It was the first time in recent memory that the castle’s hospital wing wasn’t overcrowded with people, Lotor noting it was a relatively quiet day. There was few patients to be found, the doctors here more practiced at dealing with life and death situations than simple colds and flus. With the war ended, time on Doom was peaceful, meaning there was no damaging injuries, leaving the doctors with little to do.
It wasn’t any wonder that they all clamored for the chance to play doctor to Allura, various men and women hurrying in and out of the room. If they were excited or bothered by the early labor, they hid it well, expressions serious as they fussed over Allura. At times so many doctors pressed around her bed it left the girl concealed from Lotor’s view.
He hovered behind one tall woman, trying to watch as she bent over Allura’s arm. A needle was in her hand, a long twirling cord attaching it to the iv bag. She was currently swabbing at Allura’s arm, ready to insert it into a vein. He fought to keep from speaking, not wanting to annoy the doctor in urging her to be careful. On some level he had the confidence that these doctors knew what they were doing.
It didn’t stop him from worrying, from tensing up every time Allura was hit with another contraction. And it was often, the contractions coming less than five minutes apart in frequency. And when they hit, they hit hard, Allura gasping in pain.
The woman finished with the iv insertion, using a clear tape to secure the needle so that it wouldn’t move. She nearly bumped into Lotor when she turned to move, Lotor giving her an annoyed look as he moved to take her place besides Allura. She had changed into the gown of the hospital, and currently her legs were spread, feet resting in stirrups as a doctor checked under the skirt of her gown.
Lotor knew what he was checking for, the man trying to ascertain how far along dilation had occurred. They kept a careful watch on her progress, at times almost obsessed with checking on her. Another doctor was checking on Allura’s pulse, fingers on her wrist as he timed the beat of her heart. A fetal heart monitor had been strapped to her belly, the device picking up the sounds of the twin’s heartbeats, faint but thudding at a normal pace.
There was other doctors, a woman looking over Allura’s chart, muttering under her breath something. Lotor glanced at her, trying to make out her words, but the doctor noticed his attention and grew silent, turning away to check on one of the monitors. And there was many, some looking like tiny view screens, showing lines and bleeps as they checked on various functions of Allura’s body.
There hadn’t been enough time to administer an epidural, Allura’s contractions proceeding too rapidly to risk a numbing of her body this close to the labor. They could only try to make her comfortable, piling on pain medication via the iv line to help her deal with the discomforts of the contractions.
A nurse had helped Allura change, even going so far as to braid back the girl’s unruly mane, reasoning she would be more comfortable without a huge mass of hair weighing heavily on her neck. Even with it tied back, she was covered in sweat, drops of moisture trickling down the sides of her face, and wetting the front and back of her nightgown. Lotor tried to cool her off as best he could, wiping her face clean of the sweat, and offering ice chips to quench her thirst.
When she wasn’t having contractions, Allura was calm, almost eerily so, not quite smiling as she watched everyone work over her. But whenever a contraction hit, she changed, tensing up and crying out, voice sometimes slipping back into Arusian. He wasn’t sure what she was saying, but it sounded bad, Allura’s voice pain stricken as she shouted. He wasn’t surprised when she gasped, more Arusian words tumbling free of her lips as the latest contraction hit her.
“I’m here!” Lotor said, catching her flailing hand, feeling Allura give him a squeeze. For such a frail looking human, her grip was strong, the girl squeezing with all her might. It was as though she was trying to transfer the pain to him, Allura half glaring as she gritted her teeth.
He tried to soothe her as best he could, Lotor reaching to pet her head. She actually jerked back at the touch, and focused her glare on him, Lotor taken aback by the animosity.
“You!” She cried out, her fingers squeezing even harder. “You did this to me!”
“Allura!” Lotor gasped, staring at her wide eyed.
“You did!” She retorted, giving an angry shake of her head. “It’s your fault I’m going through this pain!”
“You don’t mean that…” Lotor said, trying not to show his upset.
“Of course she doesn’t.” A new arrival in the room, Lotor risking taking his eyes off Allura to peer at the door. Haggar stood there, a satchel in hand, eyes showing faint amusement. “But the pain of labor often makes women harsh with their words.”
“Then this is normal?” Lotor asked, not yet relieved.
“Aye it is.” Haggar nodded, and strode over to the bed, waving her free hand at the doctors to clear a path to Allura. They grudgingly moved, the witch taking up position on the other side of Allura. “Poor thing.” She set down her bag, taking Allura’s free hand in hers.
“Haggar!” Allura cried out her name, looking emotional. She seemed to be squeezing the witch’s hand, though surely not as hard as she squeezed Lotor’s! “It hurts!”
“I know child, I know.” Haggar sympathized. “I’m afraid you must endure this pain. But it shouldn’t be much longer…”
“It’s been long enough!” Allura exclaimed, and Lotor had to nod in agreement. How much longer must Allura suffer!?
