Charlotte and Travis never made it to Isla Paradiso on their honeymoon, but spent their weekend back at the house, barely leaving their bedroom. Bella and Rog took the opportunity to get away for a few days and went to the bed and breakfast on the beach to give the newlyweds some space and privacy.
She woke with Travis curled around her, their skin touching and she smiled happily. He stirred and stretched, noticing her sleeping in his arms and kissed her shoulders, not realizing she was awake. “Good morning,” she purred to him. He pulled her close, smelling her hair, loving everything about being with her.
“Good morning beautiful,” he said, kissing her neck. She snuggled in close, and let him love her.
“I can’t believe I have to be back to work this afternoon,” Travis said, playing with her hair. I’d much rather stay at home and love you.
“Tomorrow morning is my first day back,” she said. “I have a one day advantage, and I need to catch up on my research before tomorrow.” Life was blissful, and she wanted no part of reality. “What time do you have to be at the stadium?”
“Two o’clock,” he said. “I don’t want to get up yet.”
“Then don’t,” she said.
“That’s the best idea I’ve heard yet, Dr. Jones.”
Reluctantly, Travis pulled himself away from Charlotte and showered and shaved. She joined him in the shower, and she got dressed and went downstairs to start her research. He came down when he was almost ready for work, and saw her sitting on the stool at the counter.
“You make a man want to skip work,” he laughed.
She giggled and turned to kiss him when she heard his carpool outside. His phone rang as his co-worker dialed the call box. “That’s me,” he said, kissing her goodbye.
“Have a good game today, honeybear,” she said as she waved.
Rog and Charlotte carpooled together every morning, since their current work shifts aligned. Bella still got up every morning to make breakfast for them, but she was more than ready to pass the baton to Charlotte. Her youth seemed to be slipping away from her, despite her desperate attempts to hold on.
Charlotte was doing rounds at the ER when she felt woozy. She excused herself from a patient and went to sit down, but the sick feeling persisted. Rog saw her sitting down, and went to check on her. “Princess, you don’t look good.”
“I will be fine,” she said. “I think breakfast disagreed with me.” Her stomach did flip flops on her, and despite her best effort, she ran to the restroom to vomit. The doctor in Rog kicked in, and he checked her over and took her vitals.
“Other than rapid heartbeat, I don’t see much wrong.” But to be on the safe side, he ordered a basic blood work up on her and sent her to lay down until the nausea passed.
Rog was the first one to know her secret, even before Charlotte did, and he was on fire happy. Painting on a serious face, he walked into her room, flipping a medical chart.
“Well, Mrs. Jones, I have your blood work back, and everything looks normal, except for one reading.” He sat on the bed next to her and showed her the highlighted test. “Pregnancy – POS.”
“Are you serious, Daddy?” She shook her head, not believing it. “Are you sure that’s mine?”
“Your name is Charlotte Jones, is it not?”
“It is,” she said, smiling ear to ear.
“Then I guess you’re pregnant, baby girl.”
Rog sent her home from work early and called Bella to tell her to expect her home. “Is she okay?” Bella asked, naturally concerned.
“Yes, love, she’s just not feeling well, and she can’t be around patients when she’s sick.”
Charlotte walked into the door at home, and the first thing she did was run for the bathroom. Travis was still upstairs, asleep, as he had a game the night before and was out late.
“Oh honey, I recognize that run,” Bella said, as Charlotte streaked past her, retching on the way by.
“Shh!” Charlotte said, “You can’t say anything yet.” Travis had the night off work, and she was going to tell him when he got up.
She hugged Charlotte and kissed her forehead. “Congratulations, honey!” She held up a finger and ran for the bathroom again. “Poor girl,” Bella whispered under her breath, as she started boiling water for ginger tea. It was the only thing that got her through her first pregnancy.
Charlotte laid down on the sofa in the living room, and Bella brought her some tea. “Here, this will help the morning sickness, honey.”
