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"John, call the doctor, and tell him we are on our way to the hospital," directed Izumi, from the bedroom. "Terry, would you get my suitcase?" After making the phone call, John ran to the small garage behind the house and got the car started. Terry carefully helped Izumi down the steps as John pulled up. Izumi got in the back seat.

"Get in, Terry. We're not going without you," she said calmly, noticing his hesitation. He smiled, and climbed in beside John. The three mile drive into Chaumont was over with before Izumi had a chance to find the one position that did not give discomfort.

"You go in with Izzy," said Terry, as John stopped in front of the hospital. "I'll park the car." Terry watched as John and Izumi slowly walked into the hospital.

After checking in at the main desk, Dr. Chambers directed them to their LDR (labor, delivery, recovery) suite.

"May my friend come in?" asked John, when he saw Terry standing in the hallway.

"Is he a part of your wife's support team?" asked the nurse.

"Yes," interjected Izumi, who had been following the conversation from her bed. The nurse nodded for him to come in, and shut the door.

"Your wife's cervix is dilating, Mr. Johannes," said Dr. Chambers. "The closer she comes to delivery, the stronger her contractions will become. Try to keep her relaxed, and do the deep breathing exercises I told you about. I'll check back in a few minutes." John sat down in a chair beside Izumi's bed, while Terry stood in the corner, not noticing the chair that sat empty beside him.

"Dove," said John, taking Izumi's hand, "you are almost there." Izumi smiled weakly. Her back tightened and relaxed with every contraction. Though she did not say so, Izumi was becoming frightened. "You are breaking my heart," whispered John, tightening his grip on her hand. "Remember, 'What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee'?" he asked.

"The magic words," said Izumi. She recalled John's unwavering voice as he spoke to her mother that night on the bus ride to Three Mile Bay. She could even hear the thunder pounding the air, and the lightning stretching it's thin fingers through the night sky. Even though John had not known her, he endured her mother's cold remarks, and encouraged a wildflower to hope. "Trust in His Providence," he had said.

"I love you, John," said Izumi, between her labor pains. John winced as the next wave of contractions took hold.

"I love you too."

Dr. Chambers returned and examined Izumi, as Terry sat down, placing his head between his legs.

"The baby is moving into position," he announced. Izumi was sweating profusely. She had never felt so exhausted before in all her life. John felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned to see Terry, white as a sheet, standing behind him.

"Does she need me here?" he asked quietly.

"It's all right, Terry. You can go now," said John sympathetically, patting him on the back. Terry took one more look at Izumi, and quickly decided to get some air... outside.
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