"Happy birthday dear boo. Happy birthday to you"
I walked into our bedroom carrying a breakfast tray with pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast and Orange Juice.
Kevin slowly rolled over and sat up in the bed. The comforter feels to his waist, he wasn't wearing a shirt and I almost dropped the tray.
"Morning boo, happy birthday" I sat the tray across his lap.
"What this?" There was a long rectangular box wrapped on the tray.
"Just a little something I thought you might like to have? Open it."
He tore the paper off and found a rectangular bracelet box inside. He slowly began to lift the lid.
"OH SH**" he jumped up from the bed knocking the tray of food all over the place.
"OH GOD CASS, are you for real? I mean, seriously?"
"Yeah, I guess that night under the willows before we flew back to Orlando was more special than we thought? I just took the test this morning in hopes that I was right? I guess you're happy?"
He began to dance me around the room.
"Happy, baby this couldn't be a better present. How are you feeling?"
"Great, I have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow, ya wanna go?"
"Yep, I'll be there. Hang on a sec." He took off in his boxer shorts out the front door.
"Where are you going?" I hollered at his back eyeing the mess all over the bed and floor.
I walked towards the front door and saw Kevin at Scottie's grave. He came back in the house shivering.
"You idiot it's not summer." I placed a blanket around his shoulders. He grabbed me and pulled me into the blanket with him.
"I know, but I've can think of a better way to warm me up. Besides I wanted to tell Scottie he was going to be a big brother." He leaned down to kiss me. He picked me up in his arms and was headed towards the bedroom.
"And where do you think your going? There is a mess all over the bedroom.
"That's ok. I want a shower anyway. Scrub my back?"
"Anytime boo, Anytime."
Kevin and I went to the doctor the next day. They did an ultrasound and everything looked great.
"It looks like your due around June 1st. Now remember what happened last time is a fluke thing and will probably never happen again, however we will be monitoring you closer to the end of your pregnancy and limiting the amount of time you travel. Everything looks fine and the baby has a strong healthy heartbeat so you two just enjoy this pregnancy. Ok. If you have any questions here's my card feel free to call me day or night. Ok?"
"Thanks Doctor. I know that we may end up being a little paranoid this time, but I just know that this pregnancy will be all right. I can feel it." Kevin and I left the doctors office and headed home. We decided that we were not going to tell anyone until at least the second trimester.
Nick and Lisa's pregnancy was progressing great and so was mine. We figured the babies would be born about a month apart. Howie and Susie decided to get married and were planning a valentine's day wedding and AJ had found Cierra. She really seemed to be exactly what AJ needed. They seemed so happy together and all of the boys were finally getting their lives to where they wanted to be. The new album was not to be dropped until June after the birth of the baby and then the tour would start in the fall. We figured the baby would be old enough to travel with us and Kevin and Nick had already made arrangements to get a bus for their families. Everyone was so excited when we finally told them about the baby. We were all scared but excited. The holidays came and went so fast and then there was the wedding. It was so beautiful. All decorated in red and white. The boys all dressed in black tuxes and the girls in red satin dresses. Lisa, Leigh and I were not asked to be bridesmaids, but we enjoyed sitting in the congregation starring at our men. Leigh, Susie and Cierra decided to throw a baby shower for Lisa and I on April 1st. They pulled an April fools joke to get us to the shower so we would be surprised. Again Kevin and I had opted not to find out what the baby was so we got a good mixture of each. Oh yeah and I forgot to mention that Nick and Lisa had found out they were having twins. Two boys. OH LORD, watch out world two more Carter boys on the way. April 10, 2003 found us all pacing the waiting room of the hospital. Lisa had gone into labor in the middle of the night and we were waiting for Nick to come out.
"Are you ok boo?" I walked up behind Kevin. He was starring out the window.
"Yeah, I was just thinking about the day Scottie was born." I wrapped my arms around him.
The baby kicked as I leaned my belly into his back.
