Friday, January 28, 2011

Poetry: Questions for the Wicked

Questions for the Wicked
by Nikki Layne

Would you be proud,
If you knew you were the beginning of the end?
Would it be easy for you,
To start the downward spiral of a trend?

Do you have a heart,
Or just a solid block of ice?
Are you always cold,
Or do you know how to make nice?

Do you know there’s a price to pay,
In the land of misdeeds?
Is it everyone’s misery,
Of which you like to feed?

Do you realize how fake you really are,
Or are you oblivious to it all?
Is this what you enjoy,
Making others fall?

Do you know you’re heartless,
Or do you even care?
Do you know that before you,
We were the perfect pair?

Are you happy with yourself,
Knowing what you’ve done?
Do you feel bad at all,
Or is this your idea of fun?

Poetry: Her Reality

Her Reality
by Nikki Layne

She was always the one to blame,
It could never be anyone else.
It didn’t matter where the proof was aimed,
It was always her.

In a world filled with pain,
She never felt good enough.
Worthless, emotionally drained;
That was all she felt.

Nobody seemed to understand,
She was always the enemy.
Everybody listened to second-hand,
Instead of finally seeing reality.

She very rarely felt loved,
Even when told she was.
She wished to be with the angels up above,
Instead of feeling how she felt.

He could never see how he treated her,
He destroyed her emotionally.
He could never see what the effects were,
Of his words and actions.

Whether or not he cared,
That was still in question.
To ask she rarely dared,
Out of fear of his reaction.

She loved him,
That much was clear.
The reality was dim,
On how he felt about her.

She knew it wasn’t fair,
How she was made to feel.
He was unaware,
Of the unconditional love.

Nothing was the same,
As it once was.
She didn’t know who was to blame,
But she still stayed.

She prayed for change,
In hopes things would get better.
She knew it was strange,
To stay as she did.

She held onto hope,
As well as her dreams.
She tried to cope,
With her reality.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Novella: An Unconditional Mistake

An Unconditional Mistake
by Nikki Layne

The Beginning of the End:

The first time I heard her heartbeat, it took me a while to take it all in. This was real. I was pregnant. I was not happy about this reality. I knew I had a lot to plan for, but I procrastinated. None of it mattered to me. I was not like most new, expectant mothers. I was not excited. As far as I was concerned, this was the end of my life. To top it all off, I had no support. I just lived my day to day life waiting for it all to unfold.
My name is Autumn-Rose. I am a twenty-three year old workaholic. Being a journalist for the Crestwood Times was my life. I dedicated my life to my job to the point that I drove away my boyfriend of six years. We were high school sweethearts. His name was Tommy. He meant a lot to me, but my job was the only thing that I truly cared about. As I was pushing him away, I knew he could easily be replaced. I received fan mail on a daily basis. Everyone loved my column. To top off my writing skills, I was also blessed with looks. I did a lot of pageants when I was younger. I am a catch and I know it. I was tall, thin, had long red hair with blonde highlights, green eyes, and fair skin. I had the body most women would die for. I am very well aware of my beauty.
I had a few friends, but nobody to too close. My mom died when I was six from breast cancer. When I was eighteen, my dad was killed in a car accident. I was pretty much alone. My dad was my best friend, my confidant, my support. So, when he died, I pretty much closed myself off from the world. I didn’t go out of my way to make friends. The few friends I have left are from high school. Josie, Olivia, and Kat; we were the ‘it’ girls in high school. We stayed in touch after high school and got together every Friday night for a few drinks. I wouldn’t rely on them for support in a time of need, though. They had yet to do anything worthwhile with their lives.
Tommy and I were high school sweethearts. While we were in high school, everything was perfect. Then, my dad died. I slowly started to pull away. I wanted to make my dad proud. I used the money I got from his death to put myself through school entirely. I maintained good grades and had a job writing for the Crestwood Times straight out of college. My job became everything. I didn’t have my own column right away, but once I did, my career really started to take off. At that point nobody else mattered, not even Tommy.
Finally, Tommy broke things off. He decided he wanted to be single anyway. He hadn’t been single in six years and figured it was time we went our separate ways. It was quite obvious we wanted different things in life. Neither of us was ready to settle down yet. His band was a huge part of his life and my column had become the entirety of mine.
Two months after Tommy and I broke up, I found out I was pregnant. I came close to clearing the shelves of Wal-Mart fresh out of pregnancy test. I must have taken almost twenty different tests. I tried store brand, EPT, Clearblue. I tried digital. I tried them all. I was praying one would come out negative to give me some sense of hope. However, no matter how many tests I took, they all came out positive.

The First Trimester:

