I remember a few years ago when Wes asked me if I was ready for Charlotte to be born. Like a dumbass I thought I was simply because I had her college fund started.
I was not. Not even close. And that was just for the birth. Little did I know that as many parenting blogs as I read, nothing was going to prepare me for fatherhood.
This time though? I am the definition of ready for when Bethany gives birth to our son. Which could happen at any moment now.
No, we didn’t plan for this one either. After years of trying with no luck, we resigned to the fact of being a one-child family. We were okay with that.
Then it happened.
And yes, we found out the gender again. Except this time, I made sure I was there for it.
As for this baby, I am the definition of prepared. Bethany’s bag is ready. The baby’s bag is ready. I have one ready so I don’t need to leave the hospital. Hell, I even have Charlotte’s bag ready for when she goes to spend a few days with Uncle Hunter and Aunt Sadie.
I have the car seat installed. I have the group chat started for who I need to notify when our little boy makes his appearance. I have cash for parking, I have snacks and I have every charger I can think of. Hunter and the Fury already know that if she goes into labor, no matter what day of the week or what city we are in, that I will be there. Sadie isn’t even on standby as birth coach.
Bring it on Baby Boy Davis. Your mama and I are ready for you.
I look up from where I am sitting on the couch to see Bethany waddling from the bathroom to our living room. I feel horrible that I can’t do more for her. She is ridiculously uncomfortable at forty weeks pregnant. Since Charlotte was early, she didn’t have to deal with being “this” pregnant last time. Her feet are swollen, she goes to the bathroom all the time and she hasn’t been able to get a good night’s sleep in weeks. I wish I could do more for her, but I’ve also learned that when she needs my help she will ask.
Hell hath no fury like a pregnant Bethany who can do something herself.
“You okay princess?” I ask. Though by the look she shoots me I know the answer is “of course I’m not dumbass.”
“Oh yeah, just fine,” she says, ungracefully plopping on the couch. “Just another day of being four-million weeks pregnant. Living my best life. Having random contractions is super fun and I really love your son sitting right on top of my bladder. Being pregnant is the best.”
I have also learned that when Bethany is this pregnant, she is very sarcastic. I have to choose my words wisely.
“I’m sorry,” I say, bringing her feet to my lap, hoping I can massage away some of the tension. “I wish I could do more.”
“I know,” she says, visibly relaxing as I work her arches. “I’m just ready for this baby to come.”
“I know. But you must admit, him taking his time has given us more time to figure out his name.”
She lets out a defeated sigh. “We are never going to agree on one. I’m starting to think Charlotte will get her wish and we’ll name him Olaf.”
I shake my head. “I’m not naming our son after a snowman. We can figure out a name.”
I love my daughter to the moon and back. She has me wrapped around her little finger and there is very little she can’t get me to do with just the bat of her eyelashes. I paint my nails for her more than I’d like to admit. I rock a tea party.
But I draw the line at naming our son after a cartoon snowman. It’s bad enough I know every word to that damn movie.
And own a Kristoff costume.
And an Elsa dress.
“So Olaf is officially off the board. What other names are we rejecting?”
Like with Charlotte, instead of throwing out names we like, we are announcing names we dislike.
The list is lengthy.
“Evan?” I say, though I know as soon as I say the name I hate it.
Bethany shakes her head. “Nah. Doesn’t feel right. What about Justin?”
I nearly roll my eyes. “We are not naming our son after your favorite boy band member.”
“Fine,” she says with a huff. “Then I’m also taking Mac off the table. I know you were trying to name him after that Die Hard guy.”
“That Die Hard guy?” I say as I tickle her feet. “Our son would be lucky to be named after John McClane.”
Her laughter ends our latest round of the name game, which was the desired outcome. Clearly, we aren’t coming up with a name today. And frankly, I just wanted to see her smile.
I love this woman more than I ever thought I could love another person. In the past five years we have been together, we have not only raised our daughter, but also supported each other in ways we didn’t know at the time we’d need. She’s my best friend. My partner. The love of my life.
