Sleep….it was all about sleep and the lack there of. Sarah had once told Nick that pregnancy was a preparation for the many sleepless nights once the baby…or babies in this case…arrived. Now, at four AM, as Howie lay beside her, his arm across her and his legs tangled with hers, she firmly believed that. A solid night’s sleep had become non-existent despite the sleeping pills Howie had been slipping her. It was either false labor pains or having to use the bathroom. This morning, it was both and as usual, she was faced with the dilemma of extricating herself from Howie’s hold without waking him and actually getting up without his help.
Slowly, she pulled first one leg then the other from his but it only caused him to move closer and tighten his arms around her. So much for not waking him. The only way to get up now was TO wake him.
Turning her head, she kissed him lightly and whispered, “”D’, I need to get up.”
“Mmmm…somethin’ wrong?” he asked sleepily.
“Just the usual. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Howie let her go and pushed her up before rolling onto his back and going back to sleep.
Sarah looked down at him and shook her head as he began to snore. Good thing it wasn’t serious because Howie was out of it. To keep AJ busy, Sarah had planned a dinner for Valentine's Day. Kevin and Lynne were in town, along with Brian and Sonja, and the five guys had gotten together at 'Tabu', just to hang out. He’d only been home for an hour, the hour she had lain awake timing her false labor pains, and the smell of beer was quite obvious.
As she made her way to the bathroom, Sarah became very aware of the drop of the babies. She knew this feeling all too well. No sense going back to bed and taking a chance of waking Howie. He was going to need his rest if her intuition was accurate.
Finishing in the bathroom, Sarah made her way out to the living room where she did her best to get comfortable on the couch. She pulled a blanket over herself and snuggled into the warmth. The temperatures in Florida had nose-dived over the last few days and the apartment was chilly but she really didn’t mind. It was just the way she liked it. Turning on the television, she turned the volume down and started surfing the channels. Not much on at four-fifteen in the morning but she managed to find an old movie, one of her favorites, Yours, Mine, and Ours. She always got a kick out of watching Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda deal with eighteen kids.
The quiet of the apartment and the warmth of the blanket along with the television began to lull her to sleep but just as she was about to nod off, a strong contraction hit and she was wide awake.
“Damn, THAT hurt,” she muttered when it was over. “Better not let Becca hear me say that.”
Turning her attention back to the movie, Sarah tried to stay awake but once more, she began to doze. Once more, another contraction, stronger than before, hit and she ‘breathed’ through it. This went on until Jesse came bounding out of her room.
As the whirlwind raced by her, Sarah managed to catch her. “Jess, stop! Let Daddy sleep.”
“But Mommy! He promised me extra cuddle time,” whined Jesse.
“I know, baby, but Daddy was late getting in and he’s gonna need his rest.”
“Why?” asked the little girl as she went to stand in front of her mother.
Sarah took her hand. “Can you keep a secret…just between you and me?”
“Sure, Mommy,” she answered, her eyes wide with excitement.
“I mean it, Jesse! You can NOT tell a single person…NOT even Daddy.”
“NOT EVEN DADDY?!” she repeated in astonishment.
“Cross my heart,” she answered making an ‘x’ on her heart.
“Are you SURE you can handle it? You’ve told a LOT of my other secrets,” hedged Sarah.
“I promise, Mommy!”
Pulling Jesse closer, Sarah whispered, “I think the babies are gonna be born soon.” Jesse started to squeal with excitement but Sarah quickly covered her mouth with her hand. “SHHH! You promised.”
Realizing that if the babies were going to be born soon, her mother would be going to the hospital and panic set in. “But MOMMY! You HAVE to tell Daddy so he can be with you! He PROMISED to take care of you!”
“I’m going to tell him, baby, just not yet. He’s going to need his sleep.”
“Who’s gonna fix me breakfast?”
“I think I can manage to fix you something but you need to help me out. I want you to go to your room and get dressed. Daddy set your clothes out last night. You also need to find your suitcase we packed for you like mine. You’re staying with Meme tonight anyway.”
“Can you braid my hair?”
“Who’s gonna take me to school?”
Sarah hadn’t thought about that. Howie had planned to take Jesse himself but letting him sleep negated that and she didn’t want to chance driving herself in case she did go into labor.
“I’ll call Aunt Becca. She should be up by now and if you’re a little late, oh well. Now shoo!”
Jesse gave Sarah a quick kiss before scampering off to her room to do as her mother had requested. When she was gone, Sarah reached for the phone and called Becca.
The phone rang only once before Becca answered, “What’s wrong?”
“Why would anything be wrong?” teased Sarah.
“It’s six in the morning. You NEVER call this early unless something’s wrong. Are you in labor? Are you headed to the hospital? You’d BETTER not be calling me AFTER the fact?”
“Would you relax? Geez! If you’d just LOOKED at your caller ID, you’d know I was at home and if you’re gonna be like this, I’ll just hang up.”
“FINE! Why did you call?”
“Can you come get Jesse and take her to school?”
“Will you explain what’s going on?”
“When you get here, yes, but DO NOT panic. I’m fine for right now.”
“Are you SURE?”
“For Christ’s sake, Becca. I promise…I’m FINE.”
“Let me gather Garrett and leave Nick a note.”
“Thanks, sis. I’ll see you when you get here.”
With that, Sarah hung up and headed to fix breakfast for Jesse.
Chapter 36 Index