I didn’t hate Tommy. I wanted him to be happy. His band was really taking off with shows all over the state. I didn’t want to mess things up for him. So, I decided to never tell him. I didn’t tell anyone. I stopped answering phone calls from Josie, Olivia, and Kat. It wasn’t hard to push them away. I doubt if they even noticed. I didn’t tell anyone at work. This was something I had to keep to myself, at least for the time being. I knew eventually someone was bound to find out, so I had to think about what I was going to do.
I started with going to the doctors. I always got off work at 2:30pm on Fridays. So, I made an appointment for that Friday at Dr. Welch’s office. Dr. Welch had been my OBGYN since I was seventeen. He was also my mom’s OBGYN and delivered me when I was born. I trusted him. Well, I didn’t fully trust anyone, but I trusted him as much as I needed to in order to go to him with the fact that I was pregnant.
The nurse must have drained half the blood out of my body into tubes to send off for various tests. I got very light-headed when I gave blood because of my anemia. After the nurse was done with taking my vitals and drawing my blood, Dr. Welch came in. Dr. Welch was like a big teddy bear. He towered over me and was very well-built. He had all of his hair, even if it were white. He was a really nice guy. I liked having him as my doctor.
“Autumn-Rose, it’s been a while,” he said as he walked in.”So, I see that you’re pregnant. I remember delivering you. It’s hard to see you having a baby now. Your mom would be proud.”
“You’re not the only one,” I said.
“Well, let’s check things out, shall we?” he asked.
“Sounds good to me,” I replied.
Unfortunately, I was lying. None of this sounded good to me. If I could erase it all, I would. However, that would not make my mom or dad proud. I was also a Christian with some sense of morals. Getting an abortion was out of the question. I knew it would be the easy way out, but I was never one for taking the easy route.
Dr. Welch brought over his ultrasound machine and had me lay back.
“There’s the little one,” he said.
I could see it. It looked more like a blob, but I guess we all can’t look like perfection.
“You’re…you’re eleven weeks and two days pregnant,” he said. “Why are you just coming to see me now?” he asked.
“I just realized I was pregnant. I’ve never been good at keeping track of my cycles. It usually comes like clockwork, but then I realized that it hadn’t come in a while. That’s when I decided to take a test, or twenty.”
He laughed.
“Your date of conception is showing as July 28th. Your estimated due date is April 20th. Congratulations.”
Some congratulations. My life as I knew it was over. I thanked him regardless. It was only polite. It’s not like it was his fault.
“Now, you are two weeks away from being in your second trimester. I am going to prescribe you some prenatal vitamins. Continue taking your iron pills. Also, up at the front they will give you a whole packet filled with information and goodies. I want to see you back here in four weeks.”
He handed me a few pictures from the ultrasound and then walked out.
This was really a lot to take in. I couldn’t believe it. I had hoped that maybe every pregnancy test was a fluke and I wasn’t really pregnant.
I went out to the front and made my next appointment. They gave me the goodies Dr. Welch was talking about. After my appointment, I went and sat in my car while I cried. I just couldn’t believe this. How could I let this happen? How could I be so irresponsible? Tommy and I were careful, but obviously not careful enough.
I sat in the parking lot for close to an hour. I had a lot to think about. I knew I had to protect myself. I couldn’t let anyone know. I didn’t want to ruin Tommy’s life. If he found out, he would be really upset. I decided it was time to move. I could move to a neighboring town and still work for the paper.
So, I drove home. I had no appetite. So, I just took a shower and put on my favorite red, fuzzy lounge pants with a sports bra. I booted up my computer while I made a pot of coffee. I always had this weird habit of drinking a cup of coffee when I knew I had something to do.
I sat at my computer for the rest of the night until bed. There were a lot of options depending on where I wanted to go. The safest town, only twenty minutes away was Pinedale. I found a few condo’s online that I liked. I decided I would go look at them the next day.
After finding the condo’s I started thinking about how I could dress for work and around town so I didn’t look pregnant. Luckily, it was getting colder out. So, I could resort to sweaters and such. I had some long sweaters that buttoned up and tied on the side. I figured those would work just fine. So, that was another issue solved.
It was during hard times like these where I wished I remembered my mom more. I wished she was still alive. With this being a girl problem, if she were here she could help me. I could only remember what she looked like if I looked at pictures. Otherwise, I had little to no memory of her.
That night I lay in bed awake most of the night. I really got to study the ceiling. I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable. I just couldn’t take my mind off of everything. As far as I was concerned, this would ruin my life. How was I supposed to raise a baby with my job? I wasn’t even the least bit excited about starting a life as a mother. Maybe it would come with time, but somehow I doubted that.
I was up early the next morning. I called all three of the condo’s I wanted to look at in Pinedale. One had just been taken last night. Unfortunate, but I decided I would still go look at the other two.
So, I hopped in the shower. I tried not to cry. I couldn’t believe I would be moving out of my condo in Crestwood. It was my first condo. My dad helped pick it out. However, I knew this was for the best.
I got out of the shower and started my most challenging task that I encounter on a daily basis; what to wear. I wanted to dress to impress. I was young, so I had to dress to be taken seriously. I had a good job and would have no problem paying my bills. I just had to prove that to everyone else.
I started to tear through my closet. Nothing looked right. I tried on probably five or six different outfits before I decided on one. I wore my favorite black pin-striped pants with a light pink short-sleeved shirt and a white wrap sweater and my favorite black pumps. I straightened my hair, did my makeup, and walked out the door.
I stopped at Emerald Stone first. They were the less expensive choice out of the two. They were very pretty inside and out. They were brick and stone on the outside. The front steps had a beautiful wrought iron railing. The kitchen was much bigger than my kitchen I had now. It even had a flat-top stove, which I loved. The living room had beautiful French doors that went out onto the patio. They were white with gold handles. The master bedroom was huge. The closets had the perfect setup with a lot of shelves. The master bathroom had a garden tub that was so inviting I wanted to take a bath right then and there. The master bathroom was huge. Not only did it have the garden tub, but it also had a stand-up shower, a ton of cabinets, and a closet with a lot of space. The granite countertops added a nice touch and the vanity had great lighting, which would serve me well in the mornings when I did my hair and makeup. I was in love. It had two other bedrooms. I knew I would have to have a three bedroom because I was not willing to give up my office for a baby I had no desire for. The second bathroom wasn’t quite as big as the master bathroom, but I was okay with that. It wouldn’t get used much anyway. It just had your standard-sized tub, vanity, and toilet. The laundry room was just the right size for my washer and dryer, so that was pleasing to me. There were also shelves and a hanging rack built right in. This condo was like a dream come true.
I decided this was too good of an offer to pass up. I loved everything about it. It was also right off the highway, so getting to work would be no problem at all. I decided to take it. Between my savings from my job and the money from my father’s estate, I knew I could just write them a check in full. I had already decided I would rent out the condo I had now. So, I wrote them their check and started moving in right away.
Luckily, I hadn’t driven everyone away. I still kept in touch with my dad’s old business partner. His name was James Dagan. I had known him since I was two. He owned a moving company and stayed in touch with me after my dad died. He was almost like a second dad or parent when I was growing up.
Once I got home, I gave him a call. James was always good with secrets. He was thankfully able to pull a few strings to get me moved on Sunday. I was forever grateful. After, I hung up I ran to U-Haul and picked up some boxes to pack up what I could fit in my car.
I lived off of coffee that day. My explorer could hold quite a bit. I figured I would just order out that night, so I started to box up all of my kitchen items. I loved my sparrow kitchen decorations. Sparrows were my favorite. I loved the meaning behind them. I even had a sparrow tattoo on my right shoulder blade. I packed up the decorations, cookware, and everything else. I left my microwave since the new condo had one built into the range. I figured it may help me to get it rented quickly. I fit everything from the kitchen in two medium-sized boxes.
I migrated from the kitchen to my living room. I packed all of my pictures, decorations, my rug, my lamp, and my artwork. That was another two boxes. I packed it all in the car and still had a little bit of room. I went into my bedroom and unplugged my TV. Under my bed I had packed away all of my summer clothes. I grabbed those and put them in the back seat. That was all I could fit for the first trip.
I couldn’t believe I was doing this. It was kind of scary to me. I had never moved on my own. I knew tomorrow I would have help, but I wanted to get as much done as I could. I was never one to waste time. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be doing much lifting, but I just found out I was pregnant. There was no way these next two days of moving were going to kill me.
I got everything unloaded into my new condo. I spent the time unpacking all of my kitchen items. I wanted to make my new place feel like home right away. I wanted it to be welcoming so it was somewhere I wanted to go home to. I also put my space saver bags of summer clothes on a couple of the shelves in the closet in the master bedroom. I took the empty kitchen boxes back with me to re-use. There was no point in wasting a perfectly good box.
In the next load, I knew I could fit my coffee table and end tables from my living room. They broke down easily enough. I loved my end tables. They were glass with stainless steel legs. I also took my shelves down. They looked so bare with my decorations taken down. That was all I could fit, but I was getting there.
I put together my tables and was able to put my shelves up in my new place. I then unpacked all of my decorations, artwork, rug, pictures, and lamp. I setup my living room with the exception of my couch, chair and ottoman. Big items like that would be moved tomorrow. My rug was perfect in the new place. The floor was hardwood and my rug was a snow white shag rug. It looked great. I put up all of my decorations, hung my artwork, scattered my pictures around, and plugged in my lamp. Things were really starting to come together. I knew it would look even better with my couch, chair and ottoman. I couldn’t wait to see how everything looked then. I grabbed the empty boxes and went back to pack up more.
It was 5:30pm. I decided it was time to take a little bit of a break. On my way home, I called my favorite Thai restaurant to place a to-go order. I used to eat at Royal Thai with Tommy. It was still my favorite. I always ordered their ‘drunken noodle’ dish. I’m not sure why they called it that. It was a spicy stir-fried dish with noodles, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and basil leaves. It was really spicy, but really good.
I picked up my order and then headed home. As I ate I packed away all of the books off my bookshelf in my office. I loved to read. My favorite was fantasy. Mercedes Lackey was my favorite fantasy author. I had almost all of her books. I also had my writing books, self-help books, and my dirty romance novels. I had even kept all of my books from school. Reading was a passion of mine. I called it my therapy. I filled three boxes with my books. It was really no surprise. My bookshelf was a very large six-shelf bookshelf.
I decided it was time I stop packing. I had all day tomorrow when I’d also had the help of movers. I was tired and drained. I needed to do a little bit of work for my column. My column was your typical advice column. I had a lot of fun with it. However, I also wrote for our editorial column. My boss had thrown a bag of questions that had come in for my column on Friday. There had to be almost three-hundred questions. I had to answer them all. I picked five to be featured in the print version of the newspaper. The rest get answered for our website.
Going through some of these questions I can’t help but feel bad.
DEAR AUTUMN-ROSE: Last night, I went to a strip club, which my wife would never approve of. She thought I was meeting some buddies at the local sports bar. None of that matters. The issue is who I saw on stage when I went. It was our daughter. We were under the impression she was a waitress at the twenty-four hour diner. To find my daughter on the stage of a strip club was appalling. We raised her with morals and taught her to always have self-respect. We give her everything she needs. I’m not sure why she feels the need to do this. I walked out of the club immediately. There was no way I was going to watch my daughter strip for money. My question is, do I come clean to my wife about where I really was and talk to her about my daughter, or do I pretend I was never there even if I can’t get the image out of my mind? –Dishonest Husband, Appalled Parent”
I feel bad for the guy. No father wants to go into a strip club to have a good time and find his daughter on stage. I can only imagine how he must be feeling. Poor guy. I wondered how many parents dealt with that kind of situation. I decided that would be one of the five for the print version of the newspaper.
I finished choosing my other four for the print version. I always put more time and effort into those as I knew everyone would see them. Then I booted up my computer and answered the rest for the website. There were a grand total of three-hundred and twenty-nine questions. I didn’t get much sleep that night. I was up until 4:15am working on answering all of the questions. I felt very accomplished once I was done.
I was very tired, but very awake at the same time. I decided I’d take one last bubble bath in my old bathtub. I loved the plumeria bubble bath from Bath and Body Works. It was such a pretty, flowery scent. I loved it. I soaked in the bath to unwind. After my bath, I put on my red and white polka dot nightgown and slipped into bed. I set my alarm for 8:20am since the movers would be arriving at 9:30am.
My alarm sounding came too soon. I was exhausted. Unfortunately, my coffee pot was at my new place. So, I got ready quickly and ran to Starbucks to grab a large white mocha with extra whipped cream. That was my favorite.
I went back to drink my coffee and pack some more. I packed all of my clothes. I used almost all of my boxes, so I was hoping the movers would bring some. It took me until the movers got there to finish packing the last box of clothes. I was trying to work as quickly as I could. I just wanted it all to be over with already; the moving, the pregnancy, everything.
Finally, there was a knock on my door. It was James and the movers. They were able to get all of my furniture all in one shot. I was happy with how careful they were with my kitchen table. It was a round glass-top with wrought iron legs and chairs with black cushions. I loved it. They got my kitchen table, washer, dryer, couch, chair, ottoman, TV, DVD player, entertainment center, bed, dresser, nightstand, desk, office chair, and bookshelf. I was really pleased with how quickly they got all of the big stuff out.
I let them follow me to the new place. They got everything moved in just as quickly as they got it moved out. They put everything right where I wanted it. The kitchen table looked great in my new kitchen. My kitchen was complete. They put everything together in the living room, and hooked everything up. Everything was coming together nicely. They setup my desk, chair, and bookshelf in the spare bedroom I decided would be my office. Then they put everything together in my bedroom. They hooked up my washer and dryer in the laundry room. We were almost done. I was almost fully moved in. I unpacked the books and clothes from my car and then we headed back to pick up the last of the items.
There wasn’t much left. We boxed up my linen closet, my bathroom, and various knick knacks that were in my bedroom and office. That was it. We were done. We went and unloaded in the new place and that was it. It was such a huge help to have the movers. I could have never done it on my own.
I spent the rest of the day cleaning up the old place. I got in showing condition. Then, I grabbed my computer, turned off the lights, and went to my new place. This was a start of something new. It was a new chapter. I was nervous, but I knew it was for the best.
I spent the rest of the night unpacking. It took me about 3 hours, but I got it done. My home was complete. I was really happy to finally be done. I then booted up my computer and posted an ad on Craigslist putting my old condo up for rent. I included pictures and tried to be as detailed as I could in hopes to get someone in there soon.
“Very spacious two bedroom condo available to rent immediately in Crestwood. Asking $825 a month. Kitchen is fully equipped with a microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and refrigerator. The condo is clean and ready to rent immediately. Security deposit is the same as one month’s rent. Please respond to this ad to view the condo. Thank you.”
For the next week I got many replies to my ad, a lot of people came to view it. Finally, I got renters. Natasha and David were their names. They were a young couple, both school teachers. They moved in immediately. I was very thankful to have gotten renters so quickly.

The Second Trimester:

The next couple weeks leading up to my next doctor’s appointment were very busy at work. I almost forgot I was pregnant sometimes. I wished I wasn’t. I tried not to think about it. I didn’t want this. I liked my life the way it was. All I saw this pregnancy as was a way to ruin my life. There was nothing I could do about it not, but my feelings didn’t change.
I had put on a bit of weight. I felt like people at work might be noticing I was pregnant. I didn’t want to make an announcement, so I didn’t. If people knew, they knew. I just wasn’t going to go out of way to inform people.
At my appointment, Dr. Welch let me know I was getting very large. He thought we might be able to tell the gender of the baby. He did an ultrasound, and sure enough.
“IT’S A GIRL!” he exclaimed. “You’re going to have a little girl.”
“Oh wow,” was all I could get out.
“How are you feeling?” asked Dr. Welch.
“I’m okay, ready for it to all be over,” I admitted.
“Soon enough,” he said. “You’re measuring a little further along than we had originally said. You’re measuring at 19 weeks and 1 day. This puts your due date at March 24th. You better start getting things together for your bundle of joy. I want to see you again in 4 weeks.”
I went up to the front and made my appointment.  I knew he was right. Whether I liked it or not, this baby was coming. I had no attachment to it; or her. However, this is what was happening. It time I started to prepare.
I decided to go to the Pinedale Mall. I went into Barnes and Noble and got the ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting Book.’ I figured it was time I started to figure out what was going to happen to my body. I was already getting fat. I was less than thrilled about this. I also got a baby names book.
I started browsing different stores for things for the baby. The issue was I had no idea what I needed. I started in JCPenney’s. I bought some clothes. Since I knew it was a girl, this was the easy part. The question was; what else do you need for a baby? Finally, I found a store associate.
“What are some common items on a baby registry?” I asked.
“First pregnancy?” she asked assumingly.
“Yes,” I replied.
I was trying to play it off as if I were buying for someone else. I guess I was big enough where the whole world could tell.
“Come with me, I’ll help you. I have two young children of my own.”
I followed her. I was grateful for her willingness to help. I was lost in all of this.
“Do you know what you’re having yet?”
“A girl,” I replied.
“Girls are a lot of fun. I have one boy and one girl,” she said. “Do you have any names picked out?”
“Not yet,” I said.
Her name tag read ‘Sophia.’ That was a nice name. She was being very nice in helping me with something I cared nothing about. Maybe I would name her Sophia.
“You’re going to want some receiving blankets and some cozy, snuggle blankets. I recommend these receiving blankets.”
She held up a package of some pretty stylish receiving blankets. They had polka dots on them and were assorted in color. There were pink, purple, yellow, and green. They were cute. I put them in my basket.
Then I grabbed two cute blankets. One was leopard print with pink ruffled trim. The other was purple with flowers and hearts embroidered on it. They were both soft.
“Do you have a diaper bag yet?” she asked.
“No,” I answered.
“We just got in a new selection of diaper bags. They’re all pretty cute.”
She pointed over to the display of diaper bags. There were a lot of cute ones. I could have chosen any of them. They were so cute I would use them as a purse. I always used a large purse to carry everything I needed for work. I decided on a cute black and white zebra print one with pink accents and lining. I loved it.
“One of our most frequently bought baby items is the Fisher Price Smooth Motions Glider,” she said.
“What’s that?” I asked.
She brought me over to it. It was a glider the baby lays in that rocks and plays music.
“It was a blessing with both of my kids, especially my daughter. She didn’t like to sleep at night, but if I put her in this she went right to sleep,” she told me.
I decided to get one. I don’t even want to think about being kept up by a baby. I enjoy what little sleep I do get.
“A baby swing is another thing you may want to consider. It will give you the ability to get some things done while she swings away.”
They had some pretty stylish swings to choose from. These things were expensive! I couldn’t believe how much this baby was going to cost me. So not only was it going to ruin my life, but break the bank for me too. Regardless, I got myself into this situation. I got a pink, grey, and white polka dot swing. It had a cute mobile that hung above it and it played music. It seemed like a good pick.
“You’re definitely going to want a baby monitor. This will make it so you know she’s okay throughout the night,” she informed me.
I grabbed a cute pink and grey one that was a video one. This way, if she looked okay, I didn’t have to get up.
“Do you want just what you need right away, like the first three months?” she asked.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“There are certain items she won’t use until she’s four, five, or six months old. Do you want to have them on hand right away, or do you want to wait on those items until you need them?” she replied.
“Oh, well I can only fit so much in my car. I have an SUV, but there’s still a limit. I’ll get things for the first three months now and come back for the other things maybe in a few weeks,” I answered.
“Alright, that’s understandable,” she said. “Will you have her in daycare?”
I hadn’t even thought about that. I do have a job, so I guess I will.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Then you will want a playpen.”
They had a playpen that matched the swing, so I got that one. I loved having matching things.
“Do you have a car seat?” she asked.
“No, I guess I’m gonna need one of those, huh?” I replied.
“Definitely,” she said.
I was really getting lucky finding things that matched. They had a car seat that matched the swing and playpen. I of course got that one.
“That’s one of our best sellers,” she said. “Now, if you plan on going for walks or even coming to the mall, I recommend getting a stroller.”
I went over to the one that matched the car seat and everything else.
“We have a travel system that would save you money rather than buying them both separately,” she informed me.
Well, that was nice. So, I put back the car seat and grabbed the travel system. That saved me $40, so that made me happy. Just like anyone else, I liked saving money.
“Do you plan on breast feeding?”
Breast feeding? Are you kidding me? I am not having some baby I don’t even want suck on my boobs for milk. Absolutely not! I will be sticking to bottles.
“I don’t think so,” I responded.
“Alright, then you won’t need a breast pump. Do you have bottles?”
“No,” I told her.
“These drop-ins are really good. I used them for both of my kids.”
I grabbed a set of six.
“How do you feel about pacifiers?” she asked.
I had no idea. If it’ll help her not cry as much, I’m all for it.
“I’ll give them a shot,” I said.
I grabbed a set of two. One was pink and one was purple.
“Now, I know you only have an SUV. You’re going to need furniture, though. We can set up delivery. Since this is your first baby and you’re buying so much, I’ll even put it in free of charge for you,” she said.
That was nice of her.
“Okay, sounds good to me. Thank you,” I replied.
I looked around. There was a lot I liked. There was one nursery package that really caught my eye. It was a little pricey, but I figured if I was going to do this, I might as well do it well. The set was a crib, changing tower, dresser, and hutch. It was a beautiful set in cherry wood. I always had a thing for cherry wood. I went with it. Sure, it was $900. However, it was a lot. The crib converted into a toddler bed, daybed, and full-size bed. The dresser and hutch could also be used throughout her years. I would never run out of room for storing things. There was a cabinet under the changing table tower as well as three drawers, the dresser had four drawers, and the hutch had three shelves. This set was like a dream.
“I’ll be right back with an order slip for you. Why don’t you look at bedding and décor while I’m gone?” she said.
“Okay, thank you,” I replied.
This was a really hard decision. They had a cute pink paisley set. I wanted to keep looking. I wanted options. They also had a super cute pink polka dot set with red ladybugs and pink flowers. I liked that set a little more than the pink paisley. Then there was a pink monkey set with pink and orange polka dots and stripes. It was different, stylish, and cute. That was on my maybe list as well. They had a few others I liked, but nothing I was super crazy about.
 I ultimately decided on the ladybug set. It was just too cute. The set had everything I would want or need. It had the full bed set, diaper stacker, window valance, laundry hamper, three wall hangings, mobile, trash can, rug, wall border, and lamp. It was really cute. It was usually $130, but it was on sale for $99. That made me happy.
Finally, Sophia came back.
“So, did you decide on one?” she asked.
“Yes, this ladybug one,” I told her.
“That’s a very cute set. Good choice,” she said.
“Thanks,” I replied.
I always liked to think I had good taste. I loved fashion and clothes. It couldn’t be much different doing the same for a baby as I do for myself. So far, I was pleased with all that I had picked out.
“So, since we’re doing delivery for the big furniture, can we look at the rest of the items I would need for later on down the road that you were talking about?” I asked.
“Certainly,” she said. “You’re going to want toys, a baby gym, and a high chair.”
I picked out the high chair that matched the car seat, playpen, stroller, and swing. I was happy they had a matching one. They had a cute pink and purple polka dot gym that had dangling down toys and played music. For toys, I just grabbed a few rattles and a teddy bear. I figured I could check out Babies R Us for some more toys at some point.
“Do I have enough clothes for the baby?” I asked.
 I held up the three outfits I had picked out. I didn’t think I’d need much. I had picked out a cute pink and orange polka dot sleeper with a butterfly on it, an elegant looking pink and grey tiered dress with a pink diaper cover, and a pink onesie with pink and white zebra print leggings with a matching headband.
“My heavens, no,” she said. “Those are three really cute outfits, but they might help you make it through one day. Babies are messy. They spit-up, so they go through a few different outfits each day. Why don’t you pick out a few more outfits and give me your phone number. I have all of my daughter’s old clothes and shoes from newborn up to eighteen months. I can bring them by after I get off work at 7:30pm if that’s okay.”
This would save me a lot of money on clothes. I would be set for a while. I decided I would take her up on her offer. I was thankful for how helpful and generous she was. She was truly a blessing.
“That would be wonderful,” I said. “I can’t thank you enough. My phone number is on this business card.”
I always carried around business cards with me. I never thought I’d need one in the baby section of JCPenney’s, but I guess stranger things have happened.
I picked out a couple more sleepers. One was pink with bears for the feet, which I thought was cute. The other was pink flowers. Then I picked out another really cute dress. This one was a pink eyelet dress with ruffles across the chest. I loved it. I spotted a pink and black polka dotted dress with a matching diaper cover. I put that in my basket as well. Then I saw a really cute set. It was a pair of pink and brown polka dotted leggings with a brown onesie and a pink cardigan with an owl on it. It was super cute. I stopped there.
“Alright, let’s bring this all up to the register and fill out your order slip for your furniture to be delivered,” she said.
I nodded my head and followed her.
“When would you like this all delivered?” she asked.
“How soon do you have available? I have the weekends off and I get out of work early on Fridays,” I told her.
“I think I can squeeze you in tomorrow,” she said.
“That would be great,” I replied.
After we finished filling out the order slip, we rang everything up. We won’t talk about the total, but it was a pretty penny. I couldn’t believe how much I had spent on something I didn’t want. I brought everything except the furniture and the high chair. My little explorer was packed full. It wasn’t even this bad when I was moving. I couldn’t see out the back window. I drove very carefully home and unloaded everything.
Then, my phone rang. It was Sophia.
“Hi, this is Sophia from JCPenney’s,” she said.
“Hi there. How are you?” I replied.
“I’m fine. I just bagged everything up from my daughter and can bring them to you now if you are available,” she said.
“Yes, that would be great. Do you know where the Emerald Stone condos are just to the left of the entrance to the interstate?” I asked.
“Yes, they’re not far from me. Which one is yours?” she asked.
“I’m 403 Hidden Pond Road. When you come in the entrance, follow the road straight back to the second stop sign. Take a left at that stop sign. I’m the first one on the left. If you get lost, give me a call,” I directed.
“Alright, I’ll be over in ten minutes,” she said.
My doorbell rang and it was Sophia.
“I brought a lot more than I remembered having. You will be set on clothes, hats, booties, shoes, socks, blankets, and pretty much anything else you can think of. I also found the rocker I used with my kids in the basement, so I brought that. It will be helpful in rocking her to sleep. I also still had the infant bathtub and all of her toys,” she said.
I couldn’t believe it. She had brought so much stuff. If only she knew how much I hated the fact that I was pregnant. I helped her bring everything in. Then I offered her some tea. She sat down and we talked for a bit. I had driven everyone else away, so sometimes it was nice to have someone to talk to.
“I was in your shoes,” she said.
I was puzzled by her statement. She had a baby? I know. She had two of them.
“My husband divorced me right after I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I resented her for a long time,” she admitted to me.
Oh. Did I have it written all over my face? Could people tell how much I hated this thing that was growing inside of me?
“I don’t understand. Is it really that obvious?” I asked.
“Being someone who’s been there, I can tell,” she said.
I bowed my head down. I almost felt ashamed. I couldn’t help how I felt, but I felt guilty for feeling this way. I felt even worse knowing that someone could tell.
“It’s going to take work and effort on your part to welcome this baby. It wasn’t until I held my daughter for the first time that I was finally okay.”
I didn’t think anything would change how I felt. This baby was going to ruin my life. I was going to hate her until the day she moved out on her own and I could get on with my life.
“I understand how hard it is to talk about. You have my phone number and I’m going to leave you with my e-mail address as well. Sometimes it’s easier to say things when you can’t hear the other person’s reaction. Just know that I am willing to help you through this tough time,” she said.
She was the first form of support I had since my dad died. It was a breath of fresh air, but it was also kind of scary to me. I didn’t really know what to think. I had met this woman shopping for the baby and now she’s trying to help me. Why? Why does she want to help me so much?
“Thank you,” I said. “I really do appreciate it. It’s just a lot to take in.”
“I understand,” she replied. “Well, the kids are at home with the sitter still. So, I better get home. Please keep in touch.”
“I will,” I said.
I walked her out. I wasn’t sure why she was so nice to me. I was thankful, though.
I was tired and emotionally drained. So I just put everything in what would be in the baby’s room. I decided to take my first bath in my new garden tub and then head to bed early.
The next day, I woke up pretty early. I wanted to get the baby’s room somewhat organized before it was time for my delivery. They wouldn’t be coming until 1:30pm, so I had time. It was only 7:30am. So, I brewed a pot of decaf coffee and got ready for the day. I finally switched to decaf. I loved the taste of coffee. I couldn’t give it up completely, but anytime I had regular the baby just bounced around inside of me. I hated it. I didn’t like the reminders of knowing she was there.
I started by putting together the car seat. It wasn’t too difficult. Once it was done, I just tossed it in the closet. There was no way that thing was going in my car until absolutely necessary. I didn’t want my vehicle being a billboard that said I was having a baby. Then I put together the stroller. I just folded it up afterwards and put it in the garage. I wouldn’t need it for a while. I didn’t quite know what to do with the swing and glider. I put them both together. I really didn’t want any baby items in the rest of the house. The swing was too big to fit in the closet, so I tucked it in a corner of the baby’s room. The glider went in the closet. I just put everything else in the closet for the time being. I would have more places to put things once the furniture was in.
Finally, the delivery truck pulled up. The brought everything in. Little did I know they would put everything together as well. This was a big help. I had my dad’s old toolbox, but who knows if I would have been capable to put it all together. I am no tool girl. They arranged everything how I wanted it and put it all together. They even put together the high chair.
After they left, I just looked at everything. I went to go put the rest of the room together. The only issue was I didn’t even think to buy a mattress. I don’t know what comes with what and what doesn’t. I didn’t live far from Target, so I decided to run to Target to pick up a mattress.
I walked into Target and found their baby section. I grabbed the first crib mattress I saw, checked out, and drove home. A mattress was a mattress in my eyes, especially for a baby.
I went home and started putting the room together. I started with the crib. I put the whole bedding set together in the crib within a matter of minutes. That was easy. Then I decided I would unpack all of the clothes. Sophia had labeled each bag. So, I only unpacked the clothes I would need for the first three months. I was very thankful for all of the space I had. I filled every drawer. I hung all of the dresses up in the closet. At the very least, she would be well-dressed. I hung the diaper stacker on the end of the changing table. I put the lamp on the hutch. I laid the rug down in front of the changing table. I put the trash can on one side of the changing table and the laundry hamper on the other side. I attached the mobile to the crib. Then I put up the window valance and even applied the wall border. I was pretty impressed with myself. Everything was coming together. I hung up the wall hangings and her room looked complete.
I sat down in the rocker Sophia had given me and pulled out the two books I had bought from Barnes and Noble. I opened up the baby name book. There were so many names to choose from. With all of the help Sophia had given me and how we had a connection, I was really considering naming the baby Sophia or something similar. I decided on Sophia-Jean Louise. The Jean was for my mom, her name was Jean. My dad’s name was Louis. It all seemed fitting.
I hoped it wouldn’t freak Sophia out that I was naming my baby after her. I decided to give her a call and see what she thought.
“Hi Sophia, are you busy?” I asked.
“No, what’s up?” she replied.
“I think I’ve decided on a name for the baby, but I want your opinion,” I said.
“Sure, what name are you thinking about?” she asked.
“Sophia-Jean Louise,” I replied.
“Sophia-Jean?” she questioned.
“Yes,” I said. “You have helped me so much. Jean was my mother’s name and Louis was my dad’s.”
“Was?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said. “My mom died when I was six and my dad was killed when I was eighteen.”
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “Anyway, I think it’s a beautiful name. I feel honored and I think it’s great you’re including your parents in her name. It may help you to grow more attached to her.”
Attached? Me? To a baby? Ha! That was a funny joke. I was glad she liked the name and it didn’t scare her.
“Alright,” I said. “I’m glad you like the name. I’ll let you go, I’m sure you’re busy.”
“Would you like to go out for dinner on Friday?” she asked.
I hadn’t been out with anyone socially since I moved.
“Sure,” I said.
“Alright, give me a call Thursday night and we’ll pick a place,” she said.
“Okay,” I replied.
I figured this might be good for me. I needed some social interaction. I really liked Sophia. She was different than any of my friends from Crestwood.
