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|Music of the Soul(Runaway Train #2.5) by Katie Ashley|
Jake appeared to be thinking about the name. “Jackson Slater…Jax Slater.” He grinned. “I like that a lot.”
“Jacob Jackson Slater,” I said, with a smile.
He rolled his eyes. “Andrew Jackson Slater,” he countered.
“Then it sounds like we named him after the president.”
Jake laughed. “I guess you’re right.” He rubbed my belly. “So, Jax and Jules it is.”
“I love it.”
“And I love you.”
After going through all I did to conceive, I never thought I would ever hate being pregnant. And then I crossed the eighth month mark, and true loathing of swollen feet, heartburn, sleepless nights, and waddling around began to grate on my nerves.
It probably didn’t help that I’d been on bed rest for a month. The moment I stepped off the tour bus, my OB had banished me to the four walls of the master bedroom at home. Sure, I was tired and worn out from performing, but at the same time, it was hard laying around all the time when you were used to being on the go. Jake was good to spend time amusing me. We watched movies and ate our meals together. He also made sure I had female company by having my mom, Allison, and Lily come for visits.
Mia was good to come up for the day with Bella and baby Gaby. While I snuggled with the girls and watched movies, Mia worked hard knitting hats and booties for the twins. She and Lily also organized my baby shower, which turned into an epic event that included Jake, the guys from Runaway Train, the roadies and their wives.
Even though I hated being bedridden, I would have taken anything for it instead of having contractions six and a half weeks before my due date. Jake immediately called my doctor, and then we made the fifteen minute drive to the hospital. After doing an ultrasound, as well as an exam, my OB, Dr. Ghandi, had me being prepped for an emergency C-Section. The twins were in distress as my blood pressure had started rising. When the phrase ‘preempting any future preeclampsia’ floated around, I went into panic mode, but Dr. Ghandi assured me that by getting the twins out, we weren’t going to face that.
In a blur, I was wheeled from an examining room into the OR. Jake momentarily left my side to get outfitted in his scrubs, hat, and mask. When he returned, they’d already given me an epidural, along with some other drugs, and erected a sheet, so I couldn’t see what was about to happen below my waist.
It felt like I was floating outside of my body. Tugging pressure came from below the sheet. I fought as hard as I could to say awake, but I felt myself drifting away into unconsciousness. “There he is!” Dr. Ghandi exclaimed. My droopy eyelids snapped open. Craning my neck, I gazed to where she held a wailing Jackson.
“God, he’s so beautiful,” I murmured, the oxygen tube moving tighter against my nose.
Dr. Ghandi passed Jackson to a nurse and then went back to work. My eyes cut across to where the nurses worked to clean Jax up. He appeared strong and healthy, and I wanted nothing more than to hold him in my arms and ease his crying. As if he could sense my thoughts, he turned his face toward me in the bassinet. “Hi sweetheart. Mommy’s here,” I called hoarsely.
“And here’s number two!” My eyes cut from Jax over to Jules. I knew immediately something was wrong. While Jax had cried heartily, Jules was silent, her lips blue. A flurry of activity began happening below my waist.
“What’s wrong? Why isn’t she crying?” I demanded.
Once she was cut from me, Jules was handed over to the charge nurse. She began suctioning Jules’s mouth while another nurse rubbed her tiny arms and legs. Tears blurred my eyes. “Jake!” I cried desperately. My arms were tied down so I couldn’t touch him.
His tender lips came to kiss my cheek. “Shh, it’s going to be okay, Abby. They’re working with her. I know she’s going to be just fine.” But the fear burning in his eyes was palpable. The small amount of skin showing outside his mask was pale.
I closed my eyes. “Please Susan,” I murmured.
“What sweetheart?” Jake asked.
I didn’t reply. Instead, I just kept praying to Susan to intercede on Jules’s behalf. I was still drifting between consciousness when Susan’s face appeared before me, and she smiled. My eyelids snapped open at as the sweetest sounding cry in the whole wide world echoed through the room. “See, she’s fine!” Jake exclaimed.
I barely got to see Jules’s wailing form before she was ushered out of the delivery room. “Where are they taking her?” I asked.
“To the NICU. They can better regulate her oxygen levels there,” a nurse replied.
I hated I couldn’t have just a moment with her to see her up close, maybe kiss her cheek or hands. But I was also so thankful she was all right, and they were working to make her healthy.
As Dr. Ghandi worked below my waist stitching me up, a nurse appeared at my side with Jackson in her arms. “Would you like to meet your son?”
“Oh, yes. Please.”
She laid Jackson gently on my chest where we were face to face. Jax strained to look at me. “Hi sweet boy,” I murmured. His image before me became wavy as my emotions overcame me, and I began to cry. I wanted more than anything to be able to hold him—to unwrap his blanket and count his tiny toes and fingers.
Jake’s thumb rubbed across Jackson’s cheek. “He’s pretty amazing, huh?”
“Yes, he is. I can’t believe we made him.”
With a grin, Jake said, “Once upon a time, he was just a part of some baby batter in a cup.”