It’s hard for me to tell you about what went into the creation of Heaven’s Tiny Tears because it’s not a simple answer. It’s also hard for me to think of Brittany and Tommy without Naomi. Knowing I was seriously considering having her be still born makes me sad because now I know her and I love her.
To tell the story behind the story, I need to go back to book 3, when they found out Brittany was pregnant. It was a time of fear for Brittany because of the potential for infecting Tommy, but after the initial shock, their joy at being parents began to take over.
“I need to ask you something first,” he said. She looked at him with a question in her eyes. “I know you were afraid that you had infected me and I know you are scared that you aren’t healthy enough to carry a child, but aside from the fear, I need to ask you this,” he touched her face. “Do you want to have a baby? Is this something you would be happy about? I know I have pushed my own desire to have kids on you, but it won’t mean anything if you don’t share that feeling.”
She smiled. “You’re right, the prospect scares me to death, but Tommy, I can’t think of anything better than having your baby. I do want that. I want to raise a family with you and show our children what it means to be loved and cherished. I want them to see how you look at me and how I know that no matter what, love is the reason they are here. I want them to play with David and Sabrina and know what family and friendship really means. I do want that, Tommy. I don’t think I ever realized it, but I do. Taking care of David these past few weeks has made it so much clearer. I want a family and I want it with you,” she wiped her eyes as he listened to her and she watched his face as he opened the envelope and pulled out the paper.
His face scanned the page and he looked at her as tears fell out of his eyes. “We are going to have a baby.”
She took the sheet and read it. “Wow, look at that,” she smiled and he engulfed her in his arms as he held her and they both cried complete tears of happiness. He pulled away after a minute and held her face in his hands. She touched his cheeks and wiped his tears away. “My love, forever,” she said softly.
Tommy always wanted to have kids. He loved children and made it his life’s work to care for them. He also wanted to show Brittany that she could have it all. He knew she would be an amazing mother.
It wouldn’t have been realistic for me to have the pregnancy go smoothly. Brittany was not healthy and coming out of the whole ordeal where Megan tried to kill her was not conducive to becoming pregnant. I knew that, and I knew the stress from everything would be a challenge the pregnancy may not withstand.
I flirted with her miscarrying numerous times. The reasons I did that were multiple. I needed Brittany to realize she deserved to be a mother and I wanted her strength to grow as her baby fought to survive. It’s when I began to see how much Naomi and Brittany fed off each other- in the best way.
But, realistically, there was going to be no easy way to bring a child into the world for this couple. Too much had happened and coupled with the stress of Tommy losing his memory, I knew I had to tell the story I wanted to tell.
The story of Naomi’s kidney defect mirrored a true story. I have always tried to make the medical issues the characters face real, even though their survival isn’t always what would happen. I also knew I was treading on very dangerous ground with Tommy and Brittany’s relationship by having the birth happen so soon after his accident. But as in life, man plans and God laughs.
Although the development of Naomi was always an issue, there is no way Brittany could let go of the guilt she felt in not being able to carry her to term. Couple that with Tommy’s guilt over hurting Brittany by forgetting her, well I was setting them up for disaster in every way.
I knew that, but life never waits for the ‘right’ time or moment. Naomi made her presence known to help her parents with an incredibly tough decision. They were advised to end the pregnancy and Brittany couldn’t do it. Tommy didn’t want to do it, but his fear over losing both of them was suffocating. Naomi made the first of many decisions which helped her parents. She decided it was time to meet the family, and labor began.
I coupled this with Bill finding out he was related to Brittany. I wanted this to come out at a time when he knew it was clear he might lose her. It made their bond beautiful and sincere and he finally found a part of his past he could be proud of. More with that in a little bit.
My focus was on Tommy for much of the beginning of the story. He was like us- waiting and hoping and feeling completely helpless. I wanted to show his vulnerability and his need for his wife to make it. This was his biggest fear; losing everything he loved in an instant. He lived it before and he couldn’t do it again.
“Here we go, push again.” Dr. Lacey said and Brittany pushed and pushed.
Tommy was trying not to panic, but this was just too much. He didn’t know how she was still able to move. They had been at this for a while and there was little progression. Brittany lay back in the bed and Dr. Lacey sighed. “There is a lot of bleeding going on and little progress. I think we need to consider surgery.”
“No, she won’t survive. We can’t do that,” Tommy yelled as he got up.
Dr. Lacey looked at him. “I will have you removed from the room if I need to.”
“Tommy, look at me,” Brittany said weakly as she pulled off her oxygen mask.
He sat down and did as she asked.
“This isn’t about us anymore,” she began and he went to protest when she touched his face. “We need to help our baby make it. We need to do whatever it takes to bring her into this world,” she let her tears fall.
“I can’t lose you. I can’t live without you. Please don’t ask me to do this,” he sobbed.
“I’m not. I’ll consent on my own,” she said.
This was his worst fear. He had no control and he was just watching his wife slip away. He knew she would give her life for their child and he was terrified.
