Jim shut the closet and turned to stare at Pam. His face clearly conveyed that something was amiss. “There’s no ironing board.”
Pam gave an exasperated sigh and tried turning over on her side, only to be reminded quickly that she couldn’t. “Planning on doing some light ironing?”
“Well, I was Pam…but that’s shot to hell now…”
“Sucks to be you then…,” she said trying and failing to push her self to a slightly more upright position. “An espresso machine?” She asked, carrying on the joke.
Neither one of them was really ready to face the fact of why they were really here. It was much easier to just pretend they were on some road trip in a dive motel.
Jim pointed at her. He nodded just once. “Good question Pam. Good question…and one that I’ll investigate…even though you haven’t had any coffee in…I wanna say…”
“Nine months and 3 days? Yes I’m aware of that Jim…But it’d be nice to be drinking an espresso in a few hours.” It would be nice to have a margarita too but she was pretty sure they wouldn’t be finding one of those types of machines in the closet.
Jim nodded. “Noted…Are you going to be holding that espresso in your right hand and the baby in your left or…”
“No Jim, I’ll just be holding the espresso. You can hold the baby.”
“Awesome,” Jim said clapping his hands together once. “But Pam…oddly enough, I am not seeing an espresso machine in this room……I do not think this is the deluxe suite,” Jim finished, mimicking the way Stanley may have said it.
Pam giggled, always unable to sustain the deadpan banter when he did impressions. “What kind of crappy ass hospital did you bring me to Jim? I thought you loved me…”
Jim did a palms up and his voice went slightly hoarse. “Cheaper.”
“Your daddy…always wantin’ the best for us” Pam said, grinning as she smoothed her hands over her massive belly. She looked up at Jim as he came to sit next to her. “I’m really attractive in this aren’t I?”
Jim glanced at the hospital gown. White with what looked to be faded blue blobs all over it. Maybe the blobs had been flowers at some point or just dots…he couldn’t be sure.
“Very hot actually…if you weren’t already pregnant…” he shook his head, trailing off.
She laughed out loud. “Wow. Really? I’ll remember that. Maybe I can get the hospital to loan me one of these gowns for later. Wear it on our anniversary.”
“Perfect,” Jim said smiling.
He leaned back in the lightly cushioned chair, stretching his long legs. He couldn’t seem to find a comfortable position though and a groan escaped his lips. “Do they really expect guys to sit in these chairs all night? Like for hours? This is horrible.”
“Oh are you complaining now, Halpert? Are you going to cry because the chair’s not exactly to your liking? Do you need a tissue?...Oh hold on – I’m sorry, all the tissues are currently being used by women in labor.”
“Pretty sure I have that right,” Pam said, staring up at the ceiling.
A moment passed, as Jim really took in their surroundings. It was a nice enough room as far as hospitals went. Good a place as any to have a baby, he supposed. He wondered though if he should have insisted on having a better room. When the hospital had first showed them the rooms it had seemed fine, perfectly doable. But of course then, they’d been too distracted by the fact that they were actually in a hospital room discussing the two of them having a baby for God’s sake.
It still didn’t seen quite real.
“Hey…this is fine,” Pam said, reaching out to touch the top of his hand.
He was once again amazed at how adept she’d gotten at reading his mind. It was a little scary, but totally wonderful at the same time. Was this really happening to them? And was he really such a dork that his wife needed to reassure him when she was the one about to have a baby?
“Yeah – no…I wasn’t even…How’s it goin’?” He said finally, breaking into a smile.
“It’s going ok. So far the contractions have been pretty mild. I think all that pain they talk about…it’s a myth.”
“Totally. My mom says that if she had to pick between giving birth again over having a scoop of ice cream…it’d be childbirth every time.”
“Excellent. I knew that Lamaze class woulda been a total jip.”
Jim waited a beat, knowing bullshit banter when he heard it. “Scared?”
Jim grinned widely. “I hear there are drugs on the premises.”
“Sweet deal…Why don’t you -
Jim turned. A look of pure dread shadowed his smile as Michael swooped into the room. The only thing that could make this moment even more perfect was if…
“Dwight…what a nice surprise,” Pam said trying to hoist herself up just a bit in bed. Jim stood to help her as she muttered under her breath, “Now I really need drugs.”
