Rating: R for language
Word count: ~4,882
Summary: They start trying to get pregnant on January 1st, a couple of weeks after Rachel's 26th birthday.
Disclaimer: This Glee fanfiction is based upon the television show of the same name. All characters and situations other than my own are sole property of Ryan Murphy Productions and 20th Century Fox Television.
A/N: Title borrowed from the Sixpence None the Richer song The Last Christmas Without You. All my thanks and love go out to phelipa and eyeteemonkey who have cheered me on through this whole process! Thank you, lovelies, I couldn't have finished without you!
They start trying to get pregnant on January 1st, a couple of weeks after Rachel’s 26th birthday. She absolutely refuses to call it a New Year’s resolution, insisting that the optimal time for conception just so happens to fall on that particular day, but Puck knows her far too well to believe that. His girl loves symbols, always has, and what could be more symbolic than a new year bringing in a new life? Still, it doesn’t stop him from writing ‘knock my wife up’ on the very top of his list of New Year’s resolutions. When he shows her his list, he’s got a proud smirk on his face and Rachel rolls her eyes, snatches the pen from him, and immediately crosses out his words - replacing them with ‘be less crass’. Then she gives him this satisfied little smile and laughs before pulling him into a kiss, so he figures he isn’t going to end up sleeping on the couch or anything like that.
They’ve been married for over a year and, sure, the topic of kids has come up on numerous occasions but never as anything more than kids being something they both hoped for, someday. Apparently someday has arrived, because one morning Rachel up and throws out all of her birth control pills, replacing them with prenatal vitamins. She has this long, detailed list of reasons why now is the perfect time for them to have a baby, the main one being that her Off-Broadway show is about to end its run, but he pretty much stops listening to what she’s saying right after she tells him they are going to have to start having sex even more frequently than they already do. Besides, he doesn’t exactly need any convincing that now is the right time for them to start a family. He freaking loves kids and wants a baby just as much as she does, possibly even more.
Neither one of them says it out loud, but they both sort of figure Rachel will get pregnant right away. There is no reason to think that she won’t – they’re both young, healthy, and obviously Puck’s parts are in fine working order. February brings their first negative pregnancy test, followed by March, April, May, and June. She takes the first few months of negative results in stride, each time emerging from their bathroom with a tight smile on her face and telling him,
“Maybe next month.”
July brings their sixth negative test, followed shortly by the arrival of a birth announcement in the mail from Kurt and Blaine. It’s a gorgeous black and white shot of their two beautiful new babies with the words ‘We’ve been doubly blessed’ inscribed underneath. Rachel squeals when she pulls the picture out of the envelope and she has this huge, elated grin on her face as she shows it to him, cooing incessantly about how precious the babies are and how much she thinks they look like both of their dads. Kurt and Blaine have a boy and a girl, Carter and Grace, and Rachel quietly muses just how lucky they are to have one of each. Puck knows that she would never, ever begrudge her friends a single moment of their joy, but he also knows what she must be thinking because he’s thinking it, too.
When they sit down to dinner that night, she picks at her food and barely utters a word.
“Rach…” Puck starts, but she just shakes her head so he finds her hand underneath the table and threads his fingers through hers.
The first time she mentions the possibility of infertility, it’s mid-September and the whole ‘getting pregnant’ thing is really starting to wear them down.
She tries to be matter-of-fact about it, bringing it up one night before bed while he’s at the sink brushing his teeth. There’s nothing matter-of-fact about it, though, and when he looks at her he can see that her eyes are shining.
“Hey,” he takes her hand and pulls her into him for a hug. “You heard what the doctor said - it can take up to a year for even a perfectly healthy couple to conceive.”
She lets out a shaky little breath, “I know. I just…I want it to happen right now.”
It breaks his heart that he hasn’t been able to give her the one thing she wants more than anything else in the world, and it feels like there isn’t even a damn thing he can do about it.