“Thank you, Mama,” she said sleepily. “I just need to take a nap.”
She dozed on and off on the couch, and when Travis came downstairs at noon, he panicked when he saw her home.
“What’s wrong, Bella? Is she okay?”
“Yes, Travis, Rog sent her home because she wasn’t feeling well. She can’t be sick around patients.” He nodded.
“Ah, okay.” He observed her sleeping restlessly. “Poor thing,” he said.
“I made her some tea, she’ll be fine,” Bella said. “There is some lunch in the fridge, Travis. Help yourself.”
“Thanks, Bella,” he said, as he grabbed a plate to warm.
The sound of the microwave beeping woke her, and Charlotte felt sick. “Oh Mama, more tea, please,” she said, running for the bathroom. Travis heard her and ran to her side.
“Baby?” he said, peeking his head into the bathroom in time to watch her being sick. “Are you okay, honey?”
“Not really,” she said, grabbing a towel to wipe her face. He helped her up and got a wet washcloth to keep her skin cool.
“I’m sorry you don’t feel good, my sweet Charlotte.” He assisted her back to the sofa, where Bella had another steamy cup of ginger tea waiting for her.
“I was going to tell you this later, love, but I don’t see myself being able to do it up how I’d planned.” She took his hands in hers and looked at him, smiling. “You’re going to be a daddy, Travis.”
“Really?” he said, trembling. He thought they’d been careful, but there was the whole wedding night where they weren’t very careful at all.
“Really,” she smiled.
“Aw baby, this is awesome, honey!” he said as he hugged her gently.
Bella smiled at them contentedly. Their first grandchild was on the way.
No, no, no! Charlotte thought as she felt strong cramps in her stomach and back. This shouldn’t be happening! Shaking, she dialed her doctor. “This is Charlotte Jones, please tell Dr. Myles I am bleeding and cramping!” She was placed on hold, then the answering service returned to the line.
“She wants you to go to the hospital immediately, Mrs. Jones.” Charlotte hung up the phone and started to cry. She was home alone, and she didn’t want to be alone. She drove herself to the ER, where she was seen immediately. Her co-workers knew it didn’t look good, and they felt terrible for her.
Ten minutes later, her obstetrician, Dr. Myles, came in to see her. “Let’s take a look to see what’s going on, Charlotte,” pulling the curtain closed. Charlotte already knew.
When the doctor left, she texted Travis.
At the ER, come when you can. I need you.
The doctor came back before Travis arrived. “Charlotte, you’re miscarrying. But I know you already know that.” Hearing the words tore her in two. “We need to D&C you as soon as possible.”
“Is that really necessary to decide right now?” she cried, wishing beyond all reason that she wasn’t alone.
“You could choose to let the process occur naturally, but there is nothing we can do to stop it.” She nodded.
“I want to wait for my husband to come before we make a decision,” she told the doctor.
Twenty minutes later, Travis burst into her room, and he knew right away what had happened, just by the look on her face. “Oh baby,” he said, crying. “Oh, honey.”
“Travis, I’m so sorry,” she sobbed. “I know this is going to be doubly hard on you.”
“Shhh,” he comforted her. “What do you have to be sorry for, huh?” He hugged her, choking back a sob. “I still have you. We’re going to make it through this, together.” They cried, holding each other.
Rog had gotten a page on his beeper, and came straight to the hospital. He and Bella were at dinner with Jen at The Tower. He walked into the room and saw Travis with Charlotte, crying.
“Oh no,” he said. “Oh, princess.” Rog couldn’t hold his tears, and he didn’t want to have to tell Bella. He walked to her bed and kissed her forehead. “I wish this wasn’t happening. You don’t deserve this.”
“Thanks, Daddy,” she said, weeping. “Would you tell Mama? I don’t think I’ll be home tonight, and Travis is going to stay with me.”
“Of course, love.” Rog checked in with the desk, and Charlotte was the emergency he was called in for. She heard him chewing someone out. “Why did you page me? Her doctor has this under control!” Their voices moved away, and she could no longer hear them.
