“New Life and Returning Home”
Summary: Brianna was angry about Jocasta’s will. Lord John had a plan if he needed to help. Brianna feared how things would be between her and Roger if he came back. Only two riders returned. Brianna forgave Jamie. Claire assessed John. Brianna went into labor. Jamie and Claire supported her. A healthy baby was born. The Fraser’s and Lord John left River Run. They happily returned to The Ridge. Roger was coming. He was bearded, committed, and ready.
Inside the Chapters:
River Run, May 1770
Brianna was in a huff over Auntie Jo’s stubborn refusal to change her will. Lord John to Brianna, “Pot meet kettle.” John believed doing nothing was the answer (p997, Nook). John went on to explain if Jocasta died leaving the plantation to Brianna, he would buy her slaves and free them in Virginia, and she would return his money, thus fixing the problem. He slyly made another point along the way (p998, Nook). Brianna asked and inferred that Lord John could never care for a child who wasn’t his own, so how could Roger be expected to? He told her for the sake of the parent, and he’d been doing that very thing for some time. Brianna misinterpreted it to mean her he was caring for because of her father (p999, Nook). Upon deeper reflection, Brianna was worried about the intimacy between her and Roger (p999, Nook). I love the ease of their conversation and the sharp wit of Lord John. Brianna was raped, there is a level of worry whether or not she can sexually be with Roger. Could he accept her if he couldn’t touch her? Could she ask such a sacrifice of him? She knows healing can take place because of Jamie being able to have a full relationship with her mother. Brianna seems to hold onto the most negative outcome possibilities as a way to guard and prepare herself.
Only two riders were seen by the servants, Brianna thought it must be Jamie and Claire. So many thoughts were running through Brianna’s mind. “Was Roger not found? They found him, and he didn’t want to come back?” She jokes to Lord John about him being her fallback. Lord John came up with other scenarios in which Young Ian and Roger rode separately from her parents. John proceeded to ask Brianna how far her remorse went for almost getting him killed (p1001, Nook). Out of the room, she flew to greet her father. Lord John was the wise and caring friend Brianna needed. Like Claire, Diana describes Brianna about nature, a storm cloud in this instance.
Cut to Claire as she examined Lord John (p1003, Nook). He asked after MacKenzie. She assured him Roger would be coming along later. Lord John is not convinced. Claire had faith in Roger returning. Without asking Claire opened John’s shirt to listen to his heart, lungs, and abdomen. Why would John be surprised by this gesture? She manhandles anyone needing medical attention. When she asked if he has moved his bowels, he downright refused to answer. John looked her over (p1003, Nook). I think he was admiring her and at the same time looking for anything to critique in a bitchy and catty way. Claire wanted to get a look at the trepanation site and was unusually delicate in the asking because she was curious (p1004, Nook). That line is quintessential Lord John. As Claire examined his head, she thanked him for helping Brianna while they were gone. John was pleased to have helped even if it cost him a hole in the head. John worried for the state of Brianna and Jamie’s relationship. Claire instructed him to look into the garden. All was well between the father and daughter. Claire thought Brianna would deliver soon and John professed his thankfulness at their return (p1004). At that, Claire returned the sapphire to John at Brianna’s request. “Jilted, by God!”.
Bottom of the Ninth
Claire told Brianna labor is like a baseball game. It’s mostly boring with bouts of activity. I like to say it has phases. Most of the labor a woman has more rest periods than work periods until near pushing when the end of active labor requires more work and little rest to finish dilation and bring the baby down. Brianna mentioned beer and hot dogs in response. Jamie asked if he should fetch some small beer. He then asked about a hot dog. Claire explained it was sausage on a roll. Brianna didn’t want one. Jamie decided he should leave, but Brianna wouldn’t let him (p1005, Nook). Claire was gripped with worry, and her brain went haywire thinking of how she almost died when she lost Faith. By the way, that was a placental abruption that could not have been stopped or fixed at any time. She’d had a subchorionic hemorrhage in mid-second trimester that resulted in a full abruption in the sixth month of pregnancy. This problem had nothing to do with her ability to carry a baby or birth. They sometimes happen without injury or accident. Claire prepared in her mind for how she would handle various situations that might arise during labor.
Jamie was called into service to walk Brianna around the room like he would a horse with colic to help distract her and progress labor. Claire opened the windows and took a moment to inhale the freshness of the outdoors. The house was in full anticipation and readiness for the birth. Claire contemplated how little needed to be done to support normal birth and how little could be done if it went wrong. Brianna wanted to lie down after walking for a long time. The labor was getting more intense and organized. Claire didn’t think it would be much longer, though five minutes apart is usually early labor, and it could last another 5-12 hours on average. I love how Brianna clings to Jamie and calls him daddy. Brianna asked Jamie to tell her a story. He told her stories as she held onto him. Claire rubbed her back. They offered excellent labor support! Claire had Phaedre fill the room will candlelight to provide light since Brianna had started voluntarily pushing. Claire provided perineal massage with oiled fingers (not necessary, but usual for her training). The amniotic sac broke, and the waters splashed upon the bed and floor. The baby came down, and Claire felt the head with her fingers (p1010, Nook). Claire assessed the baby quickly, he was healthy and well. There was no sign of hemorrhage (p1010, Nook). WELL DONE! Claire waited to cut the cord until after the placenta which gave an opportunity for the baby to receive the blood back into him from the placenta. The house was abuzz. Jamie was crying with joy. Brianna was grinning and put him to breast right away. He latched without a problem and surprised Brianna with the force of it. Claire was crying too and realized it when she tasted tears when she smiled. The baby and Brianna were settled in, and Claire found Jamie (who had gone to tell Lord John of the birth). They kissed and afterward she noticed the marks on his hands from Brianna’s nails (p1012, Nook).
Jamie was trying to figure out if the baby resembled MacKenzie or Bonnet. Claire said it was impossible to tell right now and mentioned recessive genes. Jamie had no idea what she meant, she went on to explain the baby could be any color, and they wouldn’t know for sure who the father was and wondered aloud if it mattered (p1012, Nook). Jamie fell fast asleep, but Claire thought about why she said that phrase. It was something Frank always said (p1012, Nook). Peace swept over Claire, and she slept.
Return to Fraser’s Ridge
Jamie, Claire, Brianna, nameless baby boy, and Lord John traveled together as far as they could. Lord John turned toward Virginia and William (p1013, Nook). The others kept on toward Fraser’s Ridge for another week. Though the cabin was in disarray, the garden was a mess, and everything unkempt, Claire was the most joyful she had ever been at a homecoming.
The baby not only didn’t have a first name, but his last name was also under question. They all called him a different nickname. Brianna was waiting for Roger to come before deciding what the baby would be called. Jamie was fed up with the waiting (p1014, Nook). Claire was cranky too since the baby had kept everyone up from crying due to a diaper rash. Claire was trying to fill out the baby’s birth certificate, she could fill in the date, approximate time, and who the attending doctor was, but no name as of yet. She and Jamie got sidetracked with names of Saints (p1015, Nook). Jamie goes on to tell her of the Saint against impotence. Claire hit another problem with the birth certificate; what last name should she put for Brianna? Fraser, Randall, or both? Claire decided to write both last names and to have faith Roger would come.
Roger was preparing himself to ride up the path to Fraser’s Ridge. He must have been a sight to see but didn’t think it mattered much. He passed through the clearing where he had met Jamie on that fateful day many months ago. The memory stabbed him, but nothing mattered because he was there.
What’s Coming up? Chapters 66-67 Drums of Autumn (DOA).
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