Authors: Judy Christenberry
Sarah heard him talking to the doctor.
Suddenly Abby grabbed her hand again.
“Are you feeling contractions?”
“Yes,” Abby said, almost screaming.
“Okay, I can see the head. When I say three, push!”
On three Abby began pushing again. Twice they went through the count and Abby pushed. The second baby came on the third push. She caught the baby and wrapped it up after cleaning it up. Then she checked Abby again.
She was bleeding.
“How much farther?” Sarah asked, trying not to panic.
“We’re here,” Nick said as he pulled up to the emergency door.
He got out and ran for the door. The
doctor had already called and they were ready with a stretcher and two isolettes for the newborns.
Sarah drew a deep breath. She got out of the way as two nurses took the babies. “She’s bleeding. I couldn’t stop it,” she told the doctor who came to Abby.
“We’ll check her out.”
She didn’t even know who spoke, but she was glad to turn Abby’s care over to professionals.
Nick went with her into the hospital.
Brad got behind the wheel of the truck and parked it in the emergency parking lot. Sarah stood there, waiting for Brad. When he reached her, she wrapped her arms around him, worried about Abby.
“What’s wrong, honey? You delivered the babies all right.”
“No, she started bleeding and I couldn’t stop it!”
“Did you tell them?”
“Yes, but—but I don’t know if they got it stopped!”
“Come on. Let’s go in. We’ll see what they’ll tell us.”
The nurse on duty said they’d taken Abby into the delivery room.
“She was bleeding. Were they able to stop the bleeding?”
“I’m sure they have. There will be someone out to talk to you when they’ve stabilized her.”
They were directed to the waiting room where Sarah paced the floor and Brad sprawled on the sofa waiting for some news. Sarah hoped she hadn’t messed up, but she hadn’t known how to stop the bleeding.
Fifteen minutes later, she was still pacing the floor when Brad stood. She whirled to see Nick coming out to talk to them. Brad stepped to her side, putting an arm around her.
Nick burst into the room.
“Nick! Nick, is Abby all right?” Sarah asked.
“Yes! They stopped the bleeding and they’re giving her a transfusion in the recovery room. And the babies are fine. The
nurses wanted to know if you checked the time of delivery.”
“Yes,” Sarah said, swallowing her tears. “The little girl was delivered at 3:06, and the little boy at 3:10.”
“Let me go tell them.” He turned away, then spun back. “I almost forgot. You both need to come with me and see the babies.”
They trooped to the nursery door. Nick told them to wait there and they watched as he went in and wheeled two isolettes to the glass. The girl was wrapped in a pink blanket, and her tiny brother was swaddled in blue.
Sarah tried to wipe her tears away, but they kept coming back.
“Are you all right?” Brad whispered against her ear.
She nodded, but she couldn’t speak. She kept staring at the two babies she’d delivered.
“They’re so small,” Brad said softly.
“No, I think they’re close to five pounds. If they’re over five pounds, they can go home with Abby…whenever she gets to go home.”
Brad hugged her to him. “She’s going to
be all right.” He pulled back and looked into her eyes, his own shimmering in the light. “And so are the babies—thanks to you.”
His hands cupped her face, and his thumbs wiped away her tears. “You are amazing, Sarah.”
She couldn’t say anything. She didn’t want to ruin the moment, to break the connection between them. Instead she stood there, feeling as though she could drown in the depths of his dark eyes.
Then he lowered his head to her and she knew he was going to kiss her.
She’d waited so long for this moment. She closed her eyes and—
“There you are!”
Sarah jerked back in time to see Kate and Mike and all five kids come running into the nursery area.
“Oh, look, there they are!” Kate exclaimed as she peered at her grandkids through the glass.
Brad stepped closer to his mother, bringing Sarah along with him since his arm
was around her. “Sarah delivered the babies,” he said proudly.
Kate turned to face Sarah. “You did? Oh, honey, thank you so much.” She gave her a hearty hug. “How is Abby?”
“She was bleeding, but they’re giving her a transfusion.”
“Good job, Sarah,” Mike said.
“I—I hope so,” Sarah said, tears running down her cheeks again.
“It’s all right, honey,” Kate soothed. “You did your best.”
“Yes, but it may not have been enough!”
