By Wanda Detroit <email@example.com>
Submitted: January 2005
Summary: Nine separate vignettes come together to form the full story of Lois' pregnancy.
A very special thanks to Julie Stars and Stopquitdont who BR'ed for me, and helped me brainstorm! Thanks to Michelle for her support! This was a very fun story to write; I released each vignette month-by-month, so that the pregnancy occurred in real time. Here it is, presented all together. Feedback is greatly appreciated! Enjoy!
Clark Kent had proudly announced that he was done with his Christmas shopping. It was only Thanksgiving.
Lois had barely begun.
Sure, she had picked out some creative neckties for Clark to add to his collection, but that was the extent of her shopping thus far. This would be their second Christmas together, and Lois wanted to make it special. From the nature of his playful jabs, Lois gathered that she would be receiving something major from her husband.
Three silk ties were not going to cut it.
The trouble was, nothing was catching her eye this year. She'd been out shopping, looking in all of the usual places. She'd considered a new watch, but they had all looked the same to her. Nothing screamed 'Clark.' She thought of having a gold money clip engraved, and sat for hours trying to compose the perfect phrase. Nothing came.
Money was a non-issue. If she could have given him the moon, she would have. What she wanted was something creative and wonderful. Something that expressed her love for him, more than words ever could. Something eternal.
She would find that special something in a most unusual place.
December in Metropolis was bitterly cold. There were snow flurries during the first week of the month. Everyone at the Daily Planet was calling in sick with the flu. Clark, of course, was not affected, and neither was Lois so far. The epidemic was getting worse, though, so finally Lois bit the bullet and decided to get the flu shot.
She scheduled a regular physical because it had been so long since she'd had one and the doctor had insisted. She was as healthy as ever. Lois refused to get sick; getting sick meant missing work. She justified her visit, rationalizing that the flu shot was definitely a good idea. Anything that kept her from missing work was worth the sacrifice.
Yet there was one little thing she wanted to discuss with her doctor before the shot was even administered. It was nothing, really. Just a tiny little idea swimming around in her head. There were barely any symptoms. Still, something made her wonder.
'Could I? Possibly? Could it be?'
Dr. Sanger took some tests. She determined that Lois was, indeed, in excellent health. She also confirmed Lois' minute suspicion. When hearing the doctor's words, a shiver ran through her body. She was moved to tears.
"You're sure there's no mistake?" Lois murmured, her voice shaky with emotion.
"These tests are absolutely accurate, Mrs. Kent," Dr. Sanger replied softly, handing her patient a tissue.
Lois wiped away her joyful tears, smiling ear to ear. She had found her Christmas gift to Clark. She was pregnant.
It was the hardest two weeks, hiding the news from her husband. She was so excited to tell him, but she decided that waiting until Christmas would be well worth it.
Lois marveled at how her concept of the holiday season had changed since she met Clark. Her childhood memories of Christmas were not always pleasant. There was often a lot of fighting between her parents. She and her sister Lucy would hide and pretend that everything was all right. Truth be told, it wasn't; Lois never quite got over it. Until she met Clark, that was.
Clark had taught her so much about the season. He had shown her how to love it again. Even before they began dating, his simple gesture of being the only person at her Christmas party warmed her heart more than she could express at the time.
Lois was filled with anticipation: eager anticipation for Christmas to come, excitement over seeing Clark's reaction to the news, and hope for the new life that was beginning to form within her body.
At times, she found herself to be more emotional about things in general. She secretly blamed it on her changing hormones. Still, she knew what the real reason was: being pregnant again reminded her of her first pregnancy. It had only lasted three months. That sense of loss was still with her, even though she never got a chance to meet the baby she'd carried. Part of her feared that something might happen to this baby.
For the most part, she was filled with joy. Clark noticed it, and wasn't quite sure what to make of it. He believed his wife when she told him she had completed her Christmas shopping (it was not a lie, after all, even though Clark's big present was not bought at a store). Lois was radiant; she entered the apartment, her cheeks rosy red from the fierce wind. She unwound a scarf from her neck and disappeared to hide some last-minute stocking stuffers in her closet along with Clark's other gifts.
It was Christmas Eve. Clark simmered some homemade hot chocolate on the stove top. He had even made it the old-fashioned way (no heat vision)! He poured his creation into two mugs and added marshmallows. He placed some gingerbread cookies on a small plate. Lois had made (and burned) them the previous day. Clark ate them to feed her ego more than his stomach.
When Lois descended the staircase, Clark was sitting on the couch with the two mugs and cookie plate on the coffee table. Clark had cleared a space beside him for his wife. The only light in the room were the tiny colored Christmas lights that lit their tree and the TV set, which was just beginning to play a black-and- white version of "A Christmas Carol."
Lois snuggled beside Clark, a knit afghan covering both of their laps. She sipped hot chocolate and appreciated the moment, taking in all of the sights and sounds and smells. Next Christmas, she knew, would be very different. Their family of two would become a family of three. Right now, Lois just wanted to relish this perfect moment for what it was. She raised the mug to her lips and drank. Clark's cocoa was delicious; it made her feel bad that he was eating her poor excuse for cookies.
"You don't have to eat those, you know," Lois said, cringing at the hard crunch of her husband's teeth on a burnt gingerbread man.
"They're really not *that* bad, Lois." Clark smiled and brushed the crumbs from his lips with a napkin.
Lois beamed. "You know, Alastair Sim really is the best Ebeneezer Scrooge," she commented as the movie began.
"I agree," Clark replied. He looked into Lois' eyes, tilted her chin up with gentle fingertips, and their lips met in a spicy- sweet, Christmas-flavored kiss.
Somehow, although they never quite left the couch, Lois and Clark managed to miss the entire movie, until—
"God bless us, every one," proclaimed Tiny Tim.
Christmas morning. The Christmas tree had a decent pile of gifts beneath it! Both Lois and Clark had individually taken a turn at placing presents under the tree on Christmas Eve. Clark plugged in the lights, and the room was radiant!
Coffee was made and presents were opened. There were old editions of science-fiction classics, complete with pulp art covers, for Clark. A tiny box contained a tiny silk negligee for Lois ("Sorry, Lois, that one was more for *me* than for you!" Clark laughed). Clark loved his ties; he insisted on trying one on over his t-shirt. Lois enjoyed such gifts as Belgian chocolate, a Japanese porcelain vase, and tickets for two to the Russian Ballet… in Russia—all imported courtesy of Superman Express.
When the pile of packages dwindled, there were only two left. Clark wanted to give his gift to Lois first. The box was about the size of a bar of soap. Lois unwrapped the shiny paper gingerly, revealing a small velvet box.
Her brown eyes grew huge when she opened the box. The necklace was a heart-shape outline made completely out of the most radiant diamonds she'd ever seen. Clark took the necklace from her hands and fastened the clasp around her neck. Standing back, he admired his wife. Lois was speechless.
"I hope you like it, I made it myself," Clark admitted proudly. "Well, the diamonds I mean—I had a jeweler set them for me. But I went to this coal mine, and I—"
"You pressed coal into diamonds? For me?" She threw her arms around Clark's neck. "I love it. I love it so much, Clark!"
"I'm so glad!" Clark beamed, thrilled that she loved his gift as much as he hoped she would.
"Well, there's one more present, and it's for you," Lois stated calmly. "I don't know if it'll top this." She ran a fingertip over her diamond pendant.
The box was small and flat. It was light as a feather. Clark peeled the paper away to reveal a nondescript brown box. He lifted the lid to reveal a small official-looking piece of paper. It looked almost like a prescription. He studied it, deciphering the scrawling handwriting that was not his wife's. He read aloud:
"'Let it be known that Lois Lane-Kent is'—*Oh my God!*"
"Keep reading," Lois said, her smile widening.
"…'Lois Lane-Kent is pregnant, and due to deliver in early August. Signed, Doctor Amanda Sanger.' Lois! Oh my God!" Clark gathered his wife in his arms, and soon both of them were laughing and crying joyfully at the same time. "Lois, this is the greatest gift—" he murmured into her hair. He drew her close for a tender kiss.
"You like it, Clark?"
"Like it?! I *love* it—I love *you!*"
Everyone who was anyone was out in Central Square on New Year's Eve, waiting for the ball to drop. Everyone except Lois Lane and Clark Kent.
They'd decided that making love was a far better way to ring in the New Year.
And they were right.
"If these few hours are any indication of what the new year is going to be like, then I'm looking forward to a *very* good year," Lois murmured breathlessly, kissing her husband lightly on the neck.
Midnight came and went. Fireworks blasted outside, lighting the lovers' faces with flashes of purple, red, and green. "Happy New Year," Clark whispered to his wife. He pressed her close to him in a sweet embrace. Lois smiled.
Clark only stared at her; her big brown eyes gazing up at him expectantly. Her bare skin was soft and warm against his; she wore only her diamond necklace he'd made for her for Christmas. It rested against her chest, shining almost as radiantly as her eyes. Sometimes, he could hardly believe it was true. She was his. *His!*
And now their little family of two would be expanding. What a reason to celebrate! Clark slid his hand downward to rest on Lois' stomach. He knew in his mind that she looked as slender as always, yet he could imagine the tiny life within her growing steadily each day. "Lois," he whispered, "this baby is going to be the greatest thing that ever happened to us." He kissed her softly on the top of her head, and when he drew back to look at her, she had averted her eyes, a serious expression on her face.
"A penny for your thoughts?" he asked softly.
"It's just that… well, we thought that the last time, Clark," Lois stammered, finally looking up at him. Her eyes were filling with tears. She quickly blinked them away.
"A pregnancy isn't a sure thing. We learned that the hard way, didn't we? I thought—somehow—our baby would be different. I thought maybe with your super genes, it would survive anything." Lois shuddered in his arms as if she'd just caught a draft. "One misstep was all it took, Clark. I was in a hurry, and I fell, and that was it."
