The day I found out I was pregnant with Violet was sadly unpleasant.
Previous to finding out I was pregnant with her I was standing in my front yard selling every worldly good I owned. I was having a huge yard sale which my then partner helped out with. We were separating. I moved out. I moved in with my grandmother. I had Bella my 6-year-old and Sophie my 3 month old with me. I was in the process of talking with my boss about working out a suitable roster for me to come back to the pre-school full-time, and I was also to begin a degree in accounting. Being on my own didn’t mean my girls and myself didn’t have a bright future. To me it meant we’d have a better future. The best if that’s what I could create.
But after 3 months of pleading and promises from him, I moved back in.
I’d been back about a week, things seemed ok. While not amazing at least things seemed to have changed. Until I decided to download a program on our computer which would allow me to talk to a girlfriend of mine who lived an hour away. It finally installed and did all those things I don’t really know about, it then signed in automatically, apparently we already had that program. And apparently we’d had it for a long time. I found all sorts of emails and addresses of people who liked to use the words ‘hot’ and ‘boobs’ a lot.
I was furious.
This was just another reason. On top of the many he’d already given me. Which I’d forgiven him for.
After consulting my best friend I was advised to ‘revise’ everything I had thought was true. I have never been one to snoop and I believe in personal privacy. But I went into detective mode. I asked him to show me everything, every bill, every email. Everything. After all being together meant no secrets, and I had trusted for too long that none had been hidden from me.
Let’s just say I found out a lot.
It was over this time. For good. I had enough of the lies, I’d had enough of the using, I’d had enough of the neglect. I’d had enough of being unloved. And I’d had enough of my girls being unloved too. And I wasn’t the one leaving. I was going to be the single mum of two. I was staying in the three bedroom house. We agreed that he would start looking for a rental immediately and move out as soon as possible.
It was a stressful time. I was trying to make it clear that it was over, by this stage I had lost all feelings for this man. We had been house mates for a long time now, housemates who didn’t even like each other. We had seperate rooms for almost a year. It was hard to make things clear when you still live in the same house with someone who doesn’t want the same things as you, I don’t know if he was trying to make things harder or what the logic to his thinking was, but he didn’t want it to end. After everything he’d put me through over the years he clearly didn’t love me and didn’t want anything to do with the girls. And he was taking his sweet time in finding somewhere else to live.
I cannot clearly remember the specific time or day I found out I was pregnant. I was on my own in my house. And I found out. I called my friend after a few moments of gob smacked silent self hating.
How stupid! I felt like an irresponsible 16-year-old again. I was in a panic and the world around me was spinning. I walked back and forth through our house running my hands through my hair. My eyes must have been wild and animalistic. I couldn’t think clearly. In every possible way I was shocked, confused, mad, sad and completely lost. I have a baby! A six month old baby! With a man who clearly wasn’t a family man. He told me so regularly. (Despite Sophie being planned.) And now another! Everyone has watched our relationship rot. Everyone saw me move out AND come back AND that we were doing it all over again. I have no one, I’m on my own. What the hell have I done?!
So I called my friend.
She is good at making me see sense. I would never have gotten an abortion. Ever. So I had to come to terms with the fact that I was pregnant. I had to just shut up and swallow that information. Ok that done. I then had to stop worrying about what everyone would think of me. So what? I’m an adult and don’t need permission or acceptance from anyone. (I’d like it, but that’s different, it wasn’t necessary.) This baby would be my responsibility alone, I would be the one up at night, holding her during shots, cuddling her while she was unwell.
No one else.
Me. Only me.
Yet still I wanted someone to hug me and say it would be ok. I wished so hard for a hand to hold and another to stroke my hair like a little girl. The world was not about to end, but in those moments I felt like it. I was going to have to be tough to deal with what would come. I had to be. But I wasn’t.
So I acted it.
I dealt with it in silence. Let it sink in. I didn’t tell anyone else for a long time. When I finally did, I had built up my wall strong enough to withstand anything anyone threw at me.
I was having a baby.
I had accepted it.
And they should to.
It was hardest to tell her father. I didn’t want to. But I had to. I suggested we meet for coffee (we stilled lived in the same house but had very separate lives) We met. I couldn’t say a word. I began to cry and handed him the brown paper bag from the chemist. He took out the two tests and the reality hit him. He smiled. He said he was relieved. I looked at him with a frown. Relieved? Happy? Why? He thought I’d met someone else and that was what I’d wanted to tell him. But this was way better for him. Only a baby. Something he didn’t have to deal with. This was my problem not his. And yet I somehow thought two parents would be better than one. I told him I would allow him stay two months further in our house to give it a go and see if things could change for the better.
They didn’t. I should have known.
This baby would have no father.
