By Anonpip <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted June 2008
Summary: Lois and Clark deal with the early days of pregnancy.
Author's Note: All characters are the property of Warner Bros, December 3rd Productions, ABC, and anyone else who may have a legal claim on them. The story, however, is mine.
Many thanks to Rona who GE'ed this for me.
It shouldn't have surprised me. I mean, we had been doing all the right things for this to happen. I had been taking my temperature every morning before I got out of bed, tracking my cycle, and determining when I was most likely to ovulate with ovulation tests. It was just that we knew we were just fooling ourselves. Dr. Klein had always been completely honest with Superman and he had told Clark that he was not compatible with a human woman in that way.
So, the first day I was late, I did not think much of it. I have always been very regular, but you know, maybe I had been under more stress than normal. I assumed the same the next day.
By the third day, though, I felt the need to take a test. I knew it was going to be negative -- I mean, I had not had sex with anyone but Clark in many years, but still, in the same way we stupidly purchased and used the ovulation tests, we had purchased pregnancy tests and now seemed like the right time to use one.
Knowing that it was going to be negative, I decided to wait for Clark to leave for work in the morning. I told him I was not feeling quite right and would come in a bit later. I didn't want him around; I didn't want to get his hopes up for something that I knew wasn't going to happen.
So, while you'd think someone who had already owned the test would not be surprised at the result, the truth is that I was. I was so sure that I could not be pregnant that I just stared at the plus sign for a full minute before I realized what I was seeing.
I got into the car and called Clark from my cell phone. "Can you meet me at Star Labs?" I asked him.
His warm, full laugh sounded in my ear. "Feeling better already, I see," he teased. "What is it you are hot on the trail of?"
I laughed back at him. I loved how well my husband could read me, even if he was wrong in this case. "Just meet me there in a few minutes," I instructed before hanging up the phone.
I guess Clark waited to leave, leaving time for me to arrive and miscalculated, as I beat him there. Not surprisingly, Dr. Klein looked surprised to see me, but stranger than that he seemed concerned.
"Is everything okay with Superman?" he asked me, and I felt myself smile. I knew coming to Dr. Klein for this meant telling him Clark's secret, but as there was no other way to deal with it; I had decided it was a risk I was sure Clark would be willing to take. Seeing his concern for Superman, I knew it was the right decision. This man could be trusted with this secret, just as Clark had trusted him with countless other secrets about his alter-ego.
"He's fine, Dr. Klein. I just had a question for you."
His relief was immediately obvious when his quirky smile crossed his face. "Well then, come right in," he said, leading me into his lab.
"Lois," Clark called just before I entered the door. I turned around and held out my hand to him. In just a few short strides, he had reached me and linked his fingers with mine.
"What's going on?" he asked.
"Dr. Klein, can I have a moment with my husband?" I asked. Dr. Klein nodded somewhat absently as he stirred something in the Petri dish in front of him.
I pulled Clark to a corner of the lab, and spoke in the softest of whispers so only someone with super hearing would be able to hear me. "I think it's time to tell Dr. Klein who you are."
Clark's eyes got big and round as he moved even closer to me to whisper in my ear, "Why?"
"Is it a problem?" I asked in reply.
"Of course not," Clark said with intensity. "Dr. Klein knows more secrets about Superman than I do, but why tell him now?"
I stopped for a moment. I had considered coming here and just talking to Dr. Klein without Clark. I was so worried about getting his hopes up, but I did not want to possibly blemish Superman's reputation by admitting I had had sex with him, even if I knew Dr. Klein would not tell anyone.
I took a deep breath, trying to find the right tonality for telling Clark my secret. Finally, trying to keep my excitement restrained, I whispered, "I think I'm pregnant."
"What?" Clark nearly shouted. To my amusement, Dr. Klein was too enthralled in his Petri dish to even look over at Clark's outburst.
"I think I'm pregnant," I whispered again.
This time Clark's response was a bit more in line with the private conversation we were having. "For real?" he asked me, stepping back to look me over.
"Are you looking for a baby?" I teased. "I don't think you'd see one yet."
Clark blushed as he smiled. "Sorry, I couldn't help it."
Then taking my hand again, he turned back to Dr. Klein. "Sorry about that," he said to the doctor, but of course, Dr. Klein did not even notice our attention on him.
"Dr. Klein," Clark said gently, and when that also got no reply, he walked a little closer. "Dr. Klein," he said more loudly.
"Oh," Dr. Klein looked up and seemed surprised to see us. "I'm sorry. This is most fascinating. See, I took a larva from your average housefly and... never mind. Sorry. What was it you wanted?"
I stifled a laugh. I liked Dr. Klein and he was definitely brilliant, but he was also weird.
Clark took one look at me, his face lit up in a smile, but I was surprised when he nodded at me. He wanted me to speak first? Okay. "Well, Dr. Klein. We may need your help with something. I think I'm pregnant."
Dr. Klein smiled. "Well, congratulations, Lois. That's wonderful news. You, too, Clark. But wouldn't you be better off directing your questions to your obstetrician? They can do a blood test to confirm the pregnancy."
I sighed, surprised Clark was not picking up the conversation from here, but then again I had sort of dragged him here without any warning. "The problem, Dr. Klein, is that the baby is Superman's."
Dr. Klein's eyes widened slightly, but he did not say anything. He glanced at Clark worriedly for a moment and thankfully, Clark finally decided to join the conversation.
"Dr. Klein," he began and I could hear the nervousness in his voice. Even though we knew Dr. Klein to be completely trustworthy, this was a hard secret for Clark to share. Certainly the way I had found out made that clear. "The thing is... I'm Superman," Clark said.
Dr. Klein reached behind him for a chair, and not finding one, placed his hands heavily on the countertop in front of him.
"I... I mean... I guess I shouldn't be surprised," he finally said weakly. "It's not surprising that Superman has a secret identity. And you look alike. And Lois is clearly friends with Superman. But I never considered... it never occurred to me." Dr. Klein shook his head. "Thank you," he said softly and off of the quizzical look that I gave him, and I suspect Clark did, too, he clarified, "for trusting me with such an important secret."
Clark smiled. "If it weren't so hard for me to share this, I would have done it sooner. You have always been a great friend and confidante for Superman. If you were out to get me, you have more than enough information to do so."
Dr. Klein smiled slightly. "Well, yes, I guess I do, don't I? Anyway, so, Lois, you think you're pregnant?"
I felt flustered for a moment, but was not sure why. I felt Clark squeeze my hand and it brought my attention back from whatever random place I had been. "Yes," I said. "I know you told Clark that he was not compatible with human women, but we decided to try anyway. I'm not sure why. Anyway, my periods are typically like clockwork every thirty days, but I'm three days late today. I took a pregnancy test this morning and it came out positive." I opened my purse to remove the pregnancy test, which I had placed in a plastic bag. I handed it to the doctor.
Dr. Klein looked at it in surprise. "Well, this does indeed seem to suggest... I mean, I might have been wrong." He looked up at us for a moment, but from his eyes it was clear he was working through something.
"You should probably have an ultrasound and a blood test," he said to me.
"Isn't it too early for an ultrasound?" I asked.
"Well, normally, yes, but who knows how Superman's baby may grow? We have no data on the gestational period for Kryptonians. It probably makes sense to check," he explained.
"Is that something you can do?" Clark asked.
Dr. Klein blushed and it suddenly occurred to me that I was not 100% comfortable with the idea either. Somehow it is okay with your gynecologist, but Dr. Klein was something closer to a family friend. I was not so sure I would ever be able to have a normal conversation with him again if he gave me an internal exam.
So, I was actually a bit relieved when he said, "Well, I could, but I'm not really very skilled in that area. But Dr. Stipples could help if you'd prefer not to go to a normal doctor. Still, I have to remind you, we're all scientists here, not medical doctors. Dr. Stipples has been to medical school, she was an MD/PhD student, but she has not practiced since her residency which was at least ten or fifteen years ago by now."
"That's okay," I said. "I'd rather have someone we can trust with this secret than someone who has good bedside manner."
Dr. Klein smiled. "Yes, Dr. Stipples is trustworthy, but if you are pregnant, we'll need to determine what to do about the delivery. Normally you would go to whatever hospital your obstetrician is associated with, but of course, Dr. Stipples is not associated with a hospital."
"Can she deliver?" Clark asked.
"Oh, yes, I'm sure she can. Delivering babies is not that difficult unless there is a complication. As long as you are in a hospital, someone will be around in case there is a complication, so there shouldn't be a problem."
"Okay, then," Clark said. "When can we meet her?"
"Let me give her a call now," Dr. Klein said, moving over to the phone.
"Are we okay with telling her your secret?" I asked Clark.
Clark nodded, "We have to tell someone if we want you to get the proper care and Dr. Klein trusts her. You're much more important than this secret. Do you have a different idea?"
I shook my head 'no' and hoped that this woman would be as trustworthy as Dr. Klein said, while feeling strangely tingly at Clark's words. Obviously, I knew how important I was to him, but I guess given how I found out about him being Superman, even though I had long ago forgiven him, it was a bit of a sore spot for me. Hearing him say that I was more important than the secret put a little more salve on the wound.
"She's free right now," Dr. Klein told us as he hung up the phone. "Let me take you to her."
He led us down the hall to a different lab. While similar to his, this lab had a nice living room type area off to one side, with a couple of chairs and a couch all facing each other. "Hi," Dr. Stipples said as we walked in. While I could not know for sure how trustworthy she was, I immediately liked her. She was younger than Dr. Klein, maybe in her early forties, with long blonde hair that she had swept up into a clip on the back of her head. The look was casual, but worked for her. Her blue eyes were friendly and reflected the bright smile on her face.
"Hi," I said in reply, taking her proffered hand. Clark followed suit and then the doctor led us all over to the couch area.
"So, what can I do for you?" she asked us.
Neither of us said anything for a moment, but thankfully, Dr. Klein spoke up. "Lois here is pregnant, or at least she has a positive pregnancy test, and the Kents were hoping you would be their doctor."
Dr. Stipples looked confused. "Don't you have an obstetrician?" she asked me.
"No, not yet. This pregnancy is a bit unusual," I started, not sure how to explain. It was so hard to completely trust someone we did not know even though we knew we needed to.
"Clark has been my patient for some time now," Dr. Klein explained, "and I had thought I'd determined that he was unable to have children."
"I didn't realize you had any patients besides Superman," Dr. Stipple said in surprise.
"He doesn't," Clark said softly.
For a moment, Dr. Stipple looked confused, but then understanding crossed her lovely features. "Oh. Oh!" she said in surprise.
"Dr. Stipple," Clark said softly, "we're hoping..."
"Evelyn, please," Dr. Stipple interrupted softly. "You've just told me your most private secret. It doesn't feel right for you to call me 'doctor'."
Clark smiled at her and I could feel myself smile as well. This woman did inspire trust and confidence with her easygoing manner. I had a feeling that despite her years away from patient care, she would have great bedside manner.
"Evelyn, we were hoping that you could be Lois' doctor. Dr. Klein suggested that Lois have an ultrasound," Clark said.
"Bernard, Clark," Dr. Klein said before turning back to Evelyn. "It's still very early, but I have no idea how long a Kryptonian gestates for and so I thought it might be good to check."
Evelyn smiled. "Certainly." She paused in mid thought. "I need a few minutes. I have all the equipment for an ultrasound next door, but at this stage of your pregnancy you'll likely need a transvaginal ultrasound."
"What's that?" Clark asked, as he squeezed my hand tightly in reassurance.
"Well, later on, we will likely be able to do an ultrasound over Lois' abdomen. An ultrasound uses sound waves to create on image. But for the first trimester of a human pregnancy, if anything can be seen you need to get closer to the uterus and we do that by inserting a wand-like device into Lois' vagina."
"Does it hurt?" Clark asked, sounding nervous.
"Is it dangerous for the baby?" I asked.
"No, on both counts," Evelyn assured us. "You might feel a little bit of pressure when I insert the wand, but it won't hurt and ultrasounds are not at all dangerous for the baby. How far along are you?"
"I'm three days late for my period," I told her.
"Well, okay. That makes you about four weeks along," she said. Then taking in my look, I'm guessing, as I was trying to figure out how she got to four weeks, she explained, "I know it seems weird, but we typically calculate gestational age from the date of the first day of your last period, not the date of conception. I should warn you that it's rare for a human baby to be visible at four weeks. Typically it has just implanted into the wall of the uterus and is too small to be visible."
I nodded at her as she got up. "Just give me a minute or so to try to find a wand and some lubricant," she said to us.
Bernard turned to us. "Well, I'll leave you alone with Evelyn now. I'll come by a little later, though."
"That would be great," I said in response and Clark nodded beside me.
"You know more about Kryptonian biology than anyone else," Clark reminded him, "so we certainly would like you to be involved in this."
Bernard smiled. "Yes, I am excited to be as well. There's still so much we don't know about you and it's fascinating to think about how much more we can learn from this process." He flushed as he finished and sheepishly added, "But, of course, more important than that, I'm thrilled to be part of such an exciting time in your lives."
I smiled wide to hide my laugh. I knew Dr. Klein was more interested in the scientific knowledge than in the baby per se. But somehow, that was part of his charm.
It took Evelyn about twenty minutes to get everything together. She found the equipment fairly quickly but since some of it had not been used in awhile, she wanted some time to sterilize it. I have to say, when I saw the "wand" she mentioned, I cringed slightly. I did not see how that could not hurt.
Still, I thought of Clark's words from earlier -- nothing was more important than my getting the proper care. If this hurt a little bit, oh well. Evelyn assured us that it would not last long anyway.
She pulled a lab coat out of the closet. "Sorry I don't have a blanket, but you can place this over you. I'll leave for a minute. Just remove everything below the waist but your socks." She gave me a friendly smile before leaving.
