Welcome back to Different Winters, a Differences in the Family Tree challenge story! As usual, I’d like to thank all of you wonderful readers for your support and awesome comments- they never fail to make me smile. I hope you enjoy this next installment: Chapter Five, Sweet Baby =)
For the next few days…weeks…who really knows?…Noah and I didn’t see much of the outdoors, ifyouknowwhatImean. Of course, neither of us could really complain…until we realized that the refrigerator was nearly empty and we had no money to buy more groceries. This was a wake up call, to say the least. So we finally forced ourselves out of the house again- Noah off to his favorite fishing spot, and me back into my garden.
My garden didn’t look particularly happy at having been neglected, but I was confident that I could get it back to its former glory in no time. Well, maybe not no time. The amount of weeds that were currently overtaking the garden was astonishing. In fact, I spent the entire day in the garden, hunched over my beloved plants as I tried to save them from the pests that were currently trying to strangle them.
By the time the sun had set, my hands were cut up, my back and legs ached, and I was pretty sure I smelled worse than a llama in the middle of a hot summer day. So it was at that point when I finally took a break from my battle and stumbled back into the house for a much needed shower.
When I finished I ambled to the kitchen to make some food. My stomach was so empty that I could actually feel its anger in the form of aches and loud protests of maltreatment. I was surprised to see that Noah hadn’t returned home yet, and even more surprised at how much that made my heart hurt, even though he hadn’t even been gone for a day. Seeing as I spent so much time alone before I met Noah, you would have thought it wouldn’t have bothered me, but it turned out to be the opposite. I missed him more than anything and that fact made me feel sadder than ever.
I tried to eat to get my mind off of him, but it didn’t work. I just felt so upset…and sick. In fact, I felt really, really sick. Really…rea-
I raced to the bathroom and threw up what little of my meal I had eaten. Aw man, what had gotten into me? Surely I didn’t miss Noah SO much that I had gotten myself sick? The thought that a guy could affect me so much was insane- and yet he still wasn’t here and I just felt like crying! Whoa, whoa, slow down. What was up me anyway? This was entirely unlike me.
Taking a breath, I resigned myself to the idea that maybe I was just tired and turned in early. My stomach churned and I still felt like crying, but eventually I drifted off to sleep, my cheeks left somewhat damp.
When I woke up in the morning, I did at least feel a little more level-headed, but I still felt incredibly nauseous. So nauseous. My stomach tensed- oh no! Once again I found myself puking in the bathroom.
“Hey, babe, are you okay?” came Noah’s voice, concerned. “When I came home you were already sleeping and now well, you don’t sound so hot….”
I didn’t mean to, but my response was another heave as I threw up into the toilet once more. Tears filled my eyes again. Had I gotten the mother of all stomach flus? A flu that even messed with my emotions?
Wait a second….
“I’ll- I’ll be fine. I think- I think I’m going to head to the doctor’s though,” I called out shakily.
“Do you want me to go with you?”
“No, I’ll be fine. You should just go fishing. The bills are due soon and still we’re short,” I responded. Which was the truth, actually, and a fact that was constantly hanging over my head.
“If you say so….” He responded reluctantly.
I left the house in a hurry, merely waving to Noah on my way out and taking a taxi downtown. I had never been to the hospital before, but it was hard to miss that massive building, so I found it easily. Once I got there though, I couldn’t help but feel this was kind of pointless. And needlessly expensive. I already knew what I wanted to make sure of….
I immediately ran back to my taxi before it drove off, heading instead to the nearby convenience store. My cheeks burned as I picked up the test box, but the cashier didn’t say a word. In fact, she seemed entirely bored with life and probably wouldn’t have even been fazed if I had purchased a lighter, dried mulch, and a book describing the best way to start a blazing fire. I wasn’t sure whether to be comforted or not.
My purchase made, I went back home, where I was relieved to see that Noah had already left for the day. To my surprise, I also found a note on the table for me, wishing me well and telling me to call him on his cell phone if I needed anything. It was yet another reminder of why I loved Noah so much.
