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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

Alan's apparition skills were passable. They got him from one point to the next, but he lacked the finesse that Audrey was likely used to. Alan much preferred more muggle modes of transportation, he apparated when he had to. This was one such moment, and Audrey's wishes weren't to be ignored for his personal comforts. He held her tight, murmuring soft reassurances to her as they arrived in the foyer of the wizarding ward at Narragyambie General Hospital. 

To get here, you either had to apparate, or know which of the broom closets on which hallway of the regular hospital to go poking around in. Even in Narrie there wasn't enough need for a fully dedicated wizarding hospital, and most of the wizarding staff had a grounding in muggle medicine as well---they worked on both sides. But Alan didn't have time to marvel at the neat interaction of muggle and magical worlds here at the hospital, he was busy getting Audrey checked in, following doctors, and not letting go of her hand as she was brought further into the hospital for assessment.

Someone brought him a seat, sat it beside the bed---but he remained standing. One hand firmly holding hers, the other stroking her hair. Repeating over and over, the only promise that he could give: I'll be here no matter what. 

Even as he tried to keep Audrey calm, he wasn't immune to the worry himself. What if there was something wrong? What if their little dream was doomed for a tragic end? Perhaps it was something genetic that Meri and Audrey shared, perhaps it was just terrible luck, he knew it would crush Audrey absolutely, and he feared that more than anything. His own grief he could bear. Had done for years. It would rot him from the inside out, and he would never be the same, but even so---to watch Audrey go through it would be worse. To know he had done this to her, put her in the way of getting so horribly hurt... could he live with that?

He had to. He'd promised. He wasn't going anywhere.

The doctors promised answers soon, and left the room. A quiet moment. Time went too fast and too slow.

"You doing alright?" he asked her. "The doctors will be back soon. We'll know what's happening soon."

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Tally Staff ☆ Headmaster's Assistant, Fill-in 'Mum'★ LilyCat
26 year old Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

Apparating to the hospital was the last thing Audrey was thinking too much about when they arrived. Whether it was smooth or a little rough hadn't even made it to her mind, the only worry she had was whether something really was going wrong, and what it could mean. She remembered so clearly the way Mereditha's life had fallen apart with the loss of her baby, and didn't want that to happen to her as well. She'd been planning for so much over the months, including how she would dress the infant for Christmas, how they would have a big family photo taken that she could hang in the living room. And it felt like those dreams were beginning to crumble.

Once the midwives were on the scene, Audrey was moved around from one spot to the next for a couple of small examinations and to get her weight and a monitor on her before they moved her to a bed. And then she could only sit and wait, her hand never once allowing Alan's to let go for a minute. She knew he wouldn't anyway, but she was scared. She didn't remember ever being this scared before, and the stories and memories of so many things going wrong for people she knew swirled around in her mind.

Audrey didn't want to be here either. She'd never liked hospitals. She wanted to be curled up on the couch at home reading to Tavi with her feet up. Instead, she was listening to the beeps and sounds of people walking by in the hallway, calls for doctors over the intercoms, her own breathing. The sound of Alan's voice broke through all that, thankfully, and she looked at him with wide eyes, before swallowing and trying to make an effort of attempting relaxation.

"The pain's not as bad," Audrey managed to say quietly, "But it's still there." It didn't feel right. But then, she'd never had a baby before, how would she even know how anything was supposed to feel at the moment? She tried to think of something else for a moment, anything else. "I hope Lauren doesn't think this is her fault," The woman said suddenly, wondering how everyone at the house was. Everything had happened so quickly, Lauren returning, David dead, and now this...

Thankfully, Audrey's Obstetrician arrived before Audrey could delve too much further into her thoughts, clipboard in hand as he looked over some of the information they had so far, and then pulled a monitor toward the bed.

"Hello Ms Adagathguarde, seems you're in a bit early. Pains, they said?" Doctor Pinky (at least, that's what Audrey called him since he'd dyed his hair pink a couple months ago for breast cancer awareness) inspected the heart monitor and lifted a brow before he switched on the other machine had had, "It looks like you're blood pressure's pretty high. And you don't weigh as much as you probably should by now. So let's see what's happening on the inside, hm?" And with that, Audrey was glad that she'd been changed into a hospital gown at some point during her arrival, lifting it over her belly for the doctor so that he could inspect the baby on the monitor.

