Jessie went into labor right on time. Gavin traveled with her to the hospital. When they arrived, he sent Jessie in by herself to check-in. His only explanation was that he was waiting for someone else.
Jessie assumed that Akira was joining them, but she was wrong. Through the windows of the hospital behind her, a woman could be seen running towards Gavin.
Even if Jessie had noticed the woman, she wouldn’t know her. This was the first time the woman had ever set foot in this part of the world.
Jessie didn’t get a chance to meet the mystery woman because the babies were coming fast. She climbed in the the baby birthing machine, feeling a wide array of emotions. She was nervous about her first childbirth experience. She was so happy for the Ralston-Kibo family. She was anxious because she knew she would deeply love children that she wouldn’t get to raise. She was scared because she’d already agreed to go through this another time after this. And she was angry that she felt anything more than simply pride at how she was helping a family that couldn’t do this without her.
Soon, the babies were out. Their birth certificates were filled out with the names Akira and Gavin painstakingly chose.
Soon the family was back home. Gavin felt a love so deep, something he didn’t know he could feel, something he never thought he’d get a chance to feel. He stared into the eyes of his son Jamari and time stood still.
Then Jamari started screaming in hunger. Gavin knew he had to step aside to let Jessie breast feed, but he did so reluctantly.
Akira peered down into Wren’s bassinet. “Hi there, little one. I’m your dad–one of your dads. We’ll figure out what you all will call us soon enough, but we’re just so happy you’re here. You’re going to have the whole world at your finger tips, did you know that?” Wren cooed at him in response, seeming to communicate that she knew she already had him wrapped around her little finger.
Though they were eager for Jessie’s next pregnancy, they waited the recommended amount of time as suggested by the fertility specialist. Caring for two infants was a breeze in a house with five adults, and soon Wren and Jamari aged up to toddlers.
Both twins got their mother’s vibrant red hair, and their skin fell somewhere between that of Gavin and Jessie. The whole family agreed they were captivating, and they were looking forward to seeing what kind of people they would turn into.
The twins were almost always happy. Jamari was a bit wild, but he never got too far out of hand. Wren was inquisitive and full of questions, but she was clever. Being surrounded by loving family brings out the best in everyone, and these kids were no exception. Being surrounded by every toy and learning tool under the sun didn’t hurt either.
With their aging up to toddler came the time for Jessie’s second pregnancy. She wanted to wait, if only to have more time with the twins, but she knew that was never supposed to be part of the plan. She got pregnant very easily, just like the first time. She was feeling like one of the family, and did her best to make the most of the time while she could. Jessie, Kenya, Gavin, and Akira were all playing Don’t Wake the Llama in the kids’ room. Akira and Jessie were happy to join in the Ralston time-honored tradition of trash-talking through the entire game.
Jessie was about to respond to Gavin’s latest threat when she felt that now-familiar sharp cramp in her stomach.
This time, it was Akira that joined her at the hospital. No mystery guests showed up.
This pregnancy was a single, for which Jessie’s body was grateful. Before she knew it, Jessie had given birth to a wonderful little baby boy who Gavin and Akira named Kai. Jessie had fallen in love for the third time.
In that moment, Jessie knew this adventure was almost over. She would have lots of feelings to deal with, both good and bad. But she would never regret her choice to be a surrogate, even in a situation as unconventional as this. She knew it wasn’t time to say good bye just yet, but she still held her third born close to her chest, gently snuggling him as if it were for the last time.
Back at the apartment, Wren and Jamari didn’t seem all that happy to have a new sibling.
As Jessie breast fed little Kai, Gavin swept in to help comfort the twins.
Having two infants was easy, but having two toddlers and an infant was less easy. Thank goodness it wasn’t time for Jessie to leave yet. The plan was for her to stay until right after Kai aged up to toddler. Since she was producing breast milk, they wanted her to breast feed for as long as possible. While she was around, she helped with things like potty training.
Akira remembered the deep love he felt the first time he saw the twins. That same loving, I’d-do-anything-for-you feeling came rushing back the first time he held his son Kai. He was sure he was melting into a big pile of goo, but somehow his arms were still intact to let him hold his son.
In that moment, it became official. The Ralston-Kibo family was complete.