But I had business to attend to…so off into the bathroom I went. I read the instructions about a billion times, which was probably overkill, but I was too nervous to actually TAKE the test. Justpeeonthegoddamnstrip!!!
3 minutes left.
Stare at the wall. Rock back and forth on my heels. Walk around in a circle. Look out the window.
2 minutes left.
Leave the bathroom. Look out a different window. Walk around in a few circles. Feeling queasy. Is it the nerves? Is it the flu? Or…something else?
1 minute left.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE FOR MINUTES TO LAST SO LONG!? …wash hands for the hell of it. Dry them slowly. Walk around….oh god, the minute is up. I can look now! Amble toward it…no, RUN AWAY!! No no. Try to approach…approach…squint. Is that a star? That’s not a valid symbol! ….I should probably look at it from closer than 5 feet.
Excuse me while I go faint.
The rest of the morning was kind of a blur to me. I tried to garden, but I just felt too sick and upset, so instead I took to lying on the bed and crying. I wasn’t ready to have a baby! I mean yes, I was closer to an adult than a young adult now, and yes I was married and had a steady profession, but still, nothing about the timing felt right!
For one, Noah and I barely had any money to our name. Between him selling fish and me selling my produce, we barely scrapped by. Heck, half of our house was even unfurnished because we couldn’t afford to do it. How in the world would we afford a BABY?
Plus, half the time I didn’t even feel like an adult. I didn’t even feel emotionally ready to take care of and raise a helpless little baby who is completely dependent on you. I thought Noah and I had been careful! I mean, there was that one time….oh and that other time, in the living room…oh and….damn it. Never mind.
I was shaken out of my thoughts though when I heard the front door open. Either Noah had just come home, or we were being robbed.
“Babe, are you here?” Noah called. Guess that ruled out being robbed.
“Yeah, coming!” I replied. I hastily got up, wiped my eyes, and took a deep breath before stepping out into the living room. I had some major news to tell. “Hi, Noah,” I said anxiously, walking up to him and giving him a kiss on the cheek.
“Hey,” he said, taking a step back to look at me. “Are you okay? What did the doctor say?”
“I didn’t go.”
“Oh, are you feeling better?” he asked, skepticism in his voice. I must have looked like a wreck. I took a deep breath to steady myself. He needed to know, he needed to know!
“Noah…I have something to tell you,” I finally said, twisting my hands anxiously and forcing myself to meet his eyes.
“Oh jeez, what’s wrong?” Noah asked, looking immediately concerned and nervous himself.
“Oh no, it’s nothing that bad. I hope. I just- I mean- I don’t know how to feel. I- well, Noah…well…” Spit it out, spit it out!!!!! “Noah, I’m pregnant,” I rushed out quickly, giving him a nervous smile and then looking down as despair filled me.
“Honey!!! That’s amazing! That’s wonderful!” Noah cried, happy tears filling his eyes as he pulled me into his arms and planted kisses all over my face. “Wow! Just, wow! That’s- ” he paused for a moment, taking a step back to look at my face. “Wait, why are you crying!?!?”
It was true. I had immediately burst into tears upon hearing Noah so excited. He looked so incredibly joyful! Half of me was wonderfully happy and relieved, but the other part of me suddenly felt completely awful and guilty that I wasn’t as excited as him. It took quite a bit of time of Noah murmuring comforting things to me and rubbing my back as he held me in his arms before I finally calmed down enough to make a coherent sentence. Before that it was just blubbering and wails. Ugh.
“I’m scared,” I finally whispered, pressing my lips together to try to hold back another sob. “I don’t think I’d be a good mother. I barely act like an adult half the time, how am I supposed to be a good role model for him or her? And I have such a bad temper! I try to hold it back as much as I can but sometimes I just snap,” I cried, all of my fears suddenly coming out at once. “What if I lose it and yell at them and they grow up emotionally unstable and afraid of the world?!”
“Aubrey,” he said softly, giving me a small smile. “It’s okay to be worried, but I think that when it comes down to it, you’re going to be a really good mom. Do you really think you’d just yell at your kid all the time?” he asked, looking at me seriously.