I felt materialistically ready for the baby. I guess that was a plus. Emotionally, I still didn’t want her to come. I started wondering if I was a fool for buying everything. I was starting to really think about the option of adoption. I had my job that meant more to me than life itself. I wasn’t willing to slow down in my job for Tommy and I surely wasn’t about to slow down in my job for some stupid baby I didn’t want. I loved my job and I loved my income. Then I realized that income was now shared between me and a baby. This baby was already taking over my life. I remembered how much I had spent on everything. It was an ungodly amount. Maybe I would grow attached in time, I thought.
The next few days pretty much flew by. The questions kept coming in. I loved how fast-paced my job was. I started thinking about where I thought would be a good place for dinner on Friday with Sophia. I didn’t picture as someone who would enjoy Thai food. Maybe Mexican, I considered. Then I remembered the new Olive Garden that was just put in the center of town. Everyone loves Italian food. Thursday night came around and I gave Sophia a call.
“Hi Sophia. It’s Autumn-Rose,” I said.
“Hi there. Have you thought about where you want to eat tomorrow night?” she asked.
“I’ve thought about a few different things, but what about the new Olive Garden in the center of town?” I asked.
“I love Italian food,” Sophia said. “That sounds great. Would 5:30pm work for you?” she asked.
“Yes, that would work. I’ll meet you there,” I replied.
“Sounds good,” she said. “See you then.”
We hung up. I was actually pretty excited to go out to dinner with Sophia. With how big I was getting, I was well into maternity clothes. I hated it. However, I still hid it pretty well. I bought very stylish maternity clothes. Motherhood Maternity had a lot of options. I decided I’d go over to the mall to pick out an outfit for tomorrow night. I felt good having someone I could call a friend, so I wanted to look nice when we went out.
I picked out some black boot-cut corduroy’s with a nice pink and grey striped v-neck sweater. I liked it. So, that’s what I got. It was nice enough to wear to work, so I wouldn’t have to change.
Friday went by very quickly. I met Sophia at Olive Garden at 5:30pm sharp. I always make it a point to be on time. Ironically, we both ordered the same dish; chicken parmesan with a Caesar salad.
“So, why haven’t you been able to grow attached to Sophia-Jean?” she asked.
I dreaded answering her question, but I answered her honestly.
“Well, I drove away my ex-boyfriend because I was too involved in my career,” I started. “He decided he’d live the single life and get things going with his band. So, when I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to ruin his life. I moved from Crestwood to Pinedale to protect my secret.”
“I see,” she said.
“I am still very involved in my career and I liked my life before I got pregnant. I was happy. Now, I feel like this baby is going to ruin everything. She will take up my time and half my paycheck. I don’t know if I would have ever wanted a baby,” I told her.
“I can completely understand and relate to all of that,” she said. “What do you do for work?” she asked.
“I have my own column in the Crestwood Times. It’s an advice column,” I said.
“Oh wow!” Sophia exclaimed. “I can see why your work can mean so much to you.”
“Well, it goes deeper than that. My dad always encouraged my writing and told me it would take me somewhere someday. So, when he died I decided to use some of the money from his estate to put myself through school. This is all for him. I want him to be proud of me,” I admitted.
“You were very close to your dad it sounds,” she said.
“Yes, he was my best friend,” I replied.
“Did your dad work while he raised you?” she asked.
“Yes, he was a real estate agent and owned a few small companies,” I told her.
“He didn’t resent you, did he?” she asked.
“No,” I said.
I was starting to see where she was going with this. My dad never resented me and was able to manage his work and being a single parent. So, I should be able to do the same. It just doesn’t seem that easy.
“You want your dad to be proud of you. So, show him that you can take all challenges that come your way. He will be proud to know he raised such a wonderful daughter. He will want you to love and cherish your daughter. That would be his granddaughter, you know,” she said.
She was right. It was all starting to make sense. I just wasn’t sure how to do it. It all seemed too hard. I was stuck in how I felt and I didn’t know how to get out of it.
“How?” I asked. “How can I change how I feel?”
“It won’t be easy. Try to find little things that you like. I assume you like to shop. So, when you shop, buy something for the baby,” she said helpfully.
“I can do that, but the biggest thing is my job,” I said.
“Your job will understand you being a new, single mother. Is there any option for you to work from home, even just some of the time?” she asked.
“Well, they have given me work to bring home on the weekends. I can ask. I haven’t officially told them I’m pregnant yet. Although, I’m sure they know,” I said.
We ended our dinner with some cheesecake for dessert and then called it a night.
“Give me a call sometime!” Sophia yelled to me from her car before driving off.
“I will!” I shouted back.
It was only 6:30pm and the mall closed at 10:00pm. I decided I would take some of Sophia’s advice and go shopping for the baby. I wanted to find some things to fill the shelves of the hutch. They looked so bare with nothing on them.
Since JCPenney’s was where I had met Sophia, so that was where I decided to go. I knew she wouldn’t be there, but I guess it was just a soft spot in my heart now.
They had a pink bear that said ‘My First Bear’ that I thought would sit well in the corner of the top shelf. So, I grabbed that. Then there was a nice white keepsake photo album with a cross on it. Maybe this would help me to come closer to God again; the pregnancy, not the album. Maybe in time I would grow thankful for her. So, I got the album to signify what I was working towards. They had a cute stuffed pink giraffe and a brown and pink bear with a pink bow. I got those. I always loved stuffed animals when I was little. They would take up room on the shelves. There was also a pink stuffed elephant that I thought would sit nicely next to the giraffe. I cut myself off from stuffed animals after that. I saw some nice picture frames. There was one that said ‘Inside of Mommy’ and another that said ‘It’s a Girl.’ I decided to get them both. Then there was another picture frame that was for the first year of pictures. It had a slot for birth, one month, two months, all the way up to the center picture for one year. I got that. The best picture frame I found was one that said ‘Protected by Angels’ with slots for two pictures. That was perfect. I could put a picture of my mom and my dad in it. There was a cute pink piggy bank that I thought would sit nicely on a shelf too. They had a kit to make a cement footprint and handprint in after she’s born. I bought that because that would be a nice keepsake. I made my dad a cement handprint when I was five for father’s day and he loved it, I remembered.
I had gotten what looked like a lot from JCPenney’s. It just wasn’t enough to fill the shelves like I wanted. I had been reading my ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ book. It suggested reading to the baby both while they’re inside the womb and after they come out. It’s supposed to help with development. Thinking about that I decided to head over to Barnes and Noble to get some baby books.
The first book that caught my eye was this keepsake journal for the baby’s first year. I remembered my baby book, so I decided to get it. Looking at the shelves, I saw all of my favorite books I remembered. I loved Goodnight Moon, Pat the Bunny, Go Dog Go and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. So I grabbed copies of each of those. Then I remembered how much I loved Dr. Seuss. I could probably still recite some of his books. I picked up some of favorite Dr. Seuss books including Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss’s ABC’s, Hop on Pop, The Cat in the Hat, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, Horton Hears a Who, The Lorax, and Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book. These were all of my favorites. I started thinking about my favorite fairytale books I had read to me. Since I was having a girl fairytale books also seemed appropriate. I picked up the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, Three Little Pigs, Beauty and the Beast, Thumbelina, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. I wanted her to enjoy books and reading as much as I did. At this point, I figured I had picked up enough books. I counted them. There were twenty-three books in total plus the journal. However, as I was walking to the register I also spotted ‘What to Expect the First Year.’ I grabbed that and checked out.
I felt that between everything I had bought from JCPenney’s and Barnes and Noble that I had enough to fill the shelves of the hutch. However, I was tired of constantly buying for the baby and nothing for me. I always bought things for myself and did things for myself. I wanted to buy something for me.
I had been thinking about getting a new bedding set for quite some time now. I decided today would be the day. I was talking to Sophia about this and she told me Bed, Bath and Beyond had a great selection. She was right. There were so many sets to choose from. I found the perfect one for me within a matter of minutes. It was pink and black zebra print. It was wild and I loved it. It was a bed-in-a-bag. It had everything I needed. I bought it and then finally headed home.
I stripped my bed of my old bedding and put on my new set. It looked fabulous! It felt good to have bought something for myself. I decided I needed to do more for myself. It had been a while since I had gotten my hair and nails done. I decided those would come next.
Then I went into the baby’s room and unloaded everything. I started with the stuffed animals. I had remembered reading that the tags were a choking hazard, so I ripped those off. I placed the two bears in either corner of the top shelf of the hutch. I put the giraffe and the elephant in the left corner sitting side by side of the bottom shelf. Then I remembered the teddy bear I had gotten from JCPenney’s when I had first started my baby shopping. I placed that on in the corner on the right side of the middle shelf. I organized all of the books according to size and put them on the right side of the bottom shelf. That took up quite a bit of room on the bottom shelf. I thought putting one of the picture frames would be a nice added touch in the middle and then the bottom shelf would be complete. I grabbed one of the ultrasound pictures from when I found out I was having a girl and put it in the ‘It’s a Girl’ frame. I placed it in the middle of the bottom shelf. I placed the photo album and the journal on the left side of the middle shelf with the piggy bank sitting beside it. I went and grabbed a picture of my mom and a picture of my dad. I put them in the ‘Protected by Angels’ frame and placed it in the middle of the shelf. The middle shelf was complete. I put my first ultrasound picture inside the ‘Inside of Mommy’ picture frame and placed it on the shelf. I put the cement kit and the one year photo frame beside it. The shelves of the hutch were fully decorated. It looked great. The shelves were no longer bare. I was happy with the way it looked.
Monday morning, I finally decided to go to my boss. Her name was Rita. She was always nice, so I hoped this conversation would go over well and she would be as understanding as Sophia said she would be. I knocked on her door to her office.
“Come in,” she said.
I opened the door.
“Hi Rita,” I said. “I have something I’d like to talk to you about.”
“Sit down,” she said.
I sat down and then continued.
“I’m pregnant,” I said. “A little over twenty weeks.”
“I’ve been waiting for your announcement,” she said. “We all knew you were pregnant. Congratulations!”
“Thank you,” I said.
“Do you know what you’re having yet?” she asked.
“Yes, a girl,” I told her. “I just have a question. I’m new to all of this. I’ll be a single mom and in no way do I want to cut my hours or quit. I love it here. However, I was wondering if after I have the baby until I get into the groove of things, if it would be possibly for me to work from home. I could come in from time to time, but I am just trying to figure out how to manage all of this without losing my job.”
“Oh sweetheart, you are not going to lose your job. Your column is our biggest demand right now. Of course you can work from home for however long you would like. You can even start working from home now if you would like. That way you can work while you plan for the baby’s arrival. I completely understand. Don’t worry about a thing. You will also get six weeks of paid maternity leave,” she said.
I was really happy with how understanding she was. I was a little surprised.
“Thank you so much, Rita,” I said.
“Anytime,” she replied. “If you need anything, let me know.”
I walked out of her office. I decided I would take her up on her offer to work from home starting now. It would be very convenient. I figured I would come into the office each morning to pick up my bag of questions and bring them home to work on. I really thought this could work out. It would be very convenient.
After a few weeks of working from home, I realized I actually worked much faster from home. I liked it. I could listen to my music or watch TV while I worked. I was very disciplined with my work. I still worked the same hours I would if I were in the office. Sometimes I even worked over what I would normally in the office.
Thanksgiving had rolled around. I hated the holidays because it made me miss my parents, especially my dad. I didn’t have much memory of my mom. I was lucky to have a friend like Sophia. She invited me to her Thanksgiving celebration at her house. She really was a good friend. I realized that Thanksgiving was a pregnant woman’s dream. I ate everything. She made a really good dinner with the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, pork chops and cherry sauce, yams, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. It was delicious.
At my next appointment with Dr. Welch he said the baby was doing well and measuring right on time. It was a very quick appointment. He wanted to see me again in four weeks as usual. After my appointment, I decided to get my highlights re-done as they had grown out quite a bit. Being a natural redhead, I liked adding some dimension.
Time was really starting to take off. Work was keeping me really busy. I was still feeling no real attachment to the baby. I was trying really hard, but it just wasn’t coming. Not only was I resenting the baby, but myself. If I hadn’t pushed everyone away for my career then maybe I would have Tommy’s help and support. It was too late now. There was nothing I could do. I mean, sure, I could call him. However, I refused. He had his life and I had mine. I didn’t want to bother him or ruin his life. It was bad enough the way I was being affected by everything.
I finally had my emotional breakdown. I was trying so hard to just take a relaxing bubble bath and I just broke down. I felt so alone and so scared. Sophia was the only friend I had. I missed my dad and my mom. I missed having friends the way I did in high school. I had so many friends. I missed my body and my old life. I hated myself for not loving this baby in the way I knew she deserved to be loved. I felt like a failure. I felt like I was really letting down my parents with how I felt. I felt like the scum of the earth. I cried until I looked like a prune.
After I got out of the bath I crawled right into bed. I was hoping I could sleep and stop thinking about everything. I had no such luck. I couldn’t get comfortable. My back was hurting. No position I laid in worked. I also couldn’t get my mind to rest. All of my thoughts were running rampant. It was 11:30pm, but I felt like I needed my dad. Whenever this happened I went to his gravesite. Regardless of how late it was, I got dressed and drove out to the cemetery. It was kind of creepy being there so late. I was a somewhat superstitious person. So, I decided I had to be out of there by midnight. I sat at his grave and cried. I talked to him. I told him how I felt. I felt a little better finally, so I left.
I still knew there was no way I was going to sleep. I had no idea what I was going to do with myself. I hated not being able to sleep. I used to take a sleeping aid, but it wasn’t pregnancy safe. So, I had to stop for the duration of my pregnancy. I went home and booted up my computer. I figured if I was going to be awake, I might as well be productive. After working for a few hours, I finally felt tired enough to sleep. It was 3:45am. I crawled into bed. Being a really scheduled person, I was still up at 7:30am to work my normal hours. I hated falling off schedule. It didn’t matter that I was working from home and could set my own hours.
The next couple weeks were very hard on me. I just couldn’t get out of the rut of how I felt. It didn’t matter what I did or how much I tried. Nothing worked. I became more and more depressed. Finally, I decided that maybe I needed to bring myself closer to God and start going to church again. I used to go to church every Wednesday and Sunday with my dad. I couldn’t go back to that church because so many people who knew Tommy went there. It was in Crestwood. I did not want word that I was pregnant getting around Crestwood. I decided I would give Sophia a call and ask her if she knew of any good Baptist churches in Pinedale. I drove past a bunch of them all the time, but I wanted a recommendation if she had one. So, I gave her a call.
“Hi Sophia. It’s Autumn Rose,” I said.
“Hi. How are you?” she asked.
“I’m good,” I lied. “I had a quick question and I’m not sure if you’ll know the answer, but I figure it’s worth a shot.”
“Alright,” she said.
“Do you know of any good Baptist churches in Pinedale?” I asked.
“I do,” she replied. “There’s Liberty Baptist on Redwood Court. It’s two blocks away from the mall.”
“Alright,” I said pleased.
“Sunday, the kids and I can go with you if you’d like. Afterwards we can do brunch,” she offered.
Sophia was always there with anything I needed. I loved that about her. She was the only person I had to count on right now. It was funny how we met and became such close friends. I was truly grateful to have her in my life.
“That sounds good to me,” I said. “Thank you. Do you know what time their service is?” I asked.
“11:00am,” she said.
“Alright,” I replied. “I will meet you there then.”
“Sounds good to me,” she said.
Sunday was just a few days away. I decided I wanted to look nice for my first time at this church. So, I went and got my nails done. I just got active length tips with a French manicure. That was all I ever got. It was simple, but looked nice. Then, I headed over to the mall to Motherhood Maternity to get a new outfit. They had a really cute knee-length denim skirt. I loved it. I also got a white short-sleeved shirt and a tan colored wrap sweater. It was a cute, but professional looking outfit.
Sunday came and I met Sophia and her kids, Sean and Sonya, and the church. The service was nice. We didn’t know anyone. That was a little bit weird, but otherwise I liked it. I decided I would come back during the week and do some real praying and connecting with God. I knew this was something I could do anywhere, but I really wanted to become comfortable with the church.
After church, we went to Denny’s for brunch. I just ordered scrambled eggs with pancakes. It was pretty good. It was a nice way to end the morning after church.
My feelings during the week were getting worse and worse. I couldn’t even step foot in the baby’s room. I felt horrible. Nothing was helping me. Going to my father’s grave didn’t help as it usually did. Going to church didn’t help. I was at a loss. I had no idea where to turn to or what to do. It seemed like I resented this baby more and more with each passing day. Sure, I decorated her room nicely. I bought her nice things. However, no matter how much I bought I still couldn’t grow the least bit attached. I read my ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ book nightly. Unfortunately, there was nothing in there about becoming attached to your unborn child.
Thursday afternoon I finally decided to go back to the church. I needed to go pray. I felt like I needed to bring myself closer to God somehow. I went and sat in the front row of the church. I closed my eyes, folded my hands and just cried. That’s all I could do. I felt so lost, so alone. Then I heard a voice.
