While David struggled to make the decision that would change his life forever, Emily's gynaecological surgeon struggled to keep both mother and child alive, but he was running out of time. He needed a decision immediately, yet he had to wait for Emily's family doctor to return with David's decision.

"We're losing her, where is her doctor? we need a decision, now!" the surgeon shouted.

Emily's doctor entered the operating room on the run, and went straight to the surgeon...

Emily was deeply sedated and unaware of the drama that unfolded around her gurney. However, she entered a dream state and slowly became aware of Mark Larson standing beside the gurney. He rested his hand gently on her head.

"Papa Mark? what are you doing here? I can see you, but no one else, where is everybody? How is our baby? I was having trouble delivering, so my doctor said that they were going to do a caesarean section. What happened?"

"Sweet, sweet Emily, listen to me. Estelle and I couldn't love you more if you were born to us. You must let your body completely relax. The cord is around the baby's neck. Everything in you is fighting for life, including the baby. In this struggle, the cord is tightening. The doctors can't see it, or reach it. Let every muscle, every tissue, every cell, every fibre of your being, relax."

Emily's face and shoulders visibly relaxed. Her expression calmed. Mark smiled. He reached into Emily's open incision and moved his hand around inside. His face registered complete concentration.

"That's my girl. I'm just moving the cord away from your son's neck. The doctors will be able to save both of you now. David had to decide which one of you to save. He chose you. He thought you would be able to have other children, but you won't. There is too much damage. They will have to give you a hysterectomy."

"We have a son? No more children?"

"A son, yes. You will name him Daniel. Daniel Barry Larson. David already has my name, so there is no need to give it to the baby, although I know you've discussed it. There will be no more children for you, but it won't matter. Your house will be filled with the children of others, and love, and laughter. Little Danny will be enough for you as David was enough for us."

"Why the name Daniel? That's not even one of the names we were thinking about."

"Its the name of the baby's biological grandfather. David's father, Daniel Cassidy. He was a football player. He's dead now. He
gave our David life, I think he should be honoured in some way."

"David never told me about that. He only mentioned the fact that he
was adopted. It didn't interest him much. He never seemed to have any need to pursue his biological parentage. He knew that his mother is your daughter, but he didn't seem interested in finding her. Did you look for his biological father, papa Mark?"

"I didn't look for him, the information just....came to me... recently. It looks like your son has been successfully delivered, and you will recover from this difficult birth in a short time."

"My son has been delivered? I've been talking to you, why wasn't I aware of his delivery?"

"You're still under sedation, Emily.I don't know if you will remember this conversation when you wake up or not. Just tell David to be strong for Estelle. She'll need him now. It would be a good idea if you move back into our house. Estelle will love helping with the baby."

The room around them seemed to glow with a soft florescent light, and Emily was no longer in the operating room. She was in the recovery room, with only herself in the bed, with Mark standing beside it.

"I have to go now, Emily. I'm being...called away...Estelle and David know that I will love them forever. Goodbye, sweet little Emily. I will also love you forever, my daughter. Goodbye...."

"Goodbye Papa Mark, I love you.."

Emily returned to her sedated sleep, and Mark simply faded away.

Downstairs in the hospital chapel,

David held Estelle, who is wept quietly. Barry and Colleen were now part of the group. She explained to David what had occurred while he was in the maternity waiting room.

"When Colleen called to tell us that Emily was in delivery, I tried to wake Mark. There was no response, so I turned on the
light. He had passed away in his sleep, David. Quietly, without pain, beside the one person in the world who loves him most."

"We knew this was inevitable, mama. He didn't want to be hooked up to machines to keep him alive. He died at peace. I thank God for that. He was the best, most honourable man I've ever known."  David said quietly as he held her in his strong supporting arms.

Emily's doctor entered the chapel and approached David and Estelle.

"Mrs. Larson is waking up, Mr. Larson. A nurse is in the room with your son. Mother and baby are doing well, much better than expected under the circumstances."

Estelle gently eased herself out of the protective circle of David's embrace.

"Circumstances? What happened, David? I'm not fragile. If something is wrong, I need to know. Mark would never want my grief to get in the way of taking care of my family."

"I know that mama, it's just that I've barely processed it myself. It was a breach birth, and the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck. The situation looked hopeless. The doctor thought that only one of them could be saved. Then something suddenly happened, the doctor doesn't know what it was. Somehow, Emily's entire body relaxed, the cord came loose, and the baby all but delivered himself!"

"Do you think it might be a miracle, David?"

"I don't know mama. Kyle, Judy and I have been down here in the chapel praying for the last four hours. It sure seems like a
miracle to me. The doctor had no explanation at all as to how it could have happened."

"Well, let's go up and meet the new addition to our family."

Everyone left the chapel and made their way back upstairs to the maternity ward, where Emily was meeting her son for the first time.

The End

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