Jensen Ackles rubbed soothing circles into his husband's lower back, offering words of comfort and love as the younger man suffered through another contraction. Once the pain subsided, Jensen reclined back on the bed, pulling an exhausted Jared with him. He smiled softly as his husband drifted off for a few minutes; a welcome respite from the pain. He took a moment to compose himself and wondered just why in hell he thought it was a good idea for them to have kids. He knew it wasn't going to be a walk in the park, but reading about childbirth and watching a couple of DVDs of someone else's loved one going through it, didn't fully prepare him for the harsh reality.
“How's he doing?” Doctor Michael Rosenbaum asked softly as he popped his head around the door.
Jensen shook his head as he was brought out of his musings and looked up from his sleeping husband and very quietly answered, “He's doing okay thanks, Mike. Just wish I could've twisted his arm about the epidural though.”
Mike sighed. “I understand you want to see him pain free, Jensen, but it's his body. You know how he feels about drugs.”
“Yeah, I know. Just kills me to see him suffer though.”
“I'm not suffering," came a mumbled voice from somewhere in the vicinity of Jensen's shoulder. "I'm having our baby.”
“Aw, I know that, Jay. It doesn't mean I want to see you in pain though, not when we could have done something to prevent it.”
“Jensen, stop it. Please,” begged the younger man as he eased himself up a little.
“Okay, okay, I give up!” Jensen sighed deeply as he helped Jared into a more comfortable position.
“Please don't be like that..ow....ow.”
“Yeah,” Jared replied. “This sucks big time.”
The doctor took this as his cue to move fully into the room. He walked to the sink and began washing his hands thoroughly. “How about I take a look and see how you're getting on, buddy?” he asked. After washing his hands he grabbed a pair of gloves and snapped them on.
Jared glanced nervously at his husband who just nodded in encouragement. “It'll be okay,” he reassured.
Jared nodded at the doctor, pulled himself free of Jensen's embrace and lay back fully on the bed.
“Okay, scoot down a little for me.”
Jared did as instructed and offered little resistance as his legs were manoeuvred into the stirrups at the foot of the bed. He'd passed the humiliated stage at this point and sighed at the inevitability. Mike had seen every part of him, inside and out since he became pregnant so this was hardly worth getting upset about; he was more concerned that he'd have a contraction while being examined.
Sensing his unease, Mike patted him gently on his thigh. “We'll just wait out your next contraction, Jay. Don't worry.”
The next contraction came quicker than he expected and Jared panted through the pain, gripping tightly to Jensen's hands. “God, Jen, that was the worst yet,” he breathed out as the pain ebbed. Jensen just looked at the doctor helplessly as Mike moved closer on the stool between his husband's legs.
“I'll be as quick as I can, promise.”
Jared simply nodded and closed his eyes tightly at the feel of the doctor's fingers as they began pushing in to him. He tried not to tense, but it was just so damn uncomfortable.
The doctor paused for a moment as he met with resistance. “I know it's difficult, but I need you to relax for me, Jared. Just take a nice deep breath for me and let it out slowly.”
Jared breathed in deeply and as soon as he exhaled, Mike gently pushed his fingers back in and began his examination. Seconds later, he withdrew his fingers and stripped off the gloves before depositing them in the waste. He left the room for a moment, returning with a couple of nurses that Jensen recognised from earlier when his husband was first brought in. He acknowledged them briefly before returning his attention to Jared.
Once back in the room, Mike washed his hands again before donning a fresh pair of gloves and moving back into position.
“Great news, Jared. You're fully dilated. Now, I want you to push on your next contraction.”
“What?” asked Jared worriedly. “Already?”
“Yes, buddy,” Mike chuckled softly. “You're progressing faster than I thought. Looks like this little one wants out as soon possible.” He smiled gently at his worried patient and his even more worried spouse. “It's going to be okay. Just a little longer. You can do it.”
“Yeah. Yeah okay,” Jared replied in resignation, even though the panic stricken look upon his face never wavered. Jensen moved into position behind him and pulled Jared to his chest just like they had practiced at their childbirth classes. He brought his arms around his front and allowed Jared to grip his hands. “This okay, Jay?” he asked.
Jared's only answer was a groan as another contraction hit. He pushed himself forward, releasing his grip on Jensen as he did so. He grabbed the back of his thighs as Mike encouraged him to push.
“Come on, Jared. Give me a good hard push,” the doctor urged.
“'Mm tryin'.......God, this hurts like a mother,” he gasped out before falling back against his husband. Jensen smiled, relieved that another one was over. However the relief was short lived as his husband began contracting again. He pushed back against Jensen, almost squashing him against the bed frame. “I can't, I can't,” he cried, trying to escape from the agony.
“Easy, Jay. Just breathe. Breathe through it. That's it.....” he encouraged.
“You fucking breathe through it!” Jared yelled back before once again falling back against his husband. Jensen was stricken at Jared's venomous tone. He could count on one hand, the number of times his mild mannered husband had cussed at him during their entire relationship.
Mike glanced up at him from between Jared's legs and grinned as though to say 'you ain’t heard nothin' yet'.
“I'm sorry,” he said sadly, a tear trickling down his cheek. There was nothing else he could say to relieve the agony the love of his life was going through. The tears soon came freely as Jared laboured, suffering through contraction after contraction. He held on tightly when his husband needed it, whispered soothing words when each one passed, telling him repeatedly how proud he was of him, how strong and how brave. Jared yelled, grunted, puffed and panted and eventually fell back sobbing saying he couldn't go on any more.
“Jared, I want you to stop pushing. When the next contraction hits, I want you to just breathe through it and don't push! Got it?”
