I went to view the Mother & Baby home, although I couldn’t see the point as I had no choice but to move in there. It wasn’t ideal but it was temporary. Apparently, it was just a pit-stop for those women that needed emergency accommodation, and I guess mum wanting no ‘big belly woman’ in her house meant I was under the classification of an emergency. I was told that the policy was that it was not permitted for a mother to stay there once their baby reached three months old so that was encouraging. Soon I’d have my own place, officially a grown up!
A lovely lady opened the door of a large three storey house, once inside I saw it was a home of multiple occupancy. The lady was middle aged, Caucasian and greeted me warmly introducing herself as the landlord and lived on the top floor of the building. She took me down to the basement where there was a double room in which had a stove, a single wardrobe, fridge, a table, chairs and a bed. It was clean and tidy. The bathroom and toilet were in the hallway and was to be shared with another girl who had the room next to mines. Everything was clean and tidy and there wasn’t many house rules but two stood out. All male visitors had to leave by 10pm and boyfriends were not allowed to sleep over. Great! I was handed the keys, all that was left to do was move in.
I hadn’t a lot of items, I mean I was only moving from mums and the only belongings I had was my clothes. I couldn’t bring that much with me anyhow as most didn’t fit for obvious reasons and the room didn’t have much storage space other than a small wardrobe and kitchen cupboard and draw unit.
I loved it, there were only two rooms in the basement, mines and a girl called Mary had the other. There was also a side basement door that we could use to come in and out. Myself and Mary quickly became friends and made a pack to watch each others back regarding our men as the ‘no men after 10pm and the no sleeping over’ didn’t wash to well with us or with our partners. To wait so long to finally have my own space, no sneaking around parents or finding a ‘lovers lane’ I had my own pad even though it was temporary…and still not be allowed for Ken to stay over, no way.
You’d think I would be glad to stay on my own but it became lonely as I was in my seventh month and on maternity leave from work, I was restless. Ken was at work all day but joy was listening out for his distinctive car engine and timing from when the engine stopped to him reaching the door. I enjoyed this change, in my mind I felt like we were a couple living together which we were in a way as Ken hardly ever stayed home at his parents anymore. It was nice not having to sneak around to be together in an intimate way, we were free. Yet I missed my friends, I missed the part of me that was still a teenager. Bernell had taken up a new catering manager course, Toni was working full time in the city and Kacee had gone away traveling on a working holiday, so I was pretty much friendless during the day. I spent my days shopping for groceries, we couldn’t do a big shop as the fridge was just a small single one fit enough for one person. There was a day that I spent watching tv, this baby had me like a sluggard the closer I got to my due date. The hours went by with me watching the omnibus of ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Home & Away’ I heard the sound of Kens car and timed it as I usually did for him to reach the door and opened it. Moments later he walked in to see me with the carpet sweeper in hand and one hand on my back. ‘Here baby leave that to me go rest’ I smiled, said thank you and sat down. I didn’t feel bad as I had washed the dishes earlier and I had to carry this baby twenty-four seven.
A few days later there was a knock on my door, it was Mary and the landlady. Mary was trying her hardest to hold back a grin, the landlady the landlady explained that the council had found me temporary accommodation. It was apparently a large house divided into two flats which was offered to Mary first as she was at the home before me. Mary requested that I took the other flat as we got on and the landlady agreed. There was no viewing as it was that or nothing, once you were offered a place that was it, if you turned it down the council would not offer another, you were on your own.
Moving was easy as it was a small room, it only took a couple of car rides. After moving we decided it would be best to spend a couple weeks at my mums as I approached my thirty-ninth week and the baby could’ve come at anytime and my parents home was much closer to the hospital.
I hardly saw Berns and the girls, one night they were going out to a local club where our mutual friend was a DJ. I was not only forty weeks but it was also my due date. Bernell thought I was crazy but they knew they couldn’t stop me, I was so bored and fed up I needed an outlet. I also hoped by dancing it would cause labour to start! The music was pumping when we got there, it was so good seeing Jimmy on the deck spinning tunes. He was happy to see me and surprised to see me pregnant. When he asked when I was due, his eyes nearly popped out his head. I danced until I ran out of steam. Did it cause labour to start? no, did it cause excruciating back ache? most definitely yes and swollen feet, but it was worth it, I had a great time.
A week later as we were waiting a first tinge of pain and my appointment to be induced; mum, Ken and I decided to have a video night. I needed some fresh air so opted to go to the video rentals shop. Heaven knows why I chose ‘The Adventures Of Babysitting’ and Three Men And A Baby’ obviously I had babies on my mind! We finished watching one and I told Ken to wait until I got back from the toilet to put the other one in. I’m not sure if I was bursting or the baby was resting on my bladder but I was getting these weird sensations ever so often and I couldn’t concentrate on the movies.
