The Otalia Virtual Season mini-sodes are representations of the talent of our writers and artists. These mini-sodes may or may not be actual scenes or plots that will be a part of the regular OVS episodes.
Title: Home Stretch
Summary: Natalia and Olivia go to Lamaze classes.
Disclaimer: Blah, blah, blah…Olivia, Natalia, Frank, and GL belong to CBS, P&G, and Telenext (don’t get me started on that!). I’m just borrowing them for the OVS. No profit or infringement intended.
A/N: Written as a minisode for the Otalia Virtual Seasons.
The two women walked through the sliding glass doors of the clinic and went up to the very clean and sterile white counter complete with a receptionist. Olivia hung back, looking around suspiciously, while Natalia smiled and spoke to the woman behind the desk.
“Hi, we’re here for the Lamaze class?”
The matronly woman in her green Dr. Seuss scrubs didn’t look up, but pointed to the left down the hall, “Go that way. First door on your left. Sign in at the front.”
“Thank you,” Natalia graciously replied but the woman never looked up. She found Olivia behind her and took her hand, leading her down the hall.
“Well, she was just Little Miss Merry Sunshine, huh?” Olivia muttered.
Natalia snickered, “I’m used to it. I’ve seen you first thing in the morning.”
Olivia opened the heavy glass door for Natalia and waved her in. Several other couples were in the waiting area. Olivia nervously looked around, feeling like her and Natalia stood out like a sore thumb. One couple looked like they could be no more than Daisy and James’ age, and the girl practically glowed as she talked animatedly to her boyfriend/husband as she thumbed through a baby magazine. Occasionally, he would glance over and grunt before turning back to his Blackberry to send another text message. Another couple sat quietly talking as the husband rubbed his wife’s belly. The other one appeared to be a single mom seated with an older woman. Olivia could only surmise that it was the girl’s mother there for support.
She was brought out of her analysis of the group around her by Natalia’s gentle hand on her arm, “We’re all set. We need to fill this form out and turn it back in.”
They sat down in chairs opposite the older couple and Olivia rummaged through her purse for a pen, “They gave me one.” Natalia waved it in the air.
“Oh,” Olivia sat back in her chair, trying to get comfortable.
As Natalia started filling out the sheet, the woman across from them spoke, “How far along are you?”
Natalia looked up and smiled, instinctively rubbing her belly, “7 months.”
“Wow, I thought you were pretty far along.”
Natalia looked at Olivia with a sideways grin, one dimple popping out, “Yeah, we kind of got a late start.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Olivia saw the couple glance curiously at each other, then back at her and Natalia, before quietly retreating into their little world careful to ask no more questions. Olivia shifted in her seat. This was a new situation for her. Not the new mom part but the feeling weird and awkward in public part. Around their friends and family, it had been easy to be open about being together, but here, in the bigger world and outside the safety of their little town, Olivia suddenly didn’t know what to do with herself.
Natalia seemed to be adjusting far better and for all intents and purposes, she seemed unfazed by the looks and stares. For Olivia, a woman who had always been brash and open, the mere fact that she was timid and cautious threw her for a loop.
After what seemed like an eternity, a perky blonde nurse walked into the room. Her name was Mitzy and she described herself as a professional lactation consultant, Lamaze coach, and midwife. She looked like she wasn’t any older than twelve yet she claimed to have birthed more than 300 babies. Olivia seriously doubted that and was about to ask for her credentials and a driver’s license when Mitzy produced all of those documents sans the license.
At the end of her spiel, she asked all the moms-to-be to talk a little about their experience thus far with their pregnancy, a little about themselves and any other family they may have, and what they wanted to learn from the class.
Mitzy started on the far side of the room with the young girl. Sure enough she was a single mom, 19 years old and still lived with her mom. She talked so softly and timidly that Olivia could barely hear her name, but she thinks it was Sandy.
The next ones to go were the older couple across from them. Bob and Trish were their names. Bob is an engineer and Trish is a fitness specialist at the local YMCA. They were both in their early 30s and already had one kid by adoption. This one was a surprise. Olivia rolled her eyes thinking how shocked they’d be to hear how much of a surprise this one was to them.