Rachel brings up infertility no short of five times over the course of the next week before he finally has enough balls to look it up online. Just thinking about it scares the shit out of him, but he figures knowing the facts about it can’t feel too much worse than being clueless does. He’s sitting in his office one afternoon trying to kill some time so, out of curiosity, he pulls up Google and types infertility in the search engine. It feels like he’s been punched in the stomach when he looks at the costs of one round of In Vitro Fertilization and he actually thinks he might puke when he reads that sometimes it can take two or more rounds before a couple successfully conceives. He’s the head of the athletic department at a large New York City private school and they live quite comfortably, but they won’t be able to continue to do so if they have to pay a doctor to help them have a baby.
When he gets home from work that evening, he takes her right there on the kitchen table and then again later in their bedroom. He’s determined to give her a baby the old fashioned way, even if it’s the last thing he does.
Mornings are kind of their thing, always have been. Puck has to be up at an ungodly hour for work (seriously, he thinks starting the school day that early should be a punishable offense), and Rachel loves squeezing in some extra time with him before he leaves for the day. She teases that she really only gets up to make sure he eats something for breakfast other than sugar laden cereal marketed to children, but half the time she doesn’t end up cooking for him and she usually even looks the other way when he pulls the box of Cap’n Crunch (that she purchased) out of the cabinet.
He’s already running late for work because Rachel decided to wake him up by fucking straddling him and he in turn decided that a little morning quickie with his wife was way more important than like, actually having time to properly chew and swallow his breakfast.
Afterwards, Rachel joins him in the kitchen while he rushes to get out of the door, popping two frozen waffles into the toaster and then situating herself up on the counter next to the stove. He’s pouring coffee into a travel mug when he turns to her and asks, “Babe, do you want some?”
She shakes her head and he quirks his eyebrow at her. “What?”
“What do you mean what? You’re like, ninety percent caffeine. I’ve never seen you turn down coffee before in your entire life.”
“You’re late.” He repeats, less as a question and more as a confirmation because this is everything they’ve been waiting for. “How late?”
The smile on her face is so big, he is pretty sure her cheeks must be legitimately hurting. “Five days.”
Rachel barely has time to get the words out before his arms are around her and he’s lifting her off the counter. He spins her in a few celebratory circles around the kitchen before putting her down and brushing a kiss to her lips. “Holy shit, we actually did it!”
“We hopefully did it,” she stresses to him. “I still have to take a test.”
“What are you waiting for? You’ve got a billion of those things under the bathroom sink. Go pee on a stick already.”
She rolls her eyes. “I want to give it one more day. If nothing has happened by tomorrow morning, I’ll take one.”
He nods and slides one of his hands over her stomach, rubbing it lightly through the fabric of her shirt. “Do you like, feel pregnant?”
Rachel shrugs, “I don’t know, I’ve never been pregnant before.”
“Noah!” She gasps when she sees the time on the microwave clock. “You’re really late!”
“Yeah,” he smirks, “seems to be a theme with us this morning.”
Rachel quickly grabs his waffles out of the toaster and throws them into a Ziploc bag, hands him his coffee, and practically shoves him out the door. “Go!”
He has to laugh when he hears the door slam and lock behind him. “Love you too, babe.”
They spend the rest of the day trying really hard not to get their hopes up while also attempting to remain optimistic.
Rachel is already fast asleep when he comes to bed that night, so he carefully spoons up right behind her and darts a quick goodnight kiss to her temple. He usually ends up resting one of his hands on her hip while they sleep, but tonight he slides his hand up underneath the bottom of her shirt so that he can rest his palm flat against her belly.
It’s still pitch-black outside when he feels her slip out of bed and hears her bare feet pad across the wood floor the next morning. He rolls over and pries one of his eyes open, moaning a little at the bright stream of light coming into their room through the bathroom door she left partially opened.
“Babe,” Puck mumbles sleepily, “you want me to wait with you?”