“Are you okay,” said the pastor.
“Yes,” I said. “I am just trying to find myself and find my way closer to God.”
“I can understand that,” he said. “Take all the time you need and once you’re done come to my office.”
He left me alone after that. I sat in that seat for a good hour. I prayed for hope and guidance. I prayed that I would love my baby after she came out. I prayed that Tommy never found out. I prayed that my life would get back on track. I prayed for so much. I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cry. I felt so helpless. It was an awful feeling, but it was a feeling I just couldn’t seem to shake.
Finally, I decided I was done for the time being. I went to the pastor’s office as he had asked. I was a little nervous as to what he could have wanted. I knocked on his door.
“Please, come in,” he said.
I walked in. He was sitting at his desk writing some notes.
“I’m Pastor Edwards,” he introduced himself.
“My name is Autumn-Rose,” I replied.
He stood up and shook my hand.
“Are you new around here?” he asked.
“Yes,” I admitted.
“Well, I’d love to welcome you on behalf of Liberty Baptist,” he said. “Will you be attending church regularly?” he asked.
“I was here on Sunday,” I said. “I plan on coming every Sunday as long as my schedule allows with the pregnancy, baby, and all.”
“We have a great nursery for after you have the baby,” he said. “We also have a low-cost daycare for our patrons. It is only $35 a week, or we offer hourly care. Hourly care is $5 for the day.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I would definitely like some more information. The hourly care is probably more of what I would be looking for.”
“Sure,” he said. Sunday, after service I will introduce you to the women who run our nursery. You can talk over the details and go over paperwork with them then.”
“Alright,” I said.
I couldn’t thank him enough. I was wondering how I would deal with being around the baby all the time with work. Sometimes I would want a break. Sophia already had her two kids, so I wouldn’t want to throw my baby on her as well. I was really grateful for such a low-cost daycare option.
“Well, I will see you Sunday,” he smiled.
“Yes,” I said. “Sunday.”
He walked me out and made sure I made it to my vehicle alright. He was a sweet gentleman. He was older, maybe in his sixties. He was somewhat short with salt and pepper hair. He was very nice and for that I was thankful. I was already starting to feel welcomed into the church. I was excited for Sunday.
I decided it was time I made a day of shopping therapy. Saturday I dedicated to a day of shopping for various things I wanted and needed.
 I started off by going to Motherhood Maternity to pick up some maternity church clothes. I found one really cute black wrap dress. It was sleeveless, so I also got a heather grey cardigan to go over the top. Then I picked out a long denim skirt and a white long-sleeved babydoll-style shirt. I figured those two outfits would be enough to get me started. I had other nice clothes at home. I just wanted to make a good impression at the church. While I was in Motherhood Maternity, I decided I would get one other cute outfit. I picked out some flared jeans with a purple long-sleeved scoop neck shirt. Before checking out, I spotted a nice pantsuit. They were black dress pants with a maroon and black babydoll-style top.
After Motherhood Maternity, I decided I could use some new shoes. I headed over to Nine West. I found a nice black pair of ballerina flats. They fit like a dream. I knew they would work well when my ankles were swollen. Then I fell in love with a pair of white and denim peep toe wedges. The denim was very close to the denim skirt I had just bought. Those were a definite buy. The last pair I decided to get was a pair of black suede heeled clogs. They were really comfortable.
It felt really good to be shopping for myself. For some reason, shopping always made me feel better. My dad trained me that way. Anytime I had a rough day, he would take me shopping. After shopping, we would stop at Dairy Queen for ice cream. No matter what I was upset about, it always made me feel better.
I decided I really wanted some new books to read aside from my ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting.’ So, I browsed around Barnes and Noble. I had heard a lot of good things about Kelley Armstrong’s books. I loved fantasy books. Mercedes Lackey would always be my favorite, but I willing to try something new. Kelley Armstrong’s ‘Women of the Underworld’ series seemed to be a bestselling series. I decided to give it a shot. I bought the first three books in the series, so I could test it out and see if I liked the series.
The last place I decided to check out while I was at the mall was JCPenney’s. I figured I’d see if Sophia was working and see if anything caught my eye. Sophia was working, but she seemed pretty busy. I thought I would feel guilty if I didn’t buy anything for the baby while I was there. Since her room was ladybugs, I picked up a ladybug pillow pet for her.
That was the end of my shopping therapy. Well, almost. I decided I would go to Dairy Queen for old time’s sake for my dad.  I ordered my usual cherry dipped vanilla soft serve cone. I wished my dad was there with me. Dairy Queen was always our thing. A lot would have been easier if my dad were still alive. It didn’t matter how long my dad had been gone for, it never got easier. He is why I will never drink and drive. I always hoped the drunk driver who killed my dad would rot in hell.
I went home and unloaded from my shopping spree. I hung up my clothes, put the shoes in my closet, arranged the books on my bookshelf, and placed the pillow pet in the crib. I admittedly felt better after my shopping spree.
Sunday came. I wore my new denim skirt outfit to church. The service was just as nice as the last. Pastor Edwards smiled when he saw me. After service, he introduced me to a woman by the name of Melanie. She was head of the nursery. She was a bit round, with short red hair, and fair skin. She was very nice.
“When are you due?” she asked me.
“March 24th,” I told her.
“Do you know what you’re having yet?” she asked.
“A girl,” I answered.
“Any names picked out yet?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said. “Her name will be Sophia-Jean Louise.”
“That’s a lovely name,” she said. “So, you’re looking into the possibilities of daycare?” she asked.
“Yes, just hourly care,” I said. “Pastor Edwards said that was available.”
“Yes, we have hourly care,” she replied. “For $5 a day. There’s just some paperwork you’ll need to have filled out after she’s born by your pediatrician.”
Pediatrician? I hadn’t even thought about doctors yet for her. Maybe I could get a recommendation from Sophia when the time came. I took the paperwork and put it into my purse.
“Alright, thank you so much,” I said.
“Also, here is a pamphlet about our nursery,” she said.
I tucked that into my purse as well, thanked her, and headed home. I was thankful this was available to me. I liked how friendly Melanie was.
That night, I gave Sophia a call.
“Hi Sophia,” I said. “I just have a quick question if you have time.”
“Sure,” she said.
“Do you have any recommendations for a pediatrician?” I asked. “I went to the church again today and they offer hourly care. I got some paperwork, but it’ll have to be filled out by a pediatrician after Sophia-Jean was born.”
“Yes,” she replied. “I used the same pediatrician for both of my kids. Dr. Holland. She’s in the medical park in the center of town.”
“Do you have a phone number?” I asked.
“Of course,” she replied. “I’ll e-mail it to you.”
“Alright,” I said. “Thank you.”
“Not a problem,” she replied.
I was so grateful for everything Sophia had done for me. She helped me get things for the baby and was so full of information. I was very lucky to have a friend like her and I knew it. I really didn’t know what I would do without her.
 December 10th rolled around, which was my next appointment with Dr. Welch. I was 23 weeks and 1 day pregnant to date.
“Things are looking good,” he said. “You’ve over the halfway mark.”
I nodded my head.
“Are you doing okay?” he asked.
“Yes,” I lied.
“Autumn-Rose,” he said. “You’ve been my patient long enough; I can tell when something isn’t quite right.”
“I know,” I said.
“So, please be honest with me and tell me what’s going on,” he said.
I broke down into tears. I hated that he could tell something wasn’t right with me. I couldn’t help but cry. He brought me over a box of tissues and put his hand on my shoulder.
“Please calm down,” he said. “The baby can sense how you’re feeling.”
That was not the thing to tell me. So, this baby can sense that I want nothing to do with it? This baby can sense that I resented it from the moment I found out I was pregnant?
“Alright,” I said. “The truth is; I have no attachment to this baby. I have tried everything to fix this and nothing is working. I tried going to my dad’s gravesite, going to church, shopping therapy, ice cream. I’ve tried everything I know. I have everything I need for her, but I am still not attached. I feel bad. I feel guilty. But the truth is; I resent her. From day one I have felt like she is going to ruin my life and my career. Certain things have shown me this isn’t the case, but it still hasn’t changed how I feel. I just feel so bad.”
Dr. Welch looked at me. I could tell he was deep in thought. I hated not knowing what he was thinking. Was he judging me? Was he disappointed in me? What was he thinking?
“This happens to some mothers who got pregnant and circumstances changed,” he said. “Your circumstances have changed drastically.”
I nodded my head admitting the truth in his statements.
“I can recommend you a counselor to see,” he said. “However, whether or not you actually go see her and open up to her is up to you.”
“I’m willing to try anything,” I said.
He handed me a business card. Her name was Tessa Bailey.
“Thank you,” I said.
“Give her a call if you wish,” he replied. “Just try and take care of yourself. I want to see you back here in four weeks, as usual.”
I made my appointment up front. Then I went out to my car. I considered giving the counselor a call. First, I wanted to see if there was anything else I could think of to help myself. I wondered if there were any books available at Barnes and Noble that might be able to help me. So, I drove over to the mall and went to Barnes and Noble. I browsed the shelves for a good half hour. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything.
I decided I would call the counselor. However, I wanted to put it off until Monday. I wasn’t ready to deal with a counselor yet. I wanted to enjoy my weekend first.
I had gotten all of my work for the week done. So, I decided I would rent some movies and relax at home for the weekend. So, I made a trip to Blockbuster. I had a coupon for rent three, get the fourth free. For the weekend I had in mind for myself, I thought this would be a good time to utilize my coupon. I decided I was in the mood for some variety. I got Sleeping and Waking to fulfill my sci-fi and Sparkle to fulfill my romance and comedy. The Social Network looked pretty interesting for a drama, so I picked that out. I wanted a horror to complete my movie weekend, so I decided on Case 39. I was happy with my choices.
In thinking about my movie weekend, I decided I would make a run to the grocery store and stock up on some snacks. I picked up a two liter of sprite, popcorn, salsa, chips, jalapeño poppers, mozzarella sticks, pizza, and ice cream. I figured this would help me enjoy my weekend of movies and quiet before calling the counselor on Monday.
I hated counselors. I had seen them my whole life. First, I saw one for my mother’s death. Then, after my father died, I went back to another grievance counselor. I hated counselors. They were also so cookie cutter. They were all the same. They all said the same things and had the same mannerisms. However, I needed to try something to fix this. So, that was the only option I had left really.
Friday night, I decided I would watch Sparkle. I needed some comedy in my life. I loved foreign movies, especially British. I had a thing for the accents I suppose. So, I loved Sparkle. It was a cute romantic comedy. I gave myself a serious case of heartburn with the jalapeño poppers and salsa and chips. Milk and Tums became my best friend that night. I always loved spicy food, but eating it while pregnant was always a bad idea. I knew it, but I still did it. I didn’t want to give up my favorite foods. I had already given up so much.
I felt pretty relaxed all weekend. Watching movies and nothing else really helped to calm me down. I ended each night with a relaxing bubble bath. I relaxed and pampered myself all weekend. It was all too enjoyable. Sunday night, I took an extra long bubble bath because I knew the next morning was Monday.
Monday came and I worked really hard from 8am until 3:30pm. Then, I decided to give the counselor a call. She answered the phone and sounded nice enough.
“Hi, my name is Autumn-Rose,” I said. “I got your phone number from my doctor.”
“What can I do for you?” she asked.
“I’d like to make an appointment,” I replied.
“Alright, when are you available?” she asked.
“I can do most Fridays,” I replied.
“How about this Friday?” she asked.
“Yes, that will work,” I said.
“Would like a morning or an afternoon appointment?” she asked.
“Afternoons are better for me,” I replied. “Do you have anything after 3pm?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “How about 3:30pm?”
“Sounds good to me,” I lied.
I was not looking forward to this appointment. Nothing sounded good about it. I just hoped it would help.
“You will be my last appointment of the day,” she said. “So, please try to be on time.”
“I’m always on time,” I said.
“Alright,” she said.
She sounded nice at first and then got snotty. I was unsure whether or not I would like her. I figured I would at least try. If she ended up being snotty, I wouldn’t go back. I would be no worse off than I am now. I had to go at least once, though. I had to give it a shot.
I spent that week suffocating myself with work. I didn’t want to think about my appointment on Friday. The questions I was getting were becoming more bizarre. Some questions I had to throw away. Thankfully, my boss would never know.
Autumn-Rose: Is it true that you disappeared and are living a secret life since your break up?”
Are you serious? Why do people care about my personal affairs? -An Inquiring Soul
Autumn-Rose: Are you back on the market?” -Interested
I was used to questions asking me for a date. However, nobody needed to know my relationship status. 
Autumn-Rose: Will you switch your status on Facebook to say you’re married to me?” -Your Soulmate
Why on earth would anyone think I would do that? For one, my Facebook is really private. For two, I very rarely got on Facebook. Ever since my move, I get on it to see if anyone has messaged me. It didn’t matter if they did because I wouldn’t reply anyway. It was just interesting to see what people had to say. That day I realized how pointless my Facebook account was. So, I deleted it. There was no sense in having a Facebook account with no purpose.
Friday came around and I went to my appointment. She looked nice. Then, I saw an all too familiar key ring sitting on her desk. It was Tommy’s varsity key ring. It had his number ‘71’ engraved on it with his picture in the middle. I walked out without even a second thought. This ‘counselor’ was Tommy’s new girlfriend. There was no way I would be seeing her. I knew she had to uphold confidentiality, but knowing she was his girlfriend, I could never open up to her. That was a wasted trip.
That weekend I thought quite a bit about what I was going to do about having no attachment to this pregnancy or this baby and how I was out of options on how to fix it. I decided I would call Sophia. Maybe she would want to do dinner where I could talk to her. I hated unleashing on her sometimes because I knew she had her own kids and her own problems. I knew she didn’t mind, but I still felt bad.
“Hi Sophia, it’s Autumn-Rose,” I said.
“Hi there, what’s up?” she replied.
“I was wondering if we could do dinner maybe this weekend or whenever you’re available,” I said. “I need someone to talk to.”
“Yes, definitely,” she said. “Would tomorrow night work?” she asked.
“Yeah, that’ll work,” I said.
“Alright,” she said. “Where would you like to eat?” she asked.
“I’m not really sure,” I said. “Do you like Mexican?” I asked.
“Yes, I love Mexican,” she said. “There’s On the Border, right by the mall. It’s really good.”
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go there then. How about 6pm?” I asked.
“Sounds good to me,” she said.
We hung up. I was excited about going to eat Mexican. However, I wasn’t so excited about the topic at hand. I knew I needed someone to talk to, though. Even if she couldn’t help me, at least she could listen.
Saturday night came and we met at the restaurant. They started us off with chips and queso. It was really good. We both looked at the menu and decided quickly. While we waited on our server, I started to talk.
“I’m still having trouble becoming attached to the baby,” I said. “I even tried counseling. Nothing is working.”
“I think you need to take your mind off of whether or not you are attached and just let things take their course as they may,” she said. “You are stressing yourself out way too much.”
“What if I’m never attached to her?” I asked. “What if I never love her?”
“Then there are options,” she replied. “There is always adoption if it absolutely comes down to it. But right now you have no idea how you will feel when you hold her for the first time. That may be all it will take. When you first hold her you may love her like you’ve never loved anything before. Just wait it out,” she said.
“I just feel bad,” I said. “I feel like there’s something wrong with me and I feel guilty not feeling like most new moms are supposed to feel.”
“Give it time and wait until she’s born,” she said. “You really need to stop stressing about this, Autumn-Rose. It’s not good for you and it’s not good for the baby. You need to try to relax. Don’t think about it anymore. Just wait and see what happens after you deliver. Okay?”
I decided maybe that was the best course of action. I just needed to try and put it all aside until she was born.
Finally, our server came and took our order. I ordered the Mexican salad. That had always been my favorite. I also ordered fried ice cream for dessert. However, I wanted it served with my meal.
Sophia and I spent the rest of our dinner talking about a lot of random things. I had told her about some of the weird questions I was getting with work, which she thought were amusing as well. She started telling me about her kids’ latest antics. We had good dinner conversation. I felt a lot better after dinner. I felt refreshed.
The next three weeks went by pretty slow. I think it just felt slow because I really wanted the baby to come. I wanted to see how I would feel once she came. The clock was ticking and I was waiting for the buzzer to go off. I needed to know if I was ever going to love this baby or if I was going to have to give her to someone else.
I started really thinking about the whole adoption idea. I’ve carried her this long. I wasn’t attached to her, but my body endured all of these changes and I’ve given up so much. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually be able to just hand her over to someone who sacrificed nothing. On the other hand, maybe that would just be the better option. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about if I ever loved her. I could focus on me and my career. I wouldn’t have to worry about if she had enough of everything. My paychecks would go back to being spent how they were before I got pregnant. I was so confused. I had no idea which decision would be best. I had to take my mind off of it for a while. Sophia may have been right. Only time would tell.
My next appointment came. Dr. Welch decided to do an ultrasound to check on the baby’s measurements and such.
“She’s measuring perfectly,” he said. “With how things are going size-wise, I might say you may go early. We’ll see as it gets closer. I want to see you again in four weeks, as usual. However after that appointment I will be seeing you every two weeks.”
“Okay,” I said.
Go early? I don’t want her to come early. I’m not even ready for her to come on time. Well, not mentally. Hopefully God will work with me on this one, I thought.
I was twenty-seven weeks pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I was finally nearing the end. It felt like I had been pregnant for an eternity. I felt like a hot air balloon with my size. I was uncomfortable. My back always hurt. Heartburn was a frequent visitor. I was half ready for it all to be over with, but I wasn’t ready for the baby part of it. It was a catch twenty-two for me.