I just felt like everything was my fault. A beautiful baby should be a happy occasion. This baby was to precede my planned baby. I had desperately wanted Sophie. She was my sunshine and filled with so much joy. How was this baby going to compete with that? Everything seemed all sad and hard. This baby would deserve so much more. So much more than me.
I just wanted to give the relationship everything I could withstand to make sure I had given it my all.
I gave it my all and got nothing in return.
I did spend nights making birthday cakes (Sophie’s first) while being hounded and told I was useless, worthless and good at nothing but baby sitting.
HE thought I would stay if I felt that what he said was true. HE tried so hard to bring me down. I was utterly unhappy. But not stupid. I knew that the onslaught of mental and emotional abuse was his insecurities shining through. It actually made me stronger.
Well I am very useful thank you. I am worth a whole heap. And yes; Thank you I am good at ‘baby sitting’ if that’s what you call rasing children!!!
The entire pregnancy was not the usual. I had finally come to terms with my relationship status. I had learnt to shut off and block it all out. I’d spend time with my best friend, my mum and my sister when ever I could. I simply avoided him. I was now beginning to feel positive and realise I was having a baby! A beautiful little baby. What had I been thinking? No matter what was going on around me I was going to have my third baby. I would dream about this baby and the happiness she would bring regardless of anything else.
And this is when things went downhill again.
I woke one morning at 18 weeks pregnant. Bleeding. Quite a lot. I called the hospital who told me to calm down, they suggested I come to the hospital but not to rush. If nature were intervening there was not much I or anyone else could do.
So whilst my baby’s father slept, I organised Bella for school and called my friend. I ended up waking him to look after 10 month old Sophie because I’d be heading to the hospital after dropping Bella at school. My best friend who at the time was about 26 weeks pregnant came with me. As I lay on the bed, she held my hand and sat by my side and we cried together as the doctor stated that if I went into labour or began to miscarry that there was nothing they could do. I was under half way and I would have to deal with it. I was inconsolable. I had an ultrasound and they would not tell me the sex of my baby in the case that I did miscarry. That was exactly why I wanted to know the sex of my baby!
The doctor came back later to let me know that it was a low-lying placenta that was covering my cervix. He sent me home on the grounds that I have 2 weeks of bed rest so as not to aggravate things and possibly start an early labour.
With reminders that if nature took its course before 20 weeks I would just have to move on.
I felt like he was harsh and honest. Two things I really didn’t want. I tried my hardest for two days to remain in bed and give myself and my baby a chance. But with a 10 month old and a 6-year-old who also needed to go to school and a man who just didn’t care.
I could not do it.
Simple as that I had to put things to the back of my mind and carry on with what I had to do.
I detached myself from my pregnancy. I was distraught at the idea of loosing my baby. How would I possibly cope if I actually lost my baby?
I decided that I wouldn’t be able to cope.
I would have descended into a dark place and remained there for a very long time. I couldn’t do that to Bella or Sophie. For the sake of a baby I hadn’t met, for one who was not planned, for one who had no father from the day she was conceived. For one I was not sure I could love. I almost could forget that I was pregnant I’d separated myself so well. 20 weeks came and went without me thinking about it. I had another ultrasound later on and found out the placenta had moved meaning I wouldn’t have to have the cesarean I’d been dreading.
I was constantly hounded and fighting and stressed and mad and frustrated. By now I resented the very sight of this man. He would not leave and I couldn’t make him. He would not leave me alone and all I wanted was peace. The day he finally said he’d been approved on a flat I didn’t believe him. He’d led me on and lied to me before. But I was hopeful when he began packing boxes. I thought I would at last get at least the last month of pregnancy to myself, to rest and be happy and to focus on myself and my girls.
Until the day before he was to move out.
I woke early hours on a Tuesday morning thinking I’d wet myself. I got up, cleaned myself off, and went back to bed (Which I shared a double bed with Bella.) I got up again later thinking the same thing. I’d never had my waters break naturally before so even though this was my third pregnancy I didn’t know what was going on. And considering I was still 2 and a half weeks off being due. I didn’t place it. I ended up calling the hospital to question them. They suggested I come in and get check out which I did.
I’d called my grandmother, little sister and brother to come to my house and keep watch on my girls.
HE came with me to the hospital. (Of course he would. He had an audience to act for.)
They decided to admit me at once, despite the fact that I’d had not one contraction. They put it down to stress. I lay there for a few hours being monitored. And nothing. They finally allowed me up to get outside for some fresh air. Which all my ex wanted to do was taint it with cigarette smoke. We argued and bickered. I ended up crying and requesting I be sent home. I wanted to be with my girls. I wanted to get away from him, I wasn’t in labour and I needed to get out of that white-walled prison. They finally allowed me to go on the terms that I come back immediately if anything began to happen.
