June 8, 2013
This is a very heartfelt, personal, and sincere plea to you.
Please, please, for the sake of my sanity and my heart, do not provide us with any more excitement in our lives. A man can only take so much. Seriously, okay, just lay off for a while, you know? Chill out. Strike off the name ‘Cullen’ from your list of ‘People who need to keep working just because I want them to, and also because it’s fun to see them shit their pants.’
Please, I beg you.
You might be wondering why I resorted to such desperate measures such as writing letters to God in my diary. Well, folks, sit back and hear from the tip of my pen the tale of the birth of Ed, Edd, and Eddy (as Emmett has temporarily named them because Katherine’s kids, for the time being, are nameless. And yes, I said Katherine’s kids.)
Once upon a time, in a country far far away, nestled in the snowy, willowy laps of nature, was the sleepy town of Atlin. On the outskirts of this sleepy town of Atlin, cocooned in the depths of the forests that seemed to stretch on till the Doomsday, lay the house of The Cullens, who were, for the time being, having visitors in their home with desperate need for help.
That’s it: that’s all the old fashioned, twentieth century, fairy tale type of reading you’re going to get.
The morning after my fateful talk with Bella, I was walking back to the house, deep in thought.
I knew that she was right: we had done this before. So why was I feeling apprehensive about it?
Granted, I was somewhat delighted to know that my wife wanted another baby, and that she was willing to adopt, yet there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that was hindering me from taking the final steps. I could not make myself come forward and say that one word she so needed to hear.
Really, how hard was it? We had brought up Nessie, and I could proudly say we had done a spectacular job at that. Then, why?
“Yes, Bella, let’s have a baby.”
Six words. Six simple words.
Six hard words.
My musings were interrupted by the strangest sight I had seen in a long time.
From where I was standing, I saw my brothers, Jacob, Seth, Carlisle and Mark standing in a row—as if they were training for some military operation—and looking somewhere. As I took a few steps forward, a closer glance told me that they were all staring at something inside the house.
Curious, I walked up to the stairs on our back porch, and peered in, trying to see what was holding their attention.
Katherine was, as usual, sitting on the couch, but instead of laying back and caressing her belly like she always did, she was rocking back and forth, and with great effort too.
I watched as she waddled a little, then lay back against the couch for a minute, trying to catch her breath, and then rocked again, this time grunting a little.
“What is she trying to do?” The question came out on its own.
“Get off the couch,” Mark answered in a daze, his eyes fixated on his wife.
“She needs to pee.”
“So go help her.”
Even though we were talking about helping her, none of us actually made the effort to open the door and get Katherine off the couch. It should have made me feel like a douche bag really, especially when Rosalie came and held her arms so she could get up.
“You guys are such idiots,” I heard Esme grumble when she saw us outside the back door.
“Oh, like you were the one who took her to the bathroom,” Carlisle quipped, still watching Katherine disappear on the stairs.
“You know what? Stay out,” Esme grimaced, but before she could do anything to stop us, we were already in through the door.
Turns out, it was good that we did: the shuffling upstairs proved that.
“Okay, Rose, I’m good, help me up? Yeah, okay.”
“My God, you’re bigger than Bella was.”
“Well, I am car—”
A sickening crack resounded in the house in that instant. Now, it could have been anything, but we’d had too many experiences to prove that that was the sound a bone snapping in two.
“Carlisle!” Rosalie screeched in the next moment, and the sound of her voice was followed by another snap.
Carlisle took one look at me and I didn’t need telepathy to know what he was thinking.
In a millisecond, Carlisle, Mark and I were bursting through the bathroom door, where Rose was holding Katherine’s limp but alive body in her arms.
“Help me. Hurry!” she called out, and I shared the weight of Katherine’s body with her.
“Edward, I already have everything set up in the library. Follow me,” Carlisle ordered, holding the door open.
There was constant shouting in the background, but I was too rattled to know who, or what it was. It seemed like somebody was screaming, or maybe panicking.
Oh, right, Mark.
No sooner did we enter the library than we placed Katherine on the OR table in the middle. Carlisle was looking and sifting through injections and getting out packets of blood. Rosalie was ripping Katherine’s dress off of her, and I listened to her heart.
Weak, but consistent.
“Katherine?! Katherine! Can you hear me? Honey, please, open your—” Mark chanted over and over, while Rosalie tried to maneuver around him, but in vain.
“GOD DAMN IT, MARK! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND MOVE! I CAN’T WORK IF YOU’RE FUCKING HOVERING OVER HER LIKE A PIMP!” Leave it to Rosalie to work up a tantrum.
“SHE’S MY WIFE! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”
This was not going to end well.
“Mark!” I turned him around to face me. “Mark, we already discussed this. You’re not needed right now, okay? Just stand back and relax. Don’t freak out.”
“She started it!” Mark pointed to Rose who was no longer paying attention.
“She did. But you were getting in her way. Now move, let me work.” I made him stand back.
