chapter sixteen ; the adventure of a lifetime

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"Deep breaths, Idunn, you can do-"


"That's my girl!" Skadi chirped, trying to pretend that she could not feel the bones snapping in her hand as Idunn gripped her.

"This one has passed," The midwife sat up, wiping her brow. "Now we just need to wait until the next contraction."

"What do you mean wait?!" Idunn cried, near tears. "I've waited nine bloody months!"

"Don't take it out on her," Skadi reassured. "You've made it this far, just a little while longer and you'll meet your little one."

Idunn breathed in and out rapidly, her eyes wide.

"I'm not ready," She shook her head. "Not at all, Skadi."

"Yes you are," Skadi nodded, kissing Idunn's forehead. She looked over to the midwife.

"How long until the next contraction?" She asked. The midwife gave her a look.

"About a minute or so."

Squeezing Idunn's hand, Skadi stood up.

"The boys are right outside the door, I'm just going to give them a quick update." She explained, nodding at Idunn. "Practice your breathing."

Idunn nodded, taking a slow, sharp inhale of air and pushing it out rhythmically. Skadi reached the door, turning the handle and peaking her head outside.

She could not help but smile when she saw her wonderful husband sitting beside Rollo, rubbing the father-to-be's back in an effort to calm him down. Bjorn saw her and grinned.

"My love," He greeted as Skadi hurried over, giving him a short but sweet peck on the lips. She pulled back, seeing Torstein, Floki, Ragnar, and Rollo all looking to her for news.

"Is the baby here?!" Rollo heaved. "Oh, God, I didn't hear a cry. It's dead, isn't it? My child is dead?"

Rollo began to panic, his chest rising and falling quickly. Skadi placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

"Your child is just fine, only taking a bit longer than we expected to make an entrance. But the good news is that the baby will be here within the hour."

From inside the room, the screams started up again. Skadi paled.

"Gotta go!" She chirped, zipping back into the birthing room. Idunn was groaning in pain, holding her hand out for Skadi.

Skadi took it, kneeling by her side.

"This is it, Idunn," The midwife spread Idunn's legs even further. "I see the head! Push!"

"You can do it," Skadi squeezed her best friends hand, watching as her face contorted in pain. She pushed, a scream ripping from her gut.

But the scream soon cut silent as a piercing cry rang through the room.

"Congratulations, Idunn," The midwife gathered the baby in her arms, slicing the umbilical cord with a knife. She wrapped the tiny, wrinkled baby in a white blanket, handing her to Idunn. "You have a daughter."

"A girl," Idunn breathed, holding the tiny baby close to her chest. Rollo's dark brown tufts peeked out from underneath the blanket, but it was Idunn's brilliant blue eyes and button nose that dominated the girl's features.

"She's beautiful," Skadi whispered, rubbing her finger along the little girl's cheek. "Hello there, little one. I'm your aunt Skadi."

Idunn sniffed, tears in her eyes. She looked up at Skadi.

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