Chapter 5 - Two Unexpected Arrivals
The morning light came through Hawkeye's bedroom window. Not going to be a sunshiny day he thought. He could tell already that there was a haze outside. He looked at the clock. It was eight o'clock. He had slept through the night without a nightmare. He smiled and looked at the sleeping woman beside him.
As if she knew she was being watched, Margaret slowly opened her eyes and smiled.
"Hi," she said.
"Good morning, Mrs. Pierce," he said.
"I love the sound of that."
"That's a good thing," he replied. "Hopefully you'll be hearing it for many years to come."
"Shall we go down for some coffee?"
"No," he said, "I want to wait. I'm comfortable."
She smiled and put her arms around him. "Thank you, Hank."
"Thank you, Darlene."
"Mommy! Daddy! Wake up," shouted Erin Hunnicutt. She looked out the window and said, "Lookie...what's dat?"
BJ opened one eye, "What's what, sweetheart?"
She kept pointing out the window, insisting that he see what she saw. BJ stretched and sat up under protest. He looked out the window and saw that a heavy snow had begun to fall.
"Uh oh. This could be a problem," he said.
"What could be a problem?" asked Peg without opening her eyes.
"Snowing! Snow! Snow!" Erin sang out.
Daniel looked out the window from his room. "Well, Father, it looks like we're in for some white weather. I hope you don't mind a little snow."
"Oh no, there's nothing more beautiful than snow in a country setting. But isn't it a little late for snow? It is April."
"Sometimes we get snow here in Maine on into May. It's not unusual for this to happen. I hope it's not going to keep up. If it gets too heavy some of your flights might be cancelled."
Daniel was desperately hoping that Rose's flight would be able to make it out. He dreaded the thought of another day with that disagreeable woman. Most everyone was scheduled to leave tomorrow, Monday. He had known New England blizzards to keep up for three days.
"Well," Daniel sighed, "we'll just have to take it as it comes. I learned a long time ago that you can't fight the weather."
Father Mulcahy nodded in agreement. He'd come to really like the elder Pierce in the short time he'd gotten to know him. He was very much like his son only with a wisdom that can only come with age. Daniel had a devilish sparkle in his eye that told the priest that Hawkeye came by his sense of humor and love of the practical joke honestly.
"It seems that the bride and groom are sleeping late," said Father Mulcahy as the group shared coffee.
Rose said, "It's ten o'clock. Would you look at that snow coming down! I've never seen anything like it. I don't know how those two can sleep so late."
"Ah, it was a big night for them, Mrs. Houlihan," said Sherman. "I think those two deserve a little extra shut eye. Why when me and the missus were married way back when I was quite the stud myself and...."
"Sherman Potter!" cried Mildred. "Don't you dare utter another word!"
"Oh, sorry, Mother. I reckon I do tend to forget myself sometimes. I want to apologize to all of you of the female persuasion. I'll try to keep a bridle on this old tongue."
Mildred gave him a kiss on the cheek, "You old fool."
"You know what they say," he replied. "There ain't no fool like an old fool!"
"Is anybody hungry besides me?" asked Rose. "I make the best French toast of anyone I know."
"Of course you do," muttered Daniel.
"What was that?" she asked him.
"I just said that I'm sure you do. You do everything so well, dear lady," he smiled at her than turned his head and rolled his eyes.
Sidney laughed as he watched the parents of the newlyweds. Freud would have a ball with these two he thought. He put his arm around Rivka and kissed her. He had missed her and Aaron. Like BJ he had missed out on his son's infancy.
"Good morning, everyone!" said BJ. "It looks like we have some snow falling. We don't see much of that in Mill Valley. Erin's pretty excited."
Erin Hunnicutt and Aaron Freedman hugged each other and raced to the bay window in the front room to watch the snow. The room was spotless. Rose, the early riser, had seen to that.
Sidney laughed at the children's enthusiasm and mused, "They're too young to realize that boys and girls don't like each other until they're in their teens. I'm telling you, BJ, they make a perfect couple. We can draw up those betrothal papers and their futures will be sealed."
"How are you feeling, Mrs. Hunnicutt?" asked Radar.
"Oh Radar, don't you know by now that it's Peg to you! Thanks for asking. My back hurts a little this morning. It's hard to sleep these days or get comfortable," she said. "Patty, you'll be finding out what it's like soon enough."
"I'll be happy when I get out of the morning sickness stage," sighed Patty munching on some soda crackers. "October seems like a very long time off."
"Hey, Patty," said Hawkeye who had just entered the room with his wife at his side. "Did you use one of Radar, I mean Walter's rabbits for your pregnancy test?"
Patty looked at Radar questioningly. He colored a bit and said, "I'll tell you about it later."
"Hawkeye!" said Margaret; "Did you have to bring that up?"
"Okay," said Peg. "Now you've got my curiosity going. What are you talking about?"
"Yeah," said BJ. "I don't think I know the story on this one."
"Do you mind, Margaret? If you don't want me to tell the story, give me the word and my lips are sealed."