I met his eyes briefly and felt my eyes well up with tears again. “No…I guess not. I’m just…scared.”
“I am too,” Noah admitted with a nervous smile. “But I know you wouldn’t do those things. And besides, you’re focusing way too much on your weaknesses. You’re a wonderfully caring, smart, kind, funny person and I think you’d instill the same values in our kids. I mean…no one’s perfect, but you’re pretty damn close babe,” he concluded with another winning grin.
I rolled my eyes, but I couldn’t help but feel a smile pull up at the corners of my lips. I mean, he was right, I wasn’t a horrible person and you know what? I think the fact that I don’t always act super mature might even come in handy. I mean, make believe and play is really important for kids, right? At least I was aware of things about myself I needed to work on, instead of being blind to it, because then I’d never fix it, right?
“What about money?” I finally asked, voicing my second concern. “We’re barely getting by. How are we supposed to afford a baby?”
“That’s my biggest worry too, but we’ll make it work. I’ll work harder. I’ll even get a part-time job at the grocery store if I need to. We’ll make this work. I promise.”
“I don’t want you to have to do that,” I sniffed, wiping another tear from my face.
“We’ll see what happens. Either way, we’re going to be just fine. Really, we are,” he assured me, taking my hand and squeezing it. I squeezed his hand back and then practically jumped him, kissing him something fiercely. I was so in love with everything that Noah was and so grateful for the support he never failed to give me. I couldn’t have chosen a better man to be my husband. “Mmm, I think we should celebrate now,” Noah murmured against my lips, his fingers sneaking up my shirt and brushing over my stomach.
“I couldn’t agree more,” I whispered. And so celebrate we did.
True to his word, Noah worked harder than ever, leaving the house before the sun even rose and not coming back until late in the evening. He would look exhausted and worn, but also pleased with himself. I worried about him, but it seemed that providing for our now growing family gave him no greater happiness.
I helped out as much as I could as well. I’d work in the garden for as long as I could before my back would start aching too much or I would get too tired. The larger I grew, the more difficult it became to bend down to tend to the tomatoes, or grapes, until finally I could only keep them watered and tend to the trees. I felt happy that I was doing as much as I could, but it still never felt like enough compared to Noah.
When he was home, Noah doted on me constantly, wanting to make me dinner, massage my back and feet, and always wanting to feel or talk to my stomach- that is, to our little baby growing within me. I had to stop him from doing too much though, frequently making sure I had dinner made before he came home. The massages I openly accepted though- they really did help and I didn’t feel too bad being pampered at least a little….
“I’m gonna get you! I’m gonna get you!” Noah babbled to my belly one morning, holding out his hands teasingly and making faces at my tummy.
“There’s something terribly unfair about this…the baby doesn’t even have anywhere to go to escape. You’re going to give him or her a complex,” I joked, looking down at Noah bemusedly.
Noah laughed and placed his hand on my tummy. “Good point. HEY! The baby kicked! I felt a kick!” he suddenly cried out excitedly, his eyes lighting up.
I winced. “Yeah. I think that was my bladder. …..I have to pee. NOW.”
Seriously, there were times that I marveled at the miracle of life and pregnancy, but there were other times where I really just wanted this thing out of me. I mean, could the baby at least lay off my bladder?! Oh and my SPINE.
On another note, as you may have guessed we didn’t know whether our new little baby was a boy or a girl yet, and at our prenatal checks we actually specifically requested not to be told. We wanted it to be a surprise. Still, whenever we did have time together we talked endlessly about baby names. If it was a girl, we wanted to name her Rose, Buttercup, or Sequoia, but if it was a boy, we wanted to go with Aspen, Rowan, or maybe Reed. We were having a hard time deciding, honestly.
The day soon came though when we would have to decide- and fast. I was working late in my garden, trying to harvest what I could while being so pregnant. I probably should have been resting, but I didn’t want anything to prevent me from helping out Noah and earning money for our family.