"Honey, don't think about it that way—"
"I can't help it. I'm just… scared, that's all. I don't know if I could bear to lose another baby."
Clark held her tightly. "You won't. I promise. What happened before… was an accident. The odds of something like that happening again are—"
"How can you make me a promise like that?" Lois interrupted abruptly. "You couldn't save our baby the first time," she cried out.
Clark ached when she said those words. He wished with all his heart that it wasn't true, but he knew that the miscarriage was out of his control. He traced her jaw with his fingertips tenderly, and when he finally spoke, his voice was quiet yet firm. "Lois, I'm going to do everything in my power to keep you and our baby safe. It might mean taking on some less dangerous stories in these upcoming months. That's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for our child, and hopefully you agree."
"I do," she whispered. "It doesn't stop me from being terrified."
"I know. I'm scared, too." Clark kissed her softly. "At the same time, though," he continued, "I'm more excited than I've ever been. I guess I don't really know what to feel. I only hope I can be as good a father to this child as my dad has been to me."
Lois stared at him, surprised by his concern. "Clark! You are the most loving human being on this planet! How can you say that? Of course you're going to be a great dad."
"You really think so?"
"Definitely. It's *me* I'm worried about. Look at *my* role models! Besides, I never wanted to be anybody's mother, until I met you."
Clark kissed her softly on the forehead. "Lois, we are going to do this together, every step of the way. I have no doubt we'll make great parents. No little baby in the world will be as loved as ours is." Clark laced his fingers through Lois', giving her hand a squeeze.
"What about *Superman*?" Lois whispered.
"What about him?"
"What if the baby inherits your powers? How are we going to deal with that? A flying baby! And what if the Kryptonian gestation period is vastly different that the human gestation? I could be pregnant for—*two years!*" Lois sank back against the pillows, groaning at the very thought of it.
Clark gave a light laugh. "Lois. One step at a time. Let's just see how things progress. Remember, I didn't start getting my powers until I was a teenager. It's unlikely our baby will seem out-of-the-ordinary this early on. But if there's something drastically different showing up regarding your health or the baby's, I'm willing to tell… the secret."
"No, Clark! You couldn't!"
"I would if you or the baby is in danger. I mean, if something goes wrong, maybe we could get away with having one or two confidantes, like Dr. Klein or your father. I'm hoping it won't come down to that, and you'll have a seemingly normal pregnancy." Clark smiled reassuringly. "I told you, I'm not going to let anything happen to you. The secret is not worth your life, or the baby's. You have my word."
Feeling overcome with emotion, Lois simply hugged him with all her might. His closeness was the best comfort she could hope for. At last she composed herself. She peered up at him wide-eyed. "Clark?"
"Will you still love me when I'm as big as a whale?"
Clark laughed. "I'll love you *even more*."
Lois managed a smile. She reached up and ran her fingers through Clark's tousled hair. "This is going to be one good-looking baby," she said, laughing and studying her husband's handsome features.
Clark smiled softly, losing his senses looking at his beautiful wife. "Yeah. Tell me about it."
"Do you think we should make an appearance at the Planet's New Year's Party?" Lois inquired. "It's almost one. It's now or never."
Clark smiled. "I can be ready in ten seconds. Literally."
Lois rolled her eyes in response. "Well, if Mr. Faster-Than-A- Speeding-Bullet can wait a few extra minutes, I'll be ready too."
Clark was in and out of the shower in no time, and he dressed just as fast. Lois took a bit longer, but did not take her usual hour to get ready. Even though she'd rushed a bit, she still managed to take Clark's breath away when she entered the room dressed in a slinky black dress, ready to go.
"Shall we, Beautiful?" Clark offered his wife his arm, which she gladly accepted. "I'm looking forward to showing you off tonight," he teased.
"I see how it is," she jabbed back. "Your little trophy wife." She flashed him a dazzling smile as they departed for the party.
"Lois? Can I ask you something?" Clark questioned, when they were nearly there.
"How do you feel about telling everyone about the baby? I mean, we haven't even told our parents yet!"
Lois was thoughtful for a moment. "Can we tell them *after* the baby is born? I don't think I could deal with my mother fussing over me for nine whole months."
Clark chuckled softly.
"Actually," Lois continued, "I was thinking that we might want to wait a while. Maybe by the third or forth month? That way, we'll make sure everything is going well, and that the baby will be okay."
"It's going to be so hard to not say anything!" Clark replied. "But I do agree with you, Lois."
"Okay, it's a deal. Mum's the word."
They appeared at the Daily Planet, drank a few toasts with friends (Lois discreetly sipped ginger ale from a champagne flute), and stayed long enough at the party to wish everyone a Happy New Year. At last, when they decided they'd made enough of an impression, they said their goodbyes and headed off.
Once they had left the building, Clark leaned close to his wife, and murmured into her ear. "Want to go flying?"
Lois beamed. "Definitely!"
As soon as he was able, Clark hid in an alleyway and spun into his Superman suit. He gathered Lois into his arms, and up, up, up they went. The view of Metropolis was stunning, from a bird's- eye-view. The moon was high, and the city was still aglow with celebration. Neither said a word for a long time; both were content to reflect on the new year to come. Lois nuzzled Clark's neck lovingly while Clark carried his most precious cargo, his wife and child-to-be. It was going to be an incredible year…
"Lois! Clark! In here, now!" barked Perry White.
Lois jumped, startled, at the sound of his voice. She hurried into his office, followed closely by her husband.
"What's up, Chief?" Clark asked, once the door had closed behind them.
Perry had a stern look on his face. "Now, as you know, there's a UN meeting on the 13th. I need you two to cover it. In Paris."
Lois started to protest. "The 13th? But—"
"—Chief! We were on the calendar to get Valentine's Day off…" Clark stammered. It was not often that they asked for days off, so he was somewhat surprised that Perry was not going to honor their request.
"Don't you think I thought of that? You kids are the best two I have. I need you for this." Perry cracked a little smile. "Besides… the meeting's on the 13th. You'll get your day off."
"What do you mean? Those meetings run late. By the time we wrap the story up and fly home, our weekend is shot," Lois sighed. "Not to mention jet lag."
"Lois. You underestimate me. You two are *not* coming right home. You are staying in Paris," Perry explained, his smile broadening. "You're booked for the weekend in a nice suite with an Eiffel Tower view."
"Really?" Clark questioned.
"There's a great film, you may know it. It's called *Viva Las Vegas.* Now, it was made in Elvis' pre-Priscilla days, of course, and The King wanted to get to know his co-star, Ann-Margret better. So you know what he did? He invited her to his hotel suite and they locked themselves in there for two whole days. The door only opened to receive meals from room service."
Clark stared at Perry, his brow furrowed in confusion. "And…?"
"And! Those two have more on-screen chemistry than Bogart and Bacall! My point is, I want you two to have *that* kind of weekend," Perry announced, with more than a little twinkle in his eye.
Lois turned red.
Clark's jaw dropped. "Uh… right, Chief."
Perry chuckled. "Go on, now; get out of here."
Lois and Clark were only too happy to oblige.
Clark was rather surprised when Lois packed a very tiny overnight bag. "You're sure you've got everything in there?" he asked, puzzled as to how four days of outfits could fit into there. *His* bag was bigger than hers!
"Well, I'm wearing the jacket I travel in to the press conference. I packed a skirt in here, and an outfit to go home in. My makeup's in here, and my toothbrush and stuff. Come on, Clark. I know how to pack light!"
"But… what about the other two days?"
A small smile spread across her face. She withdrew a small parcel from the top of her little bag. It was flat, and no bigger than a quarter-pound of thinly-sliced Swiss cheese from a deli counter. It was wrapped in pink tissue paper, and a gold seal kept it from opening up.
Clark recognized that seal from a popular Metropolis lingerie shop.
"It's a nightgown. And *yes,* you have to wait," Lois said, giving him a smoldering look.
"There's a *nightgown* in there?! I can't wait…" Clark sighed. As Lois turned away from him briefly to place her package back in the bag, Clark slipped his arms around her from behind. He nuzzled the back of her neck and kissed it gently. How was it possible that she'd become *even more* irresistible to him? He wondered idly if it had something to do with the baby. Lois was positively glowing. His hand rested lovingly on her midsection as he trailed small kisses up and down the side of her neck.
"Mmmm…" she moaned. "Save some of that for Paris, Kent."
"Oh, I will," he said softly, turning her to face him. "But here's one for my baby," he kissed her softly, "and one more for the road." He drew her closer, and touched his lips lightly to hers, then urgently deepened the kiss. It was beginning to get difficult for him to consider leaving the bedroom, so he stopped before he got too involved.
Lois took a second to recover. "Thank you, Mr. Sinatra."
"Ready to go?"
"Ready as I'll ever be."
They headed out to the airport. It was the first time in quite some time that they were not traveling via Superman Express. Sometimes it was nice to pretend to be a 'normal' couple once in a while.
Of course, Clark could not resist taking Lois for a private flight once they had landed in France. He spun into his Superman suit and gave her a glorious aerial view of Paris, swooping past the Eiffel Tower, circling the city, and soaring ever higher to gaze down at the beautiful country below. One thing Superman had not considered was Lois' extra-sensitive stomach. While flying, he had tried to be especially careful not to dodge anything too quickly or make any jarring movements while carrying his expectant wife. He was just starting to descend towards the city and he couldn't stop the dips and altitude changes that accompanied a smooth landing.
Lois didn't express her discomfort to her husband until it was too late. She lost breakfast all over the back of his cape. "Oh no," she groaned, sputtering.
"Lois! Are you all right?"
