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Welcome to the World Baby Francesca
Natalia Rivera had been through some strange and trying times in her life. This experience - the birth of her daughter - this was going to be a doozy. She could tell by the way that her wife was driving the car at thirty miles an hour, acting like she was forty laps into the Indianapolis 500. She could tell by the things that she heard Olivia muttering in what Natalia assumed Olivia considered to be under her breath. She heard Frank's name mentioned in a tone that would result in a lengthy prison sentence were it an action. She heard Phillip's name come up and hoped he had the good sense to get to the hospital before them so that he could take charge of Emma, who was a little too quiet in the back seat. Having seen Natalia's water break while they were all standing in the kitchen seemed to have daunted the normally pretty fearless kid. Apparently she and Olivia had both left out at least one salient fact when talking to Emma about how her baby sister would come into the world.
Then another contraction hit and Natalia found she was unable to think at all until it passed. Early into the pregnancy she had considered going through labor completely naturally. She was now glad that she had managed to keep that particular piece of idiocy to herself. She did not remember labor with Rafe being this painful. Then again maybe forgetting how painful labor was is how God got women to have more than one child. She was trying very hard to keep verbal expressions of the pain to herself since every time she uttered a sound, Olivia nearly jumped out of her skin and looked like she was going to throw up. No, she was pretty sure she'd like that epidural as soon as she could have one please. Glancing at Olivia, Natalia was pretty sure that Olivia would take any drug they were willing to give her at the hospital. Natalia thought she'd have to suggest that to Rick. He'd probably agree to it if the labor went on for any length of time since Olivia was definitely going to be in the delivery room. No way was Natalia doing this without her. Of course at the rate they were driving to the hospital, the baby would be born and getting ready to start kindergarten before they got anywhere near the town. Right now Natalia wasn't thrilled their farmhouse was not in the very center of Springfield, preferably right next to the hospital.
More muttering from Olivia. This time Natalia was pretty sure she had heard Josh's name come up. Natalia wondered what Josh could have possibly done to be included in this particular sotto voce tirade. Josh wasn't even in Springfield and hadn't been for months. Maybe that was it. Josh had the nerve to be gone when Olivia desperately needed someone to yell at. But really, if Olivia didn't start to drive just a little faster, Natalia was going to make her pull over and finish the drive herself. Another contraction hit. This one was stronger than the others. Natalia actually thought she saw flashing lights and heard sirens. As she became a little more aware of her surroundings, Natalie realized that in fact she was seeing at least half of Springfield's finest racing toward them with all their emergency equipment fully engaged. Olivia started to swear under her breath, thinking she was being pulled over, until the cars all swung around and became a very obvious police escort the rest of the way to the hospital. At thirty miles an hour.
Natalia was actually surprised that her rather calm telephone conversation with Frank telling him they were going to the hospital had provoked such a reaction. She wondered how often her daughter would bless and curse being the daughter of the chief of police of their little town. Olivia's conversation with Phillip had produced a decidedly different reaction when she bellowed into the phone that if he wanted to continue to breathe, he would come to the hospital to get Emma. Natalia had heard about the reaction that conversation had caused: Phillip and Rick running out on the dinner they had been sharing with Mindy and Beth without a backward glance, when she called Beth back while Olivia ran around upstairs collecting together heaven only knew what. Beth had assured Natalia that it was fine for Emma to spend the night at the Spaulding mansion and that Beth would come and get the little girl because she doubted that Phillip could be convinced to leave either Olivia or Rick once he got to the hospital. Natalia was suitably grateful to Beth. She felt pretty strongly that Olivia and Rick would both need Phillip's support before the night was through. Olivia by having someone to vent at; and Rick because Phillip was enough bigger than Olivia that he might to be able to pry Olivia's hands off the front of Rick's scrubs if she lunged at him. Okay, when she lunged at him. She also wanted Emma to have some place to be that was not the hospital that both her parents had lain in, very close to death at different times in the recent past.
Finally they arrived at the hospital and Natalia realized that she needed to get things under control in a hurry or half the damn town would try to squeeze into to the delivery room. She was absolutely not going to be lying on a table in the delivery room with her feet in stirrups while a large and enthusiastic cheering section looked on. While she filled out forms at the admissions desk and Olivia threatened and snarled at the paper-pushing obstacle keeping her from the delivery room, Natalia counted their supporters. Phillip and Rick had indeed beaten them to the hospital which was a good thing as she expected Rick to deliver this baby. Frank was there, and Blake was with him, as she was a lot since the end of the summer. Frank's father Buzz had come with his wife Lillian who, although she supervised all nurses at the hospital, would assist in this delivery. Mindy and Beth arrived and stood by while Phillip, Olivia and Uncle Rick convinced Emma that she really did not want to wait at the hospital while Natalia had the baby. Natalia inadvertently assisted in this process by gasping quite loudly after yet another contraction hit. Had someone mentioned an epidural? Oh yes, and here came Bill and Libby. What would any occasion in Springfield be without all of Olivia's ex-husbands? To be fair, Josh was in either Tulsa or somewhere in South America, and the other two, Alan and Jeffery, were pretty much dead. That only left Bill and Phillip.