So, I was just going to see if I could reach some tomatoes when I suddenly felt something weird. I stopped for a moment and felt a rush of water. I thought for a split second that I had gotten in the way of the sprinkler, but it was soon very clear to me what had actually happened- my water had broken.
I tried my best not to panic, but Noah was nowhere near home as far as I knew, off fishing as usual. I took a breath and, with fumbling fingers, took out my phone to call him, but it was then that I was hit with my first contraction, the shock and pain of it all had me doubled over, and needless to say I dropped my phone. Could things possibly be any worse!? After what felt like an eternity, the contraction ended. I breathed heavily and tried to get the phone again, somehow managing to do so.
“Come on, come on, answer,” I whispered, as the phone rang…and rang, and rang. He didn’t answer. I felt like crying, but was soon hit by another contraction. Shit. This baby was coming, and fast.
The next moments were really a blur to me- completely surreal. The most vivid memory I had was of how much pain I was in- I felt like my spine was being ripped out of my body. Despite this though, I somehow managed to get myself inside the house. How, I have no idea, but I managed.
I was trying desperately to keep calm when I heard my phone ring. My heart jumped- it was Noah, calling me back.
“Babe, the baby’s coming,” I cried, feeling completely terrified at this point. “I don’t think I have time to get to the hospital.”
“Holy- what? Shit! Oh shit shit shit,” I heard hurriedly from the other line. If I hadn’t been in so much pain, I might have laughed as he continued to panic and curse, but as it was, all I could think was how much I wanted him by my side. “I’m on my way, okay honey? I’ll be there as fast I can! Shit.”
It turned out that Noah was far, far away, on the outskirts of Neverglade, in fact. I tried to wait as long as I could…but this baby wanted out, now. So I gave birth in the middle of our living room, surrounded by Noah’s perfect pet fish, which swam around and around in their little bowls as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
And so it was that our beautiful baby girl was born.
“Welcome to the world, Buttercup,” I whispered into the darkness of the room. The fish continued to swim around and around in their bowls, and little Buttercup looked into my eyes for the very first time. She had already won me over completely.
By the time Noah finally burst through the door, I had fed Buttercup and put her gently in the crib we saved up for her and had already climbed into bed. I was beyond exhausted and hadn’t been able to stay awake for even one more moment.
“Babe! Are you okay? Babe!” Noah cried, shaking me awake.
“What? What happened?” I muttered groggily.
“Are you okay, Aubrey? What happened? Where’s-”
“I’m fine,” I mumbled sleepily, rubbing my eyes and looking up at Noah. He looked like he was on the verge of tears and looked paler than I had ever seen him before. “Buttercup is in her crib, sleeping.”
“Buttercup?” he asked, freezing in his tracks for a moment. “A…a little girl?”
I nodded. “She’s beautiful. You should go see her. I’m tired.”
Noah looked at me in surprise for a moment and then started to laugh. He seemed to realize that I felt half dead, so he kissed me sweetly on the forehead before nodding and dashing out of the room. I didn’t mind though. I wanted him to see his daughter…and I wanted to sleep.
“Oh…wow,” I suddenly heard whispered over the baby monitor. “Hi Buttercup! I hope I didn’t wake you up. I’m…I’m your daddy. I got here as fast as I could.” I couldn’t help but smile as I listened to Noah continue to talk to and hold our perfect little daughter. Not even exhaustion could dull my happiness.
Eventually, I guess I fell asleep listening to the baby monitor though, because the next I remembered was Noah crawling into bed with me. It felt significantly later.
“I’m so sorry I didn’t get here in time,” he whispered as he pulled me gently into his arms. I sleepily snuggled up to him to show that I wasn’t mad at him, which was actually pretty surprising, considering I’ve never been known to have a calm, forgiving demeanor. To be honest, I was just relieved to have him close to me once more and too happy to be mad. “You did perfectly- she’s amazing,” Noah continued to murmur, rubbing my back.
“Mmm, she really is,” I whispered back, still feeling half-asleep. “You already sound like a daddy,” I added, smiling and then kissing him on the nose.
He looked confused for a second and then noticed the baby monitor. He chuckled. “That’s good to hear,” Noah said with a smile. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“Good night, babe.”