The young couple went next. Actually, the girl did. The boyfriend continued to text on his phone. Mitzy didn’t like that one bit and clarified the rule about no cell phones during class since this was supposed to be a special bonding time for parents and their baby. The guy, whom they all learned was named Jack, rolled his eyes and slipped the phone in his pocket. Olivia bit her lip and fought down a laugh when Mitzy asked the girl’s name and she said, “Jill.” The barely hidden snicker earned her a swat on the knee from Natalia.
The incident didn’t fool Mitzy and she smiled knowingly at the pair, “Your turn.”
Olivia and Natalia looked at each other, but finally Natalia took a deep breath, introduced Olivia as her partner, making Olivia turn a whole new shade of red, and began retelling their story. When she was finished, Trish laughed, “That’s amazing! Sounds like something you’d see on a soap opera. A good one, but still.”
Mitzy went through the rest of the class outlining what they’d cover in each session, and she showed them a few basic breathing exercises. She encouraged her couples to practice at home often, helping the mommy-to-be to get used to breathing but in a different way. They were given a list of items to bring with them to the next session and were sent on their way. On the way back to the car, Natalia reached over and took Olivia’s hand, giving it a light squeeze.
“This is going to be fun, don’t you think?”
Olivia shrugged, “Yeah, I guess, but…we’ve done this before. We’ve both had kids. Why do we need to go through this? I mean, didn’t you feel, I don’t know, out of place?”
Natalia stopped at the car and leaned against the door, “I guess. It’s not about them though, Olivia. I know we’ve done this before, but this…sharing these moments with someone. I never got to have that with anyone, and I’m so glad I’m getting them with you.”
When a small pout crossed Natalia’s face and she dropped her head, Olivia could have sworn that somewhere a puppy died, “I know. I’m sorry. I just…I feel so out of my element or something. I can deal with the looks and stares, but this feeling…I’ve never been on this side of this before. It takes some getting used to. I do want to share this with you though.”
“You do?” Natalia peeked up.
Olivia raised her chin the rest of the way up, “I do.” She kissed her then solidly and gently with just a touch of more to come before backing up, smirking. “Come on, there’s a soft warm bed with our names on it at home. I’m exhausted.”
Two weeks later, Olivia and Natalia showed up at the Lamaze class carrying all of the things Mitzy had told the couples to bring – several pillows, blanket, lotions and any comfort items, like a picture of the ultrasound, but it should have meaning. When they walked in, Mitzy instructed them to find a corner or open part of the room and put their stuff down.
They all went through a few rounds of new breathing techniques and reviewed old ones. Natalia had every technique down to an art and Olivia smiled at her dedication. She couldn’t help but think that she should be perfect. She was practicing, and insisting on Olivia’s help, every night for an hour before bed. Truth be told, Olivia didn’t mind. It gave her an excuse to be in tune with Natalia, to match her breathing to hers, and to slowly rub soothing circles on her low back. The only time Olivia had felt more connected to Natalia was when they made love, but she never told her. Olivia was still gun-shy and afraid she may say too much or the wrong thing and spook Natalia even though the younger woman had more than proven her tenacity about their relationship. Natalia had had plenty of opportunities to change her mind but she never took them. Now, here they were in a clinic doing breathing exercises in a Lamaze class. Olivia smiled as Natalia softly exhaled, and then smiled even more when Natalia without even having to look at her, smiled back, a hint of a dimple barely visible.
The moment was broken when Mitzy had them all go to their blankets and pillows. She asked for the moms to lie down on their back and for their partner to place a pillow under the mom-to-be’s knees. The other pillows were split between the mom and the partner so they could be comfortable. Mitzy then turned down the lights, lit a small candle in the middle of the room to give it a warm glow, and turned on the CD player. From the surround sound speakers in the room, a soft, lilting Celtic tune filtered throughout the room.
