Illya paced back and forth in the corridor eyes continuously glancing at the securely closed door in front of him.
‘ahhhhhhhh! Make it stop!’
The sound of agony that came from the locked room made Illya pull at his hair in frustration and pause his pacing to stare at the offending wood.
Solo made his way up the hallway and spotted his reluctant friend just about pulling his hair out
“Peril. Why so tense?”
‘ooohh Godddd. I cannnnt do it!’
Illya glared at the American and gestured to the hospital room where his fiancée was struggling to birth his child.
“Right…” Solo took a seat in one of the cool plastic hospital chairs against the wall of the corridor “Why aren’t you in there?”
Illya let out a breath and sat next to his partner “They say it is not appropriate for man to be in the birthing room, especially if not married.”
‘Come on now Gabriella there is no need for that, now push.’ The muffled voice of the midwife within made Illyas hand start to tingle
“That woman is treating her like Cattle” He muttered, his need to be with Gaby becoming unbearable. “She is in so much pain”
“Women have been doing this for thousands of years Peril. Gaby will be just fine” Solo dropped a hand on the large Russians shoulder. As much as the pair clashed they did care for each other in their own way and when it came to Gaby they could put aside any animosity for her sake.
“They also died.” Illya said never taking his eyes off of the door.
‘You don’t really have a choice here. Baby wants to come’
There was a momentary silence as they listened to the woman in the other room urge Gaby on. Her moans of pain were followed by counting and then a great exhale then a deep inhale and the moaning would begin again with the midwife counting along. It went like this for a further ten minutes the whole time Solo watched Illya sitting with his eyes closed and head dropped back against the wall.
“It’s just a door you know, you could walk right in-“
“I did and that cankerous old woman pushed me back out muttering about not being married and men thinking they have the right to do what they want and then locked the door. I didn’t think it would be appropriate to break down door with Gaby already under enough stress.”
‘There you go Gabriella, I can see the top of baby’s head’
Illyas eyes slammed open and he jumped up from his seat and moved to press his ear to the door.
Gaby dropped her chin into her chest and pushed with all she had but still nothing happened.
“Why won’t she come out” She lamented dropping back into the pillows. The woman with her hands between Gaby’s legs looked up at her, no sympathy on her face just sheer determination.
“You are not pushing well enough, you must push harder” Gaby wanted to kick the midwife, she had been nothing but a bitch the whole time she was in labour and when Illya came in to support her Gaby just about threw a gasket when she proceeded to kicked him out.
Gaby wanted Illya now, she wanted to feel his hands holding her and hear him mutter in Russian how much he loved her in her ear.
“Illya” Gaby moaned.
“He can do nothing, only you can. Do as I say and push!”
Gaby wanting nothing than for this to be over so when she felt the beginnings of another contraction she held her breath and pushed. Her vision went blurry and her chest was aching where her chin was digging in but the midwife was suddenly smiling.
“That’s it go go go!”
She took a small breath and pushed again, she felt a slight burning and knew she was almost done.
“Head is out! One more push and you’ll have your baby” Gaby felt excitement fill her body, she was almost done.
One more push.
“Not at all.” Gaby said while readying herself anyway.
One more push. Here comes a contraction.
“Wait! Stop pushing”
What? Gaby looked down at the Midwife and her face was pinched in concentration.
“What’s going on?”
She stood up from her crouching position between Gaby’s legs and walked over to the wall closest to Gaby’s head and pressed a call button.
“What’s going on?” The midwife moved around the room collecting shiny sterile instruments and pulling on a paper gown completely ignoring the panicked woman on the bed. Was her baby okay, was it born? Was it alive?
Gaby started to pull herself up into a sitting position so she could look between her legs but the second the midwife saw her moving she laid her back down a gently as she could.
“What is going on!” Gaby yelled fear getting the better of her “Please” she begged.
For the first time in nearly 20 hours, the midwife looked at Gaby with concern.
“The baby is big. They are stuck by their shoulders. We have to be very careful from this point because the head is already out. There is a risk if we let you push now, you could cut off the oxygen supply he is getting from the placenta.”
The door flew open and three more people hurried in. Gaby caught Illya's gaze who looked confused and worried before the door slammed shut again.
Solo looked up at the sound of feet hitting the linoleum floor there were three people dressed in scrubs rushing up the hallway.
‘Oh please go past us’ he thought, but no they pushed Illya away from his place at the door and piled into Gaby’s room.
Solo stood up unsure what else to do. “What’s happening” As if Illya would know.
The door shut again blocking them from god knows what. Solo walked up to Illya who stood frozen and placed a slow hand against his shoulder.
He jumped slightly at the unexpected contact. “Something is wrong with Baby”
‘Oh great more screaming’
There was too much noise now. Too many people talking at once for either man to really catch what was happening.
‘-Lateral-‘ Okay so something was lateral.
‘-transverse-‘ and… Transverse?
‘Break’ Break what? Oh, Jesus…
‘AHHH!’ and more screaming.
Illya had gone white which made Solo worry he was going to pass out and he wasn’t exactly in the mood to catch the 6’5 Russian.
“Maybe you should sit down peril” To Solo's surprise he was compliant, allowing the slightly smaller man to lead him back to the uncomfortable hospital chairs.
