“Everything looks good,” Dr. James says as she pulls down my gown after she did her final exam. She pulls the blue gloves from her hands and tosses them in the trash. “I’ll get the release paperwork started for you and we’ll have you out of here by this afternoon.”
Cooper is sitting in the chair next to the bed feeding Brooklyn. “Are you sure we shouldn’t stay another night?” Cooper glances down to his daughter then back up to Dr. James. “What if something happens? Don’t you have nurses or teachers who can come home with us? You know, to help us out for a few days while we get the hang of everything?”
Dr. James and I start laughing. Cooper has been freaking out since last night when the nurse told us that we would get released today as long as everything checked out.
“Cooper, you’ll be just fine. All new dads have these same worries as you.”
I glance over towards my husband who’s frowning at Brooklyn. He’s doubting his skills and just needs his ego stroked a little bit.
“If you guys have any more questions for me or problems after you leave the hospital just give the office a call and we’ll get you taken care of.”
“Thanks, Dr. James.”
She nods and leaves the room.
He glances up with a worried look on his face. “We’ll be okay.”
“I’m not so sure about that. It’s not like she can tell us what’s wrong.” Cooper takes the bottle from Brooklyn and positions her over his shoulder so he can burp her. “How are you so calm about this?”
“Did you quickly forget how just yesterday that you were scared to burp her because you thought you were hurting her?” I raise my eyebrows. “Now you’re doing it like a champ.”
“That’s not the same.”
Man, he is so stubborn! “It is. Look at Hunter, hell, even Mason who had two at once.” Cooper turns his head to look at me again. “Mason…Mason, the same guy who could barely take care of himself, the one who was always looking for the next cleat chaser, the one who now can handle both babies at the same time.” I smile lovingly at my handsome husband. “You and I will be fine. I promise you.”
He adjusts Brooklyn to cradle back in his arms and lets out a sigh. “I’m just nervous, Jay. What if something really happens?”
“Nothing will happen. We’re a team, Coop. We’ve got this.”
Cooper grumbles as he places the bottle back in Brooklyn’s mouth. I just hope and pray that we do have this. I’m scared too but no way would I ever tell him that. He’d probably pay the hospital to keep us another few days to make sure we know what we’re doing.
It’s late afternoon and we just got settled into the car after being discharged. Cooper had the car seat double-checked by two different people to make sure it’s secure in the car. He’s being a bit ridiculous.
Cooper starts up the car after tucking our last bag in the trunk of my car. I made him use my car because there was no way in hell I was climbing into his truck. “You ready?”
I nod and give him a little smile. I’m sitting on a pillow because I’m in fucking pain but I won’t tell him that. It’ll stress him out even more and all I want to do is go home and lie in my own bed.
“Brooklyn’s buckled in?”
“Cooper,” I warn. “You checked her three times since you put her in the car. She isn’t going anywhere, plus I’m sitting right here with my arm over her seat.”
“Right, okay, let’s go.”
He pulls away from the curb and proceeds through the patient loading area of the hospital. We live a good twenty minutes away so I lean my head back against the seat, breathing in and out of my nose as he hits the first bump.
“Shit,” Cooper says under his breath.
I open my eyes and glance down at my daughter who is sound asleep. By the time we get home she’ll need to eat and then be changed. Our laundry needs to be done, we left dishes in the sink, I didn’t put the sheet on Brooklyn’s bed, and I still need to vacuum her room and the hallway. I’m exhausted already just thinking about it all.
Cooper hits another bump this time getting onto the highway and I yelp. I am lost in my own head, I wasn’t prepared for the bump and it hurt like a bitch.
“What? What’s the matter?” Cooper stammers.
“Nothing. Everything is fine.”
“Why’d you yelp then?”
I grit through my teeth as I attempt to sit back down on the pillow. “I’m in pain and those bumps don’t help.”
Cooper sighs and shakes his head. “I knew this was a bad idea. We should have stayed until you were healed a little better.”
“The last damn thing I want is to stay another night in that damn place. I want to go home with our daughter and I want to sleep in our damn bed.” I glance out the window and see car after car flying past us. “Cooper?”
“How fast are you going?”
“Forty. Is that too fast? I can slow down.”
“No!” I yell. “It’s sixty-five, step on the damn gas and get us home before you get pulled over for going too slow.”
“I’m not speeding.”
“I never said to speed,” I sigh in frustration. “Do the speed limit and get us home, please.”
He looks at me through the rearview mirror. I see the true worry on his face and I soften just a little. He is truly scared. My eyes tear up because I’m getting frustrated with him and I don’t mean to be. I just want to go home. I just want the three of us locked in our house, safe and sound. I want to start this new chapter of our lives together.
“I’m sorry, babe,” Cooper says softly.
I wipe my tears away. “No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you.”
Glancing out the window, the cars seem to have stopped flying around us. “We’re almost home. I’ll take Brooklyn while you go and take a shower or even a nap. I’m sure you’re exhausted.”
The tears start coming again. “I love you, Coop.”
“I love you too.”
Once we get home, Cooper gets the baby inside and then comes back out to help me. The pain medicine has completely worn off and I’m feeling everything right now. Every step I take up to the house causes me to hold my breath. Finally we get in the house and I lower myself onto the couch.
“Can you do me a favor?”
Cooper is working on getting Brooklyn out of the car seat and is fumbling around with the buckles. “What’s up?”
“Can you call your sister, ask her to stop by Walgreens and pick up my medicine?”
Cooper hands me Brooklyn while he looks around for his phone. “Do we need anything else?”
I shake my head. Brooklyn is starting to squirm and any minute she’ll be screaming because she’s hungry. I pray Cooper makes the call quickly because I need his help. Ugh, when did I become so needy?
“Kenz said she’ll be over shortly.”
“Thank you. One more thing, well, two actually.” I paste on my best smile. “Can you change her and make her bottle?”
“Yeah.” Cooper walks off towards the kitchen. A few minutes later he comes back with the bottle and takes Brooklyn. He lays a blanket down on the floor and then places Brooklyn on top of it. He changes her diaper like a champ and has her dressed again before she even fusses.
“Look at you,” I laugh. “I don’t even think I could change her diaper that fast.”
He winks at me and picks Brooklyn up. “We had a talk, if she sits still for a couple of minutes then she gets a bottle,” he shrugs. “Seems to work for the both of us.”
I laugh, loving how he’s already created such a bond with her.
MacKenzie stops over with my medicine, gets a little one on one time with Brooklyn while Cooper helps me shower. Before I know it it’s dark, my eyelids are heavy and we’ve done nothing but feed and change Brooklyn.
“Go lie in bed. I’ve got her,” Cooper tells me.
I yawn and climb off the couch. “Just let me sleep until her next feeding.”
Cooper changes the channel to ESPN. “Alright.”
I climb into the middle of our bed, and before my head even hits the pillow I’m asleep.
Six hours later I wake up with a start. I glance around but everything is pitch black. “Cooper?”
I swing my legs over the bed and stand up giving myself a second to adjust to the pain. I get my bearings and saunter out into the living room. All the lights are off but the TV is still on and the volume is down low. I peek over the top of the couch and find my husband shirtless lying on the couch with our daughter snuggled on his chest fast asleep.
My eyes mist over and my heart squeezes at the sight. I smile so big my cheeks hurt even as the tears spill over. I place a hand over my heart, a love I can’t describe for these two wraps around my heart. I can’t even put into words how I feel about them, words couldn’t even describe it.
They are my heart.
They are my soul.
They are my reason for living.