Reasons to Be Thankful

Sometimes, the dance called life is graceful. Sometimes, you step on a toe or fall flat on your face.

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Reasons to Be Thankful

Post by PrlUnicorn » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:20 am

MacLeod House - Thanksgiving 2019 - 3 am

The harsh buzzing sound from her vibrating phone had wakened Colleen from a restless sleep. "Hello," she muttered as she heard the exasperated voice on the line. "No, I'm not on ca..." She sighed heavily as she listened to the charge nurse for Labor and Delivery at the Dockside Women's Center. "How badly was she hurt?" As Collie gathered the details, she wandered out of the master suite through adjacent foyer and across to the front room. A slight smile touched her lips as she took in the blanket of white that was covering the front drive and the grove of trees on the other side of it. The grandfather clock in the foyer chimed for the quarter hour. "We've got a couple sno-cats here and unless the travel portals are inoperative due to the weather, I can be there in thirty minutes."

Collie hung up the phone and turned to find Rhiannon Harker in the doorway with two steaming mugs of tea in hand. "I figured you could use one of these." Not bothering to hide the yawn, Rhi asked, "What's going on?"

"The obstetrician on call for the Dockside Center was in a hit and run about an hour ago. Fortunately, his injuries aren't life threatenin', but we now have a terrified first time mother and an apprentice midwife that have been put together until the OBs already there aren't in surgery or delivery." As she talked with her daughter, the family matriarch was gathering her go bag and prepping the bathroom for a quick shower and tossing on of clothing.

"So, they called you because your track record for getting the freaked out patients to cool down is stellar?" Rhi sipped her own tea.

"Eh," Colleen grumbled. "Somethin' like that." Had this happened on a normal day, the household would have continued as normal with Colleen at the hospital. It wasn't a normal day, it was a holiday and mid to late afternoon, guests would be arriving for dinner. "Rhi, about dinner, I hope ta be back in time, but ..."

Her free hand was lifted. "Go, deliver that baby. There are plenty of hands here to help with the food. Mum Harker and Aunt Tilly will be more than happy to run herd on the little ones."

"Babies, it's twins." Collie smiled lopsidedly. Finally through her daily grooming routine and having tugged on her clothes, she wrapped herself into a heavy black woolen cloak. A quick hug was given to Rhiannon before she headed out the front door. She was planning on a busy day, but not in this way!
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Re: Reasons to Be Thankful

Post by PrlUnicorn » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:51 pm

Dockside Women's Center - 7 am

Some labors went quickly, but Samantha Torrence's twins were taking their sweet time making their grand entrance into the world. For now, Colleen and the doula, Deirdre Reilly, kept her as comfortable as possible. Sammie was still frightened, but she wasn't screaming the place down anymore. She was used to being in charge of everything and being in control. With her obstetrician unavailable, it tossed her birthing plan out and put a new one, Colleen's, in action.

"I want ..." Samantha had started to object for hundredth time that hour.

"Dee," Collie said as she turned to her dark haired assistant, "Bring in some hot tea with more o' my herb blends and the usual sundries."

"On it!" Deirdre headed to the staff kitchenette to set up a new tray.

"You're not listening!" Sammie growled.

Colleen took a slow deep breath. "I am listenin' 'n' so is every dragon up in the northern reaches." She had momentarily resorted to what her children referred to as the Mom and Whoop-ass tone. "The problem here is ya still don't grasp what ya were told on yer first visit. Babies don't follow orders 'n' will take their time comin' out. Yer not in charge right now. The time fer that will be after the little ones are out."

"I want drugs, I want a caesarean!"

Collie half-expected the laboring woman's head to start spinning like she was possessed by a dozen demons. "Caesarean, no, that's not an option right now. I have two surgeons already in the ORs, one with a mother that nearly died this mornin'." She curled her fingers around Samantha's hand. "I promise ya. Things are lookin' good 'n' I've got plenty o' experience on both sides o' this. Caesareans should never have been allowed to be an elective procedure. Recovery from them is a much longer road."