I felt awkward getting undressed in the lab, even if the room looked a bit more like a doctor's office with the ultrasound equipment in it. Still, once I was undressed, with Clark awkwardly holding my pants, and I had gotten up on the table with Evelyn's lab coat over me, I felt weird.
I could feel the desire to babble bubbling up in me as Evelyn re-entered the room. "So, what is it you normally do? What's the ultrasound for?"
Evelyn smiled at me. "My research is in human fertility and fetal development. I don't typically see patients, but every once in awhile if one of the local doctors has a patient with issues, they'll bring one over. I could always use their equipment and honestly, there are specialists in taking ultrasounds that are probably better at it than I am, but I just thought it was unfair for these women who are already going through a stressful time to have to wander to several different places."
I turned to glance at Clark and our eyes locked for a moment. This was going to be okay. This woman was going to be perfect for us. I glanced back over to see her spreading some sort of jelly on the wand. She caught my eyes, which I am sure were showing the apprehension I was feeling towards having that thing inserted into me, and smiled. "It's not as bad as it looks, although I'll admit it's not exactly as pleasant as eating an ice cream sundae." I smiled at her analogy. "But this is lubricant, which makes it much less uncomfortable."
With that, she moved towards my feet and I placed them in the stirrups, feeling my entire lower body tense in anticipation. "Just think," Evelyn said, "in a minute, you may see your baby for the first time."
The thought made me glance at Clark again and he was smiling at me so warmly I could feel myself relax while anticipation overtook the anxiety I had been feeling. I'm sure it was done on purpose, but it worked. Evelyn's comment made me focus on the baby and not on the wand.
A moment later, she was moving the wand inside me and she was right -- while it was not something I would want to do everyday, it was not so bad. Whether that was because it was not as awful as it looked or because I was fascinated by the black and white image on the screen, I was not sure.
"What's that?" Clark asked as he grasped my hand.
"This is Lois' uterus," Evelyn said as she moved the wand around some more. A moment later she removed it. "Sorry, but it is too early to see anything."
"Is that a bad thing?" I asked, suddenly concerned. I sat up as she talked, moving the lab coat around me.
"No," Evelyn said. "Like I said, that's perfectly normal for a human baby. We'll try again in a couple of weeks. That's often too early to see the baby, but early enough to see the embryonic sac. For now, I'll give you a blood test that will make sure you are pregnant and test for progesterone levels and a hormone called hCG."
"What for?" I asked.
"Well, it's mostly just to get baseline levels of these things, but also to make sure you are producing enough progesterone," Evelyn explained. "In the meantime," she continued, "I'll give you a prescription for prenatal vitamins."
"I've already been taking some," I said.
"Great," she said. "We'll definitely want to watch in case there are things a Kryptonian baby needs that are not covered by those vitamins, but unfortunately, we'll have to learn as we go.
"I'll give you a minute to get dressed and then we can talk a bit more." With that, Evelyn left the room.
I took a minute to get dressed and then Clark and I stood there holding hands until she knocked on the door and came back in.
"Okay?" she asked me. At my nod, she continued, "Just a few typical dietary things I wanted to make sure we covered. No alcohol, of course, or smoking. Try to stay away from deli meats and unpasteurized cheeses. No tuna -- the mercury levels can cause brain damage -- and no sushi."
"Anything else?" I asked, feeling a bit overwhelmed. I knew I couldn't drink during pregnancy and not smoking wasn't even an issue, but did not know about the other things. I was not a big fan of sushi, so would not miss that, but no deli meat? I lived on turkey sandwiches.
"No deli meat?" Clark asked. He smiled at me. "We'll have to find really good food to bring from home so you don't miss your turkey sandwiches."
Evelyn smiled. "Well, when I said no deli meat, I didn't mean things like turkey. That's fine. It's more things like pimento loaf that can cause a problem. Oh, and hot dogs. Basically, processed meats."
"Oh, good," I said, feeling relieved. This wasn't going to be so bad.
"Oh," Evelyn added, "and if you could cut caffeine out that would be good, too. If you can't and need a cup of coffee in the morning, that's okay, but try to limit it to just one."
I nodded. I had, of course, known about the caffeine as well, but I had forgotten about it. Or repressed it, more likely. That was definitely going to be an issue. I really needed coffee throughout the day. Clark squeezed my hand. "We'll do it together, Lois," he said.
I knew Clark did not need coffee the way I did and this would be easier for him than for me, but I smiled anyway. I loved the fact that he was making an attempt to be so supportive.
Evelyn frowned. "We should probably check with Bernard, too. He may know of some things that he thinks will be important for the Kryptonian side of this little one." I found myself putting a hand on my abdomen when she said that, filled with an irrational feeling of warmth for the tiny little thing in my belly.
It was weird because I had never really wanted to be a mother. Given my childhood, the most important thing to me was to be as different from my parents as possible. Then I married Clark and he wanted to be a father so much it made me want to be a parent. But mostly for Clark. I wanted to be a mother mainly so that Clark could be a father.
But now that I was pregnant, it was different. I could already feel excitement and something else, something akin to love for the baby growing inside me, and it was separate from the fact that I felt happy that I may be able to give Clark the thing he wanted most in the world.
We saw Bernard shortly after Evelyn took a blood sample and he suggested I try to take a walk once a day to get some sunshine, but aside from that, had no other suggestions.
"One other thing, Lois," Evelyn said before we left. "Hopefully, you'll feel fine, but a few things that you may notice in the next few weeks. Your breasts will already be adjusting for lactating and for now they may feel a bit sensitive. You'll need plenty of extra fluids, as your body will be trying to produce extra blood for the baby. Particularly at night, you may feel thirsty. Some women find that sleeping with a glass of water by the side of their bed helps. Just a couple of sips if you wake up in the middle of the night can help you feel better, but definitely try to increase your water intake during the day.
"Lastly, there's a possibility you may begin to experience morning sickness. Many women find that it's worse during their first pregnancy than subsequent ones. Typically, morning sickness does not start until the sixth week of pregnancy, but it can start any time from the forth week on. It typically gets worse for the first few weeks and then goes away completely at the end of the first trimester."
I grimaced at this little tidbit. Weeks upon weeks of nausea was hard to get excited about, and what Evelyn said next did little to change my mind.
"Unfortunately, morning sickness does not always happen in the morning and it can last all day. If you feel nauseous, try to eat what you can. As much as it's important to eat healthy, the most important thing is to try to eat, so whatever you can get down if you feel sick is fine. Simple carbohydrates like rice or potatoes often work. Also, saltines. Try to eat small meals often. Having an empty stomach can make it feel worse. And ginger ale."
My face must have shown my concern. I hated feeling nauseous and the idea of doing so for weeks on end was not at all appealing. "It may not happen at all, Lois," Evelyn said. "But the truth is that about 80% of women do experience some morning sickness, even if it's brief and minor. I just want you to be prepared, but call me if you need anything." She handed me a card. "This has my home number on it. Obviously, I'd appreciate it if you didn't use it to call me at night if it's not important, but feel free to call with any concerns."
I smiled to show my appreciation and Clark and I left Star Labs.
"So," Clark asked as we drove to work. "How do you feel?"
"Scared," I answered immediately without thinking.
Clark reached over to take my hand. "Me, too, but it's going to be okay. You are going to be a great mother."
I glanced at him quickly before bringing my glance back to the road. "Not like you, Clark. You were made to be a father." It was true, too. I could so easily picture Clark with our child in his arms. The mental image brought tears to my eyes and I felt silly for getting worked up over something so ridiculous.
Clark leaned forward to look at me funny. "Are you crying?" he asked me.
"No," I insisted, but it was weird, as soon as he asked me, it made the tears come faster. Not a lot, but enough that a tear or two leaked out.
Clark reached over to brush it off of my cheek. "No, of course you aren't," he smiled. He leaned over to kiss me slightly on the cheek. "Want to tell me what's wrong?"
"I don't know," I admitted, brushing at my eyes, annoyed.
Clark laughed lightly. "I bet it's just the pregnancy hormones, Lois."
I nodded. That made sense. It didn't make it any easier to deal with, though. I didn't normally cry over something so silly.
"Do you want to go to Smallville tonight?" I asked, trying to change the subject to something safe -- not too happy, not too sad. Basically something that would eliminate the need of my pregnancy hormones to cause me to cry.
"Do you think we should tell?" Clark asked in response. "Should we wait?"
I smiled as I leaned over to grab his hand. "Do you want to wait? I would think you'd want to tell you parents right away."
"What about your parents?" Clark asked. "We should tell them, too."
I sighed. "Well, it's not the same. For one thing, we aren't going to fly to the Bahamas to see them and I'm not sure they'd want us to disturb their vacation anyway."
"We can call them, Lois."
"I know, but it's different. I don't know how to deal with it but at some point having a child means we need to tell my parents and my sister about you. I mean, if Dr. Klein is right and things could be really different, what if I'm only pregnant for two months or something?" I voiced my concern.
I could see Clark nod out of the corner of my eye. "What's the other option, though?" he asked. "Not tell them? Then won't they be surprised when you announce we have a baby two months from now?"
I giggled, picturing the shocked look on my parent's faces. "Still, what if it doesn't work out?"
Clark squeezed my hand. "Are you nervous about that?"
"A little," I admitted. "I mean, I don't know, but it's not uncommon for things to go wrong, is it?"
"I don't know, Lois, but it doesn't matter. Even if it doesn't work out, at least now we know we can."
I smiled. I had not considered that. That was good news. Still, I didn't like the idea of having to try again. It was irrational, but already I wanted this baby, not some replacement.
"What about Perry?" I asked as we got out of the Jeep in the Planet garage. "I mean, I know you usually wait awhile to tell your employer..."
"But it's Perry," Clark finished for me.
"I almost feel like I want to tell him before my parents," I said, feeling slightly guilty.
"Okay," Clark said. "I'm okay with that. Do you think we could get by without telling Perry..."
"Definitely," I said knowing what he was thinking. "At least for now. There's no reason to share your secret with Perry right now."
"So, we're going to tell my folks and Perry?" Clark confirmed. "And your parents?"
I nodded. "Your parents tonight and then Perry tomorrow. But let's put my family off for now. I'm not ready yet."
"You sure?" Clark asked quietly as we exited the elevator.
"Yes, but this is our decision, Clark, not mine."
"I know," he said. "But they are your parents."
"Well, I do want them to know," I whispered, "but not yet."
Clark tugged on my hand to get me to stop walking, then leaned down to kiss me softly on the lips. "Sounds like a plan."
I smiled against his lips. "I can't wait to tell your parents." Just the mental image of Martha's face made me smile. She was going to be almost as happy as we were.
The flight to Smallville was a bit colder than I had expected. It was only late September and already it seemed like winter was just around the corner. I thought about that. Evelyn had said my due date was on May 28th, presuming Clark's contribution to this venture didn't mean things were completely different than a normal pregnancy. By the time this winter ended, I would almost certainly be showing. The thought filled me with a mix of anticipation, excitement, and nervousness.
Clark wrapped his cape a bit tighter around me and I wondered if he had realized it was cooler out than I had expected or if he was already turning into one of those men who become overprotective of their wife when she's pregnant. I fully expected that from him, but was not really sure I was looking forward to it. Clark was overprotective enough when I wasn't pregnant.
We landed in the cornfield outside the Kent farmhouse and Clark placed me on my feet. For a moment, neither of us moved. We stood there taking in the sky and all the stars, holding hands.
Then I decided I was ready, and taking a deep breath and tugging gently on Clark's arm, set off.
We knocked on the door softly, but Martha came to the door immediately.
"Lois! Clark!" she exclaimed, clearly surprised. "We didn't expect to see you tonight. Come in. We're just having dessert." Martha pulled me into her arms as I walked in and I hugged her back tightly.
On the kitchen table was an apple pie, freshly baked, of course. I could smell the cinnamon already and my mouth started to water. Jonathan tore himself away from his pie somewhat reluctantly, and came over to give us hugs hello himself.
By the time we were all settled with my coat off, Martha had gotten out two more plates and served us each a generous piece of pie. I sat down eagerly. Clark and I had not yet had dinner, and this was looking like a good option to me. I briefly thought that I should be making an effort to eat healthier than this now that I was a mother, but then disregarded that. It was an apple pie -- it had fruit. Certainly it wasn't so bad for me. Besides, it was just one night.
"So, what brings you out here?" Martha asked.
Taking a bite of the pie into my mouth, I smiled. "Well, if we had known about this pie, it would have been reason enough."
Martha laughed. "I made an extra. You can take it home."
Jonathan gave a cursory glance at her and I knew he was disappointed. Martha clearly knew, too, as she clucked her tongue at him and smiled. "Oh, stop fussing, Jonathan. I can make you another one."
That settled, Jonathan sat back in his chair. "Well, then, what does bring you two out here tonight?"
Clark took a deep breath and I appreciated his talking, so I could keep eating. "Well, we have news," he announced.
Martha clapped her hands together. "Another Kerth?" she asked.
I thought. She was right, it was the right time of year for that, but I had not remembered it at all.
"I don't think the nominations are being announced until the end of the month," Clark said.
"Then what?" Jonathan asked, clearly curious.
Clark reached across the table and I placed my hand in his. "We're pregnant," I said quietly.
"You're... you're pregnant?" Martha asked, her eyes shining. "Oh my! That's so wonderful."
"Congratulations, son. Lois," Jonathan said, reaching out to place a hand on each of our arms. "That is wonderful news. The two of you are going to make wonderful parents!"
Martha got up and came over to give me a hug, holding me tightly. "I'm so happy for you!" she exclaimed and I could hear the tears in her voice. It made me glad we had not waited to tell them and that we had done so in person.