The Third Trimester:

Work really started picking up over the next few weeks. The amount of questions I usually averaged each week almost doubled. I was working extra hard just to keep up. The only bad thing was, at least one-hundred and fifty questions out of each batch were garbage. They were the same personal questions that I refused to answer. I didn’t know why people even bothered. I never answered those questions. I tried to look on the bright side of things. With work keeping me so busy, it was keeping my mind off of how I was feeling about the baby still.
Thirty-one weeks. I was thirty-one weeks and a day at my next appointment. I had nine weeks at best to go. Dr. Welch said everything looked good, but I was to start scheduling my appointments every two weeks.
After leaving my appointment, I realized I had never called the pediatrician that Sophia had recommended. So, I ran home and got the phone number out of my e-mail and gave them a call.
“Hi, I am looking for some information. I am thirty-one weeks pregnant and may be delivering early. I would like to have a pediatrician setup before I give birth,” I said.
“That is no problem at all,” said the receptionist. “What hospital will you be delivering at?” she asked.
“Pinedale General,” I said.
“Great!” she said.”Dr. Holland can come right to the hospital right when you deliver. Would you be able to come in and fill out some paperwork?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said. “When?” I asked.
“We’re here until 5pm today,” she informed me.
“Alright,” I said. I’ll be right down. “Thank you.”
I was happy with how quickly things were moving with this. I was afraid that since I hadn’t called until now that I would be on some waiting list and wouldn’t have a doctor for the baby for a while. With only nine weeks tops left in my pregnancy, I really didn’t have a lot of time to play with. So, I headed right down to the pediatricians office.
I walked in and signed in.
“Autumn-Rose O’Leary,” they called me up to the front.
“Hi,” I said. “I had just called about getting a pediatrician setup before I had my baby.”
“Oh yes!” said the receptionist.
She handed me a clipboard with some paperwork to fill out.
“Fill this out and bring it back up when you’re done,” she said.
I filled it out. Of course, I left Tommy’s name off of everything. There was no father. This baby was fatherless. For the first time, I felt bad thinking about that. There was nothing I could do, though. I refused to ruin his life. I was a crappy enough girlfriend as it was with how I pushed him away. I finished the paperwork and brought it back up.
“You’re all set,” she said. “Here is Dr. Holland’s card. When you deliver, call right away so she can be there as soon as she can to check the baby out.”
“Alright,” I said. “Thank you.”
That was quick and easy. I was happy about that.
Sunday when I went to church I had decided I would talk to Pastor Edwards about the baby. I wanted to have a dedication for her after she was born. So, after service I waited around for him to talk to him about what I wanted.
“Hi Pastor,” I said. “I wanted to talk to you about the baby.”
“Oh?” he replied.
“Well, I want to do a dedication for her,” I said. “I don’t want a normal baptism. I just want to have the ability to dedicate her as God’s child. Do you get what I mean?” I asked.
“Oh yes,” he said. “We can definitely do that. Whenever you have her, the Sunday you return to church, be ready. We will do it during service.”
“Alright,” I said.
Since Dr. Welch was thinking I may go early, I was really trying to get everything in order as quickly as I could. After church, I went home to change. I wanted to be in some more casual clothing. Then I decided to go to JCPenney’s to pick up a christening gown for the baby.
They had several to choose from, but the one I wanted I fell in love with right away. It was a three-tiered dress with lace trim and pearl beading. It was absolutely beautiful. Any baby girl would look like a princess. It also came with a matching headband. I bought it without a second thought.
I surrounded myself in nothing but work for the next two weeks. I was trying to do anything I could to keep busy. I felt like the busier I was the quicker she would come. I knew that wasn’t really the case. I knew she would come on her own time, but I still hoped this was how it would work.
At my next appointment Dr. Welch did another ultrasound. He wanted to see where we were at as far as size goes.
“The baby is measuring pretty big,” he said. “You’re only thirty-three weeks and a day, but the baby is measuring at five pounds and twelve ounces.”
“Oh wow,” I said.
“We will see where things stand at your next appointment, but if this baby is bigger than eight pounds at delivery, you may have to get a C-section.”
“A C-section?” I questioned.
“Yes, where we cut you open and take the baby out,” he said.
I did not want a C-section. I didn’t want to be cut open.
“Please make an appointment for two weeks from today and we’ll see how things look then,” he said.
I went up to the front and made my appointment. I was scared now. I didn’t want to be cut open. The thought of it scared me half to death. So, I decided I would diet a bit. If I didn’t eat as much maybe the baby wouldn’t weight as much, I thought.
The best diet I knew of was to cut all carbohydrates out of my diet. So, that’s what I did. I hoped it would work. At the very least, I had hoped it would keep her under eight pounds so I didn’t have to get cut open.
That night I called Sophia. I wanted to ask her about the delivery of her kids. I knew it was a personal topic, but we were pretty open with each other about a lot of things. I had hoped I wouldn’t be overstepping my boundaries.
“Hi Sophia,” I said.
“Hi there,” she replied. “How are you?” she asked.
“I’m alright,” I said. “I was just wondering if I could ask you about your deliveries with your kids if it wasn’t too personal.”
“Not a problem,” she said. “What do you want to know?” she asked.
“Well, at my appointment today my doctor said that I am measuring at almost six pounds and if she weighs over eight pounds that I would have to get a C-section. What kind of delivery did you have?” I asked.
“I had a C-section with my son and a vaginal delivery with my daughter,” she said.
“How bad was the C-section,” I asked.
“It wasn’t that bad during,” she said. “It was the month and a half after. I couldn’t bend down without being in pain. It wasn’t too bad because at the time I was still with my ex.”
“Oh,” I said.
“I would recommend doing everything you can to not get a C-section. However, if you get one, I will be more than happy to help you,” she offered.
Sophia was always the type of person willing to give the shirt off her back. She bent over backwards for me time and time and time again. I was very grateful for everything she had done and offered to do for me. However, there were times I felt bad. I felt like I was using her. I hoped she didn’t think that’s what I was doing. I cherished her as my friend. Whether or not she helped me, she was still my friend. She was a breath of fresh air in comparison to the friends I had in high school. She wasn’t someone I wanted to lose. I enjoyed having her as my friend.
“Thank you,” I said. “Is there anything I can do to avoid a C-section?” I asked.
“Not really,” she said. “You just have to hope for the best.”
I was getting tired of hoping for the best. Couldn’t there be one thing in my life where there was a definite outcome? Oh well. I was leaving this one up to God.
Going to church had really helped me. I was much closer to God than ever before. I prayed every night. I prayed when things were hard. When there were things out of my control, I left them up to Him. I knew that He would get me through anything.
After talking to Sophia, I started thinking about if there was anything else I had to do to prepare for the baby. Since it didn’t look like I had much time, I needed to get it all out of the way. I had remembered reading about packing my hospital bag in advance. I went and pulled out the stylish diaper bag I had bought. However, I had no idea what to put in it. I felt bad, but I had to call Sophia back.
“Hi Sophia,” I said. “Sorry to bother you again.”
“It’s not a problem at all,” she said.
“I was wondering what I should pack in my bag for the hospital,” I said.
“Well, what I suggest is a nightgown of my own, socks, a bathrobe, a nursing bra, pads to put inside the bra for any leaking, underwear you don’t care much about, pads, your everyday toiletries, your going home outfit, the baby’s going home outfit, a few extra outfits for the baby, diapers, wipes, and toiletries for the baby, and things for you to do,” she advised.
“What do you mean things for me to do?” I asked.
“Labor isn’t a quick thing,” she said. “Bring some books, magazines, an iPod, etc. You’re going to want to stay busy until you’re in heavy labor.”
“Alright, thank you,” I said.
I packed the diaper bag with everything she suggested except the nursing items. I did put in a bottle and bottle liners, though. So, that was done.
A few days before my next appointment I noticed I was carrying lower than before. I had read in my ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ book that this meant the baby had dropped. This was a little concerning to me. I decided I would wait it out until my appointment on Friday. I wasn’t in any more pain or feeling any more uncomfortable than usual.
At my appointment I addressed my concern with Dr. Welch.
“A few days ago I noticed I am carrying lower than I was before,” I said.
“Oh yes,” he said. “I can definitely see that. Let’s do an ultrasound.”
He brought in the ultrasound machine. He seemed just as concerned about this as I was. This made me feel good to know that I wasn’t over-reacting.
“We have to get her out as soon as possible, Autumn-Rose,” he said.
“Why?” I asked. “What’s wrong?”
“For one, she is now measuring at seven pounds even. For two, your water broke. Did you not notice this? You’ve had a premature rupture of membranes.”
“I had no idea,” I said. “Maybe it happened while I was urinating,” I said.
“It’s possible,” he said. “In any case, I want you to try to hold out until next week. I want you back here next Friday and then we’ll make the final decision on what to do and when.”
I went up front and made my appointment. Then I started freaking out. The time was almost here. I knew it. I was frantic. I had no idea what to do. If I called Sophia, I thought I would just end up screaming and making absolutely no sense. So, I drove to her house.
I let her know everything that had happened at my appointment and how the baby would be here sooner rather than later. After telling her everything, she started to talk.
“You’re not thinking about driving yourself are you?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “Why wouldn’t I drive myself?”
“You have no idea what will happen,” she said. “I will drop my kids off Friday at my mom’s house and I will stay with you until you have this baby.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “I want to be there for you.”
“Okay,” I said. “Thank you so much for everything. I couldn’t ask for a better friend.”
I ended up in tears. I was so thankful for Sophia. I really had no idea what I would do without her.
“It’s not a problem,” she said. “I like being there for you. You’re my friend and I worry about you.”