By this time, everyone in the family was here.
Katherine came to in the next moment, and the sounds she made were probably the sickest I had ever heard.
“Her spine has been damaged, Edward. She’s paralyzed from the waist down. The pelvic bone is crushed, but she shouldn’t feel it.” Carlisle was assessing the damage.
Katherine screamed as something moved inside her; I knew something moved because I saw it—the slight bulge pressing up against her belly.
“Katherine! Katherine! Look at me! Everything is going to be fine, okay?” I moved to her bedside and saw that was clutching the sheets in her fists. “Katherine, we’re going to take your babies out, okay? Just stay with us!”
“Ed . . . Oh, God! Edward, it hurts! Oh—” Another scream. “IT HURTS! I can’t . . . I can’t feel my legs, Edward!” There were tears streaming down Katherine’s cheeks, and her face was scrunched up in agony.
“I know, Katherine. The venom’s going to heal it. Just a little bit more, Kathie, a little bit.” I tried to soothe her, but only she knew the kind of pain she was in.
“MARK! MARK! I need . . . Oh GOD!” Katherine was now wailing, the upper half of her body flopping like a fish on sand. “Mark! I need . . . I need Mark!”
Mark didn’t need another call. He rushed to Katherine’s side and held her hand. “Katherine! I’m here, I’m here! It’s okay, it’s okay! It’s all right! I’m here!”
I moved from her side and saw that the morphine was ready, and so was Carlisle.
“Mark, it’s time,” I called out to him, and he paled.
“Now? She’s in so much pain! You can’t . . . it will kill her. No!” he protested. Katherine didn’t notice as she was too caught up in pain.
“Look at her, Mark! WE HAVE TO DO THIS NOW! THERE’S NO TIME, YOU HEAR ME? NO TIME! Just trust me, okay? Stay with her!”
The words came, surprisingly, from Carlisle.
Wow, he was in a whole new element today.
I didn’t get time to ponder over the realization, as Carlisle had signaled me to stand with him. Esme took her place beside me, as we had decided. Each of the three babies was going to be handed to three people, who were in charge of taking care of them while Carlisle and I worked on the damage. From the corner of my eye, I saw Bella take position beside Katherine. She had volunteered to stay and give Katherine moral support.
“Edward, be ready.” Carlisle looked at me one last time, and I nodded.
May the force be with us.
Have you ever, by mistake, touched a hot, searing pan? Or dipped your hand in acid? Or have had your toe run over by a car?
What am I doing? These are nothing compared to what I felt when I heard the snap.
I should have seen it coming. I had been feeling a little off since last night, and the babies, too, had been laying low. I was already the size of the Loch Ness Monster, so I knew it was only a matter of days before it happened.
What I hadn’t anticipated was the pain.
My talks with Bella had somewhat prepared me for what was to come, and I knew it was not going to be pretty. That’s why I had deliberately left out the gory details while recounting the tales to Mark. I knew when the time came, he would freak out, but I also knew that having him lose his mind later rather now would only be for our good. I needed Mark to stay with me through this.
The pressure had been uncomfortable, but I had persevered. The snapping however, had startled me. Something had moved in my lower back, I could feel it. Then, my legs had gone numb, but my blood had started racing. And before I knew it, I was moving towards the ground.
I heard someone scream out in the background, but I was too out of it to tell who it was. There was dizziness all around me, dragging me in to the deep corners of the abyss.
Mark. I needed Mark.
I felt the pain before I even opened my eyes: blinding, excruciating, searing pain in my body. There was a battle going on inside and outside of me. And I felt like I was being crushed under the weight of a mountain.
I wanted to scream, thrash, run: anything to escape this torture. Fear had set in. What if I died? Would Mark be able to live without me? Would I never see my babies? What if something had gone wrong?
Even in my agony induced, breathless, half dead state, I knew there was no pain in the world as potent as that: the pain of losing Mark, losing my kids.
If only I could move.
I felt cloth under me, and on my chest, but by the way the cold was settling on my body, I could tell that I was naked. How I could even discern anything was beyond my comprehension. Was that pressure on my chest?
“Katherine! Katherine! Look at me! Everything is going to be fine, okay?” I heard someone say through the bugles of the skirmish. “Katherine, we’re going to take your babies out, okay? Just stay with us!”
I realized, as another bolt of lightening struck me from within, that it was Edward. And it was all I could do to hold in, ““Ed . . . Oh God! Edward, it hurts! Oh—”
There was wetness on my cheeks, and near my shoulders: tears, I realized.
I was screaming, trying to get up from the bed, or whatever it was that I had been laid on, and cut open my body so the agony would end. I couldn’t however, move. I tried to leave, to clutch myself and keel over.
Then more pain.
Oh God, I was paralyzed.
So much pain.
“IT HURTS! I can’t . . . I can’t feel my legs, Edward!” I screamed out, hoping he would do something, hoping somebody would do something.
