Title: Come Daylight AU Ending
Word Count: 3529
Warning: Character death (original), neonetal death, grief, birth/pregnancy complications,.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, but I do take liberties with them for no financial gain.
Notes: An AU ending to my Come Daylight fic.
Summary: Reid goes into labour, but something is wrong.
When Reid woke up, he knew immediately that something was wrong. There was no movement from his huge stomach, and he’d slept without being disturbed by the fetus moving, which was unusual. He’d woken because he was in pain, his stomach was cramping down and he felt hot and uncomfortable. In the dark he sat up, and could feel himself sitting in a warm wet patch; his heart jolted at the realisation.
“Derek,” he said as he reached over to shake his lover awake. “Derek, wake up.”
“Ugnngn?” Morgan groaned sleepily.
“I think I’ve gone into labour,” he said, as a contraction gripped him, he clutched at his stomach and groaned.
“Labour?” he mirrored, pushing himself up. “Baby, it’s time!” The excitement was all too clear as he fumbled for the bedside lamp to thrust them into light. “Spencer, you look pale,” he frowned, and reached out to touch the man’s head with the back of his hand. “You’re burning up.”
Reid shook his head, trying to clear it, and threw back the bed sheets. They’d been warned that amniotic fluid could be tinged pink with a little blood, but what greeted them was brilliant bright red, a mixture of amniotic fluid and too much blood to be okay.
“Holy shit,” Morgan breathed.
“Derek.” Reid’s hands faltered above the mess, unsure what to do. Morgan had already snatched up his phone and was dialling for an ambulance as he pulled on a pair of jeans.
“Come on,” Morgan urged, “we need to get downstairs, meet the ambulance.”
Reid was still bleeding as Morgan helped him into the first pair of sweats and t-shirt he could find, and all but carried him downstairs. The pain of contraction was immense, and didn’t let up, which didn’t feel normal.
He slumped and almost passed out as the ambulance came to a stop outside of their house, and lights went on in the street as people peered around their curtains. Reid tried to make sense of his surroundings, but one minute it was cool night air and green, the next it was bright lukewarm white and noise. The only constant was the vice grip he shared with Morgan, and the pain thrumming through his abdomen. It was not normal labour, he knew. His sweats were soaking through with crimson by the time they wheeled him into the hospital.
“Derek, something’s wrong,” he said, voicing what was obvious.
“It’ll be okay, Spencer, I promise,” Morgan said, gripping his hand in both of his own. “It’s gonna be okay. The doctor’s here, they’re gonna take you in for an emergency caesarean.”
“No narcotics, Derek,” he insisted, trying to sit up, and being forced back down by a nurse who was trying to put an IV in his arm. “Don’t let them give me narcotics, Derek, we agreed-”
“I know, Spencer, they won’t. But they have to put you under general, there’s no time for an epidural. I’ll see you on the other side, okay? You and the baby, pretty boy.”
Reid couldn’t answer as he was wheeled away, but he looked at the lights overhead and repeated the words in his head. See you on the other side. Morgan would be there, when the panic was over.
Morgan had wanted to go in with Reid; it had been a key part of their birth plan to be there together, so he could support Reid through the surgery and see their baby as soon as they were born. Instead, he was sitting in the waiting room, with their birth go-bag between his knees.
When the doctor approached him Morgan stood up, ready for instruction.
“How is he?”
“Your husband had a placental abruption,” she said. “Which is where the placental lining separates from the uterus and can cause severe bleeding and stops the fetus from receiving oxygen. He’ll be in surgery for at least another thirty minutes, but he’ll make a full recovery.”
“Okay,” Morgan said, nodding to himself, letting himself relax. “How’s the baby?”
There was a pause, as the doctor’s face set. “I’m very sorry, but the baby’s oxygen supply was cut off when the placenta separated fully from the lining of the uterus. The baby was unconscious when she was delivered, and her heart stopped soon after. Although nurses attempted to start it again, she didn’t respond.”
Morgan’s mouth had gone dry, and he thought that if he moved he might fall over. He had so many questions he needed to know the answer to, but only one thing came out.
“Yes.” The doctor nodded solemnly. “Your husband gave birth to a girl. We can arrange for you to see her, if you want to.”
“I...I have to be there when he wakes up,” Morgan said thickly.
“We can wait,” she said gently. “You can choose to see her later, if you’d like.”
