"Don't you hate pants?"
"Um...what?" Kel looked at his patient oddly.
"Well, not all pants. Just the tight-fitting ones. They're so damn uncomfortable." The patient eyed Kel with interest. "Though I dare to say that you'd look good in tight pants."
"I would now, would I?"
"Oh, most definitely."
“So what do you wear if you hate pants so much?"
"Loose-fitting, baggy pants... harem pants, I guess you'd say. Like you'd see in a Middle-Eastern harem."
"Oh...I see." This guy is weird! Kel thought.
The guy merely smiled.
"I had a long and odd day," Kel told Dixie at home that night.
"Oh? What happened?"
"Well, aside from the guy who hit on me?"
Dixie just looked at him and started laughing. "What?"
"He wanted to see me in tight pants..."
"Can't blame him for that," Dixie grinned.
Kel flopped onto the bed. "I swear...ever since that test Dr. Jenssen ran on me a couple weeks ago I've felt so run down...he said the injection would help benefit research into reproductive medicine..." They had been trying to have a baby for two years without luck. "I don't know what he did...I just hope you end up pregnant because of it!"
"Calm down, dear," Dixie said gently. "I'll go make you a cup of hot tea and it'll make you feel all better."
"Thanks, love...I could use it." Maybe it would settle his stomach.
Dixie got up and went for a cup of tea.
Kel pulled her close to him as they laid in bed together. "I don't know exactly what was in that shot...but he said it would improve our chances of having a baby...that and the pills he wanted me to take...so I'm willing to go for it..."
Dixie cuddled against him. "I'm grateful to you for doing all of this, Kel. It's a lot of trouble to ask you to go through for me."
"We both want this baby, love."
"I know we do."
He rubbed his side, the spot of the injection, as it was sore. ""We'll get through this...and we'll have a precious baby of our own."
"Yes... yes we will." Dixie smiled softly.
Two weeks later, Dixie came home on Kel's day off...she found him throwing up in the bathroom. "I...I'm fine..." he managed.
"Uh-huh. Then explain to me why you're coughing up things you ate three days ago," Dixie said dryly.
"I think I have the flu..." He smiled weakly. "You're the one supposed to be throwing up...you get the test results yet?"
She shook her head. "Not yet."
"The next day or two."
The test results proved negative...and kept coming back negative. Two months passed...they began to think it just wouldn't happen for them. Dixie wasn't going to let herself be discouraged again...one more time, and they'd give up.
"Are you sure it's the way you want it, Dix?"
"I'm sure, Kel," she said firmly.
"Okay..." He stopped, groaning suddenly.
She looked at him, concerned. "What's wrong?"
"I don't know...this pain...just hit me..." He put a hand on his abdomen.
"Relax and stay calm," she advised.
Tears were pooling in his eyes--the pain was that bad--but he just moaned softly, not wanting to worry her.
"Do you want me to call the paramedics?" she asked softly.
"No...gimme a minute...oh, man...feels like I'm tearing apart..."
"Just take a deep breath," she said, not sure what to do.
Finally, he couldn't take it anymore and he began to scream with the pain...and he couldn't stop.
Dixie immediately went to call the paramedics.
"No...stop..." he managed she picked up the phone. "I'm...okay now...it stopped..."
She put the phone down cautiously. "You sure?"
"Yes. I'll get checked out at the hospital...but I'll go in myself..."
"I'm going with you," Dixie insisted.
At the hospital, Dr. Jenssen examined Kel. "Well...congratulations...the treatments worked...looks like you're going to be a father..."
Kel smiled at Dixie. "you hear that, honey? We're having a baby!" He figured the doctor was making small talk before informing him of his diagnosis.
Dixie smiled. "That's wonderful."
"Maybe mother..." the doctor mused. "When you had that surgery a few months ago to help improve chances of having a baby, we also inserted a small sac that will perform the function of a uterus...the pills you're taking are hormones to help support and keep the pregnancy...that injection was an IVF treatment...Kel, you're pregnant!" He smiled. "The new territory we're forging...."
Dixie's jaw dropped. "This is... whoa..."
Kel was staring. "I...that's impossible..."
"Yeah. What he said." Dixie looked stunned.
"Well...you wanted a baby...and I needed to see if my idea would work..." He sighed. "It was easier than flat out telling you both that Dixie could never conceive...you'll have a baby...just differently."
"I can't conceive?" Dixie was shocked.
He shook his head. "I'm sorry...that's why I tried this. It was the last hope you two had..."
"What're we gonna do about delivery?" Dixie asked.
"Caesarian, obviously...when the time comes...about the pain...that's your body getting used to the baby's presence...the organs are shifting to make room for the baby...the pain is because they don't normally have to do that in a male..."
"So the pain is normal? Well, obviously not normal. To be expected, I mean." Dixie asked.
"Unfortunately, yes...it'll be worst these first few months...should ease off a bit after the sixth...."
"Well, that's good." Dixie smiled in relief.
"The best advice is just to suffer through it...if it's too bad, I can probably do something...if you find it unbearable, there's the option of terminating the pregnancy..."
