A Time For Heroes – Epilogue B – And Baby Makes Three

baby_blurredSteve held his son in his arms and watched in wonder as he stretched and yawned, then settled back to sleep with his tiny fists held under his chin. Steve knew he had an idiotic grin on his face and he didn’t care.

He looked over at Ginny, who had fallen asleep as soon as everyone had left. If he had been in awe of her strength before today, that awe had only grown watching her give birth to their son.

 

Steve had been in Europe and then Syria on and off until Ginny was about 6 months pregnant. He made sure he was home to stay at that point; at least until after the birth.

The commander’s quarters at Avenger’s HQ had become home, even when Steve was away. They had decorated it and furnished it, mostly with Steve’s furniture from his apartment. Her piano had been moved from her apartment. They managed mostly when Steve was home, but Ginny had done a lot on her own as well.

Steve was home in time for Ginny’s birthday and that was the first time they had hosted a party together. Some of the Avengers were there. Bucky and Jess, who were busy planning their wedding for the next year; Clint and Laura; Ginny had become good friends with Laura; Tony and Pepper, of course;and several other agents who Ginny had grown close to in her time living at HQ. And, of course, Claude.

The night before the party, Steve had been mesmerized watching Dot do acrobatics! They had made love, and once that deep need was satisfied, they were laying together talking when Ginny’s belly gave a huge heave, leaving one side bulging up.

Ginny had shifted a little bit to a more comfortable position. “She doesn’t seem to like it when I lay on my back.” she explained to Steve.

Steve put his hand over the bulge and it moved under his hand, poking what looked like an elbow up against his warm touch.

He had a smile of wonder on his face. “Does it hurt when she does that?” he asked, moving his hand to where the bulge had moved.

“Not usually.” Ginny answered, enjoying Steve’s reaction. He had been away when this started and was completely in awe of being able to see and feel their child now.

Ginny was pretty awed by it, too. She would just sit and watch her belly move sometimes, wishing that Steve was there to share this with her. And now that he was, she took so  much pleasure in seeing his joy.

When they weren’t watching baby acrobatics, they were tossing names around. For some reason, they were both sure it would be a girl, but they did look at boy’s names, too.

“Maybe we should just name her Dorothy or Dorothea and we can keep calling her Dot.” Steve suggested as they went through yet another baby name book not finding anything they both liked.

“I’ve been told that babies name themselves once they’re born. Why don’t we do this when we can hold her?” Ginny suggested. The both still had a short-list in their heads, but they stopped tossing names back and forth after that.

 

Ginny’s labour started 3 days after her due date. It had been an easy pregnancy, but Ginny was more than ready to be done and Steve saw a very different woman as the days ticked by on the calendar. She was easy to anger and even easier to make cry.

Since the due date, Ginny had been so antsy that they hadn’t made love.

Finally on the third day, Steve sat down to dinner and said, “I need you.” in a husky voice.

She wasn’t feeling particularly attractive and was surprised to hear him say that he wanted her.

“I guess I haven’t really been here for you the last few days.” she said.

“I understand. This must be frustrating for you,” he said, “but I want to be here for you, too. Sex is supposed to help bring on labour…” He looked up from his plate with a suggestive smile on his face.

She smiled back at him. An evening in bed with her man would be diverting.

They finished dinner and clean-up and then Steve suggested a bath.

“You’ve been thinking about this.” she said, cocking an eyebrow at him.

“You’re so close and I may never get another chance to make love to you pregnant.” he said.

She hadn’t really thought about that…the fact that they may never conceive again. She was just anxious to have her body back.

She reached up and stroked his cheek. “A bath sounds wonderful. It’s about the only place I don’t feel…cumbersome right now.” she said with a smile.

Steve started the water in the tub while Ginny stopped in their bedroom for bathrobes and crutches.

They both sank into the steamy water with a sigh of pleasure and then Ginny turned on the jets.

Ginny had developed a habit of running her hand over her belly from her breasts to her pubic hair and then doing it over and over again when she was thinking. She was doing it now, so Steve moved over near her and ran his hands over her belly, too, trying to feel Dot move.

“She’s really still tonight.” he said, quietly.

“She’s saving her energy. Being born is hard work.” Ginny said, covering his hand with hers.

He leaned in and kissed her caressing first one breast, then the other. Ginny tangled her fingers in his hair and deepened the kiss. She reached one hand under water to stroke him.

Steve ran his hand down over Ginny’s belly, finding her most sensitive spot deep under the swirling water.