I went home and was happy to be a little calmer. I spent the afternoon on the phone to my friend who demanded I walk in circles around my backyard while chatting, to get labour going. So while she happily distracted me from being confused about the lack of action and emotional because I didn’t know what was going on. I walked and walked and walked. And it worked! I started having regular contractions.
Once they were good and strong, her father and I went to hospital. I’d requested he drop me there and leave. But he didn’t. We argued in between contractions to begin with. It was exhausting. I was exhausted. I was half an hour away from giving birth when I finally broke down and cried. ‘Please, just leave me alone’ I sobbed. I was exhausted and tired. Of everything. I wanted to be left in peace. I wanted the hounding to just stop.
Finally I gave birth to Violet.
I forgot everything around me. ‘She’s so tiny’ is all I could manage. She was a healthy 7 pound 7 ounce, but to me so tiny.
So helpless and so innocent.
The midwife held her up out of the water and she began gagging. The cord was around her throat and she couldn’t breathe. I snapped at the midwife.
‘HELP MY BABY!’
In that moment I knew I loved my baby. The way that I should have from the very beginning.
So tiny. So perfect.
I cried once her father left, the reality which I had been trying to reject from myself was here, in my arms, plain and beautiful to see. How could I have ever let myself think any of the things I had. She deserved so much love and I knew now that I had enough for her too. She was such an old soul the way she’d stare up into my face as if trying to tell me it was all ok. She didn’t hate me for things I had said or done. I let her grip my finger and comfort me. I snuggled up with her and let the warmth of her tiny hugs calm me.
But I finally realised. It was never about me.
Everything I was doing and everything that I had to do was all for them.
No one came to visit me in hospital except my 16-year-old baby brother, he brought me a beautiful bunch of day lilies.
It meant so much to me.
I came home the very next day to be with all my girls.
HE left the day after that.
Violet was very loved. Her sisters were amazed and adored her. Little people don’t see the adult world. The reality of grown up stuff. They can ‘feel’ its effects though. Being on my own with my three girls regardless of how exhausted I was in the beginning was such a happy relief and my girls all felt it.
So much happiness, so many giggles and finally things seemed brighter.
The hole I thought I was at the bottom of had started to crumble, the sides falling in until finally I began to see daylight and my life started to level out.
I could smile again.
All I could see was my girls.
Violet and me.
I could not live without this imp. She means the world to me just as each of my other children do. But Violet has a special little spot in my heart which is reserved for just her. I felt she deserved that. After the difficulty I had during pregnancy. A non-existent dad and a mum who was not sure she’d have the capacity to love her as much as she needed to be.
Turns out when you think you can love no more.
Your just simply wrong.
To begin with she was a very unsettled baby. I blamed myself for the stressful pregnancy. I hadn’t had time to be calm and she’d felt it all.
She had no peace.
We dealt with the many sleepless nights snuggled up together in my bed. After all I had plenty of excess space and my tiny baby was the only one who had a right to fill it.
My girls and I had never been happier.
Finally I was filled with an overwhelming contented feeling. Everything was good and bright and I needed nothing.
Then an unexpected thing happened. Which brightened not only my life further but Violet’s too.
I met Glen.
He opened my eyes further to the beauty of my own little daughter. He saw her as a tiny miracle. He treated her with the love and respect a true father would with his baby. Something she’d never had. Something I’d never seen.
Another unplanned thing was happening.
We both fell in love with him.
3 weeks after we met he asked me to marry him. Meaning he had asked if WE would marry him.
He’s a brave and good man.
We’ve given him a run for his money too!
He’s changed more poopy nappies than I thought humanly possible for a man, been thrown up on, missed many nights of sleep, soothed teething babies, comforted crying babies, he’s done it all.
And has appeared to enjoy every moment of it.
I for the first time knew what it felt like to have support. I had been a single parent the entire time and now I had help, a shoulder to lean on. And Violet, a warm chest to sleep on.
So today 3 years ago. I had my baby. Not my first or my second. But she was the one to change my life.
And it was for the better.
I have so much overwhelming love for this wild, crazy, loud, giggly, cute baby girl.
And I’ll show you but a tiny reason why.
Her icy blue eyes, inherited from my mum, her lovely soft blonde locks, her stunning smile which is so contagious, her clumsy, carefree attitude.
She amazes me.
And now she’s 3!
(Well her birthday started last night. I couldn’t help myself. Violet got a pre- birthday present!)
She was only a ‘little’ surprised.
Oh my, whats is it?!
It was a strawberry scented Lotso and she LOVES him.
So she snuggled up in bed with her Lotso and drifted off to sleep.
Like myself, Bella and Sophie were up at the crack of dawn. Too excited to sleep.