She let me go only to give Clark a hug and then moved over to the refrigerator. "This calls for a celebration," she announced as she pulled vanilla ice cream from the freezer. Adding dairy to this dinner certainly counted as it being healthy, right?
"So," Jonathan said, looking at me. "When are you due?"
"Well, my due date is May 28th, but of course, we can't really know how long this will take," I explained.
"There's so little we know about Kryptonian biology," Clark explained.
Martha nodded over her ice cream. "So, are they going to do anything special for you?" she asked me.
"Just watch closely," I said. "They don't know anymore than we do."
"And it's still early yet," Clark said, softly. "We can't really be sure..." Clark tried to remind his parents that this baby may not make it, but couldn't get the words out.
Martha shook her head. "No need to think of that for now. You should be focused on how happy you are. This is really great news."
I smiled; her happiness was infectious. Or perhaps I was just already happy.
We lay in bed for a long time that night. We were not speaking, but I could tell Clark was not sleeping either. He had his arms tightly around me and we were both facing towards the window.
"I love you," I whispered, tightening my grip on the arm he had around my waist.
He tightened his grip slightly. "I love you, too," he whispered back, his voice full of tenderness.
"I'm glad we told your parents," I said. "Somehow, it made it more real for me."
"Me, too," he said. "Mom is so happy."
"Of course, she is," I told him. "She knows that this is what you want most in the world, Clark. She's happy for you."
Clark loosened his grip on me to turn me around until I was lying on my back. He leaned up so I could see him clearly in the darkened bedroom. "First of all, she's happy for us, not just me," he said. "And second of all, a baby is not what I want most in the world."
"It's not?" I asked, confused. All this time, I thought this was what Clark wanted. Was I wrong?
"No," he said, leaning over to kiss my forehead. "I already have what I want most in the world, Lois. You are what I want most in the world. I do want a baby, but only with you."
I smiled, but felt those annoying tears leaking out of my eyes again. "I love you," I said again.
Clark smiled at me before leaning forward to capture my lips with his.
I was sort of dreading the next morning at work. Early on, before we had been told that Clark was unlikely to be able to have a child with me, we had been very serious about trying. Each month after I ovulated, I tried to keep a diet like I was pregnant just in case I was. I had done some reading and read that the baby is most susceptible to problems early on in development and while I knew lots of women drank alcohol and had caffeine without knowing they were pregnant for weeks, I wanted to be careful. Each month, when we determined I was not pregnant, I would rejoice in the ability to have coffee throughout the day and a glass of wine at night if I wanted. It was weird -- even though I wanted to be pregnant, I found the dietary restrictions annoying.
So, while Evelyn had said that I could have one cup of coffee a day, that seemed like a small consolation given that I had nine more months of this ahead of me.
But then something surprising happened. When we got in to the office, Clark went and fetched me a donut like always, but he came back without coffee. "So, I had an idea, but wanted to run it by you first," he said. "You could have a cup of coffee right now, but I thought, maybe you'd prefer to have a cup that was half decaf and then you could have another one later."
I liked that idea and told him so. Two cups of coffee sounded better than one even if they wouldn't work as well to wake me up, but then as Clark walked away, I called out to stop him.
It was weird, but suddenly I didn't want coffee. "I think I'm going to skip it today," I told him.
He came back over and kneeled by my desk. "You don't need to do that, Lois. Evelyn said a cup of coffee a day would be fine."
"I know," I tried to explain my feelings to him, "but I don't want it. It's different now than before. It's like now that I know there's a baby in there, it's different than when we were trying last year. Now I feel like I'm choosing a cup of coffee over the baby and I can't do that. I know it's irrational and Evelyn said it's okay, but what if she's wrong? What if our baby is especially sensitive to caffeine or something? Maybe because of the Kryptonian genes. I don't know. I just don't want to do anything that could harm the baby at all."
Clark leaned forward to put his arms around me. "As long as you are doing this for you," he whispered. "No one is going to think you are a bad mother for having a cup of coffee. Let me rephrase that. You would not be a bad mother if you had a cup of coffee."
"I know," I whispered back. "But I'll know I did it. I'll have hot chocolate this morning. Maybe I'll change my mind tomorrow."
Clark leaned forward to kiss me softly on the lips before disappearing. He walked right past the coffee area which was weird as we kept packets of hot cocoa mix there to be mixed with the hot water, but he was back not more than a minute later with two hot chocolates from the stand downstairs -- the kind made with real chocolate and topped with whipped cream.
"Clark," I said as he placed one of the cups down on my desk. "You don't even like hot chocolate that much."
"Yes, but if you aren't having coffee, than neither am I. Evelyn said you should stay away from herbal tea, so there are no decaf options here aside from hot chocolate," he explained.
"Clark, it really won't bother me if you have coffee. I mean, don't flaunt it in front of me, but it's okay to have it."
"Okay," he nodded his head. "But I don't want it today. Maybe I'll change my mind tomorrow," he mimicked my words from earlier and I smiled.
Just then Perry came in with Jimmy trailing behind them. Clark and I got up, intending to go share our news with Perry when Jimmy followed him into his office. We stopped and looked at each other. We hadn't discussed telling Jimmy. Then I nodded my head imperceptibly and Clark smiled at me in agreement. As long as we could impress upon Jimmy that this was a secret, we wanted to tell him. While I was not convinced that Jimmy was the best person at keeping secrets, it seemed likely that he would do so if it was important.
Clark knocked on the door to Perry's office softly and we waited for his gruff, "Come in," before entering.
"Hi, guys," Jimmy said as we came in.
"What's up?" Perry asked us.
We stood there awkwardly for a minute, Clark holding my hand before I said, "Well, we have news."
"It's sort of secret news," Clark said. "I mean, in that we don't really want everyone here to know yet, but we..."
"Well, you two are like family to us," I explained. Perry's face lit up in a smile and Jimmy looked like he might cry.
"You guys are like family to me, too," he said.
"So," Clark said, clearly nervous. "We wanted to let you know that we are expanding our family."
"Huh?" Jimmy asked.
"I'm pregnant," I said softly.
Perry got up from his desk immediately, but did not reach me before Jimmy had managed to come over and engulf me in a hug. "Oh, congratulations!" he said enthusiastically.
He let go of me only to wrap his arms around Clark, while Perry gave me a tight hug. "This is wonderful news," he said as he pulled away.
We all sat down in Perry's office then and there was an awkward silence. It was weird how that happened. You tell someone really wonderful news and it makes it hard to break into your typical daily chatter.
"So, how far along are you?" Perry asked me. "Are you feeling okay, darlin'?"
"I'm just four weeks," I said, "and right now I feel great."
"Can I ask a somewhat personal question?" Jimmy asked.
I looked at him curiously, not understanding at all what he would want to ask that would be personal. "Are there any concerns about the baby given..."
"Given what, Jim?" Clark asked, clearly as confused as I was.
"Well," Jimmy blushed, "well, given you, CK."
For a moment none of us said anything. I think it took a minute for me to translate Jimmy's question into what it really meant. Jimmy knew our secret. Jimmy knew our secret and had never said anything. Clearly, he was better at keeping secrets than I thought.
Clark took a deep breath, clearly looking for words to say, so Perry jumped in. "You don't need to answer that if you don't want to, son. Jimmy here was just concerned..."
"I know," Clark said, looking up smiling. "I appreciate it. I guess I never realized before how lucky we are to have both of you in our lives. I'm sorry I never told you personally."
"Don't be ridiculous, CK," Jimmy said just as Perry responded with, "You have nothing to be sorry for, Clark."
"It was your secret," Jimmy said.
"And we knew you couldn't go around telling everyone about it," Perry finished.
"Does everyone know?" I asked, suddenly feeling stupid. How come I hadn't figured it out on my own?
Jimmy was the one who responded, which was not surprising since he was more likely than Perry to know. "Not as far as I can tell. No one who didn't really know you would be able to tell, CK."
"Heck, I'm the editor of the greatest newspaper in the world and I just figured it out a year ago," Perry said.
"And you?" I asked Jimmy.
"Just a few months ago," he said. "I didn't really know for sure that Perry knew, but then I thought I couldn't possibly have figured something out that he hadn't," Jimmy laughed.
There was silence for a moment before Clark finally got back to Jimmy's original question. "As far as the baby goes, there's nothing special to do, really. We know that I get most of my energy from the sun, so Lois is going to try to spend some more time outdoors, but we don't know anything at all about how a Kryptonian baby develops."
"We're just learning as we go along," I added.
"Well, if there is anything you need," Perry started, "please let me know. I remember when Alice was pregnant with Ron. It was exciting, but also stressful. So, let me know if I can do something to relieve the stress."
"Thanks, Perry," I said softly, fighting back tears yet again.
"Would you like eggs for breakfast, Lois?" Jimmy asked me.
"What?" I was confused.
"Well, I just thought that perhaps you might need more protein or something besides a donut in the morning and I thought I could get you eggs when I pick up the donuts," Jimmy explained.
I smiled. It was true; this morning I had considered that I should replace my morning donut with something higher in protein, but I had never considered asking Jimmy to get it for me.
"You don't have to do that, Jimmy," I said.
"It's no problem. I'm there anyway. Or maybe I could get you a yogurt?" he offered.
"Yogurt sounds perfect," I told him, feeling warm inside. I agreed with Clark. While I had always considered myself close to Perry and Jimmy, I had not realized how lucky we were to have them in our lives.
My morning sickness started a couple of days later, although I didn't recognize it as such. Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, I started to feel a bit queasy. Clark and I had been up most of the night before on a stake-out, so I thought I was probably just tired.
As a result, rather than following Evelyn's advice and making sure my stomach was not empty, I decided that I probably needed sleep more than food and went to bed as soon as I got home.
It seemed to work, as I woke up feeling much better the following day. I had the yogurt Jimmy had gotten me for breakfast and we went out for the typical turkey sandwich for lunch and then again in mid-afternoon, I felt a little nauseous.
Clark convinced me not to skip dinner that night, and as I wasn't feeling that badly, I agreed to a light dinner.
Again, I felt better in the morning when I woke up. It wasn't until I started to feel sick again that third night that I realized this was not just a need for extra sleep due to the stake-out, but probably morning sickness. I was awfully tired as well, but a call in to Evelyn assured me that this was normal for the first trimester.
So, I forced myself to eat a light dinner again that night, and headed to bed at nine, rather than my usual eleven o'clock bed time.
But the next morning when I woke, I still felt sick and the nausea just got worse as the day went on. One of the benefits of having Superman as a husband was that as soon as Clark realized that I was having morning sickness, he disappeared and was back a couple of minutes later with saltines.
"Evelyn suggested they'd help," he said as he handed them to me.
It took me a half hour to eat three of them, and I didn't feel any better when I did.
Clark was sweet, but a bit clueless when we got home. He offered to make me all sorts of foods that I normally loved, but did not sound good now. He even offered me fried chicken. I guess that's what I get for being married to a man who has never been sick -- he has no idea what nausea is like and that fried food is about the last thing a normal nauseous person wants.
We finally settled on pasta. He made marinara sauce for himself and I had mine plain. Clark added just a little bit of oil so that the pasta would not stick to itself, and somewhat sadly, it did not taste at all bland to me the way it normally would.
Shortly after dinner, I went to bed. I was so disappointed to wake up the next morning still feeling sick. I remembered Evelyn telling us that morning sickness could last all day and that once it started, it often got worse for the first few weeks. The idea of this lasting for weeks and even getting worse was hard to take.
I got ready slowly that morning, deciding on a pants suit with a plain white blouse. It only took me an hour at the Planet to realize I chose wrong. I felt a strong desire to go home and change into sweats. My pants were not tight, but I sort of wanted to wear something that I did not feel on my abdomen at all. I sort of wished I had an office so I could undo my pants, but given my desk is in the middle of the newsroom floor, that was not an option.
Luckily, while I was struggling with what to do -- I wanted to take the day off, but knew I could not take off for the next several weeks -- Perry came over.
"Go home, honey," he said quietly.
"What?" I asked as I noticed Clark glance up at us.
"You look awful," Perry said, the compassion in his voice taking the sting out of his words. "Go home. Work from there if you can. If you can come in for staff meetings, I'd appreciate it, but other than that, you can work from home until you feel better."
"Thank you, Perry," I said, feeling tears building behind my eyes.
Perry smiled. "Just take care of the little one, darlin'," he said to me. "And Clark," he said over my head. "You should stay home, too. Take care of your wife."
"Thanks, Chief," Clark said and while he did not appear to be fighting back tears like I was, I could tell he was just as touched by Perry's behavior.
Working from home was much better. I had taken to wearing an old pair of Clark's sweatpants from high school. I had to fold them over so they would fit, but a couple of folds and they rested lightly on my hips, putting no pressure on my abdomen at all.
While I still felt sick, at least I felt comfortable. Perry had us working on smaller stories for now, and I appreciated it. I used to think that I would hate being treated with kid gloves when I was pregnant and I'd be upset to lose the big stories. But that was before I got pregnant. Now I was glad to be able to handle stories that I could write from home.
Clark went out occasionally to interview people for our stories and more often than that for Superman duties, but he was by my side as much as he could be. I was a little nervous about the baby. You hear so many stories about couples that fall apart after the arrival of a baby. While I was still a little nervous, the week that followed eased those fears somewhat. I felt like all the time alone together made us closer together and I felt reassured that even though things were going to change in a big way once the baby arrived, we were too strong together for it to cause problems we could not work out.
After a week of wanting nothing more than saltines and ginger ale, I finally found something that made me feel better. It was the strangest thing, and I don't understand it at all.
Jimmy had come over in the evening ostensibly to bring us some paperwork, but it was clear it was largely to check on me. Anyway, we were just chatting when he pulled some gum out of his pocket.