Jensen looked up sharply at the tone of the doctor's voice. The concern that appeared on his usually calm face didn't help any. “What's wrong?” he asked worriedly.
“Nothing's wrong, Jensen. I just don't think this position is working very well for Jared. I want to have him sit up, maybe get him on his hands and knees, let gravity do some of the work.” Mike was growing concerned at Jared's exhaustion. He knew his patient couldn't take much more of this.
Jensen nodded at Mike. He agreed wholeheartedly with his suggestion. It was just about killing him watching Jared going through this agony. He slipped out from behind his husband and explained what was going to happen as he seemed to be completely out of it at the moment. Jared helped as best he could, allowing himself to be released from the stirrups and gripped tightly to Jensen as he carefully helped him to turn over, lowering him down on all fours.
Jensen didn't like what he was seeing. It didn't seem as though Jared even had enough energy to support himself for long, never mind continue labouring for however long it took for their little one to come into the world. “I have an idea,” he said before getting up on the bed and kneeling in front of Jared. “Jay, baby, lift up and let me hold onto you. You can put your arms around my neck and squeeze as hard as you like, okay?”
“Okay,” he replied on a sob.
“Oh, baby, please don't cry.”
“It just hurts so much, Jen. I cant believe my mom did this three times.”
“She did it because it gave her three wonderful gifts, Jay. And I'm looking at one of them right now. You are doing the same wonderful thing for me. It'll be worth it, I promise. Just a few more pushes and I'm sure you'll be holding our baby in your arms.”
Mike smiled at Jensen approvingly. Ignoring the tears pooling at his own eyes, he encouraged Jared to resume pushing. The new position seemed to be helping immensely.
“Jared, you're crowning, buddy. Come on now. Push! That's it and again....”
Jared whined pitifully as the skin at his opening stretched painfully. Mike gently encouraged the skin to make way, hoping that Jared would not tear.
“Again!” he ordered. “Come on, you can do it. Great work!”
Jared let out a harsh breath as the contraction ended and pushed his face into Jensen's neck.
“You're doing so well, Jay. I'm so proud of you.” Jared's only reply was a low, deep moan. With one more long, drawn out push, Jared felt something give.
“The head's out, Jared! Stop pushing for a minute, catch your breath.”
Jared took several deep breaths and once he'd calmed a little, Mike said,” Here, Jay, give me your hand.”
Jared released the death grip from Jensen's neck and allowed the doctor to guide his hand to his baby's head where it protruded from his opening. “Oh, gross,” he stated, resulting in Jensen and the medical staff laughing at his exclamation.
“Our baby is not gross,” Jensen admonished, though smiling the entire time. Jared managed a tiny smile himself before the pain erupted again.
“Owwww, Jen, stop it please. Please, please make it stop....”
“The worst is over, Jared. You can do it. Just one more strong push and you'll have your baby. There you go, breathe, breathe, that's it.........”
The sound of wailing filled the delivery room just as Jared slumped forward into his husband's waiting arms. He sobbed again, openly now, as the relief from the pain overwhelmed him.
Jensen tensed as he watched the doctor clamp and cut the cord then hand his tiny baby over to the nurse.
“I'm just going to clean him up a little. I'll bring him right back,” she ensured as she took in Jensen's stricken look.
Jensen's gaze followed her every move, even as he helped the doctor re-situate his husband.
Jared lay back, but sucked in another breath as his middle began cramping. He reached for Jensen in a panic.
“It's okay, Jared. You just need to pass the placenta then we can clean you up a little.”
Jared nodded as he followed Jensen's gaze to the nurse fussing with his baby. He barely noticed passing the afterbirth, Mike's exam or the other nurse as she cleaned him up as it suddenly hit him exactly what it was she said.
“Him?” he asked as she brought the bundle closer. “We have a little boy?”
“Yes you do,” she answered as she released her burden into Jared's waiting arms. “Ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. He's absolutely perfect. Congratulations to you both.”
“Oh my God, Jen. Look what we did,” he said in awe of the tiny little human he was lovingly embracing. Jensen smiled through his tears as he bent down to kiss his husband gently on the forehead. “You did amazing, Jay. I can't tell you how proud I am of you right now. I love you so much.” He moved the kiss down to Jared's lips, then gently down to his little boy's head. “I love you both so much.”
Mike smiled fondly at his two closest friends as they welcomed their little boy into the world. “So,” he asked, “you guys got a name for him yet?”
Jared and Jensen exchanged a brief look; a moment of silent agreement passing between them. They'd discussed names at length, but they had known, should they have a boy, that there would be one name that would be simply perfect. Jared gave Jensen his permission with a slight nod.
Jensen smiled as he took in the doctor who had been there for them through the tough times when Jared's pregnancy took it's toll; through the initial fertility treatment, severe morning sickness, the aches, the pains and the terrifying near miscarriage that nearly broke their hearts. It was because of this one man's unswerving loyalty, care and friendship that ensured they both had the family that they had always dreamed of.
“Doctor Rosenbaum, we'd like to introduce you to Michael Owen Ackles.”
Mike gasped. “Guys?” This was totally unexpected. “I don't know what to say.”
Jared and Jensen looked at him hopefully. It was at least a full minute before the doctor's brain caught up enough to formulate a reply. With a slight laugh he shook the tiny hand that protruded from the blanket. “How do you do, Michael Owen Ackles. I'm very pleased to meet you,” he wiped the moisture from his eyes with the back of his hand, “and I'm also going to start bawling if I don't get out of here.”
Jared, Jensen and Mike all laughed through their tears. It had been a long road getting here, but it had been worth it in the end.