“Have you been helping her with her breathing?” Haggar asked, and Lotor blinked. His blank look made the witch sigh, the woman almost angry now. “Of course not. Well, don’t worry….Haggar is here now…she’ll take care of the important stuff.”
“Thank you!” Allura said gratefully, relaxing her grip now that her contraction had ended.
“Breathing right is important…” Haggar said, looking at Lotor. “It’ll help keep her distracted from the pain if she concentrates on her breathing.” She said it almost accusingly, looking at Lotor as though the King should have known this already.
“Dilation is nine centimeters.” The doctor by Allura’s legs called out and Haggar nodded in approval.
“Almost there dear. Just a little longer.”
“Haggar, I want to push!” Allura confided, and Haggar shook her head no.
“I know dear, but you can’t. To do so now would hurt.”
“Hurt more than she already is hurting?” demanded Lotor, aghast.
“She needs to wait to be fully dilated.” Haggar retorted, and then Allura was crying out, squeezing down hard on both their hands. “Breath Allura, breathe!” The witch made a funny little hissing sound, taking exaggerated breaths. Allura looked at her, mimicking the panting. “That’s it..” Haggar said in between breaths, showing no sign of being affected by Allura’s squeezes.
At last the contraction subsided, and Allura went back to breathing normally, falling back against the pillows with a sigh. “Have you picked out names yet?” Haggar asked, and Lotor realized she was making conversation, trying to distract them from the waiting.
“Not quite.” Answered Lotor. “We almost settled on some names though…”
“Well, now is the time to make final decisions.” Haggar told them. “The babies are coming, and won’t wait for you to decide on what they’ll be called.”
“Adora!” Allura cried out, and Lotor was shocked to realize another contraction had hit her this soon. She and Haggar began their funny way of breathing, the seconds ticking on past a full minute before Allrua calmed down. “We both agreed on Adora for one of the girls.”
“Adora….very nice.” Haggar approved. “What if there are two girls?”
“You decide Lotor!” Allura said, seeming to sag with exhaustion. “I’m too tired to even think right.”
“Are you sure?” She nodded, and Lotor paused, trying to remember what they discussed. “Than Alessandra if we have two girls.”
“You need names for sons.” Haggar said, Allura starting to squeeze once more.
“The contractions are coming too close together!” Lotor exclaimed, alarmed.
“I have to push!” Allura cried out, practically writhing in place on the bed. “My body is demanding I push!”
“Breath Allura, breath!” Haggar advised, maintaining her calm. She gave a sharp eyed look to one of the doctors, voice demanding as she spoke. “Well?”
The doctor checked under Allura’s skirt, and came up smiling. “She’s reached maximum dilation!”
“Does that mean I can push now?” Allura asked, in between hissing breaths.
“You can….when the next contraction hits.” The doctor told her, still peering between her legs.
“I will.” Allura said, sounding determined.
“Ah Lotor, you’ll want to take your place.” Haggar murmured, and Lotor looked at her blankly.
“Don’t you want to SEE the birth of your children?” Haggar asked, and Lotor paused, trying not to look queasy.
“I think it’s a sight I can live without.” Lotor heard Haggar chuckle, the witch amused.
“It’s coming!” Allura cried out, squeezing so hard that even Haggar gasped. The doctor stayed between her legs, watching her progress.
“Push now!” He advised. “Keep pushing for as long as the contraction lasts.” Allura nodded, her face red, eyes scrunched shut as she concentrated on pushing. She made desperate whines of pain and exertion, chest heaving as she tried to urge her body to expel the child. But at last the contraction ended, causing Allura to fall back exhausted.
“Should she be this tired?” Lotor asked alarmed. Haggar made a noncommittal sound, just looking Allura over. He kept his private doubts to himself, wondering how Allura would manage to deliver two children, if just the process of pushing out one was making her so tired.
“AH!” Allura gasped, Lotor no less prepared for this round of squeezing as Allura began pushing again. She pushed and she pushed, and finally the doctor smiled, making an announcement that had Haggar looking relieved.
“The baby’s crowned!”
“What does that mean?” Lotor demanded, looking back and forth between Haggar and the doctors. A female doctor answered, her words making Lotor feel ill to imagine it.
“It means the baby’s head is in position. It’s no longer slipping back inside her.”
“It’s just a little longer.” Haggar added, watching as the doctor began massaging the area between Allura’s legs.
“What’s he doing?” A suspicious Lotor asked, wondering if the doctor was molesting Allura.
“A perineum massage.” Another doctor said, and Lotor frowned, having no idea what that was. “It’s to help her stretch so we can avoid tearing.”
“Tearing?!” Lotor lwas ill at the thought of that much damage being done to Allura’s body.
“Calm down.” Haggar said, shooting a glare at Lotor. “You’re making Allura nervous.”