"You want a piece?" he asked Clark.
Clark wrinkled his nose. "Sorry, Jim. I've never been a fan of grape bubble gum."
"I'll have some," I said. Even as I said it, I wondered why. I hadn't had grape bubble gum since I'd been a kid and given my inability to keep much of anything down right now, it was a weird choice, but within minutes of chewing it, I felt better.
Clark went that night and bought six packs of grape gum for me and I continued to chew them for the next several weeks.
I was feeling well the morning of the appointment and had even gotten dressed in work clothes, intending to go back to the Planet after our appointment.
"So, how are you feeling?" Evelyn asked as we walked in.
"I'm good now," I told her. "I was feeling really nauseous until a couple of days ago, but I'm feeling better now."
"That's great!" she said. "Sometimes it comes and goes like that."
I smiled as she pulled a thin sheet out from the closet. "I thought you'd prefer this to my lab coat." She smiled as she handed it to me. "I'll leave you alone for a minute to get changed. Same as before -- take off everything below the waist except for your socks."
She was only gone for a couple minutes, but I was up on the examination table with the new sheet over my legs when Evelyn returned.
I decided not to watch as Evelyn found the lubricant. I thought it was best to focus on the baby rather than the wand-thing so I would not get nervous about the ultrasound.
"So, is it likely we'll be able to see the baby today?" Clark asked.
I looked back at Evelyn as she shrugged. "It's hard to say. It's often a bit early to see the baby, but we should be able to see the gestational sac."
A few minutes later, we were looking at the strange black and white image of my uterus on screen again. Within a moment, she focused on a black dot. "Is that it?" I asked.
"It's the sac," Evelyn said as she made some measurements and then zoomed in on the area. She made a few more measurements on the screen looking at it closely.
"Can you see the baby?" Clark asked, and looking at him, I could tell that he was zooming in on the black dot, hoping his sensitive, but untrained eye would be able to make out the baby.
"Not today," Evelyn said, "but like I said, that's not unusual for six weeks."
A moment later, the ultrasound was complete and Evelyn moved to clean up. "When you're finished getting dressed, come out into the lab and we can talk."
I felt my heart rate speed up and my stomach clench as she left. "Do you think something is wrong?" I asked Clark as I got dressed.
"Of course not, honey," he said, but I could hear the worry in his voice.
"Why didn't she tell us that everything looked good?" I could hear that my voice was a bit higher pitched than normal and took a deep breath in an effort to calm myself.
Clark came over to wrap his arms around me. "It's going to be okay, Lois. Whatever it is, it's going to be okay."
I wasn't sure that I believed him, but I appreciated how calm he was being. I could tell that he felt as anxious as I was, but he was trying to cover that up, to be strong for me. As much as I hated to admit it, I needed it right then.
When we came into the lab, Evelyn was waiting for us in the living room area with Bernard. Clark and I sat side by side on the sofa, clutching hands.
"Everything looks perfectly fine," Evelyn said in a tone that was clearly meant to calm us.
"Really?" I asked, skeptical.
"There is a something a little bit... it's probably nothing," Evelyn said and I could see she was trying to find the right words to break the news to us.
"What is it?" Clark asked, prodding her on.
"The measurements of the gestational sac are a little small for someone six weeks along," Evelyn said, her voice gentle.
"How small are they?" I asked her.
"Consistent with a four and a half week pregnancy," she said.
None of us said anything for a moment, before Bernard took a deep breath, and looked at both of us with a kindness in his eyes that startled me. "It doesn't have to mean anything bad," he said.
"What can it mean?" Clark asked, his hold on my hand tightening.
"There are lots of possible explanations," Evelyn said. "It could be that our rough calculation of when you got pregnant was off."
"By a week and a half?" I asked, not quite believing it.
Evelyn nodded. "I admit, it's not the most likely scenario given that you said your cycle is regular, but it is possible."
"What are the other options?" I asked, leaning closer to Clark.
"Well, another option is that for some reason it took a little while for this little one to implant. It can happen, and usually, although things go a bit slowly at first, they catch up quickly and the rest of the pregnancy is normal."
"And how often does that happen?" Clark asked.
"I'm not sure of the percentage of time," Evelyn hedged.
"But it's common?" I asked. "Or uncommon?"
"It's not that common," Evelyn said softly.
"Of course, the most likely possibility is that I was wrong and rather than having a shorter gestational time than humans, Kryptonians take longer," Bernard offered up.
Clark took a deep breath and then, looking at Evelyn, he asked, "If I weren't Superman, what would you be telling us about the baby?"
Evelyn smiled at us, but the smile did not reach her eyes. "I'd tell you what I have told you -- that implantation might have been slow or maybe we miscalculated when you conceived."
"But given that those are both uncommon, what would be the most common explanation?" I asked, hearing the hitch in my voice.
Evelyn and Bernard looked at each other for a moment before Evelyn faced us again. "The other, most common explanation, is that the baby was conceived when you thought, but for some reason, something went wrong at four and a half weeks and the baby stopped growing."
"What went wrong?" I asked.
Evelyn leaned forward to place a hand on my mine. "If something went wrong, it was likely a chromosomal abnormality. Nothing you did had anything to do with it."
"Does that mean if this is what happened, we can't..." Clark's voice broke and I squeezed his hand in support. "If we were to try again..." again his voice failed him.
"No," both Bernard and Evelyn said together.
"Not at all," Evelyn continued. "It's not actually that uncommon a thing to happen. About 15% of pregnancies don't work out and most couples go on to have a successful pregnancy next time they try. It's a random thing, it doesn't mean anything is wrong with either of you. And that's only if that's what's happening here. In all likelihood, Bernard is right and this is just a result of the half Kryptonian side of this little one."
"But, if that is the case, if the baby has stopped growing, what happens next?" I asked.
"Well, we want to be sure, of course," Evelyn said. "But if that was the case, and we left it alone, your body would catch on eventually and you'd have a miscarriage."
My hand went immediately towards my stomach as if I could shield the baby from the idea of miscarrying.
"So what do we do now?" Clark asked.
"Well, the best thing to do would be to wait a couple more weeks and do another ultrasound to see how things are going," Evelyn said. "But I imagine you'd like to know sooner than that."
I nodded my head, afraid that if I spoke, my voice would betray how scared I was.
"So, we can try to get an idea," Evelyn said, "but we have to try to remember how little we know about how Clark's genes are impacting this pregnancy."
"How would we get an idea?" Clark asked, letting go of my hand to wrap his arm around me, pulling me close to his side.
"We'll take a blood test today," Evelyn said "and take another look at Lois' progesterone and hCG levels. This early in pregnancy, one possibility could be that Lois isn't producing enough progesterone. That's easily correctable with a prescription. It looked okay a couple of weeks ago, but another check can't hurt."
"And the hCG?" Clark asked.
"Levels of hCG usually double every seventy-two hours for the first several weeks of pregnancy. Normally, failure to do so is an indication that something is wrong."
"So," I said, my voice quieter than I would have liked, "I should come back on Saturday for another test?" I asked.
"Yes," Evelyn said, "although unfortunately, I won't be here. My sister is getting married," she said apologetically. "But maybe Bernard?" she looked at him.
"I'm sorry, I can't," he said. "I have a road trip with the Bio Bikers this weekend."
"The Bio Bikers?" I couldn't help but ask.
Bernard blushed. "It's just a group of scientists, mostly biologists, who like to ride motorcycles."
I smiled slightly. I liked this weird side of Bernard. Although I liked it more when my life felt more in order than it did at this moment.
"So what do we do?" Clark asked.
"Well," Evelyn said as she got up and moved over to her computer. "Any lab can take the blood test. There's nothing unusual about it. It looks like there's a lab here in Metropolis that can do it. Let me just call and see what their hours are."
She was on the phone for a moment but hung up without a word. "Guess not. Maybe you can just go to Metropolis General. It won't be the same lab..."
"We can go anywhere we need to, Evelyn," Clark reminded her.
"Oh," she smiled slightly. "Right. The closest place that uses the same lab is in Platslum County."
"Not a problem," Clark said. "We'll go there on Saturday," he said as he held me even closer to his side.
Clark and I decided not to tell anyone what was going on just yet. We felt like there was no need to worry anyone until we knew what was going on for sure. Plus, it was hard to stop by Smallville to spread bad news. We figured we would know soon enough. Evelyn had told us to call her cell phone on Sunday and she would have the results of the blood test.
We also decided to go back home after the appointment on Thursday and work from there. While my morning sickness was much better, it felt like it would be hard to be at work right now, in some ways harder than when I was still feeling nauseous.
Clark was wonderfully supportive, even though I could see the news troubled him, as well. Given the hormones though, I was the one who kept bursting into tears and Clark spent much of Thursday afternoon coming over to hold me.
Periodically we would speak, but for the most part we were quiet. There did not seem to be anything to say. When we did speak, we just mentioned how glad we were that Evelyn would be able to tell us the answer on Sunday and we would not have to live with this question hanging over our heads for more than a few days.
After what felt like a long day, I was suddenly happy for my pregnancy exhaustion and felt badly for Clark. Going to sleep and not thinking about this for a few hours sounded downright blissful.
I woke up the following morning with minor cramps. I had been having them off and on for the last few weeks, and before the ultrasound, Evelyn had said that they were normal. But now... I crept out of bed quietly, as Clark was still asleep, having left for several hours in the middle of the night for Superman duties. Going to the bathroom, I cautiously checked my underwear. No blood. I went the bathroom and checked again, just in case, but it was still all clear.
Feeling slightly reassured, I moved downstairs to the living room. I sat on the couch and curled up under the blanket Clark had brought out last night when I fell asleep on the couch. It was only five in the morning, so it was still dark out. I sat huddled under the blanket in the dark for hours, until the sun started to come out and the room brightened slightly.
At close to seven thirty, Clark came downstairs. He did not say anything, just moved to sit beside me under the blanket. He wrapped his arms around me from behind, pushing me back to lean against his chest.
"It's going to be okay, honey," he whispered.
"I know," I said back, even though that was a lie. I did not know anything at all anymore.
"Like we said before, even if it doesn't work out, at least we know we can get pregnant," Clark whispered.
My hand moved protectively to my stomach like it had yesterday. I nodded to show I understood what he meant, but then voiced my true feelings. "I know that, but I don't want a different baby. I want this one." My voice broke and tears moved down my cheeks once more.
Clark held me tighter, moving a hand to rest on top of mine on my stomach. "Me, too," he replied, the tears audible in his whisper.
I am not sure either of us were particularly effective at getting anything done during the day on Friday. Late in the morning, Clark put the finishing touches on an article we wrote and LAN'ed it to Perry, but I don't think either of us did anything else all day.
Evelyn called shortly before lunch. She had gotten the results of my blood work from the day before. Everything looked good, she told us. Very good, and she was much more convinced that everything was fine and that in all likelihood Kryptonian pregnancies just took longer.
"So we don't need to go to the lab tomorrow?" Clark asked her.
Evelyn paused. "I think you should still go. I can only see what the numbers are today and what I really need to see are trends." I could hear the apology in her voice and I knew that she knew these words took away any reassurance we had felt a moment before.
Clark made me something special for lunch, but I could not eat much, less from the nausea that had plagued me before now than the nervousness that had taken residence in my abdomen. After I moved the food around my plate for several minutes, Clark finally got up and packed it all away, making me soup instead.
The comfort food was easier to eat somehow and I had a small bowl of soup before moving back to the couch to pretend to work some more.
After lunch, we both stopped even putting up a pretense of working. After staring out the window for several minutes, I finally spoke. "I think I want to go to the library."
"What?" Clark asked, understandably surprised. I had not been to the library more than twice in all the time I had known Clark.
"I want to take some books out," I explained. "I just feel like I need... something brainless to focus on. I thought I'd pick up some books. Nothing heavy or with any real literary merit, just something easy to read and loose myself in."
Clark smiled before coming over to wrap his arms around me. "That sounds like a good idea," he said softly into my hair.
Clark learned from his mistake at lunch and made a simple dinner of chicken and mashed potatoes. He even made the mashed potatoes from the cheap boxed flakes rather than his standard homemade ones. He knew that as much as I typically preferred the homemade kind, the boxed flakes felt more like comfort food, reminding me of the dinners I would make for Lucy and me on nights when Mom and Dad both went out for the evening, leaving us alone for dinner.
After we finished cleaning up from dinner, Clark gave me a light kiss on the cheek. "I'll be back in a few minutes," he said as he pulled away.
I took up residence on the couch again, huddled under the blanket once more. As promised, Clark was back in a few minutes, three videos in hand.
He handed them to me as he went to change into sweats. There were two romantic comedies -- movies Clark rarely agreed to see without too much complaint and one action flick that did not interest me at all.
"I thought we could use some distraction tonight," he said.
I nodded my head in agreement, handing him "When Harry Met Sally" to place into the video player.
Clark once again climbed under the blanket beside me, wrapping his arm around my shoulders until I was partly leaning against him.
For the next hour and a half, Clark and I distracted ourselves with a story we knew well, but it worked anyway. I managed not to cry or focus on the baby for the entire movie.
Still, when the movie was over I was glad to discover I was tired again. Clark smiled. "I thought that would happen," he said as he moved to replace "When Harry Met Sally" with the action flick.
I stretched out on the couch with my head in Clark's lap and was asleep again in moments, only waking up briefly when Clark's movie was over to move with him to the bedroom.
I woke up on Saturday, the nervousness still present in my stomach. Slipping out of bed again, I moved to the bathroom to check things over. No blood. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I moved to the living room, slipping the remaining movie into the VCR. Clark came down while I was still in the middle of it and, still looking sleepy, leaned his head on the back of the couch.
