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Welcome to Wednesday story time! We left off last week with Angel waking up to find her Bible study group in her hospital room.
Merrilee nudged Thea and Gwen just as Rebecca caught Angel's eye. "Surprise!" they whispered.
Angel began to giggle and, once she started, she couldn't stop. Pushing herself up, she settled into a sitting position, then held her arms open to the group.
Rebecca was the first one to the bed."Congratulations!" She bent down and hugged Angel, and Gwen, Merrilee, and Thea followed suit.
Nora stood and joined the group gathered around the bed, her item heels clicking on the polished floor. "Congratulations, Angel. I'm sure that you'll be a wonderful mother."
"Oh, I know she will," Gwen said.
"Welcome to the club." Merrilee held out two blue gift bags, each the size of a bed pillow.
Nurse Ramona poked her head into the room. "I thought I told you ladies to let Mrs. Alessio rest." Her warm brown eyes contradicted her stern tone.
Angel held up one of the bags. "It's okay. They came bearing gifts."
"Well, they'd better have. Are you ready to nurse your little man?"
Angel nodded. "And I'm sure everyone would love to meet him."
Thea grinned and winked at Angel. "Of course. You didn't think we came just to see you, did you?"
"All right, then," Nurse Ramona said. "I'll give you ladies a few minutes and then I'll bring him in."
Merrilee pulled a candy bar with a blue bow around it from her purse and handed it to Ramona. "Thanks for taking care of Angel."
The nurse stood up a little straighter. "Well, that's what I'm here for. And this little lady has the makings of a wonderful mama. I wish everyone who came through here had as much love as she does."
Ramona took the candy bar from Merrilee's outstretched hand. "My Weight Watchers meeting was last night," she said with a grin. "Your timing is perfect." She tucked the candy bar into the pocket of her uniform and started for the door. "Now don't you ladies tire her out too much."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Merrilee said.
Nurse Ramona patted her pocket and walked out into the hall.
"Was that a bribe so we could stay longer?" Rebecca said.
"Not at all," Merrilee said. "There's one in every maternity ward. Isn't there, Thea?"
"Oh, yes. I'll bet she earned a case of those chocolate bars. She's the one, isn't she, Angel? The one who brought you ice chips and took care of Jim and screened your visitors?"
Angel was stunned. "How did you know?"
Gwen took Angel's hand. "Like Merrilee said, there's one in every maternity ward. Mine was named Amanda."
"Marianne," Thea said.
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"Esmeralda," Merrilee said.
"You're kidding," Rebecca said.
Merrilee shook her head and sat gingerly on the edge of Angel's bed. "There's something special about nurses in Labor and Delivery. They hand you that baby...."
Thea nodded. "And you think, 'What am I supposed to do with this?'"
Tears of relief filled Angel's eyes. "You mean that's normal?"
"Of course!" Merrilee said.
"Just wait'll you get him home," Gwen said.
"Call us," Thea chimed in. "Any time."
Gwen sat in the chair. "You simply can't believe they're going to release you from the hospital without an instruction manual, a pop quiz -- something to prove that you're qualified to take this baby home without medical supervision."
"But you are," Merrilee said. "You'll figure him out."
"And then he'll figure you out!" said Gwen.
"Hey!" Rebecca surveyed the teary-eyed group. "Aren't you going to open your presents?"
"Oh!" Angel said. "I almost forgot!"
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