AN: Now we're on to Part 2, with chapter 7
The whole of this part is from Edward's point of view, and has been pre-read and beta'd by MeteorOnAMoonlessNight, annaharding and Midnight Cougar, who're there to make my writing better. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
I have to also thank every reviewer, follower and favouriter, because without all of you, who would we write for
Disclaimer: SM owns it all
Third Time's the Charm Part 2, Chapter 7
Left pregnant and alone, Bella delivers a surprise to the paramedic who knocks on her door.
I loved my job as a paramedic. Meeting and helping people gave me a great deal of satisfaction, and I had never regretted the course I'd taken. Growing up with a father as a doctor was difficult, and there was an expectation that I would follow in his footsteps, as well as those of his father. It wasn't that I was afraid of the hard work it would take to get there, but I didn't want to be known as "Dr. Carlisle Cullen's son" for my whole career. I knew I would forever have to prove that I was as good as not only my father, but his father, too. It had happened to my dad, and it was only now when he'd branched out into general practice that he'd come into his own.
I still wanted to do something in medical services, and Dad was more than happy for me to follow a career I wanted and encouraged me to do some research into the possibilities. I considered fire service for a while, until Mom suggested the EMT program, which I was sure had something to do with the dangers in becoming a fireman.
The EMT program would take me around six months to complete, with a year's experience to follow. Rather than settle for that, I decided I would continue onto the paramedic program so that instead of seven years—without specialization—to become a doctor, I would achieve paramedic status in a little less than three years.
While I was studying and working my way toward my qualifications, I lived at home, only deciding to move out when Mom insisted on tidying my bedroom while collecting my laundry. There came a time when you were just too old for that shit, so I dug into my inheritance and purchased a two-bedroom apartment close to Northwestern Memorial, the hospital I was based at.
Besides June 20th being my birthday, it started out like any other day. Seth, who was my partner and driver, and I had already gone on a couple of calls and it was only around ten o'clock. A long, hot day stretched out before us when a call came in from the hospital. The radio squawked, giving us an address not too far away, telling us that the woman was in labor and unable to make it to the hospital on her own. In addition, the information told us that the apartment building had a concierge who would be expecting us and the door would be unlatched.
Fifteen minutes later, we drew up outside an apartment building not far from where I lived. The concierge was standing outside the doors waiting for us, and I grabbed my bag before stepping outside into the heat.
"Good morning. We've had a call from a Miss Swan in apartment 43C. We were told that you'd be waiting for us and her door would be unlocked."
"That's right." He held out his hand. "Marcus Volturi. I'm the concierge here. Right this way."
He was an older gentleman, likely past retirement age. He was tall with thick white hair and deep blue eyes, and he exuded an air of capability. He led me into the cool foyer and over to the elevators, pressing the button for the fourth floor when it arrived.
"Do you need any help?" he asked
"No, thank you, sir. We'll let you know if there's anything you can do."
He nodded and took his seat behind the desk as I stepped into the elevator. It took only a couple of minutes to find the right door, and I carefully pushed it open. It wasn't unheard of for paramedics to be attacked, so I was just being careful.
A groan of pain from somewhere inside the apartment told me this was genuine, and I called out, "Miss Swan, are you there? It's the paramedics."
A faint voice from the hall across the living room told me she was in the bedroom or the bathroom, and I hurried through, pushing open the door to the bedroom.
"There you are. The service said your baby is on its way."
The woman was seated on the floor, leaning against the side of the bed. She was dressed only in a t-shirt and underwear, her eyes closed and her arms around her lower belly. I moved quickly to her side, my gaze assessing her. From the beads of sweat on her forehead, I could see she was in pain, but until I examined her, I wouldn't be able to tell if we would transport her to the hospital or help her give birth here.
"Okay, Miss Swan, I'm gonna have to examine you. Can you remove your underwear for me?"
Her face crumpled and a few tears trickled down her cheeks. The fear on her face diminished a little as I reassured her. "Hey, now, don't worry. I'm here for you, and I'll do everything I can to make sure you and your baby are safe. Listen to me, okay?"