When the movie was over, I got up to go brush my teeth. "We'll leave soon?" I asked Clark.
"Yeah," he said, lifting his head up. "I thought we'd drive."
"What?" I asked from the foot of the stairs, surprised.
"I thought we'd drive," Clark repeated. "I know we could fly, but I thought we could use something to do today to make the time pass faster. It's not that long a drive. We'll go up there and maybe have lunch and we'll be home by mid-afternoon."
I nodded my head, agreeing that having plans for the day that did not require any mental or physical energy made sense. It was just that while going out to lunch made it seem more like a nice day out, my interest in food was pretty minimal right now.
We were on the road a half hour later. I let Clark drive, preferring to be the passenger for once. Clark leaned over to take my hand in his shortly after we got onto the freeway.
"Do you think it's going to be okay?" I asked him. "Do you think the baby is okay?"
Clark glanced at me. "I don't know," he said honestly. "I hope so." He raised my hand to his mouth to kiss it. "Whatever it is, we'll get through it together."
I closed my eyes and fell asleep pretty shortly after that, my hand still in Clark's.
"Lois, honey?" Clark whispered in my ear. "We're here."
I looked at him blearily for a minute, rubbing my eyes with my fists. Taking in my surroundings, I remembered what we were doing. I nodded my head at Clark, before reaching for the door handle.
I was surprised that there was a wait in the office for my blood work. How many people volunteer to go for blood tests on the weekend? It turns out, it's a fair amount. The waiting room was nearly full when Clark and I entered and we nabbed the last two seats.
We sat in silence for a few minutes before we each opened our books. I had succeeded in finding something silly to read that was engrossing -- I had asked the librarian to suggest something and she had suggested a couple of authors.
Still, it made me a bit sad. While Clark has always been an avid reader, it's something he does in his spare time. When we ran errands together, neither of us had ever brought a book before. We were perfectly happy to keep ourselves entertained and sometimes it seemed as if it did not matter how much time together we spent, we always had something to say. So, while certainly we spent time alone together without talking at home, we never worried about being bored in each other's company.
Given how close I was feeling to Clark right now, I knew this was not a sign of a problem in our relationship. It was fear. Even while we managed to occasionally talk about a story we were working on or the new television Clark had been eyeing for some time and was still considering buying, neither of our thoughts were too far from the baby.
Having books with us, and worse yet, reading them, was because we were afraid to talk to each other. We were both trying desperately to distract ourselves from worrying about the baby, but given how close it was to our thoughts at all times, we knew if we spoke for any length of time, it would come up. Even if it didn't come up, neither of us seemed capable of really losing ourselves in conversation. So, while I read my book about someone I did not know, I could forget about the baby, but the same was not true if I spoke with Clark.
I knew he felt the same way; I could see it in his eyes whenever we spoke. I wished so much that I still wanted this child just for Clark. It would make this whole thing less painful and would enable me to really be there for him, but as it was, it felt difficult to move past my own worries to really focus on Clark.
We were probably in the lab for the blood work for about half an hour and I was glad when it was over. It felt like one more step towards knowing what was going on.
"Lunch?" Clark asked me as we got back to the car.
"Okay," I said.
"Anything particular you want?" he asked.
"A diner? Someplace simple. I'd like soup again."
Clark turned in his seat. "Honey?" he said, taking my hand in his.
"Hmmm?" I asked.
"You have to eat," he said.
"Isn't soup good?" I asked, worried. I had thought this made sense. If I couldn't eat much, this way I got lots of liquid and vegetables.
"It is good, Lois. If you really can't eat anything much, I agree that soup is a good choice, but maybe you could try to eat something else with your soup?" he asked. "I'm worried about you. You're losing weight and you shouldn't be losing weight when you're pregnant."
"It's okay the first trimester," I told him, remembering reading that in my pregnancy books.
"Maybe for some women, but Lois, you don't have a lot of weight to lose," Clark said.
"What if I have a piece of bread with my soup?" I asked.
"How about a salad?" he asked me. "With ranch dressing," he added, knowing my weakness for creamy salad dressings.
I smiled at him. He was sweet even if he was pushy. "Okay. I'll try."
"Well, that's good enough. I've never seen Lois Lane fail at anything she's tried before," he teased before he leaned over to kiss me.
When the phone rang the next morning, Clark and I locked eyes. Maybe Evelyn got the results early and decided to call us? I reached for the phone while Clark got up to get the other extension.
"Hello, darling," came the voice on the other end of the phone.
Given that I had been preoccupied (read: self-centered) lately, I had completely forgotten that my parents were coming back from their vacation this weekend.
"Hi, Mom," I said weakly.
"Hi, Ellen," Clark said, covering his disappointment better than I had, but not well enough.
"What's wrong with the two of you?" my mother asked.
"Nothing," I was fast to say. "We're just tired." I hated lying to my parents, but I was a much better liar than Clark. Besides, I thought, in a couple of hours we would have news and I could call and explain what was going on to my parents without lying. They would understand our wanting to wait.
"So, how was the Bahamas, Ellen?" Clark asked, looking at me with raised eyebrows through the kitchen doorway. I knew he was surprised that I had lied, but wasn't sure how to explain what I was thinking to him, so I just shrugged in response.
"It was wonderful," she said and I could hear the happiness in her voice. Ever since my parents had reconciled, they had become different people. It was hard to get used to, but the changes were good. They were happier for one thing and they made much more of an effort to be part of our lives. It was an adjustment for me to remember to tamp down the annoyance I felt whenever they called, but over time it was getting easier. In fact, I hardly felt annoyed any more at all when they called. I guess even the worst relationships can be salvaged.
"You two should really go down there sometime," she said. "You could use a vacation."
"Hi, Princess, Clark" my dad said into the phone. That was another change. My dad had taken to calling me Princess, the name he had used for me when I was a kid. He had stopped using it by the time I was ten, but now it had resurfaced.
"Hi, Dad," I said in reply, making an attempt to sound happier than I had with my mother.
"So, did you enjoy the vacation, too, Sam?" Clark asked.
"Yes. Ellen and I were thinking -- maybe later this year we could all go. Lucy and Ben, too. We bumped into this other couple when we were there, they were on a cruise. They said it's an amazing deal. If you go during hurricane season you can book rooms for $80 a person, and most of the time the risk of a hurricane is pretty minor."
"$160 for a room is an amazing deal?" I asked.
"Well, Princess, it comes with food and evening entertainment," my dad pointed out. When had my dad become a cruise person?
"My parents went on a cruise a couple of years ago. They loved it," Clark said.
I shot him a dirty look. I knew what he was trying to do. My parents were trying to arrange a family vacation and pretend we were all one big happy family and Clark was trying to encourage me to go along with it.
"So maybe in the spring we can look for deals for next fall?" my father asked.
"Sounds good," I finally said. I knew it would make Clark happy and if all went well, when spring came we would have the perfect excuse not to go.
"So, how are things going with you?" my mother asked.
"We're okay," I said, trying to think of anything to tell her about. The problem was that for the last few weeks it felt like our lives revolved around the baby. We didn't have anything else going on.
"Things here are quiet," Clark supplied.
"Lucy is coming for a visit in a couple of weeks," my dad offered.
"She is?" I was surprised. Typically, I knew my sister's whereabouts before my parents did.
"Yup, she's bringing Ben along, too. She said she thinks it's time we met," my mother said.
"That's great," Clark said. "It sounds like things must be going really well for them."
"Yeah, apparently Ben just got a promotion and Lucy is loving her new job," Dad offered.
"We'll have to give them a call," I said, although I had been putting off talking to my sister.
"Well, I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation," I said, finding talking to my parents without telling them about everything going on exhausting. When had that happened? It used to be easy to find ways to skirt around what was going on in my life.
"Do you kids want to come over for dinner later in the week?" my dad asked.
Clark glanced at me, giving me the choice. I nodded slightly, thinking that once we knew what was going on, it would be easier to see them. Besides, I was already feeling guilty for my fib to my mother earlier, so I knew I would call them back after we talked to Evelyn to let her know what was going on.
"That sounds great, Sam. Why don't you let us know when you feel settled in enough from your trip?" Clark asked.
"Sounds good," Dad said.
"I can't wait to see you," Mom added. "I love you."
"I love you, too, Mom," I said, my voice breaking slightly.
"Bye," Clark said. He came over as soon he had hung up to put his arms around me.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
I nodded, trying to fight the urge to cry. "What time is it?" I asked.
"Ten. She said to call her at noon," he said.
I nodded. "Let's go for a walk," I suggested, eager to get out of the house so I would stop wanting to stare at the clock until noon.
Clark got my coat and we walked around the block a couple of times, but I was still feeling jumpy and unsettled.
"Want to go flying?" Clark asked quietly.
I was not sure I would be able to stay still in his arms, but thought anything that did not involve going back home yet was a good idea, so nodded my head.
Clark asked me to tuck my head into his chest, which he commonly did when we were going for a long flight. When he touched down a few minutes later, we were in a park. Up ahead through the trees, I could see the top of the Eiffel Tower. I smiled up at him. "Wow," I said. "You really know how to distract a girl."
He smiled at me in return before bending his head to kiss me. "I thought waiting to go up might be a good way to pass the time."
He took my hand and we wound our way through the park to the base of the tower. There was a line, of course, but given that it was a bit chilly out, it was not too long. Within a few minutes, we were on the elevator making our way to the mid level and another short line later we were on the top. We walked around slowly, taking in Paris below us. It was beautiful, but not as much of a distraction as I had hoped and I kept finding myself with my hand on my stomach.
I looked at my watch. 11:45. I turned to Clark. "Time to go home?"
When he glanced at his watch and saw the time, he nodded. We got home nearly exactly at noon.
Clark called Evelyn's cell phone number while I picked up the extension. "Hello?" she asked and it hit me for a moment that as much as I liked Evelyn, this was not as important to her as it was for us. She had clearly forgotten that we were calling. I didn't blame her for it, really, I was just surprised. I had forgotten that other people had lives that were free from the uncertainty Clark and I were living in right now.
"Evelyn, it's Lois and Clark Kent," Clark said.
"Oh, Clark," Evelyn said. "Is it twelve already?" she asked. "I guess it is. How odd. I asked the lab to call me with the results but no one has called yet," she told us. "Let me call them and I'll call you right back."
"Okay," Clark said. We hung up the phone and looked at each other. "Just a few more minutes," he said.
I nodded my head, willing the phone to ring again as soon as possible. We sat in silence, just holding hands for about five minutes. At that point the silence had gotten so pervasive, we both jumped when the phone rang.
Clark had moved the cordless extension from the kitchen to sit next to the one that had been on the coffee table all day and so we both reached over to grab a handset as we grasped each other's hands.
"Clark? Lois?" Evelyn asked, and I could feel myself start to relax slightly. We would know any minute now.
"Yes," Clark answered and I shot him a grateful look. I had forgotten that I was required to say anything.
"I'm sorry," she started and I felt my entire body tense up again. "The lab does not seem to have the results of your blood test. They don't have any record of you being there at all."
I sighed. The woman who had been there had seemed a little scatterbrained, but I had not considered that she might lose the blood sample.
"So, what can we do?" I asked, although I knew the real answer -- there would be no news today.
"I'm sorry, Lois, but you're going to need to come in tomorrow for another blood test," Evelyn answered.
"And then we'll find out the answer on Tuesday?" Clark asked. "Isn't there someplace we can go today so we'll know tomorrow?"
I squeezed his hand slightly. Clark had been good about hiding how he was feeling from me, but in this question, his concern shone through. Like me, he wanted an answer now.
Evelyn sighed while she thought. "Well, you can go to Met General. Their lab should be open today. Let me give them a call to make sure and send them a requisition form and I'll call you back."
"Thank you, Evelyn," Clark said.
"I'm sorry for ruining your weekend," I added.
"Don't be ridiculous. This is my job and getting some answers is important to me, too," she replied. I smiled. This baby was not as important to Evelyn as it was to Clark and myself, but of course it wasn't. I couldn't really expect much more than what Evelyn was doing from our doctor.
"I'll call you back as soon as I finish with the hospital," she said before she hung up.
The phone rang again less than a minute later. I picked it up, surprised Evelyn had finished that fast.
"Hello?" I asked.
"Lois, how are you and your precious little one?" came back the voice of my mother-in-law.
"Martha," I said, panicking and looking at Clark. Lying to my parents was one thing. I just could not lie to Martha and Jonathan. It felt so wrong.
Clark reached over to pick up the other extension. "Hi, Mom. We're sort of waiting on an important phone call right now. Can we call you back in a few minutes?"
"Sure," Martha said agreeably. "I was just calling to see how Lois was feeling. No rush at all."
"Thanks, Mom," Clark said, his relief evident.
And of course, this meant that his mother picked up on it. "Clark, honey, is everything all right?"
Clark looked caught. He, too, had trouble lying to his parents, and I knew he felt guilty telling them after we had agreed to keep it to ourselves. "We're not sure, Martha," I said, making the decision for him. "We're waiting to get some news from the doctor, but we'll call back and explain later today."
"Oh," Martha replied, sounding subdued now.
"We'll call you back, Mom," Clark repeated.
"Right, of course," she said, seeming to realize that we needed to go so the line would be clear for Evelyn's call. "Call me when you can."
Clark and I hung up the phone. I felt badly for worrying Martha, but now that we wouldn't have news until tomorrow somehow it felt too hard to keep it a secret from everyone. Plus, now that we were talking to others, it involved lying and that was much harder to deal with.
The one good thing about Martha's call was that it kept us busy. Evelyn called to tell us that we could go to the hospital right after we got off the phone with Martha.
"Okay, let's go," Clark said to me. "We can call my mother when we get back."
We each grabbed a book and were out the door a moment later.