Noah rolled over to go to sleep and I cuddled up to him, kissing his shoulder once and then falling back to sleep. Everything in the world felt right.
Of course, things felt significantly less right when, at 5 AM, Noah and I were awoken by shrieks. We both sat up as if we’d been electrocuted. Noah even fell out of bed.
“Are you okay?” I asked, leaning over the side of the bed to find Noah all tangled in sheets.
“Yeah, wow, jeez. At least we know she has healthy lungs,” Noah muttered, disentangling himself from the sheets and standing up. “I’ll get her. You rest,” he insisted. I was about to protest, but he reminded me that I had not so long ago given birth- by myself, so I relented, letting him attend to Buttercup.
And I guess this was a good thing, because soon after this, I apparently passed out once again.
From that day on, we took turns as much as we could in taking care of Buttercup. Since I was mostly home alone during the day with her though, Noah often volunteered to take her in the middle of the night, feeling guilty that he had to be gone for so long. I wished that he didn’t have to, but money was still very tight. Every time we felt like we had gathered a bit, we had to spend even more. It was stressful, but Noah was right, we were getting by well enough.
Buttercup was truly the pride of our lives. Even though she kept us up at random hours of the night and got upset (i.e started screaming) if she were left alone for too long, she was actually not too bad to manage. This was mainly due to the fact that Noah and I worked together so well. Together, taking care of Buttercup was thoroughly enjoyable. We both loved her more than words could describe.
She was especially happy if one of us sang to her. I discovered this when, late one night when she wouldn’t seem to stop crying no matter what we did, I started to sing a little lullaby my mother used to sing to me, and she suddenly went all quiet and wide eyed. She even smiled for the first time. We were ecstatic and ever since then would make it a point to sing different songs to her whenever we could. They never failed to make her happy.
Since our lives were so busy, what with gardening, fishing, running errands around town, and doing favors for the local grocery stores (which usually yielded us a good sum of money), and of course taking care of Buttercup, time really seemed to fly by and soon it was Buttercup’s birthday. Part of me was excited, but the other part of me felt incredibly depressed. My tiny, soft little Buttercup was growing up way too fast.
Since free time was scarce, we kept her party very simple. Noah picked up a cake from the local bakery and I spent the evening singing her her favorite songs.
Once we were all together, I took Buttercup to her birthday cake and we sang her “Happy Birthday,” which she especially seemed to love because it was a new tune. I helped her blow out her candles, since to be honest I doubted she even knew what was going on, and Noah cheered loudly, though I could tell he felt somewhat sad as well.
Life with a toddler was considerably more stressful. Although our beautiful Buttercup almost slept through the night now, we had to keep a constant eye on her. She had a terrible habit of crawling outside on her own. Noah and I were always afraid that one day we might not notice and she’d get into the street. Thankfully, this never happened though, and after awhile Buttercup understood that she wasn’t allowed outside unless one of us was with her.
Between attempting to teach Buttercup how to walk, talk, and use the potty, keeping up with our jobs so we could pay the bills, and trying to get in at least some sleep, we were always a little bit on edge. It was nothing major though and sometimes Noah and I even found time to spend some short, but blissful moments with each other. The stress didn’t matter. I was the happiest I’d been in my entire life.
But then something happened that would truly test us- I found out that I was pregnant once again. I think Noah and I were in the same boat on this matter- on the one side, we were ecstatic and couldn’t wait to welcome our new bundle of joy into the world, but on the other, we seriously wondered, could we manage this?
A/N: Whew! That was a long chapter. Thanks so much for reading! As I promised, this chapter was up much faster as I already had a lot of it done. The longest part for me is getting all the pictures…uploading them…and then putting them into WordPress and resizing them. It’s no easy task, but I love to post these for all of you to enjoy, so I’ll continue to do it =) I’m not entirely sure when Chapter 6 will be up, but it may be a bit longer than I’d like since I foresee an incredibly busy week ahead. I shall do my best though! Thanks for dropping by and happy simming ^_^