When Olivia whirled in Bill's direction, he showed some of the most finely honed survival instincts Natalia had observed lately and followed Natalia's suggestion that he accompany Emma to her Dad's house along with her stepmom, her big sister and Mindy. And just when Natalia thought that maybe she could deliver this baby sans marching band, who should arrive but Mayor Wolfe. Doris Wolfe was still not someone that Natalia had quite figured out, but she was Olivia's friend. Right now Olivia could use a friend she had not slept with, which excluded everyone still at the hospital except Rick, Blake and Lillian. At least Natalia was pretty sure Olivia had never slept with Rick, Blake or Lillian. Doris seemed to think helping meant trying to talk Frank out of going into the delivery room. Natalia would have been grateful for this particular intervention, but for the fact that Frank still pretty much hated Doris based on a beating he had sustained at the hands of her bodyguards. It had happened right after he found out that the reason Natalia had called off their wedding was because she was in love with Olivia, when he acted like a complete ass toward the two women and shot his mouth off to the Mayor. Fortunately Blake and Buzz were able to step in and convince Frank that his presence for the birth of his daughter was necessary, getting a rather up-close and clinical view of parts of Natalia that he had only seen the once and under much different lighting conditions, especially now that he and Natalia were no longer together would only piss Natalia off, and he really didn't want that did he?
Finally someone had the bright idea that maybe Natalia should not sit in the hall all evening until the baby simply fell out on her own. That person would have been Olivia who was now gripping Natalia's hand in an amazing combination of tenderness and steel-vice-like strength and demanding loudly that her partner be taken to a delivery room. That oddly enough, seemed to actually produce some results, as Lillian and Rick turned up at precisely that moment dressed in scrubs and Phillip seemed to conjure a wheelchair out of thin air. Natalia thought the wheelchair a bit much. She may be pregnant and in labor, but she was not an invalid. Another contraction of rather impressive proportions found Natalia being helped into the wheelchair by Doris and Olivia, as Olivia shook out the fingers of her left hand and then quickly removed all her rings for the duration. Phillip pushed the chair through the halls of Cedars at the head of the rag tag little parade, all of whom were apparently perfectly prepared to go right into the delivery room, until Natalia held up both her hands and declared that the only person who was not medically necessary to this process who was welcome in that room was Olivia. Olivia had the good grace not to look smug at this pronouncement, but looking closely Natalia was kinda thinking it was because Olivia had gone into shock.
So into the room they went. Natalia was helped onto the table and made as comfortable as possible. The fetal monitor was put into place showing a baby not in any distress. The anesthesiologist came in and prepped Natalia for the long awaited epidural, explaining that she and the baby would be monitored briefly, then he would do the epidural. Natalia was then checked to see if her cervix had dilated enough to allow for the epidural. That's when all hell broke loose. It was FAR too late for the epidural, the baby was crowning and ready to be born.
Sometime later, Natalia would vaguely recall snarling at Olivia that of course Olivia's daughter was in such a damn hurry to be born that she couldn't have the decency to wait until the appropriate medication was available. Upon reflection, yelling at Olivia was totally unfair. Not only was Olivia not responsible for the child having been created, not only had she stepped up and offered to raise the baby together, but as soon as they crossed the threshold of the delivery room, Olivia's personality apparently dashed into a nearby phone booth and super partner/birth coach emerged. She was calm. She was soothing. She even stayed out of the way. Which was more than could be said for the poor anesthesiologist; who was knocked down by Rick and Lillian in their haste to get to Natalia. It was not entirely clear who eventually pulled him out from under the table.
So now here she sat in another tableau that was a little bizarre but entirely Springfield, gazing at her baby girl in her arms accompanied by of all people, Phillip Spaulding. Phillip looked at Natalia and little Francesca with a sweetly serene look on his face. Which was kind of remarkable considering that his left arm had to be completely numb from a physically and emotionally exhausted Olivia having basically passed out on his shoulder, pinning him to a less than comfortable couch for the last forty five minutes. They had only been sleeping in the same bed for the last few months, but Natalia had never heard Olivia snore like THAT before.
It wasn't the perfect family scene that Natalia had fantasized about when she dreamt of her life with Olivia before it had all gotten so complicated. Again. But it was family, and there was a ton of love for Francesca. It was also a family that was gonna need a heck of a big piece of paper when some misguided teacher years down the road wanted Francesca to draw her family tree.
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