As we came in after our trip to get blood drawn, I turned to Clark. "Shall we call your mom or go visit?"
He looked thoughtful for a moment before asking, "Which would you prefer?"
I was torn. It felt like information we should share in person. On the other hand, I just really did not feel up to the flight. Taking in the look on my face, Clark took my hand. "If you don't want to go, we'll do it over the phone."
I leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek. "Thanks, Clark, but that's not fair to your mom."
Clark smiled slightly, "There are so many things wrong with that statement I'm not sure where to start. First off, I do love my mother and think she's the best mother in the world, but my main concern right now is you, not her. Secondly, what if we didn't have Superman Express at our disposal? Lots of people have relationships with their parents that don't involve the ability to visit for a couple of hours whenever they feel like it. And lastly, like me, my mother is more concerned about you than herself right now and will completely understand if we decide to call."
I smiled. He was right. "Then let's call her," I said as I gripped his hand in mine.
We sat on the couch holding hands, each with our own handset. "Hi, Mom," Clark said when she answered.
"Clark," she answered. Her voice had a slightly strangled quality I recognized from when she called to check up on Clark after a tough rescue. As with most things these days, it brought tears to my eyes. "Is Lois there?" she asked before Clark answered.
"I'm here," I said, trying to hide the sound of imminent tears from her.
"So," Martha said, trying to prod us on. "What did you learn? Is everything okay?"
I fully expected Clark to answer, but after a moment of silence I looked up and realized why he hadn't. My husband, who had spent so much of the last couple of days being so strong for me, broke in the face of his mother's concern. Tears rolled down his cheeks silently. When he saw me looking at him, his hold on my hand tightened.
I removed my hand from his to run it through his hair in an effort to calm him slightly. Then I remembered my mother-in-law waiting on the other end of the phone. "We're not sure, Martha," I replied.
"I'm going to get Jonathan on the phone," she said before I could explain further.
I placed the phone down for a moment to wrap my arms around Clark. I drew his head down to my shoulder, hoping that this would pass. "Everything could be fine," I whispered.
Clark's head nodded against me and then through his handset I heard Martha's voice again. Clark sat up and I picked up the phone again.
"Lois? Clark?" Martha asked.
"We're here," I assured her.
"What's wrong, honey?" she asked.
"We don't know," I explained. "At my ultrasound the baby looked a bit smaller than it should have, about a week and a half smaller."
"What does that mean?" Jonathan asked and his voice was choked, too. For a moment, I wondered how much this conversation stirred up old feelings from their failure to conceive.
"We don't know," I said again. "There are lots of possibilities. The baby may have been slow to implant which will set it back, but it could still be fine. We could be wrong about when we conceived."
"Are those likely?" Jonathan asked.
"No," I admitted. "The most likely scenario is that either Kryptonians have a longer gestational period than humans or that something happened a week and a half ago and the baby stopped growing."
"What happens if the baby stopped growing?" Martha asked, her voice strained.
"I'll have a miscarriage," I said, my hand on my stomach again. I knew it was silly. The baby did not have ears yet -- it could not hear us saying the awful word, but I still felt this need to protect it from the thought.
Martha sniffled, and for a moment neither of them said anything. "How can you find out?" she finally asked.
"Well, that's what we were waiting on. We had a blood test done the other day to look at the levels of my pregnancy hormones. We had another done yesterday to see if they had dropped."
"And?" Jonathan prodded me.
"And the lab lost her blood work," Clark said.
Martha laughed slightly. "Figures. So now what?"
"I went for another blood test today and we'll find out tomorrow what it said."
"So, what will it tell you?" Jonathan asked.
"Well, it will at least give an indication of what my body thinks is going on. If the levels are not rising properly, then..." my voice trailed off, not wanting to say it again.
"And if they are rising properly?" Martha asked.
"Hopefully it means that my side of the baby is slowing things down," Clark said. "But it could also mean that things aren't okay and Lois' body hasn't caught on yet."
"How will you know the difference?" Jonathan asked.
"We'll have to wait. Have another ultrasound in a couple of weeks and see what it says," I explained.
There was silence on the phone for a minute before Martha, her voice sad, finally said, "We're so sorry you have to go through this, but hopefully it's just a minor blip in the road."
"And regardless, Martha and I are here for you for whatever you need," Jonathan added.
"Thanks," I said softly.
"No thanks necessary. We love you," Martha said.
"We love you, too," Clark said, his hand tight in mine.
"Well, let us know when you have the results?" Martha asked.
"Of course," I said.
I looked at Clark when we hung up the phone and then moved closer to wrap my arms around him, holding him tightly. "Thank you," I whispered.
"For what?" he asked, his voice muffled as his mouth was lost somewhere beneath my hair near my neck.
"For being you. For being strong for me when this is hard for you, too."
Clark pulled away to look me in the eye. "It's hard for both of us, but I know that as much as I want this baby, it's different for you. You're the one that's pregnant, and you have all those hormones making you weepy," he smiled at me.
I swatted him lightly. "Well, thank you anyway," I said huffily.
"Lois?" Clark asked and when I looked back at him, he placed his hands on my arms tightly. "I love you. Whatever happens, we'll get through it together." I nodded my head in agreement.
"I love you, Clark," I said before we moved forward to embrace each other tightly.
It was awhile later that I remembered my parents and told Clark what I had been thinking earlier. "I kind of thought I would tell my mother that I had lied to her earlier, but now..."
Clark pulled me closer to him. "I'm sure she'd understand if you waited to tell her until we actually knew what was going on. However, if you want to tell her now, that's not a problem for me."
"I don't know. But I feel like my parents have been making this effort to build a relationship with me and I should reciprocate that."
"Okay," Clark said. "Shall we call them and invite them over?"
"No, let's go there," I said. "I want to be able to leave when we're finished."
Clark smiled at me. "I'll get your coat. Do you want to call them first?"
"Yeah, I'll do that." I paused a minute and then picked up the phone. "I sort of wish Lucy lived closer. I'd like to tell her before my folks, but I don't feel like it's the sort of thing to tell her over the phone and I'm not up for a flight to California."
"I know it's not ideal, but Lucy would understand if you told her over the phone. Didn't your parents say she'll be here in a couple of weeks? So, you'll have a chance to tell her in person soon if you'd rather."
I paused while I thought about it. "You're right. Lucy will understand. I'm going to call my parents to see if we can see them tonight and then I'm going to call Lucy."
"Do you want me to get on the phone?" he asked, but I could tell he was hoping I would say no. Clark liked Lucy, but they did not have that much of a relationship. I'm sure it worried him a little having her know his secret.
My conversation with my parents was fast. My mother was surprised we wanted to come over, but seemed pleased. I took a deep breath before dialing Lucy's number. I glanced at the clock while I dialed. It was 3pm here which meant noon for Lucy. I hoped she would be home.
"'Lo?" came her voice.
"Lucy, did I wake you?" I asked.
"No, sorry, Lois, I was just caught up in something. How are you?"
"I'm okay. I heard you were coming out for a visit?"
"I know, I'm sorry. I would have told you before them but they called me before I had a chance. Are you mad?" Lucy asked.
"Of course not. I can't wait to see you and meet Ben. It sounds serious."
"Lois..." Lucy paused and I think I guessed what she was going to say just as she said it. "Ben and I are engaged."
"Oh, Lucy, that's wonderful! Although, I guess it does mean you are going to stay in California."
"You and Clark should come visit us here, Lois. You'd love it."
"Maybe sometime," I said. "So, when is the wedding?"
"We haven't set a date yet. We wanted to get a chance for Ben to get to know you. Besides, with Ben's new promotion we wanted to give him some time to get used to things. So, what's going on for you and Clark?"
I paused. If telling Lucy was hard, telling my parents was going to be impossible. "Well, actually, I'm pregnant." That seemed like a nice, easy place to start.
"Oh, Lois, that's terrific! Do you know if I'm going to be an aunt or an uncle yet?"
I laughed. "It's a bit early to know the baby's gender, Luce, but I'm pretty sure you'll be an aunt either way."
There was a pause before Lucy laughed. "Right. Sorry. I'm an idiot. So how are you feeling? Any morning sickness?"
"Some, but the weirdest thing... Grape bubble gum seems to calm my stomach. Don't ask how I figured that out, but um..." I hedged, not sure how to get to this.
"What is it, Lois?" Lucy's voice came through the line and I could hear her concern.
"We're not sure. There are some issues with the baby. It's not as big as we would have expected it to be."
"Is that bad?" Lucy asked.
"It doesn't have to be," I explained. "It could be nothing. Or it could be something."
"What are the most likely options?" she asked.
"Well, on the negative side, the baby could have stopped growing and I'd have a miscarriage," I explained.
"Oh, Lo, are you and Clark all right?" Lucy asked and in that moment I was glad I told my little sister now even if I did it over the phone. I could feel how much she cared for me in her words and tone of voice.
"We're nervous, but okay," I told her.
"Is there anything I can do?" she asked.
"Just get over here to help us take our minds off this," I joked.
"Will do," she laughed. "So what is the most likely positive explanation?"
"Well, there are a couple. Most are unlikely, but one possibility is this baby has a longer gestation than other babies," I could feel my heart pounding as I said the word.
"Gestation? That's the time in the womb, right?" Lucy asked.
"Why would this baby have a longer gestation?" Lucy asked, sounding thoroughly confused.
"Lucy, this is a secret you can't tell anyone. Not even Ben yet," I said.
"Lois, you're scaring me. What is it?"
"The baby is half Kryptonian." I paused, my heart still hammering in my chest.
"Kryptonian? Superman is the baby's father?" Lucy asked in disbelief.
"Yes," I said simply.
"But I don't understand. You love Clark. Why would you..."
I cut her off before she got carried away. "I do love Clark, Lucy. The baby is Clark's."
"The baby is Clark's?"
"Clark is Superman, Lucy," I said quietly.
For a moment Lucy didn't say anything. Then I heard her expel a large gulp of air. "Clark is Superman? You are married to Superman?" she asked.
"You can't tell anyone, Lucy. Anyone. Besides his parents and me, and Perry and Jimmy, you are the only one who knows right now. Although we're going to tell Mom and Dad later."
"I think..." Lucy paused. "I think Dad knows."
"What?" I said, my voice suddenly loud.
"I think Dad knows. From when Superman was really sick. Mom and I were on the phone talking about it at some point and she said she was surprised Clark wasn't jealous of how close you were to Superman. Of how much time you spent with him when he was sick. Dad got on the phone and told us to stop gossiping, that from what he had seen he thought you and Clark had a really good marriage. It didn't make sense to me at the time and I wondered a bit if Dad was siding with you as it made him feel better about his wanderings in the past, but now, I think..."
I didn't say anything. What Lucy was saying made sense, but I was still surprised. He had never let on that he knew.
"Oh, Lois, thank you for sharing this with me," Lucy's voice broke into my thoughts.
I smiled. "I'm glad that I could," I told her.
"Can I talk to Clark?" Lucy asked. I was surprised. She had never asked to talk to him before.
I called to Clark and told him that Lucy wanted to talk to him. Looking surprised as well, he picked up the handset. "Hi, Lucy! I heard Lois asking about a wedding date, so I'm guessing you and Bed are engaged?" he asked.
"Well, yes, but that's not why I wanted to talk to you," Lucy said.
"Well, congratulations anyway," Clark replied.
"Clark, I'm sorry about the baby, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything is okay. That you are just slowing things up."
"Thanks, Lucy," Clark said, his voice soft.
"And I wanted to thank you for trusting me with your secret. I won't tell anyone. I promise."
"Thank you, Lucy," Clark said again.
"I won't even tell Ben for now, but I can tell him at some point, right? I mean, I'd hate for him to find out when we come to visit you and he sees your baby flying about the apartment."
Clark laughed. "Well, since I didn't start flying until I was nearly twenty, that seems unlikely, but I understand your point. Of course you can tell him sometime, but maybe after we've met him first?"
"Of course," Lucy said. "Oh, I can't believe you guys are going to be parents. I can't wait to see you."
"Me neither," I said. I felt all warm inside. Lucy was such a grown up now and I loved the fact that she'd talked to Clark personally. Additionally, her positive attitude about the baby made me feel more positive, too. I was even smiling when we got off the phone and headed to my parents.
My palms were sweating when we walked up the steps towards my parents place. Or I guess maybe it was Clark's palm. But Clark's palms don't sweat, so I guess it was mine after all.
Still, I could tell by looking at his face that he was nervous as well. I had told him what Lucy said about Dad knowing about him, but this was still going to be awkward. For the first twenty-five years or so, I tried to keep as many details of my life as possible from my parents and now I was about to share with them (or in my father's case, confirm) the biggest secret I have ever had.
Mom answered the doorbell almost immediately and I could tell that our asking to come over tonight had worried them. Underneath the wrinkles from worrying, though, Mom looked tan from her trip. Strangely, it felt good to see her. Something about the look on her face brought to mind vague memories from when I was a young child. Before Dad started spending too many nights elsewhere and Mom turned to the bottle. When she gave me a hug hello I recalled her coming to kiss me goodnight when I was sick, assuring me that I would feel much better in the morning.
Dad came over soon after and he, too, looked concerned.
"Hi, Princess," he said as I noticed Mom hugging Clark much tighter than normal.
"Hi, Daddy," I said. My parents exchanged a look. I had not called my father 'Daddy' in years and while it was just a slip, my parents clearly caught it.
Mom took a deep breath. "Can I get either of you anything?" she asked us.
"I'm fine, Ellen," Clark said, glancing at me.
"Me, too," I said weakly.
"I'm sorry," Clark came over to take my hand while he spoke. "We didn't mean to worry you."