"Yeah, I feel you too." He turned and placed his hand on my stomach. The baby kicked again.
"I think somebody likes their daddy being around."
"Well somebody's daddy likes being around."
"Cass, I'm scared, but I'm excited. I happy for Nick, but I'm also sad."
"That's normal Kevin. I feel the same way. I mean. I can't wait to see these two little ones, but it's also going to be sad holding them and remembering how it felt to hold Scottie." A tear escaped my eye.
"Hey now" He took his thumb and wiped away my tear.
"I'm ok" I buried my head into his chest as he kissed me on the top of my head.
"I'm A DADDY!!!"
Nick came barreling out of the double doors we all stood and met him halfway. Kevin with his arm around my waist.
"OMG, that was like the most amazing thing ever. I mean. They are so beautiful and screaming their heads off?"
"Well, do THEY have names?" Kevin asked.
"Kev, can I talk to you a second?" Nick took Kevin over to the wall. We all watched as Nick talked to Kevin. Kevin began to cry and took Nick into his arms. Both the men stood there weeping. Then they walked back over to us.
"With Kevin's' permission we have Thomas Scott and James Howard Carter. You guys mean the world to me and I just hope that my boys will turn out half as great as you guys." Everyone cried.
We went into see the boys. They were so beautiful. Tommy had a head full of blonde hair and gorgeous blue eyes; he was going to look just like Nick. Jamie looked like Lisa with a little bit of blonde hair on his head, but he had hazel eyes. They were so perfect. It hurt my heart when I saw them and thought about Scottie, but then I felt our baby move inside of me and knew that it was going to be ok.
Kevin and I flew back to Kentucky one week after the twins were born. We knew we wanted to be settled at the cabin when the time came for the baby to be born. The doctor had been monitoring me closely and we were having weekly ultrasounds. Kevin grew more and more nervous as the weeks progressed, he was afraid to leave my side. On May 10, 2003 I finally convinced him to let me spend sometime with Scottie by myself and he was going to spend the day in the studio working on the new album. I grabbed a blanket and walked down to the stream and spread the blanket out next to Scottie's grave.
"Hey there little man" I ran my hand over the concrete slab, tracing the patter of a train that was etched on top. "Well, it won't be long and you'll be a big brother. I hope you know how much mommy and daddy miss you and love you. We know that you will be watching over us when your baby brother or sister gets here and that you will make sure everything is ok." I lay down on the blanket and continued to talk to my baby. I must have fallen asleep. It was so beautiful outside the wind was blowing in the willows making the most beautiful and peaceful sounds and the stream running was so calming. I don't know how long I had been there but Kevin sat down beside me and began to rub my stomach.
"Hey there little one" he began to talk to the baby.
"Hope you come to see us real soon. Daddy's ready to hold you and love you and kiss you."
"Hey boo" I opened my eyes.
"Hey darling. You ok?"
"Yeah, just a little tired. I had a good talk with Scottie and let him know that we love him very much."
"That's good. I brought you a sandwich. You wanna sit up and eat it." He held his hand out to me so I could pull my self up. I slowly sat up and leaned back against the tree.
"Uhh Ohh" I looked up at Kevin.
"UHH OHH WHAT?" He jumped to his feet.
"I think my water just broke. I think that our baby heard your request and is ready to meet you to." I held my hand out for him to pull me up. Just as I stood up another large gush came.
"Umm, I think you better go get the car. My bag is in the closet next to the front door. I'll just wait here ok?"
"I'll be right back" He took off running towards the house. I gathered up the blanket to have something to sit on in the car. I watched as he barged in the front door and back out and then ran around to the garage. I could hear the car crank up. I turned to look at Scottie's grave. "Ok, little man, here we go, be with us." Kevin pulled up and helped me into the car. He called everyone on the way to the hospital. We arrived at 1:30pm and I was placed in a room on a monitor. We could hear the baby's heartbeat loud and clear. Scottie's delivery had been so rushed and I didn't remember any of it. Kevin was trying to figure it all out when the doctor walked in.
