"It's okay. Breathe in...breathe out. Oooh-eee-ooh-ah-ah. Ching, chang, wanna, wanna bing-bang."
Becky laughed mid-breath. I lowered my lips to her sweaty forehead and reached out for the bucket by my side. I brought an ice chip to her mouth. Her lips parted and I stuck it on her tongue.
"Thank foo," she said around the chip. I shook my head.
"No, thank you. You're having our baby, after all."
"You're the best ha--ha---husband in the wa--wa---world," Becky moaned. Her hand tightened around my wrist.
I didn't know about the 'best husband in the world' title, but my out-of-body experience had taught me a valuable lesson. I hadn't ignoring Becky once since the switch back. I probably knew her progress probably better than she did. And yet I wouldn't have changed a thing. All of the mood swings, laughter, love, and tears had culminated to this moment...
It was our baby's birth day.
"Nicccckkkk," Becky moaned. Her head fell back against the pillow. I pressed a cloth to her forehead just as the door opened.
"How we doing?"
Of all the crazy luck, Becky's water had broken a week early and our OB/GYN was on vacation. The doctor filling in for our doctor was none other than the guy that had gotten an eye full of penis on the delivery room table when Lainie and I had switched. He kept his distance from me and pulled up the stool. Beckers looked up at me and smiled. I shook my head, grinning.
"You have a crowd waiting to see this little one," the doc said. "Or should I say you're, um, unorthodox family is waiting."
I rubbed my neck. Damn Brian and his 'unorthodox' family. "How's my Becky doing?" I asked impatiently. The monitor showed another wicked contraction and I heard her begin another round of lamaze breathing.
"Let's just say that the baby's ready. All we need is some pushing."
"Push?" Becky repeated.
A couple nurses entered and activity picked up. One of the nurses repositioned her. I climbed up on the bed, my hands pressing on the small of her back. Her head fell against my shoulder.
"Just listen to me," I whispered. "One...two...three...push. One...two...three...push." Beckers leaned forward and I kept my hand on her back. She let out a yell that ended in a whimper.
This continued for twenty minutes. Becky was sweaty and cursing, but all I saw was my gorgeous wife being a hero. I was coaching her through another push when the doctor looked at me with a hesitant smile.
"Want to catch?" he asked. "There's a nice blonde head I see here." My heart jumped; I looked at Becky. She smiled.
"Will you be okay?" I asked. She nodded. I slid off the bed and headed towards the doc.
I had sat through all the videos with Beckers, but nothing really compared to actually seeing the whole thing in person. When Lainie had delivered, I was still epically confused. AJ had seen way more than I had (and was still talking about it). Today, I was completely aware and ready. The sight of the bloody head made me start crying, not from disgust but from happiness. I leaned down, took a deep breath and followed the doctor's instructions.
Less than two minutes later, I was holding our baby.
I had never heard a more perfect cry in all my life.
Nick, AJ, Howie, Kevin and I were gathered around the window in the corridor of the baby delivery wing at the hospital. Kevin had flown out to see Nick's little girl. It was nice to all be together. Nick stood smiling proudly in the center as the four of us clustered around him. "She's beautiful," breathed Howie.
"I know," Nick said reverently, smiling sweetly down at her.
"She looks so much like Becky," Kevin muttered, shaking his head.
"I know," Nick said, nodding, eyes never peeling away from his daughter.
"She has your eyes," I said, smiling.
Nick looked at me. "Don't you be hittin' on my lil girl," he said, eyeballing me. "She's way too young for you."
"I wasn't! I --"
"Yeah, BRok," AJ said. He turned and leaned against the window, an evil grin on his face. "Don't go hitting on all the female versions of Nick now."
Howie rolled his eyes, "A female Nick. Good grief -- can you even begin to fathom the horror?"
AJ snorted and covered his mouth.
"Brian, you'd probably bang her," Kevin teased, punching my arm.
"Oh you bet he would," Nick grinned cheekily at me.
I quickly turned back to the pink bundle behind the glass to divert attention back to where it really belonged. "What are you guys naming her?" I asked, tracing her outline on the glass with the tip of my finger and smiling down at her as she kicked. A nurse walked over and adjusted her blankets.