Mitzy instructed the mom to close her eyes and breathe; focusing on the calming action of feeling the air go in and out of their lungs, knowing the oxygen was nourishing their baby. The partner’s were asked to touch the mom in a way that felt comfortable, whether on the leg, hand, thigh, or head. It didn’t matter as long as each couple made a physical connection. She went into a long monologue on the healing and therapeutic power of touch, and its value in nurturing love, relationships, and family. With every word she spoke, her voice became softer and more reverent, lulling Olivia into a place of comfort. She took Natalia’s hand between both of her own and slowly traced each finger. A lazy smile spread across Natalia’s face and Olivia slid her fingers softly over the inside of her wrist, before coming back to her fingers.
Olivia was lost in the touch and the moment when Mitzi voice broke in, “Now, watch your partner. Watch as the air flows in and out of her lungs. Feel it as if it’s your own.”
Olivia intertwined their fingers as she watched Natalia’s chest rise and fall. Her usual mental smacks weren’t necessary since she wasn’t thinking incredibly dirty thoughts the minute she looked at Natalia. Instead, she found herself slowing her own breathing down, getting into rhythm with Natalia. The effect was instantaneous, and she fought the swell of emotion that hit her.
“Tell your partner what you feel right now,” Mitzy prodded, “You can lie down next to her and whisper it, but make sure your breathing stays in rhythm.”
Olivia lay down next to Natalia, resting her head on her pillow as she watched Natalia breath and brought herself back in sync with her. She slid Natalia’s hand up between them and gently kissed each finger. As soon as she let herself focus on the connection between them, she felt the same overwhelming sensation from before.
“I’m not sure how to describe what I feel.” Natalia didn’t reply except to squeeze her hand to give encouragement. “It’s like, we’re one entity. You breathe in and it feels like it’s filling me up. I feel inexplicably bound to you with my heart, the touch of our skin, the air of our breathing mingling and blending. It’s…spiritual. It’s a connection that goes beyond words.”
Natalia broke the silence then and rolled her head to the side, “Have you ever felt it before?”
Olivia nodded, a tear quietly sliding down her cheek, “The first time we kissed and every time we make love. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world. I don’t have words.”
“I know. I feel it too. We don’t need words.” Natalia squeezed her hand when Mitzy spoke up again.
“Now I want both of you to close your eyes and simply be together. No words, just touch, just be.” After a few quiet moments, Mitzy slowly turned the lights up, being careful not to startle anyone out of the moment. When all the lights were fully on, she had everyone open their eyes slowly, letting their body react gradually to the brightness.
As Olivia stood, a long, deep snore came from across the room. Everyone fought to hold in their laughter at the sight of Bob and Trish curled up on their blankets sound asleep.
Natalia briefly chastised Olivia for laughing by slapping her on the nearest arm, “Hey, don’t laugh. One day that’ll be you. Actually, in about…,” looking down at her belly, “eight to ten months.”
The look of utter fear that ran across Olivia’s face made Natalia break out into a series of giggles, “Oh yeah, I carry her for nine months but she’s yours for the next nine.”
“Hey!” Natalia waddled her way out the door before she heard any further protest from Olivia.
In the next class, Natalia and Olivia were shocked when they walked through the doors to see Frank sitting in one of the chairs waiting. Natalia had invited him to participate as a back-up coach, but he never showed until tonight. When she’d run into him later, he’d always had an excuse ready though she never asked for it.
“Hi…Frank, um…,” she looked at Olivia who had her face set in a fake smile. She recognized that smile now. It had been all too common of a sight back during the engagement, and it always seemed to pop back up when Frank was around. She knew this was hard for both of them, and it was awkward for her to say the least, but she hoped they’d all eventually get used to the situation.
He stood and shrugged, “I thought I should at least know a little of what to do, just in case.” On his last words, he gave Olivia a long, unreadable look.
Natalia sighed and sat in the chair Frank offered when he vacated it. Olivia sat on the other side and took her hand. Frank stood uncomfortably looking at them.
“It starts in five minutes?” He asked Natalia.
“I think I saw a drink machine down the hall. You two want anything?”
Natalia shook her head and Olivia spoke, “No thanks, Frankie. I’m good.”
A few awkward minutes into the class and everyone knew the rest of Natalia and Olivia’s story of how the baby came to be and had a face to go with the tale. Sandy, the young single mom, smiled broadly at the trio, “That’s cool.” At her mom’s disapproving look, she glanced down at her hands in her lap, which had suddenly become incredibly interesting.