“I came to drop off my gift!” Michael said, grinning from ear to ear.
Dwight made an amendment. “Michael you only contributed a dollar –
“Shut it,” Michael whispered, recovering quickly with a smile. He passed the box to Pam. “A gift for the lovely couple…and baby makes three!” he said quickly turning to give the camera man his best ‘generous face’. He realized a moment too late that the camera guys had stayed out in the hall. He turned back to Jim and Pam. “Since I wasn’t invited to the baby shower…I thought I’d make a special trip.”
Pam looked guiltily at Jim but then smiled for Michael. “Thank you so much…” she said smoothing her hand over the gift wrap. It was actually wrapped very nicely. An iridescent pink and blue paper skimmed a rectangular box. Probably pink and blue because Michael hadn’t realized what the sex of the baby was. He’d never even asked.
“Aren’t you gonna open it?” Dwight asked, when Pam went to hand it to Jim.
“Oh…I…I was going to save it for when the baby –
“Open it.” Michael said, smiling. His eyes suddenly so big they were slightly frightening.
Jim sighed and laced his fingers behind his head. Whatever was inside that box couldn’t be good. He just couldn’t trust that Michael and Dwight could come up with even a remotely appropriate baby gift.
“Oh…ok,” Pam said graciously, propping the box up on her belly. As she started to curl her fingers under the seam of the gift wrap, she grimaced. “Oooh papercut?” Dwight asked quickly, thinking he’d absolutely surmised the source of her expression.
Jim shot forward in his seat, a hand on Pam’s knee.
Michael shook his head at Dwight. “Idiot,” he said, and quickly jogged over to the side of the bed that Jim wasn’t on. Slipping his hand inside of Pam’s. “I’m here for you Pam…you just…squeeze. Squeeze as hard as you can!” He demanded.
“Michael! Michael be careful! I don’t want her to hurt you!” Dwight exclaimed. “My mother broke my father’s hand in 10 places when she was giving birth to me.”
Jim shook his head and then looked up. “Ok, seriously you two need to get out…You ok?” He said turning back to Pam, whose face was slowly returning to a normal, healthy shade. Not white like it had been a moment ago.
“Wow…yeah…No, it’s ok,” she said rubbing Jim’s hand. “I can at least open Michael’s gift before they leave.”
“Dwight’s gift,” Dwight muttered.
Michael grinned like a happy child on Christmas. Rubbing his hand from where Pam had held it. “That did kind of…hurt just a little. You should have warned me you were gonna squeeze that hard,” he said lowering his voice.
Pam sat silently for an awkward moment. “Sorry.”
She slipped her fingers beneath the wrapping paper, slowly uncovering a box with a picture of a…
“It’s a breast pump,” Michael said volunteering the information as if no one could tell what it was from the picture. “I hear those babies get really tender when they’re all enjor-gorge…engorgeous with milk. So…this’ll come in handy.”
“That’s what she said,” Dwight said with a sly smile.
“Dwight…how many times do I have to tell you that’s my joke…damn it Dwight,” Michael said, shaking his head in disgust.
Jim rubbed his forehead as Pam handed him the box. When he dropped it on the bedside table without even looking at it, Pam knew he was annoyed. Maybe it was time to get rid Tom and Jerry.
“That was very…um….thoughtful of you Michael, and Dwight,” Pam said, when Dwight looked ready to object.
“Question,” Dwight said, stepping away from Michael and towards Jim and Pam. “What will you be naming the child?”
Jim glanced at Pam and then at Dwight. Very solemnly he said, “Schrute.”
Pam covered her mouth quickly to stifle her laughter.
Dwight shook his head. “Don’t be ridiculous Jim. That’s my family name. You can not name your child Schrute.”
“Um, yes I can,” Jim said matter of factly.
“No you can’t. It’s a family heirloom, and it’s mine. Find your own name to name it. Like maybe…Pukeface.”
“Wow…we were going to name our first born after you…and that’s the thanks we get?”
“Name it Halpert.”
“Why not Jim?” Dwight asked, now speaking through his teeth he was so angry.
“Only if I can hyphenate it. Schrute-Halpert. Nay…Halpert-Schrute. I think that’s a more powerful way to go.”
“Of course it is Jim – but you can’t have it.”