Having Naomi come into the world with neither of her parents able to see her or hold her was heartbreaking. Brittany crashed so fast and nobody had any chance to process what happened before the fight was on to save Brittany’s life.
I had Jack help Dr. Lacey because I needed him to be the voice of reason. I had him get Tommy into the OR to talk to Brittany because they needed each other.
Having a story centered around doctors enables me to do things like that. Normally, a spouse would obviously never be able to come into the OR, but since they were all doctors, I allowed it 🙂
“Listen to me right now. I have seen the worst, Red, and this is nothing. You have survived such heartache and pain and you are not that person anymore. You have strength in buckets and you need to remember who you are. You are the woman I love and I can’t be in this world without you,” he felt his tears fall. “You once told me that when I was with you, your world was a lot less scary. But Red, without you, my world is nothing. I waited my whole life for you and we deserve this life. We deserve this happiness and we deserve this love. You are not allowed to quit on me. I love you and I need you. Please don’t leave me,” he put his head in his hand as he cried and he felt Jack put his hand on his shoulder.
“We’re done. We need to move her to recovery. Whatever you did, it worked; she’s stabilized. We put pressure bandages on and we will pump her with platelets and blood,” he smiled at him. “Let’s get her into a room and then you can stay with her,” he waited and Tommy didn’t get up. “Come on, man, I’ve got you,” Jack helped him up and supported him as they walked out into the surgical lounge.
Having Tommy talk to her was important for me to show his thought process and I needed Jack there to help him. Jack and Tommy’s bond is something I love writing, and this was no different.
I also needed to know what was happening with Naomi. Having Stephanie check on her was an ideal way to introduce the little squirt into the world. I knew both Tommy and Brittany thought she died and to have Stephanie tell him about her was beautiful.
Jack sat with Tommy in the conference room and looked up as Stephanie walked in. He had sent a message for her to come in and talk to Tommy. She walked over and sat down next to him. “Tommy, let me tell you about Naomi.”
He looked at her. “Do we have to bury her? I need Brittany to tell me what she wants to do.”
Stephanie wiped her eyes. “No. She is alive and fighting just like her mom. Her lungs are fairly well developed and she has partial function of one kidney,” she stopped when Tommy seemed to hear her.
“She’s alive?” he asked.
Stephanie smiled. “She’s alive. She is a little spitfire.”
I also knew Brittany was going to fight a huge battle with her health. Having a bleeding disorder and giving birth was precarious enough, but surgery made her chance of survival minimal at best. The trouble with being a doctor was that they all knew it. No matter what, her system might simply not recover.
I also needed Tommy to be the one to tell Brittany their little girl was alive.
He lifted his head up and saw her sapphire eyes open a fraction and her tears spilled over the side of her face. He leaned inches from her and wiped her eyes. “Hi. Welcome back.”
She stared at him, almost like she was trying to see something that wasn’t there. “Is she gone? Did you at least get to say goodbye? Did you tell her we loved her?” she spoke in barely a whisper as her chin quivered and his tears kept coming as he looked at her.
“She is alive and waiting for us. She is a fighter just like her mom,” he said and he saw her begin to cry in earnest relief. He leaned in and gently held her. “It’s going to be okay my love,” he sat back and wiped her eyes, alarmed at her sudden nosebleed, but he didn’t want to alarm her. “You saved her. You did everything to help her into this world and now I just need you to get better,” he reached for gloves and took some Kleenex to wipe the blood that came from her nose. “Your system is doing everything it can, but we pushed it to the limit,” he felt the sob build in his throat as she closed her eyes, exhausted.
One of the points that has given me the most feedback after publishing this book was about the Kangaroo hold. I knew, once again, that in Brittany’s condition, it would be a challenge, but I read story after story about the miracles this touch could do. I also felt it was an incredibly intimate bonding experience for both Tommy and Brittany and I wanted to give them that.
He nodded and watched as the nurse very gently lifted Naomi out of the incubator and placed her between Brittany’s breasts. She put the tiny oxygen over the baby’s nose and looked at them. “Just hold her and talk to her. I’ll be right over there if you need anything,” she smiled, as they didn’t even acknowledge her. She walked to the door and sat down.
Brittany looked at the tiny baby she had carried for 7 months and didn’t think she could ever feel so much love and devotion to another human being. She reached up and stroked Naomi’s tiny foot. The teeny baby squeaked and Brittany felt her tears fall. She looked at Tommy who was mesmerized by his beautiful wife and his baby girl. He held them and never wanted to forget this moment. Naomi’s oxygen saturation began to improve and both Tommy and Brittany saw the numbers on the monitor. “See how much she needs you? We both do,” he said and kissed her forehead.
Brittany nodded. “Hi sweet baby. Your mommy and daddy love you so much. You are the strongest little girl in the whole world and there is nothing you can’t do,” she said softly.
This was a beautiful moment and I continued to use it, even as Naomi grew, to show their bond. When either one of them has been at their weakest, the simple act of contact helps them.
I even used it in with Jack and Tessa after the carjacking. The parent child connection is beautiful and I’m so glad people liked it.
