Being pregnant wasn’t as bad as everyone had made it out to be. Even Mum had told me in the end that it wasn’t all joy and happiness, but that it actually wore you down and played on your patience a lot. My doctor told me that being as healthy and physically fit as I was helped, but that sooner or later the pain of it all would catch up with me. My body did hurt already, but it was nothing compared to the muscle aches I had put myself through, and it was definitely nothing I couldn’t handle.
I thought I should try and improve my cooking skills a little for his or her sake. I didn’t mind my badly cooked food every now and again but had never put any real effort into my meals and figured that my baby wouldn’t want to live off sandwiches, eggs on toast and salads forever. I was still a long way off the quality my Mum’s food had, but it was slowly becoming edible. If nothing else I got to eat freshly pepared food rather than leftovers more often, and was beginning to enjoy what I was making as I got better. Who knew you had to turn the temperature down again when pouring in the pancaker batter! The more I learned through trial and a lot of error the less surprised I was at how often my meals had burnt.
A few weeks after the attack I bought a punching bag. I knew that it shouldn’t have been a priority buy, but I felt a little safer having it. I was fast, and I could kick a football into the goal from relatively far away, but as I had found out the hard way I knew nothing about self-defence. No one was going to let me start classes now half way through my pregnancy, but at the very least I could start practising my punches myself. Once my child was old enough I’d be able to teach him or her a few things and sign them up for self-defence classes. What had happened to me would not happen again, and it definitely was not going to happen to my baby!
As the months went by it got more difficult to run on my treadmill for long, too, but throwing a few punches here and there was still bearable and better than no exercise at all.
Against my Doctor’s advice I continued to go to work. It didn’t take long until I couldn’t take part in matches any more, but my boss allowed me to join the training for as long as I could. When that became too tiring and painful, I watched from the sidelines and cheered my team on. I was effectively back at the bottom of my career for the rest of my pregnancy, but no one made me wear that costume again and my boss was grateful that I was happy to offer moral support.
When I was only three months away from my due date Gemma, Mum and I went to the baby store a couple of towns over. It was a forty minute drive, but Oasis Springs only had a small store at the moment and my baby was due before the new store was meant to open, so we thought we might as well go a little further. The place we went to had beautiful furniture, and Mum and Gemma were gushing over small paintings and stuffed toys before we had spent ten minutes inside. It was a little more expensive, but everything was of very good quality and I had the money spare to be able to afford it.
I had decided against adding a whole new room to the house. I had spoken with a few different contractors, and each of them had assured me that the shape of my roof would make it difficult to add on to what I had already. All of them gave me higher estimated fees than the last one, so in the end I decided to turn my small dining room into the nursery. Since it would just be me, the baby and one day hopefully Gemma I didn’t need a room just for my table and chairs, and moved them into the living room once we had moved things around a little. Or rather, once Mum, Milan and Gemma had moved things around a little – I was forbidden from moving anything even an inch, no matter how much I assured them that I was fine.
Of course, I didn’t stay ‘fine’ for much longer after that.
I was huge, and my back was in constant pain. Mum seemed a little smug whenever she thought I wasn’t looking, but neither of us said anything. The pain and aches had finally caught up with me, and I was too hot most of the time. I woke up one day panicking because none of my outfits really suited me being a mother, so Mum and I went into town the next day and I bought a few new things. She told me it was normal to have small, random panic attacks and cravings during pregnancy, but I could see her chuckle at my sudden need to buy new clothes. I felt much more comfortable in my new things, and even tied my hair back. Since I was feeling too hot so often I was also sweating a lot, and having my hair tied back in a pony tail helped a little.
Neither Gemma nor Mum let me go through this pregnancy without discussing baby names with me. We eventually decided on Sophia for a girl, and Leo if I was having a boy. My doctor had offered to tell me the gender but I still wanted it to be a surprise, so we prepared for each case.
Once I entered my eighth month either Mum or Gemma were over every day, all day. They took turns staying over in case my water broke early, and jumped at every small ache I had. We had a bag packed ready to go, and for the last three weeks I wasn’t sure who was more on edge.
Both of them loved listening and talking to my huge belly, and made all sorts of promises I hoped they’d keep once it was time. Mum kept promising that she’d babysit as often as I wanted, and that she was looking forward to all the girl’s nights in they were going to have. My reminders that we didn’t know that I was having a girl fell on deaf ears.
Gemma was just as excited, and promised my baby all the chocolate they could eat as well as some other things.
“You know, if you end up moving in with me I can’t let you feed him or her nothing but sweets. There’ll be house rules, you know.”
“Sure, but I’m not a biological parent! I can act more like their aunty, which makes it my job to spoil them!” My reminders that this was Mum’s job and not hers also fell on deaf ears.
As nice as it had been at first, the closer I got to my due date the more annoyed I got with them being over all the time. Mum told me it was just my hormones going wild, but Gemma looked a little hurt whenever I told her that I really needed a minute alone. I wasn’t used to living with someone all the time and it was all starting to get to me. The constant attention, the jumping at every sharp intake of breath, the pain everywhere, my Mum calling me every day she wasn’t with me and Gemma calling on all other days – I was desperately ready for this baby to be born.
And then, one night, my water broke. I had been feeling peckish at all random times of the day, and was just on my way back into bed from the kitchen when the worst, most intense pain I had ever felt shot through me. Taken by surprise by it I screamed, waking up Gemma who rushed to my side immediately. She had been napping on top of the covers in her clothes rather than under the covers in her pj’s for about a week so she’d be ready to go whenever it happened. I hadn’t thought it was necessary but now that it was time I was very grateful that she had disagreed with me.
Gemma helped me downstairs, grabbed the bag along the way and led me into the car from where I called Mum while Gemma rushed me to the hospital. All I did was scream into the phone but Mum understood what was happening and arrived at the hospital ten minutes after we did. Milan arrived shortly after, and twelve agonising hours later so did my beautiful baby daughter.
We were kept at the hospital for a couple of days so that all important tests could be run, and once both of us had received a clean bill of health we were allowed to go home.
Now I just had to hope that I’d be a good Mum for Sophia, and everything would be alright.