EPILOGUE - An Ending, Yet A Beginning
FIVE MONTHS LATER…
Ali stood on the balcony of his bedchamber, looking out over the palace grounds, and further. Past the sand, past the winding road and upon the bustling streets of the town beyond.
A sense of pride filled him as he thought of all the changes that had taken place in such a short few months.
Now that Rasheed was in prison awaiting trial, the trade routes were once more freed of the attacks from the Sandmen. The outer villages were thriving, now that their muchly needed supplies and trade goods were arriving and being sent between each other. The warring tribes had settled into a quiet peaceful understanding, and for the first time in many years, the future looked bright once more.
Looking back into the bedchamber, Ali could see the silhouette of his sleeping wife. Her delicate snores echoing throughout the room, making him smile. Not that she would ever admit to it, and she would be horrified if she knew, but since she was around 4 months pregnant, she had developed this almost petite snore.
These last few weeks had been very hard on Sarah. Her body had been under immense strain to carry the babies, and her blood pressure had been skyrocketing the last few days. Sol had been reluctant to leave her at home, but under Sarah's insistence, he had refurbished the room next to her bedchamber into a fully equipped delivery room, ready for any emergency. One of the perks of having a prince for a husband… money was no object and Ali had made sure that both Sol and his full surgical team lived in the palace as she neared closer to her time.
Even with the closeness of the medical intervention, Sarah had still been on strict bed rest for the past 3 weeks, which drove her nuts.
Her feet were swollen, she suffered severe frequent headaches with her rising blood pressure, and her belly was so stretched, that she was breathless most of the time. Yet, she still had 4 weeks till she was at term.
While she was suffering, Sol had assured her that each day now was a bonus to the twins lung development, so she had put a smile on her face and soldiered on without so much as a grumble or frown. Ali and Sol had been watching her like a hawk each day, if she so much as sneezed; Sol was rushing her with his instruments to take both hers, and the babies vitals.
Walking back into the bed chamber, and sitting on the edge of the bed, Ali ran his hand down over her belly, rubbing it slightly and noting that the rather defined little lump poking out just below her ribs was in the shape of a tiny foot. The thought was humbling. Soon, he would no longer be a husband, but a father… someone that was to be looked upon to provide everything to nurture another two lives. Sarah and he would be the universe to those tiny beings, and would mold the way that they grew up and led their own lives.
Sarah stirred in her sleep, turning slightly, then stretching and opening her eyes.
"Hey there" she whispered sleepily.
"Hey yourself beautiful. Sleep well?"
"Hmm, in dribs and drabs… the usual. If it isn't these two waking me up with their acrobatics, it is my bladder screaming at me to get up" she grinned, circling her protruding belly button with her fingertips.
"Speaking of which, I need to get up again before I burst"
As Sarah went to sit up, she suddenly hissed in pain, clutching her belly.
"Ahh honey, you need to get Sol… I think my waters just broke"
Ali fell to his knees, and grabbing the phone beside her bed that was linked to Sol's personal phone, he barked "Get the team ready now... it is time!" before he slammed the phone back down, and knelt by Sarah, placing one hand on her belly, and the other on her lower back, rubbing it in slow circles as she gritted her teeth in pain.
Seconds later, Sol came racing into the room, his feet sliding on the smooth polished marble surface.
Coming to an abrupt halt in front of her, Sol pulled out his blood pressure monitor, wrapping the cuff around her arm and hitting the automatic button that sent it into motion. Taking his ear thermometer, he quickly took her temperature, and then grabbed his handheld Doppler and gel bottle. The blood pressure monitor beeped, letting him know it had finished its reading. Sol read the result, and then felt his heart leap into his mouth. 'It's dangerously high Sarah, we can't wait any longer, these little ones need out now" he told her.
Sarah nodded as she gasped, the pain intensifying.
"She thinks her water broke" Ali told Sol, worry written all over his face as he held Sarah's hand, feeling useless to do anything else.
