The Fallen, part 4
The pains got closer. Lona believed they were close enough to warrant contacting Dr. Taob. She reached for the panel near the tub and summoned a chamber servant. Dala arrived a minute later.
“Call the doctor and tell her labor has begun. It’s still early yet so there’s no great rush.”
The woman’s eyes grew huge and she left the room quickly.
“I suppose we ought to get out of the tub,” Tashalia said reluctantly.
“We don’t have to. You could deliver right here.”
“Very funny brat,” the queen said, trying to find handholds on the sides.
Lona pulled her back against her. “Actually, I’m half serious. Some women on my planet give birth in big pools of warm water. It’s not as traumatic on the baby to leave their mother’s body because they enter an environment much like the womb. Warm, wet, and buoyant. It also eases the labor for the mother. Why don’t we use the deeper tub in the next room? That way me and the doctor can be right next to you. We can have the servants fill it before the baby arrives,” she suggested.
The Queen never heard of such a thing, but it seemed right to her. The idea appealed to her so she quickly agreed. She had her mate summon another servant to prepare the tub.
Dr. Taob arrived a few minutes later and stepped into the room without announcing herself. “So, the child has finally made up her mind to arrive.”
The middle-aged woman looked at her patient, who was still leaning back against her mate. “I think it’s time we got you out of there. Has your waters broken yet?”
“Not yet, but I’m staying right here for now. Lona made a suggestion I am going to follow, so don’t bother arguing with us about it. We’re going to give birth in the tub in the next room. It’s wide and has rails around it.”
“You’re what?” the doctor bellowed. The queen rolled her eyes and explained. Her family physician sputtered but couldn’t think of a medical reason to deny her the method of childbirth they chose. Lona was more than strong enough to keep the Queen safe within the pool-like tub. It was heated and the staff kept their quarters sterile. Taob left to give instructions to her aide, muttering to herself about the eccentricities of the Nobles.
The window shades were drawn and the lighting turned down. Lona never watched a birth but she thought the child shouldn’t be exposed to bright lights at birth. Soft music played in the background and any servant who wasn’t able to appear calm was told to leave. The human wanted the event to be a tranquil and joyous one for her mate and child.
The pains were increasing but Tashalia didn’t seem overly bothered by them, much to Lona’s relief. She hated the idea of her suffering. Taob had shucked her clothing and joined them inside the tub. She examined the Queen’s progress from time to time. Her patient was almost completely dilated and nearly ready to give birth.
“I thought you were crazy when you told me about giving birth in a tub, but you know, this is the easiest labor I’ve ever seen. I doubt you’ll experience more than a few hard contractions and it’ll be over with,” Taob told her Queen.
“Well, it was a fairly easy pregnancy as well.”
Lona grinned and altered her voice to sound wicked. “It’s all part of my evil plot to get you to have more than one baby.” Everyone chuckled.
“Terrible, terrible. Imagine, wanting to have more than one child. How greedy of you,” the doctor teased. Lona grinned and kissed her wife’s cheek.
“Please! Control yourselves. We have an innocent coming into the world. Don’t shock her poor little eyes before she even gets her first meal,” Taob said in feigned outrage.
“Aww, you’re no fun,” Lona pouted. Tashalia hissed.
“Hard pain?” the doctor asked. Tashalia nodded, gritting her teeth. Taob lowered her hand into the water and examined her patient.
“Very good! I can feel the top of her head. At the next pain, I want you to pant until I tell you, then push hard.”
A minute later, the Queen experienced another wave of pain. The urge to push was great. She began bearing down.
“Not yet! Pant your highness.”
Tashalia forced herself to pant. She grabbed Lona’s hand and held on for dear life. The doctor watched her carefully then told her to push. Happy to do so, she bore down, trying to ignore the pain wracking her body. An odd sensation of something sliding from her could be felt. The pain eased a bit and she tried to catch her breath.
“Her head is out. The next part is her shoulders then we’re all downhill from there.”
