It was hard to believe how fast time went by. I had no idea how I'd managed, but somehow, I'd made it through the last three months without Edward. It was, by no means, an easy task, but I'd been blessed with a strong support system. However, there was one person who was able to make me keep going no matter what. The little person growing inside of me was the reason for everything I did. Right after Edward left, I felt like I had fallen into a deep depression. No matter how much I tried, and despite everyone's best efforts, I couldn't find the will to get out of bed. I cried all day long. I was lonely and exhausted, emotionally and physically; until I felt the baby kick for the first time. It happened about three weeks ago. It was completely unexpected. The doctor had warned me that it might be happening soon, but no matter how many books I read about pregnancy, or all the things my doctor had explained, nothing could have prepared me for that moment. At first, I was so shocked that I didn't fully understand what had happened. I'd only recognized the movement as something unusual. Then I tentatively put my hands on my belly, directly over the spot where I'd felt the movement and waited; only a few seconds later I was rewarded with a strong kick. I started to laugh and cry at the same time, only this time they were tears of joy. I didn't even care that there was no one with me to share this incredible moment. I felt like I was taking my very first breath of air after months of merely existing. I felt like I was living again. That's when I realized I had to fight, not only for myself but for this precious being that was counting on me to take care of it.
I realized I had much to do if I wanted to be prepared for the baby that was coming, and all the decisions I'd postponed had to be made. I spent hours on the internet, reading every baby and pregnancy- related site I could find, making lists upon lists of the things I'd need to buy and the best places to buy them. Then I started a list of baby names. At first, I'd been anxious to share my ideas with my friends and family. I soon realized that as much as I loved all those around me, I wanted my baby's name to be something that I truly loved; I didn't want to be influenced by other people's opinions or feelings. I signed up for pregnancy Pilates class, and Lamaze class. I didn't ask anyone to come with me, even though all the women in my class had a companion. I'd already decided that if Edward wouldn't be in the delivery room with me, then I preferred to do it alone. Naturally, this decision was challenged by pretty much everyone. The general consensus seemed to be that I was isolating myself. I'd tried to explain that sharing that particular moment with anyone but Edward would be much too painful. I would be extremely glad to have everyone in the waiting room, but I wanted it to be just me and my little baby in the delivery room.
I didn't see Edward again. Even though I continued to have a relationship with Carlisle and Esme, Edward and I never ran into each other. That wasn't a coincidence by any means. I knew Edward had been staying with them since he'd left, but we had carefully maneuvered things so we wouldn't meet accidentally. I knew he'd asked about me several times. Alice made it her mission to inform me of his inquiries whenever we saw each other. I understood why she did it. She was the only one who was still hoping we'd be able to work things out. Rosalie, however, was a completely different story. Whenever Alice would mention Edward, she would snap at her, saying she had to be crazy to defend him after all he'd done. I understood Rosalie's stance too. I was still pissed at Edward for being a coward, for taking the easy way out. I was hurt beyond words by his departure and what it meant for my future and my child's. Reluctantly, I had come to understand that if I wanted to move on with my life and try to be happy, I had to learn to let go of the anger, the hurt, and the resentment. It wasn't easy. Though time had given me some perspective, there were still days when I would bounce from one emotion to the other, feeling overwhelmed by the anger and the hurt, and most of all, by the loneliness.
I had entered the sixth month of my pregnancy. At my last appointment, Doctor Bradley had advised me to start getting the bag ready that I would take with me when I went into labor. She explained that even though there were no signs to indicate that I might go into early labour, it didn't mean that I shouldn't be prepared. Since I had spent the last two months doing research, I already had a pretty good idea of the stuff that I would need. It only took me a few days to get everything ready, but there was one thing that was weighing heavily on my mind. Getting the bag read was like a wakeup call to remind me just how close I was to my due date. All the practical aspects were pretty much taken care of. I'd bought clothes, diapers, a stroller, a car seat, the nursery was painted, and even though I hadn't bought the furniture yet, I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. But, I knew there was one more thing I needed to do before the baby arrived.
I'd left work early that morning, since my appointment was at ten o'clock. I was sweating and feeling very nervous. I'd been warring with myself trying to decide whether I would see this through or not. There was a part of me that felt like doing this would be a mistake, that once my feelings cleared I would regret this. But there was another part of me that needed closure, and I felt like this was the only way that I would get it.
I entered the elegantly decorated lobby of -Volturi & Associates- and quickly headed toward the receptionist, indicating to her that I had a ten o'clock appointment with Marcus Feinman. She directed me towards the second floor of the building after telling me she would announce my presence to Mr. Feinman. I discreetly wiped my sweaty hands on my dress pants, hoping to hide some of my nervousness. After a few minutes, the door to Marcus Feinman's office opened and a tall, blond, kind-looking man greeted me.
"Mrs. Swan?" he asked. I stood up and stretched my hand out for him to shake.
"Good morning. I'm Isabella Swan."
"Marcus Feinman. It's a pleasure," he said, moving to the side so that I could enter his office.
He quickly went around his desk and sat in the chair behind it, motioning for me to take a seat on the chair in front of him.
"What seems to bring you here, Mrs. Swan?" he asked.
"Please, call me Isabella," I smiled nervously.
"Very well," he smiled.
"I need some guidance in regards to voluntary termination of parental rights," I said after a few seconds of silence. Mr. Feinman stared at me, trying to decipher the intention behind my request.
"I see," he said. "Are you looking to terminate your rights as a mother?" he asked. I was pleased to note his tone held no judgment.
"Oh no, that's not the case. My baby's father has expressed his desire not to be involved in his or her life. I was thinking that I might want to have it in writing, make it official," I said, with some effort.
"Alright. I have to warn you that should we proceed with the matter at hand, and the father agrees to terminate his rights, you would not be entitled to receive any form of child support."
"That won't be a problem," I said.
"Okay then, our course of action would be to draw up an Affidavit of Waiver of Interest, which I would send to the father. He would have to sign the document and return it to me. Then you and your legal representation would have to go to court to have an Order of Termination drawn up and approved by a judged. Once it is approved, the father's right would be effectively terminated. Are you certain that the father would agree to sign the affidavit?"
"I'm certain," I answered. There was no doubt in my mind.
"Well then, once you are sure that you want to proceed, you can contact me and we'll get started on the paper work."
"I'd actually like to proceed right away. I'm sure this is the right way to go."
"No problem. I will have the papers drawn up and delivered. I just need some information regarding the father," he said. We spent the next twenty minutes gathering all the information needed.
Once everything was settled, I left -Volturi & Associates-. I thought my nerves would disappear after my appointment, but I was still feeling on edge once I left. I knew I had just made a huge decision, probably the biggest one I'd ever have to make. I just hoped it was the right one for my baby's sake.
There are no excuses for how long this has taken, but I promise I'm trying to get back into the swing of things so that the next chapter won't take so much time. As always, a big thank you to my ever faithful beta, Miss tiffanyanne3, who managed to proof this for me in spite of how terrible I've been. Enjoy!