She was understandably upset and afraid, and her tears tugged at my heart. I reassured her again that she would be fine. She opened her deep brown eyes, making contact with mine. I could see her relax as she nodded at me. Now that she was calmer, she was able to ask me a question.
"It's not supposed to be this quick; she's not due for another three weeks. Will she be okay?"
I could hear the slight edge of hysteria in her voice, so I explained everything I was doing, knowing that knowledge was the one thing that tended to help people calm down so I could help them.
"Okay, first, is it all right if I call you Bella?" I could see that she was listening as I explained what I'd already worked out while I helped her out of her underwear and talked her through the exam. "My name's Edward, and I know these aren't ideal circumstances, but I don't think your baby's going to wait for us to get you to the hospital. I'm going to examine you to see how far along you are, but I've delivered babies before, so please try not to worry."
My previous experience told me it was likely that Bella would give birth here. I hadn't yet examined her, but she'd had a couple of long, hard contractions in the short time since I'd arrived. A quick exam told me all I needed to know; this baby wasn't going to wait because she was almost fully dilated. If, as I'd thought, she'd reached this stage so quickly, the likelihood was that she would give birth in the ambulance if I managed to get her there in time, or I could get her situated on the bed.
I asked if there was anyone I could call for her and was shocked to learn that her partner had abandoned her. He had to have known her family wasn't close enough to help in an emergency. Anger slid up my spine. I understood relationships fell apart, but he'd fathered a child and left her to deal with everything by herself. He had to be the biggest asshole on the planet.
"That's okay. If you tell me where to get something to cover your comforter with, I can put it over the bed and then help you get situated."
Seth's voice interrupted over the radio, and I explained that Bella was almost fully dilated and we'd be delivering her baby here at the apartment. With another examination, I could feel that the cervix was completely effaced and the baby's head was beginning to push into the birth canal.
"Well, Bella, I'd say your baby will be here sooner rather than later as you're almost fully dilated."
There was no time to follow up and find anything as she let out a deep groan. "Oh, God, I think I need to push."
Moving her at this stage would be far too painful for her, so I made a decision that I'd have to deliver the baby on the floor and called for Seth to come up and help. Grabbing a couple of pillows from the bed, I pushed them under her head and checked her again just as the baby's head was beginning to crown.
"Okay, Bella, there's no time left; I can see your baby's head."
Seth arrived seconds later and I asked him to get behind Bella and help her sit upright before I started talking to her, keeping my voice low so she didn't panic. Panicking now would just prolong the birth, so I pulled her attention to me.
"Bella, listen to me. Brace your feet on my knees, and with the next contraction, I want you to push for at least the count of ten, or longer if you can."
I moved around so I was seated between her legs, and she lifted them, resting her feet on my knees as I'd asked. With the next contraction, I encouraged her to brace herself against Seth's body and my knees.
"You're doing really well, Bella. It won't be long now until you see your baby."
Each time Bella stopped pushing, the baby's head retreated a little, but with each subsequent contraction, the retraction was less. Most babies could deliver themselves with very little intervention, and it seemed this little one and Bella were perfectly able to bring life into the world with minimal assistance from me.
As she slid out into my waiting hands, I lifted the baby girl, watching as her skin pinked up. Making sure her nose and mouth were clear, I reverently placed her belly down on Bella's chest and covered her with a warm towel.
Bella was entranced, and an errant thought crossed my mind: I wish they were both mine.
There was something about Bella that called to me and, of course, babies were a weakness of mine; I loved everything about them. Her gaze as she took in everything about her daughter didn't waver. She was going to be a great mom. Shaking the thoughts away, I turned my attention back to my job.
"There you go, safe and sound. She's beautiful, just like her mom."
From the look of confusion on Seth's face, I was pretty sure I'd overstepped, but he said nothing and shrugged. With Bella unaware of anything except her baby, she didn't notice me cutting the cord or delivering the afterbirth. I kept one eye on Bella and the baby while Seth took her blood pressure. Not seeing any problems, I knew it was time we got moving and got them both to the hospital to be checked out.
Bella's tearful question broke through my thoughts. "Is she okay?"
