This follows on from my previous post, Getting Married
At some point I got pregnant. I had been getting increasingly frustrated at not trying for a baby as I thought we ought to have money in the bank, quite a bit of it as a reserve and I was beginning to be really aware that it was never going to happen. Ex1 persuaded me not to wait on the basis that it would be all right, really and I didn’t want to wait any longer. So I was pregnant, aged 22 and aware that my husband had problems he didn’t want to talk about. I think I periodically tried to talk to him about them but can’t say I remember that either.
Four months before I gave birth I was made redundant. I had survived the first wave of redundancy due to the over expansion of the company but when they announced that one person must go from every department I was not surprised to learn that it was me. I think I got a week’s redundancy having been there barely 2 years and as my father kept ranting, this was the only country in the EU where you could be made redundant while pregnant.
A couple of months later, ex1 got fired. One of his colleagues left and cited as one of his reasons that he didn’t like working in a potentially lethal environment with someone who was drunk by 10 in the morning. Ex1 was warned about what was going to happen but clearly took no notice as when they inspected his locker, a river of empty whisky bottles of all shapes and sizes poured out. Later he said that he wanted to lose his job so he could stay at home and look after me and the baby.
So rather than give birth with money in the bank as deemed sensible, I gave birth with no money and increasing mortgage arrears.
It was a good birth as these things go. Due to a midwife’s enthusiasm in the ante-natal classes I had signed up for a water birth (after having persuaded my father to pay for it with help from my mother). The hospital weren’t quite used to them as they were waiting on the arrival of their first one, so a number of people just popped their heads round the door and came to visit to see how it was going. The pool took away a lot of the pain and the gas and air did the rest. Son1 was born.
I was lucky to be in a ward with only one other mother. She had given birth to her second and I remember lying in bed almost hating her as she managed to breastfeed her baby, drink tea, eat grapes and read a book at the same time. I struggled with breastfeeding and it took me a good fortnight before I learned the knack, after which it was never a problem again.
That first night they took the babies away and put them in a separate room so that we could get a good night’s sleep, probably the last for many a month. I remember getting up the following morning and walking past the cot room to have breakfast without looking in on 1son. I felt guilty about that afterwards but there were no cries and I was hurting and aching all over and feeling slightly resentful towards my son. I regret it now of course but it did no real harm and we did bond together that day. I think I just needed some rest first.
After 3 days in hospital we went home. Ex1 had been visiting in any day and bringing me the cards and telling me of cheques that had arrived. The return home was the worst day of my life although it should have been the best.
Ex1 came to pick me up and was somewhat the worse for wear. We went home in a taxi. He fell asleep almost immediately with the joy of having us home and the place clearly hadn’t been tidied since we’d gone to the hospital to give birth. There was no food either. I had to go through his pockets to find enough money to order a pizza. I sat there eating it, looking at my son, listening to his father snore as only drunks can and contemplated for the first time that I might possibly have to get divorced.