“No, I-“she calls back. “Oh, shit. Damn it!”
He smirks, pushing himself up on his elbows in bed and trying to peer into their ensuite bathroom. “What’s the matter? Did you miss the stick and pee on your hand again?”
She is quiet for a moment before snapping back, “No, I most certainly did not. Go back to sleep, Noah.”
Rachel sometimes tells him to do the exact opposite of what she wants, especially when she’s pissed at him, so he knows that when she says go back to sleep, what she really means is come in here and fix your mistake. He climbs out of bed and grabs his favorite sweatshirt out of the laundry basket, pulling it over his head to stave off the chill of the early October morning.
“Come on,” he says pressing his face up to the door. “I’m really sorry, baby. I was only joking.”
She doesn’t answer him, and at first he thinks she is just annoyed and punishing him for being an asshole, but then he starts to get worried so he knocks softly on the door.
“Rach,” he pauses and is pretty sure he can hear her crying, “I’m coming in now.”
When he pushes the door open, he finds her sitting on the toilet with her panties around her ankles and her head cradled in her hands, an unopened pregnancy test lying discarded by her feet on the floor.
“Hey… hey, Rachel” he says, kneeling down in front of her and placing his hands on her bare knees, trying to get her attention. “What the hell happened?”
She looks at him and blinks slowly, causing a few fat tears to spill out onto her flushed cheeks. “I’m bleeding.”
“What? Where?” he asks, panicked, quickly looking over her body to see if she has any visible injuries.
“No,” she shakes her head when she realizes what he’s doing. “I’m bleeding. I started my period.”
“Oh,” Puck sighs, momentarily relieved but then absolutely crushed once what she is trying to say finally clicks with him. “Oh, fuck.”
“I started cramping in the middle of the night but I just sort of ignored it. This time I really thought…” her voice breaks and she stops, pressing her lips together.
He takes one of her hands and presses a couple of kisses across her knuckles. “Shhhh,” he soothes, “I know you did.”
Rachel begins to shiver and shake uncontrollably sitting there in nothing but her little camisole, so he takes off his sweatshirt and slips it over her head before going into their bedroom to find her a clean pair of underwear. When he comes back to the bathroom, he hides the unused pregnancy test in the back of a drawer and then sets to work soaking Rachel’s stained underwear in the sink so that she doesn’t have to deal with it.
It takes her a while, but eventually she composes herself enough to at least get up from the toilet. “Alright?” Puck ask when she walks towards him at the sink. She nods, wiping at her eyes with her sleeve. “Come on then, let’s get you back to bed.”
“Noah,” she protests, “you have work. I have things to do. We can’t lie in bed all days simply because I’m menstruating.”
He shakes his head, catching her wrist and pulling her gently into their room. He stops next to their bed and pushes back the covers with his free hand. “Sick days exist for a reason. We’re taking one.”
Rachel doesn’t really have the energy to argue with him. She’s absolutely heartbroken and, on top of that, she feels like crap, so she climbs into bed and lets him pull the comforter up over her. “Wait, you have to lie with me.”
Puck walks to the other side of the bed and gets in beside her. “You think I’m going to let you be lazy all by yourself today?”
“No,” she says, almost cracking a smile. “I know you better than that.”
“That’s what I thought. Now c’mere.” He extends his arm towards her and she scoots over, curling into his side and then resting her head against his chest so that she can hear his heart beating. “You need anything?”
She shakes her head. “Just hold me, okay?”
Puck wraps his arms around her and drops a kiss to her forehead. “Yeah, okay.”
They invite Kurt and Blaine over for dinner on a Friday evening in early November so that they can spend some time together before the chaos of the holiday season sets in. Kurt shows up at their door promptly at six, carrying nothing but a bottle of wine and some dessert. He tells Rachel they hired a babysitter for the twins for the night and Puck actually worries she’s going to murder him right there out in the hallway. Then Blaine walks up pushing a double stroller and essentially saves Hummel’s ass in the process.