Michael shook his head. “Why the hell would you want to name your baby Schrute? That’s such a loser name.”
Dwight’s face fell. “We should go now Michael.”
Pam smiled as they started to leave. “Thanks for the breast pump guys…and the name!”
“You can’t have it!” Dwight yelled as Jim shut the door behind them.
“You’re horrible,” Pam said giggling as Jim came back to sit next to her.
“Oh they gift you with a breast pump and I’m horrible.”
Pam laughed again. “Well I didn’t get one at the baby shower…It’s practical.”
Jim watched her face closely as the contraction started to intensify.
Pam opened her eyes just long enough to spot the nurse who was checking something on the fetal monitor next to her. “That other nurse…that other nurse said something about 6 centimeters. Isn’t that a low estimate? I mean you’ve got seniority right? Can’t you just…like…tell the doctor I’m at 10?”
“It doesn’t work that way honey, I’m sorry,” the nurse said trying hard not to laugh.
“This is ridiculous,” Pam said on a sigh as she started to come down.
Jim glanced at the ink spike that started to ebb back down to normal on the monitor. “Over?”
She inhaled through her nose and let a slow breath out through her mouth. “Yeah, I think so.”
Pam smiled wide and sighed. She was already so amazingly tired. Her mother had come in just a little bit ago and Pam had lied, telling her that the pain wasn’t getting worse at all. Her mom had known of course that she was only telling her that so that she wouldn’t worry. So that she wouldn’t spend the next few hours sitting next to her and bossing the nurses around.
Jim had left during those few brief moments, giving them time to talk and she’d told her mom that she and Jim would be ok. Her mother had nodding knowingly. “You know if you just want to be here alone with your husband, you can just say that to me…I get it. I may not be a newlywed anymore, but I’m not stupid either.”
Pam had just smiled at her mother and told her that she loved her.
Jim grinned. “So what was that? ‘Tell the doctor I’m at 10?’”He said mimicking her as the nurse left with a smile on her face.
“Shut up…I really hate you right now.”
“Funny. That’s not what you were saying when you got this way…so…”
She glared at him. “That’s the closest you’ve ever come to a ‘that’s what she said’ kind of a joke, and I don’t think you should come any closer.”
“Wow, ok Beesly. Way to lay down the law.”
A moment passed and Jim leaned close. “So…I think right now is a perfect time to play Would You Rather.”
Pam rolled her eyes. “Jim…”
“No seriously. What better time? I mean this is childbirth Pam…this is the ultimate in comparisons. It’d be unnatural not to play.”
“Oh like your mom and icecream…She lied to you.”
“Ok…so going to a bar with Meredith and having your first after pregnancy shot with her…or going to Hooters with Michael.”
“Too easy. Bar with Meredith.”
“Ok then, bar with Meredith or beet harvesting with Dwight?”
Pam bit her bottom lip. “No fair. That’s -
“Beet harvesting with Dwight.”
“Oh my God!” Jim exclaimed leaning back in his chair.
Pam laughed out loud. Thank God for him. How on Earth would she ever get through this without Jim? Playing stupid games with him while waiting for the next contraction…while waiting for this miraculous thing to happen…
“Pam…seriously, do you realize what you just said?”
With tears in her eyes she nodded.
“What?” Jim asked, shaking his head.
“Ok…no seriously, what? Another contraction?” He asked, and glanced up at the monitor. The little ink needle wasn’t jumping, but she was definitely looking at him in weird way. Not an ‘I’m having fun’ kind of way. Maybe playing Would You Rather had been a dumb idea.
“No, not yet,” she said though.
“If you don’t want to play this –
“No…what’s the next one? I mean so what if I want to go beet farming with Dwight!”
“You said you wanted to name our first born after him!”
“That was a joke Pam,” Jim said shaking his head. He folded his arms over his chest as he leaned back. His legs stretched in front of him. “That was a joke. You on the other hand, were drop dead serious…Unforgivable.”
“Give me another one!”
“No…I don’t think I can play this game with you anymore,” he said, giving her an out if she wanted to take it.
“But we didn’t even get to childbirth!...You can’t stop now,” Pam said dissolving into giggles.
Wait, Jim thought. That was definitely her ‘I’m having a great time,’ laughter. So maybe she did want to play…
“Oh my God you guys are so cute!”
