Poster: Michael Saxton
Post # 7
Although he was loathe to leave Keri's side for very long, Michael did
have responsibilities and chores that needed doing. Warmer weather meant
spring clean-up, one of the busier times of the year for the
cemetery caretaker. As a precaution, he opened most every window on the
first two floors of the manor, so that he might more easily hear Keriann
should she call out in need of him. Dressed in the usual garb of a
common laborer, he puttered about the grounds in a distracted manner,
doing as much pacing as he was actual work.
Keri was trying to keep herself busy, to keep her mind off the fact she
was tired, felt like a beached whale and anxiety over the approaching
due date. Deciding to work on a smaller sculpture, taking her time, she
was in the room made for her at the back of the house. Her Studio. She
hadn't felt well and hoped she wasn't coming down with a cold for the
shifts in the weather of late. Really warm one day which had her not
moving from a chair on the porch to chilly again in comparison.
Concentration was not there she was finding as she set the tools aside
when nausea overtook her again, this time spilling what little she ate.
She had sent for Lia an hour or so ago, just to check her over to make
sure she wasn't getting sick. When she stood, a pain overtook her
midsection as her water broke in a splat over what had been in her
stomach. "M I C H A E L," wailed as one hand went to the back
of the chair for balance and her other arm around her
Lia was making her way toward the manor on the back of her horse. She
knew more than likely Kerri wasn't coming down with anything but with
being close to her due date, she was probably feeling uncomfortable. She
was nearly at the gate of the manor and could see Michael. Dismounting,
she patted the horse and allowed him to wander the side of the road
knowing he wouldn't go far. "Afternoon, Michael." She called
out to the man who looked as nervous as any new father-to-be.
"Hello, Miss Doe," Michael replied courteously. Yes, he was as
nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, but he
was managing to retain at least a modicum of composure... until he heard
that panicked, plaintive wail emanating from the back of the manor. Off
he was then, heels kicking up miniature dust storms as he virtually flew
off in the direction of that cry. "Keri!" he shouted, to let
her know that he had heard her, and was on his way to her.
Face was pale, tears streaming down her cheeks while frozen in place.
Soon as she saw him, "I'm sorry, I made a mess but I can't get down
to clean it up..." seized by a contraction as she sucked in a
breath. Panic taking over, "I think I'm dying!" The grip on
the back of the chair had her knuckles turning white. "I sent for
Lia," brief, frantic look towards the front door as seen from the
open doorway of her studio, down the hall at just the right angle.
When Michael took off, she was quick to follow though some distance
behind. As she found her way to the studio, she paused at the door,
taking in the situation. "You're not dying, Keri. Your baby is
about to come into the world." She looked at Michael, her
expression serious. "Let's get her to your bedroom, shall we?"
Staying calm in the face of it all. Afterall, she had been a midwife for
some time, and had helped her mother from the time she was a girl.
He wasn't quite sure as to which to react to first... the
"mess" that Keriann referred to, which he dimly recognized for
what it actually was... the tears on Keri's face and her proclamation of
dying, or Athalia's calm suggestion that he get Keriann upstairs and
into their bedroom. Rather numbly, he responded to Athalia, and went to
Keriann. Draping an arm around her, he wasn't sure if she could actually
walk all of the way to their bedroom, which was quite a haul for a woman
about to give birth. "Would it be all right if I carried her?"
he asked of Athalia. Put him in the ring with an opponent, and he was
just hunky dory. Face him with a pregnant wife, and he was pretty much
lost as to what to do!
She would have had trouble as her hand finally released the back of the
chair when she had his support. Took a moment to unbend her fingers.
"Am I having the baby?" Her first reaction to Lia's words as
she had no idea how it was to go. She felt sicker than she had ever been
in her life, buckling with a few missed steps as Michael guided her ..
upstairs? "I don't think I can get up the steps!" Looking at
them as if they had become the highest mountain she'd ever seen, feet
planting like a stubborn mule as they reached the base. "Ooooooooooo,"
knees going weak again as a stronger contraction hit like a brick wall.