“Hold me, Travis. I don’t want to be alone.”
“Never alone, sweetie,” he comforted her.
Charlotte was released the next morning after observation. She and Travis decided to let the baby pass through naturally because they didn’t want to risk complications for a future pregnancy. Her doctor had done at least four exams and determined the bulk of the fetal tissue was still within her, so she would bleed and cramp for several days, and would continue to be in pain as her body passed it. She was told to take it easy for the next few days, and the hospital gave her some time off to recover, both physically and emotionally.
“Travis, I don’t want to face my mother,” she told him before they went home. “She will be shattered. I’m not sure I can deal with that right now.”
“Do you want me to tell her to back off for a while?” He knew she would never tell her mother she needed some time, but he had no qualms about it. It was Charlotte’s loss, and no one felt it more than she did, not even him.
“Well, let’s wait and see how she is. I can handle a little pampering, but I can’t be there to cheer her up. I don’t have it in me right now.” She sighed heavily, wanting to cry.
“Okay, baby. You are the boss, honey.” He put his arm around her as they walked to her car, and he let her in the passenger side.
Charlotte rocked back and forth in the car seat on the way home, in pain. She knew what to expect, but she wasn’t looking forward to the next few days. “We’re almost home,” Travis said, trying to comfort her. He still couldn’t wrap his head around the past 12 hours.
“I’m okay, honeybear,” she said. “Just sad.” He nodded.
They walked into the house together, his arm around her shoulder. She saw Bella and felt the need to go to her. “Mama,” she cried as she ran to her.
Bella wrapped her arms around her. “Oh baby girl,” she cried. “I’m so sorry sweetheart.” She held her for a few moments, while Travis stayed aside, watching her.
“She’s tired, Bella,” Travis told her. “They didn’t let her sleep all night.” He hugged her close and carried her upstairs.
“Travis, don’t go,” she begged him as he tucked her into bed.
“Baby, I have to go fill your meds, honey, and then I’ll be home. I promise.”
She nodded. “You promise…” her words faded as she drifted to sleep.
When he got back downstairs, Bella had offered to take her prescription to the pharmacy for them, so he went back to lay down with her, and take a nap. He curled up with her, and when she felt him snuggle with her, she began to cry
“Why did this happen, Travis? What did I do wrong?” He kissed her and held her tight, wishing he had the answers.
“Baby, you did nothing wrong, honey.” He kissed her neck. “You can’t beat yourself up, sweetie.” He wept along with her, and they cried themselves to sleep.
As soon as they got the okay, Charlotte and Travis resumed their attempts at another pregnancy. She never realized how much she wanted to be a mother until she became pregnant. Now that her miscarriage was behind them and they had time to properly grieve their loss, they were ready to move on. In the backyard, they planted a small tree, in memory of their baby.
Charlotte got a big promotion and raise at work, but it also changed her work hours to the night shift. With Travis working evenings, their only time together was early morning when Charlotte came home, and Travis was just getting up. Together time was rough for a few months.
“Good morning, honeybear,” Charlotte said to Travis one morning as she returned from her night shift. He was drinking coffee and chatting with Rog, who was waiting for his carpool.
“Good morning, my sweet Charlotte,” he replied.
“How was your game last night, love? Did you win?”
He sighed. “No, but maybe next time.” His team was on a winless streak for the season, despite their best efforts.
“Good morning, Dr. Jones,” Rog greeted her, smiling.
She walked to him and gave him a peck on the cheek. “Good morning, Daddy. I mean, Dr. St John.”
Rog laughed. “Dr. Daddy would have worked, too.”
Charlotte walked to her husband and gave him a sultry kiss. Travis got up and took her by the hand, and together they went upstairs. “Sweet dreams, Princess,” Rog called to her.
“Your team really lost last night? I thought you guys were playing the consolation prize team?” She was half teasing him.