Sol nodded at Ali, and then peeled back the sheets to have a look. The second he had revealed what it was Sarah had felt, he quickly covered her back up again, then took a couple of steps away, ripping his phone out and hitting his team coordinator's number. "Get the anesthetist in here STAT; this is going to be an emergency delivery. Ready the whole team in 5"
Turning back Sarah, Sol took the gel and Doppler, squirting a small dob of the gel onto its wand, and then felt her belly, feeling for the backs of the babies. Once he found the spots he needed, Sol ran the wand over the first baby's back, relieved when he heard the healthy swooshing sound of its heart racing away. Quickly moving to the next spot, he held the wand to it, moving it slightly till he found the second baby's heart beat. It was slightly erratic and slower than the first. Sol frowned, and then wiped away the gel. Lowering Sarah's nightie, he gave her hand a squeeze and smiled at her, although Sarah could tell his smile was not genuine.
"What is wrong… don't lie to me... I need to truth" Sarah begged, her voice a breathless squeak as she panted against the constant pain.
"We need to get those two out now Sarah, one of the twins is in distress, and we cannot wait. I know that you wanted this to happen naturally, but we just cannot risk it. I have the team rushing in right at this moment. We will have to deliver them by Caesar."
Sarah only nodded, and gripped his hand "Why is the pain constant, I thought labor went in waves, not like this" she ground out.
Sol could only shake his head. "I do not know beautiful, but it won't be long till you are holding them in her arms, I promise"
Sol stood up, dragging Ali with him into the hallway, yet not taking his eyes from Sarah on the bed.
"Sarah is bleeding heavily; we might need to put her under. I need your consent to do whatever is needed for her" Sol's stare sent ice through Ali's blood, and he felt a wave of nausea flow over him. "Could she die?" Sol shook his head vigorously "NO! I won't allow it!" he snapped.
"I have my whole life in your hands Sol, do whatever you have to, just bring them through this safely" Ali pleaded.
Sol nodded, and then rushed back to Sarah's side, then wrapping the sheet up under her; he picked her up, bedding and all.
Ali saw the blood welled on the mattress where Sarah had just been and began praying "Oh sweet Allah… do not let them die."
Sol rushed down the hallway with Sarah, and into the room next door where his team was already awaiting them. Placing her on the bed, he hurried back out the door.
Nurses rushed Sarah, ripping away her nightie and throwing a backless gown over her arms. Another leant her forward, and sat her on the edge of the bed.
Looking over her shoulder, she saw a man in full scrubs theatrewear pull a trolley toward her; he leant her over and started to rub a dark brown substance all over her back. "I am your anesthetist your highness. Do not worry; you are in the best of hands."
The man then came towards her with a small needled syringe. "This is the local anesthetic, it will numb the spot I will need to put the epidural into, just a slight sting" he told her before she felt the prick against her spine. The sting was sharp, and made her draw in a quick hissed breath, before she felt warmth wash over her skin as it numbed.
"Where is my husband or Sol" Sarah asked on a shaky broken voice. Her fear was taking over, and all this prodding and pushing from these masked faceless people was scaring her worse.
One of the nurses leant over Sarah, placing her hand around her shoulders "Do not fret your husband and Sol are getting all cleaned, and gowning up. You will see them very soon. Now, I will hold you still, but you must not move at all now. You might feel a sharp electric kind of shock down into your hips or bottom, that is just the needle going into the right place as the anesthetist places the epidural ok?"
Sarah nodded and let the nurse hunch her over her belly, drawing her shoulders in and holding onto her arms.
The anesthetist gave her spine a few taps as he found the right spot, then she felt a dull pressure, followed by a stinging zap that shot right down and into her hip joints, making her jump slightly and gasp in shock.
"It is in" the anesthetist told her. She then felt him tape the tubes to her back, and he then took her shoulders, angling her back down onto the bed. The nurse took Sarah's legs which had already started to feel too heavy for her to have lifted on her own.
Only a minute or two later, Sarah saw the theatre doors open, and she was wheeled in, to be greeted by Sol, and Ali. Dressed in the theater green scrubs, it was hard to tell who they were, apart from their eyes peeking over the masks.
Sarah was lifted onto the operating table, and drapes were pinned up in front of her, creating a screen that sectioned off her bottom half from her top half. Sarah was not able to see over the sheets, but Ali was seated next to her, as her belly was exposed and was washed down with more of the dark brown iodine solution.
A nurse took a piece of ice, and started to press Sarah all over her with it, asking if she could feel each place she placed it. As Sarah could not, she only nodded, and then told Sol to go ahead.