"I will be when I'm on solid ground," she said miserably. "Sorry… your cape…"
"It'll come out, don't worry. Hang on tight, honey." He flew quickly, and set his very green wife down in a back alley in Paris, France. He spun back into his Clark clothes, separating the stained cape from the clean suit. He rushed to Lois' side; she was looking fairly wobbly and ill. He slipped an arm around her shoulders, escorting her to the nearest trash can, where she was sick again. He rubbed her back sympathetically.
"Come on, let's get you back to the hotel. I'll get you some ginger ale or something," Clark said gently.
"Thanks, Clark. I'm starting to feel a little better already." She gave him a half-smile, took his hand, and the two walked through the streets of Paris towards their hotel.
They spent the following day working. The press conference that followed the UN meeting was not at all as bad as Lois had anticipated. They returned to the hotel and wrapped up their story rather quickly, thanks to Clark's super-speed typing. Lois feared her laptop might burst into flames. They found an Internet cafe shortly afterward and walked over to send the story to the Planet.
"This concludes the working portion of the weekend," Clark said with satisfaction, as he hit the 'send' button.
"I'm not so sure about that, Clark. I might have you working pretty hard." Lois gave him a naughty look.
Clark blushed, then a small smile spread across his face. "I sure hope so."
"Maybe we should see some sights before we lock ourselves inside, never to be seen or heard from again for two days." Lois unplugged the laptop and packed it away. When they took to the streets again, the sky was turning a deep lavender-blue.
"You have a point there, Lois. I hear they have a pretty famous tower around here, somewhere…" Clark said with a goofy smile; he looked over his shoulder. "Oh look. There it is," he chuckled, the Eiffel Tower looming just behind them, all lit up. He took his wife's hand and together they walked over to look at it.
"We could climb it if you like. Although somehow I don't think heights are a good idea for you," Clark said softly, leaning over to kiss Lois on the temple.
"No thanks. No climbing!" Lois said with a small laugh. Together they walked hand-in-hand under the tower, stopping in the exact center. "I have better things to do with my time than climbing to the top of some old tower."
"Like…?" Clark prodded her.
"Like *this.*" She turned to face him, drawing his chin down with both hands. Her lips met his and she kissed him eagerly, completely unaware of the other tourists that had to dodge the kissing couple. She wrapped him in her arms, her urgent, hungry kisses made Clark want her even more, if that was possible.
He pulled back, just a little bit. "I love you, Lois."
She smiled confidently. "I know. What do you say you and I…" She leaned in close and whispered something in his ear.
Clark blushed. "Sounds good to me!"
"You'll have to catch me first!" she squealed with a giggle, breaking free of their embrace and dashing off in the general direction of the hotel.
Clark's heart clenched at the sight of her running off, dodging people left and right, teetering on those high heels of hers. "Lois, *don't!*" He chased her, catching up to her quickly. He grabbed her in a bear hug from behind.
She spun around, smiling. Then her face fell. Clark was not laughing.
"Lois, you can't do things like that. Not… now," he said firmly, the worry evident in his voice.
She frowned. "Clark. You're being overprotective. I was barely even jogging."
"In *those* shoes? You could have fallen."
Lois couldn't argue with him there. She looked defeated. "I guess you're right. I wasn't thinking. I'm sorry I scared you."
Clark held her close, cupping the back of her head with his palm and stroking her hair gently. "I'm sorry, too. I don't mean to be paranoid like this. I just don't want anything to happen to you or the baby…"
"I know," she whispered, feeling guilty.
Clark kissed her forehead and took her hand. "Come on, Lois. Shall we?" Together, they started walking back to the hotel.
"Shall we *what?*" she replied, her dark eyes twinkling.
"That nightgown of yours… I'm dying to see it…" Clark whispered huskily into her ear.
Lois smiled broadly. "I suppose that could be arranged…"
Clark reclined on the bed with an oft-read copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting," a highlighter, and a stack of Post-It notes. He was dressed and ready for work already, thanks to a little super speed. "Lois?" he called in the general direction of the bathroom. "What are your thoughts about childbirth classes?" Clark had read the book cover-to-cover three times. Now he was taking notes in the margins, and putting sticky notes on all of the things he thought worth remembering. He added a Post-It and jotted down a note. "This book has a really neat list of things to pack in your labor bag…"
"Clark, don't you think you're rushing things just a little bit?" Lois asked, grinning. She'd skimmed the book once, only carefully reading the sections describing what was taking place with her pregnancy *now.* Yet thanks to Clark's re-reads, Post-It notes, and dog-eared pages, the book looked like it was an old family heirloom. "After all, we haven't even told our parents we're expecting yet!"
Clark grinned sheepishly. "I guess you're right. Tonight's the night, though. They'll know soon enough." He watched as a very frustrated Lois emerged from the bathroom and struggled with the zipper on the back of her skirt. "Do you want help with that?" He rose from the bed and tried to pull the finicky zipper up. Then it dawned on him. It wasn't the zipper; it was Lois. He couldn't believe that in a mere four months she could have outgrown her clothes already.
"Clark…?" she said worriedly, peering at him over her shoulder.
"Suck it in a little, honey. I think it'll go…"
"I *am* sucking it in." Lois shot him a disappointed look.
Clark couldn't help it; he smiled warmly. She was just too cute for words. He slipped his arms around her waist and held her close, his hands resting on her growing belly. It was subtle, but he could feel her usually flat stomach rounding out. This was the first day it seemed to affect her getting dressed. It was fascinating to watch all of the little changes that came along with pregnancy. He planted a soft kiss on her neck and spun her around to face him. "You must have something else to wear, Lois."
"Can you hand me the tan one? It's a little more forgiving."
He did, and it zipped up. Just barely.
"You can wipe that smile off your face, Clark. You try waking up to none of your clothes fitting," she grumbled.
But Clark couldn't stop smiling. "Sorry, Lois… It's just— you're beautiful. You're glowing. You're—"
"—fat," she finished with a frown.
God, she was even cute when she was mad. What was it about pregnancy that made her so irresistible? It wasn't fair!
"You're not fat, Lois." He stood behind her, turning her a little to face the full-length mirror. "Look, you can hardly tell."
She shrugged. "I guess. We better get going, we're going to be late!"
Lois and Clark wanted to arrive at the Daily Planet early. They headed over to the printing department first thing in the morning.
Lois found her friend Alex, who was the manager in printing and circulation. She gave him a firm handshake and handed over a folder containing a disk and some documents she and Clark had designed.
"Congratulations, you two!" Alex said with a big smile, reading the pages they'd prepared.
"Congratulations on being the first to know," Clark laughed.
"So… do you think you can do it?" Lois inquired.
"For you two, of course."
Work went by quickly. Lois had to talk herself out of accepting a dangerous assignment; Perry seemed surprised that she was hesitant to take on a rash of armed robberies. She was glad she and Clark would be telling Perry and the rest of the Planet staff about the baby tomorrow, because it seemed highly unlikely that 'Mad Dog Lane' would give up the chance to cover a risky story. Perry had given her a funny look when she asked for something less rigorous. Still, he was glad to have someone who was willing to investigate a rash of ill-handled funds at a local nursing home. Lois smirked but didn't complain.
When their work day came to a close, they headed home quickly to get ready for dinner. It was a family affair. Lois had prepared a tray of lasagna, and all she had to do was reheat it in the oven. She slid the tray in and set the timer, praying she wouldn't burn it; it had come out good so far!
"Are you nervous?" Clark asked.
"Well… yes and no. I'm pretty excited to tell Lucy. And your parents will be thrilled. But as for mine…" Her voice trailed off and she gave a little shrug.
"Lois, they'll be excited, too. Who wouldn't be excited to become grandparents?" He enveloped her in a warm hug. Lois squeezed him back, her hands still in oven mitts.
"I guess. Let's just hope Mother doesn't over-react."
"I better get Mom and Dad," Clark announced, looking at the time. He spun into his Superman suit, kissed Lois goodbye, and dashed off. It was only a minute later when he arrived with his parents. They greeted Lois warmly, and she was pretty sure that they didn't suspect the news they were about to share tonight.
Lois jumped as the doorbell rang. She sighed with relief when she was it was her sister. "Hey, Luce. Come on in!"
Lucy looked bewildered. "Lois? You *cooked?*"
Lois shot her a smug look. "I can cook. *Some* things…"
Her parents showed up late. 'Go figure,' Lois thought as she poured drinks for her dinner guests.
Clark withdrew the platter of lasagna from the oven just in time. Ellen and Sam arrived and they served dinner soon afterwards. Lois and Clark gave each other looks across the table, but in the end they decided to wait until everyone had eaten. After all, the food would get cold if they started off the meal telling everyone about the baby. It gave everyone a chance to talk and get settled down. When it looked like everybody was done eating, Lois stood up to clear the table. She took her mother's plate first, then started to take Lucy's.
Ellen watched her daughter with hawk eyes. Then she said, without the slightest bit of discretion, "Lois? Are you putting on weight?"
Lois nearly dropped her sister's plate. She turned red and flashed a furious look in her mother's direction.
"Actually," Clark stammered, still quite appalled at the blunt nature of Ellen Lane, "we have something to tell you. Lois and I—we're going to have a baby!"
Martha and Jonathan wore smiles from ear-to-ear. "Congratulations, honey!" They were hugging Lois and Clark in no time.
"I'm… I'm going to be an *aunt?*" Lucy stammered, letting the news sink in. She embraced Lois.
Sam was shaking Clark's hand enthusiastically. He was next in line to hug Lois.
Ellen's jaw had dropped. Finally she stood up, giving Lois a once-over. She skipped over the hugging nonsense. "Lois? Pregnant? And what are you doing wearing *those* shoes? Really, Lois. You're going to get swollen ankles." She practically pushed her daughter down into the sofa. "Put your feet up."
"Mother. I'm not an invalid!" Lois exclaimed, rolling her eyes.
