Chapter 6 – Mother and Child
Giles was sitting with Buffy gently caressing the back of her hand as she slept. “‘Little one’ is so beautiful, Buffy. Ten perfect little toes on feet no larger than my thumb. The fingers on her hands seem long; I’ll teach her to play the piano if you’d like. Of course this means we’ll need to buy a piano.”
He ran his left hand through his hair. He was exhausted; he hadn’t slept since yesterday and even then it was only a couple of hours before Buffy had woken him. A nurse came into change the blood bag and check her machines and saw the condition of the man sitting by the patient’s side.
“Miss Summers is going to be asleep for long while; why don’t you go home get some rest yourself then later.”
“I told her I’d stay with her.”
“Believe me she won’t be waking for at least four to six hours.”
Giles contemplated his options, he could have Willow or Xander bring him some clothes or go home change and be back before Buffy woke. He opted for the latter; kissing Buffy’s forehead he whispered, “I’ll be back soon, luv.”
Giles returned after showering, shaving; he had a bunch of daisies in his right hand and as he entered Buffy’s room he stopped dead in his tracks. There was someone cleaning the floor of what looked to be a lot of blood; Buffy was nowhere in sight.
He turned ghostly pale as the flowers dropped from his hand. The maintenance person caught the movement out of the corner of his eye then saw a man standing and staring. He rushed over to Giles and made him sit before then called for the on duty nurse.
The nurse came in and crouched beside the semi-catatonic man. She went on to explain there was a problem and Buffy had been brought back to the OR; the doctor would explain it all when he was finished. She led Giles to the operating room waiting area. “Would you like me to get you anything, coffee or tea perhaps?” Giles shook his head in response; he was too numb to respond verbally.
She was resting comfortably when I left. I was only gone a couple of hours. It isn’t evening so I don’t believe it was vampires. Giles’ analytical brain tried to sort out what had happened but he didn’t have all the necessary information.
At least before, he knew what was going on; Buffy was having complications and they needed to deliver the baby but this time, no one was telling him why or even what time she had gone back to surgery. He was on his feet and pacing before fifteen minutes passed.
He knew he needed to calm his growing anger and frustration; recovering from a broken hand because he put it through a wall would not be helpful to Buffy or the baby. The baby … he left the waiting area and headed to the NICU.
After the cursory ID check and hand sanitizing he went over to where the little one was. He breathed a sigh of relief. She looked good; all nice and pink.
“Would you like to hold her?”
Giles shook his head, “She can sense tension from the person holding her, yes?”
“Her mum is back in s-surgery and I don’t know why … I just, needed to see …” he swallowed the lump in his throat that he couldn’t seem to get rid of. “I do not wish to cause her undue stress … I just felt I need to check on her.”
“I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. I can leave word at the OR desk that you’re down here if you’d like; for when she comes out of surgery?”
“Th-thank you.” Giles sat in the reclining chair; using his index finger of his left hand he gently stroked the baby’s hand. In all his years the only thing that had quelled the amount of anger and frustration he now held was to go and beat the hell out of something or more likely someone. But just being in the baby’s presence, knowing that kind of behavior would be detrimental to her was having a calming effect. He removed his watch and placed it in his pocket he then positioned his chair so he couldn’t see the clock in the room.
Giles lost all track of time. Eventually he was calm enough to where he felt comfortable holding the baby without sending out ‘tension vibes’. The nurse set her, cradled in his arms. “You can hold her while I feed her. This way you can learn how it is done.”
Giles plied his trade and watched intently asking questions as the feeding went along. This helped to distract him from what was going on with Buffy. The nurse was just putting away the items used for feeding when a call came into the NICU. She approached Giles cautiously, “I think we should put …?”
“Aria.” He blurted.
“What a very pretty name. Well, it is time for Aria to go back to bed and that was the OR they asked that I send you up there.”
Giles laid the bundle in his arms down. “Buffy, how – how is she?”