Sol leant around the drapes, looking between both Ali and Sarah. "Get ready to meet your babies" before he stepped back, and picked up the scalpel that one of the nurse's handed to him.
Sarah felt pulling and tugging, the sensation so strange as she tried so hard to control her breathing and to stay calm. Ali was holding her hand in a death grip… she could see the sweat beading his brow as his eyes watched her face, before he sat up and looked over the drapes.
Sol and his nurses murmured amongst themselves, and the anesthetist sat on Sarah's side opposite Ali, regularly taking her blood pressure and keeping an eye on her vitals.
The sound of suctioning broke through the air, sounding so strange compared to the low voices and monitor beeps. Sarah then felt someone pushing up under her breasts hard, making it hard to breath.
Sol peered over the drapes "Brother, come meet your first born" he told Ali.
Ali, still holding Sarah stood up on shaky legs, and peered over the screen just in time to see Sol's hand deep inside the incision on Sarah's stomach retreat, pulling an angry little red face with it. Sol gripped the tiny being under its armpits, and wiggled the body free.
Crying lustfully, the angry little bundle was quickly wrapped in a blanket, and the cord clamped, a clip being placed close to its tummy before Sol handed a pair of blunt edged scissors into Ali's hand. "The honor of separating this little one from its momma belongs to you brother." Ali's hands shook badly, as he snipped through the umbilical cord and handed the scissors back.
The baby was rubbed over, its nose and throat suctioned out before it was lifted and placed into Ali's hands. Sitting back down to Sarah, Ali peeled back the blanket slightly, showing the face of their firstborn to her.
"What is it?" Sarah asked, tears running freely down her cheeks.
Sol lent back over the drapes "You have a fine boisterous boy there beautiful" he told her, before turning back to the incision.
After a further bout of suctioning, Sol announced "Here comes baby two folks", signaling for Ali to stand again.
Sarah took their baby boy in her arms, the anesthetist helping her to hold onto the tiny mewing little bundle.
Sol reached in and signaled his nurse to push on Sarah's stomach once more until a tiny leg was felt under his fingertips. Feeling around a little, he felt the second leg and gripping them both firmly but gently, pulled them outwards. "This little one is breech" he announced, sliding the tiny body out, then angling and supporting the baby's head as he tugged it out.
"A girl" he announced with a smile on his face as he wrapped the baby in a blanket, then rubbed her over her chest, stimulating her to start crying heartily. Clamping off her cord, he leant over to hand Ali the scissors once more.
Ali quickly snipped the cord, then took the wrapped baby over the drapes to meet Sarah.
"Our daughter" he whispered to Sarah, kissing her on her forehead lightly as he held their daughter to her chest.
"I love you so…."
Sarah's words were cut off as she went limp and neared unconsciousness.
"Sol!" Ali snapped.
The anesthetist handed their son to a nurse and attended his monitors. "Her vitals are dropping rapidly" he announced in a high shrill panicked voice.
Sol, his face pale white nodded as he noticed that the bleeding had worsened severely. "She is bleeding out" he announced.
"Rub down her uterus" he snapped to his nurse, who jumped at his voice, but did as she was told.
"I can't" she announced.
Sol swore and reached inside the incision, trying to find the source of the bleeding, then swore severely.
"You never fail to shock me beautiful' Sol told Sarah.
"Ready the backup cart" he snapped.
Sarah moaned, fighting the lightheaded dizziness that was worsening by the second.
"Stay with me Sarah… you won't want to miss this" Sol told her as he grabbed the suction and more gauze, trying to clear away the blood that was gathering, making it almost impossible to see.
Seconds later, a tiny sound was heard, and Ali's head snapped up.
More prodding and poking later, and Sol looked over the drape beaming. "Sorry I couldn't let you cut this one's cord, but I had to work fast. Looks like Sarah had a little secret all this time she didn't even know."
Sol passed over the drape a tiny little baby boy.
"Triplets?" Ali asked, his jaw wide open in shock.
So laughed "Yes little brother, it looks like there is no risk of the family name dying out with you around is there. This little one is an identical twin to your daughter it seems. While rare, a hidden multiple sometimes happens as they can be tucked behind the others in the early ultrasounds, then in the later ones, we only check on the babies we know of, so this little one is truly a miracle indeed."
