Grace was sitting up in the hospital bed holding their sleeping son.
“You are going to spoil him holding him all the time,” teased Ben.
“I know. But it’s so hard to put him down. Look at him. He looks so sweet sleeping and sucking on his little tongue. So, Ben. When are you going to call your parents?”
Damn, she wasn’t going to let it go. It was hard for Ben to argue with her. He would do anything to make her happy including call his parents and let them know about his son. “Here,” he said resigned, “let me have him. I’ll put him in the crib and then I will call.”
That earned a huge smile from his wife. Well worth the phone call, he thought as he gently took Cole from her arms and placed him in the crib.
Just as Ben sat down and pulled out his phone, the door opened and the doctor walked in.
Grace looked up and waved, “Hi Dr. McKinley.”
“Look at you! Nobody is supposed to look that gorgeous after three days in a hospital and having a c-section delivery!” Then she directed her comments to Ben, “So, are ready to take your family home?”
Ben put his phone away and stood by Grace’s bedside. “Yes ma’am” said Ben eagerly.
“Grace your labs are good and there is no sign of excess bleeding. The pediatrician said little Cole there is finally nursing well and he shows no signs of jaundice so you guys get to go home.”
Grace smiled. “Thank you!”
“Now, Grace,” continued the doctor, “I need you to take it easy. No intercourse until after your follow up. No picking up anything over 3 lbs and that includes your son. Ben, you hand him to her while she is seated.
“Grace, as you know, you had to have quite a few internal stitches due to the placenta’s location and the tearing it caused to your uterus. Even though we were able to save your uterus, any future pregnancies will be extremely high risk. We need to be sure you are well healed before trying for more children. Ideally at least a year.”
That earned a laugh from both Grace and Ben. “I think we are good for awhile,” said Grace.
Dr. McKinley smiled. “Good. Those incisions need to heal well to give you the best chance of carrying another baby to term. We will see you in a week for a follow up.”
“I will take good care of her,” said Ben.
“Congratulations. You are a beautiful family.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Grace choked up as soon as they walked into the apartment. Everything was spotless. No doubt thanks to Emma and Rachael since Ben had been at the hospital with her almost non-stop. Their friends also left balloons and a stack of gifts on the table.
She sat on the couch and watched as Ben gently put their tiny son in the bassinet in the living room. He was so good with Cole.
That was when the first tear slid down her cheek. She couldn’t stop it. Her emotions were a mess. She wanted to help with Cole and couldn’t. Ben had to do it all. It was torture to just sit and watch. Not to mention the fact that she may not be able to carry another baby to term. All she ever wanted was a big family. And Ben looked so happy being a father. If men could glow, Ben surely was.
Ben walked over and sat down next to her. He pulled her close. “Why are you crying baby? Are you in pain?”
“No. Just emotional. You are so good with him. It’s like you already know what to do and I feel like a useless blob.” And down came more tears.
Ben gently wiped away her tears. “You forget, I had lots of experience with babies growing up. I was 10 when my half-sister and nephew were born and 11 when Reese and Brooke’s baby was born. Otherwise, I would be terrified. He’s so tiny.”
Ben pulled her closer and kissed her sweetly. “It’s so good to have you here where you belong,” he whispered, “The apartment was empty without you.”
Ben’s kisses sent chills down to her core. In spite of the pain from the surgery, she wanted him. “I love you, it is so good to be home,” she said, and kissed him back.
The sound of knocking interrupted them which was good. They needed to separate before she tried to figure out a way for them to make love and violate the doctor’s orders. Plus she needed a distraction from her depressing thoughts.
The door opened and Rachael, Nick, Emma and Casey came inside, bringing food. Grace slowly pushed herself off the couch to greet them.
“Bribery to be first to hold the baby,” gushed Emma as she went over and hugged Grace.
“You’ll probably have to pry him out of his father’s cold dead hands,” laughed Grace and promptly grabbed her stomach as pain rippled through. “Ohhh. It hurts to laugh.”
Racheal helped Grace slowly lower herself back down on the sofa. “Thanks,” she said grateful for the help.