Nick came out into the hallway just then. Kate immediately congratulated him and then asked, “How’s Abby?”
“They got the bleeding stopped. She’s getting a transfusion in the recovery room right now.”
“But she’ll be all right?”
“That’s what they tell me,” Nick said with a beaming smile.
one is Sarah?”
Sarah looked up from where she was sitting with Brad in the waiting room chairs. A middle-aged man in scrubs stood among the Logans.
“I’m Sarah,” she said, standing up.
“I’m Dr. Cartwright,” the man said, walking toward her with his hand outstretched. “I wanted to meet the woman who delivered the babies.”
Sarah swallowed before she said, “I tried my best.”
“And you did a fine job. More importantly, Abby said you remained calm. I appreciate that, and I know Abby does, too.”
The doctor turned to Nick. “As soon as we put her in a room, you can go visit her.”
“Thank you again, Doctor,” Nick said, shaking his hand.
“I didn’t do much. Sarah is the real hero.”
“Oh, no, I just did what I could.”
Brad put his arm around her again. “She’s modest, but she did a great job.”
The nurse came to the door, letting the doctor know Abby was settled in her room.
Then Nick came back and said, “We can go see Abby now. But the nurse said only two of us at a time. Mom, do you want to go in with me?”
Brad frowned as his mother went out with his brother. “I think you should’ve gone first,” he told Sarah.
“No, Abby will want her family first. I think I’ll go down to the shop and buy her some flowers.”
“I’ll go with you.”
Leaving the kids with Mike, they went down and each of them selected a nice
bouquet. Brad insisted on paying for Sarah’s arrangement, despite her protests.
“Consider it a gift for taking care of my sister-in-law.” He handed her one bouquet and he took the other. “In fact, I never did thank you properly, did I?”
Before she could say he had, Brad leaned down and kissed her lightly.
“That’ll have to do for now.”
Nick and Kate were walking out of Abby’s room by the time they made it back. “Sarah,” Nick called. “Abby wants to see you.”
“I’ll take her in,” Brad said.
“Okay. Then I’ll take Robbie in to see his mom.”
When Sarah walked in the room, Abby called to her at once.
“I’m so grateful to you, Sarah. You sounded so calm. It helped me not to panic.”
“Well, I panicked when I saw how much you were bleeding,” Sarah admitted.
“But you didn’t let me know. I appreciate it so much.”
She took her hand and squeezed it. “And
the nurse said both babies were right at five pounds.”
“That’s great news. They should be able to go home with you.”
“I know.” She finally looked at the flowers they held. “They’re beautiful. Thank you both.”
Sarah smiled at her. “Robbie’s waiting to see you, so we should probably go.”
Abby held out her hands. “I want a hug first.”
Sarah hugged her, and Brad kissed Abby’s cheek and hugged her, too.
They turned to go, and Brad whispered to Sarah, “I want a hug, too.”
“You just got a hug from Abby,” she said, confused.
“No, I want a hug from you.”
She looked at him in surprise. “Okay.” She hugged him before they went back to the waiting room.
As Nick ushered Robbie in the room, Brad stopped him. “If it’s okay, I’m going to take Sarah home, and the kids.”
Nick nodded his agreement. “Mom and Mike can drop Robbie off later. And listen, I’d like to stay here tonight, if you can manage at the ranch.”
“Sure I can. Ready, kids?”
“But I didn’t get to see, Abby,” Davy said.
Sarah ushered him out. “You’ll see her when she comes home with the babies.”
“She’s going to bring them home?” Davy asked. “Why?”
Sarah laughed as she tousled his hair. It was just the levity she needed after the drama of the day.
Two days later, Abby and the babies came home, brought to the ranch by Nick in his truck.
Sarah had cleaned constantly after she’d come back home that first night. She wanted everything to be fresh for Abby. She’d even added a sprinkling of perfume to the fresh bed linens.
She dressed up the kids and told them to
behave and not to touch the babies unless Abby said they could.
“But I thought they would play ball with me!” Robbie said.
“Not until they’re older, Robbie.”
“Robbie, just remember the rule. Ask your mother about touching the babies. They aren’t tough like you and Davy. They have to grow first.”
“Can they talk?” Davy asked.
“Not yet, Davy.”
“When you were born, Davy, you couldn’t talk for a long time,” Anna said.