“All they said was they had news and to send you up there.”
Giles arrived at the OR nurses station. “Buffy Summers, how is she?”
“Have a seat in the waiting area and I’ll let the doctor know you’re here.”
Reluctantly Giles did as told but after five minutes he was pacing around the room. He was finding it very difficult to keep Ripper from appearing and beating people for the information he wanted. When the doctor finally appeared Giles’ glare made him take a couple of steps back.
“Buffy is out of surgery and is again, in ICU.”
“What … happened? She was fine when I left and I was only gone two hours?”
“Please take a seat.”
“No, just tell me.”
“There was a complication … She went into cardiac arrest after you left. With ultrasound we saw she was hemorrhaging internally. We brought her up to the OR where she arrested again. We found the bleeds, cauterized them and while suturing she arrested once more. As I said she is resting comfortably in the ICU at this time.”
It took all of Giles energy to contain his frustration, “Where?”
Giles barely recognized the person lying in the bed before him. Buffy seemed so small and frail. He approached the bed, found a spot that wasn’t covered with hospital tubing; it happened to be her right hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. He leaned down and placed a tender kiss to her forehead. Tears of frustration, anger, relief and fear fell silently down his cheeks as he thought about what could have happened.
He wasn’t sure he could endure a life without Buffy and now there was Aria to think about. “I hope you like the name Aria, luv; cause you daughter has put a song in my heart that can never be replaced. You have to get better, I-I can’t do this without you.”
Placing his head on the corner of her bed he fell it to a deep sleep. A sleep that incorporated the machine noise and then doctors saying there was nothing they could do. Then he was accused of fraud for misleading everyone into thinking he was the baby’s father and she was taken from his arms and handed to some unseen man. This man cooed “Shhh, daddy’s got you now.”
Giles was startled awake by fingers, at the back of his head, running through his hair. “Oh, Buffy …” he gave her a hug, “…you’re awake.”
“Hey Giles, been here all night?”
He glanced at the clock in the room, it had been ten hours since he entered her room. “What, oh yes, I suppose I have.”
“I feel really tired. What meds do they have me on anyway?”
“I-I’m not sure. How are you feeling, besides tired that is.”
“Well,” she went to rub her pregnant belly, “My baby … where’s…”
Giles set his hands gently onto her shoulders to prevent her from getting up. “Buffy,” she still struggled, “Buffy, Aria is in the NICU. She’s …”
She settled back into the bed, “Aria?”
“Well, they … they asked and um … it was the first name that came to mind.” He gave her a shy grin, “You can change it if you like. It isn’t on her birth certificate.” He hastily added.
“Aria … Aria Summers, I like it but it needs a middle name.”
“H-how about Joyce.”
“Aria Joyce Summers … its perfect. How did you ever come up with such an unusual but pretty name?”
“When I went to visit her, then staff asked me what her name was and I knew you hadn’t chosen one yet. She is so precious and gorgeous and … so like a soft lilting melody.”
The doctor entered breaking the heartfelt sentimentality that hung in the air. “Okay, Buffy it is time for me to earn my keep and examine you.”
“I’ll just …” Giles went to leave the room, “How long will you be.”
“Shouldn’t be more than a ten fifteen minutes. You could stay if you’d like.”
“No, that’s all right, I just take this opportunity to get something to eat. I’ll be back, Buffy.”
Giles left, to leave the doctor to his patient. “He is a strange one. I’ve never seen a husband more …”
“Excuse me? Giles isn’t my … I’m not married.”
“He obviously loves you very much. If he isn’t with you he’s with his daughter down in the NICU.”
“Giles isn’t the father.”
“He said he was your partner?”
“For my Lamaze classes.”
“Oh, just a moment please.” The doctor picked up the phone in her room placing a call to the NICU. “Yes revoke ID tag 622347S.” He set the phone back into the cradle then continued his exam of his patient.
