Ben and Grace decided not to spend money on a honeymoon. Instead, Grace spent the next week getting the baby’s room (formally Nick’s room) ready. She kept the bed but changed the bedding. But trying to update the room only frustrated her. She wanted to know the name of her baby. She was tired of calling him – ‘he’ or ‘him’.
That evening, she got home from school before Ben. As she chopped the vegetables for the casserole, her thoughts drifted to their wedding day.
She smiled to herself remembering Gran and Ben chatting up each other. Ben had charmed her, calling her ‘Miss Lillie’. But that’s what Ben did. He was a charmer. Ben told her she was beautiful and that he could see who Grace had inherited her good looks from. It warmed Grace’s heart to see them bonding.
But as she watched them talking, she knew that her Grandmother had also charmed her new husband.
My husband, thought Grace, Ben is my husband. They were married. Grace had to pinch herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.
Things had changed so much since that awful day alone in her bathroom. The day she faced the hard truth that she was pregnant and thought her baby’s father didn’t want her. She couldn’t have been more wrong. Ben craved her.
Grace had never stopped loving Ben either. She didn’t know why she loved him so much. He was definitely flawed and carried so much pain. Real or imagined, it hurt him nonetheless. She only hoped that after the baby was born, he could try to start mending fences with his parents. She knew it would help him heal.
She had no complaints about how Ben was with her. He treated her like a queen, doing everything for her. He was attentive and loving. And very excited about the baby.
Who knew Benjamin Murdock, confirmed bachelor, would be married and excited to become a father. She laughed out loud at the thought.
Ben walked in as she was laughing. He kissed her on the cheek, pulling her out of her reverie. “What are you grinning about?” he asked, “Mmmm, that smells so good. How long have you been home?”
“Full of questions today. Let’s see. One – I got home early so thought I would make dinner. Two – it’s a casserole, so don’t you dare complain. You already said it smelled good. And three, I was thinking about you and that always makes me happy.”
Ben pulled her into a hug. “You make me happy too,” he said.
She waddled over and sat down with him. “I was thinking that we need to come up with a name for our baby,” said Grace, “I have a couple of ideas. What about you?”
“Oh wow. Honestly, I don’t know. If it were a little girl, I would definitely call her Grace. But it’s not and I am not sure this world needs another Benjamin Michael Murdock.”
Grace laughed at him. “We can give him your first name as a middle name then. But we still need a first name.”
“We could name him after your Grandmother. But Lillie May Coleman? What would be a good masculine name for that? Lyle maybe?”
“Oh Ben. That’s so sweet. She would love to have our baby named after her.” Then she screwed up her face, “But Lyle? I don’t know.”
“I know. How about Coleman? He could be Coleman Ramsay Murdock. That way he is named for all of us.”
“Coleman,” she said slowly, trying out the name. “Cole Murdock. Hmmm.” Grace pretended to be angry and said in an authoritative tone pointing her finger at an imaginary child, “Coleman Ramsay Murdock! You get over here right now!”
Ben busted out laughing. “Why do you assume our child will be in trouble?”
Grace narrowed her eyes at Ben, “Umm, because you are his father? But then, I am his mother. Okay, how’s this?” Grace made her voice sweet and loving, “Cole, sweetheart, I’m so proud of you.”
“I think I like him better being a trouble maker!”
Grace laughed, “Of course you would. Well, I love it! It’s perfect. I can’t wait to tell Gran. She will be so happy. I love you Benjamin – Michael – Murdock!”
Grace looked down and ran her hands lovingly over her very large belly smiling. “Hi Coleman. Do you like that name? I think it suits you.” She looked up at Ben when the baby kicked. “He likes it!”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The next morning was Grace’s appointment. After the ultrasound they waited anxiously for Dr. McKinley in her office. Ben was unnerved because she hadn’t said much other than Cole was growing normally.
Finally Dr. McKinley walked in carrying a thick file and sat down behind her desk.
“So Miss Ramsay,” said the Doctor.
Grace smiled and looked at Ben. “Murdock,” she corrected, “It’s Mrs. Murdock. Ben and I were married two weeks ago.”
The doctor smiled. “Congratulations,” she said sweetly. Then in a more somber tone, continued. “So, Mr. and Mrs. Murdock, unfortunately the ultrasound shows no re-positioning of the placenta. It still covers most of your cervix. This means we will need to deliver your son via a C-Section at 38 weeks.”
Ben reached over and grabbed Grace’s hand and as Dr. McKinley continued. “We want to do it early because we don’t want to risk you going into labor. The baby will be well developed by then so it won’t pose a risk to him.
“That’s 10 weeks from now. As the baby grows and starts to move into position, he will begin to put more pressure on your cervix. It’s imperative you get to an emergency room if you have any bleeding whatsoever. Even a small amount. At this stage, intercourse is not advised. I’m really sorry.”
Ben was glad he was sitting because he felt the blood drain from his face. He couldn’t just sit and listen anymore. He wanted to cut to the chase. “Wait. Is my wife in any danger?” asked Ben.
“If she starts to bleed or goes into labor, there is a risk of hemorrhage. If you don’t get to a hospital quickly, they both could be in grave danger. We aren’t even doing pelvic exams at this stage as the risk is too great. Do you understand? No penetration. So, Grace, please take it easy the remainder of your pregnancy. No lifting or exercise and, as I said, absolutely no intercourse or any other type of sexual activity.
“Otherwise, as I said before your baby is growing normally and is quite healthy. Do you have any other questions or concerns?”
“Can I still work?” asked Grace.
“No!” said Ben, answering before the doctor could respond.
Grace put her hand on Ben’s arm. “Ben! Let her answer the question,” she said gently.
Dr. McKinley gave Ben a sympathetic smile then re-directed her question to Grace. “What type of work do you do?” she asked.
“An office job,” said Grace, “and I go to class three days a week.”
“Can you get your professors to let you do your work remote? I would feel better if you weren’t on your feet anymore than necessary. It puts too much pressure on you. I can write a note for you.”
“Thank you. And my job is only an internship so I should be able to get a leave as well.”
“That would be better. Okay. So I will see you in two weeks unless you have any problems before then, but if you get off your feet and take it easy, you should be fine.”