Wow. This chapter was not easy to read. It brought out a lot of strong feelings in me. Recollections of being at the hospital, not being sure whether everything was going to be alright, everyone wanting to know what was going on when I just barely had a clue, myself... lots of memories...
I don't suppose you've ever been in this situation, yourself, but you captured it with an amazing amount of detail and emotional context. That shell-shocked feeling that seems to envelope Al for most of the chapter was perfect. THAT is how becoming a father for the first time feels. All of this lofty, romanticized, miracle-of-life nonsense is exactly that: nonsense. Becoming a father for the first time is scary and nearly overwhelming unless you happen to come from one of these large, old-school families where the mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and female cousins are swarming so thick in the waiting room that the dad is pretty much chased out of the hospital to smoke cigars with the menfolk. I don't come from one of those families and obviously neither does Al.
OK, enough about how it played out from Al's point of view. You also did a fantastic job writing Lexi and her reactions to everything. The First Rule of Labor: When a Doctor (Healer) offers you an epidural (pain potion), the correct answer is, "Yes, please!" Even after she's more comfortable, the confusion and worry were exactly the right feelings for her.
Other things I liked about the whole birth scene: I liked the way that Al actually stared Theo down when he made that comment about the curse on their family. Not cool, dad! Not cool at all. There was a certain implied change in the order of things in that moment. Al is the one becoming a father. In that delivery room, what he says -- provided it doesn't contradict anything Lexi says ;) -- is law.
just knowing that my baby's too small, his heart too weak, is bad enough. -- Ouch. Right in the feels...
I liked that Lexi had to be talked into doing what she needed to do to rest and regain her strength. Mother instincts are tough. They can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
I'm a daddy.
The feeling is surreal. -- Been there. I can confirm that it is, in fact, surreal.
It was nice to see Daphne and Lexi be able to reconnect at such an important moment in both of their lives, and it seemed like even Theo was handling it reasonably well. I agree with Al: he probably did find a sense of security in knowing that he has Annie.
I find Kieron waiting for me in the transport room, smaller than the one in the emergency ward, and we Floo to the house. It's exactly how we left it this morning, but it feels like we left it years ago - so much has happened since the engagement parry. -- Oh, god! This feeling! Exactly this feeling. Coming home from the hospital, finding that nothing had changed, seeing the cats, who were like, "well where have you been?" You realize that life has continued to happen while you've been essentially frozen in time, living this crazy, once-in-a-lifetime moment. It's beyond bizarre...
A couple of minor typos for you:
vail -- I think you were looking for "vial". There are a few places in the part where Lexi takes the potion to help her sleep.
I wonder the halls, I'm in part of the ward I've never been before -- wander
Wow. This chapter was everything that I thought it could be and more! You did a fantastic job with it! And to answer your questions, I'm kind of glad Isaac was a boy (baby girls are so over-represented in these stories!) and I love the name!
Author's Response: Have you ever been nervous about receiving and reading a review? I have - you, reviewing this chapter. I couldn't help it; it's a very big chapter and you're one of my favorite authors here.
No, I have never been in this type of situation myself, even with five siblings I've never been present during labor, or even waited in a hospital. Only visited after. So, this was a very big chapter to write; I wanted to make sure it was realistic, and I only had TV to guide me. I pretty much only went off my characters' personalities and a UK documentary on childbirth (I watched that a lot). Hugs for your feelings, I hope your strong feelings and memories weren't scary or bad. *hugs*
No, Al is not from one of those families - I have a one-shot somewhere about Al's birth; Harry is just as bad. :P
In Theo's very small defense, Al wasn't supposed to hear him, but I'm very glad he stares Theo down, too (I didn't really know how this chapter was going to go down because I only had a vague idea of what it would be like, but I'm glad I was able to put that in). This is Al's time now.
Feels. It hurt to write.
I imagine it would be, to be responsible for a whole other person now sounds a little scary... (understatement?)
They still have a long way to go, but in the end Daphne is her mother and she does want her there. She doesn't have feelings for her as strong as Kieron does. I'm glad you like that bit. Yeah, Theo knows where his life is heading now, he's happy with Annie; Daphne is easier to be around.
There are a lot of girls when it comes to pregnancy stories or secret kids and I wanted to write something different. I felt like having a boy was different, but I tried to make it a surprise, I hope that worked. I did get a few comments saying they were expecting the baby to be a girl. :P
I'm so glad you love the name. It's my favorite name. :D
I am going through the whole story and editing/going through everything - I'm on chapter four. :)
Thank you so much for leaving such a wonderful review!