Typically there was a trickle of pee which meant the baby was resting on my bladder. As I wiped myself the tissue seemed to have a pastel pink colour to it. I wasn’t sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me so I wiped again and there it was, a streak of mucus with slight blood on it. I grinned with a fear under tone. This surly was it, what a doddle; if this was labour then it was a walk in the park! There, again I felt that sensation ring across my back. I’ve never been pregnant before so what do I know?! I assumed as the baby grew in the stomach area, that’s where the pain would be. Not wanting to panic mum and Ken and make a false alarm, I called down to say I won’t be long and got ready to time the next sensation. Seven minutes… ok cool. I went downstairs and Ken started the movie. and seven minutes later there came another sensation but this one was a tiny bit more prominent than the one before. Even I got a little panicked and blurted out ‘I think I’m in labour!’ They both looked at me startled. I told them all what happened upstairs and reassured them both I was fine. Mum suggested I go have a warm bath and call the hospital to let them know what was going on.
As I ran the bath I called the labour ward. My voice was calm yet a little excited. I explained in detail and they were quite happy for me to stay home as things were moving slowly along. Ken was pacing up and down, I grabbed his arm gently and kissed him on his cheek letting him know I was ok, he smiled ‘This is it girl.’ Mum and Ken left me alone to bathe, mum was fussing around making sure my bag was packed. Her excitement made me giggle.
I stood up to get out of the bath, took hold of the towel and took a step out the bath when a pain out of nowhere struck me so powerfully that I couldn’t move except to scream out. Mum came running up the stairs and barged in the bathroom, she helped me out the bath and looked at the time…five minutes since the last one… I dried myself and again I was hit with a piercing pain that crippled me. I opened my mouth but not a sound came out, I was breathless… four minutes since the last one. Ken rang back the labour ward to tell them I wasn’t coping, they couldn’t quite believe it considering they spoke to me just thirty minutes beforehand. Ken passed the phone to me and I spoke through gritted teeth, the transformation was astonishing. Again the pain shot through, Four minutes since the last one passed I was told to come in straight away. It was a struggle to dress, mum helped me whilst Ken went out to warm the car. Down to every three minutes and the pain was so intense.
I’m sure Ken broke every speed limit to get me to the hospital, mum sat in the back with me with one hand on my stomach saying ‘hold on hold on’ every few minutes. Looking back now the whole scene was like a comedy sketch.
Finally we arrived and by that time I was in a mess, the pain was unbearable. I forgot all my breathing exercises from prenatal class, that went out the window, I just could not think. The midwife, a lovely oriental looking lady gave me some ‘Gas & Air’ and I floated! bring on the pain, now I’m in control. There didn’t seem to be a gap between contractions and I hung onto the gas & air tube for dare life. I was attached to a monitor beside me that had numbers which increased when a contraction was detected. The midwife was concentrating on the numbers and telling Ken to get me to let go of the mask, but I was having none of it; I know what I was feeling and I was ahead of the numbers. She kept on saying ‘that’s enough now, stop now, that’s enough’ until her voice irritated the life out of me and I screamed out ‘GIVE ME THE F***ING GAS! The room became still and I opened my eyes only to see my mother at the foot of the bed, mouth so wide open you could’ve fit a fist in it. I sighed as I closed back my eyes not being able to retrieve the cuss word that escaped my vocal chords. Mum had picked up her bag and as she turned she snapped ‘I never knew Maria used words like that’ and with that she left the room. I felt bad, but here came the pain and I took back my ‘friend’ and breathed the pain away as I floated into a legal high.
My midwife Jan, bless her was very patient with me. She had the most annoying soft baby like voice that really was grating on me. She said ‘Now Maria you’re nearly there, do a big poo and push,’ was she for real? I refused, what did she take this for, why would I do such a thing? she kept on and on till I thought in my head if this poo is the barrier between my baby staying in or coming out then so be it… she wants me to shit on the bed then fine, and I pushed with all my might until I felt a huge release. I waited for the embarrassing smell to rise, but instead I saw huge smiles from Jan and Ken, he beamed ‘its a girl’… huh! I was so confused, ‘it’s out? a girl? It’s out? Jan wrapped her and placed her in my arms, there before me was the cutest dolly faced baby and I cried with happiness. Ken went and got mum, she still had a vexed face but it soon melted when she saw her fifth granddaughter. All was forgotten, even the pain of childbirth. three hours and forty-five minutes and here she was…
Nadia. Her name means The Caller, The Beginning, First
My first baby, our first. I was now a mummy at nineteen years old. A teenager/ young lady with a huge responsibility.
I was ready.