Ali took the tiny baby "he is so much smaller than the other two" he said, his forehead creasing in worry lines.
"Yes, but he is looking quite healthy though. Sarah has done brilliantly supporting two babies, let alone three." Sol leant down, patting Sarah on her shoulder. "You should feel a lot better soon beautiful, this little guy's placenta was abrupting and lifting away, which is why you started bleeding. I had to cut the cord to him and remove the placenta to stop the bleeding, but you should be fine as soon as we get a few more units of blood into you honey."
Sarah nodded, too bewildered to say anything as she stared at her drip stand where a nurse was replacing the empty blood bag with another.
Ali holding their tiniest son, and two other nurses holding their other son and daughter, all leant around Sarah, filling her vision with the faces of her beautiful tiny children. Reaching out, she touched her lips and touched each of their cheeks.
Looking back up to Sol, who was busying himself cleaning and preparing to stitch her back up, Sarah locked her eyes with his "Thankyou for giving me my family" she told him.
Sol wiped the back of his wrist over his eyes, tears soaking the sleeve of his scrubs. "And thankyou for giving me back mine beautiful" he told her.
Hours later, when Sarah was settled into her bed, the triplets resting peacefully in their humidicribs beside her bed, Sol felt himself finally relax as he checked in on the triplets.
"Well, all in all, apart from being tired, and hungry, these little ones are going just fine Sarah. They will not need the humidicribs tomorrow. I would like to keep them in the cribs till tomorrow, just to make sure their lungs are strong and healthy."
Ali stood up and removed both of his hands from two of the cribs, where he had been stroking the backs of two of the triplets. "We have to settle on names too Sarah... naming three little ones will be no meant feat" he chuckled, placing his hand into the third crib, belonging to their smallest son, and placing his large hand on the baby's back, smiling when he felt his son twitch and screw his tiny little face up at the touch. "I think this little guy is ticklish" he said softly.
Sol Walked over to Sarah, checking her next, and giving her a top-up dose of pain relief through her IV.
"Well, try not to keep her up too long brother, our little mother here has had a most tiring day, and my nephews and niece will be awake and wanting feeding again in a couple of hours."
"Of course. I will let you rest little one, and as you need to wake for feedings, we can discuss names then".
By their third day, Ali and Sarah had settled on the names for their triplets, and had called in the palace's press committee to film their announcement to all of Barrauk.
Sarah was dressed in her finest night gown and dressing gown, and was sitting up in bed, the triplets all wrapped and sleeping in her arms as the film crew quietly entered and set up to film the announcement.
Sitting on the side of the bed beside Sarah, and taking their smallest son in his arms, Ali began the speech to his people.
"It is with such pride, and love that I can happily announce that my wife Sarah has safely delivered our children three days ago. While there were a few surprises, I am pleased to announce that we now have not twins, but triplets.
I would like to introduce my people to the future heirs to the Barrauk throne"
Placing his hand on his daughter's head "Aalyeah Nawar… God's greatest gift, my little flower."
Touching his hand gently to the other baby in Sarah's arms, he announced "Sami Tariq…. Our little Exalted Conqueror."
Then, placing his hand to the cheek of the tiny baby boy in his own arms, Ali smiled at the camera and said "And finally, our tiny Nadir Malik… our dearly loved Sovereign."
"In such a short time, we have seen our country go from a struggling warzone, to a thriving and exciting place to raise our children. My wife Sarah and I would like to thank all the well wishers who have already been sending in cards, letters and gifts. They have truly touched our hearts."
Ali then looked back to Sarah, smiling lovingly to her. "Who would have thought that in the space of a year, not only would I find not only my soul mate and wife, but also have a whole family gifted to me as well."
Turning back to the camera, Ali spoke his final words to his people.
"May Allah bring as many blessings into your homes and families, as he has done to ours."
A.N: Thankyou so much to all who have followed through this novel from start to finish, or just a chapter or two=D . I have loved every minute of bringing Ali and Sarah's story to you all, and hope you all loved it as much as I did in writing it.
If you would like me to let you know when I start on the next book in this series which will feature Sharif and Akila, let me know below in comments, and I will update you=D.