Heart Shaped World

© 2013 by dqmwartist

Colleen stared out at the view from their new homestead, looking out at the wilderness that was still there after years of change.  All of Boston was nothing but dirty, noisy streets filled with people, Colleen loved the wild open spaces of Colorado Springs and the mountain views.  Sully had been fighting to make those mountains a National Park and she prayed he would succeed.

Andrew stepped out of the house, set down a tray of food on a small table, and joined his wife.  She often came out here for solace and to enjoy the view.  He looked down at her swelling belly for a moment before reaching out and putting his arm around her.  Colleen fell into his embrace as if it was the most natural thing.

“Thank you so much for bringing us home, to raise our children,” she murmured, eyes still fixed on the view. 

“You’re welcome.  I can’t think of any place I would rather be than here with you, Anna and the baby.”  Colleen lifted her head up, smiled and placed a gentle kiss on his check.   “Do you remember the day I told you I loved you?”  His timing for saying the right thing hadn’t been the best but telling Colleen how he felt had been a proud moment for him.

Colleen nodded with a smile, she hadn’t forgotten that day.  Her beau Patrick Collins had grabbed her after she tried to break things off.  Unable to break loose, Andrew had come along and defended her honor.  She loved him all the more for it and afterwards as she was cleaning him up, Colleen remembered his confession of love.  She had felt the same since his arrival in Colorado Springs.

“There was no one I would have rather save me than you,” Colleen answered as she slowly sat down. Being pregnant made normal activities a bit more awkward.

 Andrew placed a gentle kiss on her forehead before joining her.  “I brought lunch,” said Andrew when the moment was lost.   He’d had a little help with the lunch preparations and hoped she would enjoy the meal he’d brought.  The last time he remembered doing this, so many years ago, he was nervous and shaky.  He loved her so much and in the moment of reading her a Sonnet, lost his nerve altogether.

“Lunch looks lovely, Andrew.  What did you bring?”  Colleen asked as her eyes traveled over the spread of food.  Her stomach growled as she looked, wanting very much to consume what was there.  She had worked to keep her figure, but there were times when caution was thrown to the wind and she gave into her cravings.

“Grace and her daughter made it all and they didn’t really tell me what it was, just that we’d love it.”  Andrew looked up, smiled, and then proceeded to remove the coverings off the food.  Everything smelled so good, even the cookies for dessert.  “They did tell me the cookies were oatmeal.” Colleen smiled at her loving husband who knew her so well.  She was lucky to have married a wonderful man.

Colleen lay in bed, sweat on her brow from tossing and turning all night.  She hadn’t slept a wink, nor did she find a comfortable sleeping position all night.  Andrew had given her a cold compress and some willow bark tea before going for Dr. Quinn.  While capable of delivery, he felt better if Michaela was the one doing the honors and he by Colleen’s side.

Lying in bed, Colleen braced herself for another contraction.  Just as Andrew left, she clutched her belly in pain, clawing at the quilt and shouting into the air.  Anna, frightened by the noise had come running with her doll in hand. 

“Mama, you ok?” she asked meekly, while rubbing the sleep from her eyes.  “I’ll be fine,” she answered through the pain.  Quietly, Anna sat on the bed and held her mother’s hand until her Papa returned with Dr. Quinn.

Colleen looked up and smiled as she watched her Ma and Andrew return, both looking concerned about her.  She felt horrible but just having her Ma here was a comfort.  Anna stayed on the bed holding her hand, while Andrew, ever the attentive husband, sat next to the bed, running his hand over her damp hair.

Michaela set about checking vital signs and asking as many questions as she could.  Even with delivering many babies, her own daughter’s made her nervous.  “How long have you been having contractions?”

“Sometime this morning, the baby kept me awake all night,” Colleen replied just before another contraction took hold.  This time she could feel wetness between her legs, sliding down her leg like warm tea.  “Oh, god,” she cried out clutching her stomach in earnest as the pain shot through her.

Michaela pulled back the quilt as quickly as she could to get to Colleen, while trying her best not to disturb Anna.  She immediately saw the wetness on the bed, “Her water’s broken.  It won’t be long now.”  Nervously with help from Andrew, they got Colleen on her back and positioned her legs to check out dilated she was.

“Colleen, look at me,” Michaela commanded, as her daughter looked up and nodded. “I need you to start pushing, now.”  Michaela didn’t mention that she was starting to see the little one in there, nor that she was worried to pieces.  She looked at Andrew, then Anna who was acting like a saint, before turning back to her duty.

Gripping Andrew’s hand, Colleen pushed with all her might, hating the pain and feeling sweat drip down her face.  She fell back on the pillows exhausted, breathing hard to catch her breath again. There was nothing but praise from her Ma each time she pushed and the upmost patience each time she stopped to catch her breath.  “Keep going, Colleen, you can do this.”

Colleen braced herself for another big push and was rewarded with a cry of delight from her Ma.  The head appeared, as Colleen fell back on the pillows once more, breathless.  Labor was hard work but bringing into the world a small bundle of joy was worth all the pain she was enduring now.

Anna crawled up to reach her Mama’s ear and whispered something into her ear, “I see the baby,” before scrambling back to her position on the bed.  She took her Mama’s hand again, “You can do this, Ma.”  Colleen smiled up at her daughter, near tears, and nodded before giving one last push.

Michaela was so caught in the mother daughter moment that she nearly missed the last push as the baby slide out into the world.  Catching herself, she then cut the cord, picked up the baby in her arms covering it with a blanket as the little one cried loudly to announce its presence.

Colleen spent time in bed for a few days, before taking Elise on short walks around the homesteads to see all the animals and admire the scenery.  Anna liked to come along and give her little sister all sorts of details about what each animal was like and their names. 

Sometimes Jack would be lurking about hiding from doing his chores.  He would do his best to stay hidden but either Katie found him or his Uncle Josef.  Anna liked playing with him, but didn’t care much for digging worms or trying to find snakes.  She much preferred to have Katie do her hair up in braids, “Like Mama,” was always her request.

Colleen also enjoyed those little moments when she had time to spend with Andrew, without worrying about either of her daughters.  She loved them all dearly, but having a chance to breath was glorious.   Being home again was even more glorious than she imagined.  There was just something about the mountain air.

Andrew came up behind his beautiful wife; as she knelt down to smell one of the roses in their garden. “I thought I might find you out here.  Katie told me both girls are napping.”  Colleen rose at the sound of his voice; letting him envelope her in his arms.  “It’s so peaceful out here in the afternoon,” she murmured, “Think they will miss us if we stay out here a little longer?”

Andrew smiled down at Colleen, “I reckon not,” he replied before letting her go so he could take her hand in his.  “Good,” Colleen smiled as they walked off into the afternoon sun.

He remembered for a moment the hand she gave him so long ago after falling in the mud.  Even then he had been captured by her beauty, and now he felt so much love inside for her and both of their girls.  All three had become a part of his heart shaped world.