My gaze flicked over both of them, noting the baby was quiet and didn't seem to be in any distress. A lot of babies born at home were calm, so I didn't see any problems right now; although, a checkup at the hospital would make sure they stayed that way.
"Yes, it looks like she's perfect, but we'll get you both to the hospital to get checked out."
When she started to thank me, I had to stop her; it was my job. There was a small voice inside of me that was happy it had been me. Delivering babies was a part of the job I'd always loved and, not for the first time, I wondered if it wasn't too late at twenty-five to hit the books again and maybe follow in my dad's footsteps.
"No thanks are necessary, Bella. Seth and I are going to help you onto the stretcher now, and then we'll get you down to the ground floor and situated in the ambulance. Can I take Emily for a few seconds before we get you on the stretcher? I can wrap her properly so she doesn't get cold, and then we'll be on our way."
Bella reluctantly passed Emily over to me. A quick check over told me she was already thriving and her lungs were clear. I stood and placed the towel on the bed and wrapped her carefully so she would be safe.
Seth had slipped back down to the ambulance and returned with a stretcher. We helped Bella to get situated in place, and Seth then tightened the straps. I placed Emily back onto her chest and made sure she was securely attached to her mother.
"Do you have a bag packed, Bella? You'll need a few things while you're in the hospital."
Bella's eyes were already closing, and I guessed she was exhausted. She shook her head and I assured her that it wasn't important. It made sense that she hadn't made any arrangements yet since the baby was early.
Pulling the stretcher up onto its wheels, Seth led while I followed with my bag. I checked to make sure nothing had been left behind, and once we were outside in the hallway, I pulled the door closed behind me. A few minutes later, we were down on the ground level and heading outside to the ambulance.
The ride to the hospital was uneventful. I monitored Bella and Emily, both of whom seemed to be doing fine, while Seth drove. Reaching the emergency doors, Seth parked in one of the bays and, between us, we maneuvered the stretcher out of the ambulance and headed toward the automatic doors.
I could see my dad inside the doors, looking as if he was waiting for someone. It dawned on me that he had to be Bella's doctor. What were the odds she was his patient? He pulled me into a hug and then joined me as Seth and I pushed the stretcher along the corridor toward a cubicle.
We had the usual conversation about him not having seen me for a while, with a light admonishment in his tone when he mentioned Mom, and I agreed to visit on Sunday. I could see Bella look from him to me and then at the name tag on my uniform, and I grinned internally. Despite her just having a baby, I couldn't help but wonder if there might be something there.
"Okay, Dad. I gather you know this is Bella Swan, and now baby Emily, too. The service got a call at ten-thirty, and we arrived just under ten minutes later. Bella was already in active labor, and upon examination, I found her fully dilated and effaced. She progressed quickly, and thirty minutes later, the baby's head had crowned."
Seth and I moved the stretcher alongside the bed in the cubicle and I undid the straps, taking Emily while Seth freed Bella and assisted her over to the bed.
I continued my rundown of the events of this morning. "A further four or five contractions later, the head was out, and the baby turned easily and slipped out. Emily's skin pinked up immediately, and I cleared her mouth and nose before placing her on Bella's chest. I cut the cord and waited for the afterbirth, which I believe was delivered cleanly. I'll drop that with one of the nurses so it can be checked. I think that's it, Dad."
Once Bella was situated, I carefully laid Emily back on her and gave her a smile. "You take care of yourself and that beautiful baby, Bella."
There wasn't anything further for me to do, and as much as I wanted to hang around, I had other places to be and a job to do. I waved a hand at my dad as he took over and walked alongside the stretcher as Seth and I headed back out to the ambulance.
"What the hell was that, Ed?" Seth's voice broke through my musing over the coincidence that Bella and my dad were already connected.
I shrugged and shook my head. "Nothing, Seth. I felt for her, you know. No partner, dad two thousand miles away, and no friends close enough to help. It's hard enough to bring a child up on your own, but to go into labor early had to have been terrifying, and yet she held it together. She's one brave woman. I admire her, that's all."
He looked sideways at me. "You keep telling yourself that, Ed, and maybe you'll believe it."
I looked at him warningly. "Don't read anything into it, Seth. You already know I love this part of my job, and that's all it is."
~ oOo ~