Kurt and Blaine have the twins’ schedules set up so that they nap through dinnertime every night, enabling the two couples to enjoy a nice, peaceful meal together before the babies wake up. Blaine calls it sleep training, and Puck thinks that whatever it’s called, it’s fucking genius.
The babies start to fuss just as they’re taking their last bites of dessert and Rachel practically trips herself getting up from the table to see them.
“Kurt,” Blaine starts, “if you and Rach want to get them, I’ll warm up their bottles and then Puck and I can start cleaning up in here while you two feed them.”
“You think she really wants to get them?” Kurt asks jokingly. “Because I wasn’t so sure…”
Kurt gives Rachel the task of keeping Grace happy while he changes Carter’s diaper and they wait for the babies’ bottles to get warm. When he walks back into the living room from the kitchen carrying the bottles and Carter, he hears Rachel softly humming the notes from the chorus of For Good and he pauses behind the couch for a minute just so he can watch his best friend loving on his baby girl. Rachel has Grace snuggled up against her chest and she is swaying slowly from side to side as she walks around the coffee table with her in a makeshift little dance.
“Somebody loves her Auntie Rachel.” Kurt observes quietly and Rachel beams back at him.
“The feeling is mutual.” She nuzzles the top of Grace’s soft little head, breathing in some of her sweet baby scent. “Kurt, she’s absolutely intoxicating. What do you and Blaine do to her?”
“It’s crack,” he deadpans. “We sprinkle crack on both of their heads.”
“Oh, hush,” Rachel scolds him.
“Seriously though, you’re right. Blaine rubbed a bald spot on the top of poor Carter’s head with his nose.”
“He did not.” She laughs incredulously, so he shows her the missing patch of hair on the top of his son’s head. “Oh my goodness, he actually did!”
They settle in next to each other on the couch to feed the babies and once Kurt has Carter securely nestled in the crook of his arm, he leans forward and picks up the bottle of wine off the coffee table with his free hand and pours some in his glass.
He hovers over Rachel’s glass with the bottle, “And for you, my dear?”
“No, thank you.” She shakes her head, “None for me tonight.”
Kurt’s eyes grow wide. “Rachel Barbra Berry Puckerman,” he exclaims, playfully elbowing her in the side a few times. “Is there something you aren’t telling me?”
She lets out an uncomfortable little laugh. “No, I really wish there were. We’re still trying.”
He hums sympathetically. “It’ll happen, doll, just give it some more time. It took Blaine and me almost three years to get these two little things.”
“Yeah, but you both have penises.”
Kurt snorts loudly at her unexpected zinger. “True, true, but if we can do it, you certainly can. At least you already possess both the necessary parts in your relationship.”
Rachel gives him a half-hearted smile. “We do have that going for us, don’t we?” She brings Grace up to her shoulder and gently pats the baby’s back a few times to get her to burp. “I just - I’ve never wanted anything so badly in my entire life, Kurt.”
Kurt rests his hand on top of her thigh and squeezes it tightly. “Well, if there is one thing I have learned in all my years of being your best friend, it’s that you always find a way to get exactly what you want.”
She takes a pregnancy test a few days before her period is due to start in November. It marks ten months of trying, ten months of failures and broken dreams.
They’re lying together in bed that night when Rachel’s voice breaks through the silence.
“I don’t think I can do this anymore.”
She doesn’t elaborate on what this is, doesn’t really need to. “Okay, we can take a little break.”
“I mean-”she starts, stumbling over her words a bit, “I don’t want to stop trying completely; I just want to stop trying so hard. It’s not like we have to stop having sex or anything like that. I just…I don’t want to have to look at another negative test next month. I’m not sure I can handle it. ”
Puck clears his throat. “It’s alright, I get it.”
“I’m so sorry,” she whispers and he isn’t sure if she’s apologizing for wanting to take a break or for not being able to get pregnant.