Ben grabbed a pillow and handed it to her. “This should help if you need to laugh or cough,” said Ben.
“Thanks” said Grace a little sad. She hated feeling so helpless as she took the offered pillow.
She managed to smile at her husband. Her husband, the father of her child. That part never got old. She vowed in that instant that she would never, ever take their love for granted. She knew they had something special. She just hoped she would be able to give that sweet man more children.
“Lets eat before Cole wakes up,” said Rachael. “I also brought a bottle of champagne to celebrate. You can have one glass right, or at least a little sip.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
After everyone left and the baby was once again settled, Ben took Grace to their bedroom. He kissed her tenderly. “I love you more than I ever thought possible. I want to make love to you so bad.”
Ben thought she looked incredibly sad. “Mmmm. I want it too,” she said, “It seems like it’s been forever. You are so evil to kiss me like that…” She stopped and Ben knew she was trying hard not to cry. “Hold me please. It won’t be much longer. Then maybe we can get Emma or Rachael to watch Cole and we can have an evening out.”
Ben climbed up in bed with her and drew her close to him. She felt so good against him. He knew he had found what he had always been looking for in Grace and now with Cole. Unconditional love. Grace gave more than she took. He knew it had to be her Grandmother’s doing. He would have to thank her for teaching his angel how to love in the face of adversity. Now she was teaching him.
They started to drift off to sleep when, as if on queue, the baby started to cry.
“Ohhhh,” said Grace as Ben got up, “that sweet little baby cry makes my boobs hurt. Can you bring him to me?”
“Not tonight Angel. You just got home. Let me feed him a bottle. You need to rest so you can get well.” Then he smirked at her. “Besides, the sooner you recover, the sooner we can practice making another baby.”
“Fine,” said Grace sadly.
Ben picked up the fussy baby and his heart felt so full. He shushed him while he grabbed a bottle of breast milk that Grace had pumped in the hospital. As soon as he offered the bottle the baby eagerly began to suckle.
Ben started talking quietly to his little boy. “You are the luckiest little boy in the world because you have the best mommy in the whole wide world. She’s beautiful, smart and sexy – well, you won’t think she’s sexy – but I do.
“She is the kindest person I know and has a heart as big as Texas. That’s what Aunt Emma would say anyway. And Cole, you know what’s best of all? She loves us,” he laughed and continued, “who couldn’t help but love you. But she loves your old man too. I guess we are both the luckiest men in the world.”
Ben jumped when Grace began whispering over his shoulder. He thought she was in bed. “And your Daddy is smexy and funny and thoughtful. He is hopelessly devoted to his friends and even more so to us. Having two handsome men that love me back, that makes me the luckiest woman in the world.”
Ben laughed. “You weren’t supposed to hear that. It was a private father son discussion,” he said as he put Cole back in the crib.
Grace pulled Ben into a hug as soon as turned around. “It was sweet. I love you Benjamin Murdock.”
“I love you too Grace Murdock. And you need to get to bed.”
“I just needed to be here. You have to let me help. I feel useless.”
“You have to rest so you can get well. Please, get back to bed.”
I will. On one condition,” she countered.
Ben was confused, “What?”
“Call your folks tomorrow. Cole is almost a week old. I am sure they must know by now they have a grandson, but wouldn’t it be nice if you told them. Maybe send some pictures, invite them to come see him. I haven’t even met them yet.”
God, that smile. It got him every time. He knew he would do anything to always see that smile. Ben sighed deeply. “Okay, I will call them. Now please Angel, get some rest so I don’t go nuts worrying about you.”
“Promise me you won’t start a fight – no matter what they say. Ben, look at Cole, and think about how much you love him. Do you really think your parents have less love in their hearts for you than you do for your own child?”
That look too? He was totally hosed. She had him twisted extra tight around her little finger. Funny, that was right where he wanted to be. She was right anyway. He couldn’t imagine not loving that tiny baby with his whole being. “Grace…it’s complicated, but I promise. Now, bed. Please.”