Jim looked up, his thoughts interrupted by the door swinging open to reveal Kelly and Ryan.
“Pam I can’t believe you’re 9 months pregnant and you didn’t even get that fat!” She continued, oblivious to all shocked expressions. “Seriously, you could have done a Vanity Fair cover like that…I mean I know you’re not famous or anything…but seriously, you are so cute.”
“Thanks Kelly,” Pam said tiredly, hoisting her self up.
Jim rubbed his forehead
“So…Oh my God, Michael told me that you guys are naming the baby Shcrute! Is that true?”
Pam shot a pointed look at Jim, who looked at his feet.
“No…it’s not true,” Pam said.
“Oh really? Bummer…I thought it might actually be kind of cool because then you’d have a really cool baby name like you know…Apple, Moses, Suri…basically like any name that is awesome.”
“Wow…yeah,” Jim said, his stance now mirroring Ryan’s as he put his own hands in his pockets and paced a bit. If he was really being honest with himself, their appearance was a blessing. At least now he had time to think things through. What did other guys do in delivery rooms with their wives? He was pretty sure they didn’t subject them to games of Would You Rather…
“Thanks Kelly,” Pam was saying. “We’ll think about those.”
“Well if you don’t name it Schrute, you should name it Kelly.”
“Oh,” Pam said, her mouth staying in the form of an ‘O’ for a few seconds too long.
Jim worked hard not to laugh at her expression. Ryan shook his head in mortification behind Kelly.
“Actually…um…we’re having a boy,” Jim said, saving Pam from having to finish.
“That’s ok! See that’s the most awesome thing about ‘Kelly’! It’s a boy/girl name. Androgynous. It’s perfect and totally awesome.”
“Wow,” Jim said smiling. Forget what he’d just been thinking. He couldn’t take Kelly’s fervor or Ryan’s awkward condescension anymore. He looked at Pam pointedly, hoping that she interpreted what he was trying to say here…they needed to take drastic measures or Kelly would never leave.
Pam immediately had a contraction.
“Oh my God it hurts! For the love of God!” Pam shouted, clutching Jim’s hand.
“Wow…whoa, yeah Kelly, Ryan…I think you guys better get out of here. This looks like a big one.”
Kelly frowned and glanced at the monitor. “My sister had a baby…before she died, and that thing always showed you when someone was having a contraction.”
“It’s a really cheap room. The monitor’s broken,” Jim said without missing a beat.
“Oh,” Kelly said, nodding solemnly. “Ok, well come on Ryan…let’s go look at the babies!” She said grinning as she pulled a miserable Ryan towards the door. Giddy again even as Pam was hee-hee-ho-ho ing away.
“Oh my God we should totally have one!” Kelly was saying as they slipped out of the room.
The door shut and Pam and Jim released one another’s hands.
“We’re going to hell,” Pam said quietly.
“Not me…just you.”
“You totally lied first!”
“Not the same.”
“Yes it is!”
“Totally not the same as faking a contraction. That’s…immoral.”
“But you told me to do it!”
“Those words never came out of my mouth.”
“You were thinking it!”
“No,” Jim said, now channeling Angela.
“Suck ….whoa…ow…” Pam leaned forward, gripping the side of the bed as Jim quickly moved back to her. “Oh my God,” she whispered this time. Her face telling the story of how real this one was.
“Ooh yeah, I shoulda been timing that better,” Jim said, clutching her hand. When she didn’t smile or even look at him, but continued to shut her eyes tightly through the contraction, he trailed his fingers along the side of her head, softly touching her hair.
When he noticed the sudden lump in his throat he knew he’d had it. How the heck was he supposed to do this? Silently he watched her, deciding that right now more than anything she probably just needed him to shut up and keep holding her hand.
“God, that one was really long,” she whispered a moment later as the pain began to slowly creep away.
“Yeah,” Jim said, at a loss for words for perhaps the first time in his life.
“Ok, I officially really don’t like this,” she said through a tenuous smile.
“You should quit,” Jim said. “Without a doubt.”
“Really? You don’t think that’d be unfair to the baby?”
“Baby,” Jim said shrugging. “What’s the baby done for us?” Jim asked, needing more than anything to make a joke just then.