The woman who just kicked me in the nuts.
“Ow!” I can’t help but yell. “What was that for?”
Gritting through the pain, I look over at her, who looks like she is worse shape than I am.
Then she lets out a scream that I was not prepared for and suddenly the pain in my groin is gone.
“What is it?” I say, even though I have a feeling what’s about to come out of her mouth. I also suddenly have no clue where I put all four bags.
“Grab those bags. Tell Sadie to pick Charlotte up from school. It’s baby time.”
* * *
I wasn't ready.
I wasn't even close to being ready.
Labor is no joke. I didn’t realize how much I missed when Charlotte was born until we arrived at the hospital and the doctors confirmed that the baby was on his way.
I need to remember to thank Sadie for everything she did the last time.
There was so much yelling. I didn’t know my southern belle wife knew some of those cuss words, let alone how to create new combinations of them.
I also might have promised her that I’d schedule a vasectomy before I left here. I agreed in haste. Anything to calm her down.
But after ten hours, two possible broken fingers from Bethany squeezing my hand, and only one use of my full birth name, our baby boy made his way to the world.
And we still don’t have a name.
“Hi little man,” Bethany coos, holding him to her breast to try to get him to latch on. My man goes right to her with no trouble.
He gets it from me.
We’ve been back in our room for a few hours now, and though both of us are dead tired, neither one of us can sleep. I sent the group text letting everyone know that the baby is here and healthy. Sadie sent me back a video of Charlotte dancing around yelling that she’s a big sister. I can’t wait for my girl to see her brother for the first time.
I make my way to sit down on the bed next to Bethany as she nurses Little Boy Davis. She leans into me, letting her head rest on my shoulder as we both take in the moment.
“We really need to name this little guy, don’t we?” I say, as Bethany finishes nursing him.
Bethany lets out a sigh before passing him to me to put into his bassinet. “I thought once I saw him, I’d know. All I know now is that this boy is going to be the spitting image of you.”
I take another look at my son as I lay him down and I want to puff out my chest. Our little man has a full head of dark hair and eyes that are going to look exactly like his sisters — a mixture of both mine and Bethany’s.
He’s going to be my son through and through. Which means there is only one name to give him.
Bethany gives me a shocked look as I take a seat back on the bed. “Are you serious? You hate that name.”
I shake my head. “I hated the combination of the name. But I took care of one part of that. Then there was the fact that my traditional mother wouldn’t hear of me going by a nickname. But it’s the 21st century. Let’s put a spin on it.”
Bethany takes a moment before nodding her head. “Maybe Ricky?”
I shrug. “Possibly. What about Richie?”
She shakes her head. “Doesn’t sound right… what about… RJ?”
“Richard Davis, Jr. A new family name to pass down.”
This woman. Just when I don’t think I can love her anymore, she does something like this and makes my heart grow another size.
I bring her lips to mine, needing to feel them as we take in this moment.
I can’t believe at one time I was an idiot and was going to deny myself this. I have a daughter and son I love to the ends of the Earth. I get to see my sisters a few times a year and as for my mother… she’s still with us. Sometimes she recognizes us. Most of the time she doesn’t. I’m just glad that she at one point got to meet Bethany and Charlotte. And hopefully she will know RJ, even if just for a moment.
And then there is my wife. God I love this woman.
“I love you,” I say, breaking our kiss. “Thank you for giving me everything I didn’t know I wanted.”
She leans in for one more kiss. “I love you too. But can you promise me one thing?”
She leans in a little closer, her voice just above a whisper. “Please make sure you schedule that vasectomy. No more surprise babies. We are done.”
I laugh because it’s all I can do. “Don’t you like it when our plans go off track?”
She shakes her head. “Honestly, I wouldn’t know any other way with us.”
Neither would I. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Ready for the next installment in the Nashville Fury? Wonder what happened to Bryce after he got dismissed? His story is next in Off Season. Download now and read for free in Kindle Unlimited!