"You can carry her but maybe there's a room down here we can use
instead? Perhaps a guest room?" She smiled reassuringly at Keri.
"Yes, and I'd say the baby is anxious to be born. I think you've
been in labor some time and didn't realize it." She would take any
room that was available and make due.
"There's the old nursemaid's chambers just this side of the main
hall," Michael replied to Athalia with a nod. "It's not very
large, but the bed and nightstand are still in it." Supposing that
the former nursemaid's chamber would have to suffice, Michael slipped
his shoulder a bit more securely under Keriann's arm, and fairly borne
her aloft, bearing most of her weight on his side and hip along the way.
And she took advantage of it. "I think I can make it there. The bed
is still there, a nightstand and a dresser along with a rocking chair
and another chair.." wasn't sure if there was one or two but she'd
been in the room to clean it a few times, mostly dust and sweep.
"There is a linen closet in that hall with clean sheets, blankets,
toweeeeeeels..." came with a painful 'eeeeeeeeee' as her steps
ceased the moment while fingers dug in against his side where her arm
was wrapped around and hand held a grip.
She stopped at the linen closet as Michael helped Keriann, grabbing some
sheets and towels before she followed. She wasn't sure there'd even be
time to send Michael to the kitchen for water to clean up the babe but
that could come after.
Moving as quickly as he dared, he carried Keriann along to the quarters
that he had mentioned to Athalia. Nudging the door open with his hip, he
borne her along to the bed, and then helped her sit upon it. Hovering
over his wife worriedly, he looked to Athalia with a curious, helpless
gaze. "What do I do now?" he asked, and then he quickly
amended the query. "I mean, what can I do to help?"
She propped herself against the pillows she had left on the bed. One
that had been made sparingly, sheet and light coverlet. "Maybe...
get a... nightgown... for me... from my... drawer," said with
spacing between as she took quick breaths, the tightening was coming
again with pain spreading around her midsection more intense. "I
think....." couple breaths with a little cry at the end in pain,
"I'm... in.... labor," as if it was laborious to talk. Though
she was giving it a good attempt. Hard to shut her up at times,
especially when anxiety took over. "Doesitgetworse?" all out
in one breath released addressed to Lia.
"Aye, you can do that if you want." She wasn't sure he'd want
to leave. She sat on the bed and looked at Keri, "Not much and
you'll not remember it being so bad." Though of course there were
always ones to talk. Let's get you set up here, and see how far along
you are." She used one of the sheets to cover her lower half.
"Michael, if you don't want to leave, sit beside her and let her
hold your hand. Keri, when the next pain comes I want you to breath the
way I showed you, then stop when the pain passes." She paused then
added. "I really don't think this will be long at all."
"I'll... I'll... I'll... get that nightgown, and then I'll be right
back," Michael stammered. He didn't want to leave the room, but he
did want both Athalia and Keriann to be comfortable in whatever
preparations that they might have to make to facilitate the birthing
process. Nodding to them, and to himself, he slipped quietly and quickly
from the room, and then broke into a run and headed up the stairs to the
master bedroom to fetch that gown.
"ONE's COMING," like right on cue when she said about
breathing. Like her mind was working at all, luckily she gave shallow
pants with it, not being able to breathe too deeply anyway, "it
hurts!" which was an understatement. Lia could probably see how her
abdomen tightened with it. Enough to have her back arch some. The pain
stayed too long in her mind but it was probably a minute in duration.
"M I C H A E L," calling to him as if that would have him
flying back, needing him at her side after she was the one that
suggested he get the gown, well, she was in less pain when she did.
"I know it does." She made her as comfortable as possible as
she examined her then nodded. "It won't be long, Keri.. I think
with the next one, you'll be feeling the need to push." She had
arrived in time, otherwise it would be Michael delivering the child!