We waited ‘patiently’ for Violet -who is a serial late riser- to wake.
Ok, so we weren’t so patient. I was the one who went to gently wake her.
Selfish yet satisfying.
But first I bathed in her peace.
Until she finally woke and I soaked in her smiles.
The moment the word ‘present’ was mentioned she was off…..
After a couple of before breakfast presents, we had scrambled eggs. Requested by Miss Violet Amelia of course.
Then for one more present. But not before she ran from the camera to get her birthday picture taken!
Then Violet and I were off to the movies. I like to spend one on one time with my girls on their birthdays. They won’t always want to so while they are small I take advantage. I do this because firstly being a part of a big family, one on one time is special, and it is after all, their special day. And secondly, for me to reflect on just how far I have come, how much not only my baby has grown and changed but also how I have changed. They teach me so much about myself and I appreciate every moment I have with them.
‘Its just you and me baby girl!’
We arrive way to early for the movie, wander the shops together (Violet chose book shop and pet shop) We chat and hold hands and laugh at little things until we’re almost late for the movie. We grab our tickets and popcorn, frozen drink and m&m’s (popcorn and m&m’s in one mouthful. Heaven.)
Then head in and find our seats. We take a blanket to share and snuggle up to watch. Once its over we do a bit more wondering and talking. Then we head home singing songs in the car all the way.
While we were off having fun at the movies. I had left Bella and Sophie in charge of a very important aspect of Violet’s birthday.
The night before I organised a whole bunch of stuff for them to use to decorate a cake for her.
And they both did an awesome job. Violet saw them and was amazed. She hugged both her sisters.
So when we arrived home Violet noticed a big package hanging out of our mail box and ran for it. And yes it was all hers!
A package from Nanny, a cute little outfit. I don’t need to tell you she loved it. Check out her face!
I do want to touch on one small thing before moving on from this moment in Violet’s day. The acceptance myself and my girls have received from Glen’s family is overwhelming. My girls are so loved and valued as equals not new comers. It saddens me to say that Violet did not receive anything in the post from my family or her own fathers family. Not even one phone call. I am glad however that she doesn’t understand things the way I do. But she received a beautiful card from her adopted ‘Pops’ another from her adorable and lovely Great Nan and Pop and her present and sweet card from her Nanny. She’s to small to understand the details but one day I know she’ll appreciate the new family we have been welcomed to, hopefully as much as I do.
Her last pressie of the day. She was so excited and wanted to go for a ride immediately. Her bigger sisters have had big girl bikes for a while and she’d been using an old dump worthy bike, she’d sit on it -not that it would go anywhere- and just pretend perhaps practising for the future. I’d been wanting to throw the old bike out but couldn’t bare to see her heart-broken face. So now that she has a new sparkling bike, that actually moves, I think it will be off to bike heaven next chance I can get.
She HAD to get a bike for her 3rd birthday.
The helmet went down well to!
The girls all hopped on their bikes and rode down the driveway. Sophie fell off. Violet couldn’t go forward. Bella kept riding ahead. I pushed Molly in the pram while Glen ‘helped’ Violet; meaning he had to push her awkwardly while she kept jamming the brakes on and forgetting to steer. You’d think she’d have known what she was doing since she’d had plenty of practice on our ‘bike simulator’ (The one going to heaven.) Sophie fell off again and Violet started to cry. We decided that we’d had a big day and perhaps we’d go out and pick up an early dinner instead.
Well at least we made it to the end of our block before turning back.
After dinner we had Violet’s birthday cake. Well both of them.
We cut the cake and got ready to take a bite when Molly proceeded to vomit all over the table.
And all over Sophie’s cake.
We tried to stay calm as we moved our cake eating to the floor for a picnic.
(We seem to be coming down with something.)
You may be wondering why I added that not so pleasant information. Well this is also a documentation of things that have been. For example, when my beautiful grown daughter looks back, she’ll know things were not sugar-coated. Things are as they are and no matter how glossy one makes things seem, the truth of it can sometimes be so much more spectacular. The journey and the path taken, the struggles and the heart ache which makes the final product all the more worth it.
All the more special.
Violet is very special. She has something about her. Something in her. Something that lights a room. People are drawn to her and everyone loves her. Her tiny face, her personality sucks people in like a magnet. And I know why she was given this extraordinary quality, it was given to her so she would always know someone is there for her. It was given to her so she will never feel alone. It was given to her because she is loved and deserves to be.
It was also given to her so that I could look at her with new fresh eyes like strangers do. So that I can see what I have been blessed with. So that I can never forget or take for granted the fact that she is mine.
Miss Violet Amelia is not just a little person. She is a little piece of me. A little piece yet an important one.
A little piece that would render me incomplete if I did not have her in my life.
I love you Violet.
Happy Birthday baby!