“Yes,” Travis sighed. “I scored a couple of times, but without my defense, we can’t get ahead.” He kissed her. “I know I’m always a winner at home, though.”
“You are indeed, Mr. Jones.” She led him to their bed. “It’s time to try again, love.” He winked at Charlotte.
Travis and Charlotte watched their twin nephews playing on the floor together while Chris cooked dinner. They had just barely begun to walk. Cady walked by, and Nicholas grabbed at her leg. Holding his little arms up, he began to cry. She picked him up and handed him to his Aunt Charlotte, while she grabbed a bottle for him.
“It’s okay, little man,” she comforted him. “Mama’s coming back with a bottle.” She held the little boy close and kissed the top of his head. When Cade returned, she handed the bottle to Charlotte.
“Would you mind feeding him? I need to help Chris in the kitchen.”
“Are you kidding?” Charlotte giggled. “I just adore this widdle boy! Yes, I do!” She cradled him while she held the bottle for him, and the baby settled down.
Travis admired his beautiful wife and smiled. She will make a wonderful mother, he thought, if only I can give her a baby. Their attempts since the miscarriage had been futile, and he was beginning to wonder if they should see a doctor. Charlotte was less worried about it, knowing it could take a while after a miscarriage to conceive. But every month, their disappointment was blistering when Charlotte’s cycle began.
Chris came into the living room with another bottle, this one for Gregory. “Travis, do you mind trying your hand at feeding?”
Travis held his arms out as Chris handed the squirming child to him. “I would love to.” He settled the child into the nook of his elbow, as the baby reached for the bottle. It seemed so natural for him, Charlotte observed. He will be a great daddy someday, she thought, if only I could get pregnant. She cooed over Nicholas and set his bottle down so she could burp him.
Sweetly, she sang to Nick as she gently patted and rubbed his back. Travis had never heard her sing before, and he was taken aback by her angelic voice. “Wow,” he said. “I guess you really are Destiny Hill’s granddaughter.”
Charlotte blushed. “I don’t sing very often. But I will when we have our own little one to love.”
Travis smiled. “I hope you do, my sweet Charlotte. Your voice is divine.” Greg began to fuss, and Travis gently sat him up and rubbed his back.
Nick fell asleep in Charlotte’s arms, so she walked back to the nursery and placed him into his crib. When she returned, Greg had also fallen asleep in Uncle Travis’ arms, so she took the baby from him and laid him down to sleep.
Travis was standing when she came back from the nursery. He pulled her into a hug, and whispered in her ear, “I can’t wait for this to be our lives.” She kissed him, and as she did so, Cade came to call them for dinner.
“What happened to the babies?” Cade asked.
“They both fell asleep, so I put them down,” Charlotte replied. “I love that baby smell,” she swooned.”
“They’re a handful,” she said. “Always hungry at the same time, always dirty at the same time, and I’m only one mommy.”
Chris, who had been listening, chuckled. “I keep telling you we need help, but you say you can handle it.”
“I think my brother, Hank, is coming in a month to see them,” Cade announced. “He can help while he’s in town.”
Charlotte perked up. She was fond of Hank Macklamoor. He had always been kind to her. “That will be nice, Cade, to see your brother. He missed you the last time I saw him.”
“Yeah, he and I got along,” she said. “Scot, well, he’s another story.”
Changing the subject, Chris announced, “Dinner is ready, and I’m starved!”
“I’m late,” Charlotte announced.
“Late? Are we going somewhere?” Travis looked at her, confused.
“Not that kind of late.”
“Ohhh,” he replied. “You mean…”
“Yes, silly.” She bit her lip. “I’m almost afraid to take a test. I don’t want any more disappointment.”
He nodded. “I’m here if you want to. We can either be happy or disappointed, but we’ll do it together.”
Charlotte smiled. “You say the sweetest things, honeybear.”
He cocked his head. “All the romantic things I say to you, and that is what you call ‘sweet.’” He stroked his chin. “Women,” he sighed.
