[Junk XIII] Recovery Room (K 9-4)

edited February 2014 in Junkworld XIII

You wake up slowly. Your stomach feels like someone ripped it out, then shoved most of it back in. Your head feels spacey.

The light isn't sun, your brain tells you it's too even and bright. The hum of energy, all around. The Pods? No, they're gone. Ascendant. You're in the Ascendant.

The smell, bleach, chemicals, too clean, overpowering. Squeak of shoes on floor, light conversation, the beeps of machines far away. It's the infirmary.

Your belly. You hand goes to Leah. She isn't. There. She isn't there.

Your eyes pop open with alarm. Omo is there. She was sitting by you, quietly taking notes on a tablet. She grins, showing missing front tooth. "Kiddo! Hey there, so glad you're up." She looks over to a display. There are things taped to your head and body, something is in your arm, dripping stuff into you from a bag.

"That was some scary drek for a bit. I thought we were gonna lose you." She flips to another screen, a blank one. She asks softly, "What do you remember?"


  • I was having the weirdest frakking dream... I dreamed I was back in the commune, feeding Leah. I dreamed that Vee was out playing with Rinso and Rinsa, Ma' was somewhere with Ollie Junior, and Dad and Hump were playing a song on the stage. Then Stitch came and took Leah from me to put her to bed, and I was too weak to get up. I tried calling for her, but I couldn't even lift my arms to reach out to her. After that it was all kind of fuzzy...

    My hand slides down to my belly, which is remarkably flatter than it used to be... Leah. She's not there. I breathe out through my nose sharply in panic, and open my eyes wide to see what's going on. No Leah... An IV... What's taped to my head? Omo asked me a question, but I didn't really hear it. I weakly reach up to touch the things attached to my head. What the frak happened?

    Omo's talking again. She thought they were going to lose me? ... What do I remember? I let go of whatever is taped to my head, and search my memory for the last thing I remember. "In bed..." I whisper hoarsely, "I was in bed, and my water broke." I think I was alone? Or was Hump there? Wait, Hump was in the next room. That's right. Rinso and Vee were at work, I remember... "I remember having contractions that really frakking hurt, and stumbling around the room in pain to find my boots... I don't think I made it to the door before falling to the floor. I heard Hump playing in the lounge, so I called out for him."

    I'm flooded with worry as I remember the look of panic on Hump's face. My water broke... Did I deliver? Oh gods... "Where's Leah? Omo, where's Leah? Is she alright?" My voice is a little frantic. I'm trying to lift myself out of bed, and I'm searching the room — but I'm so tired and weak that I can barely push myself up off the mattress. "Omo, please... Help me up! Tell me Leah's alright!"
  • Omo puts down the tablet on the bed and moves up to you, "Leah's alright, Kiddo. Calm down, you're the one who is in danger." Omo's using a calming voice, but urgent. She's right, you hurt.

    There's a big cut on your lower tummy. There is a bandage on it, but you feel it. It suuuucks.

    "If you lay back and rest, I can go get her, ok? Just lay back. You're still weak, you lost alot of blood." She puts hands on your shoulders to gently ease you back.

    What do you do?
  • What can I do but nod sheepishly, and sit back down... Leah's OK? What the hell happened to my stomach? ... Did Stitch have to cut her out of me, like she did that appendix? I think I remember that... I remember getting here, and Stitch talking with Omo about Leah not having room, or something. I remember her saying something about a Cesarean... Gods, I couldn't even birth my baby girl... But she's OK?
  • edited February 2014
    You lie back, and Omo smiles encouragingly. "There. That's better. Leah is 52 centimeters, weighs 3.5 kilos. She has your eyes and nose, and Rinso's grip. Stitch had to deliver her with some surgery, but she's put you back together, no problem. You need some bedrest, for a few weeks, maybe." She pauses, to see if you lose your cool.

    But you don't right? She nods, continues softly in that off clinical tone. "I can bring Leah in now. Did you want to breastfeed her? I can help you get started, if you want."
  • I swallow hard, and relax a little. My voice is still horse, and my mouth is wicked frakking dry... But the thought of seeing her — holding her for real — my eyes are misting up. "I can see her?" I nod, when she asks about feeding her, "Ok."
  • Omo grins, like the fakey smile for patients goes away and for a delicious moment, she shares in that hope with you. She nods, then heads out.

