Joe could barely process what was happening when they arrived at the hospital, Demi being whisked away by doctors as paramedics recited medical language he didn’t understand, numbers he wasn’t sure what they represented. He clutched onto Demi’s daughter, the tiny girl twitching in his arms as she dreamed but she was startled awake as more doctors came, taking her from him. He wanted to fight back, to get the baby but he knew deep down that she was with the best possible people. He didn’t know what was going on, but he felt hands on his arms and on his back and before he could even think of what to say, he was in the relatives room with the promise that someone would come for him soon once Demi and the baby had been examined. He wanted to tell them that he wasn’t her boyfriend or the baby’s father, they didn’t even know each other, but he found himself sitting down on one of the plastic chairs to wait for news. Even though they were strangers, he couldn’t leave without knowing how the girls were.
He lost track of time as he waited, but he was snapped out of his thoughts by his phone ringing and his eyes widened when he saw his Mom’s name lighting up the screen.
“Mom!” He answered.
“Joe! Oh, honey, are you okay?! I’ve been trying to get hold of you for the past two hours! Your Dad said he let you leave the station, but we haven’t seen you.” Vera said worriedly.
“I-I couldn’t see, I pulled over and I saw a woman huddled in the entrance of a store, she was barely covered from the rain and she was really pregnant.” Joe started to explain, hearing Vera gasp.
“Oh my God, the poor girl- I hope you helped her!” Vera breathed, Alex looking over at her with his eyebrows creased, confused to what she was talking about.
“Of course. I-I told her to get into the backseat if she didn’t trust me, but she had to get out of the rain and she did… h-her waters broke in my car, Mom. I-I delivered a baby.” Joe said, the realization of what happened finally hitting him as tears burned his eyes. That was why he couldn’t leave or correct doctors to the fact that they were strangers, because if he did, they’d never let him know how Demi and the baby were.
“What?!” Vera choked out, her eyes wide with shock.
“She was so tiny and needed help clearing her throat before she’d cry. I-I didn’t cut the cord or anything, and when the storm stopped I called for an ambulance but Demi… th-the girl who gave birth… s-she wouldn’t stop bleeding. It was only a little bit, but it was adding up and she fell unconscious…” Joe let his tears fall and Vera’s free hand covered her mouth with complete shock and sympathy for her son.
“Oh, honey… are you at the hospital still?”
“Y-Yeah, they think I’m the baby’s father. I have to know if they’re okay.” Joe choked out and Vera nodded without a moments’ hesitation.
“Of course you do! Joe, I’m so proud of you- do you understand me? I’m so fucking proud of you and you know I don’t swear often… I love you so much, and try not to worry, okay? This girl has been through a lot, her body has been through a lot… some women bleed more during labor than others, I’m sure she’s okay and it’s just a result of her having to give birth in the backseat of a car during a storm.” Vera tried to comfort him and although she was a very experienced nurse, Joe still couldn’t find himself feeling fully comforted by it.
“I-Is James okay?” Joe asked after a moment of silence.
“He’s fine, honey. He couldn’t sleep during the storm, so I’m letting him have a nap now. I’ll wake him up when it’s time to eat so this doesn’t ruin his sleep schedule- he’ll be cranky for a while, but he’s safe. Not a scratch on him, I swear.” Vera promised and Joe slowly nodded his head, sniffling as his thoughts went back to the baby girl. His son was safe and healthy, and although the baby girl seemed fine since she started crying, he had no idea if Demi could say that her daughter was safe and healthy, or if that little girl even had a Mom anymore… what would happen to her if something happened to Demi.
Joe wasn’t sure he could ever forgive himself if something had happened to Demi, even though he knew deep down that it wasn’t his fault.
Another half hour passed before the door opened, a doctor letting himself in and Joe scrambled to his feet, the two men shaking hands.
“You’re here with the young lady and the baby?” The doctor asked, Joe nodding his head fast. “The little girl is completely fine, she’s been cleaned up and checked over… she’s with her Mommy.” The doctor said with a smile and Joe’s eyes widened, a smile involuntarily coming to his lips.
“Demi is okay?”
“She’s completely fine. Her bleeding stopped and she’s on a transfusion now- she’s been awake for a little while and is already doting on your daughter. I’m here to take you to them!” The doctor said and Joe didn’t correct him again, just nodding his head quickly and he started to follow the doctor towards Demi’s recovery room, numb with relief.