The days before I gave birth went by in a blur of hormonal anger (which I suppressed) and hormonal sadness (which I let out while Jalen was at work). He was still working as a Live Tech Support Agent which, while not the worst paying job, didn’t pay the best either. When he was home, I tried to subtly remind him of how important money was to us right now, how important it was that we save. (In my opinion, the state of our house should have been enough…).
Jane: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a better fridge so our food didn’t go bad?”
Jane: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a better computer, so you could play your video games without lag?”
Jane: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a bed that wasn’t an air mattress?”
Jane: “Wouldn’t it be nice if our baby could have more in their room than a crib and a mobile?”
But he never seemed to get the hint. He spent most of his work day messing around, which meant that he was never up for promotions. And the little money he did make, he spent on new video games.
I, on the other hand, continued to try and work on my craft. Though I couldn’t often get on the computer to write (and even if I had been able to get access to the computer, I couldn’t very easily reach the keyboard), I kept working on my writing by reading books and developing my craft. And I was bringing in quite a large amount of royalties each day-around 800 simoleons, all said, which was better than even Jalen’s 9 to 5. Take that, corporate machine!
In the meantime, I spent most of my time daydreaming. Thinking about books I would write, imagining what my child would be like… But mostly, imagining my future. I was bound and determined to start a coffee shop. Not just for me, any more, and not just for the aesthetic. But I never wanted you to feel the way I felt, Janie. I never wanted you to be stuck without money and without recourse. With a shop, you would never feel that way. You would always have enough money to sell a cup of coffee, at least.
In between my day dreaming and my sleeping and my ceaseless need to pee (you really liked to use my bladder as a punching bag, Janie darling), I nearly lost track of the days. Before I knew it, I was eight and a half months pregnant. I woke up in the middle of the night, with a bit of a pain in my lower back but strangely hungry anyway. When I stood up to get something from the fridge…
“Jalen, honey… I think my water just broke.”
Jalen: “OH MY GOSH WHAT’S HAPPENING IT’S TIME IT’S TIME IT’S TIME OH MY GOSH.”
He would never handle stress well, unfortunately.
It was not a good time for me to go into labor, especially since we had planned on a home birth. The computer was broken and making this awful squealing noise, the toilet was spraying water all over the floor again, the shower was broken… It was chaos.
Jane: “Jalen, honey, any chance you could help me clean this up?”
Jalen: “OH MY GOSH.”
Jane: “…before the baby gets here, preferably.”
Jalen: “OH MY GOSHGOSH.”
Jane: “No? We’re just gonna let the baby be born in this mess?”
Jalen: “OH MY GOSHGOSHGOSHGOSHGOSH.”
Jane: “I can’t deal with this.”
Jalen: “I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS!”
Jane: “I’m gonna take a nap.”
Jalen: “I’m gonna hyperventilate!”
When I awoke from my nap, the house was in no better state. In fact, it was slightly worse, since Jalen had added his dirty cereal bowl to the cesspool. There was no way I could deal with giving birth to my baby in this place. I wouldn’t allow it. I had zero interest in going to a hospital-they freaked me out-but, at this point, I had no other option.
Jane: “…we can make my husband stay in the waiting room, right?”
Doctor: “It looks like it might be necessary for his health to insist he stay there.”
The hospital machine terrified me. It was large and round, and it had lots of different knobs and buttons and arms and doodads. This was not they way I had wanted to bring my daughter into this world. But, there was no use dwelling on it now. I swallowed my fear, and laid down on the table.
Jane: “Alright. I think I’m ready.”
Doctor: “Just relax. You’ll have your baby in your arms before you know it.”
Jane: “Are you sure all these needles and… grabby things are necessary?”
Jane: “BY THE CREATOR, IS THAT MY HEART??”
Doctor: “You’re alright. Just keep calm and relaaaax.”
That seemed like an awful lot for her to ask. But, before I could yell at her for her complete and utter idiocy, telling me to relax, how dare she… Before I could yell at her, I heard a tiny little cry.
Jane: “Oh, gosh. Is… is that my baby?”
Even while still locked in that little tube, waiting for the doctor to make sure you were alright, I couldn’t look away from your little face. I was fascinated. You were so beautiful, Janie. Such a beautiful little girl. I couldn’t believe that I had made you. That I had somehow grown you, inside my belly. You were like magic, to me. All of the sudden, it seemed, I had a family. Where Jalen was not exactly the ever-loving, all-accepting family of my dreams, I knew that you wouldn’t let me down, Janie. You could never let me down.
“Would you like to hold her?” the doctor asked.
Jane: “Oh, you are so gorgeous, baby girl. So beautiful. Just look at you.”
Jane: “Yeah, you’re just a cutie, aren’t you. Just the cutest little thing I ever did see! Yes you are! Yes you are!”
Jane: “Goodness, you’re just so little. All your ten tiny fingers, your ten tiny toes, your little soft baby head. We did good, baby girl.”
I couldn’t say, in that moment, what would happen in the future. I didn’t know how Jalen and I would cope, raising a baby. I didn’t know whether our finances would suffer, having to feed and clothe another person. And I wasn’t trying to imagine the details. All I knew, and all I needed to know, was that life with you would be better than it ever had been before.
Jane: “Welcome to the world, Janie Newman, my sweet baby girl. I’m so glad you’re finally here.”