The seconds felt like hours as she lay there, clutching Alan's hand. It was everything she could do not to blurt out the barrage of questions about whether the baby was alright. She knew that the doctor would say so... right?

"Well, you can see here that the little one is quite active," The image was pointed out on the monitor, and Audrey felt at least some relief, "Looks healthy, the right size for this time." He switched the machine off and looked back to Audrey and Alan, "It looks like what's going on is Audrey's body is under extra strain with later pregnancy and not handling it so well, which can happen with first time mothers. As it stands, the baby appears as though it's ready to come out now, their pain is early labour, but your body isn't quite ready to give birth yet." Audrey nodded a little, but was still unsure what that meant for her or the baby, which the doctor seemed to understand without her saying.

"Basically, you have a choice. If you want, we can give you something to calm things down and you can go home today, but you will HAVE to take it easy for the next few weeks, and I mean feet up, no running around after anyone, just relax. Even so, you could still be back in a week with the same thing. Or... we can give you something to help your body do what it needs to, and you could have your baby by tomorrow morning at the latest," The doctor looked between the pair, figuring they might want to talk it over for a minute, "I'll give you a couple of minutes." He said, and then nodded to them before stepping out.

"So... it's me?" Audrey murmured, biting her lip a little, but then looked to Alan, "I-I'm not sure what we should do. Things aren't ready yet. My family's supposed to be over here when the baby's due, they're supposed to be here... and, the room's not finished yet. And we have to make room for Lauren still too... and..." I'm scared... Audrey knew she didn't need to say it. If they wanted, they could have the baby within the next day. Or put it off and risk more of this happening until it was time.

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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

Alan nodded as the doctor spoke. The baby was okay, so was Audrey, and that was really all he needed to know---the rest was just a matter of logistics. Have the baby now, or have the baby later, it didn't really make much of a difference. Naturally Alan wanted sooner, from the moment he'd found out about the pregnancy he'd been over-eager to meet his new child. It wasn't his body that would take the strain though, and this decision belonged to Audrey. Who... was already thinking she'd done something wrong here. 

"No, sweetheart. It's not you. It's life," he said softly. "It might not be as planned, or by the book, but all of what he's said I bet he says a few times a week at least. He doesn't seem worried at all, see? Sounds like whenever it happens, we're going to have a very healthy, handful of a bub." he gave her a smile, and he believed every word he said. None of Rachel's births had gone smoothly, he'd learned to accept that everything was going to go tits up but at the same time, it was rarely anything the doctors hadn't dealt with regularly. 

"And it's up to you what you want to do, whether you're ready to do this. Don't worry about the house, don't worry about anything else---just focus on what you're ready for. I can contact your parents and get them here, you know they will drop everything to be here in time. No doubt Stu's jumped a few steps ahead and even done that already. As for the house, Lauren can squeeze in with Sarah for a bit. It won't harm her, might even be good for her to share space with someone for a while. Never did my sisters any damage, and they still have to share a room when they come home. Everything else will happen, I promise." Babies were not good at being "convenient", even when they arrived at the right time. No matter how much preparation you did, there was always something that could still be done, should be done, before the baby got there.

And Alan didn't really like the chances of Audrey "taking it easy" with that on her plate either. Still, it was up to her.

"You can do this, though," he reassured her. "Whether it's now, or later---you're going to be amazing. And I'll be here for you to yell at. Promise." he added, with a lopsided smile.

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Tally Staff ☆ Headmaster's Assistant, Fill-in 'Mum'★ LilyCat
26 year old Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

"R-right... he said it can happen to first time mums," Audrey said quietly as Alan reminded her of the doctor's words. She still didn't know if she was ready though, but then did any mother feel ready when the time came? It could have been the right week and she knew that she would still be feeling the same. Every fear had just simply popped up when the pains had begun, that she was terrified of something going wrong. But... the baby was healthy. That was important. If the baby was healthy and ready now, then it should be fine, right? The only one who would be under strain would be Audrey, and she could handle that, she was sure.

"A handful, alright. Already too impatient and wants to be out and about. She and Tavi are going to be horrendous when they're both in school together," The young woman offered a soft but still nervous laugh as she tried hard not to let that fear consume her even more again, not even realising that she'd given the baby a gender. She nodded again as he reminded her that it was her decision. Alan was right. Audrey knew that he was right, about it all. The organisation of beds and rooms and things could always be done after. They had the necessities set up already. It wasn't as perfect as she wanted it to be by the time she had the baby, but it was apparently as good as nature was going to let it be for her right now. "Stu's almost as scarily organised as I am, you're probably right," The man was likely already letting her family know what was going on, and whether she had the baby or not today then they would be on their way.