"Ha!" She exclaimed. "That'll be the day! Go ahead, it's all in the past and it's a good story, really," she said squeezing Hawkeye's arm.
"Go on Hawkeye, we all want to hear this one!" said Lorraine enthusiastically.
"Once upon a time, in a place called Uijongbu..." began Hawkeye.
"Skip the flim flam, Pierce and cut to the chase," said Sherman.
"Yes sir, cutting to the chase sir!" said Hawkeye giving a mock salute. "Anyway...as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted...Margaret was married to an orangutan by the name of Don..."
"Never mind the name," interrupted Margaret. "I don't care if I ever hear that name again as long as I live."
"Okay...gee whiz...you're so touchy. As I was saying before I was once more rudely interrupted..."
BJ threw a couch cushion at Hawkeye. "On with it, man!"
"...Anyway Margaret came to me and said she thought she might be with child, in a family way...as in pregnant. She wasn't too happy about it because she and 'what's-his-name' were having some problems. She didn't want anyone else to know so she asked if I would do the test. The only rabbits that we had in camp were the ones that Radar kept as pets, Fluffy and Bongo, Fluffy being the female."
"Wow, you remember their names!" said Radar.
"I try to remember my patients' names. It makes for good doctor patient relationships.
"Radar got very upset when he found out that for Fluffy to do the pregnancy test for Margaret she had to sacrifice not only her ovaries but also her life. At least, that's the usual course of action. Well, when Radar looked at me with those cute little puppy eyes I couldn't resist and agreed to do surgery on the rabbit and just take her ovaries without killing her."
"I've never seen anyone do such a delicate surgery," said Margaret kissing Hawkeye's hand.
"So what were the results? Were you pregnant?" asked Peg
"No, it turned out to be some gallbladder trouble," answered Margaret. "I was kind of sad but at the same time I didn't really want to have children, particularly...his...children. But now I'm looking forward to one day having Hawkeye's children."
Hawkeye smiled and kissed her.
"Breakfast is served," called Rose. "Come and get it while it's hot."
"Wow! Look at that snow coming down," said Lorraine. "There must be ten inches out there by now and it only started this morning."
"More like ten feet if you ask me," sniffed Rose.
"And no one asked you," whispered Daniel under his breath from the other side of the room.
Hawkeye laughed at his dad. Rose was really getting under his skin.
"Has anyone heard a weather report?" asked Mary O'Reilly. "It sure don't snow like this in Iowa."
Daniel turned on the radio. The report was that there were roads closed all over the area. "Looks like we're snowbound, folks," he said.
About five o'clock the phone rang.
"I'll get it," said Hawkeye and ran for the phone.
"Hi Mr. Newlywed, Mary Jo here, the snowbound princess of Crabapple Cove saying, don't go out tonight and you have a call from Boston."
"Thank you, Mary Jo. Hello?"
"Hello Hawkeye, Charles here. Just checking to see how you and your household are fairing. Boston is covered with snow and they're canceling flights out of here left and right. You might want to be checking the Portland airport as well."
"Thanks, Charles, I appreciate the report. I will check on that."
Hawkeye hung up the phone and said, "Looks like we're in for a cozy night at Chez Pierce."
"Hawkeye," said Sidney, "Did you two have a honeymoon planned? I mean two's company, three's a crowd, but what you have here is a convention."
"Actually Margaret and I are planning a trip to Mill Valley in June or July to see the other coast and welcome the new little Miss or Master Hunnicutt. We knew everyone would be flying in and staying here this weekend and we wanted to enjoy the company. I apologize for the blizzard conditions. We really hoped that we'd beat the weather."
"We can just snuggle in tonight around the fire and watch Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town," said Daniel. "That new little Admiral television is a honey."
He and Margaret sat hand in hand on an excursion bus. Outside the window the ocean lapped up on the shore. She was beautiful in her white wedding gown. He looked out the window but was distracted by the squawking of a chicken. He looked behind him from where he'd heard the noise. A Korean woman sat rocking the chicken. The squawking got louder until he couldn't stand it. He yelled out, "Keep that damn chicken quiet!" It became deathly quiet. He looked around to see the woman holding a lifeless baby in her arms. When he turned again to Margaret, her white gown was covered with blood...
"Hey Dad, what are you doing up?" it was four in the morning. Hawkeye, wearing pajamas and robe wandered into the study. It was his favorite place next to watching the sunrise on the beach when he wanted to be alone to think.
"I could ask you the same question. I would think you'd want to stay in bed with that pretty little wife of yours. Nightmare?"
"That's usually the reason isn't it. It's getting to be a routine. I wonder if they will ever stop."
"I don't know that anyone knows the answer to that one, Hawkeye," said Sidney as he peeked around a high backed leather chair.
Hawkeye saw now that Daniel and Sidney were engaged in a game of gin in front of the fire.
"Sidney, what are you doing up? Do you have nightmares, too?"
"Well, actually, Hawkeye, I do occasionally have flashbacks and nightmares relating to the war. But this time it's nothing quite as dramatic as that. Rivka sleeps with her stomach against my back and the baby was kicking so hard I couldn't sleep."