He reaches across the space between them in the bed and takes her hand in his. “You have absolutely nothing to be sorry for.”
Rachel puts in a call to the office of the fertility specialist that her gynecologist recommended to her on the first of December.
She answers a lot of standard questions before the woman in charge of scheduling asks her how long she and her partner have been trying to get pregnant.
“It will be exactly one year on January 1st.”
“Have you ever been pregnant before, Mrs. Puckerman?”
“No, never,” she answers, all the while thinking it’s a ridiculous question to ask someone calling their office since not being able to get pregnant is kind of the whole problem.
“And your partner, has he successfully fathered any children in the past?”
The question stings a lot more than it probably should and it takes her a moment before she can answer. “Um, y-y-yes, he fathered a healthy baby girl when he was sixteen.” She stops herself from talking before she gets a chance to tell the lady that that pregnancy had happened on the very first attempt without either party even trying.
“Alright, well, we’ve had a cancellation at our office and can squeeze you in at 4’o clock on January 27th. You’re incredibly lucky to get an appointment so soon. We almost never have cancellations.”
Rachel certainly doesn’t feel very lucky. If she were truly lucky then she would be stretched out on the couch watching as her belly, round and heavy with baby, jumped and moved with every kick or, better yet, snuggled up in bed listening to the contented little suckling sounds her newborn made as he nursed. If she were truly lucky, she wouldn’t be scheduling an appointment with a fertility specialist after a long, difficult year filled with heartache and disappointment.
She desperately wants to tell the excessively cheerful woman on the other end of the line exactly that, but instead she politely thanks her and hangs up. Feeling both physically and emotionally drained from the conversation, she curls up under a blanket on the couch, switches the channel to A Baby Story, and cries herself to sleep.
She sleeps a lot longer than she intends to, not waking up until hours later when Puck arrives home from work and accidentally lets the door slam behind him.
“Babe, are you here?”
“Mmmmhmm,” she mumbles groggily.
“Hey, sleeping beauty.” He greets her affectionately.
Rachel slowly stretches her arms up over her head and lets out a little grunt. “Hi. How was your day?”
“It was good.” He leans down to peck her cheek and she reaches up, cupping his face with her hands and guiding him to her lips instead. “Better now, though,” he says against her mouth and Rachel laughs. “How was yours?”
“It was alright.” She pushes herself as far back into the cushions as she can and grabs for his hand, tugging on his arm a few times until he obliges and squeezes in beside her on the sofa. “I, um, I called the fertility specialist’s office today. We have an appointment to see her at the end of January.”
Puck lifts his hand to push some of her sleep-mussed hair out of her face, “Yeah? That’s good, right?”
She shrugs noncommittally. “I suppose, although it really feels more frightening than anything else.”
“I know,” he sighs. “It scares the shit out of me, too.”
Rachel’s eyes start to sting and she swallows hard against the lump in her throat. “What if this doesn’t work either, Noah?”
“It’ll work,” he assures her, his voice carrying a lot more confidence than he feels. “It has to work.”
For the fourth morning in a row, Puck awakens to the horrible sound of Rachel gagging in their bathroom. He steals a quick glance at the alarm clock on their nightstand to check the time (5:28 AM) and hastily rolls out of bed to go help her. It’s dark and, for whatever insane reason, Rachel’s been moving all their shit around in their room so he slams his toe directly into the trunk that used to be at the end of their bed. He mutters an expletive, FUCK, and hobbles the rest of the way to the bathroom on one foot.
When he gets to her, she’s leaning over the sink and taking slow, deliberate breaths, in through her nose and out through her mouth, in a desperate attempt not to throw up again. Her hair is falling in a curtain around her face so he comes up behind her and pulls it back because he knows how much she hates to get puke in her hair.
He rests his other hand against the small of her back, rubbing lightly as he says, “Just let it all out, baby. You’ll feel so much better once you do.”
