My Bundle Of Joy: Part Two

This is the second part of a fiction serial, in 786 words.

Olly was driving me mad, right from the start. A man who used to have to be bribed with the promise of sex to run the dry-mop around the laminate flooring had become a clean-freak almost overnight. He was bleaching surfaces constantly, and even cleaning the loo every time one of us used it.

When our flat started to smell something like an operating theatre at the hospital, I had to sit him down and tell him to stop.

And I couldn’t win with the phone calls. My sister in law seemed to forget the time difference, waking me up one night just after I had dropped off into a sweet sleep. I had to tell her to check the fact that Vancouver was eight hours behind us, before ringing my mobile at one in the morning. Olly said I was sharp with her. Well, maybe I was. My mum rang me at work in the mornings to make sure I was feeling okay, then she rang me as soon as I got home from work to make sure I was still okay. If I ignored her call, she rang Olly on his phone, to make sure there was nothing wrong.

Luckily, my brother didn’t ring at all. The novelty soon wore off for him.

The doctor had referred me to the local hospital, and I had to go in for blood tests. They also went through the routine that I could expect; including scans, a chat with the midwife about healthy habits, exercise, antenatal classes, infections, and vaccinations. I got a ‘Maternity Record Book’ that I was supposed to keep near me at all times, and a surprisingly elderly midwife also spoke to me about anxiety, depression, hormone changes, and what she called ‘natural worries’.

I left the appointment with enough leaflets to paper a large wall, and the feeling that I had just jumped onto a rollercoaster ride that was going to last for the rest of my life.

On the way home on the bus, I suddenly realised the enormity of what was happening.

I was having a baby, and nothing would ever be the same again.

The weekend after that, Olly didn’t go to the home match for the first time since we had lived together. He seemed very serious, and said he wanted to talk about moving, as our flat might be perfect for us, but it was totally unsuitable for raising a child in.

He did have a point. When we bought our trendy canal-side flat three years earlier, it cost a small fortune, but we just presumed it would be our dream home. Converted from old warehouses, it had a small balcony overlooking the canal, large windows that let light flood in, and it wasn’t overlooked. We had a lift, an entryphone video system, and all the things we had wanted. Wood floors, two-person shower, separate kitchen with room for a big table, and our own car park space underground for Olly’s ancient Citroen Dyane. It was easy to walk to the shops, and a selection of buses ran down the main road nearby that enabled us to get to anywhere in the city.

But the main room was open-plan. The selling agent called it ‘New York Loft-Style Living’ in the brochure. That meant we spent most of our time in one huge room with a very high ceiling, which was sectioned off according to our requirements. A sofa that was bigger than our car dominated one area, in front of the fifty-five inch telly that Olly loved to watch his football on. Then we had our so-called office space, with two desks opposite each other for our laptops, a printer, and small filing drawers. There was no bedroom as such, just a built-in division of glass bricks in an L-shape. We had our king size bed and two shabby-chic wardrobes behind that.

Olly was right. Top floor, no outside space except a potentially dangerous canal path, and no separate room for a child to have as their bedroom. It might be alright as long as baby was in its cot, but it would be best to think about selling up and moving to a proper house sooner rather than later.

I made the mistake of mentioning it to my mum that Sunday night. Her reply made me turn and look at Olly, sure that there had been some collusion between them.

“Well for what you could get for that luxury flat, Angie, you could buy a house back here, and have a much smaller mortgage. In fact there is a three-bed detached for sale at the moment, only four doors down from here”. I told her I would think about it.

Like that was ever going to happen.

34 thoughts on “My Bundle Of Joy: Part Two

  1. Love it and so very true. Not pregnancy related but when my ex and I decided to buy a house before we got married, my in laws suggested we buy theirs and move in with them, his 3 brothers and 1 sister. It only had 3 bedrooms 😂 I didn’t have to even respond as the ex burst out laughing and said definitely not!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. (1) Bad citation: “Olly said I was shar pei with her.”
    (2) “Vancouver was eight hours behind us.” That would create a quantum situation wherein the baby could be born at 9:45 pm in London, but the folks in Vancouver would have to wait another eight hours for the baby to be born. The baby would be born, and yet remain unborn.
    (3) “I had just jumped onto a rollercoaster ride that was going to last for the rest of my life.” It would be fun to be born on a roller coaster, live on a roller coaster, and die on a roller coaster. But I would have settled for being born in the back of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, and living living life in the fast lane before eventually reaching life’s fateful conclusion at the vanishing point.
    (4) In life, women are given a “Maternity Record Book.” In death, they are given an “Eternity Record Book.”
    (5a) When looking for a home to buy, Angela and Oliver didn’t overlook the trendy canal-side flat. So they just flat out bought it, and enjoyed the balcony that overlooked the canal, thankful that the flat wasn’t overlooked.
    (5b) Sunlight floods into the flat. The canal waters don’t. (I’m trying not to overlook the details.)
    (6) “A sofa that was bigger than our car dominated one area.” At least it’s a Citroën Dyane, and not a 1967 Ford Country Squire, which measures over six feet longer.
    (7) A two-person shower is fine. You can wash a baby in the kitchen sink (so long as you keep the baby’s fingers away from the garbage disposal switch) or in the bathtub (so long as you’re careful when throwing out the bathwater).
    (8) The harem girls have been complaining about the shabby sheik wardrobes. What a skinflint!
    (9) As long as the baby is in its cot, there’s no problem putting the cot out on the balcony that overlooks the canal. After the baby has graduated from Pampers to Speedos, they can mount a diving board on the handrail.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And we lived on a houseboat! I certainly get the worry about the canal. We moved further from my parents though. I think few would do well with a new baby and hovering mother-in-law or mother. Your couple is smart.

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  4. Pete, I have two friends who used “Doulas” – basically midwives who help manage an “at home” birth with minimal medication…and my wife had a celebrity interview recently on her show recently in which he discussed buying the house next to his for his Mom…as a family they immigrated to the US at a very young age and forged a bond that culturally played out with such a plan. Best of luck to both of them!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Not sure that she should move to a house 4 doors away from her mother! Too close for comfort. When I was pregnant and lived in South East London, my mother-in-law said it was a shame that she didn’t live nearer, otherwise she would ‘be round every day to interfere’. Hmm. What a blessing she lived in Hastings!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. All very different to when I was expecting my first child. I saw a doctor in England once to do the test who confirmed I was pregnant and then no medical staff until I arrived in South Africa at 7 months pregnant where I saw a gynaecologist who would deliver the baby and who gave me calcium tablets. I don’t remember ever thinking about all that other stuff and I was certainly not worried, just very excited. Things are very different nowadays with all the scans etc. Sometimes too much information can be overwhelming.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I understand it, there are so many options now. ‘Personal’ midwife for home delivery, water birth, elective caesarian, and so on. Some of the choices depend on where you live, and some depend on local NHS funding. My character is going down the ‘in hospital’ route.
      Thanks for adding your own experience, Jude.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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