He’d been pretty damn good about remaining calm up until now if he did say so himself. He had yet to resort to lunatic behavior. He hadn’t gone running around getting ice cubes nor had he been dumb enough to suggest that he would gladly trade places with her.
Because truth be told – he would not gladly trade places with her. Instead he’d request neither of them had to go through this at all.
Baby yes – all for it. Pain – no.
Even now, seconds later, his heart was still was still making it’s descent back down from his throat.
“God you’re right,” Pam was saying in response to his comment. “So what do we do?”
“Well Pam…you have to hurry up and dilate.”
“Yeah…see…I’m trying. But there seems to be some kind of problem.”
“Should I get the nurse back Pam? Oh wait, no…she said there was nothing she could do about it. So um, basically this all falls on your shoulders. If you could please try and be a team player…”
“Listen,” Jim said shrugging, “This isn’t my fault. You got yourself into this position…”
“Hmm…how’s that exactly?”
“Seriously? You don’t remember?”
“I remember exactly. I’m just wondering whether you remember.”
“We were sitting in the living room on the floor watching some zombie flick that you just had to see, and when we turned it off the news was on…they were doing a special on the this lady who was making baby blankets for some hospital and you suddenly got this huge smile on your face and you turned to me and said, out of nowhere ‘Would you freak if I wanted to make a baby?’…and I said ‘Yes, because I really just had a craving for spaghetti tonight…nothing that exotic,’ and then you socked me in the stomach.”
“I did not sock you in the stomach.”
Yes she had, and it had been great. It’d given him a minute just to collect himself. Of course he wanted to make a baby with her! Was she kidding!
“Oh my God…you’re totally denying it now?” Jim asked.
“Whatever. I don’t remember it like that. You were the one who brought up babies.”
“So not true. Basically Beesly that’s just an out and out lie. What kind of values are you gonna teach our kids?”
“Oh kids now? Plural? See, I rest my case…you’re the one who’s baby crazy.”
So now things were really scary. Some time during the last hour he’d lost the ability to make a joke or any smart ass comment. When exactly was he supposed to fit them in? During that small window of time when she wasn’t exactly in pain but on the razor sharp edge of it? The edge so narrow that even outside of contraction, her brow still furrowed under a sheen of sweat.
All of the contractions were bad now, but some were worse than others it seemed. Initially he thought that the ones where she’d called out in obvious pain were the ones to worry about. But now he knew differently.
The silent ones that brought tears to her eyes were much harder to deal with. When she turned to him silently imploring him to do something – when all the while he could do absolutely less than nothing.
“I really don’t think I can do this Jim,” she whispered, almost conspiratorially so the nurse next to them wouldn’t hear. It reminded him of the times she’d suddenly thought maybe a prank they’d planned to pull on Dwight was a bit too harsh and then they’d have to back out. Only her voice was weaker, smaller…but still like there was a choice in this.
He said nothing in response. Not a ‘I know,’ or a ‘Yes you can,’ for both of those just seemed so trite. What the hell did he know about what she was going through. He could only lean his forehead lightly against hers as she fought through it. Kissing her for a moment right there on her forehead before positioning his head again.
He glanced up at the monitor. This one was really long.
Intellectually he knew why they were getting more intense. It had all been explained to them in the ob/gyn’s office when all of this had been brand new. When the idea that they were ‘having a baby’ had been nothing more than that: wow, a baby…us? Really? As the doctor had explained things they’d seemed so far off, so far removed from what had been going on in their daily lives.
They’d gotten married soon after they’d finally gotten a clue. Then suddenly without warning, they’d decided…yeah you know what – it would be pretty cool to raise someone together.
And now…here they were, and he wasn’t ready for this part. His heart wasn’t ready for this part.
“Honey you’re almost ready to go,” the nurse was saying as she finished examining Pam. “I’m going to make sure the doctor is ready.”
“That’d be…just peachy if he were ready,” Pam mustered as she drifted out of the contraction. The contractions were coming so quickly now though that she could barely feel any relief about this one being over. They rolled in seemingly on top of one another like breakers on a beach.
She shut her eyes, the drugs that they’d given her taking her quickly under before the next wave hit, but she felt him behind her. Felt his hands in her hair, pulling it away from the sticky skin of her neck. She heard him grab something from the night table next to them and then felt her hair get piled on top of her head. He was putting her hair up for her…
“I love you,” she mumbled as she slipped under. But then there was that building ache…
Jim sat behind her, his fingers lying against her shoulders, but not kneading this time. Earlier he’d tried massaging her shoulders, and she’d nearly killed him by quietly pleading, “Please don’t touch me right now.”