“That’s right. They’ll soon be able to talk, but not this year.”
Robbie crossed his arms. “I don’t think I want those babies. They can’t do anything!”
Brad came in in time to hear Robbie’s remark.
“Sorry, pal, but you can’t give them away. Your mom and dad love them as much as they love you.”
“But, Uncle Brad, Sarah said they can’t
play ball or talk or anything. And we have to ask Mommy’s permission to touch them!”
“That sounds about right,” Brad said with a smile.
“Then what’s the point of having them?”
“Do you remember when you picked your dog out? Baby? She couldn’t do much then, could she? But you loved her anyway. That’s how it is with real babies. You have to take care of them until they can take care of themselves.”
“Okay, but I don’t like it.”
Sarah spoke up. “Just don’t tell your mother yet. It would hurt her feelings, and you don’t want to do that. And that goes for you, too, Davy. We only say good things about the babies. Nothing bad.”
“Okay, Sarah,” Davy said grudgingly.
“They’re here!” Brad called. He went out to help Nick with the suitcase and everything they’d brought home with them.
As Sarah stood by the door, she felt the cold wind blowing and thought of the fragile newborns. But Abby would have wrapped
up her babies, she told herself. Then she remembered Abby had left without her own coat as they rushed to the hospital. She ran back to Abby’s closet and picked up her coat and hurried out to Brad.
“What are you doing out here?” Brad asked.
“Here’s Abby’s coat for her.”
He looked at her. “And where’s yours?”
“I’m fine.” She hurried back inside.
Nick carried Abby in and Brad toted in the babies. After everyone oohed and aahed over the infants, Abby asked for a cup of coffee. “I’ve been dying for coffee for nine months,” she moaned.
“Can you, though?” Sarah asked.
“Absolutely. The doctor recommended I not breast-feed the babies because I have to take antibiotics for two weeks. Besides, as he said, how can you feed two at one time?”
“In that case, then, I’ll pour you a cup of coffee right away.”
Brad and Nick were each holding a baby, but while Nick’s boy was sleeping, Brad’s girl was fussing.
“That’s Sarah Beth,” Abby said. “She always wants food before Michael George.”
Sarah stared at Abby. “You named her—”
“After you, of course.” Abby smiled at her. “I wanted my little girl to know who had helped her come into this world.”
“Oh, Abby, that’s so sweet.”
“So do you have a bottle for this young lady?” Brad asked.
“Yes, they’re in the diaper bag, already fixed. Would you get them, Sarah?”
“Of course.” She dug in the diaper bag until she found two bottles. “Does it matter which bottle she gets?”
“No. Would you mind feeding her?” Abby asked.
“Could I? Thank you, Abby,” Sarah said, beaming as she moved to take the tiny little baby wrapped in pink.
Brad gave her a peck of a kiss before he surrendered her to Sarah.
She sat down at the table and immediately the baby took the proffered bottle. “You’ve
already taught her to suck the bottle, haven’t you, Abby!”
“Yes, I have, and she learned quickly. We have a little more difficulty feeding Michael. Brad, would you do the honors for Michael?”
“Come here, big guy. We’ve got to teach you to eat, so you can keep up with your sister.”
“Brad, you shouldn’t teach him to compete when he’s two days old,” Sarah protested.
Brad began to whisper to the baby as he fed him.
Halfway through the bottle, Sarah put Sarah Beth on her shoulder and burped her.
“Do I have to do that, too?” Brad asked.
“Yes, when he’s taken about half of it, you should burp him, too.”
“He’s not there yet.”
Sarah chuckled. “Way to go, Sarah Beth.”
“Hey, who’s teaching whom to be competitive?” Brad asked.
“I was just trying to be supportive of Sarah Beth.”
“Yeah, right. Listen, Michael, that lady was making fun of you because you aren’t eating fast enough. You have to work harder.”
“Don’t give him ulcers so young, Brad,” Sarah said with a laugh.
Nick laughed at the two of them. “I can’t believe you’re worrying about how much he’ll eat. That boy is a Logan!”
When the babies were about two weeks old, Sarah realized she had a problem. According to what Abby had initially proposed, she had about two weeks left on her job.