As they stroked and teased each other, their lips came apart and they pressed their foreheads together, panting as their excitement grew.

Ginny cried out, “Oh, god! Oh, yes!” as her climax started to bloom deep in her belly. With everything so stretched and tight, she felt exposed and raw as her orgasm rippled through the walls of her womb and her vagina. Her free hand gripped Steve’s shoulder as she threw her head back and arched her back, trying to contain the pleasure.

Steve groaned deep in his throat as he emptied himself into the swirling water.

They both sat spent and panting in the cooling water. Steve finally brought his mouth up to Ginny’s and kissed her softly.

“Let’s go to bed.” he whispered.

So after rinsing off with the shower head and drying each other off and wrapping each other in their warm robes, they went into the bedroom.

They settled under the blankets and started exploring again. Ginny needed to feel him inside her. She rolled onto her side, cradling her belly and Steve curled himself around her as she guided him in. He took a couple of strokes to settle himself, then was still as he stroked and teased Ginny’s nipples. They were swollen and already dripping milk when she was excited. He had no idea why this turned him on so much. He tried to keep his control, but Ginny started climaxing so quickly that he just couldn’t. He finished with a low groan deep in his throat and pressed himself further inside her to hold their connection.

They stayed like this, drifting in and out of sleep for almost an hour. Then Ginny arched her back to take him deeper and he flexed  his hips and started to thrust into her. He pulled back slowly and slammed himself into her and she cried out and started to clench around him. He did it one more time as Ginny writhed in his arms. Then he thrust home and home again, losing himself in the sensation.

They fell asleep still joined. At some point in the night, he slipped out of her, but they didn’t move apart.

Which was why Steve felt the first contraction when Ginny did. He hand was resting on her belly and he felt it come up tight and hard as Ginny groaned in pain.

Once Steve felt her belly soften again, he asked, “Was it that bad?”

“I wasn’t expecting the first contraction to be that painful.” she said and got out of bed to get ready to go to infirmary.

Less than 2 minutes later, another contraction came on. Ginny had to hold onto the doorframe until it passed. She tried using some of the breathing techniques they’d learned, but the contraction seemed to go on forever and she ended up moaning at the end of it.

This isn’t right, Steve thought, as he called Tamara, their midwife.

“Get her to the infirmary.” Tamara said after Steve filled her in on what was happening. “This may be a quick delivery. I’ll call Cindy for you and meet you there as soon as possible.” Cindy was their doula. Tamara had sounded calm but a little concerned.

By the time Steve got off the phone, Ginny was in the grips of another contraction. He went over and stood in front of her so she could hold onto him.

“Oh, god.” Ginny said once it was done. “They’re getting worse. What did Tamara say?”

“To get you to the infirmary.” he said, pulling out a nightgown for her to put on. No point getting dressed for a walk down the hall.

Steve grabbed their bag and they headed for the infirmary. He would have carried Ginny, but he knew it was good for a labouring woman to walk, so he just supported her when the next contraction came on. They were getting closer together.

Once in the infirmary, Peter and Glory set Ginny up in a bed and hooked her up so they could monitor her progress.

Peter watched the monitors through the first contraction. “The baby’s heartbeat is strong, even through the contraction, which is good. These are strong contractions, so this could be quick.” he said, and left Steve and Ginny to deal with another patient.

Tamara and Cindy came in about 15 minutes later. Tamara was a bubbly, joyful woman who bounced into the room and seemed to fill it with light.

Cindy was quiet by comparison, but she only seemed timid. She had a will of steel and a strength that came through in her quiet voice.

Tamara did an internal exam and told Ginny that she was already 6 cm dilated. “Over halfway into the light, little darling!” she said to Ginny’s belly.

And so they fell into a routine; Steve supporting Ginny and helping her with breathing to ease the pain. Cindy helping with back pain relief and reminding Steve of other breathing techniques to try when that he was doing wasn’t working, and Tamara occasionally checking to see how far the dilation was progressing. In between contractions, they waited and chatted. Ginny tried to rest.

After 2 hours, Tamara announced that they were at 8 cm. “This is usually when things start to ramp up and get intense.” she said.

Ginny was still breathless from the last contraction. “You mean this hasn’t been intense?” she asked, only half joking.

Tamara smiled and said, “Stay strong and  trust your woman’s body.” She rested her hand on Ginny’s belly as it tightened in another contraction. Ginny felt a sudden flow of fluid and knew her water had broken.

Another hour of transition labour had left Ginny exhausted and fearful. She clung to Steve’s hand and no amount of breathing seemed to make a difference to the intense pain and pressure she felt. It wasn’t contractions anymore, just a constant pressure that made her moan in agony.

