I’m still struggling to realise that in just one month, the eldest of my three is starting secondary school. It doesn’t seem possible. I remember Josh coming into the world as if it was yesterday. I was 21 when I fell pregnant with him and as odd/mad as it seemed to everyone else, he wasn’t a mistake, we planned him from quite early in our relationship.
We didn’t think we would ever have kids; Beard had to have an operation at a young age that put his meatballs in potential danger, and I had multiple cysts on my ovaries resulting in a surgeon having to butcher them. In our minds, the chances of two defunct people creating life were pretty much slim to none. So we started trying for a little family as soon as we realised we were made for each other.
Mr “one-hit wonder”, as Beard named himself, was King of the Gods, Creator of Life, Super Star of the Galaxy, and although Josh was planned and we wanted to start a family, in reality, it was quick, and in retrospect, we weren’t ready for it. I was in my first year of University studying Fashion Design & Business Studies, and still living at home. Beard was finishing his heating and plumbing course with British Gas and living with his parents but studying miles away.
Despite everything, it was a textbook pregnancy, and I looked like a whale about to burst by the end, but a happy, healthy pregnancy all the same.
I was a few days past my due date, then today, exactly 11 years ago, as I lay basking in my pit while the sun streamed through the window, I rolled over for a quick cuddle with Beard and “pffffttt”. Nice. I’d now gotten so big that I was guffing, and didn’t even realise it.
I gingerly opened my eyes to make sure Beard hadn’t heard, but he was already sitting up, staring at piss soaked sheets. Embarrassed and mortified, I apologised and dashed for the loo, feeling somewhat glum. As I sat there on my throne, I pondered if I was the only disgusting pregnant person in the world, or whether all women were like me, but just didn’t ever say anything. A few minutes pass, and I suddenly realise I’m still ‘going’.
Another amount of blurred time passes, and it dawns on me; it’s not a ludicrously full bladder; my waters have broken! So now I do what every soon-to-be-Mum would do, and dash to get nail varnish remover, nail varnish; hot pink, and I run a bath so I can shave before the main event. There’s no way some poor midwife is going to endure a non-preened fat neanderthal for goodness knows how many hours while checking my baby’s head is crowning.
As I casually shout the news of impending birth of the unborn child, Beard goes into overdrive. Bouncing around my bedroom, shouting “Calm down! Everything’s fine! Lee, just breathe. Breathe darling, and you’ll be fine! SHIT!!!!! What do we do?! Are you breathing?! I can’t hear you breathing! Like that taught us, babe!” As sweet and endearing as this was, I found him immensely irritating at the same time. There was an overwhelming feeling – an ever-increasing desire to punch him in the face. Of course, I would never do this. Instead, my eye twitched uncontrollably while I hinted for him to go and make himself a bacon sandwich.
A couple of hours go by without any pain or significant contractions, which is perfect as it enables me to finish my manicure, pedicure, de-fuzzing of my the entire body, apply a full face of makeup and blow-dry my hair.
Once I felt adequate, I suddenly realised that last night we left Beards car at his parent’s house and took my car back to my Mums house. How is that important? My hospital bags and maternity notes are in the boot of his car, half an hour away. Shit.
On route to pick up my hospital bags, a wave of contractions completely consume me; Richter scale 8.4. Consequently, the immense pain I’ve ever experienced soared through my entire body, causing me to wrench up the handbrake. I was physically unable to let go. And I wasn’t even driving! Trying to explain the reason why the lights are green, and the car is stationary was a tad more tricky during a minute-long contraction.
Arriving at Beards house, my superhero runs in, grabs the keys and then my labour bag out of his car. Within seconds, he’s hopped back in my car (where I’m clearly playing charades and representing a walrus on crack), and off we go to welcome our new bundle of joy but… CHUG-CHUG-CHUG-CHUG…!!!! As usual, I’m running my car on fumes and have failed to get petrol, so we are forced to divert again! Limping into the petrol station, Beard hastily pumps in £20 of high octane looking formula. He looks to me, the pit crew captain, mid-contraction – only to realise neither of us has our wallets or any cash.
Through the misted car windows, due to my breathing technique that isn’t making the pain any more bearable, I can see what looks like a re-enactment of charades as Beard explains that his girlfriend is in labour and we have no money. Thankfully, the lovely man at the Shell garage lets us off until we are home to go back up and pay.
And so our journey continues… through the never-ending traffic of rush hour and mothers in 4×4’s they cannot drive with only ONE FREAKING KID IN!!!! ONE CHILD?! NOT A WHOLE BROOD! WHY DO YOU NEED A CAR THAT SIZE?! YOU LIVE IN THE SUBURBS AND CAN’T SEE OVER THE STEERING WHEEL YOU DAFT ORANGE NOB HEAD!!!!!!!!!
And breathe. We are here, we are finally at the hospital, and I think I’m going to cry.
Labour was slightly more dramatic than I’d thought. The pain sears through your entire body throwing out shouts, snorts and arggghs even when you’re trying to hold them in. The best way I can describe it, is getting a flight abroad, eating raw fish that’s been in the sun all day with a parasitic donkey licking it, and there you have it – epic food poisoning – the pain is like the most epic “Delhi Belly” you can think of.
The realisation that I may actually shit myself in front of my boyfriend was terrifying. We hadn’t been together that long so to think I may rocket a turd across the room when trying to deliver his child was sending shudders down my spine.
Now there’s one thing you can say about a 21-year-old in a delivery suite about to witness his firstborn into the world, and that’s that they don’t grow up. In-between laughing at how red my face was and stealing my gas and air when I was in active labour and me genuinely wanting to kill him, when he wasn’t doing that, he was looking at people in the car park and trying to guess which car was theirs to “pass the time”!
But I got him back, don’t you worry. He went to the toilet which was at the foot end of the bed, and while he was in there, I had this inexplicable need to push, right there and right then, just as he came out of the loo. Honestly, the look on his face was priceless. I thought he was going to scream, faint, puke and cry all at the same time!
4 hours later, an army of nurses, doctors, midwives and trainees came into the labour suite. There I was, a sweaty purple mess begging for an epidural with legs akimbo and a plunger being rammed into never-never land and then eventually, after 12 hours, the beast was suckered out and the agonising evil was over. My newborn bundle was placed in my arms; I looked down and… he was the ugliest creature I had ever seen. I wasn’t even entirely sure if it was human. He looked like a cross between an alien with a cone head, a 400-year-old woman and a prune.
I went through all of that to produce this monstrosity… how cruel can life be?!
Later as I sat on one arse cheek wondering if the burning in my nether region would ever subside, the Bounty lady came around and gushed “oh look at him, he’s so adorable…” and I just thought “you twatty bitch trying to mug me off?! Are you delusional?!” But in reality, I didn’t say anything. And I certainly didn’t buy the photo’s; there was no chance of me documenting this creature and paying for it.
Josh was the ugly duckling at birth, but thankfully, over a few weeks he became quite the cutie, and he’s grown up to be a little stunner. My god, I feel old and here we are doing it all over again!