(( Clinic, Sikuna Colony ))
A. Sevo: PUSH!
A. Sevo: You’re at 10 cm. Push again!
Theletha: I AM PUSHING, YOU SPOTTED VERUUL!!
A. Sevo: oO She’s doing quite well, I think. Oo
(( Flashback - ~200 years ago - Illuna Hospital, Leran Manev, Trill ))
Lizara: I AM PUSHING!
:: Lizara was laid back in the birthing chair, trying desperately to get the little parasite out of her. Her whole body was sweating; the ionic imbalance in her skin caused by her hormones and the profusion of sweat was causing Lizara’s many dynamic tattoos to switch on-and-off repeatedly, or simply misfire. Thus, parts of her exposed skin were a kaleidoscope of moving patterns and colors. Her makeup was washing off due to the sweat, making her look like a Dead’s Week reveler. Her vibrant purple hair was horribly unkempt and matted to her skin, falling in strands across her face. ::
Doctor: You’re fully dilated at 4cm.
Lizara: This isn’t a date, doc. Stop staring and get him out!
Doctor: *chuckling* Another couple of pushes, Lizara. You’re doing great.
Doctor: Again, Sevo! Push! I already see the head. Push!
Lizara: YOU WANT TO TRY IT?!
:: The doctor calmly ignored the snap, no doubt hearing much worse over his career. ::
Doctor: I’ve got him!
:: Lizara slammed her head back on the chair, thoroughly exhausted. It had been the longest twelve weeks of her life. But she still had close to a year of incubation to go through. She kept telling herself that the child would be the love of her life, but right now he was just being a pain in the...well...being a pain, anyway. ::
:: The doctor quickly measured the infant. ::
Doctor: 2.75 cm.; completely normal. I’ll cut the cord, clean him up and then we can get him in your pouch. Nurse, can you prepare her?
:: Arguably, pouch incubation was the phase most parents looked forward to the most, as the baby was instantly accessible for all the wooing in the world. The pouch was filled with a clear, viscous, nutritious liquid that the fetus would breath & ingest for close to a year, as well as act as an infection filter. Both males and females were capable of incubation. The pouch naturally started to “unseal” during pregnancy for females. For males it was a little more complicated. Sometimes the anticipation of being a father was enough to cause a hormonal change to open their pouch; other times it required medical intervention to unseal it. In Lizara’s case, she was pretty much ready to go. ::
:: The doctor soon returned and he first placed the tiny child on Lizara’s chest, letting her feel him. He was barely formed; eyes still closed, no hair yet, his skin translucent. Not even his spots had formed yet. As the doctor placed the fetus on Lizara, she couldn’t help but cry. ::
Lizara: He’s adorable! So tiny!
Doctor: You’ve still got several months of incubation to go through, remember. He can come out for brief periods, but needs to spend at least 90% of his time in your pouch. The first three months, at minimum, he shouldn’t come out at all. He can’t breathe very well yet.
Lizara: I understand. :: She said, gently stroking the incredibly small living thing. ::
Doctor: There is no father, correct? :: He said, gently picking up the fetus and handing it to the pouch nurse. ::
Lizara: ...No. oO It was a one-night stand. Oo
Doctor: Then we won’t have to discuss pouch-sharing. After three months or so, he may start to pop his head out and take a look around.
Lizara: Maternity clothes, here I come…
:: The pouch needed air circulation; not to mention the fetus’ penchant for popping up unannounced. Standard Trill maternity clothes were basically midriffs, exposing the belly for the entire incubation period. Some styles were more like oversized shirts or dresses with just the belly section cut out, or alternatively, a mesh covering the belly for more modesty but still allowing airflow. An entire subsection in the fashion industry revolved around maternity styles. ::
Doctor: I’m sure it won’t bother you in the least, Sevo. :: He patted Lizara’s tattooed belly. :: Now, have you thought of a name for him?
Lizara: Ajul. His name is Ajul.
(( Present Time - Clinic, Sikuna Colony ))
:: The time had come. The baby wasn’t going to wait. Governor Khaveid had smartly fled the scene on the pretense of finding the supplies. To her surprise, Eerie decided to remain and try to comfort the soon-to-be-mother. Apparently he had helped deliver babies before. Wonders never cease. ::
:: In the case of Ayiana, she had only her Starfleet Emergency Medical Course training to fall back on; which included a very smooth and orderly holographic human birth. She also had the experience of several births of her former hosts, but Trill pregnancies were quite smooth compared to most trillioids. Plus, those were a *long* time ago and in different lives. ::
:: To say she was nervous was an understatement. She was sweating almost as much as Theletha. Fortunately, Ayiana’s head was buried under the blanket they placed over Theletha’s legs, so no one had to see exactly how nervous she was. She had her tricorder open, both scanning Theletha and having the procedure for a Romulan childbirth open for her to refer to. ::
:: Yes, Ayiana was reading the manual. ::