"I can't sit still for the life of me, you know that right?" Audrey huffed another quiet half-laugh. Relax? Take it easy? In what alternate universe did the doctor think that would ever happen with Audrey? She wasn't herself if she wasn't doing something or running around after someone. She took a deep breath then, after having a few minutes to try and calm herself. There didn't feel like a point to hold off the inevitable. If the baby wanted out now, then who was she to argue.

"Alright," The woman nodded gently as she gave Alan's hand a squeeze, "Let's do this."

The doctor stepped back in a couple of minutes later to ask if they'd decided, and Audrey was able to give a firmer nod by then, feeling somewhat better now that she had made a decision and had a direction. This was it, they were having a baby.

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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

"She, hm?" Alan raised an eyebrow with a grin. He was also glad that Audrey recognised her own inability to sit still, because as much as he would have backed her choice to wait, he hadn't been looking forward to making sure she took things easy. Although, it was probably just karma for all the times he'd made her chase him around the school yard when he should have been sitting at his desk, doing paperwork, like a good headmaster. They were going to have their baby now, and with the decision made, Alan felt that familiar thrill flutter through his stomach and throat. He would never get used to this.

The anxiety, the joy. A terrible and gruelling process, but the rewards were always worth it. Alan had always wanted a big family, he had always wanted kids. This morning he'd had three kids under his roof, and tomorrow it could be five. Some would be daunted by the sudden increase, but Alan was excited. Lauren was going to be a challenge, but they would straighten that out. Once she realised that coming back from the dead didn't entitle you to special treatment, that she was equally as loved as the other children and not above them, he felt like she would fit in. The Lauren who had visited his dreams had always been sweeter, and he figured that girl must be in there somewhere.

"What a Christmas we're gonna have, eh?" he said with a broad and unstoppable grin. "You and me, our five kids. Unless you're hiding twins in there, Auds?" his eyes lit up with a mischevious hope. He knew there wasn't, but it would have been wonderful. For him at least. Not so much for Audrey who would have to push out more than the expected one baby. He pulled the chair closer in, and sat down, still not letting go of her hand. This part, he knew, could take some time. And it could be over in a blink, too. Tavi had all but fallen out of Rachel before they even got to the hospital.

With his free hand, Alan took his pocket-sized Quillbook out, scrawling a quick note to Stuart, his mother, and other relevant family members to let them know it was Go Time. Ems responded with a very excited drawing of a stick-figure version of herself screaming "Yay!" within seconds. Alan showed it to Audrey with a half-snorted laugh.

"Pretty sure Ems never pulls her nose out of her damn Quillbook," he said. "Sent your parents and Meri a note too... anyone else you want me to tell?"

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Tally Staff ☆ Headmaster's Assistant, Fill-in 'Mum'★ LilyCat
26 year old Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

"I don't know why I said, 'she'," Audrey admitted with a small laugh at having that pointed out, and she lifted her free hand to rub her belly, "I guess I must think I'm having a girl. Poor Cam." She couldn't help another chuckle. She did feel sorry for the boy, surrounded by sisters everywhere, but even if this baby was a girl then there was always a chance for a boy later on. It wasn't as though she planned at stopping with the one, she was pretty sure that she would end up putting a second storey on the house in a couple of years, due to having extended as far as they could with the veranda. "Well, at least we knew we were going to have bub before Christmas, so I already planned that. Just have to work out presents for Lauren as well, which is easy enough," The young woman offered a nod, glad for the distraction in thoughts. She did snort at the idea of a hidden twin, she doubted they wouldn't have noticed that.

Still, Audrey laid back on the bed as she watched Alan write a note to whoever he thought would need to know, there were going to be a lot of visitors within the next day or so, though to be honest Audrey was happy to just have Alan here for the moment. She would end up probably getting tense with too many people around, and she didn't want to do anything else to cause any risk. The doctor had mentioned high blood pressure, she knew that meant she should be doing near nothing. Didn't help that the pains weren't settling or giving her any peace.