"Hey there you two, so let's get us a baby ok?" He came over to the bed and began to check me. "Seems like your 4 centimeters dilated and about 80% effaced. Are you comfortable?"
"Yeah, just feels like a little menstrual cramp that's all."
"Ok, well if it gets bad enough you can have an epidural at anytime. You're far enough along that it shouldn't slow you down. I'll be back in about an hour to check on your progress. Any questions?"
"Is the baby ok?" Kevin asked.
"Yes, both the baby and your wife are great. Don't worry Kevin. I'm watching them closely any sign of trouble and we'll be moving fast. Ok."
"Ok." The doctor left and Kevin sat beside me on the bed.
"You ok darlin" He kissed my hand.
"I'm fine, really Kevin. It's not as bad as everyone said." Just then there was a knock at the door.
"Can I come in you two?" It was Mama Ann.
"Yeah, come on in?" I said. She walked over to the bed and put her hands on Kevin's shoulders.
"You two ok?" She asked squeezing Kevin.
"Yeah, the doctor says everything's going great. I'm about 4 centimeters."
"Good. Maybe it won't be long. I'm gonna be right out in the waiting room. If you need anything please come get me. I'll be praying."
"Thanks Mama" Kevin stood up and hugged his mom. She came over and kissed me on the forehead and squeezed my hand. She then left. Brian and Leighanne were next to come in. They had been at the Littrell's when we called.
"Hey Cuz" Brian came in and hugged Kevin.
"Hey Girl." Leighanne came and sat next to me. "How are you?"
"I'm really good. There's not much pain at all and I seem to be progressing quickly. I'm more worried about him?" Kevin and Brian were standing by the window. The worry showed all over Kevin's face.
"I know. Bri really wanted to be here for him."
"I'm glad you're both here. Ya know what, I really feel good about this. I know that Scottie is with us and will protect this little one."
"I think your right." Just then I was hit with a big pain and took in a deep breath. Kevin ran to my side.
"Babe, you ok. Come on talk to me." I was trying to concentrate on getting through the contraction.
"Cass. You're scarring me please. Are you Ok?" I could see tears in his eyes. I just nodded.
As the contraction subsided I began to breath easier.
"Wow. I said that one had a kick to it. I'm sorry boo. That was just a really strong contraction and I wasn't expecting it. Really, I'm fine." Another contraction began. Brian and Leighanne quietly slipped out the room as the nurse came in. "Well now. Looks like someone's getting anxious to get out." She said as she looked at the monitor.
"Yeah, I think you might be right" as another contraction took over. I just squeezed Kevin's hand and took deep breaths to get through it.
"Ok mom, let's see what's going on?" she checked me again. "Wow girl, this baby is in a big hurry. Your 9 centimeters already. Hope you didn't want that epidural. I'd say we'd have a baby here in about an hour."
Kevin looked down at me.
"I'll be right back," he said.
"Ok boo. I'm fine." He slipped out the door. I could hear him. I later found out that he had slid down the wall and was crying in his hands when AJ found him.
"Hey Train, everything ok" AJ squatted down in front of him. Kevin began to wipe at his eyes.
"Yeah, they said the baby should be here in about an hour" He looked into AJ's eyes. "I'm so scarred bone. I can lose either of them. I won't be able to take it."
"Whoa, what makes you think that you'll lose either of them? Has something happened?"
"NO, it's just what if?"
"Man, you can't think like that. Cass needs you now. Come on, what happened with Scottie was a freak thing man. This baby and Cass will be fine. Now get you butt up and get in there with your wife." Kevin stood and the two embraced. Just then the doctor came down the hallway.
"I hear we're ready for a baby. Think you might better join me Kevin." He pushed the door open.
"Thanks bone" the two shook hands.
"Anytime man, Anytime. Now go be with your wife and baby." Kevin followed the doctor in the room.
Kevin came to stand beside me at the head of the bed and held my hand.
"Ok Cass, when you feel the next contraction start, you push with all your might. Ok?"
