There are few points in life in which the timing of an individual is just perfect throughout a situation. This is one of those moments, with Chris running through the maternity ward on the hunt for Riley's room, and then finally finding a nurse who dressed him up and sent him in. She hadn't gone into labour until 8 hours after arriving at the hospital, which gave him plenty of time to make it.
He'd seen many things in his life, horrifying things, magnificent things, scary things. But watching Riley scream in pain after having been pushing for 14 hours sent his mind and heart into a frenzy. It didn't help that the doctor's words as he walked into the room were "the baby's umbilical cord is wrapped around it's neck, but it'll be okay." It wasn't something he expected to hear, and quite frankly he wanted to turn around and run in the other direction. What stopped him was the look of relief on Riley's face when she saw him, grateful that he was there before it was all over.
"You made it," she breathed between pushes as he took his space beside hers, taking a hold of her hand and squeezing it lightly.
"Of course I did," He gave her a small smile. "Nothing in the world is going to stop me from making it to my jellybean."
"Chris, I can't do it." She sobbed, breathing heavily with her eyes wide and hair plastered to her forehead from the sweat. "I can't push anymore, I'm so tired."
"Yes you can, of course you can." he told her reassuringly, squeezing her hand again and then kissing it. "You know why? Because you're Riley Parkinson, and you've been through hell, and you gave up the love of your life for this baby and I'm here with you. Okay, and nothing can go wrong if I'm here with you, alright?"
"Do you promise me?" She asked before groaning in pain, her grip around his hand tightening. "Do you promise me?" She asked again through gritted teeth, sounding a little angrier and more desperate.
"I promise you nothing will go wrong and I'm not going anywhere," he replied, masking the pain he was feeling in his hand from her grip with a reassuring smile. Right now, that was nothing compared to what she was feeling. He looked up at the doctor who towards him, and he knew exactly what he meant, then he turned around to Riley again touched the side of her face lightly. "I'm going to need you to push again, alright? You're almost there and you're nearly there. Just a couple more pushes, okay."
"Just a couple more?" She asked tiredly, shutting her eyes tightly and then gripping his hand even tighter, crying out once again.
Chris was sure he'd never forget the sound of her screaming in pain, or the moment his heart stopped when her heart stopped shortly after their child was brought into the world. He laughed at first, wiping away the tears from his eyes when the doctor announced the baby was a girl. And then his laugh disappeared when the heart rate monitor started beeping and her grip on his hand was loose. He was ushered out of the room, the doctor explaining that her blood pressure was dropping far too quickly and that her body was going into shock. He had to watch through a glass window, biting his lip and then his nails. She couldn't leave him now, he had so much he hadn't told her, and now they had a baby. He couldn't imagine having to bring up the child on his own. He didn't want to. Luckily, he didn't have to, because after a few minutes, the nurses in the room were hugging each other with relief and he could see that her heart rate monitor was back to being steady.
He decided he'd go outside to call his mother whilst he waited until he could see the baby, sitting beside Riley's mother in the waiting room.
"Yeah, mom, she's stable as far as I know," he rubbed his face tiredly, leaning back in the chair and finding difficulty holding back his tears. "also, mom, I'm sorry. For anytime I annoyed you or disobeyed or made you angry. You went through a lot to bring us into the world, and I've just seen that with Riley and honestly, I'm just.. I love you mom, a whole damn lot." He laughed weakly, wiping his eyes just as Riley's mother rubbed his arm reassuringly. They both looked up when the doctor came out, Chris now saying farewell. "Mom, I'm going to meet the baby girl now, I'll call you once I'm out."
He followed after Riley's mom as they went into the room, watching Riley sat up with the baby in her arms and hair pulled back into a loose bun. She looked up and smiled warmly at her visitors that took a seat on either side of her.
"So, my heart stopped." She said with a tired laugh, Chris shaking his head with a tired laugh of his own.
"So did mine." He mumbled, looking over her with a relieved smile. "And you were right, baby Evans is in fact a girl."
"A mother's instinct never lies." Riley's mother cut in, making them chuckle softly before they fell silent and then Riley looked up from the bundle of new life in her arms.
"Do you wanna hold her?" She asked Chris who perked up in his seat and smiled, nodding his head.
"Absolutely." He said, holding his arms out and then taking the baby in his arms, breathing out a sigh of disbelief at the sleeping tiny human being laying in his arms. "We did this."
"Mhmm," Riley smiled, getting comfortable in the pillows. "Not on purpose, but we did that."
"She's so beautiful." He laughed quietly, looking up at Riley, his eyes welling up for the hundredth time in the past three hours. "You scared me, you know. I thought that... I don't know, I just.." He blew out a breath, unable to put his fear of her death into words and instead shook his head and looked back down at his daughter. That was his daughter, and though unplanned for, definitely the most beautiful that's happened to him.