"Put your feet up *at once.*" There was no arguing with Ellen Lane.
Martha sat beside Lois before things got too intense with Ellen. "So, honey, how far along are you?"
"This is the fourth month," Lois answered with a smile.
"Four months?! Four months and you can't even tell your own mother?" Ellen exclaimed with a dramatic hand gesture.
Lois frowned. "Mother. Please. Everyone here is the first to know. We decided to wait until we were sure everything was going well. Especially after last time…"
Clark had finished clearing the table, and joined everyone. "We're really excited about this baby," he said with a proud smile, smoothing his hands over Lois' shoulders.
"So are we," Jonathan piped in. "I can't believe we're going to be grandparents!"
Lucy was still beaming. "'Aunt Lucy'… I like the sound of that!"
With the success of telling their families behind them, Lois and Clark eagerly awaited telling everyone at the Planet. Early in the morning, Alex dialed Clark's extension and asked him to come pick up their little 'project.'
"Alex," Clark said, smiling broadly, "these came out excellent. They're just perfect. I can't thank you enough."
"No problem, Clark! I was glad to do it."
Clark returned to the newsroom with what looked like a stack of issues of the Daily Planet. "Check it out, Lois," he whispered, slipping one of the newspapers into his wife's hand.
Lois laughed when she saw it. "Wow, it looks real. I knew we could count on Alex." She admired the paper Alex had created. He'd created a new front page and slipped it over an old issue. The front page had a picture of Lois and Clark, and bore the headline, BABY ON BOARD FOR LANE, KENT! Subtitled, "Scheduled to appear on August 3." The article Clark had written told how Lois had broken the news to Clark on Christmas Day, and also stated that the baby might force Lois to take on tamer stories, whether she liked it or not.
Just as they were admiring their handiwork, Perry called them into his office. "Shall we?" asked Clark, taking an issue for Perry.
"Uh oh," Lois whispered as they approached Perry's office. "He doesn't look happy."
"Well, maybe this announcement of ours will change his mind," Clark said with a little smile. They walked into the office together, and Clark opened his mouth to greet Perry, but was quickly interrupted.
"Lois. Clark. I know the two of you are enjoying marital bliss and all. But to flatly refuse the assignment I gave you yesterday is ludicrous! I don't know what you're up to, and to be honest I was hoping you were working on something big that you weren't telling me about. The armed robber has hit again, and I was hoping I could get you two undercover—"
Clark cleared his throat and interrupted Perry's rant. "Chief. Who says we didn't cover another big story without telling you?"
Perry gave Clark a hard stare. "Okay, Kent. Show me what you've got. And it better be good!"
Clark tried his hardest to maintain a straight face as he handed Perry the fabricated issue of the Planet.
Perry White read the headline twice before it finally registered. "Great shades of Elvis! You're having a baby! Congratulations! I don't believe it." He embraced Lois and gave Clark a hearty handshake.
"You better believe it," Lois said with a laugh.
Perry was looking at their headline again. "This is clever, kids. Do you have more of these? I'll see to it that they make their way around the newsroom."
"We do," Lois said with a nod. "That would be great. So, do you still want us to cover the armed robberies?"
"No! Are you kidding? And sit down, will you, darlin'?"
'Perry,' Lois thought, 'is going to be just as bad as Mother. If not worse.' Still, she sat down to appease him.
Perry was rifling through a stack of papers on his desk. "I *do* have a story that might be better suited for you. Contaminated milk."
Lois made a face. "Contaminated milk? No thanks, I'd rather take the armed robberies."
"No!" cried Perry and Clark in unison.
"What if you get shot at?" Perry exclaimed.
"What if you get taken hostage?" Clark added.
Lois raised her hands in surrender. "Fine, fine. Waste my talents on lame stories about food contamination. But hear this: If I so much as *smell* bad milk, I *will* throw up. Just be forewarned."
Perry looked at Clark and pointed a finger at him. "Keep her away from the milk, son."
"Gotcha, Chief." Clark grinned.
What was it they said about April? April showers bring May flowers? Clark sure hoped it was true. There would be a surplus of flowers this year!
Lois had been on an emotional roller coaster since the month began. It didn't help that her mother felt obligated to make up for lost time by 'helping' Lois pick out things for the baby. On a weekly basis, there was a lengthy message on the answering machine from Ellen, insisting she take Lois shopping because she saw something that Lois or the baby could not live without.
Clark bore the brunt of most of Lois' frustrations. He'd noticed that she was moodier than usual, and he tried to be very understanding of her changing hormones and the emotional outbursts that accompanied them. When the pages started falling out of "What to Expect When You're Expecting," Clark invested in another book that was quickly becoming his new bible, "Your Pregnancy: Week By Week." This one was already starting to get as worn out, highlighted, and Post-It-laden as "What to Expect" had.
He was quite knowledgeable about the changes that were happening with Lois, and even though it was hard, he tried not to take her outbursts personally. She would shift from seemingly content to bitterly crying in a matter of minutes. Clark could see that she was embarrassed, and that she was trying her hardest to keep her control. He assured her that her moodiness was normal, and that he loved her no matter what.
Sometimes, she was just plain difficult. She would hurl accusations at him, later apologizing for them. The fights she picked were petty. Why, just last week…
It was seven in the evening, and the couple had just finished dinner. Clark watched, astonished, as Lois finished off a second helping, then a third… She sat back in her chair, satisfied. "Thanks for making dinner, Clark," she praised him with a grin. He'd made pork chops and broccoli casserole, and served homemade apple sauce on the side. Lois stuck her finger in the serving bowl, unashamed, taking another taste of apple sauce. "Everything was great. This eating-for-two thing sure has its perks."
Clark smiled lovingly at his wife. Suddenly he cocked his head to the side distractedly. "There's a hold-up at the convenience store down the street. I'll be right back, honey." A quick kiss on her cheek, and super-fast spin into his suit, and he was out the window in a flash.
Superman was quick to stop the hold-up, and bring the would-be thief to the police station. When he returned to his home fifteen minutes later, he found Lois standing on a chair, 'teetering precariously,' as he'd later describe it to his parents on the phone when Lois wasn't listening. One arm extended towards the ceiling, the other aiding her balance.
"Lois! What are you doing?" Clark said, rushing to her side.
"What does it look like I'm doing? This light bulb just burned out," she said nonchalantly, raising herself up on tip-toes to reach the bulb.
Clark cringed. "Well, couldn't it have waited until I came home?"
"Clark, it's not a big deal."
"Please come down." Clark sighed. "I'll do it." He offered her his hand.
Lois looked down at him and, still standing there on the chair, started weeping out of nowhere. "I can do it myself, Clark," she said through bitter tears.
Clark shook his head. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I know you can. You're just… making me nervous up there. Why don't you let me do it?"
She was adamant. "No."
"Don't cry, Lois. I'm sorry. I didn't realize changing that light bulb was so important to you."
"Well, it is." The words came out of her mouth, and even *she* hadn't a clue why.
"All right," Clark answered gently. He insisted on standing in front of her with his hands firmly gripping her waist as she stretched to change the bulb. God, she was doing a number on his poor nerves! At last she was done, and she beamed quite proudly as the new bulb lit up the room. Clark eased her off of the chair gently.
Of course, that was only a mild instance of her stubborn ways. Lois would try Clark's nerves in other ways…
One night, directly after work, Clark took Lois shopping for some new clothes. She'd run out of clothes that fit, except for two elastic-waisted skirts. Around the house, she'd resorted to wearing Clark's sweatpants, which were massive on her. She decided to bite the bullet and get some maternity clothes. Clark didn't seem to mind going with her; in fact, he seemed to like the idea of helping pick things out.
Lois wandered over in the direction of business wear. "Why is everything so ruffly? They think once you're pregnant, you're supposed to look like Little Bo Peep or something…" Lois muttered, bypassing the pink and lavender sun dresses. She managed to find some simple black dresses, and some skirt suits.
Clark had wandered off in a different direction. Moments later, he was at her side with a small, sheer, black garment. A poor excuse for a nightgown! Why it would barely cover her—! "Honey," he whispered in her ear, "I think you might need this…" His voice was husky, enticing…
"I most certainly do *not!* Put that away!" she snapped.
Clark gave Lois a little-boy guilty expression and put the lacy nightie back from whence it came.
"I'm going to try these on…" Lois said, retreating into the dressing room. Minutes later, she emerged in a simple brown dress with a matching jacket. "Clark? What do you think of this?"
Clark eyed her up and down. She looked lovely, and certainly more comfortable than she looked squeezed into things that barely fit. "I think you look great," he answered truthfully.
Lois looked uncertain. "Do you think I look… fat?"
Clark raised his eyebrows. "Sweetie, you don't look fat, you look pregnant. There's a difference."
She shrugged, looking a little glum.
Clark wrapped his arms around her, offering a reassuring hug. "You always look beautiful, Lois. You have nothing to worry about. Besides, there's nothing cuter than a pregnant belly." He slid his hand down, gently caressing her stomach.
Lois looked a little teary-eyed. "Are you saying I wasn't cute before?"
'Uh oh,' thought Clark. "Of course not…" He looked distracted for a second. "I'm sorry, honey." He leaned close to whisper in her ear. "Bank robbery, around the corner."
Lois nodded understandingly. "Go," she whispered.
"Finish your shopping. I'll meet you back at home, okay?"
"Sure." She watched him dash out, and finished trying on her clothes. She selected four outfits that she could easily mix-and- match. As she headed to the register to pay, she passed the lingerie section. On second thought, maybe she *would* pick up that nightie Clark liked so much. She smiled a little and handed over her charge card.
Once Lois had paid, she left the store. Curious, she strolled in the direction of the nearest bank. She could see police lights flashing, and she saw Superman escort a man into police custody. 'I might as well get a few statements,' she thought. Her recent stories were dull, to say the least. Perry was fearful of giving her anything seemingly 'strenuous' or 'dangerous.' A bank robbery. Now *that* was respectable.