The Time Had Come:

Friday came all too quickly. I was really stressed out all week. I had hoped everything was together enough for when this baby came. I had no idea what the outcome of my appointment would be, but I had a bad feeling it meant that the baby would be coming out very soon. I was scared. I knew I had Sophia and for that I was thankful. Now I really started to worry about what if I never loved the baby.
 I started thinking about everything Sophia had told me. I went back to one of our first conversations. My dad always loved me and never resented me. My dad was constantly working as a single parent to support me. He never once complained about it. I prayed I could be like my dad. My dad was so strong. My dad was my hero. He did such a great job in raising me. I hoped I could do the same.
Then I started thinking about Sophia and her kids. Her situation was similar to mine and she was a great single mom. She loved her kids more than anything. I had hoped I would be like her in the fact that my love for my baby would come when I held her for the first time.
Sophia met me at my house thirty minutes before it was time for my appointment. She insisted on driving me. We put my hospital bag in the car just in case. I also decided to bring my laptop just in case it took a really long time. I didn’t want to be bored and I also didn’t want to get behind on work. Then we were on our way to Dr. Welch’s office.
In the car Sophia started trying to make sure I was okay.
“Are you ready for this?” she asked.
“Not even a little bit,” I admitted.
“You’ll be fine,” she said. “I am not going anywhere. I will be there every step of the way.”
I was happy to hear her say that. I was happy to have someone there to support me through this. I knew this was going to be really hard on me. Once I had the baby, I had no idea how I was going to feel. I had read some stories online about people who never had any attachment to their kids who resented them. In many cases they ended up abusing them. That wasn’t something I wanted to do. So, I had decided I would only give myself a short time. If the love and attachment never came, I would start looking into adoption agencies.
We got to Dr. Welch’s office. I obviously had to make the introductions as Dr. Welch had no idea who Sophia was.
“Hi Dr. Welch,” I said. “This is my good friend, Sophia.”
“Hi Sophia,” he said.
“Hello,” she replied.
“Well, it’s time to do this ultrasound,” he said. “We need to figure out what we’re going to do.”
I laid back as he pulled up the ultrasound machine. I was nervous of what Dr. Welch would say.
“Well, you have two choices,” he said. “Well, three.”
“What are they?” I asked.
“The first is you can wait it out until you think it’s time and then we’ll more than likely end up in an emergency C-section after you try delivering normally. The second is you can schedule a C-section for a couple weeks from now and pray nothing happens between now and then. The third is you can be induced as soon as possible and have the possibility of delivering your baby normally.”
“How much is she weighing right now?” I asked.
“Seven pounds and six ounces,” he replied.
I looked at Sophia. I wasn’t sure which option was best. I didn’t want a C-section.
“Would it be safe to be induced now?” I asked.
“Yes,” Dr. Welch replied. “You’re thirty-six weeks and a day.”
“Sophia,” I said. “What do you think?”
“I think you would be best to be induced, but this is your baby and your choice,” she said.
“Alright,” I said. “I want to be induced.”
“The day is still early,” Dr. Welch said. “Do you want to be induced today or first thing tomorrow?” he asked.
I sat and thought for a minute. I had my hospital bag in the car. I had everything I needed for the baby. I had come here with the expectation of having the baby today. So, I figured I might as well get it over and done with.
“Today,” I replied.
“Okay,” he said. “Let me get you some paperwork and then you can head to the hospital. Pinedale, right?”
“Yes,” I replied.
He filled out some paperwork and then handed them to me.
“When you get to the hospital, go straight to the maternity ward and hand them your paperwork. They will get you taken care of. They will keep me updated and I will be in periodically until you deliver,” he said.
I was a frantic disaster on the way to the hospital. I had so many thoughts running through my mind. I couldn’t believe I was about to have a baby. Sophia decided to take some back roads to the hospital. These back roads were extremely bumpy.
“SOPHIA!” I screamed.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“I don’t think I’ll be induced,” I said. “I think she’s coming right now!”
Sophia drove faster. She got me to the hospital in record time.
We got to the maternity ward and the contractions were strong and very close together. I started timing them. They were four minutes apart.
“Here are my induction papers,” I said when we got to the maternity ward.
“But she’s in labor right now,” said Sophia.
They got me into a room right away and hooked me up to the fetal monitor. They didn’t do anything as far inducing me went since I was quite obviously already in labor.
Dr. Welch came in to see if I was dilated.
“She’s dilated to an 8 and 100% effaced!” he said. “Let’s get this started. She’s going to have a baby soon.”
“Your body has been working on having this baby for quite some time now,” he said. “You never told me whether or not you wanted an epidural, but you are too far into this now for an epidural.”
I was not happy about this. I didn’t want to feel her come out. What if this made me resent her and not love her even more? However, there was nothing I could do. He was the doctor.
The nurses got the room setup for delivery. They were very quick about it. As each contraction came, it hurt a little more. Sophia was standing right by my side. I felt like I was going to pass out. I was hot and I felt weak. There was no turning back now.
For the next few minutes I prayed. I prayed that God would help me to love this baby. I also prayed that the baby would love me too. I didn’t even realize that was a fear of mine until now, but I guess it was. I prayed for the best outcome. I prayed for strength.
After I was done praying, everything started to happen so quickly.
“Every time you feel a contraction, I want you to push for ten seconds,” directed Dr. Welch.
I did as I was told. I pushed for a good hour and a half. I could feel everything. It was extremely unpleasant, but at this point I was more concerned on just getting her out.
“I can see her head,” said Dr. Welch. “Keep on pushing.”
I pushed for another ten or fifteen minutes and she was out. I did it! I had pushed out a baby. Apparently, she had ripped me a little bit. So, Dr. Welch put in some stitches.
“These will dissolve within seven days,” he said. “Apply some witch hazel to them and they won’t bother you.”
“Seven pounds and seven ounces,” he said. “Twenty-one inches long.”
“Oh wow,” I said.
“She came out born to play basketball,” Dr. Welch joked.
Sophia gave me a hug.
“You did exceptionally well,” she said. “I’m so proud of you.”
The nurses cleaned off the baby. While they did that, I asked Sophia to call Dr. Holland.
“Dr. Holland will be here in about an hour,” Sophia informed me.
The nurses handed me the baby. I didn’t really know how I felt. I just cried.
“What’s her name?” asked one of the nurses. “We need to fill out the birth certificate.”
“Sophia-Jean Louise O’Leary,” I replied.
“Beautiful name,” said the nurse. “A beautiful baby, who graced the world with her presence at 4:14pm on February 25th. You will remember this day for the rest of your life.”