Charlotte threw a pillow at him. “You’re a brat!”
“But you love me anyway,” he replied.
“More than you know.” She cuddled up next to him.
The next day, she made an appointment with Dr. Myles. In a streak of good luck, she was able to get in that afternoon.
“So, what brings you in today, Charlotte?” the doctor asked.
“I’m late,” she said. “I’m afraid to hope. Afraid to know.”
“That is common after miscarriage, but your exams afterward showed a nice, healthy womb. Have you been actively trying to conceive?”
“Yes.” She wrung her hands, nervous.
Dr. Myles scribbled some instructions on a notepad and handed her a prescription for prenatal vitamins. “Even if you are not pregnant, you should be taking these to prepare your body. Give it another week or so, Dr. Jones. If you haven’t begun your cycle by this time next week, then take a home pregnancy test. They’re pretty accurate these days.”
“Thank you, Dr. Myles,” she said. Charlotte was thankful she did not have to endure another exam. “I’ll be in touch.”
She dialed Travis’ number to leave a message on his voice mail. To her surprise, he answered.
“Hey, my sweet Charlotte,” he greeted her. “What did Dr. Myles say?”
“Well, my fear is normal, and she thinks it’s too early to be worried about testing. She wants me to wait until next week, and if I still haven’t begun my cycle, to test then.”
“What do you think about all of that?” he asked.
“OB is not my specialty, but I think it makes sense. Most home tests don’t work this early anyway.”
“If it’s meant to be, it will be,” Travis stated.
“I know. I just don’t like waiting.”
A week later, they sat in their bedroom, held captive by a little stick in a box. She held the package in her hand, tormented by the contents.
“I don’t want to take the test, Travis,” Charlotte said. “What if it’s negative?”
“But what if it’s positive? You need to know, so you can take care of yourself.”
“I already do, and I’ve been taking those horse pills Dr. Myles gave me. I hate those things.” She nearly choked on them every time she took one. “What if I wait until I feel sick, like last time?”
“What if you never get morning sickness? Baby, you need to take the test, honey. I’m right here.” He hugged her. “Whatever it is, we’re going to be okay. I promise.”
With the test in her hand, she went into the bathroom to take it. Her hands shook as she slid a cover over the stick to hide the result window. Five minutes seemed an eternity. She handed it to Travis, with the window covered. “I can’t look.” He set the timer on his watch, and together, they waited.
When the timer ended, they looked at each other. Charlotte swallowed hard, and Travis had butterflies in his stomach. Slowly, they removed the cover on the window. And together, they saw two pink lines.
“I’m pregnant.” Charlotte cried. “I’m really pregnant!”
Travis drew her close for a kiss. “Baby, you are going to be the world’s best mother, honey.”
“I don’t want to say anything yet. Not until we’re past that point…” her voice trailed off.
Travis nodded and hugged her close. “Baby, whatever you want, honey.” He held her face in his hands, and kissed her tenderly. “We did it.”
Charlotte sat in Dr. Myles’ office with Travis. Her belly was growing by the day, and she was at the halfway point, 20 weeks. The medical assistant came into the room, and handed Charlotte a hospital gown. “Put this on, open in the front. There is a sheet to cover you. Sir, do you mind stepping out for the exam?”
“As a matter of fact, I do mind. Charlotte would like me to stay. The doctor has had no issues with me being here before.”
“Well, she’s doing an exam, and she thought you might be uncomfortable.”
Travis rolled his eyes. Who do you think put the baby in there? he felt like saying, but he refrained. “I’ll be fine, thank you.”
“The doctor will be in shortly.” The assistant left abruptly.
“What was that all about?” Charlotte asked. “Why would she not want you here?”
“Beats me, honey.” He helped her get her clothes off, and into the gown. She sat on the exam table, ready for whatever awaited.