“Uh-uh,” she shakes her head. That tiny bit of movement is enough to start her insides rolling again and she lets out a distressed moan before vomiting into the sink.
“Better?” He asks once she finishes.
She reaches across the sink for her toothbrush and squeezes the tiniest bit of toothpaste onto it. “No. Do I look better?”
“I don’t know. I think you’ve got a certain glow to you.”
She catches his grin in the reflection of the mirror and glares back at him. “Stop it, Noah.”
“Come on, Rachel, admit it. You’re totally knocked up.”
“We already had this discussion yesterday. I refuse to have it again. I am not pregnant.” She switches off the light and huffs back into their room, leaving him standing alone in complete darkness.
Puck decides that it’s probably in his best interest to give Rachel a couple of minutes to cool off, so he slinks out of the bathroom and down the hallway towards the kitchen. He pulls a box of saltine crackers out of the pantry and arranges them on a plate in the shape of a heart, then pours some ginger ale into a glass; stirring it around with a spoon to get all of the fizz out.
When he comes back to their bedroom, Rachel has turned a lamp on and she is sitting up in bed pretending to look at a book.
“I’m sorry,” he says, presenting her with the plate of crackers. “Forgive me?”
She purses her lips and stares at him just long enough to make him think that he’s actually still in trouble. “Yes,” she says, cracking a smile.
She picks up one of the crackers off the plate and nibbles on the edge of it delicately. “I’m still not taking a test.”
He flops down beside her on the bed, “Why not? This is what we’ve been killing ourselves for all year.”
“It’s probably just a virus, Noah.”
“And your period?”
“My period has been late before. Don’t you remember how horrible it felt when we thought I was pregnant and I wasn’t? I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in feeling that way ever again.”
“Do your boobs hurt?”
Rachel furrows her brow and cocks her head to the side. “Excuse me?”
“You know - your boobs. I got bored one day and started flipping through one of those books you bought when we first started trying. Sore breasts are a sign of pregnancy.”
She chews on her bottom lip for a minute like she always does when she’s considering things. “Fine, I’ll take a test, but I’m leaving it in the bathroom and you can look at it when the time is up.”
He grins. “Seriously?”
“Yes,” she pushes the covers back and slides out of bed. “I don’t want to discuss it when it’s negative, though. Just keep that in mind.”
Rachel goes into the bathroom and then comes back out a short time later. She fiddles around with her phone, sets an alarm to go off in five minutes, and then hands it to him. “The test is on the counter. I’m going back to sleep.”
“But Rach-“He starts to argue that she can’t sleep through what could be the biggest moment of their married lives. Then he remembers that they’re only doing this because they’re doing it on her terms so he quickly shuts his mouth.
Five minutes feels more like thirty, but her phone alarm finally buzzes in his hand alerting him that the test is ready. He feels like his heart is literally going to beat out of his chest and guilt twists somewhere deep inside him when he thinks about all those months she did this part, this terrifying, nerve-wracking part, all on her own.
Puck checks the test and then quietly slips out of the bathroom and back into bed behind her. She is lying on her back with her eyes closed, so she lets out a little sigh of acknowledgement that he has returned to let him know she’s still very much awake.
Puck grins, runs his hand over the surface of her belly, and then kisses her lips, “Hi, mommy.”
Nattie Alisa Puckerman pushes her way into the world on August 25th, a full week past her due date and following nearly twenty hours of unmedicated labor. She is born with a hearty cry that doesn’t stop until the doctor lays her up on her mother’s chest.
“Hello, you,” Rachel whispers, pressing a kiss to her wrinkly little forehead. “I’m so glad you’re finally here!”
“Finally!” Puck echoes, stroking Nattie’s soft cheek with his finger.
She has a head full of dark brown hair, the most beautiful red lips that Rachel has ever seen, and is seven pounds, four ounces of absolute perfection.
In Hebrew, her name means gift of great happiness and that is exactly what she is.