“I need to be with Spencer,” Morgan insisted. “I need to be there when he wakes up. Can I go to him? The room he’s going to be in?”
“Yes, I can get a nurse to show you.”
Morgan nodded again, picked up the bag and let himself be guided to the room to wait for Reid.
Reid woke up feeling fuzzy, numb from anaesthesia. He turned his head, and saw Morgan sat by the bed, staring into the middle distance. He smiled; of course he was there. He’d promised he’d be there on the other side, and there he was. With effort he turned his head to the other side, searching for the crib; they’d specified in the birth plan that they wanted the baby in the room at all times. There was no crib on the other side of the hospital bed.
“Derek...” Reid murmured, turning to look at him again. “Where’s our baby?”
Slowly, Morgan turned to look at him; his face was sad, strained, and all he did was meet his gaze. He didn’t speak.
“Where’s our baby, Derek?” he repeated, in case Morgan hadn’t heard him. “Where’s our baby?”
“Where’s our baby?” he snapped, fear rising in him. There should be a baby with them, nestled in a cot, or held in Morgan’s arms. “Where’s the baby?”
“You had a placental abruption,” Morgan explained. “The baby didn’t get enough oxygen, and... died.”
“No,” Reid said. It couldn’t be true. “No, no. Where’s our baby, Derek? I want to see the baby. Get them to bring the baby in here, please.” Tears pricked at his eyes and quickly flowed out over his cheeks. He wanted to see their baby, and Morgan didn’t seem to understand. “I want the baby. I want to see our baby. I want to hold our baby. Please.”
“Spencer, the baby died.”
“No.” Reid let his head drop back as a sob escaped him. “No. Please, no.”
Morgan reached out and grabbed his hand, drawing it to his mouth to press his lips to it as Reid cried openly. It hurt more than anything had ever hurt, losing the baby they had been so excited for. Being right in all his worry was the worst thing that had ever happened; all the doubt had been accurate.
Though the haze he tried to pull himself together, taking big gulps of air and tried to will back the tears. He could see the reddened tube of a blood transfusion in his arm, and when he tried to push himself up he felt dizzy.
“Was the baby a boy or a girl?”
“A girl,” Morgan managed, and then dropped his face into his hands, something broken in him as he sobbed, his shoulders shaking with the force.
A girl. They’d had a daughter. A baby girl had grown inside of him for months, he’d sustained her, nurtured her, even loved her. Now she was gone, and he'd never seen her, held her. Morgan continued to sob silently into his hands, and Reid wondered if she’d breathed.
Reid refused, and Morgan understood why the man couldn’t face looking, but Morgan had to. He had to see their child. The nurse brought her to him in a quiet room, swaddled in the blanket they’d bought with them for her. She was light in his arms, so incredibly small, light brown skin dull with death, and a shock of ginger hair like his mother. A little wide nose and tiny eyelids.
He had seen too much death; her lifeless form couldn’t pass for just sleeping. She was too still, too pale for him to even entertain fooling himself even for the sake of his sanity. It was the cruellest thing he'd ever known.
“I can’t do this,” he said, and the nurse quickly took her away. “I can’t.”
“It’s okay,” she assured. “Someone can some talk to you about what choices you can make next, when you’re feeling more up to it.”
Morgan nodded. “Could you take some pictures of her?” he asked numbly. “Of her face. Before she's...”
The nurse nodded, holding the little bundle so gently. He knew the next place his daughter would go was the morgue, and tried not to imagine her on a slab.
Morgan realised too late he should have called Garcia to clarify his text message of ‘reid in labor, going 2 hosp’. She came bustling into their room, face bright with a smile, practically bouncing with excitement, and immediately knew something was wrong.
“What happened?” she implored. They knew she expected them to tell her the baby was in the NICU, that there was a problem, and that she was ready to ask how she could help.
“The baby didn’t make it,” Morgan said. Garcia started to cry, and Morgan didn’t move. He didn’t want to comfort her, couldn’t, when it hurt so much. He knew it was normal, but her tears seemed insignificant and inappropriate in the face of their pain. She tried to get herself under control, apparently feeling the same way, and made her excuses quickly. Morgan was grateful; he knew she'd head off the others so they didn’t come bursting in expecting everything to be okay.