"No..." Kel said suddenly.
Dixie rested a hand on Kel's arm.
Two months later, Kel was in his 5th month and the baby was definitely showing. He tried to hide out as much as possible...only their closest friends knew the truth, that it was a baby not just weight.
Dixie smiled soothingly at Kel. "You look fine, Kel. The baby looks good on you."
"I love it when he kicks, but it hurts so much when he does it...."
"I know it does, sweetheart."
"Oh, no..." He knew this feeling. "I gotta lay down...he's shifting again..." He sunk to his knees.
"Then go lay down."
"Can't...move...now..." He forced out, then broke into a moan, clutching her as she held him.
She eased him out into a prone position on the floor.
"This is the worst...one...ever..."
"It's gonna be okay."
"I'm gonna die...."
"No, you're not."
He finally couldn't speak, just moaned in pain, clutching her.
She murmured soothingly to him.
Finally, it was over. He sat up. "Thank God it gets better later on...I can't take much more of that...."
Dixie smiled slightly. "Now you know what women deal with."
"Guess so...but I gotta go through labor, too, you know..."
Dixie laughed softly.
Kel stifled a groan. "He's kicking...if you want to feel...."
Dixie reached over and lightly touched Kel's stomach.
It wasn't hard to feel the baby's kicks...and see Kel's wince with each one.
"I'm sorry you're in so much pain, Kel..."
"It's for our baby..."
Three months later, and they were making plans for deciding when to have the Cesarean...Kel was in his 8th month and huge. He'd quit work a couple months before...it was just too hard anymore. He was in nearly constant agony.
"You need to have the Cesarean soon, Kel," Dixie said gently. "I don't want you in any more pain."
"Gotta wait...til the baby's mature...enough..."
"It'll be soon, Kel."
"Hope so...couple more weeks..."
Dixie smiled encouragingly.
He was on almost complete bed rest...the baby's position made it too excruciating to do anything else. "It'll be...worth it...."
"I love you, Kel," she said softly.
"I've been such a burden...."
"No, you haven't."
"All my aches and pains...."
"Part of having a baby."
They decided to go to the cabin they had up in the North CA woods that weekend...just for a weekend alone together. Jenssen had said it was okay, but to hurry home at the sign of any problem.
Dixie smiled at her husband as she helped him out of the car.
"Nice to get away...ooh, I gotta lay down again..."
"Then let's get you in bed for a nap," Dixie said gently.
He nodded, trying not to show her his pain.
"I'm sorry it hurts so much," she said softly.
"I'll be...fine..." he whispered, laying down on the sofa in the cabin.
"Just hang in there, Kel. Just hang in there."
He stiffened, then his voice took on a pitch it never had before, even in the worst of his pain. He started rubbing at his swollen belly. "Get...it out....you gotta..."
"I'm calling the doctor."
"Anything...make it stop...."
"I will, sweetheart. I will."
"I think...it's labor...has to be...this is the worst, ever..."
"Try and stay calm."
"I know, baby. I know."
"This baby...wants out...and I can't...."
Dixie went to call the doctor.
He wasn't in.
"Damn," she swore under her breath before trying another number.
It didn't work...Kel looked at her with desperation in his eyes. "We gotta get back...talk to Joe...he knows, he can help..."
"Let's go, then...."
Painfully, he made it to the car, clutching his stomach.
"It's all going to be okay, Kel. I promise."
Joe met Dixie at the door of the ER when she pulled up. "What's up?"
"Labor," she said succinctly.
Joe nodded, then helped her get Kel inside. He examined him. "Dammit--we've got to get him upstairs now--this baby's gotta come out!"
Dixie went pale.
Kel had passed out from the pain already, or he'd have comforted her.
Dixie was praying that everything would be all right.
Joe came out later, and met Dixie in the waiting room. "Well, I'm not sure whether to congratulate you or not...."
"Oh?" Dixie said nervously.
"The baby's okay...a boy. But Kel's in critical condition."
"Oh, God... Is he going to be okay?"
"I don't know, Dix...his internal organs were bruised badly...ligaments torn...his body just was not meant to carry a baby."
"But we were told it was safe... a little risky, but for the most part safe."
"That doctor lied to you...he's been known under 5 names in 5 states. I tried to tell you, but you wouldn't listen to me--you've been so happy about having the baby that you didn't care how it happened. It's not safe at all--I knew it then, before I knew this doctor was a nut. He's killed 6 'research' victims already this way...."
"All 6 of the men he's tried to impregnate before have died either before or after the baby was born." Joe shook his head. "We'll do all we can for Kel, but I can't make promises."
"Oh, God..." Dixie moaned softly. "This is all my fault... if I could've carried a baby to term, Kel wouldn't be in this condition..."
"You could have! Dixie, you should have asked for a second opinion! He lied to you...you're perfectly capable of having a child! Those 'treatments' were birth control...I looked into it after we discovered him...he was willing to do anything to experiment with Kel." Joe sighed heavily. "You got your baby, Dix. I hope you're happy..."
Dixie looked at him, numb from the shock.
"You can see him if you like." Joe sighed. "Room 312."