Lois saw Superman enter the bank again. She didn't think he'd seen her, so she followed him in. "Superman?" she asked. Before she could utter another word, someone seized her from behind in a choke hold! Something cold and hard was pressed to her temple…
Superman spun around. Where had this thug been hiding? And what was Lois doing here?! "Let her go!" he commanded; his stare was cold, unforgiving.
"If you leave here for good, you leave here with her. You stay, the girl gets it!"
"Don't bargain with me," Superman said firmly. He wanted to use his heat vision to heat the gun so the man would drop it… but he decided it was too dangerously close to Lois' eyes.
The man's grip in Lois tightened. She whimpered, hey eyes full of panic. Her shopping bag was still clutched tightly in her fist, swinging slightly as she trembled.
Superman had to act fast. He knew if the man saw him move, he might pull the trigger. So, after standing motionless for another moment, he sped up, zooming to the crook's side and seizing the gun before the man even knew Superman had moved! With one swift movement, the gun was a crumpled, twisted ball of metal. The thief squeezed his hostage around the neck. Lois coughed, gasping.
"Bad idea," Superman announced firmly. Effortlessly, he grabbed the man's arm, and even though he was resisting with all his might, Superman easily freed Lois. "Run," he urged, giving her a little push. "Go to the police." He watched her disappear, and turned his efforts to the crook.
"Next time, pick on somebody your own size." Superman lifted the man by the scruff of his neck as if he were a kitten.
Lois was still shaking when they got back to their brownstone. Sure, she'd been in life-threatening situations before. And many were much worse than this particular episode. But for the first time, Lois was keenly aware that she was responsible for more than her own life. And the thought scared her. A lot.
"Now you see why I get worried about you?" Clark said at last.
"I thought it was safe," Lois answered numbly. "I didn't know there was somebody else in there."
Clark embraced Lois; he could hear her heart still racing. She needed to calm down. Surely this kind of stress wasn't good for the baby. "I know, sweetie. Please, let's just try to play it safe from now on?"
She gave a guilty little nod of agreement.
And suddenly, she gasped.
"What is it, honey?" Clark asked, concern written all over his face.
"I think… I think the baby just moved!" Lois concentrated, and clasped Clark's hand over her belly where she was certain she'd felt—
*There it was again!*
"I felt it, too, Lois!" Clark exclaimed.
April was a difficult month, trying for both of them. But there was one thing that made it all worth while. A tiny, fluttery sensation within Lois… a new life they'd created—together.
The Daily Planet was abuzz with excitement over the baby on the way. Jimmy Olsen had set up two empty coffee cans—one pink and one blue—where the Planet's employees were placing bets on the baby's gender. A poster above the two cans bore a black-and- white, grainy sonogram photo of Lois and Clark's baby that Jimmy had enlarged in the photo lab. The poster read, "Boy or girl? All contributions go towards Baby Kent's College Education." Every week, Jimmy would announce what gender was winning—a statistic that changed as fast as the weather did that month.
Lois and Clark had made the decision to let the baby's gender be a surprise. Clark had diplomatically agreed not to use x-ray vision to find out for himself ahead of time! He didn't want to know any sooner than Lois anyhow. So for the time being, they were just as amused at the Planet staff's bets as everyone else was.
A mass e-mail popped up on Lois Lane's screen, interrupting her work. She pointed it out to Clark, who was seated beside her. "Hm, looks like we're having a girl this week."
"Nice!" Clark said with a grin.
"Ugh, I feel like a whale," Lois proclaimed for the third time that day. She pushed her chair back a little from her desk and stretched uncomfortably.
"Honey, you look beautiful," Clark responded, almost automatically. Maybe a little *too* automatically, he soon realized.
"You're only saying that because you have to." She crossed her arms in front of her chest and frowned. The truth was, she certainly had blossomed since last month. It was impossible for her to hide her pregnancy at this point. When she bought her first maternity dresses they were quite loose. Now she was filling them out rather well.
Clark gave her a gentle smile. "That's not true and you know it. I always think you're beautiful. Every single second of every single day."
"Even when I get up in the morning and have bedhead and morning breath?"
"*Especially* when you get up in the morning with bedhead and morning breath," he replied with a smile.
That merited a much-deserved jab in the shoulder. "Take it back, Kent!"
Clark raised his hands in surrender. "Okay, okay… I take it back." He rose from his chair and stood behind her, massaging her neck and shoulders as he read the beginnings of the story she had been typing.
"Mmm," she moaned. "That's one way to make it up to me…"
Clark grinned. He read part of their article aloud, with a slight 'adjustment.' "Congressman Keene declined to comment. His supporters affirmed that Keene still believes… that Lois Lane is the prettiest whale he's ever seen, and if it wasn't for that nitwit Clark Kent—"
"Hey!" Lois exclaimed, with a laugh.
Clark shrugged and smiled.
He didn't stop his teasing there. By the time they got home and finished dinner, Clark took out a legal pad and a pencil and started scribbling. He'd found Lois to be a little less moody than last month. She was much more willing and able to take a joke now and again. And he was more than happy to keep her laughing.
"What are you up to…?" Lois inquired suspiciously. She watched, amazed, as Clark scribbled away, hunched over the note pad in such a way that Lois could not see what he was writing.
"You'll see." His cryptic smile nearly gave him away. "No peeking."
By the time Lois was ready for bed, a sheet of the yellow paper was waiting for her on her pillow. It had an elaborate cartoon of a smiling whale, complete with blow hole spouting water. The heading (written cleverly within the whale drawing) was "Famous Whales."
The rest of the paper was a list. It read:
Lois Lane (the cutest whale of them all!)
As soon as Clark entered the room, she groaned and folded the paper into an airplane. She threw it at him, hitting him square in the chest.
"I take it you didn't like my joke?"
Lois could not keep a straight face for long, and burst out laughing. "It *was* pretty funny…" she admitted.
Clark unfolded the paper and smoothed it out, setting it on Lois' nightstand and admiring his handiwork. "Good. I was hoping you'd get a laugh out of it and not make me spend the night on the couch…"
"Not this time," she said with a smirk. "Just one question… who the heck is 'Monstro'?"
"You don't know who Monstro is? The whale from 'Pinocchio'! Better brush up on your Disney movies, Lois, with a baby on the way."
"Our baby is *not* seeing 'Pinocchio' any time soon. That movie is *scary.*"
Clark considered it for a moment. "You have a point there… There's that whole carnival when Pinocchio gets captured, then he gets swallowed up by the whale… Our baby has to be at least eighteen to see that one."
"Well, *that's* a little extreme, Clark."
Clark closed in for a kiss. "Mmm, is it?" he murmured, his lips claiming hers.
"Keep *that* up and I may start agreeing with you…"
The next morning, Lois was awakened by a strange smell. Was it paint? She slipped out of bed quietly. "Clark? What's going on?"
She heard sounds coming from the guest room. "Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up, honey," Clark called.
She followed the sound of his voice into the room and was shocked by what she saw.
The walls and ceiling were painted light blue. From about waist level down, he'd painted the walls green. Within the green space, he had applied decals of sea creatures—mostly there were fish, but there were also a few crabs, octopi, and—yes—whales scattered throughout. There was a ship and an anchor on the main wall that he'd painted by hand. Clark was hovering near the ceiling applying the finishing touch, yellow star-shaped decals. It was a beautiful nursery!
"Oh, Clark! This is incredible!"
Clark beamed. "I wanted to surprise you. What do you think?"
"I love it! I didn't know how much of an artist you were…" Her eyes were wide, taking it all in.
"What do you think of the ocean theme?" Clark inquired, carefully placing the last of the stars on the ceiling.
"I think it's terrific—it will be great for a boy or a girl," Lois said, grinning. "I even like the whales."
"The whales are just for you." Clark laughed. "You don't think blue is bad? I mean, what if it's a girl?"
"I think blue is great. The stars look amazing! Besides, why should we perpetuate any gender stereotypes?" She smiled as Clark touched down to the floor. He gathered his wife in his arms.
"I can't wait to meet our baby," he murmured, leaning in and kissing her lightly on the lips. "I love him or her so much already."
"Come on; I don't want you breathing in all these paint fumes," Clark said gently. He took his wife's hand, guiding her into the living room.
"There's one thing we haven't talked about yet, Clark," Lois said once they were seated on the couch.
"How about 'Shamu' if it's a girl, and 'Monstro' if it's a boy?" Clark laughed at his own joke.
"Very funny, Kent. Knock it off with the whales, will you?" She felt the baby start to stir and pressed Clark's hand to her stomach.
He could feel the baby shifting from side to side. It was amazing! "She's taking a swim," Clark said with a laugh.
"*She*?" Lois inquired suspiciously. "You didn't cheat, did you?"
"No, no… I said 'she' because it's a girl this week, remember?"
Clark leaned over and very gently rolled Lois' pajama top up, revealing her very pregnant belly. "Hey, kiddo. This is your Daddy speaking," Clark started.
Lois giggled. She watched as Clark pressed his ear to her stomach. "What does the baby have to say about that?" she asked.
Clark concentrated. "Gurgle-gurgle," he stated at last.
"Sorry," Lois admitted, "that was my stomach growling… I'm starving."
Clark planted a soft kiss on her belly, then smoothed her shirt back down to cover her. "All right, let's get some breakfast in *both* of you." He cupped her cheek in his palm and stole a steamy good-morning kiss. "Mmm, told you that you were beautiful with bedhead and morning breath…"
Clark dashed off into the kitchen at super speed, before Lois even had time to retaliate!