Not only would she be heartbroken when she had to leave, but so would her brother and sister. Anna was so attached to the new babies, and Davy would be heartbroken if he had to leave Robbie.
In an attempt to wean her from the infants, Sarah had begun to involve Anna more in what she was doing in order to shift Anna’s focus. She had the girl help her make dinner or make a dessert. They were skills that Anna would need eventually, she rationalized.
Besides, she had a knack for cooking and seemed to enjoy it.
One evening, Sarah let her make the dessert while she looked on for safety’s sake. The chocolate cake was an easy recipe, and Anna had fun and felt proud when she served her homemade creation after dinner.
Brad in particular raved about it. “It’s almost as good as your sister’s,” he said with a wink to Anna.
Sarah knew the praise was good for Anna’s self-image; indeed, the child seemed to be coming out of her shell in the last two weeks. But Anna certainly didn’t need more attention from Brad. He’d already gone out of his way to make her feel special. Sarah was afraid her plan might backfire.
Probably the best thing would be to simply bite the bullet, she told herself.
She had no choice but to start her job search and let the kids get used to the idea.
Several days later, when Kate came over to help feed the babies because Abby was napping, Sarah asked her if she’d heard of any jobs in the area.
“You’re not thinking of leaving yet, are you?” Kate asked.
“My employment here is supposed to be over in a week. I think I need to find another job, hopefully in the area.”
“But Abby can’t take over now. And it takes two people to feed the babies.”
“I know, Kate, but Abby hasn’t said anything and I’m supposed to leave at the end of the month.”
Kate stared at Sarah. “I’ll ask around. If there’s a job to be had, I’ll hear about it.”
“Thank you, Kate.” Sarah bent her head over Sarah Beth and placed a featherlight kiss on her downy brow. “I think Sarah Beth is really growing.”
“Yes, so is Michael, and he likes his bottle now as much as Sarah Beth.”
“Now you sound like your sons,” Sarah said with a grin.
“It’s amazing how quickly we’ve gotten accustomed to these two, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is.” But Sarah was thinking about when she’d have to leave them. Would she ever see Sarah Beth and Michael grow up?
“You do realize the kids will be out of school in a week?”
Sarah jerked her head up. “In a week? Why?”
“Christmas vacation. It kind of snuck up on me because of the babies being born.”
It had snuck up on Sarah, too. “I hadn’t thought—I’m not prepared for Christmas.”
“Me, neither,” Kate said. “Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about playing Santa Claus. Both my boys are too old for that. But Robbie still believes in Santa Claus.”
“Davy, too. Anna knows better, poor baby.” She remembered the day two years ago when their mother had told her. Anna had come home from school with questions, after a friend told her Santa was nothing more than a myth. Rather than prolong the
childlike innocence, her mother had blurted the truth. Anna was crushed.
But that was just like their mother when she’d been drinking.
Sarah shook her head, as if to dispel the image. Things were going to change for Anna, and Davy, thanks to her. In fact, they already had changed.
After the babies had been burped and put back to bed, Sarah began making gingerbread men for the kids’ after-school snack. That was the perfect treat for a child as the holidays approached, and she wanted Anna and Davy, and Robbie, too, to enjoy every bit of their childhood.
“It’s nice that you’re such a good cook, Sarah.”
She thanked Kate. “I learned from my mother, before the other kids were born. She—she changed a lot after she had Davy. She was pretty good with Anna, but she kind of gave up with Davy.” Sarah blamed her stepfather for that. He’d simply worn the woman down with his boozing and bingeing.
Before the kids came in, Brad walked into the kitchen.
“What are you doing here?” his mother asked.
“We’ve got a heavy snowstorm coming in. Nick thought it best for us to come in. I came to see if Sarah had a quick snack to take out to the barn.”
“Yes, of course.” Sarah began wrapping up two giant gingerbread men.
“I thought you made those for the kids,” Kate said.
“I made some extras.”
“Thanks, Sarah,” Brad said. He turned to go.
“I think I’ll walk with you, son.” Kate grabbed her coat off the rack by the kitchen door.
What was that all about? Sarah wondered. She watched Kate through the kitchen window and saw them stop to talk about halfway to the barn.
Then, suddenly, Brad spun on his heels and charged back into the house.
“Is something wrong?” Sarah asked as he swung open the door.
“Damn straight something is wrong!”