She hadn’t meant it as a slight, but it had only made him feel that much more useless than he already had.
A sound escaped her lips now that had him shutting his own eyes. What on Earth was taking the doctor so long?
Just as the thought entered his mind, the doctor entered the room…and things got even scarier.
Pam made a face. “Poor thing…I think she’s gonna have my hair.”
Jim smiled as he lightly touched his baby’s head. His baby…wow. Their baby. He and Pam had a baby.
Their baby felt like silk…and she was so pink that she almost blended in with the blanket the nurse had wrapped her in. She squirmed jerkily for a moment, quickly flashed them a hint of midnight blue eyes, and then settled back in silently.
“Stop ragging on her hair Pam…” He lowered his voice and put his lips next to her tiny baby ears. “Daddy thinks it’s nice.”
“Daddy,” Pam repeated smiling at him. His eyes widened as if to say ‘I know, right? Can you believe it?’
Jim continued to gaze at his daughter for a long moment and then up at Pam, who held her against her chest. For a room that had been so absolutely panicked and stress filled just moments before, it was suddenly the most peaceful place on earth. Silence was not even the word for it, because silence seemed void of something. This was…this was more full than anything he’d ever felt in his life.
Pam’s eyes started to slowly shut.
Jim carefully eased his daughter out of her arms. Holding her wasn’t so scary…“I guess I should hold her before you drop her…Mommy’s on drugs, you should probably know that going in,” he said quietly.
Pam let her head roll against the pillow. “Suck it.”
“Hey…you have one more to answer…”
Pam groaned. “What?”
“We didn’t finish Would You Rather,” he said whispering so he wouldn’t wake the baby. He leaned close to Pam. “Come on…just one more.”
Pam opened her eyes long enough to capture the picture of them in her mind’s eye. Jim grinning like a crazy man as he glanced from the baby to her and then back again. She’d seen him smile before…but somehow – maybe it was the drugs…but she was pretty sure it wasn’t – somehow it was the best smile she’d ever seen. Here she’d thought his smiles were beyond compare…
She made a mental checklist of every facet of the picture they made. She’d paint this later.
“Ok…go…” she sighed drowsily.
“My yearbook picture used on the cover of the Dunder-Mifflin Newsletter complete with a detailed description of all my guilty pleasures including Laguna Beach - listed underneath…or…childbirth.”
Pam grinned and glanced lovingly at the bundle he had in his arms. She looked so impossibly tiny there. That wonderful little creature had been living inside her and now…Now she was here – their’s. Someone they’d made together.
“That’s a tough one…”
“Definitely,” Jim said gazing down at their baby. “A toss up for sure…that’s what I thought.” He looked at Pam then. She was closer to sleep than anyone he’d ever seen, yet still alert enough to flicker her eyelids when he called her name again. “Pam…”
“So basically you get executive control of TIVO for like…the next 3 years…”
“I’ll see any chick-flick you want for the next year without any whining.”
“Nice,” she whispered sleepily.
“Creative control on all pranks played on Dwight.”
“And I’ll pretend to be Michael with clients once every three weeks for the next 6 months –
“On any calls I like?”
Pam had been blessedly asleep for 30 full minutes and the baby had been taken to the nursery. He already missed the company, so he went for a walk. Shoving his hands in his pockets he tried to process it all, but wow…
He followed the signs and ended up in the right place. Quickly he found his…because his well – was of course the cutest.
“Jill…that’s a great name.”
Jim looked up quickly. “Michael? What are you…” Jim looked at his watch. It was 6 a..m. They’d arrived at the hospital nearly 14 hours ago. “Did you stay here all night?”
“Not the whole time. I got a bite to eat at Chili’s…there’s one just down the street,” he said motioning with his thumb. “I love that place.”
Jim could only stare at him. “Michael that must’ve been hours ago. It’s morning.”
“Oh yeah, I know…but…Wow, you really did good – and Pam,” he said glancing at Jim then with tears in his eyes. “Congratulations.”
Wow. Jim shook his head. “Thank you.”The End