After the initial panic, Tiadrin tried her best every day to get used to the idea. Waking up every morning, putting her hand on her belly, and reminding herself ‘I’m having a baby.’ The thought often made her nauseous. It still felt like too much.
Getting up the nerve to tell Runaan and Ethari was so hard. She still felt so much shame. What if they judged her for getting pregnant when she was going to be leaving in a few years? What if they didn’t love her child? She wished her brain would let up for just awhile. Enough to be happy and celebrate with her friends.
Despite all her overthinking, their reaction was a comfort to her. Her good friends were so excited to have a child to spoil and love. Their excitement was contagious. It was comforting. Runaan and Ethari would support her through this. They would love this child. They already did.
Tiadrin’s life changed when she started feeling little flutters in her belly. It felt - exhilarating. In a way she hadn’t expected. She also hadn’t expected to feel this much love. It scared her. Being attached to this new charge felt like a weakness. That didn’t stop her from enthusiastically looking for Lain.
“Lain! Lain!” She yelled. “I just felt our baby move.”
Lain sprinted over to her, a delighted look on his face. “They moved? Our little baby is saying hi?”
Tiadrin wanted to capture that look on his face forever. So full of love and excitement. “Yes,” she said softly.
Lain’s disappointment in not being able to feel the baby move as soon as Tiadrin did was evident. She didn’t miss his downcast eyes as he glanced at her stomach and then back at her. She caught his eye. “Lain, you know you’re still an important part of this. It’s our baby. Not mine. You will get to feel them move soon enough.”
Preparing to have a baby was hard work. There was plenty of room in the treehouse for a new addition, but they still needed new furniture. There were some advantages to living with a craftsman. Tiadrin got strangely teary-eyed when she saw the cradle Ethari had made. “Only the best for my kin,” Ethari had uttered, as he traced his hand along the swirls on the side. Tiadrin wasn’t surprised that he seemed even more excited about that baby than her, but it warmed her just the same.
In the last month leading up to their child’s birth, Tiadrin spoke with the baby a lot. She told them about her fears, about the four loving parents they would have, and about how beautiful the place they lived would be. She knew she would cherish these moments forever. The quietness. The softness. The peace. The anticipation.
Actually giving birth to a baby was like nothing Tiadrin had ever experienced. Sure, she had dealt with pain before, but it was pain that could be helped. This felt raw. She wanted it to be over. Many tears of pain and exhaustion later, a crying baby girl was placed into her arms. Holding her close made Tiadrin feel weak. She whispered a soft “I love you,” pressing her lips to the baby’s forehead. Happy tears trailed down Tiadrin’s face. This was right where she was supposed to be.