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By now, Abby was ready to try anything-- anything at all, to lessen the pain and make it go away.

With some difficulty, Jake carefully lowered her onto the floor and sat down behind his wife, placing a leg on either side of her.

"Lean back and rest against me," he instructed. When Abby complied, Jake rocked her back and forth until she became visibly relaxed. The contractions continued to come, but Abby was calmer now, and she even attempted a smile when Izumi looked down at them sitting on the floor.

Grateful that the gentle motions seemed to be soothing Abby, Jake asked for the notepad and Izumi handed it to him.

Using her mother's intuition, Izumi called Agatha, and arranged to have her good friend baby-sit the triplets as soon as possible.

"Abby, your contractions are five minutes apart," announced Jake in a calm, steady voice. Abby was reading his emotions, and Jake realized that he had to be more composed for her sake.

"I don't want to get up," she breathed, still relaxing against him.

"You don't have to," smiled Jake. "We have to wait an hour, and if the contractions keep coming, then we can go to the hospital."

Unsure whether that was good news or bad, Abby decided not to think about it. She could feel Jake behind her, and his contact was reassuring. Even though her belly was growing tighter and tighter, Abby was strangely euphoric. This wasn't as bad as she had thought it would be!

As she was rejoicing, Abby felt something wet between her legs. The sensation quickly permeated through her clothing until even Jake noticed it.

"Abby," he tried to remain calm, "your water just broke. We have to go to the hospital right now."

"No," she weakly argued, "I don't want to get up."

Jake wanted to tell Abby that if she stayed where she was, she was going to give birth on her parents' living room floor! Since he didn't have time to debate with her, Abby could only protest as Jake lifted her to her feet and helped her out to the Johanneses' car.

Providentially, Agatha arrived just as Jake was getting Abby into the back seat. After Izumi exchanged a few hurried words with her friend, she climbed behind the wheel and started the engine.

"How's Abby doing?" inquired Izumi, momentarily glancing into the rear view mirror to see AJ as the vehicle pulled onto the main road.

"She's doing just fine," answered Jake, wiping the perspiration from Abby's pale face. Another contraction gripped Abby, and she quickly clamped onto Jake's arm with both hands. "You're doing good," he encouraged her. "I'm so proud of you."

Struggling to calm down, Abby rocked back and forth in the back seat while Jake did his best to keep up with her, for the car didn't afford enough room for him to hold her the way he had on the living room floor. Sensing that she was nearing panic, Jake took her face between his hands and encouraged her to breathe.

"Calm down, and the air will come easier," he reminded her.

Abby weakly nodded. She tried to relax as much as she had back at the house, but it was difficult when she could feel the movement of the car-- every second bringing her closer to the hospital. Abby longed for it all to be over, and to hold her baby boy. Her baby boy. Abby struggled to think about Ricky, and to keep from panicking. She prayed in snatches of silent pleas, asking God for help.
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