Hawkeye laughed, "Do you two mind if I join you?"
"Not at all," said Daniel. "We could get a hand of five card stud going."
"It doesn't look like any of us are going home today. The airlines say that it could be a couple of days before we can get out and that's if it ever stops snowing," said Sidney.
"Sounds like someone else is awake upstairs," said Hawkeye.
BJ opened his eyes and looked at the clock. It was four o'clock in the morning. He rolled over to find that Peg was not in the bed. He hadn't been sleeping very well since she'd entered her last trimester. He got up, seeing that she was nowhere in the room.
He walked out in the hallway to find his wife with a bath towel, bent over on her hands and knees mopping the floor. She looked up at him and grinned, her cheeks flushed.
"I had a bit of an accident," she said sheepishly. "I think we're about to have a baby."
"Yeah," she giggled. "My water broke."
By five o'clock AM the Pierce house was alive with activity.
Rose was in the kitchen making coffee and biscuits. Margaret was preparing to assist Daniel in the delivery of the Hunnicutt's baby. Mary made sure there were plenty of blankets. Rivka and Patty were making diapers out of dishtowels as Peg hadn't thought to bring any since the baby wasn't due for another month. Lorraine was boiling water and sterilizing the instruments that Daniel might need. Mildred and Sherman were looking after Aaron and Erin. Father Mulcahy and Sidney were staying out of the way.
"It's a good thing we have so many doctors here," said Hawkeye. "At least we're prepared for emergencies."
"Isn't there anyway we can get her to the clinic?" asked BJ
"Beej, look out there," he said, pointing to the window. "Unless you have a dogsled at your disposal there's no way you're going to make it out of the front door. Dad's made more home deliveries than the Fuller Brush man. Just stay here with your wife. She needs you right now."
BJ sat beside the bed holding Peg's hand. She had started having hard contractions right after her water broke. She squeezed his hand with each contraction.
Margaret came in with two more pillows to prop Peg up. "You'll be more comfortable if you're raised up a bit," she said. "How hard are the contractions? Do you need something for pain?"
"N-no..." Peg stopped and clenched her fists as she felt another contraction. "Wow that was a hard one. M-maybe a l-little something for pain."
"I'll just give you a little shot to take the edge off. Now let me check to see how far you're dilated," said Margaret.
BJ smiled at Margaret. He'd always appreciated her skill as a nurse. He could tell that she was blossoming in her duties as an obstetrical nurse. It calmed him some to see the way she was able to take charge.
"I've said it before, Margaret. You're quite a nurse and an amazing woman. Hawkeye is a lucky man!" said BJ as he mopped the sweat off of Peg's brow. "Just a little while longer, sweetheart."
"You're dilated to seven and fully effaced," said Margaret.
"What does that mean," asked Peg. "Is that good?"
"That's very good," laughed BJ. "It means we're almost there."
Margaret said, "I'll be right back," and went to get Daniel.
A few minutes later Daniel and Hawkeye came through the door wearing surgical masks. "I just heard a rumor that someone's having a baby and I had to come see if it's true," said Daniel.
Hawkeye checked Peg and said, "We're at eight centimeters and moving quickly."
Peg cried out and was becoming disoriented which told Margaret that delivery would be soon. Margaret got nose to nose with her and said, "Peg, look at me...take deep breaths...try to relax...now breathe...breathe...atta girl." BJ held one of Peg's hands and Margaret held the other.
Hawkeye listened to the fetal heartbeat and said as he grinned at BJ, "You've got a strong one in there, Beej."
Daniel checked her and said, "Ten centimeters! Here's the moment we've all been waiting for! It's time to push that little papoose out of there!"
Margaret and BJ held Peg's shoulders as she sat up and pushed...and pushed.
"I s-see the h-head," exclaimed Peg. The baby began to cry.
"Would you listen to that squawk!" said BJ excitedly
The look of alarm on Hawkeye's face at the word 'squawk' didn't escape Margaret. She knew he was flashing back to the baby on the bus in Korea. She stood up and took his hand, "Are you okay?" she whispered.
He shook his head, as if to shake the memory, "Yeah...I'm fine...thanks Margaret." Hawkeye turned to Daniel and said, "Well what is it?"
"If I got my anatomy right in med school I would say that we have a healthy baby boy! Congratulations, BJ! Peg! Here, BJ," said Daniel, handing him the scissors. "You should have the honor of cutting the cord."
"He's beautiful!" said Margaret as she rubbed the baby down with baby oil and wrapped him to give to Peg. Do you have a name for him?
Peg smiled at BJ and said, "Yes, I think we do. BJ you want to tell them?"
BJ grinned and said, "Benjamin Daniel Hunnicutt."
Hawkeye and Daniel laughed and patted each other on the back. "He's bound to be a doctor for sure with a name like that!" said Daniel.
"You aren't going to call him 'BD' are you?" asked Hawkeye.
"By the way, what does BJ stand for?" asked Daniel.
"Anything you want," smiled BJ.