Fandom: Star Wars
Written For: fic101
Prompt: #038 Young
Characters: Ruwee, Jobal, Sola, Padmé
Word Count: 1,295
Summary: A new baby is born to Ruwee and Jobal Naberrie.
Author’s Notes: I honestly could not tell you where this one came from. It’s one of those random plotbunnies that just sort of appears on your doorstep, invites itself in and settles down for a good chat. Those can be the best kind, though, because they usually end up producing the fics I’m most proud of. One of the things I’m hoping to do with this new fic101 claim is to write a bit more about Padmé’s childhood – the years she spent as a young girl at her parents’ home and how she interacted with other people as a child. This is the first of those. Even though there’s nothing specifically in canon to indicate a scenario like this might have taken place, I thought it would be fun to imagine a birth scene.
The child tugs at her father’s pant leg, impatient and demanding attention. “Daddy? Daddy, when is my baby brother going to get here?”
The man she calls Daddy is nervous, pacing, obviously concerned. He frequently rubs a hand across the stubble on his face, as though that will somehow speed up time. His wife has been confined for twelve hours now, and there is no sign that his second child will be arriving anytime soon. He wonders for the hundredth time if they should have gone to a medcenter instead of consulting a midwife and agreeing to a home birth, but as soon as this worry enters his mind, it is banished.
He cannot afford to think of the consequences should something go wrong.
He wonders then if he was being foolish when, five months ago, his wife wandered idly into the kitchen and said, “You know, Ruwee, I’ve been thinking of having the baby at home. I hate those medcenters, they’re so … impersonal.”
“But dear, they’re safer,” he had said. “Qualified medical professionals are available to help you and our child if something goes wrong. I – I’d just feel better if the baby was born at a medcenter, that’s all.”
She had come to him and kissed him softly before replying, “I know you’re thinking about last time. But what happened with Sola isn’t going to happen with this one. I know it.”
He had sighed and placed a hand on her growing belly. “I worry about you, though. What if you’re wrong? Sola nearly died, if there hadn’t been a resuscitation droid right there –”
“I can ask a midwife to attend the birth, if that would make you feel better,” she cut in. “I just really feel like I want to do it myself. Giving birth is not some horrible disease that is going to kill me. Women have been having babies for centuries without medical professionals. My mother had me at home and so did yours. I want to try.”
She’d turned such pleading eyes on him then that he could not help but acquiesce. She was his wife, after all, and he loved her very much. He wanted to make her happy. And he couldn’t help but feel confident after meeting the midwife Jobal picked out.
Now, that confidence has evaporated.
“Daddyyyyyyyy,” Sola whines again, “when is the baby gonna get heeeeeere?”
Ruwee looks down at her, the child he so very nearly lost four years ago, and embraces her. “I’m not sure, darling,” is the best reply he can muster. “Mama’s been in there an awfully long time, hasn’t she?”
“Yeah,” pouts Sola. “I want to show her my new puzzle.”
He bends so that he is at her level, hugging her again. “I have an idea. Why don’t you start putting your puzzle together so that when the new baby gets here, you can show it to Mama? I can go in and check on her if you like.”
This at last brings a smile to his daughter’s face. “Okay. But come back quickly, I want you to help me with my puzzle.”
Ruwee nods agreement. “Sounds like a fair deal.”
He glances at Sola one last time before tapping lightly on the door of his bedroom and slowly creaking it open. He is met by the midwife, Annika, who looks tired and drained as she glances back towards the labouring mother on the bed. “She’s not progressing as quickly as I’d like her to,” Annika tells him. “I’ve been monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and if it doesn’t pick up soon, I may need your permission to transport her to a medcenter.”
Jobal waves a feeble hand at him. “No – please,” she gasps. “Home birth. We said home birth.”
“Mrs. Naberrie, your child’s life could be at risk.” Annika lifts an eyebrow. “I’m not saying it’s a necessity yet, only that it might be. And if it does come to that, I’m sure you would agree that the baby’s health is paramount.”
She disappears into the hallway to get another glass of water.
Jobal sinks back onto her pillows, evidently disappointed. “Ruwee, I am not going back to that medcenter,” she gasps as her husband takes her hand. “Sola nearly died there, how can I trust them with another of my children?”
“Honey, we agreed to do whatever the midwife thinks is best,” he reminds her as she grits her teeth through another contraction. “The medcenter saved Sola’s life. I’ll always be grateful for that. Aren’t you?”
She considers, then slowly nods. “I just want to see … to see my baby.”
“I know. Me too.”
It comes as no surprise to Ruwee a few moments later when the midwife returns and announces that Jobal is ready to push. He remembers the professionals at the medcenter making the same announcement at a similar point in his wife’s labour four years ago. He only hopes that this time, it will go more smoothly.
“Why did I ever want another child?” Jobal moans as she rests in between pushes. “This – is – all – your – fault!”
His only response is a gentle smile. Of course, the women have it hardest: they bear and feed the children, which could never be mistaken for a simple task. He cannot even imagine what sort of pain she must be going through at that moment, and although a small part of him resents the baby for the amount of suffering it is causing his wife, he is able to push that part to the side and reflect on the goal ahead.
After all, he has had previous practice.
“Just a few more pushes, sweetheart,” Annika encourages. “You’re doing great, just a few more and you’ll see the baby.”
She checks the child’s heart rate again and frowns. Ruwee tries not to notice.
He looks downwards instead, and sees what he has been hoping for ever since she went into labour: a tiny head, slipping in and out, being caught by the midwife’s hands, emerging fully from his wife. But not moving.
“Come on, breathe for me, little one,” mutters Annika. She suctions the baby and massages its chest, but it does not move.
Jobal is beginning to panic. “Is the baby okay? Why isn’t he crying?”
“Annika is taking care of it,” Ruwee tells her, but a horrible lump has crawled into his throat and his mind is whispering of the last time, it is whispering of how Sola nearly died and that this child will die as well, that there is no hope –
And then a thin infant wail splits the air.
Annika sighs with relief. “Thank goodness,” she whispers, wrapping the child in blankets. “Mr. and Mrs. Naberrie, you have a beautiful baby girl.”
Tears of relief run down Ruwee’s face as he accepts his newborn daughter and caresses her pink face. She yawns and wraps four tiny fingers around his one, squeezing tightly. Then, to his amazement, the baby focuses two dark brown eyes on her parents and gazes at them for what seems like an eternity.
“Padmé,” Jobal whispers.
“Excuse me?” Ruwee says.
“I’d like to name her Padmé. It means ‘intelligent soul’ in Old Nubian,” Jobal replies. “This child looks to me as though she has the most intelligent soul this side of Theed. See how she’s looking at us?”
He nods; the baby is scrutinizing himself and his wife as though she wants to memorize every line on their faces, every facial feature they possess. As they watch her, she diverts her gaze to glance around the room, eyes darting quickly and with seeming comprehension. She is certainly the most curious, determined child Ruwee has ever seen.
“All right,” he says, smiling lovingly at his wife. “Padmé it is.”