    A few moments later, Omo comes walking back into your room, holding a baby wrapped in a soft, pink woven blanket. Your baby. Your Leah. She comes over to stand beside you, and dips down just enough for you to see her little wrinkled face. She's so red! She's asleep, complete zonked out, an inner blanket wrapped around her, swaddling her.
  • That felt like forever... Sitting here in this cold metal room, with the beeping monitors, humming lights, and me — just me. I haven't been alone in almost nine months, not a single moment. The thought makes me feel anxious. I want to see her. I want to be with her. I find myself craning my neck around to get a better view of the hall, and to see if Omo's coming back... What could be taking her?

    But then she does come back, and the room goes quiet. My eyes find the pink blanket in Omo's arms, and follow it as she comes over to me. Then I see her. I see my little girl. Sleeping quietly in her blanket, and healthy, and perfect... A tear rolls down my face, and I instinctively reach out for her — the weakness weighing down my arms now completely gone. "Hi sweetie," I coo softly, unable to take my eyes off her.

    Oh gods... She's so beautiful! Silky soft black hair, and tanned like her dad. I huff a nervous laugh, like I can't believe this is real... My baby girl! My sweet baby Leah... I look up to Omo for just a moment, to make sure I can take Leah from her.
  • Omo nods with a big smile, and gently lowers your baby. Into your arms. She's so terribly small, so fragile. From that first touch, there's a moment where your heart feels like it will burst.

    Tears come to your eyes and you feel amazingly strong. You must be. She is yours to care for and love and protect. Yours to love and hold and help grow into a wonderful person.

    Then, when you feel as if there's nothing more magical than this moment... her eyes open. Dark brown pools you could lose yourself in. She looks right at you. Right at you in this soul shattering moment. This connection.

    It is the single most powerful moment of your life.
  • edited February 2014
    Those beautiful brown eyes look up at me, and everything I ever thought was important in the world just doesn't seem to hold a candle up to my little girl. I have no idea how I'm going to say no to those eyes... A contented smile parts my lips, and tears of joy pour down my cheeks. I giggle nervously for a second while my brain finds something to say to my beautiful baby girl... It feels like a small forever, just staring into those gorgeous eyes.

    "Oh Leah," I finally manage, "I'm so glad to finally meet you... Mommy loves you so much." I look up at Omo, with a suddenly driven look on my face, and ask, "you said she was hungry? Should I feed her?"
  • Omo nods, moves closer and starts helping you prepare Leah for her first feeding. It's uncomfortable, but Omo's surprisingly gentle. She's good at this, and you get the sense that she really wanted this for her girls. But instead of jealousy, she seems excited for you.

    After a couple minutes of talking, you're offering the first mother's milk to your baby. In your arms, connected like no other soul in the world. She bites and it takes some coaxing to get her to latch correctly. But finally, the milk flows and she is latched on like a strong little leech.

    Omo watches for a bit, then says, "I'm going to let everyone know you're able to see them, alright?"
  • edited February 2014
    I look up at Omo, still kinda dazed, and mutter, "Ok." Truth be told, I couldn't be happier right now — just me and my baby girl — but I can't wait for everyone to meet her.

    Ok, so this frakking stings... I've gotta do this every three hours? Frak... At least now I know why Ma' would run around with that waxy cream all the time when Hump and Vicky were born. It's not so bad I can't manage, but it's not like folks really tell you that kinda shit, y'know? Even still, once she gets a good flow going, it's totally worth it. There's just something magical about it all... I've never felt so close to someone, ever.

    I don't take my eyes off Leah, not for a second, while we're alone. I can't believe I made this. I brush her little rosy cheek, and hum a little tune for her — Vee's favorite lullaby — while she eats.
  • As Leah settles into a pattern of taking the milk from you, Omo heads out.

    Now, you're "alone" again, but with Leah, you're still tingling with those emotions of love and comfort, connected to her like no person in your memories. Perhaps Zero felt this when you were born, when you first fed from her. But it doesn't exist in your mind.

    Now, from the other side, it does.

    Rinso comes in, wearing scrubs. VB walks in right behind him. Then your father, your Ma, even Hump, they come in, filling the small room.

    Who holds the baby first?
  • That's a weird frakking thought... Ma' doing this for me? I can't imagine what was running through her head, but the only thing I can think about right now is making sure Leah has everything she needs.

    I give everyone an exhausted smile as they file in. I'm not really sure how long I've been out, so I don't know who's been kept in what loops... But having my whole family here with me makes the room feel that much cozier.

    I let Rinso hold her first – it's only fair my little girl gets to meet her Daddy first – then Vee. It's really important to me that Vee gets to hold her before Ma' and Dad, because she was there for me through this whole thing... I really couldn't have done it without her.
  • Of course, they wait for her feeding to be done.