Moving forward with the story, I had a few other plot points I needed to bring in. Both Stephanie and Julie were pregnant, Julie with triplets. I knew Stephanie would lose the baby, but I didn’t know Julie would lose the two boys just yet.
I had Julie suffer a serious bout of morning sickness, I had Jack suffer what they thought was a heart attack, but turned out to be a gall bladder attack. I had Bill get called back to a meeting at the Army. I had Brittany and Tommy deal with the press getting too close.
Then I introduced Bridget.
Once I introduced Bill and Brittany as siblings, I had to address Bridget. I had Julie go to see her against Bill’s wishes and that caused a rift. I knew I was going to have Brittany want to meet her mother, so I needed to introduce her in a way that raised the stakes.
Bill’s constant leg injury also complicated things for him. For a man who is so physical in everything he does, being sidelined by this nagging leg injury hit him very hard.
I used a specific flashback to show Bridget’s mental state and it left a lot of questions. It also enabled Jack and Tommy to understand a bit more about what Bill had endured.
“Are you sure we should be here? What are we going to say to her?” Tommy asked Jack as they signed in to the facility to see Bill’s mom.
“Yes. Julie is getting married and the only parent of any of us around to see it is Bill’s mom, so we owe it to them to try,” Jack said.
“I know, you’re right.”
“I’m always right. Now let’s go.”
Tommy glared at him and they made their way to her room. Jack knocked as they walked in and Bill’s mom was sitting on the bed. “Excuse me, Mrs. Kastan, can we come in?”
She looked at Jack and Tommy for a moment and shrugged. “It’s a free country.”
The men looked at each other and entered, pulling up chairs. “Mrs. Kastan, my name is Tommy and this is Jack and we are friends of your son.”
“Get out,” she said, her demeanor changing.
Tommy was surprised at her response. “My sister is going to marry your son, Bill. We were hoping that,”
“I said get out,” she yelled louder.
“We heard you, but I wonder why you’re so mad at the mention of Bill,” Jack said. It was hard not to get angry with her, even though they knew she was ill.
She didn’t say anything and Tommy looked at her. “Would you like to come to the wedding and see him get married?”
“Unless it’s his funeral, get out,” she said and looked away.
Jack looked at Tommy and motioned for him to get up. “We’re sorry to have bothered you.”
Tommy stood for a minute and walked out with Jack.
Bridget was an important connection to Bill and a part of his past he always held close. I decided to use Brittany as a way to give Bill a chance to reconnect with his mother. It was heartbreaking for Brittany, but a blessing for Bill.
Bridget saw Bill come in hesitantly on his crutches, Julie standing behind him. He looked like he was ready to bolt and Brittany didn’t blame him. She squeezed her mom’s hand and nodded. “It’s your son.”
Bridget stood up and walked to Bill who braced himself for whatever was to come. She stood in front of him and looked into his eyes, searching for something. “Billy?” she asked him.
“Hi mom,” he said softly.
She smiled and pulled him to her in a hug. “My Billy, my sweet boy,” she cried and held him and Julie watched them, tears streaming down her face.
It was a moment that Bill deserved and as much as it broke her heart to not be able to connect with her mother, Brittany was able to help her baby brother in a way she wished she could have years before.
Through all of this, Naomi continued to struggle. It was so hard for Brittany to leave her in the hospital and it was increasingly hard for everyone to believe she would live. She received a kidney, but it didn’t seem to be working. She wasn’t growing or thriving and her parents were at the end of their faith.
That’s when I wrote my favorite scene of the entire book.
“Stop it,” Tommy said to her. “Stop trying to make this okay.”
“No, you stop it. You said your piece; now let me do what I need to do. Let me be with our daughter and you go do what you need to do,” she yelled at him and her voice was full of passion and intensity.
“Why? Why do you insist on protecting me from this?” he raised his voice again.
“How exactly am I protecting you from this? How is there any way for me to protect you from this? If you figure it out, please let me know, because I would give anything to not go through this,” she yelled back at him and suddenly there was a noise that neither of them recognized.
“What was that?” Tommy asked and Brittany stared at her daughter when suddenly something else happened.
“Tommy, come here,” she said excitedly.
”What?” he ran to her side.
“She peed all over me,” Brittany said and looked at him with tears streaming down her face.”
“She did? She went by herself?” Tommy asked.
“Well I didn’t do it?” Brittany laughed and looked as Naomi kicked her feet and let out the unfamiliar sound again. “She’s crying and she peed.”
I loved that scene so much. I loved that Naomi made herself known in the only way she could. I loved every part of it.
Heaven’s Tiny Tears ended with Naomi being kidnapped and Megan resurfacing. It also ended with the most catastrophic injury Bill would ever face. You know me- all about the cliff hangers 🙂
Naomi is such an important and integral part of the series. She didn’t speak in this book, but because she is here, we have our Mini Red and “yoo my sunshine” and “Daddy hab hairy balls” and Love yoo”.
We also have the beautiful relationship between Naomi and Tramp, which I love, too.
I hope you enjoyed this! Which book do you want next?