Dixie headed to the room.
Kel was in ICU, on a ventilator...his eyes closed.
Dixie just stood at his side, looking down at him.
His chart showed what bad shape he was in.
She took the chart and looked at it.
Joe came in behind her, sighing. "What price, Dixie? Look what this 'breakthrough' did to him..."
"I see it, Joe... I see it now."
"That pain he was experiencing was his organs being bruised and misplaced..."
Dixie just looked at Kel.
"We lost him on the table...took everything we had to get him back."
"This is all my fault..." she whispered. "I knew he was in pain, but I didn't think it was doing this to him!"
"He just wasn't meant to carry a baby..."
"I should have known that... I'm a nurse, for God's sake! I should have known that!"
Joe sighed. "Well, did you want to see your son? He's doing pretty well..."
"Yeah... I want to see him..."
Joe walked with her to the nursery and went in...he came out with a small bundle wrapped in his arms.
Dixie looked at the bundle.
The baby was sleeping. He had dark hair like Kel.
"You can hold him...he won't break."
Dixie laughed softly.
As she took him, the baby woke up, and gazed at her with big blue eyes.
"Hey there, little guy," she cooed softly.
"Hopefully, he'll enjoy playing with his brother or sister," Joe said softly.
Dixie looked up. "What?"
"You're pregnant, Dix..."
"About 14 weeks according to the lab work you had done last week..."
"Yeah...that was when we found your doctor out...he wanted to abort the baby because he felt it wouldn't be 'good' for you, he said...probably to cover that he'd lied about everything..."
Joe nodded. "If it weren't for him, Kel would be fine right now and you'd have probably given birth to that little guy you're holding...."
Dixie stroked her son's face gently.
He snuggled into her arms and went back to sleep.
She smiled slightly.
"Almost 9 pounds," Joe told her. "He's pretty big for such a little thing."
"I'll keep you updated on how Kel's doing..."
"He's got a lot to recover from...but he's tough. Maybe he can be the one survivor."
Five months later, Dixie was very pregnant...their son, she'd named him Sam, was a happy and healthy 5 month old...but Kel was still in a coma.
Dixie sighed as she was feeding Sam one morning.
He squealed at her in question.
She laughed softly.
Joe called her. "How're you doing, Dix?" he said after she picked the phone up.
"Eh, not bad."
"Kel's still the same...but his blood work's improving....."
"Well, that's good... I guess."
"Why don't you come see him--and bring Sam? It might help..."
When Sam saw Kel, he squealed and reached for his father.
Dixie smiled a bittersweet smile.
Sam was squirming, trying to get free.
"No, sweetie. Mommy can't put you down."
He screeched at her in protest.
"Don't talk to me like that, young man."
He fussed a bit, still reaching for Kel.
Dixie moved a little closer to Kel.
Sam's hand brushed Kel's arm...just as Kel's eyes fluttered open.
Dixie smiled at him. "Hey there.." she whispered.
"The baby...?" he whispered, not yet seeing Sam.
"He's right here."
Sam squealed, squirming more.
Dixie shifted, bringing Sam into view.
"Yeah... he is..."
Dixie filled him in quickly.
Kel shook his head...then he noticed it...Dixie's very swollen belly. "Dix...? You're...?"
"Yeah. I am."
"We thought wrong, Kel."
"Due pretty soon?"
"What's wrong?" He asked, noticing her shift uncomfortably.
"Oh, it's nothing. Just a little twinge in my back."
"You should have it looked at...might be labor..."
"I will in a little bit."
Dixie smiled warmly.
Kel laughed. "At least you're equipped for that better..."
"I'm equipped for it, period."
"True. It was an experience, though."
"I'm sorry you had to go through all the pain..."
"It's in the past...we've got a healthy baby, huh?" He reached out for Sam.
"We certainly do."
Kel watched her wince again. "More twinges?"
"Get looked at."
"I meant now...you could be in labor."
"I'm going, I'm going."
He watched her leave for the door, then stop suddenly. "Dix?"
"What do you mean, nothing?"
"I mean nothing."
"Something's wrong," he insisted. "You're walking oddly...I mean, even for a pregnant woman."
"I don't know what it is... it just felt really odd..."
"Like what? What felt odd?"
"Movement... at the small of my back..."
He sat up, alarmed as she suddenly sat down. "What?!"
"I don't feel so good..."
"Define not so good..."
"Dizzy, woozy, my balance is off..."
He noticed her bend over, rubbing her stomach. "The baby? Do you feel like you have to push?"
As he stood up, he saw her start pushing. "Dix...don't, not yet..."
Dixie just scowled at him.
Kel knelt down, supporting the baby as she delivered it.
"That... was unexpected," Dixie said, stunned.
"It's a girl..." Kel said, smiling as the baby started crying.
"Now we've got a girl and a boy..."
He laughed, looking at the scar from his own Cesarean. "And what a story we'll have when they get older...."
"Material for their therapists, no doubt." Dixie smiled.
"Yeah, but life can't get more perfect than this..." Kel smiled back, looking at his children...and his wife...and felt like the luckiest man around.