He had been about two-thirds of the way up the stairs, headed for their
bedroom when he'd heard her call his name again. Panicked, he started
back down the stairs, but then remembered the request for her nightgown,
and started back up the stairs again. There was a moment of indecision
that might have seemed comical under different circumstances. Finally,
he ended up bolting into their bedroom, fairly ripping the nightgown
from its place of rest, and then he was tearing back down the
stairs again. It was a good thing that the door to the nursemaid's
chamber had been left open, elsewise he might have crashed headlong
through it. Skidding to a halt inside the room, he peered at Athalia and
then Keriann, and then quietly held the nightgown extended in one hand.
Sweat was starting to bead against her upper lip and brow, barely a
breather from the last when another started up that was longer, "M
I C H A E L," after tonight he might consider changing his name,
one yelled full of pain. She hadn't even noticed he WAS in the room but
quickly enough when he reached the bed, she reached for his hand to
squeeze. She had a vice grip hold on him he'd not be able to escape
again. She wasn't cursing him at least but he was in this for the
duration with her! That's when she felt the need to push, other hand
coming around to grip his forearm as well. This time she screamed,
didn't last too long luckily. What nightgown?
Had she not been concentrating, she might have seen Michael come
charging in like the hounds of Hades were on his heels. "Good
lass," Lia encouraged while she glanced up to see Michael was back.
"I see the crown of the head, Keri so this time, you'll be pushing
to bring the babe into the world." She'd be wrapping the child up
in towels but that would do for now.
Fairly tugged onto the bed next to Keriann, the nightgown had been
discarded to fall where it may. Settling close to her, he watched
intently, his expression anxious, and aptly reflective of some
appreciable degree of worry. His gaze flitted from Keriann to Athalia,
and then back to Keriann again. "There's a head, she sees a head.
it's crowning," Michael said, as if Keriann might actually need
his commentary as to what was going on just then.
"I.... I... don't.... think..... I," besieged by another pain
as the growling grunt that came from her throat sounded like someone
else! More like when Michael had been possessed, "can.... do
.." as another came and the baby was slipping through. Somewhere in
the haze of pain, she could feel that too. Almost a relief, except the
pains were not ceasing, only a breath gasped in a few times in panting.
The beaded sweat was running in rivulets down the sides of her face and
her grip on Michael's hand and forearm had her knuckles white. He might
need a crowbar when all said and done to pry them loose.
She bit her lip to keep from giggling at Michael then guided the baby. A
second or two and once the babe's air passage was clear he let out a
yell. "It's a lad but I need you to get ready to push again,
Keri." The boy was placed on the bed in front of Lia while she
leaned forward. "There's a second one, holding on to the first's
heel." So as to not be parted perhaps. She had to turn the baby and
looked up at Keri. "Try not to push until I say, Keri." It
would probably seem like an eternity but finally. "All right,
Leaning in a bit, he touched a soft kiss to Keri's perspiration beaded
brow. "Yes, you can," he cooed, his tone meant to soothe and
assuage her. "You can do anything that you put your mind to. That's
why I love you." His free hand... the one that still enjoyed
circulation... was gently placed atop one of Keri's white-knuckled ones.
"It's a boy," he said, no small measure of pride now evident
in his voice. "Now, be ready to push again when Athalia says,"
he echoed, and then he paused and his expression went vague and blank.
Push again? Why in the world would she need to push again; the bun had
already been popped out of the oven!
Oh, it felt like an eternity, her body quivering with the need to push
again, once started it hard to stop. She felt like she could use
something to bite down on, that dangerous look in dark eyes turned to
Michael a fleeting moment but she only ground her teeth, trying not to
breath for a breath taken she would be pushing. She was still clinging
to him like a life line that she didn't sink away with the pain.
Those thoughts fleeting as Lia gave her the word and out it came, long
growling grunt, coarse sounding as she pushed so hard it had her back
arch. Child would almost shoot out. The little girl didn't want to be
parted from her twin brother!
