Advice to a pregnant woman is never short. Between Esme, Rose, and Alice- I had my fill. Add to it the random town folk, and I was on information overload. It's not possible for a baby to stay in the uterus, indefinitely, right? I mean, why would other women share stories of stitches and the like with you? Can you go into labor, by having fear of labor?
Forceps sounded scary, but worse yet, was the vacuum. I didn't dare breathe a word of this to Edward. I imagine if I did, he'd want to just have animals. I sort of see him passing out as I'm pushing.
For every horror story I heard, or words of warning, I did have my fair share of laughs.
"Just be careful when you get in the later months, laughing can be a bit tenuous." Rose gave me a look like 'I know you don't believe me, but just wait. "You'll feel like the baby has monopoly on your bladder."
Alice decided that I should be well versed in sexual positions. I'm not sure my face ever returned to a normal pallor. "When you get to the final months, sometimes, you're just so horny that foreplay isn't needed. Everything is just more … more sensitive, more everything." She then proceeded to talk about how she felt like jell-o for a few days after the birth. Way for her to be subtle, right?
Esme, however, she tried to instill how much I would come to cherish these moments- waddles and all. How, after a while, I'd get the urge to feel another being moving about inside my person. How I'd never forget that first flutter, that first kick, no matter how many years separated them.
Alas, they couldn't all be like that. Mrs. Webster made certain that I knew all about her trials of having all boys, and having them all be too big for her pelvis, so she can no longer wear a bikini.
I tried to fill in the gaps of information by reading books, it seemed to help; as well as paint a fuller picture, without the horrible images of family members in compromising positions.
I was happy that my nesting phase coincided with us moving into the house. Otherwise, I don't think I would have had the energy to move into a brand new house at almost eight months along.
It's funny, how after reading all those books, you think I would have known the signs….
"Don't worry, I've got it." I whispered to my sleeping husband, as I slowly turned over and looked into the small bassinet that was to the left of me. It seemed as though, just the other day we learned I was pregnant, yet, here he was.
"Henry, are you hungry sweet boy?" I gently picked him up, supporting his head, and situated him so that he could feed. I made sure he was fully latched on before I began to caress the downy soft curls that were atop his head. He didn't have much hair, yet … but you could tell he would, eventually.
I felt Edward snuggle closer to my side, and place a soft sleepy kiss on my exposed stomach. It was his way of telling me he was here. I loved that he tried to take part in this–that even though I was the only source of food for our little one, he made it a family affair by being present, even if it was half asleep.
I loved the quiet that middle of the night nursing offered. It gave me time to think over and be thankful for all the blessings I'd received in my life, and continued to receive.
The day I gave birth started out like any other. We went to mass, as an entire clan of Cullens. We came back and had a light brunch at Esme's. The guys cleaned up the dishes, only to then go out into the backyard and toss the football around while Emmett instructed Ben on the proper way to hold a football, so that it got the optimum height.
"Atta boy, Ben! Pee Wee football needs to watch out. We don't just have one Cullen on the team anymore, but two, right Colin?"
"Do you think I'll make the team dad?" Rose gave a soft sigh when she heard her middle child voice his concerns. Of course, all of us thought he deserved to be in the league.
"Of course sprout! They'd be fools not to pick you. It'll be good."
It was sweet to see Emmett like that with his boys. Colin's beaming smile told us even from the porch that Emmett's little pep talk worked. I could only imagine how Emmett would be if they ever had that girl that Rose recently informed us they were trying for.
"Bella, dear, are you and Edward all packed for the impending birth?" Esme handed me a glass of water, while my ankles rested on Alice's lap. We were both sitting on the porch swing and she was kind enough to let me prop my tired feet up on her.
"Ha. Yeah … we've been packed since I hit the week thirty mark–although, if I think back, I think he's been sneaking things in every now and again, before then." Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful husband, I just didn't have a lot of maternity clothes that felt comfortable this late in the game, and well; he being thoughtful, packed my most comfortable ones in the overnight bag. I was constantly digging them out of the bag.
"I think that's a first time dad thing." Alice's shoulders shook in silent laughter. "You weren't here, but when I went into labor with Rebecca, despite his careful planning, Jasper turned white as a sheet, and then got so worked up he left me in the living room." All of us busting out laughing, well- I tried to anyways, I wasn't very successful since my belly was so big, and I was uncomfortable.
I felt a slight pang when I laughed, so I stopped. Esme must have noticed. "Bella, dear are you okay?"
I cleared my throat and tried to hide the flash of pain I'd just experienced. "I think I'm good. Just you know, something's stretching or maybe the baby is just ready to come out. I'm not sure."
"Hmm. You're sure it's not like the time you thought nothing was wrong during mass, like five months ago?" Esme was eyeing me suspiciously. I guess you could say it was rightfully so. It had happened just out of the blue. We were at mass, just like every Sunday, when I stood up to say the Our Father, I felt sick. I could feel the light sheen of sweat, I even felt myself turn white as a ghost. But other than that happening for maybe, two Sundays, I'd had a wonderful pregnancy. Edward and his mother just thought that I should try and get up slowly from kneeling to standing in church, or to not completely kneel. So, that's what I did, I took my time getting up and everything was peachy after that. Thus, why my feet are so sore now, I was due to pop this week, or so Colleen said.
