nothing helps the awful aching feeling of what is going to go wrong.
But suddenly, it's time to push. Despite her objections, he keeps his tight grip on her hand, runs his fingers through her hair, presses his mouth to her forehead periodically. You're doing so well, he sighs breathlessly, keep it up. She doesn't quite appreciate the encouragement, as it does nothing to actually dull the discomfort. But she bites her lip, squeezes his fingers, and follows along with nature.
When Vivi is born, she doesn't make a sound, and his heart drops into his stomach. The doctor murmurs "It's a girl," as he gently hands her off to the closest nurse without another word. Tak wraps his arms around Addie, buries his face in her hair, prepares for the midwives to tell him the worst.
Until the nurse scoops her up in a blanket and tries to clean her off, when she starts shrieking. She pauses briefly, only to cough up the remainders of slime in her throat, but continues on without much thought. She fights and flails against the fuzzy wrap as if it were trying to smother her, clearly already immensely displeased with her first encounters in the world, but the nurse manages to wrap her up tightly like a small angry burrito and quickly deposits her into Tak's shaking hands.
He counts her fingers, her toes, blinks at how absolutely pink she is. Her eyes are large and bright, a positively icy blue (like her grandfather's, he notices with a shudder), that stare back at him unflinchingly. You're mine now, they say. He only nods, dumbfounded. She's already got nearly a full head of hair, beautiful and dark gold. He carefully twists a curl around his finger, frowning. She's healthy. She's perfect.
Adeline huffs and reaches out for the burrito, finally content to some extent. She smiles gently as he reluctantly places the little bundle in her arms. Vivi immediately quiets down, squirming round a bit but otherwise becoming calm. He heaves a heavy and relieved sigh, plops down in the large wingback chair beside the bed. They look perfect and natural together, two lovely golden haired angels sitting happily (though one of them is less pleased with this development than the other). His girls, he thinks to himself. His girls. His very own little family.
All is peaceful, when he sees his mother's face pressed up against the window, absolutely overjoyed and practically ready to explode at the proposition of a grandchild existing just beyond the door. I suppose it's time, he sighs, to introduce her to the extended family.
Somehow, he knows she'll fit right in.