All of the chairs had been cleared out of the meeting room at the local community center in preparation for Lamaze class. Lois and Clark entered the room hand-in-hand. There were a dozen blue mats on the floor, and some couples had already sat down and made themselves comfortable. Lois guided Clark towards a mat in the back of the room.
The instructor stood up front. She was not hard to spot. She wore bright purple leggings and a blousy bohemian top. Her arms were loaded with bizarre bracelets that jingled when she moved her hands (something she did quite frequently). Frankly, she looked more like a gypsy than a Lamaze instructor. She wore a perpetual smile on her face, and felt compelled to say "Welcome" to each individual that walked through the door.
Sitting down on the floor on a mat wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world, Lois noted, frowning. As if her lower back didn't hurt *enough*! She looked over at a stack of spare mats and then up at Clark. "Honey? Do you think you could get another one? Maybe if I sat on two…"
Clark nodded understandingly, and started to lift an extra mat from the stack. He began to drag it to where Lois was sitting.
"Clark," the instructor said sharply, reading his name from the name tag she'd pasted on each person. "Only one mat, please." She waved her finger, as if to scold him.
"Uh… sorry," Clark said, embarrassment spreading across his face. Lois shrugged as Clark sat down beside her.
Minutes later, after more expectant couples joined the crowd, the instructor began her class. "My name is Marina. Today we're going to talk about making a birth plan," she announced. She took out a marker and began to write topics on a large white dry-erase board.
Clark turned to Lois. "Should I be writing this down?" he whispered.
"Don't worry about it, Clark, we already have a birth plan," Lois whispered back. "Remember?"
Clark was about to respond when Marina shot them both a glance. Clark was sure he hadn't seen that look since he was caught misbehaving in the newsroom under the influence of Atomic Space Rats.
Marina went on to explain what details went into a birth plan: where it will take place, who will be present, will drugs be used. "Does anyone have a birth plan yet?" Hands went up in the air, including Lois'.
Marina called on someone. "Let's see. Petra, would you like to share your birth plan with the class?"
"Well," a blonde woman began, "we were planning on having a natural water birth in a pool at a birthing center."
Marina clasped her hands together, bracelets jingling. "Very good! What about you two, Raina and Drew? What is your plan?"
"We want to deliver at home, with a midwife present, as well as our extended family."
"Excellent. How about you two in the back—Lois and Clark?" Marina looked pointedly at them.
"Um… We're going to go to Metropolis General," Lois stammered.
"Just… the two of us," Clark added.
Marina nodded. "Have you chosen a natural childbirth? Or under medication?"
"Medication," Lois stated firmly.
"Has anyone else chosen a medicated childbirth?" Only two other hands went up. Lois blushed. Clark gave her hand a squeeze of encouragement.
"It's important to think about these things now before the big day arrives," Marina explained.
The class went on to demonstrate some relaxation and massage techniques. Clark was particularly good at the massage. Lois was nearly asleep when Marina's shrill voice broke her out of her nirvana.
"Lois! You're supposed to be *focusing!* Not falling asleep." There was a light laugh from the group. Lois' cheeks burned.
If looks could kill, Marina would have been a goner. To Lois' dismay, she was still standing, and moving to the front of the room again.
"Next week, we're going to start on the breathing techniques! I want all of you to practice the massage with your partner for the time being, and to work on your birth plans."
Class was dismissed. Once in the car, Lois was finally able to vent.
"I think that Marina woman was picking on me!" Lois announced, more than a hint of annoyance in her voice.
"You do?" Clark seemed surprised.
"Why did I have to be the only person who wanted a nice, normal, pain-free hospital birth?"
"Lois, it's like she said, everyone has to make their own preferences when it comes to labor and delivery."
"What a bunch of hippies!" Lois grumbled. "When these medications are available, why not use them? Natural childbirth is overrated."
"Lois, it's brought babies into the world for centuries. I mean, look at the Native Americans. They used to squat in the corn fields—"
Lois crossed her arms and shot her husband a look. "Clark, I am *not* going to squat in a corn field."
"I didn't ask you to. I'm just saying that everyone's choice is a legitimate one."
"I don't know about this class… Although I wouldn't mind if we practiced that massage stuff. That was nice." She sighed.
"You got it, Lois," Clark grinned.
July proved to be a difficult month for Lois. It was exceptionally hot in Metropolis, and the newsroom would never feel quite cool enough. Clark tried to appease his wife by bringing a small fan to the Planet and setting it up on her desk. Still, the best remedy was a quick gentle puff of his cooling breath when no one was looking.
And then there were the comments. Sure, Clark had expressed concern about Lois continuing to work this late into her pregnancy. But now the jabs were coming from everyone. "Lois, darlin', I'm just worried about you exhausting yourself," Perry had said. Lois knew it was his own subtle way of telling her to stay home.
Plus, as if she didn't already feel like a beached whale, there were chiding comments from her other co-workers. Jimmy's innocent line, "Jeez, Lois, you look like you're ready to pop!" merited a look that could kill.
She would never admit that her pregnancy was making it more difficult for her to do work. Secretly, it was. She was sitting a lot farther from her keyboard these days. Plus, she'd barely start concentrating on what she was writing when an urgent need to go to the bathroom would take hold. She didn't protest *too much* when Perry gave her some less strenuous assignments.
That morning, Perry had called some of his staff members into the office for a round-table staff meeting. Lois and Clark took their places around the table, research in hand.
"Lois, Clark, what have you got for me?" Perry inquired.
Lois stood up, manila folder in hand. "Well, we've been trying to verify the mayor's involvement in the—" She stopped short, looking bewildered for a second.
"Go on, Lois," Perry urged.
"The mayor and the—fraud, and—Ah! There it goes again!" Lois pressed one palm to the table in front of her, and the other to her stomach, wincing.
"Lois! Are you having… contractions?" Clark questioned nervously, his arm around his wife's shoulders.
All eyes in the room were wide and glued on Lois. She nodded, a panic-stricken look on her face.
"Great Shades of Elvis! Don't just stand there, Clark!" Perry bellowed. "Get her to the hospital!"
"Right, Chief." Clark tried to gain composure. This certainly was out of the blue! He began to escort Lois out of the room. "Are you in pain, honey? Take deep breaths!"
Lois ignored him. She tossed her manila folder of research to the nearest reporter. "Keep trying the mayor, he hasn't returned my calls," she barked.
"Good luck! Congratulations!" the voices echoed in the background, as the couple hurried towards Lois' car.
Two hours later, Clark reentered the newsroom looking exhausted and annoyed.
Jimmy was the first to approach him. "Either that was the fastest labor in the history of the world, or—"
"False alarm," sighed Clark, giving a feeble grin.
"Where's Lois? Is she in the hospital?" Jimmy asked with concern.
"No… She's resting at home. She's a little too embarrassed to show her face after what happened in the newsroom," Clark said, smiling and shaking his head. "Don't tell her I told you that!"
Jimmy chuckled. "Don't worry, CK. I won't."
Several days later, Clark tried to convince Lois that the false alarm was reason enough for her to start her maternity leave, but Lois wasn't hearing it.
"I'll start maternity leave when I've got a baby to show for it," she replied indignantly.
"I hate to mention it, Lois, but you've certainly got a baby to show for it…" He placed a palm on her belly, and felt the baby respond to his touch.
Lois was getting tired of people stating the obvious. It was almost as tiring as being asked when she was due, and whether it was twins. Although it wasn't quite as annoying as having her stomach fondled by perfect strangers.
"Listen, Clark," Lois retorted, "when I am in labor—*real* labor—I will stay home. Until then, I am perfectly capable of coming to work."
Clark shrugged. "All right, honey." He leaned close and kissed her cheek softly. Her stern expression softened.
That afternoon, they headed to a press conference. Lois clutched a manila folder of questions for the mayor, a determined expression on her face. She pushed through the crowd, belly first, with Clark in tow.
"Lois, are you sure you're up to this…?" Clark asked skeptically.
Lois gave him a stern look that required no further explanation. The press conference began and Clark finally caught the mayor's eye. He started to ask the mayor a question when he felt Lois tug on his sleeve. He glanced at her, then back at the mayor… then back at Lois.
'It's time!' she mouthed, her eyes wide and her hands pressed to her swollen stomach.
'Are you sure?'
The press had crowded so close to the mayor's podium that it was difficult to make a discrete exit. "Stand back," Clark announced, ushering his wife towards the back of the room. "Woman in labor, make some room…"
The crowd parted like the Red Sea, making room for the couple to pass. They made it to the door, then to Lois' car. Clark drove to the hospital distractedly trying to coach his wife through breathing during her contractions.
Another false alarm.
That embarrassment was enough for Lois to finally agree to start her maternity leave early.
"This is the stupidest thing I've ever done!" Lois Lane announced, gripping the steering wheel for dear life. She was driving quite awkwardly, considering she had to sit about a foot and a half farther away from the steering wheel than she was used to. She pushed the pedal to the metal, accelerating down the dirt road. Where was he??
She pulled the car over onto the shoulder. Wait a minute—did it *count* as a shoulder? The road wasn't even paved. She parked the car, crossed her arms over the steering wheel and rested her forehead on her hands. A combination of breathing exercises and groans got her through the contraction. It passed finally, but they were undoubtedly getting closer and closer together. Yes, this was definitely the stupidest thing she'd ever done.
The urge to walk was overwhelming; she opened the car door and paced circles around the car miserably. She decided to try again. She threw her head back and yelled. "Superman! Help!" Then, she waited. Nothing.
Something was wrong; she had a bad feeling. Clark knew the baby would be here any day now… He wouldn't ignore her cries for help. Not now.
Oh, God. No.
Lois couldn't think of it now. She had to take advantage of the time between contractions to drive… She was headed for the outskirts of Metropolis—farther and farther from the hospital.
"*Definitely* the stupidest thing I've ever done…" she murmured, starting the car.