"I'm sure Es, truly. If anything, I'm just a bit tired." It was as if Edward had a beacon sensor for my needs. It was sort of annoying, yet I loved it. He didn't want me uncomfortable and as of late, that seemed to be a hard job. He gladly took the role. I'd forever be in debt.
Not a full five minutes had passed before Edward was casually striding over to me. Not a care in the world.
"Alainn, you ready to go home?" Edward was walking up the back porch eyeing me carefully. I tried to hold back the yawn that wanted to escape, but it was as if talking about me being tired actually made me that much more so.
"Yeah, I think I could use a nap." Naps were a daily thing for me it seemed. I wasn't sleeping well at night and it seemed to work out that I could take a cat nap sometime during the day and I'd be good.
Our life was on a bit of a fast track. Our house had just finished when I started my eighth month, so I wasn't too uncomfortable to unpack a few baby items. Edward accepted a long term substitute position at the high school, English of course. He quickly found out that although he loved teaching the kids, he didn't know if it was something he could see himself doing for more than the sub position. I told him that I supported him in whatever he chose to do, and he said the same in kind.
We toyed with the idea of Edward becoming a freelance writer, me opening up a yarn shop. Edward had said how he really didn't feel a huge pull to be a freelance writer. I could relate to that. Though we were both editors back in New York, I didn't feel the desire either to pick it back up. Sure, I would miss writing about a new restaurant that opened up, or a fun place to go to on a weeknight, but things had shifted. Shifted in a good way–both Edward and I felt like we belonged here. We had a house here, family here. We weren't nomads or lonely after-college graduation kids in a big city by ourselves anymore.
Edward waited patiently for me to get on the bed. It seemed as though I came with my own entourage these days. Granted, it was an entourage of pillows, but still. We had small ones, a huge one, a normal one, one that looked like the letter C, we had them all.
"Can we just, not have so many today? It's only a nap, please?" I wasn't above begging. Although Edward lay in the same bed with me, with the amount of pillows it seemed like he was an ocean away. He always made sure we were touching, be it by pinky, foot or hand, but still. I missed his warmth, the soft tickling of his fingers on my bare stomach. I just missed him, period.
"I guess, but if you are uncomfortable…." He was kneeling in front of me on the bed; I just gave him a slight nod. I didn't bother pointing out that having pillows or not, I was just plum uncomfortable at this stage in the game.
I drifted off to sleep thinking of things to come and tiny toes- though, somewhere in my dream; I stopped dreaming of tiny toes, and instead dreamt of cleaning up the kitchen floor with a mop and hammer. I knew pregnant women could have strange dreams, but this way by far the strangest for me.
So, there I was, dreaming of mopping up a floor, when I decided to roll over, my back was starting to hurt, but I wouldn't wake Edward up just so he could help rearrange the village of pillows I had. I almost managed to reposition myself, with little effort and still quite under the spell of sleep, when I felt a twinge in my lower abdomen.
Just a twinge. And then … not. It was more, more than one, spaced apart. Could this be it? The time when our little bundle wants to join the world?
"Edward," I was tapping his elbow while whisper yelling his name. I'm not sure why I didn't just speak his name, but instead carried on with the whisper yelling and went from tapping to poking his elbow and upper arm. "Edward …. I think, I think I'm having a contraction?"
"Mmmhmm. That's nice."
Were you serious? I tell you I think I may be having contractions, as in 'in labor' and you say that? "Edward!" this time I didn't whisper yell, I spoke. Be it a bit aggravated.
"Huh? What?" you are disheveled and yummy looking, but clearly this isn't the time for that.
"Edward," a breath, "Sweetie, I …. I think, I think now is time." The twinges are still well, doing their thing, yet I have the urge to move. I don't want to sit still. Or in this case, lie still.
"Time? As in…."
"As in, 'Your arse better be moving out of the bed and into the car, to the hospital time'."
Finally! Finally you start moving as if someone has lit a fire near your beloved manhood. I resist the urge to stick out my tongue to you. It's sorta cute how you are all panicky and hopping around the bedroom to get your pants on. I don't tell you they are backwards. It's cute, like I said.
While you are hoping around, I go to the bathroom and get our toothbrushes and paste. Everything else has been packed for a while, so we are ready for this. We even have a boy outfit in the suitcase as well as a girl outfit. We are totally prepared, in that way. Mentally, I don't think we are quite there so much.
I think you are in shock, panic mode, while I'm in pain and numb mode, but mostly pain.
"I'll wait downstairs for you."
You nod, then scurry for a shoe. I slowly make my way down the stairs, to sit on the couch.
After making sure that you had everything, you came down the stairs and started heading toward me. By the look on your face, you got that this was real, and that it was happening.
"Okay, so … I think we should go, now. Right?" you began mumbling something about this being the proper way to do things, while I tried to breathe through a contraction.
Ten hours, a cramped room with family, tons of nurses checking in, a bassinet wheeled in for when ready, a wee argument about only you being in the birthing room with me, and what felt like a thousand 'push, push, push' later– Henry Charles Masen Cullen was born.
My life, our life, would never be the same. We had family with us, but most of all, we were a family. A family that had an unusual beginning, but one none the less, and one I wouldn't trade for the world.