“I have to call my mom,” he murmured. Reid didn’t say anything, just closed his eyes, groggy from the narcotics he'd accepted despite earlier reservations. He couldn't blame him for wanting to be medicated.
Morgan went out into the corridor, where it was quiet but away from Reid, so he could rest. He called his mother's number, and took a long breath in through his nose as he waited.
“Derek!” she said in an excited breath. “Why haven't you called?”
“It's been busy, Ma,” he said, sitting down on a chair.
“How did it go? Is everything alright?” Her voice was so expectant, so full of anticipation. He knew he was about to break his mother's heart.
“Our baby died, Mama.”
There was a loud clatter as Fran dropped the phone. Morgan fought the urge to cry again as his mother got her bearings.
“Derek, I'm so sorry,” she hushed. “I'm so sorry. Do you need me to come down there?”
“No, Ma. Not now. We're...” He couldn't say 'fine'. They were the furthest from fine they'd ever been.
“Okay, baby boy,” Fran said gently. “You know I’m just a phone call away if you or Spencer need me.”
“Yeah. Bye, Ma.”
He put his head in his hands, and couldn't help but feel like he'd somehow failed his mother by not being able to give her the grandchild she'd been so excited for, the one she'd never expected him to have.
Morgan wasn't there when Reid woke up into the reality where his daughter had died. There was a part of him that wanted to reason that it didn't have to hurt so much, because he'd never interacted with his child – but it wasn't true. He'd become attached to the child as a fetus, had learned her patterns of sleep and what would make her move. He'd felt her move inside him, and gradually let go of the fear that things would fail. He'd given himself over completely to the pregnancy, become excited for when he'd get to hold their child and start being a parent.
He shifted uncomfortably, and then a wave of disgust registered as he thought about his body. In the pregnancy he'd adapted to and even relished the changes of his body, but now his swollen belly and chest were just a spiteful reminder of what they'd lost.
He wanted to curl up and sleep forever, he wanted Morgan to spoon around him and block out everything, but most of all he wanted to hold their baby. But he wanted her to be alive, not hold her corpse, even though that was the only thing left of their child. He wasn't sure he could bear seeing her, or which would be worse; not seeing her and regretting it, or seeing her and having to live with the memory.
He looked up at the sound of the door opening, and in came Morgan followed by Doctor Chan, their OB. Her eyes were kind, but the knowledge of what had happened was clear on her face. Morgan came and sat down in the chair on one side of the bed – and wouldn't meet Reid's gaze.
“Hello Spencer, Derek,” she said, shutting the door carefully behind her. “I'm sorry I wasn't here for the surgery, I came as soon as they called.” She approached them, looking to each of them. “I've been told what happened, and I've reviewed all the available information. I'm well briefed to talk to you about anything you need to know.”
Morgan nodded, and Reid shifted with discomfort as his abdomen throbbed. “What happened?”
“You had a placental abruption,” she started, speaking gently and clearly, “where the placental came away from the lining of your uterus, cutting of the oxygen supply to the fetus. The placenta detached completely from the uterus, and in the later stage your uterus was damaged, and you lost a lot of blood.”
“Is it because of what happened to me at work a few weeks ago?” Reid asked groggily.
“That could have started it,” the doctor said. “They didn't notice anything when they checked you out after that, and you didn't exhibit any symptoms. Trauma can be a direct cause, but usually it simply happens because of risk factors like smoking, drug use in pregnancy, previous pregnancies; you fit none of them.”
“But I used to use drugs,” Reid insisted, “dilaudid, I was an addict for seven months.”
“The risk is active drug use,” doctor Chan said.
“And that was years ago,” Morgan said. “That couldn't have caused it.” He didn't sound sure, and Reid knew he was trying to find something to hold onto so he wouldn't blame him.
“Spencer, you had no issues throughout your entire pregnancy. Your history of drug use is incredibly unlikely to have contributed to the placental abruption. This is not your fault.”
Reid stared at the ceiling, taking long slow breaths as he fought the urge to cry again. His throat hurt, his body ached, and there felt like there was a chasm in his head he'd never cross or fill again.
“Did she suffer?” Reid asked the ceiling. He could see movement out of the corner of his vision, but didn't want to look at how he reacted to the question.
“No. As the fetus received less and less oxygen, she became unconscious. She was born alive, but she never regained consciousness. Soon after she was delivered, her heart stopped. Attempts to start her heart failed, and time of death was pronounced.”