“Hello, Dr. Jones, Mr. Jones,” the doctor said when she entered the room. “I’m going to do a quick exam, and then the ultrasound will be here. Do you want to know the gender of your baby?”
They looked at each other. There was much debate over the gender reveal, but they had decided to find out, at least on the first one. “Yes, please,” Charlotte affirmed.
After the exam was completed, the medical assistant came in with a portable ultrasound machine. After setting everything up and getting ready for the technician, she glared at Travis and left the room. Her act of derision didn’t go unnoticed, but Travis brushed it off.
About ten minutes later, the sonographer came into the room. “Hi, my name is Rachel, and we’re going to take a look at that little miracle you’re growing!” Charlotte wondered if she said that to every patient, or if she knew about the miscarriage.
“Hi Rachel, I’m Charlotte, this is my husband, Travis.” This was the part of the exam she waited for, and she was excited.
“Well, let’s get started, shall we?” Rachel had Charlotte get into a comfortable position, and squirted some jelly on her stomach. With a quick poke, which made Charlotte jump a little, she positioned the wand on her belly and started the exam. “Here’s your baby,” she told them, as she pointed out different features on the screen. “There’s two little feet, two legs,” she said, then continued. “It looks like we have a little girl,” she pointed out, and they were amazed. A daughter!
A few more minutes and the sonographer was finished. “I have everything I need here. The doctor will let you know in a few days what the results are, but in my opinion, you have a healthy baby, Charlotte.”
“Thank you,” she said as the tech left the room. A few moments later, Dr. Myles returned.
“My preliminary impression is that your baby is growing well, but you, Charlotte, you need to gain some weight.”
“I was supposed to bring that up today, so I’m glad you mentioned it,” Travis said. “I promised Dr. St John I would follow up on that.”
“So, ginger tea, peppermint candies, crackers, and soup are all good for nausea. I can’t imagine this will last much longer, but if it does, we may have to do something more drastic.” She handed Travis a new prescription for the vitamins. “These are a bit more potent. Take them with food.”
Charlotte chuckled. “If I can keep food down, that is.”
“Try protein smoothies, Charlotte. Those are usually well-tolerated, especially banana. I’ll see you in two weeks, and we’ll discuss further treatment if you’re still nauseated.”
Charlotte got dressed after wiping all the goo from her tummy. She was absolutely beaming inside. “A daughter,” she said. “You’re going to be a daddy to a little girl.”
“It looks like it,” Travis said.
“You wanted a boy, didn’t you?” Charlotte grabbed her coat and bag.
“I don’t care what we have, baby, as long as she’s healthy.” He took her arm and they walked to the car.
Soon after Charlotte’s appointment, the nausea finally started to settle down, and she began to truly enjoy the experience of growing their little miracle inside her. Every time the baby moved, Charlotte beamed with happiness, and Travis loved to feel her kick. As she had promised, she spent a lot of time singing to their baby; when she was just laying back on the sofa, or washing clothes, or doing dishes, she was singing to her daughter. Bella loved hearing her singing, too. She was happy someone inherited her mother’s voice.
Travis started pulling some of the furniture down from the loft for the baby as Charlotte’s due date approached. She was sitting down in her great grandfather’s rocking chair as Travis and Bella sorted through piles of toys, furniture and baby clothes that had been saved, and Charlotte picked out what she wanted to put into the nursery.
“Thank you for helping my Mama with all of that stuff today, honeybear,” Charlotte cooed at Travis. “You did a great job painting it, and decorating.
“I couldn’t let her do all of that herself, despite her wanting to.” He kissed her cheek, and as he rubbed her belly, the baby kicked.
“She forgets sometimes she isn’t 20 anymore, I think.”
“Your dad keeps her young,” Travis smiled. “I hope we keep each other young like that, too.” Travis had never seen a more amorous couple than Bella and Rog. The experience of living with them was 180 degrees different than his own family, and he treasured the St Johns.
“I hope we do, too.” She smiled, the baby kicking in her tummy.