"OK, here goes everything." I said squeezing Kevin's hands.
I began to push. It was the most amazing feeling. I could actually feel the baby moving down.
"WOW" the doctor said.
"WHAT?" Kevin and I both said.
"Now that's a lot of hair." He laughed. "I see a lot of black hair here." Kevin began to smile.
"Ok Cass. Now I need you to stop pushing once the heads out. I need to check and make sure the cords not wrapped around the neck. Once I do that you can push away. We're almost there."
I pushed 3 more times and the head was out.
"Wow, what a face. You wanna see Kevin?" Kevin looked down and the tears began to fall.
"Looks just like Scottie" He whispered. I began to cry as the next contraction hit me. I pushed with all my might. I wanted to see my baby, to hold it in my arms.
"IT"S A GIRL!!" The doctor yelled. Kevin began to sob and hugged me. They placed the baby on my chest. We stroked her and kissed her and cried. She was the spitting image of Scottie. A head full of black hair. She was so beautiful. The nurse took her to clean her up. I watched as Kevin stood over our daughter and let her hold his finger with her tiny hand. I watched the tears fall from his eyes as the nurse wrapped her up and placed her in his arms and the sobs overtook him. He brought her too me and placed her in my arms.
"I'm gonna go tell everyone" he chocked out and turned to leave. I sat kissing our baby girl and talking to her. Kevin entered the waiting room and walked straight to his mother falling to his knees and burying his head in her lap. He cried.
"Kevin' what's wrong?" Mama Anne asked getting scared.
"It's a girl mama, she's so beautiful and she looks just like Scottie." Anne wrapped her arms around her son and let him cry.
"It's a girl" He finally stood and told everyone else who was waiting. Congratulations echoed the room and Kevin left to come back to the room.
"Hey darlin" He peeked his head in the door. The doctor and nurses were gone and I was feeding the baby.
"Hey boo. You Ok?"
"Yeah. Everyone said to tell you congratulations. I told them they could come to see her in a little while Ok?"
"That's fine. Do you want so see your daughter?" He walked over and sat on the edge of the bed.
He began to gently stroke the baby's head. "How is she?" His voice cracked.
"Wonderful. The pediatrician came in right after you left and said she was wonderful. She is healthy and she weights 7 lbs and 2 ozs, she's 22 inches long. I think she might be tall like her father." This brought a smile to his face. She had finished nursing.
"Here, you hold her." I handed the baby to him and he stood up and walked over the recliner and sat with her. I watched, as he looked her over examining every part of her. He kissed her hands and held her to his chest. I watched as she snuggled close to her daddy. Kevin looked up at me.
"Thank you" he began to cry.
"Oh boo. Thank you. She's perfect."
I sat and watched in amazement as Kevin and his daughter bonded.
A knock on the door and we were bombarded by family. Mama Anne immediately scooped up the little one from Kevin and began loving her. Congratulations came from all around the room. We got a call from Lisa and Nick. They were going to fly in with the twins on Saturday.
"Well, what's my granddaughters name?" Mama Anne turned and looked at us.
We both looked at AJ.
"Alexandria Elizabeth Richardson" We announced. AJ caught his breath. "Lexi for short."
Everyone took turns loving on Lexi and getting a chance to know her. Around 7pm everyone left and I went to the bathroom. When I came out I saw the most amazing site. She was snuggled close to Kevin as he sang softly to her. They fell asleep with her holding his hand.
"I got up and walked over to cover them with a blanket and placed a kiss on Kevin's head and then one on Lexi's I placed my hand over Kevin's hand that was resting on Lexi's back.
"What did I do to deserve this?" I asked softly with tears in my eyes.
"You loved us Cass, You just loved us." Kevin whispered back.
It had been two weeks since Lexi was born and Kevin hardly let her out of his sight. He would take her to the studio and play the piano for her. She loved to be with her dad. Every time he came in the room and she heard his voice she would search for him. He always knew how to comfort her I could tell she was Daddy's Girl.