Steve had stayed strong through all of this, but it had finally gotten to be too much. He knew women still died in childbirth and all he could see was him having to go on with his life alone. Tears sprang to his eyes and he tried to gain control of his emotions, but the image was too strong and being fed by Ginny’s pain. He squeezed Ginny’s hand and excused himself saying he’d be right back and went out into the hall. Cindy found him there a few minutes later, not even trying to stem his flow of tears.

She put a hand on his arms and said in a quiet voice, “Every woman thinks she’s dying during this phase of labour and every husband fears leaving here alone. Stay strong! They’re both doing fine. Things are about to start moving really fast.” She held his eye for a long moment, then squeezed his arm and went back into the room.

Steve watched her disappear around the doorframe. He dried his eyes and followed her a few minutes later thinking that she was worth her weight in gold.

A few minutes later, everything shifted. Ginny pulled her legs up and announced that she needed to push. She still had a death grip on Steve’s hand but there was suddenly an urgency that hadn’t been there before.

The need to push was so intense and primal that she growled at Tamara when she told her not to so she could do another internal.

“Okay, we’re having a baby!” Tamara announced.

Steve and Cindy were on either side of Ginny and with each contraction, they would support her back and hold onto her legs while she pushed. Tamara had started massaging and stretching the peritoneum  so there’d be no tearing as the baby was pushed out.

“I see fuzz!” Tamara said after about 15 minutes. “Another couple of pushes and we should have the head delivered.”

Ginny laughed and asked what colour the hair was.

“Dark.” Tamara answered.

Within 5 minutes, the baby was born and Ginny and Steve were both surprised when Tamara announced that they had a beautiful baby boy.

They were surprised but not disappointed. He was beautiful! His eyes were a very pale blue, so they would probably stay blue. He had a tiny, rosebud mouth and long eyelashes under a thatch of dark brown hair.

Tamara cleaned him up and wrapped him tightly in a blanket and handed him to Ginny.

“Just rub the vernix into his skin.” Tamara said, rubbing the white, greasy stuff on his face into his skin.

Once Cindy and Tamara had settled Ginny on dry sheets, Tamara came up and unwrapped the baby, showing Steve and Ginny that he had 10 toes and 10 fingers and showed healthy reflex reactions.

The little guy didn’t appreciate this kind of man-handling and let out a squeak of outrage.

Tamara wrapped him back up and said, “Let’s see if he’ll nurse.”

Ginny pulled down the neck of her nightgown and brought his mouth up to her nipple. When he latched on and started to suck, the strength of it made Ginny jump.

“That’s perfect.” Tamara said. “He’s perfect! Congratulations you two. Any idea on a name?”

“He was a she until about 5 minutes ago, so no, not really.” Steve said.

Tamara smiled and said, “He’ll find his name.” Then she and Cindy left the new little family alone.

Steve reached over to stroke the baby’s head gently, feeling the soft spot he’d heard about.

“I’ve never even seen a baby this small before.” Steve said, his voice full of awe.

“Me, neither.” Ginny said, softly, not taking her eyes off of the tiny bundle at her breast.

She looked up at Steve with the same look of awe on her face that he knew was on his. “We’ll have to figure out what to call him. I don’t think he’s a Dot anymore.” The baby had fallen asleep and let go of Ginny’s nipple, so she lifted him up to hand him to Steve so she could adjust her nightgown.

Steve settled him in the crook of his arm and wiped a little bit of milk off of his chin with the blanket, which made the baby squirm and frown in his sleep. Steve chuckled. He touched his finger to the tiny hand and it gripped him tightly.

“He’s strong.” Steve said, not taking his eyes off of his son’s face.

They sat in silence for a few minutes just watching their son sleep.

“Daniel.” Steve said softly, surprising Ginny out of her somnolent state. “It was my grandfather’s name. I never met him, but my mother used to tell me stories about him. I always thought it was a strong name.”

Steve looked up to see Ginny watching him closely.

Then she looked closer at the baby. “Daniel,” she said softly. Then added, “Pierre.”

“My grandfather’s name was Pierre. I only met him a couple of times before he died, but Papa has told me lots of stories, too.”

“Daniel Pierre Rogers.” Steve tried it out to see how it sounded. “I like it. It sounds like him.” He bowed his head towards the sleeping bundle in his arms.

Cindy popped back in then with a tiny knitted hat that she slipped onto Daniel’s head.