    Rinso's face is split by the biggest smile you've ever seen on him. He takes her up in his arms and she practically disappears. But he leans down, sharing her with you, joyful in this moment. VB moves to the other side of the bed, joining you. It's a wonderful experience, the four of you here together.

    Who would have imagined this would be the case in just a year's time?

    VB is very, verrry nervous about taking Leah. "I... I dunno, Kiddo. Shouldn't I be, like trained or something?"
  • edited February 2014
    It's more than just the four of us! It's all of us! If you asked me a year ago whether I'd be sitting here in the Ascendant — with my Ma' and Dad, Vee as my lover, and Rinso as my lover, and the father of my newborn daughter after deposing a frakking psychopath, fixing a crazy AI, and blowing up a nuke, I'd have said you were frakking crazy. Let alone that I'm considered a heroine by the people here, and am working with frakking Nezbitts to make this hold better.

    I am speechless... I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful outcome. I can't imagine what life will be like with my little girl — but I'm hopeful it will involve everyone in this room... I slowly slide over to the side of the bed when I notice Vee is hesitant to take Leah in her arms. "C'mon up Honeybee," I pat the bed, "you're gunna do fine! We're all learning from here on out — and Ma' and Dad can prod us when we frak up." Which I'm sure we'll hear plenty about...

    I smile over at her, "you've gotta hold her eventually, right?"
  • VB swallows, nervous and misting up. She nods after a moment's more hesitation, and Rinso gently hands Leah to her. Leah looks pretty damn big in VB's arms, as a comparison.

    Ollie laughs at the moment, filled with joy. He claps Hump on the back, "Yer an uncle, my boy." Hump just blinks, smiling wide and watching VB hold Leah.

    Within a moment of holding her, VB whispers to you, "She's the most beautiful baby, Kiddo. I... I can't believe it!"

    Rinso moves up to you, takes a knee and puts an arm around you, "Gods, Kiddo. I thought we were going to lose you. I... I punched a hole in the ER."

    "A huge frakkin hole, Kiddo!" Zero says with a snicker. "The boy lost it!" Your Ma, who was hanging back, moves up. That's when you notice she's a bit shaky on her feet. Your Dad is supporting her. And... she doesn't look, uhm, pregnant anymore.
  • I smile contentedly when Vee compliments Leah, and gently brush my baby's soft hair. "Good thing she's got you for beauty tips, then." I giggle weakly, and peck her on the cheek.

    I swallow hard when Rinso comments about almost losing me... I feel frakking weak right now. I hazard a haggard smile, but I know all too well just how close that call was.

    Did Ma' have her baby? ... How long have I been frakking out? I shoot her a curious look, wondering why she's standing here without him.
  • edited February 2014
    VB giggles, "She'll be naturally gorgeous like you, won't even need it. But sure, I'll doll up my lil niecey." She coos at Leah, who seems a little unsure about Vee, but she isn't crying or anything.

    Zero catches the look and replies, "Little Ollie's good, Kiddo, don't you worry about our little ass-kicker. Kid was frakkin huge. Your little brother damn near crawled out of me, though. Quickest delivery yet."

    Your Dad puts his arm around your Ma and adds, "He's sleepin'. We'll bring 'im in aft'r awhile. This is zall about choo, an Leah."
  • Babies can smell fear. I figure Leah'll warm up to Vee once she's gotten comfortable with her. I giggle a little at Ma's comment, and wiggle my head when Dad calls this about "me and Leah" — I guess they can make this about whatever they want. I guess the last thing we need is a frakking crying competition in here.

    ... I'm gunna have to curb the swearing. Gods... That's gunna be frakking hard.

    I smile up at Ma' and Dad, and tilt my head down to Leah. "I'm thinking Gramma and Grampa should get to hold their grand-daughter now..." I look over to Vee, "if you can stand to let her go, that is."
  • VB looks up, smiles nervously and walks Leah over to Ollie. Ollie takes his grand-daughter in his fine hands and holds her, laughing his raspy laugh and giving her all the love he's capable of giving. Which is a lot, as you well know. Your Ma even leans over his shoulder to smooth her hair and smiles so wide.

    It's perfect, Kiddo. Right? Anything missing?
  • Lots of folks aren't here that should be... Little Ollie, Gramma Jemma, even Stitch, who made sure I could be here to love my little girl, isn't here... These folks are my family though, for better or worse, and as far as moments go... This one is pretty perfect.
  • --END SCENE--
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