"Drugs?" The words were muffled as she clenched her teeth.

"That's what the teas are for." Collie mopped the younger woman's forehead with a cool cloth. "They usually work better and leave the body without ill effects."

Deirdre set the tea tray on the wheeled table and started mixing what had come to be called Colleen Specials. "Here we are."

"I want ... food," the patient complained, "the nurses said, 'no,' and I'm starving!"

"Modern medicine indeed." Colleen shook her head. "Ya know why some they say that? They want ta keep yer stomach and bowels emptied. Somewhere along the line it became practice ta starve a woman that needs her strength ta give birth because someone wanted ta spare her the indignity o' loosin' her bowels in the process."

Deirdre was nodding, she had heard the older woman offer that bit of information more than once.

"Birthin' is a messy business, Samantha. Blood, goo, 'n' all kinds o' things. Why they thought that was goin' ta change by taken food out o' mix, I don't know." Much to the chagrin of a couple duty nurses, Collie ordered up three plates of eggs with toast. Samantha wasn't only one needing to replenish her strength. With her hunger pangs eased and pain level under control, Samantha was less irritable and was able to doze off between her contractions. Deirdre and Colleen's apprentice, Susanna, kept track of her progress.

9 am
As morning moved on, the Women's Center was buzzing with activity as people visited with new mothers and cooed over the newborns. Concerns about the expenses of raising a child and the occasional sense of what have I gotten myself into filled Colleen's senses as she checked in on her other patients.

Rooming in with the mothers was standard operating procedure, but to help give them a little bit of precious rest, babies spent a few hours in the group nursery each day. It was also when the standard checks were done and vitals were updated. Older siblings were allowed to visit with the newest ones. Their laughter as well as their fussing echoed through the nursery's hallway. Those patients in need of quiet were on other floors. The building had been designed that way. Most births culminated in healthy children, but for those that didn't, quieter places had been created. The newborn intensive care unit, NICU, offered more hope for the survival of premature and sick infants.

Collie was gloved, masked, and gowned before going in to see Michael Rivers. He was a tiny thing, but all signs were good. She smiled as she heard the quiet singing of a little girl about ten years old. The child was clad in a set of miniature scrubs and was rocking what looked like a baby doll in her arms. The nurses, in turns, kept an eye on her.

"Hello, Lucy." Colleen crouched down to be eye level with her patient's daughter. "How is Michael today?"

Lucy lifted her dark brown eyes to meet Colleen's. "Hungry!" She lifted the small bottle to show the midwife that it was empty.

"That's good," she said as she examined the boy. "How does he like yer singin'?"

"Mostly, he squints at me!" Lucy's eyes lit up. "Sometimes, he makes mouth bubbles and smiles!" The girl suddenly appeared confounded. "Sometimes, he blows stuff out his other end! It stinks!"

"I was in to see yer mother a bit ago, she should be able to go home in a few days."

"And Michael, too?"

"I hope so, but right now, I can't promise anything." Collie sighed. She wanted to tell the child that everything would be fine, but her family had been through a lot. Like other parts of Rhydin, Dockside had its share of troubles. Collie had come face to face with many of them, the Rivers family, victims of a home invasion, were among them.

"What about my Dad? Did you check on him?"

"I did. He's out of the woods and should be able to have visitors soon. I can take you over when he's ready."

A tall brunette gently lifted the baby from his sister's arm, rubbed his back, and settled him into the isolette. "Ms. MacLeod, a word, please?"

"Sure thing," Collie said as another nurse steered Lucy into the scrub room to change and go for breakfast. With Lucy out of earshot, Collie asked, "What's wrong?"

"I'm concerned for the girl. Her grandmother just leaves her here all day." She lifted a hand to slow up Collie's response. "She's a good kid and is never a problem, but Lucy should be being looked after not be the one ..."