Lois had felt funny the night before. All afternoon she'd been energetic and restless. By evening, she started having mild contractions. She wasn't certain if it was the real deal, though, so she kept it to herself. They were sporadic enough.
She was just about to tell Clark she thought this could be it when he was called away on an emergency. He spun into his Suit and kissed Lois quickly.
"Warehouse district—there's a fire in one of the abandoned buildings," he explained curtly, before flying off.
'Well,' Lois thought, 'labor takes hours.' She would tell him when he returned.
She tried to sleep but was continually interrupted by contractions. Every time she woke up, she'd roll over to see if Clark had returned—but he hadn't. The next morning, no sign of Clark. She waited and waited.
The contractions were getting closer and stronger. Lois paced nervously, attempting to remember her breathing from Lamaze class. Images of that ridiculous instructor, Marina, danced in her head.
A particularly strong contraction hit. Where *was* he?! Lois gripped the back of a chair and leaned on it, breathing hard. When it had finally passed, she waddled uncomfortably to the balcony and stepped out. Hesitantly, she called, "Superman?"
She took in the fresh air for a few minutes, waiting for him to show up. But there was no sign of her husband. She waited.
Another contraction hit. "SUPERMAN!" she belted out, fueled by the discomfort she was in. Surely he'd hear *that.*
It was then that Lois started to worry. She'd have to go looking for *him.*
Just when she thought she couldn't drive anymore, she saw one of the abandoned warehouses. It had an old parking lot surrounding it, but the pavement was all overgrown with weeds through giant cracks. 'This could be it,' she thought, taking note of what smelled like something burning. As she pulled up to it, every bump and pothole caused her immense pain. Just then she saw her husband stumble from the building.
His cape was ragged and he was limping! Limping?!
"Lois," he managed weakly. "You… found me." His knees went weak and he collapsed.
She got out of the car as quickly as she could and rushed clumsily towards her fallen hero. "Clark, get up!" she wept, frightened. "What happened?" She slid an arm around him and helped him up. He looked up at her groggily.
"Kryptonite gas—in there," he said, coughing.
Lois helped him to the car as best she could. Once in the passenger seat, Clark was able to relax. Lois scrambled into the driver's seat and was about to start the car when a contraction hit. Instinctually, she seized Clark's hand, groaning.
"Lois—you're… in labor!"
Lois nodded, breathing through the pain. Finally it passed.
He studied her and held her hand. "How long…?"
"Since last night." She started the car, and nodded toward a tote bag containing a pair of Clark's sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt. "I brought you some clothes so you can change before we go to the hospital."
Lois watched worriedly as a weak Clark began to change into his regular clothes. "I have to get you away from the Kryptonite…" she said. She drove a few hundred yards before she was forced to stop when another contraction overcame her.
"Breathe, honey!" Clark urged. He was now dressed and holding her hand.
Lois tried, and again felt the need to walk. "Can you… come out now?"
"I think so. I'm feeling a little better already. But, Lois—"
"I know, your powers."
Clark got out of the car first and helped ease Lois out. He walked restlessly with her until another contraction came. She wrapped her arms around his neck and concentrated on her breathing while Clark massaged her lower back. Lois groaned. "They're getting worse," she murmured, her brow furrowing with the pain. "Oh, God!" she cried sharply.
"Lois, what is it?" Clark didn't need an answer; he could see for himself. Fluid ran down her leg from under her sundress. Her water had broken! "Honey, let's get you into the car, quick. I don't think we're going to make it anywhere now that I don't have powers…"
Lois looked up at him, a panic-stricken look on her face. "Oh, Clark, no… I can't do this. Not here."
"Honey, we're together. We'll get through this. I promise."
Clark found some towels in the trunk and spread one out over the back seat so Lois could lay down. He saved a fresh one to wrap the baby in. Lois refused to lie down just yet; she was pacing around the car again while Clark readied the back seat.
"Clark…?" she called. He looked up to find she was resting her head on crossed arms, pressing against the car. "Clark, it's getting worse!" She let out a low moan. Fast as he could without super speed, he was behind her rubbing her back.
"Keep breathing—you're doing so well!" he said encouragingly.
The contraction passed, but minutes later another one came.
"Clark, I almost feel like I could push," Lois said with a groan.
"You better lie down, Lois. Let's take a look." Clark helped her into the back seat and eased her damp underpants off. He rolled a spare towel up as a pillow under her head, and lifted her sundress. "Almost there, Lois. You're dilated to about eight. Don't push, okay?"
She nodded. "Oh, no—here comes another one…" Lois grabbed both of Clark's hands and squeezed them as she fought through another contraction.
"Try to relax, honey—don't use your energy until you have to."
An hour passed. Periodically, the anxious father-to-be tried to test whether his powers had returned. There was no sign that they had. He felt so helpless as he watched his wife struggle through the strong contractions. "Lois? Honey, you can push next time, okay?"
Lois nodded, determined. She shifted a little and gripped Clark's hands. He watched her, in awe and admiration, as she drew in a deep breath and pushed. He counted for her and supported her with encouraging words. They were almost parents!
But two hours passed. The baby had certainly descended. Clark could just barely see its head. Just when he thought there was about to be some progress, the baby slipped back in. All of this was taking its toll on Lois. She was becoming exhausted and frustrated. Clark tried to stay as upbeat and encouraging as he could, but he was secretly as frustrated as Lois was. He was eager to meet his child, and he was worried about Lois.
Another contraction came. They were so fast that Lois barely had time to rest in between. "Come on, Lois! Push!"
"I can't, Clark…" she said wearily. "I can't do this."
"Lois, there is *nothing* you can't do."
"Yes, there is. This having a baby thing isn't all it's cracked up to be. I want to go home…" She wept silently. "This isn't how we planned it."
"Nothing ever happens as we plan it," Clark added with an exasperated sigh.
She nodded in agreement. "I know," she whispered. "I hoped just this *once*—"
Clark's heart was breaking for her. "Sweetheart, if I thought you could wait, I'd try to drive you to the hospital."
"I can wait. Do it! Please," she pleaded.
Clark nodded. He stepped out of the car and moved to the driver's seat. He started the car and headed a few feet in the direction of the hospital.
A sharp scream escaped Lois. "Clark!" she cried out.
He was quick to park and get back into the back seat with his wife. "Are you okay?" he asked, panic in his voice.
"Moving… didn't feel so good," she groaned.
Clark took both Lois' hands in his. "Listen to me, Lois," he said softly. "Rest through a few contractions, and then we'll try pushing again, okay?" She nodded.
Contractions came and went. Clark held Lois close, massaged her back, and helped her breathe. Now he was seriously worried about Lois' condition if she didn't deliver soon. Her skin was cool and clammy, her legs were trembling, and her pulse was fast.
Lois rested until the next contraction seized her, then she knew what she had to do. It was now or never. Drawing in a deep breath, she pushed with every last ounce of her strength, which was quickly wearing out.
She vaguely heard fragments of Clark's words of encouragement. "Come on, Lois! That's it… you can do this… Good! Keep pushing… don't stop now, honey… head's almost out! *Harder!* That's it… you're doing it, Lois! Almost there…"
Lois bore down harder, groaning, then yelling through clenched teeth with the tremendous effort. Tears and sweat glistened on her cheekbones. She felt like she might split in two, but she ignored the pain as best she could, focusing instead on Clark's voice.
"Push, Lois!" he said, the excitement evident in his voice. He took her hand quickly and guided it down in the nick of time, for her to feel the baby's head finally leave her body. She let out a small gasp of amazement. She looked up at Clark; he was beaming and had tears in his eyes. "The worst is over, honey. Come on, give me one more big push," he said, supporting the baby's head with one hand and giving her hand an encouraging squeeze with the other.
Lois pushed again, her efforts more productive than they'd been all along. She leaned forward a bit, still bearing down hard. Then, she felt her baby make its descent.
Clark watched in awe as first one shoulder, then the next came out. Seconds later, he was holding a squirming, slippery baby boy.
Lois felt a tremendous release, and lay back, limp and exhausted. Quiet tears streamed down her cheeks. She heard a shrill cry as her child made his entrance into the world.
With a towel and shaky hands, Clark cleared the infant's airway as best he could. Holding his child for the first time, he no longer resembled the confident superhero he was; instead, he was a trembling, awe struck, first-time parent.
"Lois, honey!" Clark cried, tears sparkling in his eyes. "It's a boy! We have a baby boy!" Lois weakly tried to lift her head to see better, but her muscles protested. Seconds later, Clark wrapped a towel around the baby and helped Lois hold her son.
"Oh my God, Clark," Lois wept, seeing the baby for the first time. "He's so beautiful."
Clark kissed Lois on the forehead. "*You* are so beautiful. I'm so proud of you." He gazed upon his new family. The baby boy was perfect as can be. He had a healthy set of lungs, Clark decided, upon hearing his yell. The look of wonderment on Lois' face was priceless. She stared at the baby and touched his cheek gently, a fascinated smile on her face. She looked pale and tired, but her cheeks were flushed to a rosy pink and her damp hair was drying in little ringlets. She placed a soft kiss atop the baby's head, and Clark wished he had his camera. Only he didn't need it. It was a moment he'd remember for his whole life.
He hated to interrupt it. But he knew that he better get them to the hospital as soon as possible. "Sweetie, I should take you to the hospital right away. We need to make sure both of you are okay," he said, kissing her again. "My powers aren't back yet… we're going to have to do this the old fashioned way," he said, retrieving the car keys. "Will you be okay?"
