Who's The Mommy?
"So," Julie started after checking Bern over, "everything seems to be in order, baby's not quite ready to make an appearance but I don't think we'll be long."
"Good," Bern huffed.
"Have you been to ante natal classes?"
"We went back home in Germany," I volunteered.
"You live in Germany, both of you?"
"Well I do, Bern was visiting."
"I didn't think I'd seen you at ours, so you know what to expect?"
"Anyone for a cuppa?" Mrs R enquired.
"Ooh I'd love one please," Julie enthused.
"Um, can I have a quick word Julie?"
"Sure, you girls, okay for a minute?"
"Uh huh," I offered on our behalf.
The adults went through to the kitchen from whence the sounds of tea preparation could be heard.
"She's telling her," Bern sighed.
"Telling her what?"
"Why she's not seen me at ante natal."
"She won't treat you any differently, " I replied with maybe more certainty than I felt.
"She'll judge me."
"Don't stress about it Bern, if she does she does, I'm sure you won't be the first time she's delivered a child in similar circumstances."
"You're probably right, aarrggghhh!"
"How we doing, ladies?"
"'Kay," Bern got out between gasps.
"Remember your breathing; Gaby, I want you to keep Bernie as relaxed as you can, I'm just going to get some stuff from my car, I won't be a moment, okay?"
"Sure," I allowed.
Once Jules had departed, Bernie turned to her mum.
"You told her didn't you?"
"Well, it's best she's prepared."
"Well you got tangled up a bit when you arrived; apparently it runs in the family."
"So you didn't tell her I've been locked up?"
"Bern, give me some credence, why the heck would I?"
"I just thought."
"You know what thought did."
The front door clicked shut.
"Right, I had a quick word with the unit, the doc is on standby in case we need him, I'm sure we won't though."
I've no idea how long the labour went on, the contractions steadily gaining in number and strength, each seemingly more intense than the last. But with the watery light – it's been lagging it down for ages – starting to fade Julie started to get more business like.
“Right Bernie, baby's nearly here, next time the contractions start I want you to push with all your might, Gaby, encourage her.”
“I can't push, I'm too tired,” Bern complained.
“Yes you can, remember what Gloria said.”
“I remember but she never said how much pain there'd be.”
“No pain no gain,” I grinned.
“I'll remind you of that when it's your turn. Aaarrggghhh!” *
“Push Bernie,” Julie encouraged.
“Deep breath and push.”
Bern strained for thirty seconds, her mum and me each holding her.
“You can do better than that,” I suggested.
“You can go off people,” Bern panted.
“Why you, aarrrgghhhh!”
“And again,” Julie instructed a moment later, “head's nearly out.”
From that point things are a bit of a blur, screaming, pushing, encouraging and finally crying. Boy does this baby know how to bawl .
Julie quickly and efficiently did her midwifery stuff, you know, checking for extra or missing bits, weighing and wrapping the bundle of joy in a blanket Cheryl supplied.
“Right then, Gaby, take baby for a minute while we sort Bernie out.”
And so Bernie's daughter was thrust into my arms, a more precious cargo they've never held.
Of course the process of childbirth doesn't end when the baby arrives, oh no; Julie had the new mother pushing and grunting for a few more minutes before the mess of blood and flesh that comprises the afterbirth finally emerged. Ew, that is like so disgusting. I know its natural like, but I don't have to like it , right?
I passed the tiny bundle, well seven pounds five ounces, to her mother. While she had quieted when I held her, she lapsed into a contented snooze in her mother's arms; I wish I had my camera.
“Say cheese Gaby,” t he new Grandma instructed, “Bern.”
She took a bunch of photos, at some point Mr Rose arrived bearing a tray of tea; I'm guessing he'd been waiting in the kitchen.
“Thanks Gab,” Bern mentioned.
“For what? You did all the work.”
“Yes thanks Gaby,” Mrs R added.
My blush switch was activated, level three.
“Geez Gab, you are just so cute when you blush,” Bern giggled, her movement waking the dozing infant.”
“You going to breast feed?” Jules asked.
“I was going to try.”
“Well I think baby is ready to give it a bash.”
I was sat on the sofa nursing my tea, watching the baby suckling Bern's teat when the portent of her earlier comment sunk in. ‘I'll remind you of that when it's your turn' – my turn ut uh, never gonna happen. I might have all the plumbing, well almost but there is just no way I'm doing anything with another boy that might result in childbirth, not even Max. Where'd that come from?
“You thought of a name Bernie?” Julie enquired as she collected equipment and tidied up the scene of bloody devastation.
Bern looked up from her new Bundle of Joy™ and looked to her mum who just nodded.
“That's pretty,” Julie smiled. “Well I'm going to have to leave you folks for tonight, get a salt bath Bernie, it'll ease the discomfort some. I'll be back in the morning to see how you both are doing and just remember, you've done the easy bit it's the next eighteen years that are difficult.”
“Tell me about it,” Mr Rose put in which earnt him a look from his wife.
“You look like you need some sleep too , Gaby, you did very well tonight.”
“Er thanks Jules.”
“Well I'll leave you folks to it, see you tomorrow.”
Mr Rose helped Julie out with her stuff.
“You look all in Gaby,” Mrs R observed.
“Well I wasn't planning on trying my hand at midwifery,” I grinned.
“Sorry, it was Drea's fault, she was desperate to meet her Aunty Gabs,” Bern smirked.
“Your jeans have taken a bit of damage Gaby,” Granny Rose observed.
Indeed they had, I must have knelt in the stuff on the carpet and even my t-shirt had attracted some gunk.
“I'll get you something clean to wear then Jack'll drop you home, I'll wash your stuff with this lot.” She indicated the pile of laundry little Andrea's arrival had caused.
“You don't have to.”
“It's the least I can do.”
“'Kay,” I allowed.
Sugar. Home, Aunt C will wonder where the hell I've got to.
“What's the time?”
“Half one,” Bern supplied.
“I am like so dead, I was only supposed to be like half an hour.”
“Your aunt knows where you've been lass, I rang her earlier,” Mr Rose informed me.
“Phew, I'd be grounded for ever.”
“Well tomorrow,” Bern noted.
“Come on Gaby, out of those dirty togs then we can get you home,” Mrs R instructed from the door.
You will of course remember that Bern is somewhat taller and more er statuesque than yours truly so I was quite surprised that the flowery all in one that I was presented with actually fit quite well. I vaguely remember Bern wearing it, they were all the rage a couple of years ago – at least it wasn't a dress or skirt.
“Geez, I thought I'd thrown that out yonks ago,” Bern noted.
“You did but I didn't,” her mum told her.
“Are you ready then Gaby?” Mr R enquired.
“Uh huh, thanks for the loan Mrs R.”
“No problem, I think you'd best hang on to it, this one won't be wearing it again.” She tousled her daughter's sweaty hair.
“Er okay, oh I nearly forgot.” I located the bag containing the present from me and the guys back home. I sat next to Bern. “Well little one, you're finally here, your mummy's friends got you a special welcome present, I'm sure you'll have lots in the next few days. So, Andrea, here's your first teddy, all the way from Germany.”
Clearly a newborn baby isn't really going to respond but I'm sure she gave a little gurgle of thanks.
“You know she's named after you,” Bern informed me.
“She is ?”
“Well if it had been a boy I was going to name him Andrew, Andrea is the feminine form.”
“That's why Drew Bond,” Bern supplied before the tears came.
“Give over Bern.”
“I owe you so much, you believed in me when none of the others would, you took me in, included me in your new life and now, well I wouldn't've wanted anyone else to be with me during this.”
“Shut up, you've got me crying now.”
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 08.06.12