It was Collie's turn to lift a hand. "I get it. Is the grandmother spendin' time with either of the parents?"

"You'll need to ask about the father, but she's hasn't been here with Mrs. Rivers longer than ten minutes a day to drop off and pick up Lucy."

"Ya have a valid contact number?" That might seem like a silly question, but many patients had been of the drop and run kind.

"Yes, that much we do have."

"Get hold of 'er. Tell 'er I'll be in touch later in the day."

"Will do!"

The phone in her skirt pocket started to buzz with the message, Time for the catcher's mitt.
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Re: Reasons to Be Thankful

Post by A Ripple in Time » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:52 pm

MacLeod House - Noon

"Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Madison scampered into the kitchen hoping for some lunch. "When's Mama getting home?"

Two heads turned at the sound of the shared name, Rhi. Rhiannon Harker was on lunch detail while her younger counterpart was working on apple pies. Maddie giggled. It was a stereo day! Mugs of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches were set up at the kitchen table. The members of the family not cooking all had something to do. Maddie, along with Rick Harker, was tasked with gathering flowers from the greenhouse for the centerpiece and other decorations.

"As soon as those babies get here, she will be on her way," Rhiannon answered. "Now, go wash up, lunch is ready."

"Righty-o, Captain!" Maddie saluted her elder sisters and trotted through the mudroom to the powder room.

Rhi rolled out the third pie crust laid it into the greased and floured pan. "Your in-laws seem to be settled in nicely with this mob of mayhem."

Rhiannon chuckled. "Are you kidding? They're loving this! My father-in-law is looking forward to having time with the boys. Mum and Aunt Tilly are happily covered in toddlers and up!"

Rhi lowered her voice, "Did you bring cake for them?"

Rhiannon smiled impishly as she answered in kind, "I did! Two of them, one is Aunt Ari's special chocolate."

Other family members and friends arrived throughout the afternoon. Overnight quarters were made ready as the light snow continued. They expected to be up to half up to their knees by the following day. It would make for good sledding weather as well as sleigh rides.

Turkey, ham, prime rib, salmon, and several sides were at various stages of cooking progress.

"Is Nikki going to be here on time?" Rhi asked as she exchanged a pumpkin pie for an apple one that had just finished baking.

Rhiannon nodded, "She said she'd be along and bringing her contributions once the Bistro is closed."

"Good! Her baklava is to die for!"

"She called," Rhiannon added. "Zack is joining us and driving in with her."

Cate and Maggie had already gotten to work on the formal table setting in the dining room. Extra care had been used in handling the Waterford crystal that added to the holiday sparkle. Place cards had been set out with names penned in Colleen's elegant handwriting.
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Re: Reasons to Be Thankful

Post by Eregor » Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:20 pm

The two Rhiannons were not alone in the kitchen. Eregor was also there, off to one side, chopping up apples and celery, stirring the mix into mayonnaise in two bowls. To the larger of them he added walnut chips, leaving the smaller bowl without; he wasn't aware of any food allergies in the family, but one could never be too careful. Besides, not everyone liked nuts! With the Waldorf salad done, he handed off the bowls to Maggie and Cate as soon as they were finished with the place settings. "No sampling!"

"Awwwww!" Maggie's face fell, then brightened almost immediately. "Don't want to spoil dinner, right?"

"That's right!" As the girls set about their task, he leaned over to give Rhi a quick peck. "I'm going to check in on the kids."

They weren't difficult to find, he just had to follow the music. Velen was playing a bit of jazz piano while Pearl sat surrounded by the youngest of the extended clan. After a moment, Eregor realized that he was listening to Linus and Lucy. "Isn't that more of a Christmas tune?"

"It's multi-seasonal," replied Velen with a grin before launching into the quick bridge and then back to the melody. "When's dinner ready?"

"I think it pretty much is, we're just waiting for a few more people to arrive."

"Can't wait!"
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