Afterwards (by deansgirl)

The whole Cartwright house was in a frenzy. But then, as Sophie put in, when weren’t they? There were so many preparations to be made for the arrival of the baby. Joe was pacing the hallway, his face pale and drawn. Adam sat lazily on the sofa, a cigarette in his lips, laughing at his younger brother’s first-time father jitters.

Occasionally a cry could be heard from the bedroom. Joe would run to the door and try to open it. But Sophie or Catherine or Doc Martin would stick their heads out and tell him that everything was all right. Adam laughed and wondered if he was this bad when Sophie had their oldest. He’d have to ask Doc Martin sometime.

No one expected the baby to come this soon. Maybe that was the cause of Joe’s anxiety. Easter was coming up and Sarah had been sitting in the living room with Sophie and her sister Catherine when the pangs started. The ladies were making Easter baskets for the children of Virginia City. The baskets were to have silly little things in it that kids love, like stuffed hares and chocolate candy. Joe and Adam sat in the dining area reading the latest news article from the city and laughing at the women’s foolish gossip. Since Catherine was free and lived in the city she often brought gossip out to the Ponderosa. Adam had to smile at that. She was like the Ponderosa’s gossip column. Not that he minded.

What she brought was enough to keep Sophie and Sarah happy until her next visit. Sophie, although a nurse during the war, had very little experience with birthing babies. Except for the times she had given birth she really had never assisted before. Adam remembered the look of panic in Sarah’s eyes as the pangs ripped through her body. He remembered how she had started to breathe faster…much too fast to his way of thinking. Sophie was out heating water before they helped Sarah to the bed. Joe had walked over to his wife, his arm around her trying to help her. But her rapid breathing was interfering with everything. It was then that Catherine Thomas leapt into action. She had brought a paper bag* with some food for her sister when she came to the ranch earlier that day. She reached for it and thrust it in her sister hands. “Breathe into the bag.” She ordered Sarah. “Take some deep breathes and look at me.”

Her commanding tone caused Sarah to do just that. “You’re going to be all right.” Catherine assured her sister gently. “Breathe with me, Sarah. That’s it. Everything is going to be fine.” As Sarah’s breathing became more natural, Catherine removed the bag from her sister’s face and took her arm, gently helping her off the sofa. “Let’s go to your room.” Her voice soothing and quiet. “You’ll be more comfortable there.” Sarah nodded and started to follow her sister. Joe leapt to pick up his wife but Sophie, watching from the eating area shook her head at him. The last thing they needed was Joe hurting himself or his wife in his anxiety.

Adam snapped back to reality as Joe stopped next to him. “How long do these things take?” he groaned.

Adam puffed on his cigarette. “Hours.” He replied honestly. “My gosh, Joe, settle down. Women have babies all the time. They get used to it.”
“Maybe.” Joe answered. “But anything could happen. She could die!” he exclaimed.

“She won’t die.” Adam replied.

“How do you know?”

“She’s a strong healthy woman.” Adam answered. “They usually don’t die.”

“What about your mother?”

A frown crossed Adam’s face. “Let’s not bring my poor mother into this.” He answered. “She fell, remember?”

Joe nodded. “Sorry, Adam. I guess I’m just nervous.”

Adam smiled. “As well you should be.” He answered. “When Sophie had Faith I was crazy with worry. “Doc Martin will tell you how I spent the whole time at the bedroom door like some guard watching over everything that went on.”

Joe smiled at the scene of his usually clam older brother going crazy with worry. Then the bedroom door opened and Catherine appeared. “Joe.” She said softly.

Joe leapt forward. “What is it?” he asked, panic in his face.

She smiled and opened the door wider. Sarah lay on the white sheets, pale but smiling. Joe walked cautiously towards her. “Sarah?” he asked nervously.
he pulled back the sheets on the bed. Nestled next to her was a tiny little bundle that moved an arm and cried. “It’s a boy, Joe.” She whispered with a glowing look radiating from her.

Joe sat next to her carefully and asked, “Can I see him?”

Sarah lifted him up and handed the baby to her husband. “It’s time you meet your son.” She answered.

Sophie, Catherine, and Doc Martin left the room, closing the door behind them. Adam standing just outside the door smiled at his wife and took her in his arms. “Well?” he asked.

She smiled. “It went well. She is so happy.”

Adam laid a hand on his wife’s swollen belly. “I am, too.” He smiled.

Sophie looked over at Catherine. “Thank you for your help with Sarah. I don’t know what I would have done if you had not been here.”
She laughed. “Done it yourself, of course.” She answered, slipping into her red traveling cloak. “I’ll leave you alone.” She smiled. “I have a party to plan.”

“A party?” Sophie asked. “You mean, the Easter party?”

“No.” Catherine turned back. “A party to welcome my nephew.” Then she turned and was gone.

Sophie and Adam standing at the door watched the vivacious lady ride away. Behind her was Doc Martin’s more conventional carriage. Her hair whipped in the wind and Sophie smiled. Somehow she knew Catherine was laughing.
*By the 1860’s the first machines for making paper bags were invented. S.E. Petee is the man remembered for making the best of these machines. However, all these machines were a bit different and each one made slightly different bags. In 1869, the Union Company of Pennsylvania made a paper bag-making machine that combined all the best features of the other machines. This company really started the paper bag making business.

By 1875 the Union Company of Pennsylvania was making so many bags they changed the company name to the Union Bag and Paper Company. In their first year as a paper bag company, they made 606 million bags, a huge number for that time. The mass production of paper bags helped storekeepers cut their prices.

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Author: deansgirl

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