“Oh….sorry…” Lotor replied, abashed. The doctor continued his massage, even as Allura cried out, another contraction hitting her.
“Don’t push!” He exclaimed, and Allura let out a disappointed groan. “Not until I tell you too.”
“But my baby wants to come out now!” She protested, looking near tears.
“You have to relax Allura!” Haggar advised, running her free hand over the girl’s hair. “Relax and save your energy for when you do have to push.”
“Haggar…” Allura whimpered, looking at the witch. “I don’t think I can go through this a second time…”
“You’ll manage…” assured Haggar, petting Allura’s hair. “And soon you will be holding two bright eyed, beautiful children.”
“Yes!” Lotor agreed, forcing a smile. “We’ll finally get to meet them!”
“I…” She gasped, seeming to try to hunch over.
“You can push now!” The doctor shouted, kneeling between her legs. Allura took on a look of intense concentration, Lotor knowing she was pushing with all her might. The doctor shouted out encouragement’s, ordering her to keep pushing. And still the baby was not born, Lotor feeling a wave of disappointment and impatience. Why was it taking this long?
Allura went limp against the bed when the doctor told her to stop pushing, Lotor wiping at her sweat stained brow with a tissue. “You’re doing great.” He enthused, though privately he lacked that belief. Except for the blinking of her eyes, she didn’t react, just laying there resting.
“A son’s name…” Haggar reminded them, clearly trying to take their minds off the delivery.
“We went over a few names, but…nothing stuck out as of yet.” Lotor told her, and then the doctor was shouting for Allura to push. Another doctor joined the one by Allura’s legs, watching the baby being born.
“Push harder girl! The child is almost here!” That seemed to give Allura the encouragement she needed, the girl all but screaming, a wordless sound as she pushed. “That’s it, that’s it!”
Suddenly the kneeling doctor moved, Lotor realizing he was catching something. Allura kept on squeezing his hand, the girl falling back against the pillows, spent. He tried to see what the doctors were doing, and then he heard a slap, followed by a healthy wail. “It’s a girl!”
“A girl!” Lotor exclaimed, shocked to hear the gender confirmed. For so long they hadn’t known what Allura was carrying, it now took a few seconds for Lotor to wrap his mind over the baby being a she instead of an it.
“Adora…” Allura whispered, eyes closed.
“You can’t go to sleep just yet Allura.” Haggar reminded her, and this time it was the witch squeezing Allura’s hand. “You still have one more child to birth.”
“I’m so tired…”
“Can’t you give her something to boost her energy…?” An anxious Lotor asked, but his eyes were on the doctors. They still kept the crying Adora out of view, working to clean the birthing fluids off her.
“I’m afraid not…” Haggar sighed. “Allura will just have to pull together and be strong for your second child.”
Allura cried out, but the sound was weak, Lotor realizing a new set of contractions was upon her. A doctor immediately stepped between her legs, peering up her skirt. “It hurts…”
“I know but…”
“No, Lotor…” Allura interrupted. “It hurts more than it did…it feels…different…”
“Different how?” Haggar asked sharply.
“Can’t explain it…” moaned Allura, even as the doctor let out a very unprofessional sounding curse.
“What’s going on?” Lotor demanded as another doctor peered under Allura’s skirt. “What’s happening?” He could see the doctors growing excited, but it was an agitated kind of excitement, their eyes filling with worry.
“The baby….it’s in the wrong position…” One of the doctors explained, looking nervous to be telling the king of Doom this.
“What does that mean?” Lotor snapped out his question, glaring at the doctor.
“It means it’s feet is in place where the head should be.” The doctor answered. “It’s a breech birth…”
“This could be a problem…” muttered Haggar, drawing Lotor’s attention to her.
“It’s a highly undesirable position for a baby to be born in. They’ll have to operate to get the child out.”
“Operate?!” Lotor was shocked, Haggar moving away from the exhausted Allura.
“Yes…don’t worry…everything will be fine. I’m sure of it.”
“But nothing!” Haggar snapped, coming around to his side of the bed. “This is going to happen, it’s best you accept that.” She was reaching for his arm, tugging him away from Allura’s side. “You’ll only get in the way of the doctor’s at this point, so it’s best if you wait outside.”
“Besides, you don’t want to see them cut into Allura.” Haggar added. “It’s an image you can do without.”
“But!” He felt like a stuttering fool, repeating the same word over and over again. Haggar kept talking over him, ushering him ever closer to the room’s door.
“Don’t worry. I will stay and keep her company. I’ll make sure nothing goes wrong.”
Finally something he could respond to, Lotor letting a harsh warning fill his voice. “You better witch, you better!” Haggar took it all in good stride, pushing him out into the hall. It was only after the door had closed, drowning out the doctor’s chatter, and the scream of Adora, that Lotor realized he hadn’t even gotten to hold his newborn daughter or kiss Allura goodbye.