“Tonight’s a very important class so I’m glad we have a full house. We’re going to talk about the weeks leading up to going into labor and the labor itself. First, let’s review our breathing exercises.”
Mitzy encouraged Frank to participate in the exercises, but he stumbled awkwardly over the most basic steps and tried to correct Natalia when they got out of sync, “No, Frank, you’re supposed to follow me and help me adjust my breathing by reading my body language and then changing your own to get me back in rhythm.”
When Olivia took her turn to do the exercises with Natalia, they fell into sync almost immediately and by the end, they were smiling and relaxed. Frank sat in a chair, trying not to show the disappointment on his face. This wasn’t a situation Frank ever imagined for himself. How pathetic is it to sit in a Lamaze class with your ex-fiancé and her female lover?
He was moments away from excusing himself from the class when Mitzy moved quickly into the next part of the class, “As you move into these final weeks, this is the perfect time to begin prepping your body to deliver your child. While childbirth is a normal process and one that women’s bodies are made to endure, it is also a very stressful activity for the body to go through. Practicing the breathing exercises and relaxation techniques will help immensely, but there’s a little known activity that can make delivery much easier.”
Olivia perked up at Mitzy’s words. Her feelings for Natalia affected her concern for her well-being and the stress she would be under in giving birth. Anything that might help, she wanted to know.
Flipping a cover on a dry erase board, Mitzy smiled at her artistic handiwork, a very detailed but clinical drawing of a woman’s genitalia, with labels and all. The room was in a stunned silence. Sandy’s mom refused to look up, Jack lifted his nose out of his Blackberry long enough to stifle a chuckle, Olivia merely lifted an eyebrow and tilted her head, and Natalia turned about ten shades of red.
Mitzy picked up her monologue right where she left off, oblivious to the looks she was getting, “One of the most common problems women experience during labor is being unable to pass the baby through the birth canal.”
She took a pointer and tapped the board, “This muscle here, the perineum, can sometimes tear at the height of delivery. While you don’t tend to feel it, because obviously you’re more aware of other pain, stitches would be required to heal the damage, and that will just slow down your recovery.”
Sandy’s brown eyes were as big as saucers, “Is there anything we can do to prevent it?”
“I’m glad you ask! The good news is you can do it all on your own, but it’s a lot more fun with a partner.” She smiled at the rest of the group, letting her eyes fall a little too long on Olivia and Natalia. “This is what you do. Go home, grab a bottle olive oil, get comfortable with a towel on your bed or in a chair and do this.” Hidden in a bag behind the board stand was a life size version of a woman’s anatomy.
Olivia covered her mouth, trying not to laugh because she could have sworn she saw that in the shop with Blake that day, but then her eyes got huge and a wave of heat washed over her as Mitzy slid her thumb into the fake opening and began stroking the muscle. Mitzy went on in great detail about how and where to touch, for how long, and how often. Olivia’s mind wandered and she shifted in the chair for relief. She glanced over to Natalia, her eyes closed, and Olivia knew she wasn’t fairing much better. Poor Frank had the worst end of the deal. He shook his head and quickly pulled out his phone before standing saying he had to leave for an emergency. Olivia knew it was bunk because she had seen him turn it off when he came in tonight.
The drive home was quiet. Both women were off in their own worlds as Natalia pulled into the driveway. They had picked up Emma from Phillip and Olivia took her upstairs to put to bed, while Natalia took a shower. When she opened the door to their bedroom, Natalia was sitting in bed, resting against the headboard, completely naked. After nearly a month of being lovers, Olivia had some of her desire quenched but the fire still simmered below the surface. It didn’t take much to encourage her attention, and a naked Natalia certainly did that. After a moment of appreciating the visual appeal of the woman she loved, her eyes moved to the nightstand, where a small bottle of extra virgin olive oil sat.
She smiled and trained her eyes back to Natalia, her own dark eyes twinkling in amusement and mischief, “You know, if I recover quicker after the birth, the sooner we can get back to making love after she’s born.” She picked up the bottle and held it out to Olivia, “A short recovery time is a great thing, don’t you think?”
Olivia smirked as she took the bottle and uncapped it, “Definitely.”