The tension was palpable, Solo had no idea what he could say to the usually unshakable man beside him but Peril surprisingly the one to break the silence
“This would never happen in Russian hospital”
Solo allowed himself a small laugh. “Sure Illya whatever you say”
Almost an hour passed and the two men continued to stare at the foreboding door, wondering what was going to happen next. Illya was sure he was going to lose both the love of his life and child in one fowl swoop and the thought caused tears to bubble up and Solo was ignoring the tears knowing Illya would be embarrassed while also sending up every prayer he knew in every language he possessed.
The door suddenly clicked open and one of the three new people appeared. She was young and looked a little shocked and there was a small but noticeable blood stain on her nurse’s outfit that the two spies zeroed in on.
“Which one of you is the father” She sounded tired.
Illya immediately stood up.
“Congratulations. You have a perfectly healthy, although slightly shocked Son.”
“A son?” His voice was thick, although both Gaby and he were sure that they were going to have a daughter the thought of a son to raise and carry on his name filled him with immeasurable pride.
“A very large boy, 9lbs15.” The nurse looked Illya up and down “Not so surprising given his father”
“He is okay?” The nurse nodded “And Gaby?” Now the nurse looked unsure.
“Not my wife”
“Oh” The nurse looked at the floor. Why did they have to send her out she was only just qualified she wasn’t ready for this. “Gabriella is a small woman and because the baby was so big, he got stuck. Unfortunately, we had to break his arm so we could get him out-“
“You broke my son's arm” Illya voice was stern and Solo felt sorry for the poor nurse having to face an angry Illya on her own.
“ah um, we had to deliver his arm first to make room and in doing so sometimes it causes a small break in the clavicle. When we finally got him out we had to assist in his breathing initially but now he is breathing on his own and doing well. Gabriella has suffered from some blood loss and we almost lost her but we stopped the bleeding and now she is stable and is receiving a transfusion to replenish what she lost.”
“How much is 'some?' ” Illya looked unnervingly calm.
“Approximately 3.5 litres” His eyes closed and he took a deep breath.
“Can I see them?”
“Of course” The nurse smiled and gestured for the new father to follow her.
Gaby was tired. Exhausted. Drained. Sleepy, god she was sleepy but she hadn’t had a good look at her baby yet and was determined to rouse enough energy so she could hold him.
“Gabriella” A voice whispered. “Illya is here”
She tried to open her eyes and did so for barely a second before they closed again. There was a brush of cool fingers across her forehead and the slight press of lips against her cheek.
“hmmmmmm” She sighed, the sound of his voice was like a tonic on her ruined nerves. She managed to open her eyes and keep them open after a minute of trying “Illya”
He looked as tired as she felt. “моя любовь”
“Are you okay?” He asked.
“I’m so tired” The gentle brush of his finger was making her want to dose off again.
“I’m so sorry you were alone. I should have been with you.”
“Yes you should of” He winced despite the smile as she said it. “Illya its okay. I’m okay, Baby’s okay”
“Get some rest chop shop girl” Gaby shook her head.
“I want to hold the baby”
“Get me my baby Illya” Her voice left no room for argument
Illya left his spot by her side and moved towards the small bassinet in the corner of the room. The Nurse checking the baby looked up at the approaching man and gave him an encouraging smile.
“Come meet your son”
Illya swallowed his nerves and moved into the sight line of his son. The child was asleep and tightly swaddled in a white blanket, there was a light green hat on his little head hiding any hair that could have been there. Illya couldn’t tell who he looked like. He could not see Gaby or himself in the infants sleeping face.
“The birth was hard on him, he is a little swollen right now he will look completely different tomorrow.” The nurse said as if she knew his thoughts.
The nurse sensed uncertainty in the new father that she had sensed in so many new fathers previously so she gently plucked the child from the bassinet and held him out to Illya. The baby made a small noise at being moved and it got Illya into gear.
He accepted the child into his arms and let the warm heavy body settle against his chest, the love that filled him for this baby was sudden and immense. “Hello,” he said not knowing what else to say. Like with Gaby he brushed his finger across the silky soft skin. His hand was so large compared to his face. He could break this small creature so easily. “I will protect you little one” Even from himself if he has to.
“Illya” Gaby called from the bed.
Illya moved back towards the bed never taking his eyes off of his son. ‘My son’.
Gaby wanted to cry now. Looking at Illya holding their baby made her heart burst. “Let me see.” She said.
Illya sat on the edge of the bed one arm going around Gaby to hold her the other placing the baby against her, still keeping his hand against his back to support the still exhausted Gaby in holding him.
“Look at you” She murmured “Oh he is so beautiful” Illya smiled at her happiness. “I’m sorry you had such a tough time little one, but you’re okay now, you are so loved my son, Mummy loves you darling, Daddy loves you. We will always be there for you. For you and your siblings”
Illya started at that. “No”
Gaby looked up at him and frowned “No what?”
“After what happened today, no more babies. I won’t risk you again” Gaby just smiled, confusing Illya greatly.
“It will be fine, we’ll know what to expect next time. I should have known he would be big knowing what your birth weight was”
“I wasn’t that big”
“You were bigger than him” Illya just sighed and pinched his nose.
“No more Gaby. No more babies”
“Oh Illya. I want a million of these and you are going to give them to me.” She said returning her gaze to the baby.
“Go and get Solo. I want the little one to meet his uncle”
Solo? Uncle? Illya frowned.
Oh that was defiantly not happening.