Kevin made sure that he spent a lot of time with Lexi. He was there when she said her first work and he was the one she took her first step towards. He took her everywhere with him. They had such a bond. Mother's day this year was also Lexi's first birthday. We had decided to throw a big party at the stream. Kevin hired a clown and had pony rides. Nick and Lisa were bringing the boys. They had grown so much. They both looked like miniature Nicks. Howie and Susie were coming as well as Brian and Leighanne and AJ and Cierra were also going to be there. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and there was a breeze blowing across the field. All of the family was there and Lexi was having so much fun. Kevin and Nick had walked up towards the house about half way there he heard a small voice calling him.
"Daddy" Kevin turned to see Lexi chasing him up the hill. She tripped and fell and lay their crying. I had not seen Kevin run that fast since the day she was born.
"Hey princess, you ok" He bent down to pick her up.
"Boo boo," she said pointing to her knee. She had scraped her knee. Kevin bent down and kissed her knee.
"Uh Huh? Where you going?"
"I was going to show Uncle Nick the new music we've been writing."
"Wanna come too."
"Ok." He picked her up and they headed to the house. I just watched.
We were all sitting around the fire later that night when Brian spoke up.
"Well, it seems like a perfect day. Lexi's turning one and the twins are here. I just can't think of anything better than this? Can you?" He said turning to Leighanne.
"Oh Brian, just tell them already." She said with a huge grin on her face.
"Leigh and I are gonna have a baby." He said. Congratulations went around from everyone.
"Man, could today been any better." Kevin was standing by the window of our bedroom looking out at the stream.
"No, Lexi's party was perfect and to find out that Bri and Leigh are pregnant. Man this was a great day."
"Wanna make it a great night?" He turned looking at me wiggling his eyebrows. I stood up and walked over to him. He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me close to him.
"And just what do you have in mind Mr. Richardson?" I reached up and placed a kiss on his neck.
"Well, I was thinking that maybe we could take a moonlight stroll down to the stream. Nick said that he and Lisa would listen out for Lexi. Wanna go?"
"Why of course, I would love to." We grabbed a blanket and headed down to the stream.
Kevin spread out the blanket and leaned back against the tree. I snuggled up next to him as he wrapped his arms around me.
"You remember the last night we spent out here?" I asked.
"Yep, I think that was the night that you got pregnant with Lexi." He smiled.
"I think your right. Well there won't be any getting me pregnant tonight mister. I am on the pill, remember" I looked up at him.
"Oh yeah, you think so huh." He began to tickle me.
"Kevin please stop" I was laughing so hard.
"You gotta say it."
"I will not, we are married now."
‘I don't care, say it." He continued to tickle me; my sides began to hurt from laughing. He was on top of me and had me pinned down.
"Ok, Kevin Scott Richardson is the man of my dreams" He lips crashed down to mine as he began to passionately kiss me. We finally broke apart. I was trying to catch my breath.
"Ya know Boo, you are the man of my dreams" His hand was brushing back my hair.
"And your everything I've ever wanted. Cass, I can't even begin to tell you how happy you've made me. I mean, I'll never be able to thank you for giving me Lexi."
"Whoa there, you are half responsible for that. I could thank you too ya know."
"I know, but you were stong enough to ask for her. I wasn't."
"It's ok boo. I knew where your heart was."
"Cass, I want to have more children with you. Not now, but someday."
"I want that too Kevin. I want us to have a son. Not to replace Scottie but to have a son that we watch grow. Ya know what I mean."
"Yeah, I'd like that too. But what if we end up with all girls?"
"Well, I don't' mind, but do you think you can handle another princess in the house?"
"Well if their anything like my first princess and my queen then I'll be just fine with that."
We lay their talking for hours. Spilling our hearts to each other. Discussing the tour and what our future would hold. I had never felt so close to him, so complete with him. We made love into the wee hours of the morning and then we snuck back into the house and to our bed. Life could not have been better.