“Emily, we need to go,” Walt said as he paced from the living room to the bathroom door.
“I know!” she shouted between sobs.
“It will be fine, you look fine… let’s just go.”
“Give me a second…”
“We’re going to be late”
“I change my mind… I don’t want a baby,” Emily sniffled.
Walt suppressed a laugh. “It’s a little too late for that.”
“Walt…” Emily whispered through the door “Walt, I am so scared. I don’t know how to be a mom. ”
Walt eased the door open, “You’re being ridiculous. You’ve read all those books…”
“Books? I don’t think a book is going to help me here. What if…” Emily looked away.
“What?” Walt asked.
“What if I don’t love her?” Emily’s lip began to quiver and tears began to trickle down her swollen face.
“Oh, Em.” Walt embraced her. ”How can you say that? She’s going to be the littlest, tiniest thing. How can you not love all those little toes? You’ll be a brilliant mom, stop worrying.” He kissed the tears on her cheeks and breathed reassurance into her mouth as he brushed her soft lips.
“Let’s just go,” Emily said. Walt grabbed her hand, her bag, and led the way out the door of their living quarters.
Slowly, they made their way to the elevator. The trip up twenty-three floors lasted an eternity, and Emily buried her head into Walt’s shoulder. Trying to be patient, he just rubbed small circles on her back and shoulders.
The corridors were long, and they stopped several times to rest, while Emily continued to try to pull it together.
They were a few minutes late when Walt pushed open the heavy wooden doors. The woman at reception was all smiles as she pointed the two through the waiting room and down the hall to the right.
“Please have a seat,” The voice played into the room. Once they were comfortably settled into plush armchairs, the voice continued “Congratulations, new parents! The Eden Corporation is happy to welcome your new bundle of joy into the world. Relax and enjoy the soothing music while you wait; your doctor will be in momentarily.”
They sat quietly and waited a few short minutes before Dr. Williams bounced in with chart in hand. “Mr. and Mrs. Salk, Congratulations… Congratulations! Today is the big day.” He glanced at his clipboard and continued, ”You pre-registered in the office weeks ago, so there is no need for additional paperwork. We are about ready to take you down; we are just waiting for the nurse’s OK.”
The doctor looked the couple over, “Nervous?” he asked. “Of course you are. You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t. I assure you everything is going to be fine. Now do you have any questions for me?”
The couple shared a look, and Emily shook her head no.
“Very well; very well! Oh, that is Nurse Melrose now. Ready to do this thing?” He smiled.
Emily stood up a bit wobbly even with Walt by her side. “Yes” they said in unison.
“Let’s go, shall we,” and he led the way out of the room and down the corridor. “You two look a bit old for new parents, what are you Walt, nineteen?”
“Eighteen actually,” Walt said.
“Any reason for the wait?”
“We weren’t sure we wanted children…”
Doctor Williams stopped abruptly and turned to Walt, “No children? No children?” he stumbled.
“We thought it cruel to raise a child in today’s society,” Walt said.
“My boy, it is your civic duty to raise a child!” Dr. Williams fumed.
“Doctor Williams,” Emily interrupted softly, “we are… doing… it.” His anger fizzled and he turned and proceeded down the hall, “right, right,” he whispered.
Walt squeezed Emily’s hand as they rounded the corner and entered another room. A nurse was waiting for the couple’s arrival and smiled as she gestured toward a pink basinet to her left.
Walt pinched Emily; she wasn’t breathing. She gasped, elbowed her husband, and stared at the pink basinet. The tears she had attempted to hold back began to stream down her face once more.
“Before you view the child, I am going to ask that both of you use this.” Doctor Williams pushed a small bottle into Walt’s hand, “It’s EU46; it’s specially formulated to aid in parental bonding. Just two squirts under the tongue before the first handling and before feedings, and you can eliminate those new parent jitters.”
Emily breathed out a sign of relief, and all the tension drained from her body. Walt turned to Emily with bottle in hand; he sprayed two quick squirts under her tongue, and he nudged her toward the nurse.
Emily looked down into the small basinet at the tiny girl wrapped in soft fabrics. Her little eyelashes fluttered as she slept. She softly ran her fingers across the baby’s brow, down her nose, and over her pink cheeks. Walt had moved in beside Emily as she leaned in to kiss the child on the crown; she lingered for a moment to breathe her in feeling her tiny pulse against her lips.
Walt rolled tiny toes between his fingers and tickled the bottoms of little feet as he watched his wife stare dreamily at the newborn.
“Well,” Dr. Williams said, “What are you waiting for? Go ahead and take her; she’s yours.”
Emily slowly reached down, gracefully lifted the child into her arms, and smiled at her husband. “Mine,“ she mouthed.
“Ours,” Walt corrected.