A. Sevo: oO This is a lot more difficult than I remember my pregnancies being! Oo
A. Sevo: C’mon, Theletha! He’s halfway out! Eerie, how’s she doing up there?
A. Sevo: Did you manage to find a laser scalpel and blanket?
(( Flashback - ~100 Years Ago - Yasari Hospital, Palmyra, Trill ))
:: Vereesa gently caressed the tiny newborn girl; not yet big enough to even fill her palm. Her normally librarian-esque brown hair was falling apart. Her glasses were dripping with sweat at the end of her nose. She was sweating slightly, though the whole process was much easier than Vereesa had expected. Much to her husband, Corvan’s, relief; as well as his hand Vereesa had been grasping throughout the ordeal. ::
:: That only left the other one to get out. ::
Doctor: Another push, Vereesa! She’s almost out!
:: With practiced calm and efficiency, one of the assisting nurses gently took the first baby from Vereesa, knowing full well that she will no doubt squeeze the fragile thing into oblivion trying to get it’s sister out. ::
Doctor: One more should do it.
:: The doctor was way too calm. Perhaps *she* should give childbirth a try sometime! ::
Doctor: Got her! Nurse, laser scalpel, please.
:: Vereesa breathed a sigh of relief as the doctor finished with her second baby. Once cleaned up, the twin girls were given to their parents to hold for a few minutes. Corvan held the older one, whilst Vereesa clutched the newest one, staring lovingly into it’s barely-formed face. ::
Vereesa: They’re so tiny…
Doctor: Twins sometimes are. You’ve got twelve weeks to grow twice the mass. This also means they’ll have to be pouch-incubated for at least a year.
Vereesa: A year?! That’s going to be exhausting.
Doctor: At least you can share the load, so to speak. If you plan on pouch-sharing with your husband- :: she gestured to Corvan. :: -then I would recommend keeping them together. Both are in you, or him. It is healthy for their psychological development later in life if they remain together during their gestation.
Vereesa: I understand.
:: The nurses each took a baby and placed them into Vereesa’s waiting pouch, one after the other. It had already started oozing small amounts of amniotic fluid, which the nurses deftly wiped clean.
Doctor: Nurse, please prepare Corvan’s pouch.
:: Unfortunately, Corvan’s pouch had not opened in anticipation of fatherhood. That meant he had to undergo a quick surgery to open it up, and medicines given to him to jump-start his hormones and fluid creation. Fortunately, it only took a few minutes, and the nurses were able to open up his pouch on a side table in the room. ::
Doctor: Well, that went quite smooth, for twins.
Vereesa: Easy for you to say.
:: She sipped on a glass of much-needed water while the other nurse gently dabbed Vereesa down with a clean towel. ::
Doctor: Have you two chosen names?
:: She looked at Corvan, who smiled back at his beautiful wife. ::
Vereesa: Niara- :: pointing to the older girl : -and Ezal. :: pointing to the younger one. ::
(( Present Time - Clinic, Sikuna Colony ))
A. Sevo: A couple more pushes, Theletha, and she’ll be out.
:: The Romulan woman didn’t have to be told twice. With two great groans, the baby slid out and into Ayiana’s waiting hands. She thought feeling the slimy, wet infant would be messy and disgusting, but holding it in her hands was oddly...serene. ::
A. Sevo: I’ve got her! She’s beautiful.
:: Ayiana lightly smacked the baby to induce breathing. She coughed a couple of times, then her tiny lungs took over, breathing on their own. ::
A. Sevo: Eerie, laser scalpel please.
:: Ayiana cut the umbilical cord, then gently wiped down the baby. She had thin wisps of hair on her head, and her ears were just pointed enough to clearly tell her ancestry. Ayiana “finished up” underneath, then gently crawled out from under the blanket and, carefully holding the child in her arms, walked over to the head of the table. ::
A. Sevo: Your daughter, Theletha.
:: She was hesitant to hand over the baby cradled in her arms. Was she really smaller than this when she was born? It was hard to imagine the potential such a tiny little life would hold. As much as she loved holding it, Ayiana begrudgingly handed the newborn over to Theletha’s waiting arms. ::
Theletha: Th-thank you!
A. Sevo: Have you thought of a name?
A. Sevo: oO Maybe the little devils aren’t so bad after all. Oo
Lt. Commander Ayiana Sevo
Image Collective Co-Facilitator