Clark helped his wife shift into a more comfortable position before moving into the front seat. She winced, feeling another wave of pain, but concentrated instead on holding her new son close. They drove off towards the hospital, and Clark was beaming proudly as he glanced every few seconds at Lois and the baby in the rear-view mirror. In his excitement over seeing his child finally arrive, he'd failed to notice that Lois was still bleeding…
Clark Kent rushed into the emergency room, announcing his wife had just given birth. Two staff members followed him to the Jeep with a gurney, and Lois and the new baby were transported to an examination room. A nurse attended to them at once; under her supervision, Clark was allowed to cut the umbilical cord. The nurse then snapped blue hospital bracelets on all three of them before lifting the baby boy from Lois' arms. She laid him in a bassinet and gave him a quick evaluation.
"You delivered this baby yourself, Mr. Kent?" the nurse asked in astonishment.
Clark blushed and squeezed Lois' hand. "Well, Lois did most of the work. The only position I played was catcher." Clark gave the doctor and nurse a quick rundown of the labor and delivery.
"Well, it's no wonder she had a hard time. You're looking at a ten-pound baby," the nurse announced.
"No way…" Clark stammered. Lois' eyes were big with disbelief.
"If not ten, then close to it," she said. "We're going to take him to the nursery for his first checkup, and we'll know for sure." The nurse glanced over as a doctor entered the room.
Lois looked up at Clark. She saw him looking wistfully at their new son. "Go," she said softly. "Go with him. One of us should be there with him…"
"Are you sure?" Clark asked.
Lois nodded and smiled weakly. "I imagine I'm going to the maternity ward soon. Go, Clark."
He leaned over her and kissed her tenderly. "I love you, sweetheart." He started after the nurse, who had already wheeled the bassinet halfway down the hall. Before Clark got very far, he heard the doctor utter two words that stopped him in his tracks.
Clark was suddenly ice-cold from head to toe. He rushed back to Lois' side as things went from bad to worse. Everything was changing so fast. There was a buzz of activity surrounding Lois, as two nurses held her legs apart. The doctor had donned a pair of latex gloves and was assessing the situation. Lois shrieked, writhing in pain as the doctor worked to discover the source of Lois' condition. There was so much blood…
Clark could only watch helplessly as the color slowly drained from his face. Why hadn't he noticed…?
Lois screamed. Clark gripped her hand and pleaded with the doctor. "Please… Can't you do something for her pain?"
The doctor looked up briefly. "I was hoping we could stop the bleeding quickly, right here. Right now. But I'm afraid we're going to have to take her into the O.R. We need to find the source of the bleeding so we can stop it. This happens a lot of times when the placenta isn't born right away," he explained.
'Damn.' Clark could have kicked himself. He'd delivered babies before. He knew better! Lois looked up at him, a panic-stricken look on her face. "Lois, honey, you're going to be all right," he said, choking back tears. He leaned over her, kissing her lips softly.
He was interrupted by an anesthesiologist, who slipped a mask over Lois' nose and mouth. "A few deep breaths, Mrs. Kent…"
The last words she heard before drifting off into a numb sleep were Clark's. "I love you, Lois…"
Clark was a wreck. If his x-ray vision was back to normal, he would have peered through the operating room doors to see how the surgeon was progressing with Lois. But then, did he really want to see…? Filled with mixed emotions, he walked up three flights of stairs to the nursery and found all the new babies lined up by a window. He was a little sad that he'd missed much of his son's first hour.
When he saw his baby, he had to smile. The infant was wrapped in a light blue blanket and wore a yellow cap on his head. He was sleeping peacefully, and was the best-looking baby in the bunch, hands-down, Clark decided. His bassinet was labeled 'Baby Boy Kent, 10 pounds, 2 ounces.' *Ten pounds, two ounces…* That was a very big baby for anyone to deliver, especially his petite wife. She'd worked so hard to bring their beautiful baby into the world. He wished he could have borne the pain she'd experienced. Lois' strength put his super-strength to shame. He wondered, his heart aching with worry, if the Kryptonian gestation was shorter than that of humans. Maybe the baby should have been born at six or seven months…
But then, Lois would have been fine if he'd thought enough to coach her through delivering the afterbirth… This was his fault. He hadn't been thinking. All that had been on his mind was seeing his son's first minutes. How could he not notice the bleeding…? So much had drained from Lois' body as the doctor examined her. His chest tightened just thinking about it. The doctor's gloved hands, dark red and wet… he shook his head, trying to push the image out of his head. He thought, instead, of how Lois looked when she first held the baby; she was peaceful and beautiful and smiling.
After what seemed like ages, he tore himself away from the window and headed off to find a pay phone.
He dialed his parents' number. "Mom…? Get Dad on the other line." He heard his father's voice join his mother's.
"Clark? Did Lois—?" His mother's voice was filled with anticipation.
"She had the baby! It's a boy!" Clark couldn't stop himself from smiling.
"Oh! Oh my God, Jonathan, we're grandparents!" Martha squealed.
Jonathan was equally thrilled. "Son, this is incredible! How's the baby? And Lois?"
"The baby is great. Just perfect. He's so healthy. He's ten pounds and two ounces."
"Ten?! My goodness, I knew it was going to be a big baby from the way she was carrying it, but ten! Wow. Is she okay? Did she have a hard time?" Martha questioned.
Clark sighed. "Mom… we didn't make it to the hospital. We had to deliver the baby in the car by ourselves. It was… really rough on Lois. No drugs. It took… so long."
Jonathan lowered his voice. "What about… *Superman*?"
Clark hesitated. "Let's just say… he wasn't feeling too well."
Martha understood and jumped in, gasping. "Kryptonite! Honey, are you okay?!"
"Feeling a little better now," Clark added cryptically. His parents could hear his voice wavering.
"And Lois…?" Martha asked.
"She was in so much pain. And when I finally got her to the hospital, she was losing a lot of blood… She's in surgery now." He took a deep breath, struggling to keep his composure. "It shouldn't be long now, before she gets out. She did so well. She was so brave, Mom. If something happens to her—"
"Clark," Jonathan interrupted, "if anyone can get through this, it'll be your Lois. She's a strong girl and a fighter, too."
Clark smiled. "You're right, Dad. Do you want me to come pick you two up?"
"That's up to you, honey," Martha said gently. "Why don't you wait until Lois is out of surgery?"
"Sure, Mom. I think I better stay close by until she's awake."
"Good thinking, son. Have you settled on a name yet?"
"Benjamin John Kent." It dawned on him that this was the first time he'd spoken his son's name. It sounded so wonderful, now that he had a face to match with the name. "I'll call you as soon as I can."
"We love you, Clark," Martha said happily. "And we can't wait to meet our grandson!"
Forty-five minutes later, Lois was moved from the recovery room to the maternity ward. The surgeon assured Clark that Lois would make a full recovery after enough rest. They'd managed to stop the hemorrhaging successfully. She had received a blood transfusion already, and was currently on IV with a second one. She was asleep and peaceful. Clark was grateful that Lois was finally numb to the pain she'd experienced all day.
He sat beside her, brushing the curls from her forehead. He took her hand loosely in his and kissed it lightly. She looked lovely, and Clark could barely wait for her to wake up. He wanted her to be with him, to enjoy their baby together. A nurse came to the room and asked if she should bring the baby's bassinet to the room. Clark nodded with a smile.
Before anything else, she was aware of a very warm yellow light shining against her closed eyelids. She shifted a little and felt sore all over. Moving was not a good idea yet, she decided. Awakening was an effort. She felt like her eyes were glued shut. The first thing that she became aware of was a soft, comforting sound. A voice.
"…just you wait, Ben. Wait until you get a good look at your Mommy. I think you'll agree that she's the most beautiful woman in the world. And the sweetest. And the bravest. She worked awfully hard to bring you into the world, she makes me so proud. She's absolutely brilliant. She amazes me every single day."
Lois struggled to open her eyes, and when she finally succeeded, it was well worth the effort. There was Clark, her husband, standing in front of the gauzy yellow curtain as the early- morning light spilled through. Diffused, it backlit the new father's profile. Lois couldn't bring him into focus, but she didn't need to. She could see him holding the baby in front of him, his head inclined so that father and son were nearly forehead-to-forehead.
"You are going to just love her," Clark continued to the baby. "I do. More and more every day." He kissed the top of the infant's head.
Lois felt an immense love for her husband and new baby. She smiled, secretly happy that she'd caught Clark's first heart-to- heart with his son. She couldn't be prouder. "Clark?" she said softly.
Clark looked over slowly and smiled, ear-to-ear. Lois was awake! He looked back down at the baby. Little Ben's inquisitive eyes watched his father intently. "Ben? What do you say we surprise Mommy?" Clark walked over to Lois' bedside carefully, holding the baby as if he was holding the most precious thing in the world. And he was. Quite literally.
Before saying another word, Clark helped Lois sit up a little and laid the baby in her arms. Lois had a lovely, amazed expression on her face as she looked at Ben. Now she was fully able to appreciate him. His tiny fist grabbed on to her finger immediately. "Uh oh. That's some grip he's got there," Lois said with a little laugh. "I think he might take after his Dad…"
Clark beamed. He leaned over the bed and kissed Lois on the temple. "How do you feel, honey? You had me scared for a while there."
"Drained. Sore. I'll be all right," Lois replied, far too distracted by her incredible, new son to pay much attention to her pain. "Hello, Benjamin," she whispered. Ben's eyes darted upwards to meet her gaze. "Hey, he already knows his name!"
"Well, we worked on that while you were asleep. He's pretty smart. Picks up on these things fast!" Clark announced. "Wait till you see him in the nursery next to the other babies, Lois. He stands right out."
"I bet," Lois smiled, touching Ben's chubby cheek. She looked up at her husband, and back at her baby. "We're parents. Wow…" she mused, her eyes meeting Clark's again.
"I know. Amazing," Clark replied, leaning over the bed once more to capture Lois' lips in a soft kiss. "This is the biggest journey we've ever taken."
Lois smiled, her brown eyes sparkling. "Well, we're taking it together, so it's bound to be an adventure."