When he had completed his assessment he was amazed at her recuperative progress. “Well, Miss Summers I’ll be transferring you to a room today; you are too well to stay in the ICU. I’ll have the desk nurse make the arrangements.”
“Can I see my daughter first?”
“I don’t see why not. Let me contact someone to bring you down.”
As Buffy and the nurse, who was bringing her down to the NICU approached they could hear a commotion and Buffy recognized one of the voices.
“I don’t understand I have been in and out of this UNIT more than a dozen times.”
“And I’m telling you sir you no longer have access. I don’t know why but your wrist ID is not longer valid.”
Giles was about to lunge at the security officer when Buffy yelled, “Giles! Stop!” Giles ended his attack swiftly and set his hands in his pockets.
He approached the gurney she was lying on, “Buffy, you’ve finished with the doctor and obviously it must be good news as they’ve let you come here.”
“What’s going on?”
“They will not allow me in to see Aria. I wanted to tell her you woke and everything looked good.”
“Can he come in with me?”
“The person manning the ID approval list was about to say yes when the security officer piped in. “No, the hospital is on alert at the moment and no one is allowed in or out of the NICU until it is resolved.”
“What’s the alert?” Buffy asked
The security officer stared at Giles then looked at Buffy, “I’m not at liberty to say. The doctor involved will be here in a moment.”
Giles, deciding to use the time explained to Buffy what she was, about to encounter just passed the NICU doors. “There are machines beeping an blaring at odd intervals. First thing we’ll do is wash to disinfect out hands and arms. Then when you see Arial remember all of the tubes, wires and so forth are for her benefit. If at any time you feel overwhelmed with it all lean on me for support.”
The doctor arrived. “What is going on here?”
“You tell us, you’re the one who called and revoked the ID and as a result we had to call in security which automatically puts the NICU in lock down.”
“Oh, yes … It came to my attention that this man is not the baby’s father and so, we must restrict his access as we would anyone else.”
“What does that mean?”
Buffy could tell Giles was about to lose it, “Can he come in with me?” she asked the attendant.
“Yes, he can.”
“Good,” she turned to her Watcher, “Giles just come in with me for now and we’ll sort this all out later.”
Buffy’s ID was scanned and she was allowed entry with Giles glaring back at the doctor and security guard as he followed her in. They stopped at the washing station then Giles directed Buffy to where Aria was lying in the open crib.
Buffy squeezed Giles hand as the emotions ran through her. “Buffy, please … my hand.”
He shook out the tenderness then boldly reached over to the babe and stroked his index finger over her leg. “She loves being held close to you chest. She’ll snuggle right down. The feeling of holding her is, is indescribable.”
The same nurse, who was there a few other times when Giles was, came over. “Wow, what a ruckus out there. You must be Buffy I’ve heard so much about you. I’m so glad you are finally able to meet your daughter. Would you like to hold her?”
“Oh yes.” Without thinking Giles began to open Buffy’s hospital gown front. “Giles!” she swatted his hands away.
“S-sorry, um … it’s good for her to have skin to skin contact and I-I wasn’t thinking. Sorry.” He turned his back so she could facilitate the kangaroo hold.”
“You can turn back now.” He did and as he watched Buffy hold her daughter for the first time he felt the oncoming tears again. He dropped into teaching mode and explained what each of the different wires and tubes were for.
Buffy was only half listening as she reveled in the awe-inspiring feeling of motherhood. Then her brain went into overdrive. This little person is dependent on me to provide for her and keep her safe. But we live on a Hellmouth; there are vampires, demons, bad witches, former friends who are now evil sorcerers. The last was about Ethan and how he had turned Giles into a demon, just because.
What else could Giles be hiding that I don’t know about that could put Aria in danger. “Giles we need to talk and I mean really talk.” Her tone broached no argument.
“Of course, whenever you want but if it is about … our mutual profession … maybe we should table the discussion until we are somewhere more private.”
To be continued in Home