"Stu will probably tell Adele, and Arti and Derrick... and anyone else that you didn't already send a note to. My family won't waste time in getting here, probably already dropped everything and getting the floo powder out at home," The young woman had to snicker quietly. As strange as it all had been months ago, she knew her parents were excited with the nearing due date, and though Meri hadn't said much about it aside from asking Audrey how she was doing, she knew her older sister was also just that little bit excited as well.

"Alrighty, Audrey. It's time to get you prepped a bit. We're going to move you to another room, and the doctor will get things started. If you're lucky, you might be holding the little one this afternoon!" The midwife smiled warmly as she began to kick the wheel locks off so that she could roll the hospital bed with Audrey on it. "Is there a bag or case or anything?" She then asked, causing Audrey's eyes to widen in sudden shock as she realised they didn't have any of her things that she'd had prepared for the hospital and the young woman looked at Alan.

"We forgot my bag! It's got everything I need for me and the baby. You need to get it... or get someone to bring it here."

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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

Damnit. He'd forgotten the bag. That was four out of four times, now. Eventually he was going to learn, right? The excitement of rushing off to the hospital had always meant that the little things got skipped, and he cringed. It wasn't the end, though. Just as he had three times before, he could fix this. Alan squeezed Audrey's hand, walking fast alongside the bed as they moved through corridors. 

"Hey, I'm not going anywhere," he reminded her. "I'll get someone to bring it up, it'll be here when you need it. Promise." Alan had more than enough family in Narrie to sort it out, and if they were unavailable---there were plenty of other people around to help outside of them. He was pretty sure Ems would have it here in seconds, all he had to do was ask. Once they got settled in the next room, he would send off another few messages. If---of course---Stuart hadn't already realised and sent it over. That was a big possibility too.

At least Audrey seemed calmer. Alan's own concerns had been quickly flooded by excitement, he'd been counting down to this day from the moment Audrey told him about the pregnancy. Whatever happened from here, was going to happen. Good or bad. There was no point in holding back, worrying about it. Alan was going to throw himself into the moment and if that ended in pain, then it would have always ended in pain. He doubted it though. So far, aside from their dramatic arrival, everything seemed quite normal.

"Anyone particular you'd like to bring it up?" he asked, aware that whoever got that honour would no doubt want to stick around and be one of the first to see the baby. Alan's job, for the forseeable future, was going to be ensuring that people didn't overwhelm Audrey in their eagerness to meet the new arrival. Everyone would want to come all at once, and that was exhausting at the best of times, let alone with a newborn to look after. 

This part, Alan was confident would go well. It was after that he worried about. After, when the excitement was over and the reality of five kids in the house was weighing on them. While he believed Audrey would handle it better than Rachel did, the worry niggled at him all the same. But all he could do was make sure she had all the support she could possibly need, and let life go as it would.

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Tally Staff ☆ Headmaster's Assistant, Fill-in 'Mum'★ LilyCat
26 year old Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

As Alan reassured Audrey that the bag would be there when it was needed, the woman could only nod, the discomfort in her abdomen bothering her enough that she wasn't sure what to say or even whether she did care as much as a moment ago. She knew now what women meant about no one being able to prepare you for labour. Aside from the fact that it was different for everyone, there was really no accurate way to describe it, and in the end it was simply something that one had to deal with. She was glad for the hand that held her own though, the ability to squeeze it helping to remind her that Alan was right here and would be with her for the entire time. Even with the assurance from the doctor, this was still scary, and she realised more now than ever that she really wanted her mum and dad and big sister nearby too.

"Mum and Dad won't take long to get here, right? I don't think they will, they'll drop everything," Had she already said that? Audrey had a feeling that she had, but she felt like she needed to remind herself. The question of who she wanted to bring her bag left her mind blank for a moment. She wanted her parents here. As much as she loved Alan's family like they were her own, right now she felt like the baby daughter who just wanted her mother and father to cuddle her and remind her that everything was going to be alright. For the first time since her move, she truly felt the distance from her family.

"Let's wait... see if Stu or Marie have noticed and sent my things," Audrey finally said. She knew that if anyone brought her things, that they would stick around until the baby was born, and really the only people she wanted was Alan and her parents. The idea of more people made her feel uneasy, not liking the idea of having a crowd around her right now while she didn't feel so great. Excited and scared and nauseous and bloated and in pain. No, she didn't want more people around to witness this, not when she knew herself enough to know that it could all give way to frustration and irritation at any moment.

