It had been a little over an hour since Tavington had left, and Juliana knew it wouldn’t be much longer before the baby arrived. The pains were closer than ever, now.
He’s going to miss it, Juliana thought. He’s going to miss it.
“Alright, Juliana,” Dr. Ross began, “it’s time to push again. You must push as hard as you possibly can, Juliana. You must.”
Juliana nodded. “I understand.”
“Push with the next pain,” Ross instructed.
Juliana nodded. The next pain was quick in coming, and her body tensed in response. Ross ordered her to push, and she did, eyes closed, teeth bared. She didn’t notice the minor commotion occurring outside the bedroom door. Tavington barged into the room.
Ross looked from his work to the open door. “Colonel – perhaps you should wait outside?”
Tavington glared at Ross on his way to Juliana’s bed. He couldn’t care less about traditions or the proper etiquette for a man in his situation.
“Juliana,” he said, kneeling beside the bed. He picked up her hand.
“Did you find the people you were searching for?” Juliana managed, though she was visibly winded.
“Don’t worry about any of that right now,” Tavington said. “Are you well? How do you feel?”
“I’m fine, Will.” Juliana looked over at Dr. Ross. “Aren’t I, Doctor?”
“Everything is moving along nicely. You’re right where you’re supposed to be. It won’t be much longer,” Ross told Juliana. “Rest now; you have to be ready when the next pain comes along.”
Juliana let her head drop to the pillow beneath it, and Ross put another damp towel on her forehead. Juliana closed her eyes and breathed deeply.
“You’re just in time, Colonel,” Ross told Tavington. He looked down at Juliana again in time to see her tense again in pain. “It’s time to push again, Juliana. You must push hard, as hard as you can. Now, Juliana!”
And she did. She bore down and pushed for all she was worth. Tavington watched the whole scene in silent fascination. Never in all his years had he witnessed anything like this before.
Juliana knew it was all over when she heard a baby’s wail.
“It’s a boy,” Ross cheerily reported. Juliana and Tavington looked at each other, smiling. They’d already discussed names and figured themselves to be prepared for whatever might come their way.
“Daniel,” Juliana said, naming her son.
Ross handed Daniel to his assistant. When he turned back to Juliana, his brows furrowed as he was greeted with the unexpected.
Tavington didn’t like the look at all. “What is it?”
“Something isn’t right,” Ross said.
“What do you mean?” Tavington asked. His anger began to flare. “I thought you said you’d done this before?”
“I have,” Ross insisted. “But this isn’t normal.”
“What is it?” Juliana asked, alarmed. “What’s wrong?”
“Juliana, push,” Ross ordered abruptly.
“But – ”
“Just do it!”
Juliana obliged, though she was confused by the order and didn’t expect anything to happen. But something was happening. “It feels like there’s another baby,” she said, pushing.
“There is,” Ross said.
“What?” Tavington and Juliana asked in unison.
“Keep pushing,” Ross instructed.
It didn’t take as long to deliver the second baby, and it came with less difficulty. In a matter of minutes, there was a second wail from a second baby.
“It’s a girl!” Ross exclaimed.
Juliana and Tavington looked at each other, each trying to come to terms with the situation. They already had a name in mind for the girl; they hadn’t thought they would have to use it after Daniel’s arrival. Having twins hadn’t even been a prospect.
“Helena,” Juliana said, as the girl was handed to the attendant and cleaned. A few moments later, Ross and the attendant returned to the bed.
“Daniel,” Ross said, presenting the boy to Juliana. He turned to Tavington. “And Helena.” The attendant handed the girl to Tavington, who looked like he wanted to sprint from the room.
“I’ve never held one before,” Tavington croaked as the girl was pushed into his arms.
“Put your arm under her head like this,” Ross’s assistant instructed.
Still unsure of himself, Tavington cradled the baby in the crook of his arm. “Like this?” he asked.
“You gonna have to get a better grip on her, Colonel, or she’s gonna slip right through your fingers,” Ross’s attendant gently chided. “Go on – you ain’t gonna hurt her.” Tavington gently tightened his grip on the child. The young slave smiled and nodded in approval. “There you go. Oh, she likes you, Colonel.”
Tavington couldn’t help but smile as he looked down at his daughter. He looked down into her eyes and recognized them as his own. He didn’t know exactly what this meant for him or Juliana, but he knew that things would be different for them from this point on. Things would be very different.
A/N: Sorry if this chapter seems a bit off at all. That’s what happens when you fall out of practice, lol.