"Oh, you didn't," Dad said, but then after a moment, he seemed to reconsider. "Well, you did, a little, but it's not that big a deal."
"What's going on?" Mom asked as she moved over to the sofa in the living room and we all sat down. "Is everything okay with the two of you? I thought there was something wrong when we talked earlier."
I took a deep breath and squeezed Clark's hand. He took my unspoken invitation and began explaining, "Lois didn't mean to mislead you, Ellen. We were just waiting for some news and she thought it would be better to tell you once we had all the information."
"What is it?" Dad asked.
"Well, we still don't know," I offered.
We all sat in silence for a moment. My parents clearly expected us to pick up the narrative again, but for the moment neither Clark nor I did.
Clark let go of my hand to wrap his arms around my shoulders, bringing me closer to him. I felt tears prick at my eyes again, and through them I could see Mom smiling at Clark's show of affection.
"Lois is pregnant," Clark announced.
"That's great!" Mom exclaimed and she immediately came over to give us a hug. Dad, however, hung back.
I saw his Adam's apple move as he swallowed hard. "Is everything okay with the baby?" he asked.
"We're not sure," I said.
"The baby looks a little small," Clark explained. "Lois took some blood tests to see if everything was going all right and we expected to get news today, but unfortunately one of the blood tests was lost and we'll need to wait until tomorrow."
"So," Mom said, understanding now why we were not quite so excited. "What does it mean? I mean, what will the blood test tell you?"
"Not much," Clark sighed. "Mostly just if Lois' body is responding appropriately to being pregnant. If it's not, it may be something fixable like taking a supplement, or it could be that Lois' body is responding normally for a baby that is not going to make it."
"But it won't tell you whether there is anything... unusual with the baby?" Dad asked.
Clark glanced at me and I smiled slightly. If there had been any doubt about what Lucy said, Dad's deliberation and decision to use the word "unusual" certainly clarified. He knew.
"No, Sam, if there is something wrong with the baby, this won't necessarily tell us unless Lois' body has picked up on it yet. We know, though, that there is something unusual about the baby and that does complicate things slightly."
"The baby is unusual?" Mom asked.
I took a deep breath.
"Ellen," Clark said, his voice solemn, "I'm Superman."
Mom's response was one I had not expected. She sighed. We all stared at her a minute in surprise until she mumbled, "Oh, thank goodness!"
We all continued to look at her strangely and finally she noticed and explained. "Sorry, I'm sure that's not the reaction you were expecting. It's just that, well, when you were sick," she said to Clark, "the way Lois was so concerned about you, so upset. Well, I thought she was having an affair. With Superman," she clarified. "When Sam told me he thought everything was going well for the two of you, I was surprised, but a little while later, the thought occurred to me that the only way you could be doing well was if Lois was not having an affair and you were so sure of her that you did not mind her behavior with Superman. I just couldn't believe anyone could be that sure of anyone else's feelings. So eventually, I started to wonder. I mean, you have the same build and you look a bit alike, but I wasn't sure and some part of me was still worried that Sam was wrong and Lois was having an affair. I'm just glad to be wrong."
Clark smiled. "For the record, Ellen, I am that sure of Lois' feelings," he said, squeezing me slightly.
Mom laughed. "Well, of course you are. Who would cheat on Superman?"
I smiled, looking at Clark. "Oh, I'm sure lots of women would get bored of the superpowers after awhile, but I can't imagine anyone would cheat on Clark."
Clark leaned over to place a chaste kiss on my lips. "I love you so much," he whispered into my hair as he pulled me into a hug.
"You knew, didn't you?" Mom was asking Dad as we pulled apart.
Dad smiled slightly. "I suspected. More than you, probably. I wasn't 100% sure, though. But the way both Lois and the Kents fussed over Superman, and Clark's not being there. It all just made sense at the time, but you weren't always in the room," he said to Mom. "You couldn't see the way Lois looked at him."
Mom smiled broadly. "I imagine much the way she is right now," she teased me.
Dad reached over to take Mom's hand. "I wanted to tell you, Ellen. Really, I did, but it was Lois and Clark's secret."
Mom leaned over to place a kiss on Dad's cheek. "I know, and I'm not upset at all."
"So," Dad said, "what does this mean for the baby?"
I could feel myself deflate at the comment. I had managed to forget, just for a moment, the stress of the past few days.
When Clark responded, I could tell he felt the same way. "We just don't know. There isn't anyone here who is familiar with a Kryptonian pregnancy, let alone one that is only half Kryptonian."
"So maybe the baby is the right size for your baby?" Mom clarified.
"Maybe," Clark said. "We just don't know."
I sat on the examination table in Evelyn's lab a week and a half later feeling more anxious than I could remember ever feeling before. I had had two more blood tests and the original lost tests had been found. The tests showed my hormone levels increasing correctly. Based on what Evelyn had told us before though, this could mean that everything was all right or it could mean that my body had yet to determine that everything was not okay.
Eventually, Clark, Evelyn, and I had agreed that the blood tests were not giving us any information and, while it was hard, Clark and I decided to wait until another ultrasound would show something useful.
Evelyn took longer coming in this time than normal and while I was trying to hold it together, something about sitting in that room half dressed, knowing we were about to know almost for certain what was going on, made me burst into tears.
Clark came over to hold me awkwardly. He rubbed my back in soothing circles, kissing me lightly on my temple. "Whatever it is, Lois, it's okay. It's just another step in the process," he said.
His words were so calm, but his voice sounded odd and when I looked up, I could see that he was crying, too.
We must have made quite a sight when Evelyn walked in, but she did not look shocked at our tear stained faces. Instead, she looked at us sadly. "I'm sorry," she said softly. "I know this is stressful. I wish I could have made it easier on you..."
"No," Clark cut her off. "We're glad you told us the truth early on. It's better to know now than to find out after we got really attached to the baby."
Evelyn moved to the other side of the room. Grabbing a tissue box, she handed it to us. "Do you want a minute more before we start?" she asked us.
I shook my head adamantly. "No," I said. "I want to know now."
"Okay," Evelyn said. "Whenever you're ready, move down and put your feet in the stirrups."
Clark let go of me as I adjusted myself on the table and then he moved to hold my hand. Evelyn adjusted things on her end and finally moved the screen so it was facing us as well.
Then she sat down and started the ultrasound. I spent the entire three or four minutes staring at the screen, hoping to see some sign. I knew it was silly since the baby would still be too small for me to know the difference, but I think I was hoping to see a little baby waving at me from the screen.
Evelyn said nothing while she made measurements on the screen and moved the probe around. Finally, she finished.
"Okay, you can get dressed now," she told me.
"What did it say?" I asked as I hopped down from the table, wrapping the sheet around me.
"Honestly, I'm not completely certain," she said. "Come into the other room when you're finished and we'll talk."
I got dressed quickly and we moved out to the other room where Evelyn was waiting for us on a couch. Holding hands, Clark and I moved to join her.
"So?" Clark prodded her as we sat down.
"So, I still can't see a baby," Evelyn said cautiously.
"And you normally would at eight weeks?" I asked.
"Well, yes, at eight weeks. But not at six and a half weeks, and given the size of the baby two weeks ago, that's the new age." Evelyn explained.
"Did it grow at all?" Clark asked.
"Yes," Evelyn said. "The gestational sac is now the right size for a six and a half week old baby, but the thing is, sometimes, often, even, the sac gets bigger even if the baby stopped growing if the body has not figured it out."
I think she took in our faces and realized how disappointed we were, as she was fast to reassure us, "But normally that growth would be less than expected, so the baby would only be about five and a half weeks in size by now. Honestly, I think the fact that the baby looks two weeks older than it did two weeks ago is only good news. It means that maybe implantation took a bit longer, but now you're back on track."
"But?" Clark prodded her.
"But without seeing a baby, I can't make any promises," Evelyn said. "I think everything is going to be fine. I really do, but I won't know for sure for another week and a half or so."
We had decided to not tell Perry and Jimmy about the potential problem with the baby right away, but once the new ultrasound also did not show conclusive results, Clark thought that it was time to tell them. I agreed, but was just not feeling up to another uncomfortable conversation. So, after a long discussion, we agreed that Clark would go into the paper the following day to tell them.
I tried to get some work done while Clark was gone, but for some reason I just could not concentrate. After writing the intro for a piece I was hoping Clark could finish when he got home, I got on to the important business of staring out of the window.
Evelyn's words had given me some hope and I was feeling noticeably less nervous and upset than I had been before we saw her, but I was not completely relaxed. It was hard to be, given that Evelyn was not. She had explained that in reality, this was about as good as she could have hoped for and the only reason she was not telling us she was 100% certain that things were fine was because she wanted to be completely honest.
Of course, it was also still early and even if the baby appeared fine now, she could not promise we would not have a problem later on. She assured us that while it seemed a long way away yet, once we reached twelve weeks, it was unlikely something would happen, but until then, she just could not be sure.
I respected that, and like Clark, I appreciated it. I knew that, while it would have been nice to have had a definitive answer, I would have been heartbroken if she had told us that everything was fine now only to tell us at the next appointment that she was wrong.
Still, it would have been nice to know for sure.
I was thinking about this when Clark opened the door. The look on his face surprised me and I immediately started trying to determine what went wrong when he whispered, "Oh, honey," and came toward me to wrap his arms around me.
It was not until that moment that I realized I was crying. "I'm fine," I said to him.
He leaned back slightly to run his fingers across my cheeks. "Then why are you crying?" he asked.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't know. I didn't realize I was." Clark smiled at me, probably thinking I was crazy. "Stupid pregnancy hormones," I mumbled and Clark leaned forward to kiss the tip of my nose.
"You're cute," he smiled at me and at the impish look on his face, I swatted him gently. "I brought you a present."
"What?" I asked, hoping for some chocolate. I had run low on my stash of chocolate bars at home and while Clark had offered to get me some more, I had told him not to. Given my feelings the last few weeks, I had taken to eating way too much chocolate and while I was not eating as much other food as normal, so it was not leading to weight gain, I also knew that chocolate was not the best source of calories, particularly for the baby. But now it had been three or four days and I really wanted some chocolate.
Clark turned his head and I followed his eyes to where Jimmy was standing in the doorway looking unsure. "Jimmy!" I said, suddenly happy to have company. We had been homebodies nearly since my morning sickness kicked in. I was just too tired and sick to want to go out and when that lessened, the stress of the baby just kicked in. As much as I wanted to see our friends, I could not bear the thought of it. I was so focused on the baby, and I knew they were not. They shouldn't be, but it sounded like work to have to pretend I was able to think of anything else.
I guess the unintended seclusion had gotten to me, though, as I was really glad to see a friend.
"Are you okay?" Jimmy asked, his eyes filled with concern.
"Yes," I laughed. "It's just the pregnancy hormones. They make me weepy. I'm actually perfectly okay."
"Oh, good," Jimmy smiled, his eyes showing his relief. He came in more fully and moved to embrace me. "It's good to see you, Lois. The paper is quieter without you."
I laughed. "Friendlier, too?"
Jimmy smiled. "I know what's good for me. I'll stick with quieter." I laughed at him, and smiling he said, "I brought you a couple of Double Fudge Crunch bars. I figured you'd probably like the extra chocolate right about now."
He held two candy bars out to me. "Jimmy, I love you!" I exclaimed. "Thank you."
"Hey!" Clark mock shouted from the kitchen where he was making sandwiches. "I offered to bring you chocolate more than once!"
"Your timing was off," I told him, eagerly opening one of the bars.
I offered a piece to both Jimmy and Clark, before settling comfortably on the couch. "So, are things slow today?" I asked Jimmy.
"No," Jimmy shrugged. "Clark just told us about the baby and I thought I'd take an early lunch break to come see you. It sounds like things are getting better now," he said.
"I think so," I said quietly, remembering again how much I wished things were perfect.
Clark came back in with three turkey sandwiches. Jimmy took one and I took half of a second. "It would be nice to know for sure," Clark said as he grabbed my hand with his free one.
"Still, I think it's all going to work out all right in the end," Jimmy said. "It sounds like everything looks normal now."
"It does," I said, appreciating Jimmy's positive attitude. Like Lucy's a couple of weeks ago, it made me feel more positive.
I was lying on the couch, my head in Clark's lap while he watched a football game. I was not quite asleep yet, but close. It had been a rather full day. Jimmy had stayed for about an hour before heading back to work and then at 5:30, Perry and Alice had come over with dinner. It had been good to see everyone, but all the activity had me feeling a bit worn out.
"Sometimes I forget that Jimmy is not really a kid anymore," I said to Clark during a commercial break. "He seemed so mature today."
"Well, I think Jimmy's always been a bit mature for his age. He just... he knows how to act young," Clark said. "But I agree. He's been very perceptive recently."
"Mmmhmm," I agreed sleepily, thinking that this was what I had been trying to get at.
"He was great on the ride over here this afternoon," he said softly.
"How?" I asked.
"I don't know," Clark said, clearly trying to think of what he wanted to say. "I guess it was a couple of things. He spent a lot of time asking about me, making sure I was okay."
I sat up. "Are you okay?" I asked, suddenly worried. It was so easy to get caught up in my emotions and forget that Clark was going through this, too.
Clark ran a hand through my hair. "I'm fine, honey. Really. Better than fine, even. I feel like... well, like things are getting back on track. And even though I wouldn't choose to go through this again if we had the choice, I feel even closer to you now than I did before."
"Me, too," I said, squeezing his hand.
With some gentle pressure on my shoulder, Clark eased me back down to his lap. "But, Jimmy doesn't know that," Clark said. "And he has no way of knowing that you've been great at keeping my spirits up, so it was just... nice, I guess, that he realized that this was happening to us and not just to you."
"Clark, I haven't done anything," I said, surprised to hear him say I had kept his spirits up.