“I know, Katherine. The venom’s going to heal it. Just a little bit more, Kathie, a little bit.” I heard Edward’s voice.
Only one person called me that, and he wasn’t here.
Where was he?
“MARK! MARK! I need . . . Oh GOD!” I wailed for him. He could make it go away, he had done it before, “Mark! I need . . . I need Mark!”
I felt someone release the sheets from my hands, and take them in their own. I could recognized the texture of his hands anywhere, even if I was dying. His hand was cold, stony, and a little rough around the heels and the middle, where he’d sustained an injury in a battle fought many years ago. His fingers, and the tops of them, however, were soft . . . so soft.
That single gesture alone gave me the strength to open my eyes. And when I did, I was momentarily taken aback by the haze, the blurriness around me.
Then, like the eyes of a newborn adjusting to the view of the world, they found him. He was saying something, but I only heard part of it. “ . . . It’s okay, it’s okay! It’s all right! I’m here!”
“Mark . . . Mar—Oh God! Mark, it hurts! Please, please, help me!” I screamed at him, and he looked like he would go crazy.
“I know, honey, I know . . . Just a little bit more, okay? It’s gonna be over soon, I promise. I love you, I love you, okay? Just stay with me, okay?” He whispered to me, and I held on to his hand as another jolt rocked me from within.
“Mark! Oh, God . . . Make it go away . . . just . . . ah . . . do some . . . God!” I couldn’t even form a coherent sentence, but I knew he would listen. He would do something.
“I know, Katherine! I’m right here—Now? She’s in so much pain! You can’t . . . it will kill her. No!” I heard him growl.
What would? What would kill me, I wanted to know, but there was some more screaming, and them Mark was beside me again.
“Katherine, it’s time, okay? Just stay with me. Don’t you dare leave me again!” Mark urged, and I felt a second stony hand grasp me, but I was too much in agony to know who it was.
I wouldn’t. I couldn’t leave you, Mark.
I wanted to say, but the contraction swallowed my words in my scream.
And then I felt it: the tearing, the ripping, the hands holding me open.
I don’t know what happened after that. I could have been dead for all I cared. I knew I wanted to be.
I had never felt pain at such a paralyzing, blinding level. Every pore, every cell in my body was protesting my labored breaths. My lungs felt raw and torn and bruised from all the wailing I had done. My limbs felt like they would fall off, or maybe ripped from my body.
Through my hazy gaze, I saw a figure hovering over me, or was it two? I couldn’t tell. All the colors in my vision had merged to form a cacophony of discolored spots, like a masterpiece gone horribly wrong . . . blue, green . . . red.
My belly felt stretched, and I thought my nervous system would snap with all that was going around me. Mark . . . where was Mark? I couldn’t see him, but then again, I couldn’t see anything.
There was so much happening all at once, and I was so aware of it. I felt my heart pump, beat, try. Thump . . . thump . . . it was trying to slow down the relentless march of the blackness that was threatening to take me under. Was somebody holding me? What was this voice? I felt my lungs rise, and fall, and then rise again. Why was breathing so painful? I felt my teeth chatter, and then grit against each other. Were my ears ringing? What was that smell: must, metal and wetness?
Thump . . . thump . . . thump . . .
There was a lot of screaming in the next moment, a lot of movement. I saw the blobs run around with amazing speed. They were appearing and disappearing almost instantly. Had they taken them out? My babies? Were they here? Was it over? It didn’t feel like it was.
I felt tired, worn out . . . dead.
“Katherine?” Mark’s voice broke through the numbness, and I heard a mumbling but couldn’t make it out.
Thump . . . thump . . .
The rhythm of my heart was breaking. It felt like the staccato of the bullets of a rifle, only with the intermittent gaps stretched out to uncertainty.
Thump . . .
Thump . . .
I was going to die. I knew it. I just did.
At least the pain would be gone.
But I would lose him. I would lose him. I would lose my kids . . . I hadn’t even seen them. Oh God, the fear.
“Mar . . . Mark . . . th . . . kids . . . the kids,” I doled out with great effort, mustering every breath that I could. I felt weak, and done for.
“They’re safe. They’re beautiful. They’re just like you . . . we have two boys and a girl, honey. She looks exactly like you, our daughter. And I can tell the middle one is going to be a handful. You’ll see, Kathie, you’ll see,” he murmured softly, and I felt myself rising.
“Mark . . . I . . . I love you,” I whispered, and I felt his lips press to mine.
“I love you, too,” he whispered again. “They’re going to take care of you, okay?”
I couldn’t say anything. Was he wrong? Was I? What was happening?
“Katherine? Katherine? Can you hear me?”
Who was that? Carlisle?
“I’m going to change you now, okay?”
Again, I didn’t move, though I wanted to. My body felt hard again.
There was pressure again on various parts of my body . . . my legs, my chest, my wrist, my heart.
Before I knew it, I was burning again.
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