Belle had her baby on “Once Upon a Time,” but there’s one heartbreaking twist

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that Rumple and Belle form one of Once Upon a Time‘s most popular pairings. “Rumbelle’s” romance is incredibly polarizing, especially in the current season of the show. But tonight’s episode, “Changelings,” featured a major Rumbelle milestone.

Belle had her baby on Once Upon a Time. Unfortunately, it won’t be happily ever after for this family of three any time soon.

All season long, Belle has been grappling with keeping her child away from Rumple, who’s been breaking bad (and kissing Evil Queens) more often than not lately. After years of on-again/off-again romance (and Beauty and the Beast callbacks galore), Belle had finally had enough. She was determined to keep their unborn baby away from his father. Her determination was kicked off by a vision from their child. A future incarnation of their baby posing as “Morpheus” cautioned Belle to prevent Rumple from destroying their family as he’d destroyed his first family with Baelfire.

While Belle and the Storybrooke crew assumed they’d have months of her pregnancy to figure out the baby situation, they forgot one tiny thing: this is Once Upon a Time. Rumple has plenty of plot-convenient magic to go around and get his way. Recreating the magic that allowed Emma to speed up Zelena’s pregnancy last season, Rumple prepared to accelerate Belle’s pregnancy in order to steal the child from her.

In what was definitely a glimmer of hope for Rumbelle fans, in the end, Belle did get through to her husband in a sense. They had an incredibly heartbreaking confrontation when Belle was fleeing from him. In it, Rumple confessed that a part of him believed that no one could ever love him. While Rumple’s treatment of Belle has certainly been eyebrow raise-worthy this season, “Changelings” did a great job of contextualizing Rumple’s damaged nature in the abandonments (by both his mother and father) that he’d faced in the past.

The good news: Rumple walked away without speeding up Belle’s pregnancy. The bad news: the vengeful Evil Queen, spurned by Rumple, went ahead and did the deed for him.

Within minutes, Belle gave birth to her baby, but she quickly realized what she needed to do. Echoing Snow and Charming giving up baby Emma for her to have her “best chance” all those years before, Belle gave up her son. She gave the baby, named Gideon, to the Blue Fairy. She asked Blue to take the child somewhere far away until the Rumple situation could be handled.

I KNOW. So, so heartbreaking.

There’s no doubt that Belle made the right decision for herself and her child. But regardless of how you feel about Belle or Rumbelle at the moment, there’s no denying this is a wrenching twist for both of them.

Belle sending Gideon away doesn’t just echo the Charmings sending Emma away. It also calls to mind the earlier loss of Rumple’s first son, Baelfire. Much like Bae remained lost to Rumple for years, Gideon is now, technically, “lost” to both of his parents.

Here’s hoping the Blue Fairy manages to keep Gideon out of harm’s reach until Rumple comes to his senses.