Keeping Faith by Cindy Bradford (serial 57)
Chapter 21 Part II
This was one time, however, that Carol was not going to have her way, not if Mother Nature had hers. The seed had already been planted, literally, and Dr Taylor delivered the news to Carol on the first day of spring. The heated conversation in February had been for naught. She was already pregnant then.
On her way to Patrick’s office Carol felt a sense of relief. In some ways she wanted to be pregnant now and she knew how much it meant to him. Arriving at his office her mind was on a million things and she didn’t think to knock.
Startled, Patrick looked up, “Carol, what’s wrong?”
“Wrong? Nothing’s wrong. I simply thought you should be the first to know. I’m pregnant.”
A mixture of emotions crossed his face, excitement, confusion, and happiness. “But, what about your book?”
“It just wasn’t supposed to happen. My book can wait. Apparently, there are some things we don’t control.”
“Hmmm. I’ll bet that’s not easy for you to accept,” he grinned and said, only half teasingly.
Smiling, she said, “I really am happy, honey. We need this baby in our lives.”
“When are you due?”
“End of October or first of November.”
“Well, this calls for a celebration,” Patrick said, pulling on his coat. Let’s go shopping.”
“Shopping?” Carol looked genuinely surprised. “Patrick, you never like to shop. What are we going shopping for?”
“Patrick, we don’t even know what colors we want or anything,” Carol said, calmly.
“Let’s do something! I can’t just sit in this office and try to concentrate now. Why don’t we stop by the market, pick up a few easy hors d’oeuvres for a light cocktail hour. You call a few friends to join us and tonight we’ll make the announcement.”
“It’s three o’clock already.”
“I know, but tell them to come at 6:00 p.m. and apologize for such short notice. They’re going to think I’m crazy, but that is okay, too. I’m going to be a daddy!”
“Tell you what; I’ll run over to the supermarket, you stay here and make the calls. I’ll be back to pick you up in about thirty minutes.”
Patrick took his coat off and sat back down, smiling. He looked at his watch quickly and calculated, in his mind, the time difference for Italy. “Mind if I call Carmella and Stefano? If I wait until you come back it will be too late to call.”
“You can call anyone your heart desires, Patrick,” she said, smiling, shaking her head and rolling her eyes though she was obviously pleased that he was so excited. “Just be sure they’re someone you know,” she said with a grin as she closed the door behind her. He was already on the phone.
Stefano answered, a rather weak “Hello.” Patrick hoped he had not awakened them.
“Patrico, hello,” his now voice stronger and cheerful.
“Did I wake you?”
“No, but Carmella was reading and dozed off, so I was trying to lower my voice. She will want to talk to you, you know. She is awake now, looking at me, smiling, knowing it is you. Hang on.”
“Wait, Stefano. Just tell her to put her ear to the phone. I want you both to hear. We’re pregnant.”
Patrick could hear Carmella shriek in the background and then Stefano lost the phone.
“Patrico, Patrico, congratulations! Stefano! We are going to have a God baby or whatever it is called.”
Patrick’s face was beginning to hurt from smiling so much, and he knew he could feel their excitement through the phone.
“When is the baby to be born?”
“End of October or first of November. I’ll call you soon with more news. Sorry to call so late, but I just found out. Carol has gone to the market to buy a few things so we can have friends over for a small celebration.”
“Patrico, you know you can call anytime. We are so happy for you.”
When he hung up, he sat looking around for a few minutes before he picked up the phone again to call his dad and within fifteen minutes he had completed his invitations.
Everyone who was invited came for cocktails, no one knowing the reason for the last minute event. Tears came to his eyes as he lifted his glass and said, “To my loving wife and child.”
It didn’t sink in for a minute. Friends looked around, confused.
Finally, Tom cheered, “Congratulations Buddy. Now I get it! I propose a toast…To the soon to be expanded family.”
From the start it was not an easy pregnancy and Carol was sick every morning. Worried and hovering over her, Patrick hated to leave to go to work, but she assured him she would be better as the morning passed.
Within a month, their friends Tom and Jean announced that they were going to have a baby. Patrick and Carol had met the couple at a supper club party six months earlier after Patrick convinced Carol it would be fun to have a regular group of friends to have dinner with once a month. Tom, a local attorney and Patrick hit it off immediately and began a weekly handball competition. Jean, the city librarian with a passion for art and literature quickly became Carol’s friend and confidante. They agreed it would be perfect to have children the same age.
At the beginning of Carol’s eighth month of pregnancy, the doctor finally gave her orders to stay in bed. “If we are going to term with this one, you’re going to have to rest,” he said.
Carol was not happy to give in, but she knew it was important for her health and the baby’s. Patrick complied with her every whim, pacing and returning every few minutes each morning until finally Carol could stand it no longer.
“Patrick, would you please go to work? You’re driving me crazy,” but she smiled and winked at him as she said it. At noon he was back for an hour.
“Look at me; I’m getting huge. I lie here and read and then you bring me food, and I just get bigger and bigger.”
“And more beautiful every day,” he said.
“Right, a beached whale is a beautiful creature,” she said mockingly.
On the last day of the month, Carol said, “I guess we are not going to have an October baby. I simply knew when the doctor put me to bed, it meant this baby would come early, but it appears he is determined to tell us when he is ready.”
“He? You think it’s going to be a boy?”
“You don’t think a female would be so obstinate, do you?”
“I’m not about to touch that. A pregnant woman is always right.”
The next morning shortly after Carol banished Patrick to his office, she called, “I think it is time.
“I am on my way!” he exclaimed, fumbling for his keys.
Hurrying into the maternity suite, Patrick heard Carol’s moans. She called out to him as he rushed to her side, pushing her damp hair away from her face.
“Breathe, Carol, Push, Harder!”
Within moments, he heard the first cries of a pink bundle of softness.
“It’s a girl!” the doctor said, snipping and tying the cord and placing her into the outstretched arms of the father.
“She’s beautiful. Perfect,” Patrick beamed, but there were tears in his eyes. He laid the baby in the crease of Carol’s arms. “Are you okay?”
“Tired.” She drew in a deep breath and gazed upward.
“You look beautiful too.”
“She looks like you, Patrick.”
Patrick grinned sheepishly, “Maybe, a little.” But no one could miss the connection, the blue eyes and wispy auburn curls.
Moving to sit beside the bed, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her as she cooed softly. He stared in awe.
“I promise to bring her back,” the nurse said, as she carefully took her from her mother. We’re going to put you in your room, Mrs. O’Brien, and I’ll bring her then.”
“Will you be all right while I go make some calls?” Patrick asked, touching Carol’s face gently.
“I’ll be fine. I’m sleepy now.”
“We have a girl, Carmella! A six pound, nine ounce, beautiful little girl!” Patrick said excitedly into the payphone.
“Oh, oh…What is her name?”
“Olivia, Olivia, in honor of the olives, the sweet memories of Tuscany in November.”
“Are you serious, Patrico?”
“Yes, Olivia Ann. Ann is Carol’s middle name.” He started laughing, “Carol said to tell you she is so glad the baby came in November and not October! She was afraid I would have wanted to name her Crush!”