Lona wanted to let go and peek but Tashalia had a death grip on her hand. Tashalia made an agonized whimper as another push pain began. Tashalia began panting, waiting until Taob gave her the okay to push. She nodded and Tashalia roared in pain as she bored down. It seemed the baby refused to come out, but suddenly, she shot from her body and into the doctor’s hands.
“I got her! She’s a beauty.” The doctor turned to her aide and had the woman prepare for cutting the umbilical cord. Taob cleared the baby’s mouth and lifted her above the water. She placed the infant onto her mother’s belly and thumped the bottoms of her feet with her fingertip. The baby gasped her first breath.
Lona was both weeping and laughing, overjoyed. Tashalia reached out with her free hand and touched her baby, smiling ear to ear. The new parents looked at one another, their happiness overwhelming. Impatiently, they watched the doctor cut the cord.
“Can we hold her now?” Lona asked.
“Not yet, Tashalia has to expel the afterbirth and we need to clean her up.”
The rest went by almost unnoticed, dimmed by the excitement of the new arrival. Doctor Taob finally handed them the baby as the bloodied water was being drained.
“Take her out of the tub Lona.”
“In a dreamlike state, Lona lifted her mate and child, carrying them up the tub’s steps. She placed Tashalia onto a vinyl padded chair so the staff could rinse both of them clean with handheld sprays and fragrant soaps. The couple didn’t even notice. They were too involved in their new family member. Lona had her arms wrapped around them both, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“She’s beautiful Tashalia.” She said, fussing over every detail, from her tiny nails to her little spray of dark hair. One of the servants handed them a blanket for the baby. They carefully wrapped her up. Dala tapped the human on the arm and helped her into a robe.
“My Queen, could you give the baby to your consort? We’d like to dress you. We don’t want you to grow chilled,” the servant asked.
Lona took the child gingerly, ecstatic. The baby was almost asleep, exhausted and Lona fell totally in love with her. The smile on her face was so huge that it threatened to split her face. The others in the room smiled indulgently.
“Let’s take the Queen to her bed so she can rest. Give me the baby Lona,” Taob ordered gently. Lona hesitated then gave her the infant with great reluctance. She leaned down and kissed her wife softly before lifting her into her arms.
“Let’s go take a nap sweetie. I think we deserve it.”
Doctor Taob left them a short time later. Realizing the couple couldn’t be swayed against sleeping with the infant, she left them propped in the huge bed together. The baby was against her mother’s breast in case she woke hungry. Lona was holding them both. All three were fast asleep.
Tashalia woke up, feeling disoriented. It took a while to become aware of her surroundings. Feeling a small movement at her breast, she looked at her baby. An odd sensation like being inside an elevator went through her. It had really happened! Her daughter waved her little fist as she wiggled against her, her mouth opened.
“I bet you’re hungry,” she said softly, waking her mate instantly.
“What’s wrong?” she asked sleepily.
“I think she’s hungry.” Tashalia lifted the baby closer to her breast, not quite sure what to do.
“Put your nipple into her mouth,” Lona suggested as she shifted closer. She wanted to watch her child nurse. Doing as her mate suggested, Tashalia eased her dark nipple into her small mouth. The infant didn’t seem very sure what to do with it. Lona reached over and caressed the breast lightly, expelling a little bit of liquid into the child’s mouth. Taob had explained that it wasn’t quite milk in the beginning. That would come later.
The baby swallowed and got the idea. She began suckling at her mother’s breast. Lona grinned at the sight and leaned her cheek against Tashalia’s upper arm. Placing her hand beneath her mate’s, she helped support the arm under the baby. She used her thumb to touch the infant’s downy hair.
“She’s so beautiful,” Lona said in awe. “She looks just like you. Look at those dark eyes and that cute little nose,” she whispered.
“I think she looks like you. She has your cleft in her chin. And she’s really heavy for her size. I just hope she inherits my height. One female in the household who can’t reach anything is enough,” the monarch teased. Lona tickled her with a finger a few times in retaliation.
