Despite the protest from the midwives and dr. Frankenstein that men only disturbed their jobs, once again Ethan couldn’t help his own nerves for knowing that a new life was about to come to the world and that Vanessa was screeching in pain, calling out his name upstairs. He would never understand why the blessing of having a child had to be so suffering and painful. But again everything would be all right and worth it.
A relief was the fact that Charles was being taken care of really well by the nanny who Sir Malcolm has hired, who was always there when they needed her, although he and Vanessa preferred to look after their boy themselves as much as possible. She took him outside to see the pretty flowers that laid on the grass, away from the noise and unrest. But not even that and the half bottle of scotch he swallowed could ease him completely.
Doing the best he could not to run through the steps, he reached the bedroom and once again saw the midwives asking Vanessa to do strength to push and saying that she was going well and a sweaty, tired and dishelved Vanessa complaining she couldn’t take it anymore, but looking more beautiful than ever. It was hard to see her like that, but he knew how strong she could be, even in the most vulnerable of moments.
- Ethan, go back downstairs, go stay with Charles. You’re too nervous. The child is crowning, but with a bit of patience and a couple of pushes, everything will go well. Vanessa just needs to concentrate. Come on now, miss Ives.- said Frankenstein the moment he heard Ethan’s strong pace over the floorboards and saw his long hair and broad shoulders moving to sit on a chair beside the bed.
- I just want to stay near her. I swear I won’t disturb you. - Ethan said under his breath, his voice shaky.
- All right. - said the doctor after all, without taking his eyes out of his job. - But try to calm yourself. Come on, Vanessa, when it comes, you push again, with all you have. Respect your body, but don’t give up. It will come out one way or another.
- Ethan… AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!! - Vanessa had a new painful cramp and pushed as much as she could at that moment. Tears ran down her eyes when she felt Ethan hold her hand and brush pieces of hair away from her face when she rested her head on the pillow again.
- I’m here, my love. I’m here with you. I won’t leave this spot. Just keep pushing, right? It’s all gonna be good. - he held Vanessa’s partially closed hand against his lips and cheek and felt himself crying quietly, sweating due to the candles lit to enlighten the room and sterilize the scissors.
- I can’t take this anymore. I can’t do it. It hurts so much… - said Vanessa in a thin and weak voice after another cramp.
- Sure that you can. Vanessa, you only need a little more. Just an extra bit and it’s done; the little head is almost totally out. Isn’t it, doc? - said Ethan, and Victor nodded in confirmation. The young doctor smiled at him for seeing him calmer and knowing that everything was happening as was expected for Vanessa’s body.
- The head is the hardest part, but we’re almost there. Come on, Miss Ives, push again just one more time, you can do it. One, two, three! - shouted Victor, and Ethan watched himself sustaining Vanessa’s torso, which had bended forward to an almost sitted position.
The pale raven haired beauty screamed in desperation; at that moment, Ethan felt as though time had stopped and… For a second, all was quiet, until she fell onto bed again and everyone heard the most wanted sound of the day.
The baby’s cry. Their baby was born, at last.
The doctor managed to support the baby’s chubby little body amongst puddles of blood and placenta. One of the midwives helped him cut the navel-string and open the baby’s airways so it could breathe and cry without trouble. Ethan felt his body cold and shaky with excitement; Vanessa held his hand tight with the last bits of strength she had left.
- Be still, Miss. It’s a healthy and beautiful child. - stated the doctor with a smile and tears on the corners of his eyes. - A girl!
- A girl? - Ethan and Vanessa stuttered as one.
Frankenstein confirmed and delivered the baby girl to Ethan after cleaning her up a bit and wrapping her in a blanket. He recommended the father should lay her over Vanessa’s body later for her to rest and be fed, as should Miss Ives herself. Ethan took his child with as much delicacy as he could even though his hands and arms felt as rigid as a stone.
Vanessa and her baby were examined and seemed very well, despite the tiredness. The doctor and midwives gave a moment alone for the three of them and went outside to spread the news to the nanny. For what felt an eternity, Ethan remained motionless on his chair, holding his daughter.
“My daughter, my daughter, my daughter, I love you…” was the thought his mind would not stop whispering, although his lips wouldn’t say a thing out loud.
- Ethan, let me look at her… She needs to be fed and rest a little… - Vanessa said it with a pasty voice. Fortunately, all that pain was easing.
Ethan was so dazzled that part of him didn’t want to, but he ended up laying the baby near Vanessa’s breast.
- We have a little girl, now. - she said.
- Yes, we have a girl, a daughter. It cannot be more wonderful. - Ethan babbled.
- I’ll name her Claire. Do you like it?
- It’s beautiful, it’s a beautiful name. Vanessa, she’s beautiful… So pretty, so tiny. I think she looks like you. - despite trying to, he couldn’t help the tears that were making his eyes burn.
Vanessa stroke his face with her free hand and he felt as if he would explode with happiness. It seemed different now, every child brought a new feeling and experience. It seemed like Claire gave their lives and, in that case, his, a new light, after all the deep darkness they’ve faced.
- Thank you, Ethan. For being here, for giving me Claire.
- I thank YOU, my dear Miss Ives. - Vanessa didn’t hear that,because she and Claire nodded off, but he was sure that she knew the way he felt for having her in his life.
For a second time, he realized he was hugely and irremediably in love. Now, for two ladies at once.