It Was Love:

The nurse walked out. I looked at Sophia-Jean. I still had no idea how I felt. She was beautiful. She pretty much looked like a miniature version of me. She had my naturally fair skin tone, red hair, and green eyes. Her skin was really soft. She was a baby. She was my baby.
The longer I held her, the more I realized how right it felt. Sophia-Jean would be loved. I loved her already. I wasn’t sure why it took so long, but from the moment I realized it, I knew she would be my little girl for life. I would do anything for her.
“I love her,” I told Sophia. “I love my little girl.”
Sophia nearly cried.
“I’m glad,” she said. “I told you it would come with time.”
“Well, after it not coming at all during my pregnancy, I didn’t know,” I said.
Two days later they let me go home from the hospital. I decided two things upon leaving. First, I wanted to try breast feeding. Second, I wanted a bassinet so I could have her close to me for a while before putting her in her own room.
After Sophia brought me home, I took a trip to the mall and picked up items for both. It was very different having a car seat in my car. However, I was glad she was safe. Carrying her in the carrier into JCPenney’s was a bit of a workout. I made my trip quick and then got her home.
I was happy I had decided to breast feed. I had read that it was the healthiest thing for the baby. Having her home in my arms was the best feeling in the whole world.
The first night was a little hard with her waking him up every couple hours. It was something I would have to get used to.
I went from resenting her to loving her. I loved her no matter what. I spent every second I could with her. I held her while I worked. I loved her unconditionally. Nothing would ever change that. I decided she was no longer a mistake. God wanted this to happen. Having Sophia-Jean really changed me.
Sophia-Jean became my life. She was my everything. I kept my job working from home. I liked spending as much time with Sophia-Jean as I could. I never enrolled her in daycare at the church. I did have her dedicated, though. It took a long time, but I learned how to love someone other than myself and my job. Looking back, I realized how selfish I had been. I couldn’t believe I had ever thought about resenting such a beautiful baby. She was perfect in my eyes. Now, I wouldn’t have my life any other way. Sophia-Jean comes first. Always.