"Yes, you have," he insisted gently. "Both actively when I was upset, but at other times, too. I can't explain it, but I don't think you even realize how often you do small things that make me feel better."
"Like what?" I asked.
"Like taking my hand. Like lying here like this. It makes me feel better to be close to you."
I smiled slightly. "I don't do that for you. I do that for me."
"I know," Clark leaned down to kiss me lightly. "And that's why it makes me feel better. Because I know that whatever happens, we'll handle it together."
"So what else did Jimmy do?" I asked, smiling broadly.
"Oh, just asked a lot of questions about you. Talked about how hard it must be for you -- to have all these changes going on that you can't control."
"Like crying for no reason?"
"Exactly like that. He was just... really sympathetic to how we both must be feeling."
"We're lucky," I voiced the thought I knew Clark was thinking as well.
"Very," Clark agreed, kissing me again before getting drawn back into the game.
I liked Ben almost immediately. Before I met Clark, I was a big believer in first impressions. I still was to some degree, although I was more open-minded now. I had learned, very well, that some people are shy upon meeting others for the first time, and you can be surprised by what you can learn about others if you withhold judgment for a little while.
Ben, though, made a great first impression. First off, he was nervous at meeting us, but something about his mannerisms made it clear that Ben was not like Clark -- he was not normally shy at meeting others. Of course, unlike Clark, he probably did not have a big secret to hide. Still, somehow Ben managed to get across that he was nervous mostly just because it was important to him that we like him.
That energy, or whatever, emanated from him, and mixed with unconsciously reaching for Lucy's hand and the way he looked at her when she was speaking, made it clear within the first few moments I met him that he was desperately in love with my sister and he got how amazing she is.
Aside from that, though, he was just a really nice guy. Lucy had asked if she could tell Ben I was pregnant and about the news of the baby aside from his or her Kryptonian origins. Clark and I thought that was perfectly reasonable, so Ben knew before he met us.
His reaction when he first met us was perfect -- when Lucy introduced us, he smiled broadly. "I'm so glad to meet you both. Lucy talks about you all the time, so I feel like I know you already."
"It's good to meet you, too, Ben," Clark said, reaching out to shake hands.
"Oh, and Lucy tells me congratulations are in order!" Ben said, his joviality matching my sister's typical exuberance.
"Thanks," I said quietly, holding my hand out to him.
Ben moved past my hand to give me a hug. "I'm sure everything is going to work out just fine, but I'm sorry you have to go through this stressful situation," he said as he pulled away. He managed to strike just the right balance of sadness while still sounding hopeful and it made me smile.
Lucy and Ben were only able to come out to Metropolis for a long weekend. With Ben's new promotion and Lucy's new job, they were hesitant to take too much time off, but it was enough time for all of us to know we liked Ben.
I think Ben got that, too, as he seemed more relaxed the second day. Or maybe he just decided he liked us and that helped. Either way, long before the weekend was over, he seemed like part of the family.
Lucy waited until just before they left, when she was sure we all liked him, to tell Mom and Dad about their engagement. I could tell immediately that Mom was excited. I think secretly Mom had always wanted to plan a wedding and given that the only chance she had had was to help me with the few things I had been allowed to decide on in planning my disaster of a wedding to Lex, she was hoping that her chance was finally here.
"That's so exciting," Dad said and his joy was also apparent. "Do you know where you want to get married? Is there someplace near you?"
"Well," Ben said, "we had talked about a wedding on one of the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, but in the end we decided on a wedding in Metropolis."
My mother positively beamed at this.
"Lois," Lucy turned to me. "I was hoping you would be my maid of honor and I know you won't be able to travel a lot in a couple of months."
"You're getting married in Metropolis for me?" I asked, feeling a strange mixture of touched and confused.
"Well," Lucy shrugged, "I still have lots of friends here anyway, and it's closer for Ben's family, too, so it just made sense. So will you? Be my maid of honor, I mean?"
"Of course," I said, giving Lucy a huge hug and then, BAM the pregnancy hormones struck again and I started to cry. Or maybe it was not the pregnancy hormones and I was just happy.
"Oh, Lo, are you all right?" Lucy asked, holding me tighter.
"I'm fine," I said, a bit bitingly. I was getting tired of being a crier.
Clark rubbed my back. "Give her a minute and it will pass," he said, leaning over to kiss my temple.
There seemed to be a moment of silence before my mother figured out that I did not want to be the center of attention. "Well, actually, since Lois is married, she'd be the matron of honor," she pointed out.
"I think I like being a maid more than a matron," I replied and everyone laughed, my tears ceasing.
"So, do you have a date set?" Mom asked.
"Not yet," Ben replied.
"We are going to wait a couple of weeks to see what the new due date is for Baby Kent," Lucy explained.
"We were thinking maybe a few months after the baby is born," Ben added. "Give Lois some time to recover before Lucy starts making demands on her."
"This way you'll be used to it," Lucy smiled at me. "I'm pretty sure I can be slightly less annoying than a newborn."
I was in surprisingly high spirits when we showed up at Evelyn's a week and a half later. With Lucy's visit, a trip out to Smallville, and Jimmy and Perry stopping by a couple of times, we had been busy and the time with others had forced me to focus on other things.
Still, I felt a bit nervous up on the examination table and I gripped Clark's hand tightly as Evelyn started the ultrasound. We sat for a few moments in silence while she moved the probe around. Then she stopped for a moment, looking at the screen.
A minute later, she removed the probe. As I sat up, she turned to us, a huge smile on her face. "It's too soon to hear, but I could see it," she said.
"See what?" I asked.
"The movement caused by the heartbeat. Your baby's heart is beating," she announced to us proudly. "The baby is fine."
"It really is going to be okay," I said.
Lucy sniffled. "I know. I'm sorry. I don't know why I'm so emotional."
"It's okay," I smiled at her. "It's normal."
Lucy sighed. "Thanks for coming, Lois. I really appreciate it."
"Hey, it's not a problem," I assured her. "I'm happy to help and you know I can fly really cheaply."
"Very funny," she said as she reached for a tissue. "How long does this last?"
"I'm not sure. I think it depends on the person, but I stopped being so emotional after a couple of weeks."
"Mommy! Mommy!" Larissa said as she came running in.
"What is it, sweetheart?" I asked as I leaned over to scoop her up.
"Daddy and Uncle Ben got poop on their hands," she announced.
"Were they changing Ethan's diaper?" Lucy asked, leaning over to run her hands quickly through Larissa's hair.
"Yes, and it was poopy! And smelly!" Larissa declared.
"Well, I'm sure they'll wash their hands very well before making dinner," I assured her.
"I'm gonna go help them clean up," she told me as she slid off my lap, running into the next room.
I watched her go, thinking of those few weeks when we never thought she would make it. She seemed like a miracle after all that we went through, after being sure so many times that we could not have children and then thinking that there was something wrong.
Miracle or not, though, she was ours. She had the dark hair and brown eyes that Clark and I share. The gold flecks in her eyes distinguished her eyes as more like Clark's than mine. She had my nose, though, and my chin.
She also had what I thought was the perfect blend of our personalities. Like me, she was rarely shy, even at first meeting new people, but like Clark, she was innately kind to everyone, making friends easily.
Clark said she was too young to know if she inherited any of his powers, as at four even he had appeared to be normal. I knew, though, that she had. Even if Larissa would never be impervious to bombs, never was able to freeze or heat things with her breath, or never flew, she had some of Superman's best qualities. She always seemed eager to help people and had real empathy for others.
She was the one who came to tell me that Lucy was crying earlier, worried as she had not been able to help calm her aunt down. When I turned to Lucy now, though, she was smiling.
"You think Ethan will be like her?" Lucy asked me. "I mean, I doubt he'll look like her, given Ben's blonde hair and blue eyes, but I mean, personality wise. She's so sweet."
"Oh, I don't know. I see Larissa as a combination of my traits and Clark's. So, I would think Ethan will be some mix of you and Ben, but maybe not. I'm not sure either of us are so much like Mom and Dad."
"Good point," Lucy said. "So, you really think I'll stop feeling so depressed in a couple of weeks?" she asked.
"I hope so. You're no fun like this," I teased her.
She reached out and swatted at me. "It's so weird. I mean, I don't feel depressed," Lucy said, sounding frustrated.
"I know. It's just the hormones," I assured her. "You just need to wait for them to make their way through your system."
Lucy smirked at me as she wiped at her eyes again with her tissue. "Easy for you to say," she said as she got up.
We went out to the living room, but Clark and Ben had moved into the kitchen. Even from out here, I could hear the sound of sizzling as one of them sautéed something.
"Garlic?" I asked as I entered the kitchen.
"Yup, for the red potatoes," Ben answered.
"Red potatoes?" Larissa asked from the table where she was watching over Ethan in his cradle.
Ben held one up to show her. "Red potatoes," he repeated.
"Those aren't potatoes," she said suspiciously. "Potatoes are brown on the outside."
"Not these," Ben said. "Come here. I'll show you." He took a knife and cut one of them in half. "See?" he asked. "It looks like a potato inside, doesn't it?"
Larissa moved closer, sniffing the potato. "It doesn't look like a potato," she insisted.
"This doesn't look like a potato?" he asked, showing her the inside again.
"Well, that does, but not that," she repeated, pointing to the skin.
"Just wait until you taste them, Lar," Clark said. "They'll taste just like potatoes."
Larissa looked at Clark carefully. "Are those really potatoes, Daddy?" she asked.
"Sure are, pumpkin."
"So, what else are we having?" Lucy asked.
Clark held up the honey. "I'm making barbeque sauce for the chicken." His eyes lit up. Clark's favorite part of visiting Lucy and Ben was the ability to grill nearly any night we visited.
Lucy laughed. "I should have figured. You'd think someone who can start a fire with their eyes would not be so enamored with grilling."
"Go figure," Ben said. "The things the public never knew they wanted to know about Superman."
"Superman?" Larissa asked. "Where?"
"Nowhere, sweetie," I assured her. "Uncle Ben was just talking. Why don't you go set the table?" I asked as I passed her the forks.
"I'm sorry," Ben said as she left. "I wasn't thinking."
"I know," Clark replied. "Lois and I are guilty of it ourselves. It seems like in the last couple of months she's suddenly picking up and understanding so much more of what's said around her. It's hard to remember to edit what you say."
Ethan suddenly started crying and Lucy walked over to the cradle to pick him up. She had the typical uncomfortable hold of a new mother, but already in the three days since he was born, I could see her developing those skills.
"Is Ethan okay?" Larissa poked her head in.
"Sure is, Lar," Lucy told her as she bounced Ethan up and down.
"Why's he crying then?" Larissa asked.
Clark moved over to squat in front of her. "Remember we talked about this?" he asked her. "Babies cry a lot. It's just their way of communicating."
She looked over at me, giving my stomach a meaningful stare. "Does that mean our baby is going to cry all the time, too?"
I placed a hand on my stomach as I replied. "Not yet, sweetie. But once it's born, yes."
"How am I gonna sleep?" she asked Clark.
He laughed, running a hand lightly over her head. "We'll give you earplugs. You'll be fine."
Looking dubious, she headed back out to the living room to finish placing the forks out. Clark came over to kiss my cheek as he ran a hand over my stomach. Leaning down, he mock whispered, "You'll have to remember to try to keep quiet at night. Your sister's worried about her beauty sleep."
We all laughed while Clark moved back over to the barbeque sauce.
"So, Lois, how are you feeling?" Ben asked.
"Good," I told him. "Overall, being pregnant has been so much easier this time."
"Of course, it is," Lucy said. "I mean, the first time around, how could you have known that Kryptonian babies are slow growers at first? I mean who would have guessed."
"Lara," I suggested.
"Maybe," Clark said. "But maybe not. She was never pregnant with a half-human baby, and she was never pregnant on Earth."
"I guess I'm a true pioneer," I said.
"What's a pion'r?" Larissa asked as she came in.
"Did you finish putting the forks out?" I asked her.
"All done," she said proudly.
"Well, then why don't you come outside and help me with the chicken?" Clark asked.
She smiled as she walked over to him, holding her hands up. Clark immediately understood her sign language and bent down to pick her up and put her on his shoulders. "Okay, you hold the chicken," he told her, handing her the plate.
She looked somber as she held the plate as flat as possible while Clark walked outside.
"You think you'll have more?" Lucy asked as she placed a now sleeping Ethan back in his cradle.
"No, I think this is it," I said. "I'm just not sure... I mean, if they have superpowers, that's going to be a lot to deal with as they get older. Martha actually was the one that suggested keeping our family small. She said that as good as Clark was, he was still challenging because of his differences. Clark and I don't know that we could handle more than two. I mean, it's not like their powers will come in at the same time."
Ben smiled at me. "I have to admit, as much as I hope Ethan ends up as a Nobel Prize winner or something, I'll be happy if he's 100% average."
"Yeah, he is really enough alone," Lucy agreed.
"It will get easier," I told her. "You'll get used to having this little person around. So, what about the two of you?"
Ben and Lucy exchanged glances. "We're not sure," Lucy said. "I'd kind of like a big family. Like, maybe four."
"Four?" I asked, astonished.
"That's what I said," Ben laughed. "I think two is plenty."
"I guess I just feel like... like we're much closer to each other than Mom and Dad," Lucy said to me. "I just want our kids to have a big family network to fall back on."
Ben abandoned the potatoes, which had been added to the sizzling skillet, to come over and wrap his arms around Lucy.
"Luce, our kids are going to have a very different life than you and Lois did. We're not the same type of parents, and they'll have their cousins as well. It's going to be different for them, don't you think?"
"Yeah," Lucy said, glancing outside to see Clark swinging Larissa around by her arms. Larissa was smiling and laughing almost as much as her father.