“So she didn't cry.”
“No, Spencer. She suffered massive brain damage from lack of oxygen. Even if they'd been able to restart her heart, she would have died most likely within hours, if she was able to breathe on her own at all.”
“So she was dead inside me, and I didn't know,” Reid said numbly.
“Brain death may have occurred in-utero, but she was born alive.”
Reid burst into tears. He understood what she was saying, but he still wished she could tell him their baby was just a fetus and had died inside him, that she had never lived inarguably become a person, a baby, their baby. He covered his face with his hand and sobbed, barely aware that Morgan and the doctor were exchanging words as she excused herself. He wanted to turn onto his side, he felt exposed, but he was recovering from surgery and instead he had to let himself cry openly because his arms were too heavy to hold up.
Morgan came to sit back down, and didn't say anything to sooth the tears. Reid didn't blame him; there was nothing he could say that would make it easier for either of them.
Reid said he wanted to see her. He'd had major surgery, so they had to bring their baby's body to them, in a hospital crib with a discreet sheet over it. Morgan watched from the chair by the bed as the nurse held the swaddled body of their dead daughter up for Spencer to see. The man immediately reached for her, and Morgan's chest ached. Reid took her into his arms, cradling her form gently, his expression etched with pain. She looked pale and unnatural, and he didn't want to think about what was going on as her body started to decay.
He watched as Reid held their daughter in his arms, smiling sadly down at her. There was a curl of orange hair on her forehead, and Reid reached out to trace to curve of it with his fingertip.
“She's tiny,” he murmured. “I was a small infant. Your mom told me your were too, Derek. She would have ended up up tall.”
Morgan clasped his hands together, and fought the urge to curl into a ball. Reid's voice wavered, and sounded so fragile. He'd imagined it so many times, that Reid would see their child and immediate at ease with her. It was so unfair that they hadn't had any time with her alive, even if it was just a few short hours. He was sure that would be better than nothing.
“She got her hair from Fran,” Spencer whispered. Morgan could see tears rolling down his cheeks. “She's beautiful. Even considering the immediate onset of decomposition. Rigor... but no autolysis blisters. At least not visible ones.”
Morgan's throat started to hurt as he kept back sobs; he wasn't sure if the facts that felt so inappropriate to be mentioned were Spencer’s natural instinct, or if they were some comfort to him. He hoped with everything he had they were both.
He held her for around twenty minutes in silence, just looking at her. When he asked the nurse to take her body from him, she offered her to Morgan, who declined; he couldn't hold her again, couldn't hold his dead child. She asked if they'd like to take hand and foot prints, or bathe her – the idea sounded too painful, but Reid asked for the prints to be taken by a nurse for them. As she prepared to wheel away the covered cot with their child's body in it, a thought occurred to Morgan.
“Could we have a lock of her hair?” He'd seen locks of hair kept as morbid trophies by serial killers, and sweet mementos by mothers; he didn't know exactly what it was to him, but he knew he never wanted to forget that exact shade of orange. The nurse nodded, and promises to return with their mementos soon.
“I don't know how long I can keep my momma at bay,” Morgan sighed, desperate to say anything and get their minds away from thinking about her little dead form. “It's only a matter of time before she insists-”
Morgan shut his mouth, and watched as Reid turned to look at him. He expected anger, hurt, annoyance; he'd take anything, let Reid feel anything to ease the hurt. His husband's face was wet with tears and his breath hitched with impending sobs, but he managed a devastatingly sad smile.
“Shut up about your mom and hold me, Derek.”
Morgan launched himself out of the chair, hastily using each foot to push off the other shoe, and then climbed in under the lifted sheets. Carefully Reid eased himself over just slightly, letting Morgan slip in on his slide next to him, where Reid clung to him.
“I'm sorry, Spencer,” he murmured, sniffing back his own tears. “I didn't think you wanted me to touch you, I didn't ask, I just...”
“Shut up, shut up,” Reid hushed him, hiccuping and sniffing as he pulled him close. “Stop trying to be the strong one, we both lost her.”
It was like the words finally gave him the permission he needed to feel it completely, that doing so wouldn't make Spencer feel any worse – and it was like having his heart ripped out. He held onto Spencer and sobbed, ugly heaving sounds that Reid mirrored in turn as they just lay together and cried.