"Come one, sweetheart." Lia had the girl in her arms, and
after a brief moment, she too was wailing. "Two. You've a boy and a
girl." She corrected Michael as she wrapped the children in towels,
cooing to them softly. One would be placed in Michael's arms and the
other in Keri's though at the moment, Lia didn't pay attention to which
was which. She wanted to help Keri finish up. And the wee lassie
probably would whimper until she was with her brother again. The boy was
around 5 pounds, the girl a little under but the swaddling helped to
calm them some. "Now Keri, just a wee bit more and you're done.
Then we'll send Da to get some hot water and proper blankets and we'll
get all three of you cleaned up."
Ordinarily, he might not mind Keriann flashing him that dark and
dangerous look. He might not have even minded a bit of biting, under
different circumstances... such circumstances as had landed them there,
in this moment! A rather sheepish look was flashed Keriann, exchanged
for her dark one, and then he looked down again to where their children
lay swaddled. Their children. He had known, of course, that this
day would come, but to actually have seen it, to have had it actually
happen left him feeling oddly detached, as though he was still caught up
in the last vestiges of a dream. "Da get hot water, proper
blankets," Michael repeated somewhat mechanically, akin to a man
still entranced in his tone and demeanor.
The afterbirth was following quickly for the great last push bringing
her daughter into this world. She wasn't sure which one had been placed
in her arms, "oh, he's beautiful," whether it was the he or
she. She was becoming aware of how damp and bloody she was, felt a mess
from near head to toe. "I could use some water," not even
having the opportunity to wash out her mouth before and felt like there
was cotton and a horrid aftertaste. She had to peek under the swaddling,
"oh, it's our son Samuel Michael." Named after her deceased
father and husband. She would have to get word out to her siblings and
the multitude of cousins as well Cassie. Eyes held different tears that
turned on Michael, "you're a Da and I'm a Ma." One day to hear
it from the lips of their children. Smiling brightly with that surge of
adrenaline, "thank you so much Lia, I don't think I could have done
this without your help."
This time she did giggle at Michael though she grinned at Keriann.
"You'd be surprised what you can do if the circumstances call for
it. Let me get the water while you two sit. And I'll bring you a drink
as well." Keri might even start to feel the pangs of hunger soon
and after she had the babies cleaned up, she'd send Michael to the
kitchen so she could have Keri all cleaned up and pretty when he
A small nod accompanied the second kiss that he placed on her brow, and
his lips lingered there for a moment to affectionately nuzzle Keri.
"Carolyn Ann and Samuel Michael," he said. "As beautiful
as their mother." Then he looked to Athalia, a grateful smile for
her services and assistance rendered. "There's some lemonade in an
earthen ewer on the kitchen counter, if you think that Keri can stomach
it. Of course, you may help yourself to a bit of it, as well," he
offered as he eased his now numb hand from Keri's grasp and made to rise
from the bed.
Which brought tears to her eyes again, she would kiss him once she
didn't have desert mouth and worse. "I love you," quiet words
as the product of their love was in their arms. She had let go of his
arm once he moved away. The red marks proved her grip, though she would
apologize later on when she noticed them and realized their cause.
"Later you can help me upstairs and we can put them in the cradles
we have waiting for them." This room might become the traditional
"I'm sure she can." Called back as she headed for the kitchen.
It took a little while to warm the water but she found everything
needed. The lemonade was brought first and then she fetched the basin.
Before she left, she'd help them all upstairs and even give the new
parents the name of a young lass who would be willing to help them in
the house. Tonight, Lia would be adding two more names to the journal
she kept, and add those names to her prayers before she went to sleep.
"I love you, too," Michael answered softly as he stood by the
side of the bed, his dark eyes aglow as he peered with pride at his
family. He had come some time ago to adopt Keri's siblings and cousins
as his own, but as fond as he was of the Frasiers, they weren't his
flesh and blood. Long ago disowned by his natural, biological family,
this was his second chance, his start at something special, something...