Brought to her room, it seemed, the bed was locked into place, a judge of ice water and glass set on a tray table for her, and the midwife hooked the remote onto the side of the bed, reminding Audrey and Alan the button to press if they needed anything, and then they were alone again, and Audrey rested back against the pillow that was propped behind her as she looked toward Alan.

"I'm a bit scared," The young woman murmured quietly, "Everything's going to be alright, right?"

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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

With his free hand, Alan checked Quillbook again. 

"Meri's got them rounded up and out the door already, by the look of it," he reassured her with a smile. Audrey's bag was waiting for them in the room, which wasn't a surprise either.

Stuart was good at things like that. Heck, Alan was pretty sure Stuart was good at everything. Had Alan more confidence in himself, it might have been a rivalry---but Alan had always known he couldn't compete. Stuart was naturally smarter, stronger, better-looking. Alan had his own strengths, that he never gave himself enough credit for, but the biggest factor was that he'd never been as ambitious as Stuart. Nor had he really wanted anything more glamorous than he had. Alan was annoyed enough by the politics involved in running a school, he didn't mix well with career politicians (having a habit of pointing out they were full of shit) and never did well in the city.

That didn't stop him from comparing his achievements to Stuart's success, and feeling just a little like the backwards country cousin. While he was extremely grateful that Stuart had sent the bags over, he wished he'd bloody thought to get them himself. Given himself a chance to be the hero of the day, because that was what he did want. Alan didn't really care that outside of Narrie, he was just some relation to the Australian Minister of Magic. A nobody. 

At the school, he was the headmaster. At home, he was Dad. To Audrey, he wanted to be her hero.

"I'm not gonna let you go," he promised, settling himself against the bed. Alan knew that he couldn't promise that everything would be fine, even if there was a very big chance it would be. He wouldn't lie. He wouldn't make promises he couldn't keep. What he could promise was that he would be there. That they would be alright, even if the day was not. Whatever came next, they would face it together.

"We will be alright, sweetheart. It's all pretty scary, though." Alan admitted. "If there's anything you need or want, you tell me. Okay? I'll make it happen."

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Tally Staff ☆ Headmaster's Assistant, Fill-in 'Mum'★ LilyCat
26 year old Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

"Hehe, go figure Meri's got both her and their shit together," Audrey had to chuckle, but hearing that, it also made her feel much better about her sister's view on everything. She knew that Meri only wanted her happiness, but surely she could see by now that Audrey was happy. Incredibly so. And no doubt once Meri saw the baby, then she would melt into a puddle of love and doting auntiness. That was what Audrey could imagine. Beneath the bitterness that had grown over the recent years, Meri was still there, under it all, waiting for a reason to be able to shed all that negativity. Waiting to be shown that there was still some light in the world. She saw the bags and relaxed, though her hand remained gripping Alan's as she sighed.

Almost as soon as they were settled in Audrey felt herself feeling super uncomfortable and buzzed a nurse. She felt like she would cry with the pain that seemed to grip her entire torso, reaching through to her spine, and she was asked if she wanted something for the pain, to which she nodded. The midwife quickly stepped out to speak with the doctor before returning, saying that they were going to give her an epidural due to the stress her body was under already, but for now Audrey would have to try to relax with some gas. That was fine. Anything was better than nothing. After having it set up, Audrey held the mask over her mouth a little to breathe and waited for the nurse to leave before she spoke to Alan again.

"It might sound a little awful, but I'm glad that no one had to bring the bags. I just want you here right now... and my family, but so long as you're with me I don't feel as scared," The woman admitted quietly, offering Alan a small smile, before closing her eyes and trying to relax against the pains that continued to come and go. "You're my Batman," She mused, and then snickered, before it turned into a quiet giggle, though it was momentarily cut off with a sharp pain that caused her to bend forward a bit and take a moment to breathe, "Fucking hell, this pain is bollocks." The Englishwoman complained, her home accent becoming more noticeable before she put the mask back to her face.

"Next year at the convention, we need to try to get Kate so drunk that she dresses up with us," Audrey said, her mind back on the Batman tangent, which led to how she ended up like this, which shifted her mind back to the Convention. "Gotta do it... and Matt too... make them both dress up," Another small giggle erupted from her, before she then gasped as an idea struck her, "Oh! Better yet! Cast a charm that puts everyone in costumes!"

By the time the doctor turned up to begin preparations to make sure her body was ready, as well as discuss the epidural, the woman was still laughing and trying to think up more and more silly ideas to make next year's Convention a fun time for all.

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