“I think she’ll be between us in coloring. And look at those lashes. She’s gonna be a heart-breaker when she grows up.”
“Lona, what was the name of the girl in the story you told me about, the Beauty and the Beast?”
“Then that is her name also. What do you think little Belle?” she asked the baby. Belle just blew milky bubbles and fell asleep.
“I want to show her off downstairs.” Lona told her tired mate. Belle had woken to nurse again and then promptly fell asleep.
Tashalia chuckled softly. “Go ahead, but don’t be gone too long. Oh, and can you ask the kitchen to send up a pot of tea and something to eat? I’m hungry.”
“No problem sweetie. Be back in a little while.” She gave her mate a lingering kiss then lifted the baby from her arms.
Lona headed for the servant quarters, knowing until the child was older, they would rarely see her. Only the servants assigned to help care for her would ever see the child. Nudging open the door with her hip, she stepped into the kitchen. As expected, everyone rushed forward when they saw who she brought with her. They cooed over the child, already adoring the baby. Several wanted to hold Belle but the human wasn’t ready to give her up. Catching Dala’s eye, she passed on Tashalia’s request and headed towards Palla’s office.
The Security Chief looked up when she entered and quickly ended the phone call she was in the middle of, simply by hanging up. She stood up and held out her arms. Lona grinned and passed the baby to her.
“Oh, look at her! She’s so cute! Did the Queen decide on a name yet?”
“Yes, Belle, after an Earth story. The name means ‘beauty’.”
“Well, it suits her. I bet she’ll have her choice of mates when she’s older.”
“Please! Don’t rush it! She isn’t even four hours old yet and you have her getting mated already!” Lona moaned. Palla winked and mentioned she had a new nephew and niece, twins, just 7 months old. Lona swatted her butt and retrieved her daughter.
“I had better get her back to Tashalia before she sends out a search party,” she said in half jest.
“How is she doing?”
“Fine. A little tired but that’s to be expected. She had an easy delivery.”
“Give her my congratulations,” the Security Chief asked. Lona nodded and opened the door then stopped.
“Anything on Branen yet?” she asked, nearly forgetting completely about the young man.
“No. He’s been rather quiet and spending time in his room. We have his phone tapped but he hasn’t called anyone on it. We’ll keep you updated Lona.”
Thanking her, she headed back to their chambers. Tashalia spotted them and smiled brightly, holding out her arms.
“Did our little Belle have a good time?”
“Everyone fussed and cooed over her. They love her already. I don’t think we’ll have a shortage of babysitters if we need them.”
“Babysitters?” The queen asked in puzzlement.
“Earth term. It means someone who watches someone else’s child for short periods of time. Oh, Palla passed on her best wishes. She also winked at me and said she had a nephew and niece that are seven months old. I think she was teasing but who knows,” she grinned. Her mate chuckled softly but answered seriously.
“She’ll only mate with someone she loves as much as I love you.”
Lona felt her heart melt. Leaning forward, she crawled into bed to seek Tashalia’s sweet lips. The kiss went on for some time until Lona laughed and broke it off.
“She popped me in the back of my head the little brat!” she turned her head and nuzzled Belle’s little hand. Tashalia laughed then moaned a little, her lower body protesting.
“Ugh, help me out of bed. I need to use the bathroom.”
After Tashalia finished, Lona placed the baby in the center of the bed and approached her mate. Tashalia lifted a brow, curious. Lona stepped closer and wrapped her arms around her. She rested her cheek against her mate’s broad shoulders and sighed happily as her arms circled around her.
“I’ve missed our hugs these last four months,” she sighed.
“Me too. Mm, it feels so wonderful to do this again.”
“Mmm hmm. Now, if only you weren’t sore and we had some soft music, I’d want to…” she stopped and grinned.
“And what?” he mate said, her smile indulgent, only imagining what her naught spouse would want.
“I’d want to dance.”