“They lose a lot of body hear through their heads the first couple of days.” she said. “Did I hear a name?”

“Yes.” Ginny said, with a shy smile. “Daniel Pierre.”

“That’s lovely.” Cindy said, looking at Daniel’s sleeping face. “It suits him.”

She looked back over her shoulder and said, “If you’re ready for company, I think there’s a few people here anxious to meet this little guy.”

Ginny was surprised. Things had happened so quickly, they hadn’t had a chance to even call her dad. She looked at Steve and he shrugged. He hadn’t left her side.

Steve turned around as the curtain behind him opened.

Jas popped her head in and said, “I’m sorry. When I heard, I made some calls. I hope that’s okay.”

Ginny smiled at Jas. She’d known about the baby even before Steve. “Come on in and meet Daniel.” Ginny said.

Jas came in to look at the tiny bundle in Steve’s arms. “Oh, he is a perfect angel! Look at those eyelashes!” She stroked his cheek with one finger, making him squirm again in his father’s arms.

“Who else is here?” Steve asked.

“Your dad, Tony, Bucky, Nat,” Jas said, “not to mention the entire medical team. Night shift stuck around to meet this little guy.”

Claude came in first and Steve relinquished his son into his grandfather’s arms.

Claude held Daniel expertly and spoke to him quietly in French.

“Daniel Pierre…” Claude said. “My father would be pleased.”

The Avengers came in then, clapping Steve on the back and congratulating both of them.

Bucky took the tiny bundle from Claude and held him close to his chest. After all these years and all they’d been through, Steve finally had everything he’d ever dreamed of…home and family. Bucky couldn’t be happier for his friend.

Nat scooped Daniel into her arms. “Oh, he is adorable! Does he have any hair?” She peeked under the little cap to see the dark fuzz on Daniel’s hear. “The girls will be lining up for this one.” she teased Steve.

“I’m not going to worry about girls yet. I’ll let him learn to walk first.” Steve said.

“Here.” Tony said, putting his arms out to take Daniel. “Come see Uncle Tony.”

Daniel took all of this admiration in his stride. As he was passed from one to the other, he settled easily in whoever’s arms he ended up in, tucking his tiny fists up under his chin.

The medical team gathered around and Daniel was passed around to them as well.

Finally, Jas brought him back to Ginny and she took him gently in her arms and cuddled him against her breast. Steve leaned over and rested his hand over hers on Daniel’s little bottom. The talk continued to swirl around them, but Steve and Ginny only had eyes for each other and their son.

Steve squeezed Ginny’s hand. “Good job, beautiful.” he whispered.

She smiled up at him. “I had help.” she whispered back. Then she stifled a yawn. It had been a quick delivery, but it had started in the middle of the night and she was exhausted.

Steve saw this and quickly cleared the room so Ginny could sleep.

Jas brought in a little bassinet for Daniel and a big chair for Steve.

Once the room was empty and Jas had drawn the curtains, Ginny had fallen almost immediately to sleep. Steve kissed her forehead lightly and picked Daniel up off of her chest.

He sat down on the big chair with Daniel on his shoulder. He was tired, too, but not yet ready to sleep.

They had celebrated his birthday a few weeks before…32, they had decided, instead of 97. He had thought then that he couldn’t possibly be happier. He and Ginny were planning their November wedding and they were ready to welcome the baby home. His life was full and he was happier than he could ever remember being.

But now with this little weight resting on his chest, he felt his heart would burst with joy.

He knew they’d still have challenges to face. Raising a child in this day and age was going to be a challenge in itself. He was still on active duty, which would mean time apart and Ginny’s child amp project was growing quickly, taking more of her time.

But he had found the love of his life and he knew that, whatever they had to face, they could handle it together.

He looked down at Daniel and hoped they’d be able to give him a brother or sister at some point. But, if not, they’d be the Three Musketeers.

He sighed as he looked up at Ginny with her bubble gum pink bangs. They were so sure that Dot was going to be a girl!

She looked so peaceful. He was glad the labour had been quick. It was difficult for him to see her in pain.

He finally laid Daniel down in the bassinet and went to get a heated blanket. He laid it over Ginny and was rewarded with a sleepy smile.

Then he sat down in the big chair and surrendered himself to sleep. He was at peace.

 

Tout fini

Thank you to all of my readers for taking this journey with me! I will be taking a bit of a break over the holidays before starting to post another story in January. In the meantime, I do have a couple of short stories that I will post to fill the space.

Again, thank you for joining me. Happy Holidays and look forward to hearing from you in the new year!

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